Barcelona Season 2018/2019 Review | From Anfield With Love

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2019/2020 La Liga season is about to start and we’re just in time to bring you our take on the Barcelona season review for 2018/2019. It was a spectacular one, both internationally and domestically, that’s for sure. Even though Barcelona hoped to achieve international glory, their overall season performance was still pretty solid. After all, they won the Spanish La Liga, the top tier domestic competition, the eternal battlefront between Los Blancos and Blaugrana. The thing is, fans of the Catalonian giants expect much more from their favorite side… and it seems as though their expectations weren’t fulfilled.

No worries, this article won’t be focusing on the never-ending rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Nope! This is basically a comprehensive Barcelona season review in which we’ll go through their domestic and international matches, key players, biggest downsides and general pros and cons. We’ll wrap things up with their summer transfer windows signings as well as their chances of snatching silverware in the upcoming 2019/2020 season.

And remember you can take a look at the odds in any of our top soccer betting sites.

Barcelona Season Review

Making this Barcelona season review was a lot more difficult than I initially thought. After all, how do you evaluate a team’s season when there was only one crucial match that really mattered in the grand scheme of things?

Yep, that’s exactly the problem with this Barcelona season review. Even though Messi and the boys conquered La Liga with ease (second title in a row, fourth in last five seasons), and almost went all the way in Copa Del Rey, their Champions League heartbreak painted their season in black.

Let’s talk about that!

Barcelona in Champions League

Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, and PSV… these three teams were Barcelona’s group stage opponents. Right off the bat, it needs to be said that Barcelona’s playoffs qualifications were never really in question. They kicked things off with a proper high, beating PSV 4-0 in their first Champions League group stage match at Camp Nou. That triumph was followed by two additional wins against Tottenham and Inter, claiming 9 points with 10-2 goal difference.

It’s safe to say the Catalonian giants were cruising through the group stage. Even though they drew against Inter in the fourth fixture, their group stage was pretty much done the very next match in which they scalped PSV away from home. Fast forward two weeks and they made a slip up against Tottenham (the match finished 1-1) which pushed the London-based side to the playoffs and all the way to the grand finals.

Lyon and Manchester United, although in prolific form at the time, were no match for the Catalonian machinery. Barcelona swept past these two with just a single conceded goal across all four matches. In contrast, Barcelona scored 9 and went on to the semifinals match against Liverpool booming with confidence. And that confidence was clearly visible in the first leg at Camp Nou, where Barcelona smashed Liverpool 3-0 and seemed to be cruising to Madrid. The end result could’ve been much bigger but tired legs coupled with a pinch of complacency took the better of Barcelona’s young talents. Little did they know those careless attempts near the game’s end would end up costing them the trip to Wanda Metropolitano.

And that’s exactly what happened just six days after their Camp Nou clash. Liverpool managed to get those three goals back and finish things off with a fourth to escort Valverde and Messi out of the competition. Oh, what a heartbreak it was. Worst of all, it’s basically a rerun of what happened a year before when Roma also made a marvelous comeback.

Yep, even though Barcelona displayed an incredible level of consistency throughout the season, that magical Anfield night left them in agony…

Barcelona in La Liga

Barcelona is the most dominant La Liga side in recent years. And I’m not even exaggerating here. The Blaugrana won eight out of the last eleven La Liga titles, justifying their position as the best Spanish team at the moment. I know, I know, I just angered a whole bunch of Real Madrid fans with that…

Oh, you guys will hate me even more in just a few moments:

You see, Real Madrid’s last season was absolutely atrocious in every way. The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has taken its toll and Los Blancos haven’t looked well ever since. In other words, Real Madrid was nowhere near a solid contender for the title last year. Barcelona was playing a level above everyone else.

36 goals for Lionel Messi were enough to snatch the flattering best goal scorer title too. That’s just the icing on the cake of what was a splendid domestic league run. Valverde’s side ended the season with eleven points ahead of the runners-up, Atletico Madrid, but that number could’ve been much greater if B Barcelona kept playing at full pace during the last few rounds.

Key Players

Obviously, Lionel Messi was out there with another spectacular season. The 32-year-old GOAT scored 51 goals and snatched 22 assists in 50 games across three competitions. We’re talking about La Liga, Champions League, Copa del Rey, and Supercopa. Messi’s 2018/2019 stats are even better than his 2017/2018 ones, where he scored 35 goals and added 18 assists across 54 games. Yup, that just goes to show you age can’t phase the GOATs, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi.

Alongside the Argentinian magician, there are several other notable names that made Barcelona’s domestic adventures an effortless journey. Most notably, on the attacking end, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele are the stand out names. Suarez acquired 21 goals and 6 assists with roughly the same playtime as Leo Messi. Dembele, the 22-year-old French prodigy, snatched 8 goals and five assists. However, his playtime is roughly half of what Suarez and Messi have.

Even though the fans don’t seem that appreciative of him, Ivan Rakitic’s constantly exceptional performances have to be pointed out here. In fact, I’d say this is the first season Raketa had a better overall performance than his fellow Croat, Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. Even though I’d love to mention Coutinho here as well, I just don’t think he’s fully settled yet and the last season showed his set of weaknesses.

Biggest Flops

Usually, this part of our Barcelona season review talks about the worst players. However, that’s not really an easy task as far as Barcelona is concerned. Sure, there were a few individuals who perhaps didn’t play up to their standards all the time, but it’s still nothing worth being pointed out.

Instead, what I’d like to emphasize as Barcelona’s biggest flops last season are two crucial matches they ended up losing. Champions League semifinals against Liverpool and Copa Del Rey grand finals against Valencia. Realistically speaking, both of these matches carried trophies alongside them, bringing the overall Barcelona season review even further down.

When Barca played well last season, every single one of their players was playing at their maximum. When they were playing poorly, and those two matches are perfect examples, not a single soul was playing well. Not even Messi…

Pros and Cons

  • Brilliant midfield and attacking talents dominating domestic competitions
  • Lots of young prospects looking for their place in the starting eleven
  • Messi still effortlessly dominating the opposition
  • Lack of defensive-minded backups
  • That night in Liverpool…

Barcelona Transfer News

This part of our Barcelona season review will discuss everything related to the Catalonian Giant’s summer transfers. Looking at the arrivals and departures charts, it’s clearly visible Valverde appreciates quality over quantity. Quality that ought to bring some silverware to his team in the upcoming season.

Done Deals

Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann are the biggest signings for Barcelona in this transfer window. The prolific attack-minded Frenchmen set Barcelona back for close to $135m but with his intricate set of skills, I’m sure Valverde’s side made a good investment here. Even though Suarez still seems to be the superior traditional striker with more goals and shots per game, Griezmann can play in several positions and has actually been among the best midfielders in La Liga as far as attack-minded passing stats go. That said, it would be interesting to see what sort of balance can he bring in the attacking third, connecting Barca’s creative midfield passage of plays to their clinical, pacey strikers.

As far as creativity goes, there’s no doubt Frenkie de Jong, one of Europe’s hottest prospects this summer, brings forth a ton of it. We’re talking about a player who likes having the possession, play with the ball and not force mindless balls forward.

One of de Jong’s biggest virtues is his passing game, although that might not be the prevalent virtue required for the job. You see, de Jong is brilliant on the ball too. He can dribble, change directions in an instance and create a havoc in the midfield lines, leaving teammates open on the flanks. His unique skill set, both defensive and attack-minded traits, make him the perfect long-term replacement for aging Sergio Busquets.

Unfortunately, Barcelona couldn’t sign a potent left-back to step in for Jordi Alba in less important matches. Sure, Cucurella is a promising left-back but he lacks the experience and first-team qualities needed to get in Barcelona’s starting eleven. Junior Firpo seems a bit more promising solution, but still nowhere near Alba’s brilliance.

Potential Moves

Needless to say, the biggest potential move that could happen in the winter transfer window revolves around Neymar. As you all probably know by now, the restless Brazilian went out of his way to express his desire to leave the French side, PSG. Even though the club seemed ready to sell the 27-year-old Brazilian, in the end, they just couldn’t find a suitable destination for their golden egg.

As far as Barcelona is concerned, I really can’t see Neymar fitting into their current lineup. Just like Arsenal, this Catalonian squad is tightly packed as far as the attacking third is concerned. Their Messi-centric attack and midfield can’t fit Neymar without disrupting the playtimes of their current and newly signed attacking forces. We’re talking Dembele, Suarez, Griezmann – one of these three players would have to make way for Neymar and with all that off-pitch fuss the Brazilian has been creating recently, I really doubt Valverde is willing to jeopardize his team’s cohesion and spending way too much money for his (seemingly unneeded) services.

Barcelona to Win a Trophy Next Season Early Predictions

Here comes the final part of this Barcelona Season Review. The part in which we are going to talk about Barcelona’s chances of snatching proper silverware this season. Proper silverware means we won’t be counting offseason competitions, super cups and that sort of stuff; only all-season-long events, both international and domestic.

So, let’s dive right on in!

For starters, Barcelona is still the main favorite for taking the Spanish La Liga. Even though Real Madrid brought a fair share of aces this summer, including Eden Hazard who’s dubbed as one of the best wingers at the moment, their rough strain of performances don’t breathe much hope in the upcoming season. Especially that harrowing 7-3 defeat against their fierce rivals, Atletico Madrid.

  • That said, I reckon the front runners for La Liga will be Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, with the latter being by far the strongest contestant. Despite thin defensive lines, and I’m not referring to the starting four but their thin array of backups, Barcelona’s midfield, and attack are looking superb. There’s creativity all across the board, nicely poised with pace, dribbling skills and that good old clinical touch in the six-yard box courtesy of Suarez and Griezmann.
  • And I expect Barcelona to take the La Liga title without too many issues. Heck, if they manage to patch up their second line of defense, they might get a good crack in the Copa Del Rey too. Without risking overwhelming fatigue, of course.

As far as the Champions League is concerned, Barcelona seems to be the most complete team on the European stage. Arguably, the situation was the same last time out too, but it was that dreadful night at Anfield that put a stop to Barcelona’s international title aspirations. For the joy of competitive spirit, I’d love to see Barcelona and Liverpool go at it in the 2020 Champions League grand finals. It would be a spectacular match, but one that should go in Barcelona’s favor this time around.

When it comes to betting odds, Barcelona to take the tremble at +1000 seems like a great option. With a solid winter transfer period coupled together with an injury-free season, this Barcelona roster definitely has the treble potential.

Barcelona to win La Liga, Copa Del Rey & Champions League at +1000

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