What bets to place on brilliant Barcelona?
You know how it is in football; you never get too much time to enjoy your celebrations before you start looking forward to the next challenge. The cleaners will still be mopping up after the celebrations at the Camp Nou on Sunday evening when the Barcelona team brought the European Cup home from London but already football fans are looking forward to next season and seeing what comes next for the Catalan giants.
One interesting bet that may bring dividends is whether Barca can become the first side to successfully defend the Champions League trophy? Ever since the change in format, no side has ever won the competition two years in a row, which indicates how tough a trophy it is to win. At this moment in time, you would say that Pep Guardiola’s wonder team has every chance of doing so but it only takes one bad night in the knock-out round to crush your hopes and dreams. One bad refereeing performance and hopes of retaining the most cherished trophy in Europe can disappear.
Puyol is a big loss when he can’t play
You also wonder if Barcelona can retain at the top for another season. Injury has deprived them of the services of Carlos Puyol for so long this campaign and the club are a different, and poorer, team without him in the side. Guardiola needs to get Puyol back to full fitness or find a proper replacement.
There is also the question of how Barcelona would cope if their star players started dropping out with injuries? Yes Puyol has been absent on many occasions and brave Eric Abidol overcame a cancerous tumour but there has been a constant ability to pick the busy front-men for Guardiola. It has been a rare occasion when either of Xavi or Iniesta have not been available and of course, what side in the world wouldn’t miss Lionel Messi? At the moment Barcelona look unstoppable but all it takes is one or two more cogs in the machine to come out for a while and the side could have problems.
Another interesting bet will be if Real Madrid can finally claim back the league title after Guardiola’s three title winning campaigns. It is clear that the two sides are head and shoulders above the rest of Spain’s teams with the head to heads being really important. If Madrid can take points off Barca and then cut out the odd silly mistake, the men from the Spanish capital could get back on top in the two horse title race.
The two sides meet in the Spanish Super Cup at the start of the August. It is a two legged affair with the first game taking place in the Santiago Bernabeu on August 14th and the second leg taking place in Camp Nou three days later. Can Pep pick up another trophy in his illustrious career so far or will Jose start the season by getting one over on Barca? Will Jose even be the Real Madrid manager by the time the season starts?
There are so many things to think about for next season, it is just as well there are no football games for a while to allow people to weigh things up!