Kiko’s Back in Alicante: Hercules vs Barca B Liveblog

Time to watch some Barca Babies against world beaters Hercules!

Big news! No Armando and Carmona! *does happy dance and completely disregards possible second half introductions*

Barca B lineup: Miño, Montoya, Bartra, Sergi Gomez, Planas; JDS, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha; Kiko, Rodri, Deulofeu

Barca Bench: Masip, Armando, Balliu, Carmona, Riverola, Cuenca, Tello

Looks like 4-3-3, but could also become a 4-2-3-1… Anyway. Kick off is in 15!

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. The first team will be playing with 4 forwards for at least two months. One of those 4 is recovering from a hamstring injury.

    No Iniesta for 4 weeks – so you can’t easily move a midfielder to the wing.

    Fabregas can play as a false 9 but I’m not sure if that is going to work if it’s in a game where Messi is going to start (can’t see Fabregas playing wide and not sure if Pep is going to move Messi back to a nominal right flank position).

    They could experiment with Thiago on the wing I suppose but that would be a purely speculative move. They could play Adriano on the wing but it’s not as if depth is great at the back lines either.

    Let’s hope that there are no more injuries up top.

    But if there are – is Lobato really a solution? No idea – but I have a hard time thinking he can be counted on, especially given he’s new to the system. And there’s no Soriano to turn to.

    Barca B played a Hercules team that had been in the first division last season (though they are missing key players off that squad). Out of all the B players on the pitch there was one who particularly stood out and he happened to be the advanced attacking player out on the left, a player who can also play out on the right flank, a player who can provide width…

    I don’t think it’s going to be a surprise if at some point this season Deulofeu gets a run with the first team. Circumstances and the level of his play might just make it something that happens. He won’t get promoted obviously – but they may wind up needing him and he might show that he’s acceptably ready and better than other alternatives.

    Perhaps Cuenca would get the call instead. But I think it’s very possible that Deulofeu gets first team call ups.

  2. Also – it was good to see JDS play so well from a deep position. That’s an area where he can make a contribution to the first team given the depth at DM with Mascherano having to spend so much time at CB.

    If JDS continues to play well it would be reasonable to call him up if he can play deep – even if Keita continues to adjust to the holding role.

  3. A Mini Match Review in the Comments: Hercules 2-1 Barca B

    Fun game, just a shame about the result. Babies dominated possession and had great chances to score — Rafinha cleverly put in twice but touch was off both times. Hercules came into game about halfway through the first half for about 5 minutes, but a daft red card took the wind out of their sails a bit.

    Game was more open in the second half, mostly because Barca Babies were eager to try and push for the 2nd goal, but were caught out.

    Great Sergi Roberto pass put Deulofeu through on goal and he finished smartly, and calmly, with his left.

    Two lax plays, one from a quickly taken free kick, the other from horrible defending, gifted Hercules two goals — though, they admittedly finished nicely on both goals

    In the hindsight is 20/20 corner (tho, I thought the first one before the game) lies two things:

    – Cuenca should have started.
    – Rodri should have been the one to come off for Tello, not Deulofeu

    Good thing Armando didn’t start, or this would have been worse. :/

    Some thoughts on players:

    Mino: fabulous. Had to be alert in the first half after Planas played some terrible back passes to him. Lucky Bartra was back covering, as he could have been sent off for the foul on a Hercules forward during a counter attack (Kiko lost possession during a corner). Amazing saves in the second half to keep the scoreline close. Good captain’s performance.

    – Planas. Very shaky. Probably feeling the pressure from 15 year old wonderkid Grimaldo. Hercules attacked his flank in the first half but was bailed out by Bartra and Jona at times. Wasn’t as lucky in the second when Jona moved up, and both goals came from his flank. Not to mention him putting Mino under unnecessary pressure with those back passes. Must do better.

    – Gomez and Bartra. Very good to great players: strong, good positional sense, technically gifted, eye for passes… but slow. It’s not their fault they are too similar, but it causes problems. Their great positional play and timely interventions compensated a bit, but were both beat for pace on the goals, though the first goal was a quick free kick when the whole team was off balance.

    – Montoya. Solid. Hercules didn’t get much from his side, but was also exposed in the second half as he pushed up more. Also yellow carded for a late tackle. It happens.

    – Kiko. Not bad. Was the better attacking player in first half, good dribbles in the second half. Solid. Subbed off for Cuenca in the 2nd half.

    – Deulofeu: excellent. Had a quiet first half, but really stepped it up in the second. Should not have been subbed off. He’s really special; had a Messi like dribble, dodging defenders, and also played a beautiful reverse pass for Rodri who was offside. God Made Him, indeed. Still adjusting, but his selfishness has toned down. Gonna be great if he doesn’t tail off.

    – Speaking of Rodri, I really hope he isn’t from The Saul-Carmona-Armando School Of Crap “Experienced” Players. Had great chances, particularly one created by Rafinha who feinted right, then left, turning the CBs inside out on the edge of the box, but couldn’t convert. Needs to do much, much better.

    – Jona. Fantastic. Was the man of the first half, covering for the terrible Planas with some great interceptions and tackles. Had one gorgeous lob over the defense in the second half, for Rafinha, that almost lead to a goal. Good stuff.

    – Rafinha. Left his first touch boots with Bentdner it seems. Was played though twice in the first half by Sergi and Jonathan, but his touch was too heavy, then too light. He was played as the 10, since Espinosa trained with the first team, but it wasn’t his position.

    – Which brings me to Eusebio. Should have subbed off Rodri for Cuenca, moved Rafinha to False 9 (his preferred position), and go on from there. Odd subs in general and taking off Deulofeu, the biggest goalscoring threat, was just a bad move. Gonna give him more time, though. Probably still finding his feet, so to speak, and experimenting with players. Gets a plus for not subbing in Armando and Carmona.

    All in all, a loss is very harsh on the team; a draw, while still a bit unfair, would have been better. Oh well. I’m sure they’re calmly annoyed like Xavi and rest of the first team. We’ve got some seriously gifted players, people, and you should try to catch them more. Played like the first team, as usual, but it was very nice to see the babies own a former Liga team like that.

    1. Thanks for this, Kari! I hope you (or someone) will do more reviews of the Barça B games. Unfortunately I only managed to see the last half hour, but here are my contributions:

      Bartra isn’t usually slow, he is a classic box-crashing Barça-style CB. Faster than Fontas, anyway. Must have had an off game.

      Planas has never entirely convinced me, so I’m not surprised to hear he wasn’t good in this game.

      Not feeling Rodri or Kiko either, so far. This team is sorely missing some maturity and talent up front in the form of Nolito and Soriano. I really hope the club reconsiders letting Soriano go once he has healed, because he would be happy to stay with the B team and they could sure use him.

      I know everyone is really hot for God Made Him right now, but please remember that, as talented as he is, he is only 17. He has a long way to go before he can be considered a serious contender. I remember a certain forward who was tearing it up for the youth teams, scored a thousand goals or something, got promoted at 17, his name was…Bojan. Yeah.

      Cuenca is the business. Pep seems to like him a lot and he looks like he has some serious raw talent. I don’t know if this coach is going to bring out the best in him, though.

      Which, as Kari said, brings me to Eusebio. I am frustrated by some of his choices in lineup and subs. I know he was a player under Cruyff and a coach alongside Rijkaard, but I know nothing of his personality or coaching style. Right now I think the B team is missing Luis Enrique badly. His personality, his drive, his ambition, his belief in his players–I see nothing like that in Eusebio. I never expected that this year’s B team would do as well as last year (3rd), especially as several of the senior players have left, but so far the results have been very disappointing.

      Hoping things improve soon.

    1. Gotta love his hand movements when he speaks, kind of reminds you of guardiola on the sidelines, Xavi maybe a possible coach for the future?

  4. Hahahahaha I opened the LiveBlog when I came here and it’s all Kari talking to herself.

    This B team is looking seriously talented. Montoya, Bartra, Gomez, JDS, Rafinha, Deulofeu all playing this game and if Grimaldo and Espinosa are also gonna be in the starting line-up once they’re back.

    I wonder how this bunch of kids compares to our kid teams with Messi, Fabregas, Vazquez and Pique who apparently won every single game in their season and had some crazy goal difference or so I read somewhere. Though I think that was back when they were in Juvenil teams. How did these guys do at that age group? I know they won the treble last year with Juvenil A but a youth team that were win-every-game-big-score dominant seems to have shown those guys would become world-class. I wonder if it can make for a rough comparison at least.

    Also if we’re gonna get experienced outsiders for roles like CF I wish we would get someone decent, or very good and very old, whatever but good at least. Wait Soriano will be back from injury soon enough right?

  5. In response to Pep saying we might not win anything this year, Mou said that EE will have to fight to not be relegated and their objective is to get 40 points to continue in la liga next season.
    That sh*t is funny!

    1. What the fuck is this guy’s problem eh? I just don’t get Mou’s agenda here..I can’t wait to get shot of him..1 more season and this cancer is off ti the Premier League..good riddance to bad rubbish

  6. Barcelona line-up (official): Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal, Xavi, Thiago, Sergio B., Cesc, Villa & Messi

    1. Puyol starts! Masch plays CB! Busi plays DM! I think I;m gonna cry from joy! 😀

      Although I was hoping Flyboy would get a start as well.

  7. Any of you guys know sopcast stream for the match? cant seem to find any channel since myp2p site went down.

    1. I’m watching on YES on Sopcast, it started with Camp Nou images half an hour early, ’twas pretty cool, saw Almogavers’ section, the hymn, announcing the players etc. Dunno which language it is though.

    2. I think it’s without any commentary. I personally love that, RayRay is the only thing I’d switch for.

      I think this is it:

  8. Interesting squad selection. I’m disappointed Afellay isn’t starting. Perhaps he’s not yet match fit and still needs to catch up with the squad. But if he’s not going to play in a match like today I’m not sure how his role is going to manifest itself.

    Pep has two options with this line up. Either he plays 4 midfielders in a variation of a fluid “diamond” formation or he plays Cesc as a false 9 with Messi on the right.

    I’ll guess it’ll be almost a mixture of the two.

    Here’s the concern with either of those formations or a mixture of the two – they can become very narrow with too much play through the middle.

    Afellay would have provided more width but Pep clearly has other priorities.

    They’ll need Thiago’s ability to create pentration with the dribble to help make up for iniesta’s loss.

    And it’s great to see Puyol back. He’s likely still going to have to get used to match speed but it’s great to see the captain back.

    Visca Barca!

  9. Goal,

    We are playing with a 3 person backline.

    In the front Alves is providing width on the right , Villa on the left.

  10. Talk about innovation: Pep Wow! What a formation.

    system: 3 4 3 – Diamond middle formation







    Puyol – Unbelievable stability in the backline. Interception of free kick taken on 35:40 to clear the ball with a head. Pure beast.

    sMash – Stability in the back line times 2. His long range passing from the back is a beauty to behold. Pinpoint.

    Abi – His forward runs are getting much better, He is not only a rock on the left wing, but also supports attacks. His assist to Villa.

    Alves – I love Alves in this role. Play him an attacking player all the time. That cross to messi where he missed the header hit the post was a beauty.

    Busi – Beautiful game, kept the ball moving from D to O. At 32:30 he dived to complete a pass. Had the vision to receive a difficult pass and convert it into an attacking move. It was the end product of this move that Villa scored.

    Thiao – pinching in from the right, staying on the right, supporting Alves. Did his job.

    Fabregas – Wow fabregas, Dude is the no 9! No need to look further than goal no. 2 for how the class of Fabregas. Dropped back on 28 minute in to Holding midfielder role, creating a big hold in the back line. Constantly moving to the left of the midfield dragging a defender with him to open space in the field. Minute 38:00.

    Villa – Providing width up front on the left. Given his background and how he has played as no. 9 for Valencia, Kudos for playing in that position. Well taken goal. Guess why villa was so productive this game. He received plenty of support from Abi.

    Messi – Messi was playing behind Fab as an advanced midfielder in a diamond.The on field telepathy between Fab and Messi is one to behold. Total destabilizer.


    Villa’s runs this match were timed perfectly. I don’t think he has changed his game significantly since the last match. The was was being passed at a much quicker pace. This made Villa’s runs onside.

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