High-flying Barcelona hope for more joy in 2010

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/football.jpg' class='caption'> After a memorable 2009 in which they won a record six trophies, league leaders Barcelona hope for more success in 2010 and aim to start on the right note with a

Updated: January 01, 2010 11:50 IST
  • Total Shares


After a memorable 2009 in which they won a record six trophies, league leaders Barcelona hope for more success in 2010 and aim to start on the right note with a home win over Villareal on Saturday.

Champions Barca lead the table by two points from Real Madrid after going the first 15 league games unbeaten and should be full of confidence after winning the World Club Championship before the Christmas break.

"We don't know how things will go in 2010 but with the coach (Pep Guardiola) we've got there is no way we are going to relax," said Brazilian defender Dani Alves.

"We are hoping to start the year well, like we finished this one."

In 2009 Barca won a league, Kings Cup and Champions League treble before lifting the European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and World Club Championship, so topping that in 2010 will take some doing.

Villarreal made the worst start in their history but have recovered to climb to ninth under Ernesto Valverde.

The club's away form has been their main problem with just one away win all season and the odds are stacked against them at Camp Nou where Barca have not dropped a single point in the league.

Real didn't collect a single trophy last year and the pressure is on for coach Manuel Pellegrini to change that in 2010.

Pellegrini has kept Real within striking distance of Barca and his side begin with a trip to Osasuna on Sunday.

Real must do without key Portuguese defender Pepe until the end of the season due to injury although the club have resisted the temptation to bring in a replacement.

Defender Alvaro Arbeloa believes Real's Galacticos' are starting to gel and are capable of a league and Champions League double come May.

"We have stepped up our game, we are scoring a lot and our defence is strong," said Arbeloa. "Winning La Liga and the Champions League is difficult but we have the potential."

Sevilla may have beaten Real this season but they have fallen out of the title race and lie seven points behind Real going into Saturday's match at Atletico Madrid.

Sevilla can't afford to lose further ground while Atletico are in much worse shape lying just two points above the relegation zone.

"The Christmas break was good for us to forget about the past few months, which weren't good at all," said Atletico midfielder Raul Garcia.

"It was good for us to regain our strength and begin to think positively."

Valencia lie a point behind Sevilla in fourth and begin with a home match against Espanyol at the Mestalla Stadium.

Over the Christmas break there was renewed talk of Valencia striker David Villa's future but for now he continues in Valencia's colours and leads the goal-scoring charts with 12 goals.

Real Mallorca have been the surprise package of the season with their perfect home record of seven wins firing them up to fifth, two points behind Valencia.

Athletic Bilbao are the next visitors to Mallorca's fortress Ono Stadium on Sunday.

Down at the bottom Xerez prop up the table, as they have done for most of the season, and will hope to start their survival bid with a win at Almeria on Sunday.

Almeria axed Mexican coach Hugo Sanchez after the club slumped into the relegation battle and new boss Juan Manuel Lillo has the task of keeping Almeria in the top-flight.

Real Zaragoza are another side in trouble languishing second from bottom and have a tough game at home to sixth-placed Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

Zaragoza lost patience with coach Marcelino but replacement Jose Aurelio Gay has also found the going tough and they were routed 6-0 by Real Madrid in their last league outing.

Valencia v Espanyol (1700 GMT), Barcelona v Villarreal (1900 GMT), Atletico Madrid v Sevilla (2100 GMT)

Sunday: Sporting Gijon v Malaga, Getafe v Valladolid, Racing Santander v Tenerife, Almeria v Xerez, Real Zaragoza v Deportivo La Coruna, Real Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao (1800 GMT), Osasuna v Real Madrid (2000 GMT)

For the latest Sports news , like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

  • Football
  • Bayern München

Leave a comment