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La Liga 2022/23 Season Preview: Barcelona

The 2022/23 season for Barcelona could be the time for their salvation or just another spiral of the financial mess the club is getting sucked in. Here we take a look at the La Liga 2022-23 Season Preview Barcelona.

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Last updated: 14.08.2022
La Liga 2022-23 Season Preview Barcelona

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Barcelona is a club that has hit the headlines for their worldly dominance on the football pitch but are now grabbing attention for all the wrong reasons. The 2022/23 season could be the time for their salvation or just another spiral of the financial mess the club is getting sucked in. The new season will show us whether their new signings, pending registration, can bring back Barca’s prestige on the field by guaranteeing trophies to escape the long-term perils of mortgaging their own future for short-term gains.


Last Season Review

Started with a disaster but ended on a decent note is a one-line description of Barcelona’s 2021/22 season that saw the new regime of Joan Laporta calling all the shots. First of all, the club from Catalonia has to deal with the blow of their record appearance maker and goal scorer who has been the face of the club for decades to leave on a free transfer. The fact that a certain Lionel Messi had to bid farewell from the club he has almost spent his entire career, or say life, with tears in his eyes not of joy or warmth but for a club like Barcelona flatulent with high wages unable to renew his contract even after promising to do so was unimaginable. Both once synonymous with each other, Messi left Barcelona for PSG. The next cataclysmic decision was not to relieve manager Ronald Koeman from his duties before the season and it paved the way for further miseries leading to Barcelona failing to even escape the Champions League football group stages and their league position threatening to miss out on the competition altogether. Stepped in club legend, Xavi. The midfielder whose reputation is known to every football fan steadied the sinking ship a little bit by putting some old glory principles in place. Although the performances didn’t catapult Barcelona to its usual best, failing to get into the knockout stage of the Champions League first time since the 2000-01 season and the shock loss to eventual winners Frankfurt in the last 16, it was enough for the runners-up spot in the La Liga table to secure Europe’s premier competition amid a massive 13 points gap with champions Real Madrid.        

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Summer signings & Contract Renewals

There is a race against time for Barcelona to register their host of celebrity signings by the team season starts and it seems they are able to do it by pulling their fourth economic lever. The club has signed some massive sponsorship deal like Spotify and are sort of mortgaging their future by selling 25% of their TV rights, the Barca studios and other non-footballing assets to allow them to make top signings in the window to take the club back to its standard immediately rather than waiting for some years to slowly but steadily evolve back to their levels. It comes as an obvious risk to financial security in future but these economic levels give Barcelona their transfer targets in view of building a strong team for the new season to avoid any more crises at least on the pitch. With the money, if in a healthy financial state could have sounded like breaking the bank. Firstly, the Catalan giants moved in for one of the best in the striking department Robert Lewandowski after his eight-year stay at Bayern came to an abrupt end in a $51 million deal and then securing their long-standing target Raphinha, almost signed for Chelsea, in another lucrative $66m fee from Leeds while Andreas Christensen Frank Kessie joined on a free transfer. That was not all as Barcelona managed to take out another rabbit off the hat by securing Jules Kounde in splashing an additional $51m beating Chelsea again. Sevilla said to have accepted the bid from the English club but Barcelona hijacked at the last moment the Frenchman reportedly was about to board the plane. If that wasn’t enough, Ousmane Dembele finally renewed with Barcelona to two more years on reduced wages after a long standoff between the player and the club. The club is not done yet as they are targeting Marcos Alonso from Chelsea for the left-back option having almost signed their captain Cesar Azpilicueta who admitted returning to Spain as an option he thought about with his contract running out this summer before renewing for two more years. Other players are in line to be offloaded including Memphis Depay closing on a move to Juventus and Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang drawing interest from Chelsea although Xavi has him in his plans. Oscar Mingueza (Celta Vigo), Riqui Puig (LA Galaxy), Neto (Bournemouth), Rey Manaj (Watford), Dani Alves (Pumas) and Moussa Wague (HNK Gorica) all departed on a free transfer. Philippe Coutinho made his loan move to Aston Villa permanent   

The story of two players is particularly distressing as the pair is staying true to their contract, which is every player’s right and doesn’t want to leave or take a pay cut yet the club is forcing them out by taking extreme measures just because they are in a financial turmoil the result of their own wrongdoings. Danish forward Martin Braithwaite is being jeered by their own fans for not accepting to move away while the treatment of midfielder Frenkie de Jong is especially a grim one. The club wants De Jong to sign a contract renewal with a reduced wage while the player understandably demands the deferred payment from his previous contract renewal in 2020. The club alleged criminality in that renewal and although it was signed during the previous regime headed by ex-president Josep Bartomeu, he and his agent are held responsible for giving their consent. A sensational claim by the board who has not revealed the reason for the contract falling into legal matters. Also, the club is forcing De Jong to accept the proposal from Manchester United and later Chelsea but the Dutch see his future at Barcelona. Both the players belong to the same agency and they are going frustrated about the whole fiasco their clients are suffering from. This situation will remain unclear until the deadline day of this summer transfer window.                


Also Read | 2022/23 Premier League Season Preview: Tottenham Hotspurs                   


Pre-Season Results

1-1   vs UE Ulot (D)

0-6 vs Inter Miami (W)

0-1   vs Real Madrid (W)

2-2 vs Juventus (D)

0-2   vs NY Red Bulls (W)

6-0 vs Pumas (W)


The preseason tour has ticked all the boxes with the 1-0 over Real Madrid in an early El Classico in Las Vegas. Ousmane Dembele has scored the most number of goals with six rewarding for his new contract and is expecting probably the best season in a Barcelona shirt. There are no defeats to worry about.

 

Barcelona 2022/23 La Liga Season Fixtures

Aside from Kounde’s registration which will be done a week later, activating the fourth lever has allowed Barcelona to register all of their new signings to make their debut against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener on Saturday. Two winnable fixture follows before a trip to face Sevilla at Sanchez Pijuain where Barcelona have managed only one win in four outings. By the time the first El Classico arrives in October, both of the team involved will know their status for the rest of the campaign. The returning fixture is dated next year in March. After facing Atletico Madrid in April, Barcelona has a free run of games to collect enough points to be in the mix for the title race if they are in one.    

 

14/08/22 - Rayo Vallecano (H)    

21/08/22 - Real Sociedad (A)

28/08/22 - Real Valladolid (H)

04/09/22 - Sevilla (A)

11/09/22 - Cadiz (A)

18/09/22 - Elche (H)

02/10/22 - Mallorca (A)

09/10/22 - Celta Vigo (H)

16/10/22 – Real Madrid (A)

19/10/22 - Villarreal (H)

23/10/22 - Athletic Bilbao (H)

30/10/22 - Valencia (A)

06/11/22 - Almeria (H)

09/11/22 - Osasuna (A)

31/12/22 - Espanyol (H)

08/01/23 - Atletico Madrid (A)

14/01/23 - Real Betis (A)

22/01/23 - Getafe (H)

29/01/23 - Girona (A)

05/02/23 - Sevilla (H)

12/02/23 - Villarreal (A)

19/02/23 - Cadiz (H)

26/02/23 - Almeria (A)

05/03/23 - Valencia (H)

12/03/23 - Athletic Bilbao (A)

19/03/23 - Real Madrid (H)

02/04/23 - Elche vs Barcelona (A)

09/04/23 - Girona (H)

16/04/23 - Getafe (A)

23/04/23 - Atletico Madrid (H)

26/04/23 - Rayo Vallecano (A)

30/04/23 - Real Betis (H)

03/04/23 - Osasuna (H)

14/04/23 - Espanyol (A)

21/04/23 - Real Sociedad (H)

24/04/23 - Real Valladolid (A)

28/04/23 - Mallorca (H)

04/05/23 - Celta Vigo (A)

(Key Fixtures are in Bold)

 

How will Barcelona set up for the 2022/23 Season?

With all their signings registered for the new season, Xavi will be able to work his philosophy in a proper way implementing his tactics in a better squad than before. The 4-3-3 formation will be used while 3-4-3 is the alternative. The Spaniard played Frenkie de Jong in the center-back position, a role he played quite often under Ronald Koeman but this time signaling his drop in pecking order among midfielders after the arrival of Franck Kessie and Miralem Pjanic also staying followed by talents like Pedri, Gavi and Pablo Torre seeking minutes. That position is also not secured as Jules kounde, Andreas Christensen and the reliable Ronald Araujo are more naturally inclined to play central defenders alongside Gerard Piqué if in back-four. At the left-back spot Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso, if signed, will share minutes while Serginio Dest is the only natural right back left in the squad although Araujo has fit himself perfectly in that position when called upon. There are fights in the front three too led by Robert Lewandowski with Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele flanking him as first choices. Bags full of goals are guaranteed from the forward line. Competition is there with Ferran Torress, youngster Ansu Fati and Aubameyang, should he stay, demanding their chances in the team also with the World cup happening in months’ time. Fransico Trincao and Nico Gonzalez have left on loan to Sporting CP and Valencia respectively.        


Prediction for the 2022/23 Season

The star signings for Barcelona look great on paper and should do the same on the pitch while situation like that of De Jong tarnish the whole meaning of being ‘more than a club’. The club is walking on a thin line with their finance. The question now whether the short term gains will make a massive impact in terms of winning trophies to keep the club sustainable. This instant way of gaining success even being out of limits comes from an indirect pressure from their rivals Real Madrid winning the league and the Champions League having their own financial issue due to the pandemic but not as bad a state Barcelona are in. It’s hard to predict Barcelona’s stance this season even their remarkable business of pulling off these unthinkable signings deserves a trophy at least. This is a certainty that they will be lot better than previous season with this amount of quality in the squad but toppling Real Madrid’s dominance for their first league title since 2019 is a huge task. 

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