Portuguese Primeira Liga 2018-19 Preview & Betting Tips: Benfica to dethrone rivals Porto
Title rivals set for titanic Primeira Liga tussle
Porto players celebrate with the trophy after winning the league title last season (MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
Portuguese Primeira Liga 2018-19 Preview & Betting Tips
The 2018-19 Portuguese Primeira Liga season kicks off in August with FC Porto returning as defending champions. The Porto based team are expected to be run close by rivals Benfica, while the likes of Sporting Lisbon and Sporting Braga will be hoping to stake their claim for the title.
Porto claimed their first league title in five years after romping to a dominant win in the league last season. They lost only two matches in the entire campaign as the finished seven points clear of their closest challengers.
They lost promising youngster Diogo Dalot to Manchester United and defender Iván Marcano to AS Roma. They did however bring in defender Saidy Janko from St. Etienne and Ghana striker Abdul Majeed Waris from French Lique 2 side Lorient.
They will go into the new season as one of the favourites for the title, but they may not be as dominant as they were last term. They have not been as active as the other top sides in the transfer window and may ultimately be dethroned as champions.
Aguias missed out on the title last season after winning the last four editions and ended their campaign second on the table, seven points behind champions Porto. They were the dominant team between 2014 and 2017 and they will be hoping to reclaim the title this season.
Benfica are always a major force in Portuguese football and will once again be among the challengers this season. Striker Raul Jimenez has been sent on loan, but they still retain the services of top-scorer Jonas. If they can hold on to striker amid interest from the Chinese Super League and strengthen key areas in the squad, they can be confident of beating Porto to the title.
The Lisbon based outfit have not been in a proper title challenge since 2016 when they finished runners-up to Benfica. They have also not won the title since 2002 and finished last season’s campaign third on the table, 10 points off the pace.
Sporting are regarded as one of the traditional sides and as such they are expected to be among the frontrunners for the title. However, they appear to be a notch below the top two and may have to play second fiddle once again.
Braga have been in a title race only once in their history when they finished second behind Benfica in 2010. They finished fourth last season, 13 points off the pace, but sealed a Europa League place.
The Braga club are expected to trouble the big sides but are unlikely to be a major threat to their title ambitions. Their participation in the Europa League may all but end their slim hopes of a title charge.
Benfica look to be the strongest team going into the new season and should usurp Porto who haven’t strengthened with as much quality as expected.
Sporting and Braga should be in the race early on but they do not appear to have the quality to maintain a title challenge.
2018-19 Portuguese Primeira Liga Matchday 1 fixtures (12 August 2018)
Porto vs Chaves
Marítimo vs Santa Clara
Benficavs Vitória Guimarães
Portimonense vs Boavista
Sporting Braga vs Nacional
Vitória Setúbalvs Desportivo Aves
Feirense vs Rio Ave
Moreirense vs Sporting CP