Three things Barcelona should do to taste success in upcoming season

FC Barcelonas players thank spectators during a friendly match between Inter Miami and FC Barcelona at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, on July 19, 2022. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
FC Barcelonas players thank spectators during a friendly match between Inter Miami and FC Barcelona at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, on July 19, 2022. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images) /
FC Barcelona
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez will have his work cut out in the upcoming season, his first full season as Barça manager. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) /

Barcelona is going through a rebuilding phase at the moment. After having endured a very ordinary season, Xavi Hernandez should be looking forward to making his mark as a manager in the upcoming season.

However, his job will not be an easy one. Apart from the presence of the formidable old foes in Real Madrid, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal will challenge Barcelona domestically. Moreover, Barcelona have cut a sorry figure in the Champions League the past few seasons and Xavi’s men would have to improve considerably to get close to tasting continental success.

On that note, we take a look at three things Barcelona should do to be successful come next season.

Sprucing up the defense

Barcelona have signed Andreas Christensen from Chelsea and the 26-year-old Danish centre-back should play a significant role in Barca’s defense. Young defenders like Eric Garcia and Sergiño Dest will have to prove their worth to make sure the Blaugrana do not concede too many goals. The experience of veterans like Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba should be used sparingly as well to ensure optimum use of the resources available.

Barça conceded 38 goals in 38 matches in the La Liga last season, which was seven more than the number of goals conceded by eventual winners Real Madrid. Barça will continue to play possession-oriented football under Xavi and hence, they would be vulnerable against quick counter-attacks by opposition teams.

Barça’s defense looked in trouble while dealing with probing through balls in a recent friendly match against Italian giants Juventus, as Moise Kean scored a brace against them. The Barça defenders did not impress much with their marking and tackling.

Barça should improve their defending in tight spaces in the defensive third to avoid being punished by their opponents. The signing of French centre-back Jules Kounde should further help them in this regard.

Adding steel to the midfield

Barça have a few supremely talented young midfielders like Pedri and Gavi. Both of them are exceptionally talented and capable of doing justice to the brand of free-flowing football played with short passes. Moreover, the presence of Sergio Busquets would ensure that Barça are able to orchestrate moves from deep.

However, Busquets is not getting any younger and is one of the oldest defensive midfielders at 34. He cannot be expected to feature in every match and would need support from the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessie.

De Jong was supposed to leave for Manchester United  but the move did not materialize. Xavi played him as a centre-back in the friendly matches but De Jong’s passing skills should not be wasted by playing him that deep.

The Dutchman is capable of playing as a deep-lying playmaker and should be featuring in midfield. The physical presence of Kessie should be critical in the coming season as he might be the one who adds steel to Barca’s midfield laden with creative players.

Helping Lewandowski adjust to Barcelona’s style of play

Lewandowski is Barça’s prized signing  as the former Bayern Munich man scored 50 goals in 46 matches for the German giants last season. He should shoulder a considerable chunk of Barça’s goal-scoring responsibilities next season.

However, in order to do that, he needs to get adjusted to Barca’s style of play . Although Barça typically use the 4-3-3 formation, which Bayern also uses, their approach is not as direct as the Bavarians. Hence, they rely less on crosses delivered to the opposition penalty box, which means Lewandowski might have less opportunities to use his aerial prowess at Barcelona.

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Barça have a few explosive wingers like Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Raphinha, each capable of cutting in from the flanks. Lewandowski should be prepared to fall back at times to play one-twos with the wingers to cut through opposition defenses instead of always lurking inside the penalty box with the hope of receiving crosses. The Barcelona wingers should also be ready to provide their target man with enough balls in the final third to allow him the chance of scoring.