Thursday, February 2, 2023

Barcelona 2016/17 Season Preview: Will The Blaugrana Continue To Dominate The Spanish League?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

After thrashing Sevilla 5-0 over the two legs (2-0 and 0-3) of the Spanish Super cup 2016/17, Barcelona will start their title defence at home to Real Betis on Saturday 20th August 2016. Winning their 11th Super Cup is a great way to start the season, as the team would once again be hoping to outrun their fiercest rivals Real Madrid and La Liga’s new superpower, Atletico de Madrid to the title. Barcelona, do have an exceptionally strong squad with some of the biggest names in world football in their ranks. This year, they have added even more quality with coach, Luis Enrique, bolstering his defensive options along with the midfield.

Transfers

In the summer transfer window, the Catalan club bought Lucas Digne from PSG to provide cover for the left back spot while talented center back Samuel Umtiti was roped in from Olympique Lyon. The midfield got a boost with the arrivals of Valencia ace Andre Gomes and Villarreal’s talented youngster Denis Suarez for €30m and €15m respectively. The first team also saw hugely talented defensive midfielder Sergi Samper get promoted from Barcelona B squad keeping up his steady development process. It was a very productive transfer window for the Spanish giants as the team got the reinforcements which were needed for the next season.

New Barcelona's French defender Samuel Umtiti waves supporters from the pitch during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on July 15, 2016, after signing his new contract with the Catalan club. / AFP / JOSEP LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
New Barcelona’s French defender Samuel Umtiti waves supporters from the pitch during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on July 15, 2016, after signing his new contract with the Catalan club. / AFP / JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s a wonderful mix of youth and experience in the squad with the likes of Mascherano, Iniesta Rakitic, Pique and Messi providing all the experience and leadership across the pitch when needed in ample quantities. The exuberance of Munir, Neymar, Sergi Roberto, Denis Suarez and Gomes would provide the work rate and stamina to keep the team going till the final whistle. The Barcelona squad looks overly impressive with the players mentioned and when you throw into the mix the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba the team becomes unstoppable.

Attack will have to perform again

The front three, in particular, are regarded as the best attacking trio in the world currently and is capable of shredding any defence into fine pieces with their intricate movements, innovative passing, telepathic coordination and sometimes just freakish dribbling and finishing abilities. Last season, Barcelona scored 112 goals and conceded only 29, winning 29 games of the 38 in the La Liga.

While the attack was never a matter of concern for Enrique, there were a few question marks over the defence with the veterans showing signs of aging and a stalwart in Dani Alves parting ways after years of great service. The management has addressed that issue and has invested in recruiting young talents who are more than ready to step up to the challenges when needed. With their defence becoming even stronger, Barcelona look better than last season and have a squad capable of challenging on multiple fronts and offering the neutrals the pleasure of witnessing some scintillating fluid passing football in the 2016/17 season.

Transfer fees’ source

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