Sunday 19th August will see the first La Liga game of Barcelona under the reigns of Tito Vilanova as the 2012/2013 campaign kicks off.
Tito is very similar in his ways of coaching to Pep Guardiola and working alongside him as his assistant has certainly done him no harm. The great thing about Barcelona is that they are always learning. Even Messi! They look at how they can complement each others style of play and how they can succeed as a team. David Villa’s game changed massively upon his arrival from Valencia in 2010 and I for one can not wait to see him back for the Catalans. Vilanova won’t be changing much in terms of the style of play as that 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formation whichever way you see it, and the total football concept is in-bedded within the club. That is the Barcelona way.
So where can we expect to see changes? I believe the changes will be small to begin with, and tweaked over time. Let’s face it, why would you change the formula of something that has been so successful over the past 4 seasons??? Over the course of the season, I see Fabregas becoming almost a direct forward alongside Messi, just like Dani Alves is virtually a Right Winger than a Right Back. You can’t really predict where he will be. To begin with, In my opinion Cesc will probably operate wider drifting in more centrally and eventually becoming that second striker and so becomes the decoy from Messi as well. This could happen through the course of the game on a regular basis but mainly a development throughout the season. The role he played at the European Championships, is exactly what I see him doing, and just as well too.
Sociedad is certainly no walk in the park. Barca and Vilanova know this and will approach it just like every other game they have under Pep Guardiola. Show respect for the opposition before the kick off, but when that first whistle is blown, it’s over the top, and into battle. Always looking to break through the defence and score, even in the 93rd minute.
Barcelona will want to take back the La Liga title from Mourinho’s boys and recliam the Champions League… In fact every competition they play in, they will play to win. Because that’s the Barcelona mentality. The youngsters that are given the chances are only done so, if they are thought to be good enough. Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos, Tello (all linked with loan moves away) Deulofeu, Rafinha could be a vital part to an Barcelona success this season for one simple reason. Barcelona and critically Tito Vilanova have faith in the future, which is exactly how it should be!
Players to keep an eye on this season: Alexis Sanchez – Now injury free, he will be a massive player for Barca this season, and will want to make amend for time on the sidelines last season. He has looked very sharp pre-season also.
Vilanova hasn’t taken the reigns of the greatest in the team in the world for a gentle ride. He wants to win things, and in style.