FC Barcelona: 10 Bold Predictions For The 2010-2011 Soccer Season
The season has just started but Barcelona have already added a new piece of silverware to their museum: the Spanish Super Cup.
With the signing of David Villa plus the imminent signing of Javier Mascherano, the stakes are higher than ever in Catalonia.
I know some might find my 10 predictions too bold, and I'm perfectly aware that it is very difficult that all of them come true. Still, it is possible.
Anyway, here are my 10 predictions for Barcelona's 2010-2011 season:
Barcelona Will Continue Playing The Most Attractive Football In Europe
This one is a no-brainer.
Ever since Pep Guardiola was appointed as Barcelona's coach, the team has been praised all around the world for their beautiful style of play.
With Xavi and Iniesta pulling the strings, Barcelona will continue to dominate possession and creating beautiful attacking plays in every match with their unique "tiki-taka" style.
For this Barcelona team, winning is not enough. Playing entertaining football is a must.
Bojan Krkić Will Have His Big Breakthrough
For the last two seasons, Bojan has looked like a young Messi. He has unlimited potential and 2010-2011 might very well be his breakthrough season.
At the end of last season, he benched Zlatan Ibrahimovic and performed exceptionally. This season he should be given many more minutes and continue to show his potential.
Presumably, he won't be a regular starter at the beginning of the season, but I believe he'll step up and make the most of the opportunities that Guardiola will give him and will eventually secure a permanent spot in Barcelona's lineup.
At 20 years old, Bojan has everything to become one of the best players in the world very soon.
A New Youth Player Will Step Up
Just like in recent seasons, some youth players should have the opportunity to get their first steps towards becoming first team regulars.
Thiago Alcantara and Jonathan Dos Santos are the two most promising ones. Xavi and Iniesta won't last forever, and these two incredibly talented midfielders are the future of Barcelona. During the season, they might be given some opportunities to show the world their talent and start gaining experience.
Players like Oriol Romeu (defensive midfielder) and Fontás might also be given opportunities.
Barcelona Will Win Both El Classicos
Barcelona have won the last four El Classicos with realtive ease, with a combined 11-2 score.
With Mourinho on Real Madrid, things should be a little more difficult for Barcelona, but there's every reason to believe that they can continue dominating El Classico.
On paper, Barcelona's squad is much better than Real Madrid's and they should have the edge.
I know Mourinho has beaten Barcelona with Inter last season in the Champions League by employing ultra-defensive tactics. But can he do the same with Real Madrid in his first season?
I don't think so. Real Madrid's team is not built to play in a defensive style and teams that dare to play an open game against Barcelona are usually steamrolled (Arsenal is a proof of that).
So, my guess is that Barcelona will once again win both El Classicos.
Barcelona Will Score More Than 100 Goals In La Liga
After scoring a record 105 goals in 2008/2009, Barcelona only scored 98 goals last season.
With David Villa (a player who fits Barcelona system much better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic), Barcelona can aspire to beat the 2008/2009 record. With Xavi and Iniesta setting up chances for the likes of Messi, Pedro, Villa and Bojan, Barcelona's attacking potential seems limitless.
David Villa Will Win The Pichichi
Despite scoring a high number of goals per season, David Villa has never managed to win the Pichichi.
Now that he's finally on a top team, he can finally take the award. Guardiola will probably give Messi some rest in many La Liga matches, which will make it easier for Villa to establish himself as Barcelona's main scorer.
A golden chance for Villa to capture the Pichichi award that has been eluding him for so long.
Lionel Messi Will Be The Top Scorer Of the Champions League
As far as I'm concerned, Lionel Messi has everything to become the first player ever to win the Champions League top scorer award three seasons in a row.
Lionel Messi is still eager to prove that he is by far the most talented player of this generation and there's no better stage to do it than the Champions League. More performances like the one he had against Arsenal should be expected.
Barcelona Will Win La Liga... Unbeaten
This is definitely a very bold prediction.
Barcelona winning the league is expectable, but going unbeaten?
It's very difficult, but not impossible.
Last season, Barcelona only lost one match, to Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderón.
If the team manages to stay focused and take every game seriously, going unbeaten is a possibility. Other than Real Madrid, no team should be able to cause Barcelona many problems, as long as Barcelona performs at their best.
I'm aware that playing at the highest level for an entire season is extremely difficult, but if anyone can do it, it's this Barcelona team.
Barcelona Will Win the Copa Del Rey
Last season, Barcelona blew their chances in this competition by underestimating Sevilla in the first leg of their tie. Guardiola fielded his best team in the second leg, but it was too late.
This season, Barcelona will be looking to win this trophy again and cement their status as the most successful team in the Copa del Rey history.
However, this will only be possible if Barcelona take this competition seriously from the start, unlike last season.
Barcelona Will Win the Champions League
After losing the Champions League title to Inter in a dramatic way last season, Barcelona are more motivated than ever to recapture this trophy.
There are several strong teams with a similar goal, but, with a bit of luck (history shows that no team can win the Champions League without some luck), Barcelona can impose their football and win their fourth Champions League.
It would be a perfect season, just like in 2008/2009. I'm aware that it will be extremely difficult but, with the squad Guardiola has at his disposal, Barcelona fans have every reason to believe in a repeat of the golden 2008/2009 season.