Sociedad – Barcelona Liveblog

The big news is that Puyol has been cleared by the medical team and is on the bench. Guardiola doesn’t like being upstaged, so he has rolled out an interesting lineup:

Valdes – Alves Busquets Fontas Adriano – Xavi Keita Thiago – Pedro Fabregas Sanchez

Bench: Pinto, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal, Iniesta, Messi, Villa


Join me a couple of minutes before the game, which is at 12:00 pm EST.

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  1. Triplo Volanti (formerly Cesc Pistol)
    September 10, 2011

    Yay Fontas! 🙂 Also nomessi! 🙁 But Thiagol! 😀

    • Calvin
      September 10, 2011

      Remember how worried we were that buying Cesc meant Thiago wouldn’t get enough playing time?

  2. September 10, 2011

    Resting any one of Messi, Villa, or Iniesta last season was very difficult to do for Pep.

    Resting all three together with no injuries – almost unthinkable.

    We’re seeing Pep do exactly what was needed to make the purchases of Cesc and Alexis work – and that’s engage in heavy squad rotation.

    • Barcathegreatestever
      September 10, 2011

      Those guys just took so much punishment, Keita too the past 3 years, especially Iniesta and Messi. Hacked continuously, it was a wonder they made it through the season. Messi even started wearing shinguards on the back of his legs. How many trophies then? Remember losing Eto’o for 6 months? Maybe the Ibra deal was partly in response to how many injuries they were racking up. That fiasco was a major setback in deepening the squad. Anyway I think Pep and company have been incredibly fortunate with the thinness of the squad and just as brilliant in recruiting world class depth. Without them the I’m afraid it would have been the last straw.

  3. Olufestus
    September 10, 2011

    Gosh!!….alexis out with an injury…wish he could be fit for milan clash..

  4. September 10, 2011

    I’m depressed. If the TV deals were more equal, Sociedad would have won this match. Injustice.

  5. Judas Pissed
    September 10, 2011

    Hopefully that is THE last time we ever see Busquets at centre half – a fricking liability…

  6. Vj
    September 10, 2011

    Better against Sociedad than against Milan?

    • Xingxian
      September 10, 2011

      I’d rather drop points against Milan than against Sociedad >_<

    • The__K__Man
      September 10, 2011

      I’d rather lose to Milan. In CL both teams will progress in La Liga only 1 team wins.

  7. Triplo Volanti (formerly Cesc Pistol)
    September 10, 2011

    FIFA Virus, the loss of Alexis and major, major complacency on our part makes us suffer. Pep makes mistake in playing two slow defenders and we suffer. Slow subs as usual, Iniesta should be on much earlier.

    We should not have dropped points today, not with that first half. the league has just started but we will suffer for every lost point. EE are much better this season.

  8. Guardiola will you for heaven’s sake stop this stupid experiment of using Keita as a holding midfieler. He cannot win a simple challenge cleanly.

  9. September 10, 2011

    This match changed when Alexis Sanchez got injured.

    Not only was his pace and technique destroying the Sociedad back line but his effort and work rate were enormous.

    He adds qualities that the team otherwise doesn’t have.

    All that said – it was an inexcusable match. It should have been 4-0 at the half and the team just slowed down as if the game were won.

    They played the way they rarely do – lazily.

    No team is perfect. Every team is going to drop points.

    But this was not the way that you want to drop those points. You can’t drop points just based on effort and easing up on competing.

  10. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    Who would’ve taken the red card for Busquets instead off the tying goal?

  11. pr17
    September 10, 2011

    bad one.. blame it entirely on pep. he got overconfident from the villareal result. while villareal match was won due to tactical discipline and good planning, this is was too loose from pep who put backup players in without any tactical planning. Plus smacked of overconfidence. What i wonder is even after 2 matches in liga, we havent strutted our possible best XI in either matches and now we face ACM. Rotation can come later in season but not now. Pep made a rijkaard kind of mistake. Better early than later in season…

    • Calvin
      September 10, 2011

      I don’t know, the fact that it was 2-0 after 12 minutes seems to me that there was nothing wrong with choosing this lineup. The problem was that almost immediately after the second goal the players lost all their drive. For 30 minutes in the first half there was no thrust, no hunger from the players.

      Although I must admit, I don’t like the Busquets – Fontas CB pairing at all. I’d be happy if they never played together in the back again.

      • The problem is not playing Busquets in CB. It’s playing Keita in holding midfielder. The moment pressure is applied on him he fumbles. just watch that second half how stupid he was. When our DM doesn’t offer protection to our defense our defense usually struggles. He should have played Abidal and Fontas in defense and Busquets in central midfield.

  12. Miguel
    September 10, 2011

    Wait. Are we sure the ref let R Soc’s tying goal stand?

    • Lou
      September 10, 2011

      Yes, otherwise Busquets would have been sent off.

      • mega_tajh
        September 10, 2011

        So is R Soc’s tying goal considered the act of “advantage” or “playing on” from the ref??

        • Lou
          September 10, 2011

          I think because Sociedad played on Busquets only got a yellow. If they hadn’t he would have received a straight red for illegally blocking a goal scoring opportunity and Sociedad would have gotten a penalty? (I think it happened in the penalty area).

          • Lou
            September 10, 2011

            Yeah, I watched it again, it definitely would have been a penalty.

          • Lou
            September 10, 2011

            Although, Soccernet doesn’t list a yellow for Busquets.

  13. jordi™
    September 10, 2011

    Its not the end of the world, the team always bounces back well and its a good reminder to them that only being ruthless will win us games not just that we have a super team.If we end up behind Madrid and the team need to win at the bernabeu to get back in front, they will because that’s what this team does.

    • Xingxian
      September 10, 2011

      I’m sorry, I can’t seem to understand you over the repeated, unceasing screams of “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE” playing in my head.

      I’ll try reading it again.

      Damn. I still got nothing.

      /away crying in a bucket in a corner wearing a blanket

  14. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    Well it’s still one point won away from home. We all know this team wouldn’t drop many points this season so at least we get this disappointing performance out the way.

    Heres hoping Getafe!!!

  15. September 10, 2011

    Also – this was another match in which Villa and Pedro struggled against a high back line. I wrote about this issue in my review after the European Super cup match where Porto also played a high line.

    Against a high back line both of those players become very dependent on other to create opportunities for them. Pedro got opportunities – but squandered them. Villa did very little.

    Sanchez and Afellay have skill sets which are very well suited to play against those kinds of high back lines. You could see the impact Sanchez had when he was on.

    Disappointing that neither Afellay nor Sanchez could be used for most of the match.

  16. pr17
    September 10, 2011

    pep.. why keita.. why this obligation to play him…and please use busi at DM (thats the only way to bypass intense pressing since he is so smart with his turns). let us get a first XI playing now.

  17. September 10, 2011

    So basically, if one puts Euler’s and jordi’s comments together, that is exactly how I feel.

    Crap, someone has to review this match…

  18. Lou
    September 10, 2011

    So I only got to watch the second half, but it was amazing to see how fast the team’s mentality crumbled. One minute they were half heartedly trying for a third and then the next they had conceded two stupid goals, and just lost all composure.

    Valdes was the most obvious example, he just seemed so pissed that the team had ruined his big day that he lost all concentration.

    I don’t really blame Pep for this result though: he put out a team that was good enough to do the job, and his ability to make offensive substitutions was hampered by the injury to Sanchez and the fact that Afellay wasn’t quite ready.

    Hopefully the team will learn from their mistakes.

  19. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    Getafe also playing really well, keeper looks solid, players keeping the ball in midfield and creating chances.

  20. September 10, 2011

    Why are people blaming Keita? He played fine.

    Neither goal conceded was remotely his fault.

    And he was fine in possession as well. The team had Xavi, Thiago and Cesc on the pitch and later on Messi.

    They lost this match because they didn’t kill it off in the first half when they should have.

    The problem with this match was not scoring that 3rd goal which would have completely put the match away and took hope away from Sociedad.

    That was the key to the match. The lack of that third goal.

    And that’s squarely on the team’s lazy attacking play.

    • Neither goal was his fault, agreed on that. But we always seem to concede whenever we allow the opposition players again and again on our central defenders. That’s what he was doing. No breathing space was awarded to the central defense. In our setup I always believed that we do well when we have a good DM. His distribution was poor, everytime he goes infor a challenge he gets no where near the ball and commits a foul.

      • Having said that Having said that I do agree that he played really well in first half. It’s when the opposition start to put the pressure on , he melts.

      • September 10, 2011

        But we always seem to concede whenever we allow the opposition players again and again on our central defenders. That’s what he was doing.

        No he wasn’t. That’s not an accurate description of what happened.

        On the game as a whole, Sociedad generated only a very limited number of chances. It’s not as if they were pounding down the gates all match long.

        They hardly had the ball.

        The second goal was almost entirely Villa’s fault.

        And on that first goal Busquets failed to win and clear a ball that a good CB should win.

        If Abidal or Mascherano were playing that goal would not have scored.

        And Keita’s distribution was fine as well. He’s playing in a midfield of Xavi and Thiago with Cesc also in midfield.

        I disagree with almost everything you’ve said.

        He was not the problem.

        In our setup I always believed that we do well when we have a good DM.

        It seems that you are reading the match through this lens of belief. But while DM play is critical for almost any team, this was not the issue today.

        The attack was the issue. You can blame Keita all you want but the attack is not on him neither were the goals conceded.

        • Any attack is like a concert,cannot happen in isolation. Hence it is extremely difficult to construct attacks when everything gets broken down in middle. moreover keita in second half did nothing to break their midfueld rhythm. That meant Xavi got pinned back for majirity of second half. the two goals may be conceded by individual mistakes but prior to that the opponents were making themselves assertive in the midfield. it was a dm’s job to break that progress. if it ain’t then we should play a midfield of xavi iniesta and cesc

  21. Jnice
    September 10, 2011

    I warned of this in the LiveBlog. I know how this team gets. Domination can turn into ridiculous mistakes leading to goals in no time. This is why I still didn’t feel comfortable after we were up by two goals. Negative? No. I just know this team.

    I’m pissed right now and won’t get over this anytime soon. I don’t even care about the Milan match. This game was a huge disappointment and the players should feel ashamed. No excuses.

    See ya later.

    • Calvin
      September 10, 2011

      We must have been watching different teams over the last couple of years. It is undeniable that the team drops a couple points every season due to getting complacent in games. However since Pep took over the team has been the strongest mentally I’ve ever had the pleasure to see it, particularly in big games.

  22. Humphrey Bogart
    September 10, 2011

    As ridiculous this sounds this results puts us already on the backfoot. We can be sure that the EE will not drop any points so it will all come down to the classicos. But at least we can be sure that this will be a wake up call. It has reduced our margin of error to zero.

    • jordi™
      September 10, 2011

      They will drop points just like any season.Probably not against any top half teams but when no one expects. Hell Atleti might for once spring a surprise

      • mega_tajh
        September 10, 2011

        Yeah take a look at the VALENCIA – ATHLETIC game in a few hours to see what Atl. Madrid can really do. They signed well, Reyes-Falaco-Turan with Diego behind them should cause Madrid, heck even us some problems only their defense needs some sorting out but with Manzano I expect more from them this year.

    • Lou
      September 10, 2011

      Madrid will certainly drop more points. They dropped 22 last year (5 points were lost playing Barcelona). They may be better this year (debatable), but that doesn’t mean that they won’t have their off days too.

      It’s annoying that Barcelona lost the lead in such a silly fashion, but it’s way too early to call this draw critical in the title race in my opinion.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        September 10, 2011

        I do honestly think that they will not drop any points, after two years with only the CdR they will be so hungry that a game like ours today will never ever happen for them

        • mega_tajh
          September 10, 2011

          With CDR,UCL and La Liga I expect them to drop points somewhere along the lines just like us to and remember injuries have never been kind to them either.

          Also to add their defense has been shaky on a few, look getafe just hit the post. Their attack has gelled well this year but that’s bout it.

          and on writing this getafe scored 1-1.

  23. The positives of this match – at least it showed how important is Iniesta in that midfield and he cannot be pushed forward to accomodate Cesc

  24. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    Guess someone jumped the gun on the official website saying we won this game and got 6pts on the table.

  25. Dani_el
    September 10, 2011

    It’s official: “The doctors’ verdict is a torn ischiotibial muscle in right leg”.
    According to Sport Sanchez wont be able to play between 6-8 weeks.

  26. September 10, 2011

    Some post match comments from Pep, pardon the translations porfa:

    “Congrats to Real Sociedad for the game and for the draw

    “If the opponent equalizes it’s because they’ve done the right things. When Sociedad drew level, they deserved it

    “Your concentration levels should always be high. This is a good lesson for the future.

    “I’ve always thought sport costs too much, even more when you win. We must do better.

    “Alexis injury? It was a strong tackle. We’ve lost him for an important part of the year.

    “Alexis is a fundamental player in the dressing room.

    “When we played the best, we scored the first goal. It was a good second half.

    “I have so much confidence in my players, who have shown that they will continue to try.”

    • That means he will continue to use Keita as DM this seaosn. It will work if the opposition doesn’t pressurisez the midfield.

      • mega_tajh
        September 10, 2011

        I expect/trust Keita to learn his DM duties to our system similar to how Abidal started off shaky as a CB early last season and turned brilliant.

  27. September 10, 2011

    I’m already suffering from Alexis withdraw. 😥


    • September 10, 2011

      His injury looked serious unfortunately.

      And there’s only so much you can do with hamstrings. Too much of running depends on those muscles.

      This isn’t an issue of the doctors or physios being able to just make it better either. It’s going to take time.

      That was a very poor tackle. No card. Alexis misses upwards of two months and the Sociedad defender will just play on.

      This was a match where you could see how having Sanchez on the pitch makes it much more viable for Pep to rest Messi.

      Once Sanchez was off the pitch Barca didn’t have a player on the pitch who could beat defenders by running at them.

    • Dani_el
      September 10, 2011

      ““Alexis is a fundamental player in the dressing room.”
      He must have a really good personality, how does he get so important in a few games. I hope he comes back soon (he will play with his NT against Peru in october), from now on, I will fear international breaks, getafe draws with EE!! let us hope…

  28. Olufestus
    September 10, 2011

    Welldone getafe!!! Park the fucking bus!!!!!

    • mega_tajh
      September 10, 2011

      No!!! Attack attack……they have looked good going forward well halftime now.

    • Ryan
      September 10, 2011

      It’s time for them to unleash the Pedro Leon! Oh wait…

  29. September 10, 2011

    Xavi laments the defensive errors in the two Sociedad goals, and Thiago admits that there was relaxation. Some self-criticism from the team. [cc Edu Polo]

    No major overreaction needed IMO. Disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world.

  30. jnelson
    September 10, 2011

    ARGHHH. Another year, same story. How many times have we taken the foot off the gas and ended up drawing or losing?

    -Like Euler said, the game changed with Alexis’ injury. After the injury, our wing play failed to created good chances. Since we were no longer beating the offside trap, we needed the false-9 to destabilize the defense by running at them. This is why we have been fine without Sanchez and 3M: Messi. Cesc just didn’t run at the back line at all. Every time he received the ball, he played it on.

    -I think the lineup was great. Everything seemed to be working until the injury deadened our attack. I thought Messi for Sanchez would have been ideal at the time, but there was no way after Messi just got back from India. I didn’t like Keita as a DM though.

    -Several peopled have said it already: Keita is not a DM! He is ALWAYS fouling with clumsy tackles. He is almost always too slow moving the ball. The ball is passed to him-> he receives-> he takes an extra touch -> he loses the ball or he just barely passes it away. Several of his passes today were Mascherano like. Not good at all. If I remember right, the first goal was started by an awful Keita pass. As a Box to Box, he’s the man, but DM is another story. Another thing I noticed is in every game but today’s, Keita is always fouling when the ball is in the air. I think he ruins 25% of our corners and 99% of the time he’s fighting for an aerial ball, he is called for the foul.

    -Fontas was slow. He was beaten in the air for the first goal, and somehow managed to play Griezman onside AND allow him to run past him to score the tying goal. Either play him offside or beat him to the ball!

    • September 10, 2011

      Cesc just didn’t run at the back line at all. Every time he received the ball, he played it on.

      Agreed. This was the problem. Cesc isn’t really a pure false 9. If the team is going to play him there they need pair him with another player who can run at defenses or they need him to develop that ability.

      On your other points – I disagree with your focus.

      You can say what you want about Keita, Fontas, etc. but this game was primarily lost because Pedro and Villa were horrible.

      The problem was the attacking thrust. Pedro and Villa were simply terrible today.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      September 10, 2011

      I do not mind that Fontas did make a mistake that is to be expected as he is a young player and if we want to bleed in canteros we have to be prepared that they will make mistakes. I blame Pep on this one as he partnered him with Busi who is a lot of things but surely no CB,

      • mega_tajh
        September 10, 2011

        I expected Fontas to start with Abidal really and Busi in mid but in Pep we trust, like he said he trust his players.

  31. BarcaGirl_Indo
    September 10, 2011

    Losing Alexis is such a huge blow…
    I’m so worry about Villa and Pedro..

    but at least now we have 2 midfielders who like to score goals ( Thiago and Cesc)..

    and about the result, I know we’ll lose points this season, but to lose points like this is so irritating and unnecessary..

    the major factor was not the line up, imo.. it’s the attitude after the 2nd goal..
    but I don’t like Busi – Fontas line up, at all.. i dont wanna see them plqy together again..

  32. Kimcelona
    September 10, 2011

    This is my FIRST post here after months of lurking.

    The second half was a let down. The entire team became complacent (or maybe took their foot off the gas is a better term) but I am especially disappointed in the midfield. Keita, I DO NOT like at DM. Thiago disappeared in large quantity and was playing on the edge when he did appear and Xavi was probably too busy trying to make up for everyone else mistakes in midfield to be a genius. Once again Villa and Pedrito struggled to get forward and capitalize on opportunities. That is why Sanchez was such a huge loss and WILL be a huge loss 🙁

    The defensive mistakes were just the icing on the cake of a poor second half. Busquets beaten for pace on so many instances could have seen us even lose this match. Fontas was pretty decent but I still think he needed a more experienced and natural CB to partner him. I hope to never see the Fontas-Busi CB pairing ever again! Oh and dont even get me started on that Villa back-pass. Awful.

    That out the way, I know we (myself included as just evidenced above lol) always like to play the blame game after a draw (which feels like a loss with this magnificent team) but I think we should just look ahead to correct the mistakes. I’m sure Pep would have already figured them out.

    • September 10, 2011

      Welcome, Kimcelona! Feel free to comment more.

      Agreed on the last paragraph. Games like these happen, and we’re going to drop points this year. The way we did it, considering how much we dominated in the first half was disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world.

      • Kimcelona
        September 10, 2011

        Thanks Kari! I probably will post more often when I have as much time as today!

  33. Jim
    September 10, 2011

    Some lessons for me. No harm in putting out the team Pep did. They played well, got the breaks and had the game sewn up if they had kept up the intensity. I don’t think the game changed when Alexis went off. He had been playing well although I still don’t think his contribution has been decisive in the way Fabregas’ has. I’m sure it will come though.

    We got to half time and although we were two up we didn’t end the half with our foot on the pedal. For me, at that point, Pep shows he’s not happy with the slackening off and puts on a double sub – probably Iniesta and Abidal, move Busi to DM and take Keita and Thiago off. Neither was playing badly but that would have secured possession for me.

    However, there was still no way back for them even without the subs. That came courtesy of two very bad goals to lose. For the first, Adriano should have prevented the ball coming across – our FBs allow too many balls into our box – and Busi showed why he’s not a CB. He allowed a run behind him and hoped the ball wouldn’t be good enough. He then hardly jumped. For the second, there is just no excuse for Villa. That was sloppy thinking. I would suggest that had Iniesta been on he’d have been available for a short pass. Adriano, who passed the ball to him was possible but hard but Keita made no attempt to come short to receive the ball. Again, though Busi can play them offside ( as he should ) but you don’t stand 10 yards off your man while doing so, just in case you lose it. However, Villa takes the rap for that one.

    At that point Pep has two choices – let them dig themselves out without subs and we would come out of it stronger or put in the big boys. I suspect that his attitude was the former but to me long before this we had lost our hunger for going forward and needed a change. Iniesta had no time to make a difference.

    Finally, I don’t think Busi, Fontas, Adriano, Keita, Thiago, Pedro or Villa covered themselves with glory today and this’ll be an unforgiving regime this year. Affellay has found himself quickly down the pecking order ( as indeed has Maxwell) and there’ll be one or two more if they can’t keep the intensity up for the full 90. This isn’t decisive but was so avoidable and puts us under pressure we don’t need. I don’t agree that this is good league and if we’re unlucky I could see Madrid go long enough without dropping points although as I write this Getafe have still to remember their place and concede two late ones.

    • September 10, 2011

      Pretty much agree with all points, Jim (though I think Alexis was much more decisive on the wing and caused more problems. Taking on defenders is not Villa’s strong suit and I think we missed him there).

      This isn’t decisive but was so avoidable.

      True dat. I hate when we drop points like this.

  34. jordi™
    September 10, 2011

    The problem with Villa currently is he always has to beat a man to get a shot off.He a passable dribbler but its not his strength.Its great to keep width but what’s the point if there are few people in the box.David should get to venture in the box a bit more.Yes hes offside a lot but those early passes in the 1st half before he subbed in are what he thrives on because he isn’t decidedly fast. If we passed a bit quicker when he made his runs he would be offside less I think.

    • The problem was that we had four midfielders with none having the skill set to pm play wide. That meant Villa had no chance of swapping his position.

  35. The__K__Man
    September 10, 2011

    Complacency, complacency and some more complacency to sum up the match!
    No idea why we’re playing 2 slow CBs. Why no Masche or Abi and Busi at DM?
    I knew a game in the Basque country was always going to be tricky especially with a rotated line up but to lose (yeah it’s a loss for me) like this is just unacceptable.

    I would have preferred to win this one and lose to Milan. In the CL 2 teams will advance but here only 1 team win La Liga plus I’d really like to go to the Bernabeu with an advantage over EE.

  36. jordi™
    September 10, 2011

    EE are actually letting Sarabia play O.O

  37. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    And who say La Liga isn’t competitive…I’m loving this weekend games….

  38. Ryan
    September 10, 2011

    TB dive gets EE the goal they needed…surprise!

  39. jordi™
    September 10, 2011

    Welp,not watching this any more. Looking forward to Valencia Atleti

  40. Dani_el
    September 10, 2011

    There was a foul outside the penalty box for Madrid, but of course the referee claims penalty. EE 2 gETAFE 1, and of course the referees help us.

  41. Jim
    September 10, 2011

    I say it isn’t 🙂

    The top two will end up about 20 points ahead of third. The SPL gets slagged for being two horse race but this is no less so ( just better quality ).

  42. jordi™
    September 10, 2011

    But for the phantom penalty it would be 2-2…

  43. September 10, 2011

    Some more quotes from players cc

    Valdes: “They didn’t merit it more, nor do we merit it less. It’s a bit of everything, is part of the game.

    “This shows that nothing is easy and you always play with max. concentration

    “We’ve dropped two pts because in the first half we controlled the game with possession. Two lapses hurt us.

    “GK with most appearances? In this sense, I’m happy. The figure is important, but I would have liked to win.”

    Xavi: We didn’t expect this. There were two errors that cost us dearly

    “There were two lapses, nothing more. We controlled the game and should have sentenced it, but in the end we have drawn.”

    Alves: “This serves as a wake-up call. To get back to achieving our goals, we need to pay more attention so this doesn’t happen again.

    “We are calm, but with the awareness that to overcome these problems we need to do more of what we’ve been doing.”

    Thiago: “goals were the result of lapses in concentration and a bit of relaxation, but it’s not something we do on purpose. It was bad luck.

  44. Guide7
    September 10, 2011

    This is a Flop

    I can’t believe my messi DIVED, I
    can’t believe Pep is desperate
    for weekly praise (Trust me,
    should we have won this game,
    everyone would be saluting Him
    for that line up)
    I hope u (PEP) had both feet in
    the milan game, pls make it up
    for us die hard fans.

    *Am i wrong fellow blogers?*

  45. BarcaGirl_Indo
    September 10, 2011

    I honestly don’t mind Pep expetimenting with his midfield and attack line..
    but enough with backline experiment..

    isnt it obvious that both Busi and Fontas are slow? that Fontas need someone to guide him, player like Puyol/Masch? that Busi is not good enough at CB? how I miss to see Busi at his best position, DM..

    I think the last time I saw him as DM was SuperCopa 2nd leg..

  46. kinukinu
    September 10, 2011

    If Getafe manage to pull off a draw, I’ll go right out and eat a big mac. Here’s hoping….

      • kinukinu
        September 10, 2011

        Yeah–goes to show how little fast food I eat. And with another EE goal, there’s the end of that hope. Green salad it is.


        • Ryan
          September 10, 2011

          Bad for us, good for your waistline.

          • kinukinu
            September 10, 2011

            True…though I would have gladly sacrificed my waistline a little for that result.

      • Chiu
        September 10, 2011

        whopper taste better than big mac

  47. September 10, 2011

    I’m really surprised as to why people are focusing so much on how supporting players, young players and players stationed out of position did in this match compared to the performances of the primary players on the squad.

    David Villa was horrendous. There is simply no comparison between his contribution to the game’s outcome and Keita’s or Fontas’s or even Busquets.

    Not only did Villa almost single handedly gift a goal to Sociedad but he did almost nothing in terms of generating an attack.

    I can’t even imagine the howls of derision if Keita had made the pass that Villa did.

    The fall off in play from Sanchez to Villa was dramatic. It was interesting as to how Fabregas wasn’tnearly as dangerous as a false 9 once Sanchez left the match. Sanchez’s movement and pace were a wonderful complement to how Cesc plays in the middle.

    Villa was just stationed out on the wing and played invisibly.

    On the first goal the minute Cesc receives the ball in space there were two Barca players who instantly read the game right. Two players whose thinking and vision mirrored each other and understood what needed to be done.

    The first was Xavi. The second was Sanchez. Go back and watch a replay of that first goal. Look and see how Sanchez’s train of thought is almost exactly the same as Xavi’s. This is a player who has been in the system for a few months. And then Sanchez has the pace to easily blow by the back line, the touch needed to settle the ball over the top and control in tight space needed to make the critical assist to Xavi for the goal.

    Villa did none of that once he came into the game. He didn’t get behind the defensive line. He didn’t beat defenders with the ball. He did very little despite being played the ball over and over. His link up play wasn’t even productive. Fabregas had no one to try to connect with and trade space with once Sanchez left the game.

    And Pedro was even worse – he could have buried the game on several occasions and just didn’t.

    Fontas and Busquets are not going to play flawless games as a CB pairing. Keita is not going to be flawless at DM either.

    So in this team set up it’s critical for the attack to bury games when the opportunity presents itself and to carry the load for the team.

    Today they just didn’t in any way.

    • Kimcelona
      September 10, 2011

      So, what you’re saying is the blame is to only be placed on Villa?

      I so totally disagree with you on some of your points. Villa was horrible in the match, yes and his backpass was AWFUL. And Pedro had a stinker. But it doesnt mean that Keita at DM, Busi at CB were any less awful and thus why they are getting alot of focus.

      So if the attack isnt performing up to scratch and isnt “carrying the load for the team”, its ok for the midfield and defense to throw up arms and not perform as well?

      • September 10, 2011

        So, what you’re saying is the blame is to only be placed on Villa?

        No. I’m not saying that at all.

        The team played horribly today for almost sixty minutes.

        But what I am saying is this – this was a match which should have been done and dusted inside of the first half with a third goal. End of story.

        Score that third goal and the match is over.

        Soceidad was completely on the back heel and their high line was being shredded apart. Barca completely controlled possession and the dynamics of the match.

        Score once more and it’s done.

        And I’m also speaking to the context of the match. If your manager is going to try to implement heavy squad rotation during a stretch in which you are playing 7 matches in three weeks and is playing Busquets and Fontas at CB then you really have to understand that putting the match away when the scoring opportunities are there is particularly critical.

        This was Fontas’ first match play all season long. It was always possible that they were going to have some kind of fluke problem at the back.

        Experienced players like Pedro and Villa should understand that.

        And I’m also reacting to the number of comments about Keita for example vs. the attacking players.

        The team had 74% possession and scored only two goals. That is not efficient play – especially when you score those two goals within the first 11 minutes of the match.

        Barcelona had roughly 75% of the ball for 79 minutes and did not score.

        And it’s not the DM’s distribution that creates a situation where a team has the ball for 75% of the time and doesn’t convert.

        If Pep is going to rotate the squad then certain players are going to have to step up depending on the context of the match.

        Some matches it will be the back line. Some the midfield.

        Today it was the attack.

        And that was Villa and Pedro primarily.

        Finally, no other player on the Barcelona team came even close to invidividually contributing to this loss as Villa did with that back pass. He gifted that goal to Soeciedad.

        But in this comments thread people keep referring to Keita.

        So I agree the team played poorly across the board. But that is going to happen during a long season.

        And the best way to handle that is to kill off matches quickly so that you can conserve energy for the next match.

        When you get an opportunity to kill off a match in the first 20 minutes you have to take it.

        Instead, the team acted as if the match had been killed off when it wasn’t.

        And on this day – yes – that was primarily an issue of the attack and Villa’s mental mistake on the back pass. Those were disproportionately the causes for this result.

        • September 10, 2011

          Yup. And the players know it too.

          Pedro spoke on similar lines. “We had got the game on good track in the first half but then we let in two goals and things got complicated. We should have scored more after making it 2-0, and we had chances to do it”. []

        • Kimcelona
          September 10, 2011

          I totally agree that in the context of this match we should have stepped up in attack and buried this tie in the first half. Believe me no one was as pissed as me when I saw how lax we became in the second. What I didnt agree with was your outright blame on Pedro and particularly Villa. The whole team performed below expected in the second. They basically admitted, in post-match interviews, that they took the foot off the gas. The midfield barely created threatening chances as frequently. Add to that bad passes and a slow CB pairing. I knew that if Sociedad got the next goal the momentum would turn and that it did. Villa was not the one who let them back into the match. Poor play in the midfield and the slow defense did. Hence why I think Keita, Busi (at those positions) were just as bad as Villa and Pedro. Mind you, Keita and Busi are also as experienced as Villa and Pedro but they were playing at positions where I think they should never play at ever again, and didnt or couldnt make things better.

  48. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    On another note this time last season after 3 rounds of play we were 6th and Messi was thought to have suffered a serious injury which would’ve kept him out for 2-3 mths, quite similar to now isn’t it and we all know how we ended.

    We only claimed 1st position from Madrid after the 5-0 and stayed there till the end of the season, same we will have to do now.

  49. Víctor
    September 10, 2011

    Some times things like these happen. And just saying that Barcelona missed is a little bit misleading, IMO. Sociedad did their job. Congrats to them!

    No worries.

  50. September 10, 2011

    I’ll also add this – once the score got to 2-1 and the team was playing lousy, Pep should have changed the dynamics of the match and secured the lead.

    He should have inserted Abidal or Mascherano into the back line, pushed Busquets up to DM and had keita play in a more advanced position.

    That would have given the club more defensive solidity while allowing them to retain possession.

    He also should have inserted Iniesta immediately into the match after the equalizer. Instead he waited far too long.

    That all said – this match still isn’t primarily on Pep. I understand what he was thinking. We have 7 matches coming up in 3 weeks and a CL match at home in three days. I should be able to win at Sociedad with the line up I put out.

  51. Miguel
    September 10, 2011

    Who else is watching Diego, Arda, & Falcao ball for Atletico right now?

      • Miguel
        September 10, 2011

        Diego’s one of my favorite players. He and Arda already have some chemistry, both substitutes today. I’m digging it. I hope they can pull Atletico back into this match.

        • Miguel
          September 10, 2011

          That should’ve been a *&%#ing penalty on Diego!

        • kinukinu
          September 10, 2011

          I’ve also had one eye on the US Open but I definitely noticed the game seemed to shift when they came on. Also, Arda is my peeps, so I’m especially rooting for him.

          • Miguel
            September 10, 2011

            Turkish, eh? And on the east coast? I have to admit I don’t know much about Arda, bar the hype, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.

          • kinukinu
            September 10, 2011

            oh arda that was almost so good

          • kinukinu
            September 10, 2011

            Yup–he’s rad. Happy to see the growing number of Turkish players in La Liga–too bad 3 of them play for the enemy.

          • Xingxian
            September 10, 2011

            WHAT’S UP!?
            I think we’ve discussed this before? Maybe?
            Half-Turkish Half-Chinese here (both parents are immigrants).
            When I watch Real Madrid play with my father, we have mixed feelings about Ozil. We like seeing people of Turkish descent play well and Ozil may very well be the greatest ethnic Turk to ever kick a soccer ball but neither of us want to see Real Madrid win in La Liga. So the way it usually winds out working is we hope he has a good game but the rest of them fall apart and the referee murders them to boot.
            I suppose we’ll feel the same about Sahin?
            My father’s never liked either of the Altintop brothers much.

          • kinukinu
            September 10, 2011

            Xingxian I did not know that about you–that’s cool! I feel the same way about Ozil–he broke my heart twice: first when he decided to play for Germany, and then for RM. Can’t really blame him on either decision, but boy would I have been proud to have him on a team that I support.

            The Turks who are trained in Germany are turning out to be great hybrids–Turkish players have great passion but often lack discipline and fitness–the German system provides this.

            It will be interesting to see how the growing presence of Turks in the bigger European leagues affects the quality of the national team…

          • Xingxian
            September 10, 2011

            Because I wasn’t born in Turkey I’m actually quite happy to root for German nationals who are Turks, sometimes I feel like I’m actually closer to them than actual Turks themselves 🙂 Ozil may be German and I may be from the US but both of us will always be considered ‘not normal’ by our parent countries and that’s a bonding point.

            Also, I’ve long suspected Germany would start fielding more and more Turkish players. Most Turks in Germany don’t have the best pathways to economic/academic success and ethnic minorities can become wildly overrepresented in athletics. Levent Aycicek, Samed Yesil, and Emre Can all seem to be playing so well for Die Mannschaft’s youth sides.

  52. Jim
    September 10, 2011

    “The team had 74% possession and scored only two goals. That is not efficient play – especially when you score those two goals within the first 11 minutes of the match.”

    Imo, two should be enough to win any game. This has been a weakness of ours in the last couple of seasons. With a two goal lead we should be able to withstand any team in the league ( maybe apart from Madrid).

    However, we rely on keeping our opponents away from our defence. If we’re going to be under pressure we need decent CBs like Puyol and Pique imo. The goals we lose in these situations are not usually good ones where the opposition force us back and eventually break through. They are almost always down to individual errors and that makes it a little irritating.

    Where I would agree with Euler is that by taking our foot off (and you can see it happening) we encourage others onto us and I didn’t feel the attack/midfield was able to do that today.

    Still, I expect normal service to resume midweek.

  53. Humphrey Bogart
    September 10, 2011

    This was the first leg against Arsenal all over again. Arrogance and Complaceny make our life very difficult. The last time it was our way to the CL finale that we nearly blocked ourselves, this time the leagus is already so tight that we can not let an othter game slip. Like it stands 2 draws would be enought for the EE in the classicos.

    Thiago and Cesc got Peps confidence, but in particular in the 2nd half did not pay it back
    Te less said about El Guaje the better

    • Jim
      September 10, 2011

      To be fair Cesc created one of our goals and scored the other.

  54. Barka
    September 10, 2011

    That was a disappointing match from us so I went outside of my residence on campus and saw a girl sitting on the bench. She was wearing a Xavi shirt and smoking. Probably because Villa assisted the wrong team today.

    Anyway, I’m quite surprised to see a Barcelona fan here in Toronto and in my uni.

    • Lou
      September 10, 2011

      Really? I see people wearing Barcelona shirts in Toronto all the time.

      Last May I went to watch the Champion’s League final with some friends downtown, and I was amazed by how many Barca shirts I saw people wearing in the subway. There were more Barcelona shirts than United!

    • Barka
      September 10, 2011

      Do you live in Toronto too Lou? I only arrived here since last year so I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that we have many fans here. Still the first time in my uni though(York).

      Their two goals were sooo stupid, especially the second. Damn it Villa!

      • Lou
        September 10, 2011

        Yes, I’m a grad student at UofT.

        I don’t know if I ever would have started watching football if I hadn’t moved here. The first time I ever watched any sort of soccer/football was Euro2008 because I have a lot of international student friends. It was a pretty great introduction!

  55. mega_tajh
    September 10, 2011

    As a coach and a player for FC Barcelona, Pep Guardiola has visited Real Sociedad’s Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on 10 separate occasions. His record so far: 1 victory, 5 draws and 4 defeats. Totalbarca

    Boogie team I surely say so.

  56. September 10, 2011

    I blame the uniforms. Have we won even ONE game in these all black uniforms? NO. The answer is clear. We need to ask Nike and Qatar Foundation to come up with something else.

  57. ElJefe
    September 10, 2011

    The Sanchez injury sucks and he has fit in remarkably well but we can’t complain too much, we are so much deeper this year that Pep still has a bevvy of line-up options. This should give us no excuses.

    Pep’s one fault, in my opinion, is he will try and play players through their stuggles to build back their confidence, much longer than he should. (hey, he’s a nice guy). With the depth the team has secured this year, and the options our payroll has provided, this should no longer be the case. Pedro could truly not hit the broad side of an aircraft carrier right now. And you all know how I feel about Keita.

    Villa was terrible but on multiple occasions Keita ignored, and I truly mean I don’t think he every recognized, Villa’s runs. This is unacceptable for the way our team plays tika and the skill Villa has.

    Really disappointing as our next few matches are MUCH more difficult than EE’s to open the year, so our first real challenge is upon us, much earlier than planned. But hey, we’re Barca. Visca!!

  58. messi_fan
    September 10, 2011

    Honestly, the most upsetting thing for me today was seeing Messi dive 🙁

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