After Liverpool, it’s now time to focus our attention on the Catalans as we look at the FC Barcelona season review.
Luis Enrique’s last league campaign at the helm did not really go according to the plan. The Catalans threw away easy games at home and were left to rue in the end. Their league campaign did have its own highs including an epic win in a thriller contest at Santiago Bernabeu. Though the Catalans will end the league in the second place behind their eternal rivals, they can find some solace in that victory over Santiago Bernabeu.
Just like any other season, the Catalans put on some ridiculous attacking numbers. They scored a whopping 116 goals in the tournament, which is their highest in the history of the tournament.
The Catalans conceded 37 goals in the competition which was 8 more than they did in their last campaign. They had one fewer point than they did last season and even a repeat of their last season’s point tally would have not been enough.
🔴🔵📊 By the numbers: Barça’s impressive individual and team numbers in the 2016/17 league campaign: https://t.co/ClsvaeIwvR #ForçaBarça
The Squad Analysis
Luis Enrique claimed that the squad for this season was the best he had in his managerial reign in Catalonia. The squad is filled with potential stars but none of them have set the field on fire. The Catalans need a right back and that will also allow Roberto to flourish in his favoured midfield position. They will also look for a cover in the center of defence should Mascherano leave in the summer.
There is a difference of opinion on a need for a midfielder. They have so many midfielders in the squad but none of them have stepped up to dislodge any of the regular starters. With Iniesta pushing past his prime, there is a rumour going around that Barcelona will invest big on a midfielder. Much will depend on the incoming coach and there are interesting times ahead for the Cules.
Messi is excelling in his role as an additional playmaker and that will add depth to the creative midfield area. The odds are that Barcelona will give its talented squad one more chance before doing any major juggling.
Standout Performer: Lionel Messi
Neymar had his best campaign in the Blaugrana colours but it was the Argentinean talisman who took the centre-stage yet again. Messi won his fourth golden boot with 37 goals. The Argentinean pulled out great performances when it was needed from him in the league. His iconic celebration in Madrid will forever be etched in the memories of Cules in decades to come. Messi just about edges Neymar owing to superior numbers but one can say it is not long before the Brazilian Captain finds himself leading the pack.
It had to be Lionel Messi! @karlmatchett ranks every player in Barcelona’s Liga squad this season. https://t.co/kspL8gwv9a
Their attack is their biggest strength. The likes of Neymar, Messi and Suarez are intimidating for any opposition. Neymar is hitting his peak and Messi has become a devastating playmaker who creates and finishes opportunities with absolute ease. Suarez did not have a great season but did finish second in the top scorer’s chart. Alcacer showed his quality in glimpses and can be expected to improve this season. With this sort of attacking line-up, anything is possible. Neymar solely pulled out a greatest Champions League comeback in the history of the tournament and many such magical moments are possible with the Brazilian hitting his peak.
📈⚽️ Barça end the season with 116 goals, a new record for the blaugranes in the league https://t.co/3eSiO7mvUc
Barcelona have been conceding far too many soft goals but most of it is happening due to the questionable positioning of their midfielders. There is no natural replacement for Busquets in the squad and his absence proved to be the game-changer against Juventus. There are many young talents including Denis Suarez, Gomes, Rafinha and Roberto in the squad. Iniesta, despite his age, is the best midfielder for Barcelona and Rakitic is not having the same impact he used to have in the early days of his Blaugrana career. Their midfield after dominating an era of football is no longer the force it once used to be.
Still bitter that this guy rejected Barcelona, we wouldn’t be having these midfield problems. https://t.co/kMpyRTyQ3M
What to Expect
Valverde is the front-runner to become the next manager of Barcelona. A Barcelona manager is expected to deliver silverware right from his first season. The squad needs some shaping up and a fresh mind will definitely help the cause. Real Madrid have a very strong squad and to dethrone them will be a hard task. There are reasons to be optimistic about their chances and expect the Catalans to hit back hard next season.