It would have been remarkable to have suggested back on April 27th that Barcelona could get even better. How would that even have been possible after four remarkable years under Pep Guardiola? The Catalan Messiah, as he has come to be seen, inspired the Catalans to not just the best years in their remarkable history, but some would argue the greatest anyone has ever seen. His team were on a level that none could reach.
Since Guardiola stepped down on that emotional April day, to be replaced by Tito Vilanova, Barcelona have somehow managed to become even better still. And that in spite of the sad news of the resumption of Vilanova’s battle with cancer, leaving Jordi Roura to take the reins.
The statistics are worth going over. So far Barcelona have played 19 games in La Liga, winning 18, and drawing one, with arch rivals Real Madrid. They have won every single away game. Barcelona have scored 64 goals. This is only half way through the season. And in Spain, half way through means you have literally played every team once. This is already the best start to a season ever in La Liga. It is now the best first half of a season in the club’s history after the win against Malaga. Before that game, their record matched the 2010-11 Barca vintage under Guardiola. They have also set a record of scoring in 37 successive La Liga games. Leo Messi, their top scorer this season with 28 goals in La Liga, has scored as many in total as Malaga, the team they beat at the weekend at La Rosaleda.
Adding in all other competitions, and Barcelona have played 31 games, won 27, drawn two, lost two and scored 92. On average Los Cules have been winning games by more than two goals. Even in the low point of the season so far, losing 2-1 at Celtic, they set a record, having 84 per cent of possession, meaning they had lost a game against the team who statistically had the ball for the shortest overall period in a game of football and still won. They are closing in on a record 14 away wins a in a row, and 17 overall in La Liga, as well as the most wins in a season, which currently stands at 47.
At this rate, Barcelona will finish the season with 110 points and 128 goals, which would absolutely shatter the records set by Real Madrid last year. Of course it is to be expected that they may just drop a few points along the way, and maybe even lose a match (or more likely, not). This is an historic team taking football to a potentially new historic high. Their first half of the campaign is already sensational. This team, far and away the favourites to win the Champions League for the third time in five seasons, and going well in the Copa del Rey again, could have yet another historic campaign if they can win those three trophies and remain unbeaten in La Liga, setting new records as they go. This is the team that finds a way to raise the bar even when it looks like it’s been lifted as far as it will go. The remarkable story of this Barcelona side has a long way to go yet though.