In any league, consistency is always a crucial factor, and that consistency has to last from start to finish of the season. Every team wants to get a win under its belt as soon as possible, and if that can come in the first game, then so much the better. From Pep Guardiola to Tito Vilanova and then Tata Martino, FC Barcelona have done just that for the last five years.
Barça has always been about spectacle combined with effectiveness, and in 2009/2010 they provided just that in their league opener at the Camp Nou against Sporting Gijón, having already won the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao. The Catalans won 3-0 with goals from Bojan, Keita and debutant Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who headed home a Dani Alves assist.
On August 29, 2010, Barça’s first-day opponents were Racing Santander, and World Cup hero Villa marked his debut for the club with one of the three goals, the others coming from Iniesta and Messi. The other hero of the day was Víctor Valdés, who saved a 35th minute penalty.
The 2011/2012 season was meant to start against Malaga, but that game was postponed because it clashed with the European Super Cup. FC Barcelona beat Porto to win the title for the fourth time and started their league campaign a week later against Villarreal. Guardiola commenced what would be his last season in charge with a 5-0 win, with goals from Messi (2), Cesc and Alexis, both of whom were making their league debuts for FCB, and Thiago Alcántara.
In 2012/2013, the Camp Nou once again hosted the opener, this time versus Real Sociedad, and Tito Vilanova led the side to a convincing 5-1 win. Clearly the change of manager had made no difference to the Barça magic, and Puyol, Pedro and Villa all found the net once, while Messi found it twice.
Last season also got off to a wonderful start. Tata Martino was now in charge, and his team posted a sublime performance, brushing aside Levante by an absolutely staggering 7-0. All of Messi, naturally, Alexis and Pedro bagged braces, while Alves converted the other following a flash of tactical brilliance from Xavi. Yet another Liga campaign was off to a promising start.
This year, Barça begin at home to Elche, and if past experiences are anything to go by, this should be another chance for us to appreciate that the team is always ready to excel right from the outset.