As we inch closer to the start of preseason and with the transfer market in full swing, that feeling of club football excitement is coming back. Barcelona have kept busy, making transfers and announcing kits, and now we know what the road to a third straight league title is going to be like for the Catalan giants.
It is a tricky one.
|1||Aug. 21||Real Betis (H)|
|2||Aug. 28||Athletic Bilbao (A)|
|3||Sep. 11||Deportivo Alavés (H)|
|4||Sep. 18||Leganés (A)|
|5||Sep. 21||Atlético Madrid (H)|
|6||Sep. 25||Sporting Gijón (A)|
|7||Oct. 2||Celta Vigo (A)|
|8||Oct. 16||Deportivo La Coruña (H)|
|9||Oct. 23||Valencia (A)|
|10||Oct. 30||Granada (H)|
|11||Nov. 6||Sevilla (A)|
|12||Nov. 20||Málaga (H)|
|13||Nov. 27||Real Sociedad (A)|
|14||Dec. 4||Real Madrid (H)|
|15||Dec. 11||Osasuna (A)|
|16||Dec. 18||Espanyol (H)|
|17||Jan. 8||Villarreal (A)|
|18||Jan. 15||Las Palmas (H)|
|19||Jan. 22||Eibar (A)|
|20||Jan. 29||Real Betis (A)|
|21||Feb. 5||Athletic Bilbao (H)|
|22||Feb. 12||Deportivo Alavés (A)|
|23||Feb. 19||Leganés (H)|
|24||Feb. 26||Atlético Madrid (A)|
|25||Mar. 1||Sporting Gijón (H)|
|26||Mar. 5||Celta Vigo (H)|
|27||Mar. 12||Deportivo La Coruña (A)|
|28||Mar. 19||Valencia (H)|
|29||Apr. 2||Granada (A)|
|30||Apr. 5||Sevilla (H)|
|31||Apr. 9||Málaga (A)|
|32||Apr. 16||Real Sociedad (H)|
|33||Apr. 23||Real Madrid (A)|
|34||Apr. 26||Osasuna (H)|
|35||Apr. 30||Espanyol (A)|
|36||May 7||Villarreal (H)|
|37||May 14||Las Palmas (A)|
|38||May 21||Eibar (H)|
*All dates and times are subject to change due to television choice, Champions League and Copa Del Rey fixtures, and other factors.
The start is not bad. Other than a visit to San Mamés, facing Diego Simeone and a trip to Celta, the first eight matches are not the worst you can get. As Pep Guardiola once said, you'll win the league in the last eight games, but you'll lose it in the first eight. With a start like that, it's safe to say Barça aren't losing the league.
But then, as we reach the end of the season, things get tough. April is insane, not only because of seven league matches in 30 days, but also because we face Sevilla, Real Sociedad and play away on two key matches, first against Espanyol in the local derby and then Madrid for the final El Clásico.
One interesting thing about this schedule is the horrible visit to Anoeta, which Barça is going to lose like every year. Unlike previous seasons, though, where the game against Real Sociedad away from home was in February or March in the middle of Champions League knockouts, this season we go to Anoeta in November, and a loss in November is not that bad. However, the trip to Sociedad is a week before El Clásico at Camp Nou, and it won't be good to face Madrid after losing at Anoeta. Tricky.
What do you think of the schedule, Blaugranes?