5 biggest fixtures for Barcelona in the 2022-23 La Liga season

Barca would be strong title contenders for the upcoming La Liga campaign

La Liga has announced the fixture list for the 2022/23 season. The campaign will begin on August 14th, with last season’s runners-up Barcelona hosting Rayo Vallecano. It will then end on June fourth, with Barcelona travelling to Celta. The first Clasico takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu on October 16th and the second one takes place at Camp Nou on March 19th.

Although Barcelona is in the midst of a financial crisis, they are favourites to provide competition to title defenders Real Madrid in the upcoming La Liga campaign. Xavi Hernadez’s side was dismal last season not providing enough competition to Real Madrid in the league whilst also being knocked out of UEFA Champions League in the group stage and then getting ousted from the Europa League in the quarter-finals stage.  Yet to conduct key signings this summer, Barcelona however is linked with the likes of Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Robert Lewandowski to bolster their weak squad for the upcoming season.

Although the schedule for the upcoming season has been announced, the exact dates of the games have only been set until October. The World Cup in Qatar in the middle of the season will complicate matters further and dates will thus change. However, we more or less know about when the rest of the matches of the campaign will be set, as the Catalans look to win their maiden league title since the 2018/19 season.

So let’s examine the biggest matches of the upcoming season for the Blaugrana, taking a look at the five most important fixtures based on the opponent –

#5 Real Sociedad vs Barcelona – 21st August

The first big test for Xavi’s team this season is on matchday two. San Sebastian used to be a nightmare away trip for Barca — they went seven league games without winning there between 2011 and 2016 — but their record has improved significantly lately, including a 1-0 win last time back in April. La Real have played some of the most attractive football in La Liga in recent seasons under coach Imanol Alguacil.

In fact, Real Sociedad were La Liga title challengers early last season before the wheels fell off, so at the time of this fixture, this will be a massive match against La Blaugrana with a tremendous atmosphere at the Anoeta.

There is no doubt that they will be ready to defend their home turf with everything they have against one of La Liga’s villains, hence Barca must be at their best.

#4 Barcelona vs Villarreal – 19th October

Villarreal defeated Barca the last time these two sides played against each other

Villarreal defeated Barca the last time these two sides played against each other

If fans in Europe were sleeping on Unai Emery’s Villarreal before, they are not doing so now. The Yellow Submarine have not been particularly impressive in La Liga recently, but they have always fought hard against Barcelona, usually grinding out draws. In Europe, they reached the Champions League semi-finals last season after winning the Europa League against Manchester United in 2020/21 to qualify for the continent’s premier competition.

Emery has been a difficult manager for Xavi to deal with in La Liga the last time the two sides played against each other, so expect another tough battle between these two prestigious Spanish sides at Camp Nou.

This tie will also be important for the mere fact that this game can resonate with Barca’s rest of the campaign. Barca play Madrid in the fixture prior to this one and a loss in that game would definitely mean that the hosts would need to come back strongly in this game to stabilise their season. Meanwhile, if Barca wins that match and goes on to win this one, they would be on a roll and would definitely guarantee their chances of winning the league to the maximum.

#3 Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid – 23rd April

The second meeting between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will take place during the time when the fag end of the Champions League would be going on with either the second leg of the quarter-finals or the first leg of the semi-finals taking place at that time, adding more stress in the schedule to this encounter.

As with numerous seasons off late, this encounter happens to act frequently as the title decider, with the two teams representing the three heavyweights of the league and the same can happen in the upcoming season as well.

Though Barca has a good record against Atletico, again, there is no such thing as an easy game against the Los Rojiblancos, save for perhaps the fixture at the Camp Nou in 2022/23.

#2 Real Madrid vs Barcelona – 16th October

Barca thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 at Santiago Bernabeu last season

Barca thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 at Santiago Bernabeu last season 

The first Clasico of the 2022/23 season will take place in October, as is customary. Barcelona has made significant strides since losing five consecutive meetings with Real Madrid. They knew they were catching up after pushing Real to the limit in the Spanish Supercup, and then they annihilated Los Blancos 4-0 in their second La Liga meeting of the season.

Having said that, Barça peaked at that point and then fell off, even getting embarrassed in the Europa League. Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid took that as a wake-up call, correcting their mistakes, winning the Champions League with a Remontada against PSG, and then securing La Liga and winning the Champions League.

Trips to the Santiago Bernabeu can become legendary if Barca wins, as they have in their last away game against the Los Blancos.

#1 Barcelona vs Real Madrid – 19th March

Barcelona will play Real Madrid in the second Clasico of the season in March, as is customary for this fixture. A little vengeance at the Camp Nou would be nice to wash away the sour taste of the previous two league Clasicos at the venue.

As we saw in the 2019/20 season, the second Clasico is frequently the title decider, and we can expect Barcelona to make a much stronger push for the title this season with Xavi back and after some productive moves in the 2021/22 season. Expect Los Blancos to bring it, as they did the last two times.