With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho among Ernesto Valverde’s stellar cast list and Real Madrid now shorn of Cristiano Ronaldo, you may think the time is perfect for Barcelona to mount a successful big to finally reclaim that elusive Uefa Champions League trophy.
A perfect start to the La Liga campaign has them on 12 points with four wins from four as the Catalan giants turn their attentions to Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven in Group B of Europe’s premier club competition.
However, if you dig a little deeper you will see that all is not quite as rosy as it seems at the Camp Nou.
Despite another win over Real Sociedad at the weekend to sit top of La Liga standings, they had to come from behind to win, and struggled in front of goal, just as they did earlier this season against newcomers Valladolid.
Barcelona could not control the game against Sociedad in they way they would have liked and missed numerous chances in front of goal while they still trailed their hosts. They also had to thank goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for keeping the scoreline down as he produced a number of stunning saves.
Barca have failed to progress beyond the Champions League quarter-finals for the past three seasons, and that is unacceptable for a club of their stature and their demanding supporters.
“I’m a little bit worried, just a little bit,” Barca coach Valverde said after Saturday’s victory. “It’s obvious that there are things that can be improved.”
They will be glad that neither Inter nor Spurs are firing on all cylinders either this season, but they will have to improve in front of goal if they want to avoid the unheard of and fail to progress from a potentially tricky group.