The best and the worst from another title winning season for Barcelona

Barça won the league with games to spare & Messi was head and shoulders above his peers

But there were weaknesses in defence and Coutinho and Dembele have had tough seasons

El Barça ganó su 26ª Liga
El Barça ganó su 26ª Liga | EFE

Javier Giraldo

@javiergiraldo

With the La Liga season over, Barcelona have won their 26th La Liga crown, the second under Ernesto Valverde. Lionel Messi was once again the top scorer in the competition. Barça scored more goals than anyone else, although they didn't concede fewer than everyone else... We look back at the highs and lows from a season which saw the Catalans clinch the title with games to spare:  

THE BEST 

-Back-to-back titles 

Barça retained the title easily in the end. They led the way in 34 of the 38 games and never dropped lower than second. They wrapped up top spot with four games to spare: Valverde's management of the minutes allowed Barça to reach the end of the season in great physical shape. 

-Another Pichichi for Messi

From early on it was clear that Messi would win his sixth Pichichi, equalling Telmo Zarra's record. The Argentine ended the campaign with 36 goals as he won the golden boot for the third successive year. Barça have won it in each of the last four seasons, with Luis Suarez claiming it in 2015-16. Barça only failed to score in three games, in contrast to Atletico (six) and Real Madrid (nine).  

-Academy debuts

Valverde handed league debuts to five players from the academy: the first was Riqui Puig, one of the stars of La Masia, who started at Huesca. Moussa Wague made his debut at the same time at right-back. Once the title was wrapped up, debuts followed for Abel Ruiz, Alex Collado and Carles Perez.   

-19 points on Real Madrid

Never before have Barça ended the season so far ahead of their Clasico rivals. The previous record in Barça's favour was 17 points -- in 2018-18 and in 1984-85.  

THE WORST 

-Goals against and defensive problems

Barça ended the season conceding 36 goals, seven more than last year. The last treble (in 2014-15) saw them concede just 21 league goals. Ter Stegen has been one of the best goalkeepers in the competition, but he's still ended the campaign without the Zamora Trophy. Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Getafe all leaked fewer goals than the Catalans. 

-January signings

Boateng and Murillo arrived in January to strengthen the team and to help with the load of minutes, but they have hardly featured at all. Boateng only played three league games (against Valladolid, Celta and Huesca) and didn't score a goal. Murillo, meanwhile, played even less: the whole game against Huesca and 22 minutes against Celta. 

-Coutinho & Dembele

The two most expensive signings in the club's history have not had the roles they expected. Coutinho has been very inconsistent and ends the campaign with the sensation that he's more in than out: the cost of his signing and the expectations seem to have got the better of him. He ends the year having played 34 league games, in which he scored five goals. He's ninth in terms of minutes played. As for Dembele, he's been hit by injuries again but has had good moments. Despite that, he's not played regularly enough to be at his best all the time. He played 29 league games, scoring eight times, a long way short of the numbers posted by Suarez and Messi. Eleven players in the squad played more league minutes than the Frenchman. 

-Academy overall role 

Carles Aleña is the only player who has officially been promoted from Barça B to the first team: it happened in December when he was handed the No21 shirt. However, despite doing well when he's played, he has only played 90 minutes once in La Liga, against Celta with the title already won. The rest of the players from the B team have had a purely testimonial role: the defenders Miranda, Chumi and Cuenca played in the Copa but no the Liga. Riqui Puig, one of the players creating the most expectation, played two games, against Huesca and Celta. Wague played slightly more. Alex Collado, Abel Ruiz and Carles Pérez all made their league debuts off the bench, but only made one appearance each. 

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