Cesc scores against Vila-real / PHOTO: FCB ARCHIVE

Barça have got recent league campaigns off to good starts. In the last decade, they have won six openers, drawn three and lost just once, an excellent record considering only three of those games were played at home. The last time they were beaten on the first day was in 2008/09 at Numancia. The three debuts since then than have seen the Catalans score 11 goals and concede none.

Vila-real, Racing and Sporting all beaten

Last season, the opening match was meant to be against Malaga, but due to the players’ strike it was postponed, and Barça instead started against Vila-real, winning 5-0 with goals from Thiago, Cesc, Alexis and Messi (2).

A year earlier, they had started with a 3-0 win at Racing Santander (goals from Messi, Iniesta and Villa). They had won by the same score in the first outing of 2009/10, at home to Sporting Gijón, with Bojan, Keita and Ibrahimovic getting their names on the scoresheet.