3 reasons why Barcelona will retain the La Liga title
Barcelona regained the La Liga title last season after Real Madrid briefly took it away from them for only the second time in a decade. The Catalans have issues in their squad to deal with, but they have Lionel Messi and a manager who understands the demands of the league well in Ernesto Valverde.
They are well positioned to hold on to the title due to a number of reasons related to themselves and their main opponent Real Madrid who are undergoing some major changes ahead of the new season. Therefore, here are three reasons why Barca are likely to be league champions once again next season.
#3 Last season's signings are settled
Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona last season in the summer and January transfer windows respectively. They both showed signs of promise, but neither had a full season to prove themselves for different reasons. However, they had plenty of opportunities in the first-team last season as well as the upcoming pre-season to properly adjust to the club.
Both players were high profile signings for the club with significant transfer fees required to pry them away from their former clubs. They are at different stages of their careers because Dembele is still a hugely talented prospect while Coutinho is a key player for his club and national team after plying his trade in the Premier League with Liverpool.
The Brazilian midfielder will have the tough task of replacing the legendary figure of Andres Iniesta. He was able to learn directly from him for the second half of last season. His goalscoring prowess showed that he will bring a slightly different skill set to the team which is more direct in the final third.
Iniesta was adept at keeping play moving and working between the opposition lines, but often created the initial opening rather than scoring or assisting. However, he did score crucial goals throughout his career such as the winner against Chelsea in the 2008/09 Champions League semi-finals. Coutinho is much more of a distance shooting threat but also possesses the vision and technique to break down opposition low blocks.
Dembele is another decisive player in the final third, although he will be significantly less involved than Coutinho in the build-up and defensive work. He acts as the wide threat which ensures that the opposition can't congest the central areas because they risk leaving a full-back exposed in a 1v1 against him. The French winger will be crucial in breaking down stubborn opposition defences as well as providing a quick transition option if needed.
They add to a potent attack which already contains Messi and Luis Suarez. Therefore, Barcelona have the attacking tools to be a real threat next season while also providing Valverde with the option to revert back to a 4-3-3 formation.