Barcelona 2023/24 La Liga Season Preview | The Hard Tackle

Xavi’s Barcelona will look to defend their league title in the 2023/24 La Liga season and The Hard Tackle assesses the prospects of the Catalan giants.

The rebuild of Barcelona under Xavi Hernandez has started in the best possible way with the Catalan giants winning the 2022/23 La Liga title. While the transition is far from being complete, Barcelona will still be one of the favourites to win the league in the upcoming season.

The Catalan giants are the second most successful team in Spain. They have won the league title 27 times and are only behind Real Madrid. They also have a decent history in Europe having won the Champions League five times.

Over the last ten years, Barcelona have been the most dominant team in La Liga. They have won it five times over the past decade and have finished second on four occasions. Their worst performance in this period was a third-place finish in the 2020/21 season.

They had not won the league title for three seasons in a row before heading into the 2022/23 season. But, they managed to get the job done despite not being favourites for the title. After an impressive outing last time, the Catalan giants are expected to put on a good show this season as they look to defend their title. But, it won’t be easy as other contenders have strengthened themselves with key signings.

The Prelude

The 2022/23 season was a very important one for Xavi as he looked to stamp his authority and prove that he is the right man for the job. The former Barcelona midfielder has managed to help his club win the league title in one of the most difficult periods in their history.

Barcelona have been struggling financially over the past few seasons, and they have lost quite a few of their star players. But, the former Spain international managed to get his idea across to his players and has helped them win their 27th league title.

Despite being in a financial crisis, Barcelona managed to sign the likes of Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen and Marco Alonso in the summer of 2022. These signings strengthened them to the extent that they became one of the favourites for the league title.

Lewandowski gave them the edge in front of the goal, while the likes of Kounde and Christensen helped them establish themselves as the best defence in the league. The Catalan giants only conceded 20 goals throughout the season and their defence was the base for their title run.

They had the second-best attack in the league behind Real Madrid as they found the back of the net on 70 occasions. While they did slip up at certain points in the season, there was no real competition for the top spot. At the end of the day, Barcelona ended up winning the league by ten points.

Squad Update

While the Catalan giants have been in a financial crisis over the past few seasons, they have still managed to sign quite a few talented stars over the past few windows. Something similar was expected in the summer of 2023, and that is exactly what they have done. However, this time out, the departures have left a huge void that might take a while to fill.

Major Departures

Sergio Busquets
Jordi Alba

Two of Barcelona’s legends have left the club, two players who were part of the ultimate Barcelona outfit that dominated world football. The absence of Busquets and Alba will surely be felt, but it was time for the duo to move on and allow young blood to take over.

While Barcelona have already found a replacement for their veteran full-back Alba in Alejandro Balde, they will have to work out a way to cope with the absence of arguably the best defensive midfielder of all time. Meanwhile, Franck Kessie has joined Al-Ahli.

Major Arrivals

Ilkay Gundogan
Oriol Romeu

The arrival of former Manchester City skipper Ilkay Gundogan and the former La Masia product Oriol Romeu will help cope with Busquets’s absence. Romeu might not be the most sought-after player in world football but he could be a great short-term fix.

As far as Gundogan is concerned, he has all the experience in the world and can play in multiple positions across the pitch. His versatility will help Xavi, and the 32-year-old midfielder will also be a leader in the dressing room.

With the transfer window still open, there is a real possibility of Ousmane Dembélé leaving the club. And, the money that is raised by his arrival could be used to sign Manchester City full-back João Cancelo. On paper, the Barcelona transfer window seems to be a well-balanced one. But the reality is that Busquets’s absence might have a huge impact on how they perform next season.

Key Fixtures

The defending champions will kick things off in the new season with a fixture against Getafe away from home. While facing Getafe is no big deal it is their first-ever official match post the Busquets-Alba era, and we will get a decent idea of how things will go forward from here on.

Barcelona’s biggest test in the 2023/24 season will come when they face Real Madrid at home in the first El Clasico of the season on Matchday 11 in late October. A month down the line, they will host the second title contender in Atletico Madrid on matchday 15.

These fixtures will give us a fair idea of who is going to be the big dog in La Liga this season. Meanwhile, in March next year, Barcelona will hit the road for the reverse fixture against Atletico Madrid. On Matchday 32, the Catalan giants will travel to the Santiago Bernabéu for the second instalment of El Clasico.

The last matchday of the season is also an away trip, this time to Sevilla, a team that knows how to win big games and if the title race is still open until the final day, this fixture might have a big say in it.

Key Players

Robert Lewandowski

The Polish international was one of Barcelona’s best players last season, and he will once again be important to their run in the league. The 34-year-old forward who joined them last summer managed to outscore every other striker in the league.

Lewandowski ended up scoring 23 goals and also bagged seven assists in his 34 outings. He was on fire and was one of the reasons for their dominance. The former Bayern Munich forward will once again be the main man in attack for Xavi’s team and his performances might decide the faith of the team.

Ilkay Gundogan

After leading Manchester City to the treble, Gundogan decided to try out a new challenge and joined Barcelona on a free transfer. The former Manchester City skipper has all the experience in the world and he has a huge task on his hands. He needs to help the Catalan giants cope with the absence of Sergio Busquets.

The German international was on fire last season, he featured in a total of 51 matches and was on the pitch for close to 3,900 minutes. He ended up scoring 11 goals and also bagged seven assists. His goal contributions were an added bonus alongside his exceptional ball distribution skills. The 32-year-old is expected to have a similar role at Barcelona and he will also have the responsibility to guide some exciting young talent.

Season Expectations

Barcelona managed to win the league last time out. But whether they can repeat their heroics from last season is a question on everyone’s minds. Xavi’s team have the quality in their ranks to do so, but they have a tough test ahead of them in Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

The Catalan giants have a well-balanced squad. Their defence was exceptional last season, and similar things are expected from them this term. Their only concern at this point in time is the right-back slot, and they are working to sort it out by signing Joao Cancelo.

They have an all-bases-covered midfield. Having said that they will still miss their legend, Sergio Busquets. In attack, Robert Lewandowski will be the key. If he can replicate his heroics from last season, they might end up defending their title. But, given the kind of reinforcement that Real Madrid have made, the Catalan giants might end up being second-best at the end of the day.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.