Carlo Ancelotti on the bench during the game against Almeria. / EP

The Godfather of LaLiga

The knowledge of Ancelotti should not be ignored, as the Italian coach speaks a lot of sense about the new season

Rob Palmer
ROB PALMER

Carlo Ancelotti should be listened to when he says that it won't be the best team that wins La Liga, it will be the club with the best squad.

It will be quite a contrast to last season when the Real Madrid coach pretty much selected the same ten players week-in, week-out, or those years gone by when you could name every player in every position. We can all reel off the great Barça sides.

The disruption of the World Cup and the uncertainty of what state the players will return in will be a major factor.

Managers are going to have to shuffle packs, dig deep into the pool of players, and utilise the new five substitute allowance.

Ancelotti made the observations before the opening night at Almeria and took a gamble on his team selection. New signings Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni were introduced alongside Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga, who were used sparingly last season.

It didn't work as the champions went behind due to a mistake from Rüdiger. Tchouaméni and Camavinga were taken out of the firing line as the coach called on the established guard to rescue the game.

Barcelona didn't hit the ground running either after the uncertainty surrounding the availability of their new signings. The goalless draw with Rayo Vallecano was the third game in succession in which they've failed to score against them. Barça do have a large squad to choose from; it's just a case of Xavi finding a formula.

In theory, this should leave the door open for some of the other challengers. Atletico Madrid underperformed last season and their coach Diego Simeone will be on a mission. Morata returned with a double and Griezmann joined him on the scoresheet.

João Félix is the third member of a potentially lethal attack. His performance must have been impressive as Manchester United were reported to have bid 130 million euros for the striker. While he did have a decent spell last season, he has never come close to justifying his club record 126-million-euro fee. United's scouts must be watching YouTube highlights reels.

My outsider this season is Real Betis. I saw them play Marseille in Chesterfield, of all places. They have a well-balanced squad of players with alternatives in every position and a coach in Manuel Pellegrini who knows how to play his hand.

That night, the former Málaga boss changed the whole team and they maintained the same momentum until the end. Betis also got off to a flier on the opening weekend with a 3-0 win against Elche.

It was a similar story for Villarreal who beat Valladolid 3-0 and displayed the ability to play two different sets of players in consecutive games .

Ancelotti's thoughts are always well considered and after the opening games his philosophy appears to be bang on.