The 4-0 defeat that Luis Enrique’s men suffered last weekend against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup could serve as a wake up call for Barcelona as they look to defend their Spanish La Liga title. With the season set to kick off this weekend, the Catalans will be looking to ward off the challenge from clubs like Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid as they hope to repeat their heroics from last season.
A wake up call was dished out to Barcelona by Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup as they were thrashed 4-0 in the first leg and 5-1 on aggregate. But the defeat could serve as a wake-up call for Barcelona as they seem complacent coming back after their summer break.
While Barcelona got the better of the two clubs from Madrid last season, Real Madrid seem to be ‘hungry’ for success after appointing Rafa Benitez as the manager this summer. The Spaniard hinted that there could be a drastic change in their style of play after taking over the reins from Carlo Ancelotti.
Yes, we can expect to see Gareth Bale as the main man at Real Madrid and the team could be shaped according to his positioning and movement. But where does that leave superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who is hardly used to being left in the shadows?
As far as Atletico Madrid are concerned, they have spent more than the big two in the transfer market. With Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto added to the squad, Atletico will prove to be a more diverse and threatening outfit as compared to last season. In Angel Correa and Oliver Torres, they have the creativity that they sorely missed in their title defence last season.
But do the two clubs from Madrid possess enough fire-power to dethrone Barcelona this season?
Barcelona won the treble last season due to the presence of an incredible attacking trio. Neymar collaborated flawlessly with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, completing the South American trio. With the genius of these three players, Luis Enrique will not have to worry about scoring goals this season. It is his defence which is likely to be a source of constant discomfort.
Aritz Aduriz’s goal at the Camp Nou was an example of how Barcelona have a tendency to concede unwarranted goals. Jeremy Mathieu lost a header, saw the second ball breaking to Aduriz, and after shaping to chase him, he decided otherwise. Mascherano had the excuse of tired legs. If Suarez can be expected to track back and help in defensively, how can the defenders be relaxing?
Barcelona have three titles to defend and unless they mend their ways, Luis Enrique’s men could find themselves in a perilous position this season. With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid breathing down Barcelona’s neck, the Spanish La Liga is sure to present an excellent spectacle to fans all over the world.