Barcelona start the new campaign as favourites to defend their Spanish title but they’ll be desperate for greater success in Europe this time around. Read on for our Barcelona season preview for 2019-20.
Last Season – 1st
Scarcely has a club won a Spanish league title and had to deal with the kind of criticism that was thrown at Barça last season. They defended their domestic crown at a canter, losing only three times to seal back-to-back league wins under Ernesto Valverde. However as was the case in his first season, it was ultimately one that was largely defined by a desperate performance away from home in Europe as the Catalan giants again spurned a huge 1st Leg advantage to exit the Champions League at Anfield. A Copa del Rey Final defeat to Valencia ensured their season ended on an even sourer note but Valverde lives on and will be gunning for a third straight league crown this time around.
Barcelona Transfers ahead of 2019/20
Antoine Griezmann – €120m from Atletico Madrid
Frenkie de Jong – €75m from Ajax
Neto – €26m from Valencia
Jasper Cillessen – €35m to Valencia
André Gomes – €25m to Everton
Paco Alcácer – €21m to Borussia Dortmund
Denis Suárez – €12.9m to Celta Vigo
Emerson – €6m to Real Betis
Marc Cardona – €2.5m to Osasuna
Marc Cucurella – LOAN to Getafe
Thomas Vermaelen – RELEASED
Douglas – RELEASED
(Transfers up to 23rd July 2019)
Coach – Ernesto Valverde
Ernesto Valverde’s record in La Liga as Barcelona coach is a fantastic one although he is yet to really come up against a consistently firing Real Madrid side. His European record clearly is a different matter and his style of play has also come in for fierce criticism from elements of the Barcelona fan-base. Three years tends to be the limit for many coaches at Barcelona so this may well be his final campaign in charge and it’s one that should set the record straight one way or another on whether his time at the club will be looked back on as a success.
Possible Barcelona Team Next Season
Barcelona have made two major additions this summer with potentially one more very big one still to come. However regardless of whether they ultimately do end up bringing Neymar back to Camp Nou, Barcelona will still start next season with one of the most settled elevens in La Liga.
The effective swap-deal with Valencia for Neto ensures they will have a new back-up goalkeeper this season but Marc-André ter Stegen will be the number one again in the league and Champions League. The preferred back four is also likely to be the same as last term with Nélson Semedo and Sergi Roberto expected to battle it out for the right-back role again despite interest in the former.
It’s likely to be 4-3-3 again although any move for Neymar could result in a change in formation to fit Barça’s wealth of attacking talents. Assuming it is a three-man central midfield, Sergio Busquets is still likely to be the undisputed first-choice holding midfielder although scarcely during his career has his worth to the team been under greater scrutiny. Alongside him the likes of Arthur, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, will be battling with new-boy Frenkie de Jong and emerging local talents such as Carles Aleñá for game-time.
Up front, it remains to be seen exactly how Antoine Griezmann will fit in at Barcelona. Initially he’s likely to take over on the left flank ahead of the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, neither of whom made the position their own last term. However, again the addition of Neymar (the Spanish & French transfer windows are open until the end of August) could change everything and may also spell the beginning of the end for Luis Suarez’s Barcelona career.
Key Man – Leo Messi
Lionel Messi has the…
MOST goals for Barcelona
MOST goals all-time in Europe’s top 5 leagues
MOST assists in La Liga
MOST goals in a calendar year
MOST goals ever in a club season
MOST goals in El Clasico
MOST consecutive league matches scored in
MOST European Golden Shoes pic.twitter.com/my0ZS4Q6G3
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 24, 2019
Leo Messi is still clearly Barcelona and indeed La Liga’s star attraction. He showed no sign of slowing down last term and even at the age of 32 he is likely to be the class act in the Spanish top flight again this season. Barcelona have been criticised for being too reliant on their talisman though and Valverde will be hoping the additions of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong will take some of the burden off the Argentine.
One to Watch – Carles Aleñá
The number of players progressing from La Masia into the first team has dried up in recent years. However there are a few promising youngsters emerging now. Riqui Puig is seen as a bit of a prodigy who could go onto be the latest ball-playing midfielder to make the grade at Camp Nou. By contrast, Carles Aleñá has been allowed to develop under less of a spotlight but he put in a few assured performances last term, making six starts in La Liga and he’ll be hoping to kick on and compete for more regular football in 2019-20 in what could be a make or break season for the 21 year old.
Barcelona 2019-2020 Targets
A third straight title and fifth in six years will certainly be the target in Spain and Ernesto Valverde’s side will start the season as the clear favourites to win La Liga again. However Barcelona are a club that is increasingly desperate to win the Champions League and European glory will again be the ultimate goal this season.
Keep an eye on our Spanish football predictions page for match previews once the new season gets going with Barca’s trip to Athletic on Friday 14th August 2019.
Barcelona season preview via Mark Sochon
Contact: marksochon(at)hotmail.co.uk | @marksoc1 on Twitter