BFB Staff Predictions (EDIT for Euler!)

Iniestazo please.

Two days hence the biggest event since we were nearly Raptured away is happening. I know you were sitting in your home, office, shantytown, and thinking to your self: “self, I wonder what the writers for this blog that I read religiously predict for the final on Saturday, I wish they would compile them all in one location.” Well, have no fear reader, because after scouring the emails and waiting on certain people who take forever to reply (read: Isaiah), we’re finally ready to go. Feel free to agree, or disagree as you will. Linda was unable to take part unfortunately.

Isaiah-Founder, overlord, jive turkey: 2-0 Barça

“The game itself should be fun. The questions leading up to it are all about United’s formation and Barça’s back line health, but when kickoff happens, we should see some serious fun and some seriously talented players having that fun. Goals by Eto’o, err I mean Pedro and Messi. Valdes saves well from Park early on, but then Anderson in the middle screws up and Iniesta torches him and provides the assist. From there, it’s all over except the trophy ceremony and the lauding from the journos. Greatest club team in history? Can they repeat in Germany next year? Which Icelandic volcano will keep them from doing it?”

Kevin-“Editor,” talking head, floor general: 2-1 Barça

“If Villa is as (Kevin said a naughty word) as he’s been of late, we’re screwed. Can’t beat them with just Messi. Pedro isn’t going to be the difference maker. You can cover him with a single man. He CAN be the difference maker if Messi and Villa are on. Rooney is the wild card. He’s a freed man with no more Thong Boy in the side. And Chicharito is a pain. Possession will be more important than ever before. Personally, I don’t think that straight up, they can beat us. But if somebody gives the ball away in the wrong spot (cough! Zambrotta! cough!) suddenly we’re down a goal, and the wagons are circled.

The side will be rested and full-strength, and neither side will have the fully honed match fitness, which means that natural talent starts to carry the day. We have the most talented player(s) on the planet at a few positions. I don’t see a 3-0, but I can easily see a 2-1, with goals by Pique and Iniesta.”

Luke-Honey badger, wisenheimer, naked & famous: 3-1 Barça

“Goals by Messi x 2, Iniesta, and Chicharito. It’s not that Manchester United is such a weak side that they will or can be easily manhandled or that Sir Alex is some bush league tactician who knows nothing about the game, it’s that they have already stated they have no real plan for Messi (like Mou did with Pepe) and with Messi, Pedro, Villa, Xavi, and Iniesta all starting, along with Afellay in reserve, that’s 6 players who are difficult enough to prepare for without taking into account Alves and Busquets. The problems will come from the back like they have recently, but not from Rooney. It will be the sneaky Little Pea who will give the back line fits and with lingering questions at LB, the health of Puyol in some question, and Abidal’s slow return all in focus, it would mean VV has to stand on his head to make this Barcelona’s 4th European title and a huge Double. It’s not that I’m overconfident, I’m not, it’s just that I have so much respect for Messi in these huge games and Xaviniesta create plays better than any tandem in the world.”

Soccermom-Holy mother, Kanye West’s hypeman, union winner: 2-1 Barça

“I honestly have not the slightest idea, except for some really bad puns involving Bárdarbunga and plays by Eugene O’Neill. Don’t quote me directly but I’m going for Barça 2 – Man U. 1, goals by: Chicarito (min. 8), Messi (p., min. 37) and Iniesta (min. 68). Because really, why the hell not?”

Colin-British name, live blogging machine, thug life: 2-1 Barça

“Barcelona wins 2-1, with Messi and Pedro scoring. In my mind I’ve been billing this game as the Magnificent Barcelona against Stalwart Manchester. Early on it will be a very even match, but Barcelona will find the goal first and Manchester will be forced to chase the match. Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi will form a roving triangle of death for Manchester that they just won’t be able to stop. Manchester will pull one back in the second half, and it will be a nervy ending but Barcelona has the mental toughness to be champions, and they will repeat the win from two years ago”

Kari-Canadian, owner/operator of Cesc fan club, daughter of Jens Lehman: 3-0 Barça

“This match really depends on the first goal. Cliche, I know, but really. I don’t think Man Utd will be going all out against us, because, well, with all due respect that’d be suicide. My brain tells me they’ll play a conservative game and look to hit us on the counter using their pace (which is why I think Valencia will start), so it won’t be a high scoring game. Luckily, we’ve had ample time to work out how to play against such a team (4 times in fact. Ahem.) The boys are really, really ready for this one. I’m sure that Xavi and co. feel really pumped at the thought of winning the CL in the same stadium the club won its very first in 1992. They’re romantics like that. (And I am too).

Messi will probably be quadruple teamed but that leaves space for Pedro! and Villa to exploit. Iniesta will be massive in this match with his attacking forays (just chut de bol, Andres! Good things happen when you do! Like birth rates go up!) and to add to the team’s confidence is that our resident caveman of a captain is back, and our best outfield player of the season that isn’t Messi that come back from a liver tumor will feature as well. It’s both full backs and Villa’s first final and we want to win this one. United have boatloads of quality and will have their fair share of chances, but our ‘keeper Valdes is in a rich vein of form and it won’t be easy to beat him. I respect United, but I have faith in this team. I want this CL. Badly.

Official prediction that I wish will become a reality: 3-0, Barcelona: Villa, Messi, Abidal (what can I say? I’m a romantic.)”

Euler – Bridge Wanderer, Rinus Michels StickerCollector: 3-1 Barça

Barça have been off form for several months. With two weeks off and one game left to play I believe they’ll circle back towards maximum performance. Look for Barça to come out and press with great intensity like they did against Arsenal at Camp Nou. I expect that level of energy.

Manchester United is a wonderful club –- better than many give them credit for. However, United are weakest in the one area where you just can’t afford to give against Barça –- in the space between the lines. In turn Manchester United are going to be forced to make very difficult trade-offs in how they play, and how they allocate game resources.

Perhaps the key player for Barça is going to be the LB, who will most likely (hopefully?) be Abidal. United will look to circumvent the midfield when they are in possession, and look to play the ball out very fast to the wings to build play. The danger man for them is Valencia –- who is a wonderful flank player. Valencia lines up where Barça are in theory most vulnerable due to injury and lack of form. If the left back can contain the United right wing player, Barça will be that much more secure in winning. The other player who will need to be in form for Barça is Busquets, as he will likely be responsible for marking Rooney in his unorthodox role.

Goals by Messi, Ghostface and Pedro. Havoc wrought by all the blaugrana!

So there you have it, a lot of 2-1’s and everyone taking Barcelona for their 4th European title.

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  1. Vj
    May 26, 2011

    Daughter of Jens Lehmann 😛

    And is Colin Vicsoc?

    Prediction: Us. Doesn’t matter how..

  2. Dani_el
    May 26, 2011

    This time on saturday we’ll know the result. I’m hoping for this team, they really deserve it, I’m hoping for Abi and Pep and Messi (It would be the first I see) to be “manteados” and whatever happens, this club, their players, staff, fans and values rule! Whatever happens we’re cules and this team will continue to win beautifully many many cups.

  3. Helge
    May 26, 2011

    Will read it later, but I can say before reading: great new feature!

    And did anybody watch UCL women final?
    OL won, and they celebrated with blue and red confetti! Is this an omen? I hope so 😀

  4. Haven’t posted in a while but this is the BIG one. It’s very interesting to read all the predictions and perhaps the only way to add any more romance to a possible Abidal goal would be a Bojan goal as well – right at the death! But the truth is, cliche or not, anything can happen in this match. What I want to see the most though, is a total football lesson with even more dominance than Rome ’09.. like really… a proper 4-0 win with no favorable refereeing decisions, no red cards, just Barca at their brilliant best as if they were playing at the Camp Nou and prevailing in a completely indisputable fashion. This is a very special team in a very special period as we all know, and I would love if they could truly express themselves on Saturday. So that will be my hope/prediction. FOUR goals: Messi (his first on English soil) Xavi (he’s due a free kick goal this season) Villa (Owen’s imitations won’t prepare United enough for him) and yes… I believe Eric Abidal will score the 4th. FC Barcelona 4-0 Manchester United. Good luck guys. Visca Barca!

    • Noslehcimretep
      May 27, 2011

      of all the goals that could be scored, and all the subplots that they carry, a Xavi free kick goal would be my dream.

  5. Extreme barca fan
    May 26, 2011

    We win, 3-1, their goal comes when the game is over, maybe at the 93rd minute. other than that ill be surprised if Man Utd get 10 touches on the ball.

  6. Vj
    May 26, 2011

    There ya go, Euler with a tidbit that has whetted my appetite for more. Hopefully a detailed follow-through is gonna be the donut I’ve been looking for before the final..

    Besides, have ever seen the blog so positive? Where’s all the negativity? This has me worried 😐

    • Nav
      May 26, 2011

      Anything can happen in 90 minutes.

      But then ask yourself this: who of their first XI would you want in our first XI? How many times has the team not won an important game this season? Have they done everything to earn our faith in them?

      I can see plenty of reasons for being positive. Anything can happen in 90 minutes, but I think as far as reasons go, Barca has given its fans so many reasons for us to believe in them.

  7. mega_tajh
    May 26, 2011

    A culé can dream for a Manita right? lol.

  8. May 26, 2011

    Manchester United are a very good team. I really like the players they have and how they can play. I know they weren’t that impressive to start the season and struggled away from home – but I do think they have an excellent collection of talent and are very flexible.

    If the Glazers hadn’t been so short sighted and had actually given Ferguson some money to spend on their midfield they would really be formidable. But they didn’t so there are significant holes there.

    That’s not where you want holes against Barca.

    That said of course anything can happen. United could open the game and score on a quick counter and then sit back and maintain shape. That’s entirely possible. We could even say it’s maybe a 30% chance something like that happens. It’s still a 70% chance Barca is going to win.

    Probability is of course a limited way of looking at things of course because the match will only be played once – not over a large sample of instances. So United could absolutely win.

    But right now it’s not overly confident to say that Barca is more likely to win and more likely by a fair margin.

    As much as cules may appreciate Preciado, we should thank him even more. United’s best chance to win this CL final evaporated once Gijon beat RM and the Liga lead went back to 8 points.

    That was the cushion Pep needed to get his players through the CL semis while also being able to rest his players.

    If Barca doesnt’ have these past two weeks off – this match is a whole other story.

    I think they come out very ready to play. And we’ve seen the level of brilliance they can achieve when focused concentration and effort are required.

    • Helge
      May 26, 2011

      I don’t like the optimism ahead of this match from all sides – media, fans, pundits.

      Kind a reminds me of how ManUtd’s fans and the British commentators / experts saw the role of favourite in the last final. Nobody really thought that ManUtd could lose. They were even describing ManUtd 08/09 of the best ManUtd side ever!
      And we all know how it ended.

      It’s almost as if we might have lost a bit of our humility.

      • Nav
        May 26, 2011

        As long as the players don’t feel like that it matters not.

  9. May 26, 2011

    Also – and I hate to even bring this up – I think there is a high probability for a Manchester Untied player being sent off.

    They are going to have difficulty between the lines and that could cause all sorts of frustration and difficulty for Vidic, Fedinand and whoever they play in the holding position. If they actually play Scholes then that probability only sky rockets.

    Wayne Rooney will also need to be careful about not getting frustrated out on the pitch.

    • Nik
      May 26, 2011

      As much love as Scholes gets (especially from players like Xavi), I just can’t rate him that highly when he spent (what seems like) his entire career refusing to learn how to tackle properly.

  10. May 26, 2011

    So I will put the question here:

    Who is Kiko Femenia, and why do we want him? Buzz is that we’ve struck a deal with Hercules for him, and he will most likely bounce back and forth between the A and B teams.

    • Para
      May 26, 2011

      There is an entirely endearing video on youtube of him having what seems to be a panic attack during a football match, and his team mates telling the coach not to take him off, and helping him along until he manages to get into the rhythm of things.

      I realise this is not really answering your question, and also is probably not a wonderful advertisement of the boy, but hey.

    • Helge
      May 26, 2011

      I don’t have a clue…

      rumours say that he costs us 4m plus a B team player – to then play himself mainly in the B team. Yeah, that make sense to me 🙁

      I’ve heard about Kiko, about this dude from Sporting who is not Botía – what’s this all about? I want Botía back and not lose another B team defender :'(

    • May 26, 2011

      I saw this the other night when it came out in Sport. I wrote out some thoughts in a comment. I’m going to be really lazy and just repost that comment here given that the transfer looks like it might be close to done:

      Sport is reporting that Barca are negotiating the transfer of Kiko Femenia from Hercules and that a deal is in an advanced state.

      Obviously take it with a grain of salt. It’s sport. But this just seems like a name that is so random that there could very well be something to it.

      Basically Sport is saying that Barca does not want to spend a great deal of money this summer and are looking for less costly alternatives. Thus the interest in Jose Angel and now Femenia.

      I know next to nothing about this player. He’s 20 and plays on the right flank. He’s represented Spain at the youth ranks. And he played for Hercules in both matches against Barca (match 1 as a substitute – second match as a starter). He started 21 matches this season. Hercules evidently have rated him at 10M in the past but now that they are going down have to sell him. The price for Barca would be around 4M. Supposedly Valencia and Villareal are also looking to sign him also.

      Just reading tea leaves – I’d have to guess that Barca’s interest would be to have him play at RB. Doesn’t make sense to sign him as a midfielder where he played for Hercules. Given how the Barca full backs play they may see Femenia as a player who could be fit into the FB position in the system.

      Who knows what’s true – but it does seem like Barca is looking to add players for next year and that they are looking to find players who are talented but won’t be that expensive but do have some first team Liga experience. Given those requirements it’s going to be young players who fit the bill. It’s a risky strategy but one that has some upside if you really believe in their talent.

      Cules often talk about not wanting to bring in young players from the outside given the message it would send to the players at La Masia. Not sure if Pep sees it that same way. This year it become even more clear that Pep is committed to the youth development but wants to integrate those players very, very slowly. Even the most mature players in the B team have brought along slowly and even then much of their playing time was only due to absolute need from injury. Fontas is an extremely mature player – but even he was used sparingly despite the disaster at CB late this season.

      These potential transfers may also speak to where the team sees the the full back situation at La Masia. There aren’t any clear standouts at LB. And on the right there probably isn’t a player who can assume significant first team playing time next season.

      Next season we could see a back line where Abidal is at CB with Puyol at CB. Adriano would then play at LB opposite Dani and the two full backs may be backed up by two very young players.

      Adding relatively inexpensive back ups at FB would allow Barca to spend on a striker and another 1-2 CB (2 if Botia is one of those CB as he only costs 2m).

  11. just listenin
    May 26, 2011

    Thanks for the predictions, in aggregate you guys say 14-4 Barca, averaged over the 6 of you 2+ to 1-, I like it.

    I am going for 3-1(?), I think it will end on the “operatic high note” at our uncontainable, irresistible best (thanks for all the hyperbolic commentary Mr Hudson). I’ve been feeling in recent weeks post clas-phsycho weeks like the team is resurgent (mentally) and rested (physically).

    I have a feeling we’ll strike first, they might nick one, and we’ll dig deep and pull away convincingly. Love the romantic’s view with Abidal scoring and how phenomenal would that be, but my gut says Messi (2, first and last) and Villa or Iniesta (depending on style of the game)

    I am starting to feel the butterflies, not clasico type butterflies more Spain world cup final type butterflies – confident but cautious ones

    • Obii
      May 26, 2011

      Afellay best not be sold. That would be a travesty, especially when he’s only just started to fall into rhythm with the rest of the team.

      Euler, its like you read my mind. A few posts back I was even commenting saying that the biggest battles will be at Barca’s LB position and Busquets vs Rooney. Win those two, and I can see Barca cruising to victory.

      Cant wait for the game!!!

  12. May 26, 2011

    I hope you all like quotes, because I have a 3000+ word monster of a post filled with them posted.

  13. May 27, 2011

    Here is something else kinda cool, money cant buy you everything.

    MVP cost us a ttal of 40m euros (all on Villa). They scored 95 goals combined.

    Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli cost Man. City a total of 87m euros and scored 36 goals.

    Crazy huh?

    Also, if the Pastore thing is true, and they cost the same amount, who would you rather have play for FCB, Pastore or Cesc?

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