How do you improve on a side which swept all before them and won another historic treble? Yet, after conceding nine goals in the last three games for Barcelona, perhaps there is cause for concern for Luis Enrique.
The unstoppable trio of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi scored an astonishing 122 goals between them last season in all competitions, breaking all records. If this front three can produce anything like the form they showed in their treble winning year then surely they could replicate it once more.
Despite having a transfer ban, Barcelona have bought well this summer with the signing of Aleix Vidal for £13million from Sevilla and Arda Turan from Atletico Madrid for £24million, yet both players cannot be registered until January.
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Vidal looks like a smart bit of business from the Catalans, with the Spanish international able to play as an attacking full-back, who can compete with Dani Alves, or play as a conventional winger.
With Pedro expected to leave the Nou Camp, Vidal could take the place of the World Cup winner.
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Turan is again a player who has experience in La Liga and the Champions League. It is expected the Turkey international will play in central midfield, but is also more than capable on the wing, but lacks real pace.
The sale of Gerard Deulofeu to Everton and that of Adama Traore to Aston Villa means two of the brightest academy graduates have been forced to go aboard.
Thomas Vermaelen could act as a new signing for Luis Enrique as the player only managed a few minutes for his new club following an injury plagued season.
Perhaps, with the departure of Pedro and Xavi, Barcelona’s squad appears not to have the depth that it once had a few years ago, especially if Turan and Vidal are not available until January.
What to expect from Barcelona this season
Losing 5-1 on aggregate to Atheltic Bilbao will not immediately ring alarm bells for Luis Enrique, but what should concern the Barca boss is their nine goals they have conceded in the last three games.
In the last campaign Enrique made the Catalan club lethal in attack and stubborn in defence, conceding just 21 goals in the league. Yet throughout preseason they have looked suspiciously open at the back.
It goes without saying that Barcelona’s style of play often leaves them open to counter-attacks, but they dealt with these issues very well last season.
However, who needs a strong defence when you have a front three as good as Neymar, Suarez and Messi. The talented trio seemed to bring the best out of one and other on their way to record breaking season. If Enrique can make sure his attack are still supplied by the midfield then there is no reason why they cannot emulate if not better their efforts this year.
No team has successfully defended the Champions League in its modern format and surely will be something Barcelona will be targeting this year.
Expect to see yet another magical year for Barcelona this year as they face the task of trying to defend all their trophies.
Perhaps we might see the Catalan club struggle until the start of 2016 when Vidal and Turan join the side, until then the squad might be a bit light, yet with players like Sergi Roberto and Munir coming through they are hardly lacking quality.
Their first game will be a rematch of the Spanish Super Cup final against Athletc Bilbao, with Barcelona looking for revenge following their humiliation this week.
Verdict: Semi-finals of Spanish cup, 1st La Liga, Champions League Winners
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