Barcelona cantered to the La Liga title last year only losing one game. Real Madrid’s sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus has seen the Catalan’s odds come in to 8/11 to retain their title.
They looked disjointed for much of their 2-1 win over Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup last night. But the piece of individual brilliance often reserved for Lionel Messi came from the enigmatic Ousmane Dembele.
We take a look at what that victory taught us about Barcelona and where the title could be won…
This could be Dembele’s year
After arriving last summer from Borussia Dortmund after a drawn out saga, Dembele was ridden by injury which restricted him to only two goals in 21 appearances for his new club.
The young winger was consistently linked with a move away and a reported loan deal to Arsenal was mooted.
But this is the season for Dembele to step up to the plate and show that £135m was well spent.
He’ll hope his rip-roaring winner in the Super Cup is a sign of things to come.
Barca started with five players 25 and under including new signings Arthur and Clement Lenglet. La Masia graduate Munir was also on the bench.
This along with the signing of sought-after forward Malcom may represent a changing of the guard at the Nou Camp.
Messi will have to take on an increased leadership role with a younger nucleus of talent around him.
Barca are 6/1 joint-second favourites to win the Champions League. But after failing to get past the last-eight for the last three seasons, this new core of players could pave the way for a new era of European dominance.
Suarez must regain his mojo
Luis Suarez plundered 25 goals in 33 games in last year’s La Liga victory.
However, after a World Cup where he only found the net twice he looked slightly off the pace against Sevilla.
The Uruguayan played the full 90 minutes but missed two clear chances and didn’t look on the same wave-length as his team-mates for much of the match.
Albeit early days in the season, if Barcelona are to shrug off the Madrid teams again this season then Suarez must come to the party once again.
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