Looking at the current state of play, Barcelona will be expected to win to Copa del Rey this season. Anything less would be unacceptable, given that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid do not figure in the Semi-Finals. Instead, the three teams to complete the remaining quartet are Villarreal, Espanyol and Athletic Club. With a commanding 3-1 win in the 1st leg at Camp Nou this past midweek, to use the cliche, we have one foot in the Copa del Rey final. We've already done the league double over Athletic, beating them 2-0 in September 2014 and 2-5 in the Basque Country last week. The same is true with Villarreal, after our 0-1 away win early on this season and recent 3-2 win at Camp Nou.
It would be interesting to have a derby against Espanyol in the final. We've faced Athletic in our last 2 final appearances! I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a different opponent. That said, regardless of who we face in the final, it would take a brave man to bet against the Copa returning to Camp Nou this year.
In La Liga, we are now just 1 point behind Madrid. Who's to say that we can't/won't finish finish the season as champions?
Since the turn of the year, they've hit a rough patch of form that culminated in Atleti's magnificent 4-0 thrashing in last weekend's El Derbi Madrileño. Other than the Clasico on 22 March, the potentially tricky fixtures Ancelotti's men will have to play from now till the season's end are Villarreal (H), Athletic (A) pre-Clasico and Sevilla (A), Valencia (H) post-Clasico.
Comparatively, our potentially tricky fixtures are all after the Clasico. We should be able to smoothly overcome our league opponents from now till the Clasico. After that Camp Nou clash, we face Sevilla (A), Valencia (H), Espanyol (A) consecutively in April. We'll then go up against Real Sociedad( H) and Atleti (A) in Matchdays 36 and 37 before our Matchday 38 vs Deportivo.
To round off the top 3, Atleti's potentially tough fixtures are Sevilla (A), Valencia (H), Real Sociedad (H), Villarreal (A), Athletic (H) between now and when they face us in the penultimate round of fixtures.
It will not be easy to win La Liga, but if things go as planned, we should be on great form heading into next month's Clasico. Momentum is key to winning any league title. A win in the Clasico and anything could happen, considering the momentum we'd have built up by then. I would not count Atleti out of it but, as I see things, any team that finishes above Los Blancos will win the league. In La Liga, I don't envisage Real Madrid finishing anything below 2nd.
In Europe, Manchester City stand in our way of qualification to the Quarter-Finals. Looking at the current set of knockout stage teams, I'll split them into 3 tiers with 1 being strong favourites and 3 being the teams that would do well to reach the QFs. I'd class us as between Tiers 1 and 2.
Tier 1 - Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Chelsea
Tier 2 - PSG, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal
Tier 3 - Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke 04, Shakhtar Donetsk, AS Monaco, FC Basel, FC Porto
If we get past City and have some luck - ie avoiding Tier 1 teams - in the draw, we stand a very good chance of getting to the final. Once there, anything could happen in a one-off match - just ask Roberto Di Matteo.
Thus far, we have improved as the season has gone on. Luis Enrique has not rotated as much as he did in the 1st half of the season, hence a settled side being given time and opportunity to build team chemistry. Our defence has looked better than before. Our midfield, and the team as a whole, has increasingly played with fluency. Our forward trio of Neymar-Suarez-Messi have had the time to build on their on-field chemistry and have started to click. All that and we've won all five of our league matches since the loss to La Real on 4 January. We've also defeated Atleti 4-2 on aggregate in the Copa del Rey.
Sure, it's all conjuncture at this point in time. We could end this 2014/15 campaign empty-handed. We could win one, two or maybe even three trophies. Realistically, I'd think we'll end up with the Copa del Rey, 2nd place in La Liga and getting to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League.
That said, as long as there's a chance, anything can happen. As long as there is hope, we can dream.