A league of ‘campeones’
FC Barcelona were crowned the champions of Spain yesterday, and despite their European ‘fiasco’ and the sensation of an unfulfilled Champions Leauge campaign, Tito Villanova’s team deserve all the credit that they will no doubt receive for regaining the crown.
Champions from start to finish.
On the 18th August 2012, FC Barcelona started the season with a commanding victory (5-1) over Real Sociedad, a victory which saw them top the table after week one. From there, they have never looked back.
Barça have become only the second team in La Liga history to go all 38 weeks without losing the first place with the other team to achieve this being the 86-87 Real Madrid side. The 84/85 Barcelona also went the whole league in first but back them there were only 34 weeks of Spanish football.
Barcelona have achieved this incredible record thanks to their record-breaking start to season where they went the whole of the first half of the season without losing a game. In fact, they managed 18 wins and just one draw, against Real Madrid in that time, which smashed all previous records of best league starts.
Additionally, the Catalans are still within chance to reach the 100 points, the biggest mark in La Liga set by Madrid a year ago and with 105 goals they also have an outside chance to tie or pass Madrid’s record of goals in a single season of 121.
Messi, Messi, Messi
There is only one word to understand how Barcelona dominated the league with such authority ‘Messi’. The Argentinean was beyond great in the first half of the season where he led his team to a commanding lead of 11 points by scoring 28 goals and producing eight assists in just 19 matches.
Averaging 1.9 goals per game in that time, Messi’s season could quite feasible be branded as the best season by a footballer in La Liga’s history and reached the almost indescribable milestone of scoring against all 19 La Liga teams in 19 consecutive weeks.
In fact, since the 3rd November last year, in every La Liga game that Messi has played, he has managed to score at least one goal with the diminuitive Argentinean also starting the season scoring at least two goals in his first 12 matches.
By the time he reached the half way mark of the season, he would have been crowned ‘Pichichi’ in 74 of the previous 89 league seasons.
Messi’s La Liga season has been so good that despite missing three matches he is only four goals away to tie his own record of 50 goals in one league, a record that everybody expects him to smash by the end of the season.
Iniesta and Fabregas deserved credits of their own
Despite the amazing season by Messi and the undeniable influence that he has in Barcelona’s results, there have been a couple of other players that have helped carrying this team through thick and thin.
Andrés Iniesta is currently leading the La Liga table with 15 assists an award that he is likely to win come the end of the season. Iniesta was massively important to Barcelona great start and from the 25th November to the 6th January, where he delievered no fewer than nine assists during that period.
Fabregas meanwhile became the first Barcelona player, outside Messi, to score 10 goals and deliver 10 assists in one season. The former Arsenal skipper has been inconsistent this year but he clearly played a significant part to Barcelona’s great start of the season that defined this campaign.
It is also important to note that despite Messi’s amazing season, the Argentinean played the fewest amount of league games for his team in the last four seasons. Barcelona have won so far all three matches without him, scoring 13 times and conceding only three without him; not in small part thanks to both Iniesta and Fabregas.
All around, Barcelona have been champions without contention in the league and they will regain the title that they lost last season, winning La Liga for the fourth time in the last five years.Follow @icentrocampista