Barcelona Handed Tough Start to Season, Clasico Dates Set

Gerard Pique and Antoine Griezmann

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Barcelona will start their new 2020-21 La Liga campaign against Villarreal on September 27 at the Camp Nou.

The Catalan giants follow up their tough opening match with a tricky trip to Celta Vigo before games against Sevilla, Getafe, and then the first Clasico of the season against Real Madrid.

Here’s a look at Barcelona’s full fixture list:

La Liga confirmed the fixture list for the new season on Monday with Barcelona set to miss the first two rounds because of their Champions League fixtures in August.

The Spanish top-flight season will actually kick-off on September 12, but Barcelona will not participate until the third round of fixtures. Barcelona’s first game of the season was scheduled to be against Elche but that will now take place in December.

Barcelona’s La Liga games against Real Madrid are some of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures in world football and the dates of both matches have also been confirmed.

The Catalan giants host the Spanish champions first on the week of October 25 at the Camp Nou. The return fixture is set for April 2021 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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Tough Start for New Boss  Ronald Koeman

Barcelona will start the new season under new management, as Ronald Koeman has replaced Quique Setien after just seven months in the job. The Dutch coach undertook his first training session with his new team on Monday.

Koeman is facing a tough start to life at Barcelona and may have to cope without captain Lionel Messi. The Argentina international has told the club he wants to leave and has not returned for pre-season.

Elsewhere, Arthur Melo has left for Juventus, Ivan Rakitic is set to join Sevilla, while striker Luis Suarez has been told he’s surplus to requirements. Midfielder Arturo Vidal has also hinted he could leave the club and head to Serie A.

Koeman will also have to cope without first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen initially. The German has undergone knee surgery and is not expected to return to action until November.


A New Team and New Tactics?

Koeman is therefore likely to field a starting XI that looks vastly different from last season’s team that finished second in La Liga and was dumped out of the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Young stars such as Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati, and Ronald Araujo may see plenty more game time, while new arrivals Miralem Pjanic, Francisco Trincao, and Pedri will also be hoping to get the chance to impress under the new coach.

Koeman is also being tipped to change the team’s shape. The former Netherlands international could play with a double pivot in midfield which may help bring the best out of midfielder Frenkie de Kong.

READ NEXT: Rakitic on Brink of Completing Move Away From Barcelona

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