Barça’s best ever showing after 13 games
The 5-0 win over Real Madrid on Monday also makes Barça 2010/11 the best ever FCB team after thirteen league matches, with eleven wins, one draw and just one defeat.
There is plenty of reason for optimism. Whenever Barça have got 32 or more points from their first
13 games, they have gone on to win the championship.
First league with Cruyff
In 1990/91, the Dream Team under Johan Cruyff got off to a cracking start with six
wins in a row against Espanyol (0-1), Valencia (3-1), Betis (2-3), Valladolid (1-0), Tenerife (0-1)
and Athletic Bilbao (4-1). They then slipped up against Atlético Madrid (2-1), but after beating
Mallorca at the Camp Nou (2-1) they had ten wins, two draws and one defeat, scoring 26 goals and
conceding nine. With 22 points (32 by today’s system), Barça were four ahead of the
surprising Logroñés. They ended up winning the title with 57 points, ten more than Atlético Madrid.
Zubizarreta, Koeman, Bakero, Begiristain, Goikoetxea, Laudrup and Stoichkov were the stars of that
Rijkaard’s winning mentality
With stars like Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Deco, Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta and Valdés in the 2004/05
squad, the second of the Frank Rijkaard era, Barça got off to a great start. The 2-1 win over
Getafe in game 13 meant that with 32 points from 10 wins, a draw and a defeat at Betis supposed a 7
point lead on Real Madrid, who had been beaten at the Camp Nou. 3-0. Barça won the title with 84
points, four more than Madrid.
First for Guardiola
Despite a dodgy start (1-0 defeat to Numancia and 1-1 draw at the Camp
Nou against Racing), the 2008/09 season then saw Barça and Guardiola go on an amazing 9-win streak,
such that by game 13 (a 3-0 win at Sevilla) they were flying away with 10 wins, 2 draws and 1
defeat. The 32 points put the club six ahead of Real Madrid. Finally, 87 points for Barça and 78
for the whites. It was the beginning of a golden era. Eto’o and Henry were the strikers
supplied by such geniuses as Leo Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Piqué and Alves.
Guardiola marches on
There was more of the same in 2009/10. Rather than rest on their laurels, Barça continuing
playing dazzling football and breaking records. By game 13, they had set a new record of ten wins,
three draws and no defeats. Ibrahimovic, Pedro and Bojan had been added to the blend, and such was
the level of demand that the team were even criticised for the three draws on away turf. The
numbers spoke for themselves, and after beating Xerez (0-2), FCB had a record 33 points, five more
than Real Madrid, who had played one game more. It would be a remarkable season in which Barça
topped the league with a record 99 points.
A 5-0 win to set up new record
But this team knows no limits, and has just beaten even that amazing tally. In 2010/11 Barça
have a new 13-match record of 34 points thanks to 11 wins and one draw, and just one defeat, a 2-0
shock at the Camp Nou against Hercules. The run has included such extraordinary results as 8-0 away
to Almeria and the historic 5-0 win in the clásico to leapfrog Real Madrid and take a two point
lead. Impossible to ask for more.
But the overall record for the first 13 games is still held by Real Madrid, who started with
12 wins and a draw in the 1991/92 season. They won the title that year, eight ahead of Barça, in
the time when wins were still only worth two points. But none of that served for anything, because
ultimately it was Barcelona that won the champion ship that season.