Can Barcelona compete with Real Madrid without Neymar?

Barca odds

Next opponents Espanyol may feel their full force

The stunning trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is no more. Neymar has left for pastures news, leaving Barcelona without one of their key players.

With Paris Saint-Germain splashing out a world record £200m to sign the Brazilian superstar, there are doubts as to whether they can still compete in the title race?

Many are predicting the relative demise of the Catalan giants this season.

The Coral News team take a look at some reasons why people might be jumping the gun.

Messi is king – everyone else is expendable

Neymar is a fantastic player – undoubtedly one of the best in the world.

But he is not Lionel Messi. As long as the little magician remains at Camp Nou, Barca will always be able to compete.

The Argentinean tends to thrive on more responsibility. In 21 games when either Suarez or Neymar has been absent, Messi has hit 25 goals.

In fact, the Blaugrana tend to average more goals when one of the three is absent. Three goals per game, compared to 2.8 when they all played.

Dembele is the real deal

Barcelona have a tendency to make a mess of the transfer market.

They have spent big before on a number of disasters. Who can forget £25m man Dmytro Chygrynskiy, for instance?

Ousmane Dembele looks a very savvy purchase, though – even at the reported £97m fee.

The 20-year-old was superb for Borussia Dortmund last season, scoring 11 goals and assisting 20 more.

He will need some time to bed in, and Barca fans will have to be patient, but, in time, the Frenchman should prove to be an astute signing.

One man does not make a team

While losing Neymar is a blow, Barca are used to major players departing in one form or another.

Over the last decade or more, totemic players such as Ronaldinho, Carlos Puyol and Xavi have all left.

The club has kept finding a way to win.

Even though Messi is the vital component, as the old adage goes, one man does not make a team.

Catalan Derby

This weekend’s game with Espanyol will be the first real examination of the post-Neymar era.

Having won comfortably in their opening two fixtures, the likes of Dembele, Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suarez will be tested substantially in the heat of Derbi barceloní.

Barcelona are 1/6 to win at Camp Nou – an indicator of how they are still so highly-rated.

Having put 14 past their neighbours in their last three home league games, another rout could be on the cards.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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