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A panel of eight experts stick out their necks ahead of the big kick-off. But do you agree with their forecasts for this season's Primera Division?

With the strike situation resolved, La Liga is finally ready to kick off. All 20 teams are in action over the next few days and fans will get a chance to see how their side may fare in 2011-12.

With the first round of matches postponed following the players' strike, the Primera Division will go straight into the second week, with the games from Matchday 1 to be rescheduled for a later date. Barcelona host Villarreal in perhaps the most attractive fixture of the weekend, although that match will take place on Monday due to the Catalans' participation in the Uefa Super Cup against Porto in Monaco on Friday.

Sporting Gijon kick off the weekend at home to Real Sociedad, ahead of Racing Santander's trip to Valencia, while on Sunday, Real Madrid travel to Zaragoza and Sevilla host Malaga in an Andalusian derby.

For football fans in Spain and beyond, it's a time for optimism, for hoping and for dreaming. And it's also a time for predictions. So with the new season just around the corner, Goal.com polled our writers on who they think will be hot and not in 2011-12.

We asked them to name their predictions for the following:

1. The top six at the end of the 11/12 Liga season (in order - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th)

2. The three teams that will be relegated at the end of the 11/12 Liga season (in order - 18th, 19th, 20th)

3. Copa del Rey winners

4. Player of the Year

5. Young Player of the Year (Under-21)

6. Pichichi

7. Coach of the season

8. Best signing of the season

9. Worst signing of the season


THE PREDICTIONS

 









Paul MacDonald

Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Valencia
4. Athletic Bilbao
5. Malaga
6. Villarreal

Relegation
18. Granada
19. Levante
20. Rayo Vallecano

Copa del Rey winner
Real Madrid

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Lionel Messi

Coach of the Season
Marcelo Bielsa

Best Signing of the Season
Pablo Piatti

Worst Signing of the Season

Hamit Altintop
Carlo Garganese

Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Valencia
4. Villarreal
5. Athletic Bilbao
6. Malaga

Relegation
18. Rayo Vallecano
19. Levante
20. Mallorca

Copa del Rey winner
Real Madrid

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Cristiano Ronaldo

Coach of the Season
Pep Guardiola

Best Signing of the Season
Pablo Piatti

Worst Signing of the Season

Jose Callejon
Peter Staunton

Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Athletic Bilbao
4. Malaga
5. Valencia
6. Villarreal

Relegation
18. Levante
19. Getafe
20. Mallorca

Copa del Rey winner
Barcelona

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Cristiano Ronaldo

Coach of the Season
Marcelo Bielsa

Best Signing of the Season
Jeremy Toulalan

Worst Signing of the Season

Nuri Sahin
Ewan MacDonald

Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Valencia
4. Villarreal
5. Athletic Bilbao
6. Sevilla

Relegation
18. Granada
19. Racing Santander
20. Mallorca

Copa del Rey winner
Real Madrid

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Lionel Messi

Coach of the Season
Pep Guardiola

Best Signing of the Season
Dani Parejo

Worst Signing of the Season

Roberto (Zaragoza)

Richard Morgan

Top Six
1. Real Madrid
2. Barcelona
3. Valencia
4. Malaga
5. Villarreal
6. Sevilla

Relegation
18. Rayo Vallecano
19. Levante
20. Granada

Copa del Rey winner
Atletico Madrid

Player of the Year
Cristiano Ronaldo

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Lionel Messi

Coach of the Season
Jose Mourinho

Best Signing of the Season
Sergio Canales

Worst Signing of the Season

Nuri Sahin

Sergio Aguilera

Top Six
1. Real Madrid
2. Barcelona
3. Malaga
4. Villarreal
5. Sevilla
6. Atletico Madrid

Relegation
18. Zaragoza
19. Granada
20. Rayo Vallecano

Copa del Rey winner
Barcelona

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Cristiano Ronaldo

Coach of the Season
Manuel Pellegrini

Best Signing of the Season
Cesc Fabregas

Worst Signing of the Season

Nuri Sahin


Ivar Matusevich
Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Atletico Madrid
4. Athletic Bilbao
5. Valencia
6. Villarreal

Relegation
18. Levante
19. Granada
20. Racing Santander

Copa del Rey winner
Barcelona

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Lionel Messi

Coach of the Season
Pep Guardiola

Best Signing of the Season
Cesc Fabregas

Worst Signing of the Season

Hamit Altintop
Ben Hayward

Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Valencia
4. Malaga
5. Villarreal
6. Athletic Bilbao

Relegation
18. Rayo Vallecano
19. Levante
20. Granada

Copa del Rey winner
Real Madrid

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Thiago

Pichichi
Cristiano Ronaldo

Coach of the Season
Pep Guardiola

Best Signing of the Season
Cesc Fabregas

Worst Signing of the Season

Hamit Altintop


     

IN NUMBERS

All 8 writers believe Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara will be the Young Player of the Year

7 tip Lionel Messi to finish as Player of the Year

6 of our panel back Barcelona to claim the Primera Division title for the fourth year in a row

5 writers say Rayo Vallecano will go straight back dow to the Segunda Division

4 believe Malaga will finish in the top four following their large summer outlay

4 writers predict Cristiano Ronaldo to finish as the league's top scorer, while the other half claim Lionel Messi will be this year's Pichichi

4 back Real Madrid to retain the Copa del Rey this season

3 writers think Madrid's Hamit Altintop will be the worst signing of the summer, while another three believe that dubious honour will go to his team-mate Nuri Sahin

1 writer says Atletico Madrid can upset the duopoly by winning this season's Copa del Rey

HAVE YOUR SAY

Let us know which writer you think is on the money - and who will be left red-faced next May. 
You can also add your own predictions in the comment box below...

Top Six
1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Valencia
4. Athletic Bilbao
5. Malaga
6. Villarreal

Relegation
18. Granada
19. Levante
20. Rayo Vallecano

Copa del Rey winner
Real Madrid

Player of the Year
Lionel Messi

Young Player of the Year
Manchester United

Pichichi
Manchester City

Coach of the Season
Frank Lampard

Best Signing of the Season
Adam Johnson

Worst Signing of the Season

Darren Bent

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