Sunday, May 29, 2011

Barcelona Wins the Champions League

And they deserved it.  It was a great match for the first 50 minutes or so, but at that point the Catalans possession advantage started to pay off.

What's next for Barcelona?  They are a fairly young team overall.  Valdes is 29, Busquets is 22, and Pique is 24.  Dani Alves is 28, but still has a few seasons left as one of the top right backs in the world.  Javier Mascherano seems to have been around forever, but he is still only 26.  Carlos Puyol is 33, and Eric Abidal is 31, both are at the tail ends of their careers, but neither is all that important to Barcelona at this point.  The defense looks to be in great shape going forward.

Barcelona play a 4-3-3, and they use three legitimate forwards up top.  Those forwards are chosen from David Villa (29), Lionel Messi (23), Pedro (23), Ibrahim Affelay (25), and Maxwell (29).  This is probably the best attack in the world, and will remain so for several years.

This brings us to the midfield, the one place where Barcelona may have some issues.  Everything they do is  orchestrated by Xavi and Iniesta.  Iniesta is only 27, but Xavi is 31, and both, between La Liga matches, Champions League, Copa del Rey, and international matches for Spain, play a lot of football.

Iniesta is already a little injury-prone, and that will only get worse as he ages.  Xavi, as good as he has been , is not likely to stay at this level for more than 2 seasons.  Euro 2012 could be his sort of last hurrah.

So hold out hope world, Barcelona may only be the best team on the planet for two more seasons.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bolton's Goal-scoring Prowess...

...may once again be dependent upon Nicolas Anelka.

No, the Frenchman will not be returning to the Reebok, but where he plays next year will have a big affect on who is up front for the Wanderers.  If Anelka stays at Chelsea, that could well mean that Daniel Sturridge is available on loan for another season.  As we all know, Owen Coyle would love to have the young striker back at Middlebrook Leisure Center.

However, if one or more from Anelka, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Florent Malouda, and Salomon Kalou decides to move on, Sturridge will probably feature in Chelsea's first team next season.  If this scenario sounds familiar, that is because we went through the same thing with Jack Wilshire and Arsenal last season.

I think Daniel Sturridge is an outstanding player, and I want the absolute best for him and his career, I just hope that best involves a 25-goal season for the Wanderers in 2011-2012.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Wrote It. I Stand By It???

When I was writing my preview for Birmingham City, I felt they would stay up.  This is what I wrote;

Will they go down? Probably not. But I think they will be in or near the bottom three all season, and if they survive it will be by a scant point or two, possibly even on goal difference. They will end up with a point total in the high 30's...

Currently, with two matches to go, Birmingham City are 16th.  They have 39 points, 3 above the relegation zone, and a goal difference of -18.  I get to pat myself on the back for this one.