Barcelona have once again conquered La Liga, with the Catalan giants managing to win their 27th top-flight title.
Barcelona have managed to clinch their first La Liga title since 2019 with a 4-2 victory over local rivals Espanyol. Xavi Hernandez has managed to get it done in his first full season at the club. The win secured Barcelona’s 27th La Liga title, placing them eight championships behind their rivals, Real Madrid.
Despite their domestic success, Barcelona have faced financial challenges, with the club having to make significant adjustments to manage their hefty wage bill. The Catalan giants’ season has been a mix of highs and lows.
While they claimed the league title, they experienced disappointments in the Champions League, exiting at the group stage, and the Europa League, where they were eliminated by Manchester United.
Off the field, the club is undergoing a significant restructuring, as director of football Mateu Alemany is set to leave the club, potentially joining Aston Villa in a senior football position. Additionally, there are uncertainties surrounding the future of sporting director Jordi Cruyff, whose contract expires in the summer.
LA LIGA CHAMP🏆ONS! pic.twitter.com/enrozFf9gs
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 14, 2023
Barcelona also face the departure of midfielder Sergio Busquets, who confirmed that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season when his contract expires. While there might be a lot going on in the background, Xavi has surely managed to start in the best possible fashion by winning the league.
They might be struggling financially, but on the pitch, they have managed to put in some great performances. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at how the Catalan giants have managed to climb back to the top.
The return of Xavi
Xavi has now won LaLiga as a Barcelona player and manager 🙌
Legend 🤩 pic.twitter.com/EaZ0ik9G6q
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 14, 2023
The former Spain international returned to Barcelona as their new manager in November 2021. With the Catalan giants struggling, Xavi decided to take charge of the club where he had previously won eight league titles as a player. The 43-year-old started off slowly but picked up the pace eventually. The former Barcelona midfielder has guided his team to much-needed success in his first full season in charge.
Xavi’s appointment as the manager of FC Barcelona has brought about a remarkable transformation in the team’s performance. In just over a year, Barcelona have managed to overcome their previous struggles and establish themselves as a dominant force in La Liga.
They have overpowered Real Madrid in the league. Under Xavi’s guidance, Barcelona have showcased significant improvements, both offensively and defensively. The team’s attacking prowess has been revitalised, while their defensive solidity has greatly improved. This has resulted in a remarkable shift in their goal difference, with Barcelona now boasting one of the strongest defences in Europe.
Xavi’s impact on the team’s results and their overall image has been undeniable. His leadership has instilled a renewed sense of confidence and motivation within the squad, driving them to achieve remarkable progress within a relatively short period. Barcelona’s resurgence under Xavi’s management has brought about an exciting era for the club and their fans.
A rock-solid defence and ter Stegen’s resurgence
Most Clean Sheets in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues:
🥇 Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 25
🥈 Ivan Provedel – 19
🥉 David De Gea – 16
Safe hands. 🛑 pic.twitter.com/8Hp6GX7ye0
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 15, 2023
Barcelona’s solid defensive performances have played a crucial role in their successful campaign where they have managed to secure the La Liga 2022/23 title. Throughout the season, they have exhibited exceptional defensive organisation and discipline, resulting in the team conceding a mere 13 goals in their 34 matches. This outstanding defensive record is the best in the league, with the closest contender being Atletico Madrid, who have conceded 27 goals.
The defensive partnership formed by Andreas Christensen, who joined the club prior to the start of the season, and Ronald Araujo has been a key factor in Barcelona’s defensive stability. Their understanding and coordination on the pitch have been outstanding, providing a solid foundation at the heart of the defence.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Balde has been exceptional in the left-back position, consistently showcasing his defensive prowess and contributing to the team’s overall defensive strength. And, Jules Kounde’s adaptability as a right-sided full-back has brought further stability to the backline, solidifying Barcelona’s defensive capabilities.
While their defence has been praised by pundits across the globe, very little credit has been given to their goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen who has experienced a resurgent season. He has been in exceptional form, making crucial saves and commanding his penalty area with authority.
Ter Stegen’s shot-stopping abilities and distribution skills have provided Barcelona with a reliable last line of defence, instilling confidence in the team and allowing them to maintain their defensive solidity throughout the season.
The combination of a formidable defensive partnership, standout performances from full-backs Balde and Kounde, and the resurgence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal has significantly contributed to Barcelona’s defensive prowess. Their ability to limit opposition goalscoring opportunities has been a crucial factor in their La Liga triumph.
The arrival of Robert Lewan’GOAL’ski
Robert Lewandowski is the first Barcelona player to score 30+ goals across all competitions in his debut season since Ronaldo in 1996/97.
R9 🤝 RL9 pic.twitter.com/AruWoM4U35
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 14, 2023
The Polish international joined Barcelona ahead of the ongoing season. His arrival has had a transformative effect on Barcelona. The arrival of a player of Lewandowski’s stature was important, especially during the post-Messi era.
Lionel Messi’s departure left a massive void. They lacked leadership on the pitch. However, Lewandowski’s arrival injected a new sense of energy and confidence into the team. His prolific goalscoring abilities and winning mentality have played a major role in the revival of Barcelona.
Lewandowski’s impact on the team has been immense. His goalscoring record speaks for itself, the 34-year-old has scored 21 goals and has six assists to his name in his 30 outings in the league.
Beyond his goals, Lewandowski’s experience and leadership have helped guide the team during a difficult period. His presence has brought a renewed belief and ambition to the club, helping them navigate through the post-Messi era and establish themselves as title contenders once again.
Early Exit from Europe
In normal circumstances, a Barcelona outfit is seen fighting for the La Liga and the Champions League title till the very end. However, they received major setbacks early in the UCL as well as the Europa League in the ongoing season.
However, it seems Barcelona’s early exit from European competitions, inadvertently turned out to be a blessing in disguise for their La Liga title pursuit. With no further European commitments to distract them, they could shift their entire focus and resources towards the domestic league.
The absence of midweek European fixtures provided Barcelona with additional time for rest, recovery, and tactical preparation. Their early European exits served as motivation for the players to prove themselves domestically, driving them to showcase their best performances and make a strong statement in the league.
Ultimately, Barcelona’s early European exit played a part in their successful La Liga campaign by providing them with advantageous conditions and a renewed determination to excel domestically.
El Capitano at his best: Sergio Busquets
Sergio Busquets leaves Barcelona, it’s official. 🔵🔴👋🏻 #Busquets
Legend of the club after 18 years and…
🏆 3x Champions League
🏆 3x FIFA Club World Cup
🏆 8x La Liga
🏆 3x UEFA Super Cup
🏆 7x Copa Del Rey
🏆 7x Spanish Super Cup
Next chapter, expected to be Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/hn9RTFQ0i8
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 10, 2023
Barcelona’s resurgence in defence has played a significant role in allowing Sergio Busquets to excel in his final season at the club. With the team’s defensive solidity restored, Busquets has been able to focus on his traditional role of anchoring the midfield and providing defensive stability.
He has been given the freedom to showcase his exceptional positional awareness, intelligent interceptions, and precise passing. With a rock-solid defence behind him, the Barcelona skipper no longer needs to constantly chase opponents and cover vast areas of the pitch. Instead, he can concentrate on his primary responsibilities, cutting passing lanes, reading the game, and initiating attacks with his accurate distribution.
As Busquets approaches the end of his career at Barcelona, the impressive defensive performances have provided the perfect platform for him to excel, showcasing his exceptional skills and contributing to the team’s overall success in his final season at the club. The Catalan giants’ triumph in La Liga marks a promising new chapter under Xavi’s leadership and sets the stage for a hopeful future.