With the preseason coming to a close, after the game against Sampdoria, Barcelona's squad appears to have taken shape, and with the squad roles looking more defined, I'm going to try and break them down for you.
Claudio Bravo: After a solid summer with Chilé, Bravo looks in good shape, and despite having conceded in the preseason, at an alarming rate, he will be the automatic starter, after the injury to MAtS.
Marc Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Masip: Although MAtS looked in pole position to start as Barça's number 1, his injury sets him back a few steps, which means that he will probably wait for Bravo to lose some of his form; expect him to play La Liga at some point, during the course of the season. A strong showing from Masip in preseason does little to change the fact that Bravo and MAtS are superior goalkeepers, and barring the occasional Copa Del Rey appearances, I don't expect to see him often; any amount of regular football for Masip, will be a huge surprise.
Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal: Expect Sergi Roberto to start the season as first choice for the right-back spot, with Vidal slowly taking over his minutes, as the season progresses, and Sergi reverting to his role as the swiss army knife.
Gerard Pique: Before I say what role he plays, let me just say that it was such a relief to finally see Pique in our defence; He is the leader of our backline, and I expect him to be a vocal leader this season, while retaining his excellent form from last season, continuing to remain the first name in central defence.
Javier Mascherano: Poor showings from el jefecito in the preseason, should do little to change his status as the automatic partner to Pique. However, it will probably lead to more rotations in the backline that should see Umtiti get several starts at CB.
Umtiti and Mathieu: Expect to see Umtiti play fairly regularly, alongside either of Pique and Mascherano. Mathieu however, should see lowered game time, as Umtiti estabilishes himself over the course of the season, as a reliable third choice.
Jordi Alba and Lucas Digne: With Lucas Digne breathing down his neck, Alba should surely pick up some of the form he lost last season. It wouldn't surprise me however, if Digne starts as first-choice going into the season, before enrique opts for a veteran in a handful of big games, and returns the spot to Alba.
Sergio Busquets: Although his preseason was lacklustre, it'll be impossible for anyone to derail Busi, barring injuries.
Andres Iniesta and André Gomes: The ghost showed up against Sampdoria, getting past the opposition defence like water. There is little question that Iniesta will continue to play the big games. However, expect him to share significant minutes with new signing André Gomes, and Rafinha.
Ivan Rakitic and Denis Suarez: Another player who will start next season, as first choice is Rakitic, who should see some of his minutes going to Denis Suarez and Rafinha.
Arda Turan: With some strong showings in the preseason, both in midfield, and on the left wing, Arda could go on to play a bit part role, in both positions, but looks highly unlikely to settle into any one of them as a permanent fixture.
Messi, Suarez and Neymar: The front three, that has taken the world by storm, will retain their positions, no matter who signs as the fourth forward.
With arguably one of the strongest squads in all of Europe, the Blaugrana look all geared up to win, and that's exactly what the fans will expect, from the best team in the world.
Visca el Barca!
Do you agree with the assessment? Do you disagree with it? Let me know in the comments below! Cheers!