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La Liga 2018/19: 5 reasons Barcelona should win La Liga again

The new La Liga season is a few days away and the anticipation is slowly building. What a difference a year makes, huh? Last year around this time, Barcelona were supposedly in a turmoil having being beaten comprehensively by Real Madrid in the Supercup. In the subsequent months, though, Barcelona played as a unit while Real Madrid just couldn’t keep up.

This season, the tables seem to have turned. Barcelona are being seen as the favourites to retain their crown as Real Madrid are under a new manager and will be without their best player.

Here’s a look five reasons why Barcelona will retain their league title…

#1 Depth

Valverde’s ‘strongest’ XI for the season. [md] pic.twitter.com/BqalXHixRk

— Barça Centre (@barcacentre) August 17, 2018

Although they have sold the likes of Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, loaned out Andre Gomes and let Andres Iniesta leave, Barcelona have added a few quality additions this summer. Arturo Vidal’s addition in midfield will add more work rate and his late runs will offer the goal threat. Mina might have left but Clement Lenglet’s arrival means Pique and Umtiti can’t rest on their laurels.

There was a lot of pressure on Messi, Suarez and Coutinho last season and the addition of Malcom and Arthur will add more depth and something different on the wings. There’s also a certain Ousmane Dembele who just lifted the World Cup with France and has looked good in preseason.

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#2 Valverde’s pragmatism

[AS] | Valverde and the return to old formation.
 
The Barça coach has used the 4-3-3 formation in all the five games this summer. pic.twitter.com/XRsiCNKwwM

— BarcaTimes (@BarcaTimes) August 16, 2018

Barcelona, despite their impressive run of results last season, were under transition because Valverde is a pretty pragmatic coach. There were games against Athletic Bilbao and Valencia where the opposition threatened to beat the Barca defence, but somehow, the Catalans managed to dig deep.

 

This season, the fans will want to see more assertive performances in the league and subsequent in the Champions League as well where Barcelona slipped against Roma last season. If the team can replicate the solid defending of last season and control games at the same time, this Barca team will be hard to stop.

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#3 The absence of a certain opponent

| Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (Spanish Super Cup)

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Having started on the bench, Cristiano Ronaldo was introduced in the 58th minute and did this.. Two minutes later he was sent off. pic.twitter.com/Joc3KEj5S0

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@CRonaldoNews) August 14, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo, ladies and gentlemen. You take Messi out of this Barcelona team, and they might not have the same attacking authority. Madrid are pretty much the same without Ronaldo. For nearly a decade he was a thorn in the Barca flesh as his goal-scoring often stood between Barcelona and a couple more league titles.

 

Real Madrid will find it hard to replace the sheer goal-scoring machine that Ronaldo was, something Barcelona themselves experienced in the early days of Neymar’s departure.

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#4 Coutinho’s first full season

Barça in control against Boca and 2-0 up thanks to goals from Malcom and #Messi. What a third this would have been from @Phil_Coutinho! #GamperBarça pic.twitter.com/qy47wX4Gp3

— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 15, 2018

The third most expensive player in the world now has half a season under his belt and he’ll be itching to make an impact. Comparisons have been made with Andres Iniesta already and frankly speaking, Coutinho should be allowed a bit of leeway as Iniesta is a once in a generation talent. Having said that, Coutinho has his own set of abilities.

The Brazilian is equally adept with the ball at his feet and his little shimmies often get the better of opponents. His passing in the final third is impressive as well as he was often the player Klopp’s Liverpool relied on to unlock defences.

 

Apart from what I’ve already said, Coutinho sure knows how to find the back of the net from the edge of the box. His long-range curlers will make even the most professional of FIFA players drool on the joystick and the ‘keepers better watch out for little Phil’s curlers this season.

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#5 Balanced squad

Messi 'This year we have a great squad unlike previous seasons.
Last year we threw the opportunity to win the Champions League. We will do everything possible so that this beautiful Cup comes to the Camp Nou this year.'pic.twitter.com/zNrZQReggN

— Barcelona Worldwide (@BarcaWorldwide) August 15, 2018

When you compare this team to Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, the sides who are expected to challenge the Blaugrana for the league title, the Barcelona squad is perhaps the best balanced squad.

Julen Lopetegui still needs to figure out what his attacking setup will be and the future of Luka Modric is still up in the air. Atletico, on the other hand, have signed a lot of attacking talents but look a bit short in midfield.

 

Midfield compactness has always been the cornerstone of Simeone’s success, and despite the likes of Lemar, Martins and Griezmann, if they can’t manage the rigidity, they could look a lot more open.

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