Barcelona are coming off a season where they won the League and the Copa Del Rey but still the mood around Nou Camp was sombre due to the dizzying expectations people have for them. Anything less than the treble is seen as something of a disappointment and while the expectation of a treble every year is unrealistic, Barca will know they have to step-up in multiple areas if they are to keep thwarting the challenge of the Madrid duo domestically and prevail in Europe at the same time.
While the attacking play of the Nou Camp outfit has not been subjected to scrutiny too often because of their near flawless performances, the same cannot be said about their backline. Barcelona have repeatedly struggled at the back since the retirement of club legend Carlos Puyol. All the efforts to replace him have been met with failure till Mascherano was brought into the back-line as a make-shift defender. While he has managed to plug the holes with his experience and grit, it is public knowledge that he is averse to the position he has been played in.
Barcelona moved quickly to sign Samuel Umtiti thereby making a move to address their defensive issues. While he is expected to slot into the team straight away, the same cannot be said about their other signings. Players like Denis Suarez, Gomes and Digne and the likes have been bought to provide cover as well as develop under the guidance of the likes of Iniesta and Messi.
Barcelona will face off against shock Premier League champions Leicester City in Friend’s Stadium in Solna, Sweden. The match would only be Barcelona’s second friendly in this year’s preseason as the team took a two-month rest following their 2-0 extra time win over Sevilla last May to capture the Copa del Rey title.
Barca is coming off a routine 3-1 victory against Celtic Fc, the same team Leicester faced earlier, with the match ending a 1-1 draw.
Superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez graced the contest for head coach Luis Enrique’s side to the delight of the Irish fans. However, it was Turkish captain Arda Turan who scored the opening goal of the match from a pass created by defender Aleix Vidal to give the early lead to the La Liga winners. Though Celtic equalised after a mistake at the back by the Barca defence, it was a mere flash in the pan as Barca scored two more goals to secure a 3-1 victory.
Barcelona will line-up against Leicester in their staple 4-3-3 and fans would hope Messi and Suarez feature for a length of the match.
The probable line-up might be,