As we end and reflect on 2016, it is fair to say it has been another successful year for Barca. We defended our La Liga crown, won a record 28th Copa del Ray and landed the Supercopa de Espana to seal a superb treble.
The one disappointment will, of course, be the Champions League but we can’t get too greedy. We must celebrate a superb 12 months rather than focus on the few negatives from the year.
Winning any league title is never easy. After 38 games in the campaign, the best team will always be at the top of the standings. Since Atletico Madrid won La Liga in 2014, we can no longer say it is a two-horse race for the title in Spain.
Going into the final game of the 2015/16 season, Barca, Real and Atletico were all in contention for the trophy in what was a thrilling finish to the campaign. Thankfully all we had to do was take care of our business against Granada where Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick to ensure Luis Enrique would win two league crowns in two seasons since taking over the side.
A third straight La Liga title will be tough in 2017. Real already have a three point advantage and a game in hand when they return from the winter break where they won the FIFA World Club crown. Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be playing some of the best football of his career and they have Gareth Bale to return to their side.
That said, there is no team on the planet with a better trio of forward players than Barca with Suarez, Neymar and Messi. Barca ended last season with five consecutive wins in the league and they are going to need a better stretch than that in the second half of the campaign this time if they are to get the better of Real again.
Barca return to action in the New Year with a tough away trip to Villarreal. They are expected to come away with all three points in that game though, as Sportsbook.io makes them 53/100 to win the tie. Visit website for all the betting on the next round of La Liga fixtures where Real Madrid are heavy odds-on favourites at 7/100 to defeat Granada.
Although a third La Liga crown will be an amazing achievement, we all will be hoping for success in Europe in 2017. We have a tough last 16 test against PSG, however, the French champions don’t quite look as strong this season. The Paris club is third in Ligue One, five points behind leaders Nice so over two legs of football we should be able to make the quarter final again.
In an ideal world, we would avoid Real and Bayern Munich until the final in Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Our record in finals in recent years has been superb. Therefore we can be confident of recording our fifth success in the last 11 years in the completion.
Let’s hope for another hugely successful year and support the team when they need us to get behind them.