34 points from their opening 14 games see Barcelona atop the Primera Division standings heading into the final days of the year. With their Club World Cup exertions later this month to take care of, Barca will be safe in the knowledge they will still be in the proximity of the Liga summit when they come back from Japan. Luis Enrique’s side have once again set themselves up for a title charge.
Here are five reasons why Barca will win the league title this season.
1. A CONFIDENT BUNCH
Gerard Pique is clearly the mouthpiece of the whole Barca squad. Aside from the more formal press conferences of manager Luis Enrique, Pique is the vocal leader of the side on and off the pitch. Pique isn’t one of Barca’s four captains, but his influence on the side is significant. From his social media banters to antics on the pitch, Pique’s character is symbolic of the confidence the club exudes on the pitch.
After last weekend’s draw at Valencia, Pique said: “I have the same feeling as last year after playing against Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan. It’s a shame that we drew but I am convinced that we will win the league again.”
That Pique is so forthright regarding Barca’s chances of winning the league is commendable at this stage, with barely a third of the season having been played. Pique’s words seemingly are a reflection of the general air at the club, and such positive confidence could only lead to more success for the club.
2. UNPARALLELED ATTACKING TOOLS
One of the more significant developments at Barca since last season has been the well-regarded trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. The trident, popularly known as MSN, is arguably the best attacking partnership in world football at the moment, and much of what Barca produce on match days in an attacking capacity come through the trident.
With both Messi and Neymar now officially among the world’s top three players, and Suarez not too far off, Barca’s attacking tools are a cut above the competition, and a vital advantage over the rest of Spain.
3. A WEAK CHASING PACK
There is a case for this season’s Liga title race of being a damp squib somewhat. Barca exposed Real Madrid’s frailties in the Clasico last month, which is the biggest pointer yet of how Barca’s domestic opponents measure themselves against the Blaugrana. Atletico Madrid, who won the title two seasons ago, are stringing together a solid run of wins of late, but seem to be a notch behind Barca. Los Colchoneros might find it difficult to sustain their title challenge owing to European commitments.
The biggest advantage for Barca in the title race is they have already won at Atletico and Real Madrid. Considering the fact head-to-head records are of more significance in the Liga title race, Barca have already stolen a march on their title rivals. Rafael Benitez’s Real Madrid are yet to convince, while Diego Simeone’s Atletico can be found wanting on a big day.
And given the state of the other clubs, Barca clearly have the edge.
4. FRESH, HUNGRY SIGNINGS
Not many clubs find themselves in the situation Barca are currently in. After the summer transfer window non-event that prohibited the club from registering new players at the start of the season, the new year brings forth some welcome changes at the club. Clubs who had their business done in summer have little room for manoeuvre in the winter transfer window. In contrast, Barca will have a whole host of possibilities with regards to their personnel and playing style come the new year.
The club have drawn up recruitment plans from the winter market, and aside from that, the fact both Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will come into the side fully familiar with the surroundings and acquainted with their team-mates gives a newer dimension to Barca’s second half of the season.
Both Turan and Vidal have been training while they remain ineligible to play competitively, which has in turn already provided Luis Enrique with quite a few new tweaks to his system.
5. SUCCESS BREEDS MORE SUCCESS
The cliched “success breeds more success” can easily be applied to a team as successful as the current Barca side. Right from the treble last season to laying huge claims on the individual honours, Barca have dominated club football this calendar year. Aside from the Spanish Super Cup loss to Athletic Club, Barca have swept everything before them, and are also on the verge of making a clean sweep of the individual accolades in the Ballon d’Or.
Messi and Neymar have made it among the three finalists for the Ballon d’Or, while Luis Enrique is also in the reckoning for the Coach of the Year award. Those achievements and nominations clearly show why Barca have been the success story this year, which could translate into more success in the coming year.
With the club currently leading the league standings despite what many perceived a stuttering start to the season makes a strong case for a sustained period of Barca dominance domestically, and their fourth Liga title in six years.