After an emphatic and historic treble last campaign, Barcelona were brought back down to earth with a resounding 5-1 aggregate loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup. In the first leg at San Mames, Luis Enrique and his team were demolished by Aduriz and co by four goals to nil.
The defending was comical, their midfield play was poor and going forward the side was virtually non-existent. It became blatantly obvious that Barcelona have some serious problems ahead of the new season.
Luis Enrique took a big risk by starting with Adriano, Vermaelen, Bartra, Sergi Roberto and Rafinha in Bilbao. The decision backfired horribly as the Basque side dominated proceedings throughout, showing more fight, more desire and physically dominated all over the pitch.
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The defending was so poor, that we probably wont see the Barta/Vermaelen partnership ever again. They may have one of the best starting eleven in world football but the squad simply isn't strong enough.
Sergi Roberto will never be good enough for Barcelona, Rafinha has good potential but isn't ready yet and the youth system just isn't producing the youngsters of the quality we have been used to in recent years.
With Pedro now at Chelsea, the squad looks incredibly thin for one of the biggest clubs in European football. If Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta, Rakitic or Busquets were to be injured for a prolonged period of time, they only have Sandro Ramirez, Munir, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha and untested academy graduates to step in.
They have made signings, bringing in Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan from Sevilla and Atletico Madrid respectfully. However, due to the club's transfer ban, they won't be able to play until January 2016.
Turan will, most likely, be asked to play in a central position, providing cover for Iniesta and Rakitic whilst Vidal can play at right back or as a right winger. These two will undoubtably add to the depth and quality of the squad, but is it enough?
If Barcelona can avoid injuries to their important players and get back to the level of last season, they'll still be the team to beat. Indeed, with Lionel Messi in the team, anything is possible.
However, if they sustain a few injuries to key players, their chances of repeating last year's successes could decrease dramatically.
Will Barcelona win La Liga again? Let us know below!
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