Barcelona 2021/22 season review: A tale of two campaigns | OneFootball

Barcelona 2021/22 season review: A tale of two campaigns

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Joel Sanderson-Murray

It was all change on and off the pitch at Barcelona this season, but how did their first campaign without Lionel Messi in 18 years go?

Competition breakdown

LaLiga – 2nd

The table never lies but although only one team finished above them, Barça were never truly in the LaLiga title race.

They ended up finishing 13 points behind Real Madrid which won’t be considered a success by the Culés but considering where the club was in October, their overall placing can be considered satisfactory.

Xavi arrived as head coach with Barcelona in ninth and a place in the top four was by no means a given. A 14-match unbeaten run between December and April which contained the huge win in El Clásico catapulted the team into a Champions League qualification place.

Champions League – Group stage

There were two halves to Barcelona’s campaign.

The second part was promising and leaves hope for the future. The first saw them drop into the Europa League for the first time since 2003, after seeing Bayern Munich and Benfica progress ahead of them.

Europa League – Quarter-finals

An adventure into the Europa League began and there were hopes of trophy success when Barça got past Napoli and Galatasaray but were eventually put to the sword in the Camp Nou by the eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

Copa del Rey

It was dramatic but Xavi’s side met their end at the round of 16 phase at the hands of Athletic Club.

Pedri’s 93rd-minute equaliser forced the game into extra-time before Iker Muniain won it from the spot in the 105th-minute at San Mamés.

Player of the season: Ronald Araújo

Despite the improvement after Christmas, there were still not too many standout individual performances amongst the Barcelona squad.

Gaví came into the side and proved he belonged there, Ousmane Dembélé came in from the cold to impress and Jordi Alba defied his age at times but Araújo remained a consistent presence throughout.

Strong on the ground and in the air, and not averse to chipping in with a few goals, the 23-year-old deserves to keep his place in a backline that is reportedly going to be revamped this summer.

Game of the season: Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona

It couldn’t be anything else, could it?

Real may have stormed to the league title but the Blaugrana more than left a punch on their arch rivals at the Bernabéu.

A brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was added to by strikes from Araújo and Ferran Torres on a night where Xavi’s tactical masterplan came to fruition.

This is how Barcelona are meant to look.

Top goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

He may have only arrived in January but the former Gabon international ends the season with 13 goals in 23 appearances to top the club’s goalscoring charts.

Rising star: Pedri

Take your pick.

The one aspect of this Barcelona squad that the supporters can hang their hats on is the array of talent coming through the youth ranks.

Gavi, Nico, Ansu Fati, the list could go on. But Pedri still stands out above the rest.

The 19-year-old has had an injury-hit season, only managing to make 12 appearances, but there is no doubting his talent as seen in his composed goal against Sevilla in April.

What comes next?

The reports over Robert Lewandowski’s prospective move to the Camp Nou won’t go away which will surely give the supporters and team a huge boost.

Xavi will finally get a full pre-season to implement his ideas on the training ground and despite the campaign teetering out towards the end the 14-match unbeaten run will give cause for optimism.

The future might just be bright for Barcelona but next season will be the true test.

Positivity will soon give way to expectation. If Lewandowski is up top then there will be every reason for it too.

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