We’re nearly three weeks into the year and Barça have yet to play a game at Camp Nou, an unusual situation that has a lot to do with the team featuring in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
The wait is over, and after a 2-2 draw away to Espanyol to start the Liga year, Granada will be the first visitors to the Barça stadium in 2020.
And traditionally, the first game of the year at Camp Nou has been a good one from a blaugrana perspective. We have to go all the way back to 2010 to find the last case of Barça failing to win their first game, a 1-1 draw with Villarreal.
2 January 2010 (LIGA): Barça 1 Villarreal 1
2 January 2011 (LIGA): Barça 2 Levante 1
4 January 2012 (COPA): Barça 4 Osasuna 0
6 January 2013 (LIGA): Barça 4 Espanyol 0
5 January 2014 (LIGA): Barça 4 Elche 0
8 January 2015 (COPA): Barça 5 Elche 0
6 January 2016 (COPA): Barça 4 Espanyol 0
11 January 2017 (COPA): Barça 3 Athletic Club 1
7 January 2018 (LIGA): Barça 3 Levante 0
13 January 2019 (LIGA): Barça 3 Eibar 0
Indeed, as shown above, the opening games at camp Nou have typically produced some big wins. In the last eight games, going back to 2012, Barça have always scored at least three goals and have only conceded one in all that time.
In fact, Barça have not started the year at Camp Nou with defeat this century. The only other non-winning year was 2008, when Barça drew 2-2 in the cup at home to Alcoyano. However, with qualification as good as assured after a comfortable win in the away leg, Frank Rijkaard could afford to field an experimental line-up for that game.