Barca 8, Osasuna 0, aka “NOW do you see why we shouldn’t worry?”

This match, a match that ultimately wasn’t a whole lot of fun to watch, really, is why I kept saying that the worry shouldn’t be there, that the comparisons to the Rijkaard era were invalid, that this was a club that just glitched a couple of times and merely needs to regain timing and most importantly, focus.

Osasuna came into the Camp Nou with a Liga record identical to ours, at a win and a draw. They left the victims of a club that had something to prove to itself, a club that looked in the mirror and was determined not to have any letdowns, any flaws in concentration or lack of interest. The result was about as uncompetitive a match as you are probably going to see in La Liga this season.

You could see it in the players faces as they waited in the tunnel, faces that looked as though this were a Champions League knockout match in which they’d lost the first leg. You could see it in Messi’s angry face about 5 minutes into the match. It was concentration and fire, a focus that made this club determined that whoever the opponent was today, they were going to beat the hell out of them. Which is pretty much what happened.

Guardiola started with a no-nonsense lineup of Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Thiago, Fabregas, Messi, Villa. I call it the “marbles in a bowl” lineup, because that’s what playing against it is like when it’s on form. People will attribute this result to all sorts of things, such as “See, this is the difference between Busquets and Keita,” or “This is what happens when Guardiola decides to play with defenders in the back line,” etc, etc. But the simple reality is that this result was a consequence of amazing players deciding as a unit that enough was enough, that they needed to satisfy themselves that the successive 2-2 draws were flukes. And to do that, those players had to focus.

Yes, there was a talent gap between the two sides, a gap that was no more or less real against Sociedad. The difference there was, more than lineup, a group that just didn’t seem to care, and it got slapped in the face for it. As I noted in a comment, errors were made, and professionals learn from them. The errors were, simply enough, that you can’t lose focus against anyone, top or bottom of table. Today the players didn’t, and this was the result.

And rather than talk about the goals, I’d like to discuss what the goals represented, just a little bit. Euler might or might not have some tactical dissertation in the works to dissect this dismantling. But for me, it came down to four things:


Whenever this club stops moving, it becomes less potent a force because moving targets are harder to hit for the opponent, but easier to hit for teammates. As long as Villa stands still, why pass him the ball? When he’s running off it and being aggressive, the passing lanes open up and suddenly, it’s all so easy. There was movement on the attack, movement in the midfield that resulted in the kind of pressure that brought about an 85-15 first half possession statistic. It’s also the kind of movement that results in a player always having someone to pass to. Compare this match to Sociedad, where we were stabbing balls hither and yon, leaving teammates stranded on the sidelines to try and fight their way out.

Today, the triangles were tiny and tight, with pass recipeients moving to spaces, giving, receiving and moving. It was that constant movement that makes an on-form Barca impossible to play for anyone, even if you foul.


When I mentioned in another review about wanting him to be the dynamic kind of player that he was at Arsenal, this is exactly what I meant. We don’t need another Xavi or Iniesta. We bought him to be a Fabregas, which means functioning like a combo platter of a midfielder in possession, and a forward in attack. His runs into the box were aggressive and well-timed. They were also unexpected and completely destabilizing for a defense built to worry about getting killed by Messi and Villa. So when Messi becomes the provider of balls, it creates complications that there aren’t effective answers to. And it all starts with Fabregas making himself aggressive and dynamic in a way that Villa can’t.


The result would have been the same, no matter the back line today, because of the mids and attackers. When our system is working, attackers become defenders and vice-versa. So Villa gets a yellow card for a studs-up tackle, and Busquets or Abidal make runs into the box. Fabregas stops an attack with a sliding tackle in the 78th minute, and Mascherano pops a long ball to Thiago that makes the defense have to shift. When our system is working, there is no defensive crisis. When it isn’t, there still isn’t a defensive crisis, it’s just players being stressed in ways that don’t suit their talents.

So it wasn’t that Puyol brought something magical to the back line, it was that the mids and attackers worked in such a way that his defense rarely saw the ball. When Villa is standing around at the other end or strolling around, or Fabregas just saunters around as if he’s waiting for the Metro, attackers will be able to get at our defense. This doesn’t mean there’s a crisis, it just means that players aren’t doing what they’re supposed to. As long as they do what they’re supposed to, security is omnipresent.


Has anyone noticed the large amount of balls over the top that we’ve been playing on attack this season? Interesting, right? Here’s the thing: Tika-taka can work, but sometimes, as during the Milan match, a more direct approach is needed. So this season, we’re seeing a lot of over-the-top attacks. Worked incorrectly, it just gives possession away, which can be a dangerous thing when we aren’t pressing properly in the midfield. Worked correctly, it drops balls at the feet of players in the box, an area where caution must be exercised in how defenders play our attackers. Throw in multiple attackers and you have a problem for anyone, anywhere anytime. We saw this any number of times today:

1. Alves headed cross in the air to Messi
2. Over the top for Fabregas to volley
4. Abidal long ball for Villa
6. Messi chip for Xavi

Some wondered why it always seems as though Guardiola is starting from scratch every season. It’s in part because stasis is easy to plan for. If a team does the same stuff the same way all the time, it becomes easier and easier to defend against. Announcers are fond of saying “Everyone knows what Barca is going to do, but few can stop it.” Eventually, that becomes less true. Our new aerial show is a way around that, a way to present the direct threat of an attacking “9” without having a big “9.” Whether it’s planned for EE or Champions League opponents remains to be seen, but you can bet that there are some coaches right now, at drawing boards, swearing and erasing, swearing and erasing.

These three things excite me more than taking care of business today. Yes, normal service has been resumed, and all 8 goals were of surpassing quality, the kinds of high-wire acts that our talent makes seem so easy. But when I start thinking about the fact that Fabregas isn’t even fully integrated yet, that Thiago has, even though he was spectacular today, only just started to scratch the surface of his potential, that a fit Sanchez means when we get the ball in the opponent’s end we won’t have to gradually work it out but instead, can just bust it up the line to a runner, it makes me happy. Far, far happier than whomping Osasuna 8-0, because that score in and of itself still results in the same 3 points that a 1-0 scoreline would have.

But in considering the portents, the way that this club responded when it was being doubted, I’m very excited for the future.

Team: 9. As direct, as fluent, as remarkable as I have seen it in a long time. There were some “phone booth” moments as Thiago, Xavi, Messi and Fabregas all have the same instincts, leading to those “Wait, who was that pass for” moments. And things got a little loose at moments in the second half, thanks in no small part to Afellay.

Guardiola: 10. To think about what he must have had to say and do to make these players do what they did today. Right substitutions as well, although you could certainly say that when he started subbing, it was already 5-0 and over.

Valdes: 7. Probably would have played to a higher rating with more to do today. But he was super sharp, quick and aggressive. His outlet passing was also excellent, short and long.

Alves: 9. Wow. Pretty cool what happens when Alves doesn’t have to play any defense. We’ve carped before about the accuracy of his crosses and passes into the box, but not today. And he almost nabbed quite a golazo off that half-volley in the second half.

Mascherano: 8. Exceptional match. Every time Osasuna got into our end and into his zone, the attack ended at his feet. And his running slide during a late Osasuna jailbreak made the attacker have to hesitate just long enough to make the shot angle too difficult. Worked very well with Puyol.

Puyol: 8. Speaking of Puyol, it’s good to have our captain back, spiritually. The results would have been the same had he not been in the back line, but his presence heartens his teammates.

Abidal: 7. A few loose balls early, including a howler that almost resulted in a 0-1 early scoreline. But once he got into the match on both ends, he was sterling, including two great long passes for Villa that both led to goals.

Busquets: 8. Aggressive and dynamic on and off the ball. Like Keita, you don’t see a lot of what he does when he’s on, because a lot of it is getting in the way to restrict access to passing lanes. Nice passes and some very good runs, as well.

Xavi: 10. For me, he was extraordinary today. Yes, some of it was the space that he was afforded, but he was as alert and aggressive as he’s been in a very long time, and it’s easy to forget how good a defender he is, until he reminds you.

Thiago: 8. He had a delightful sequence that led directly to the 5th goal, where he stole the ball and fed Fabregas, who lost it, so Thiago stole it again, this time feeding Xavi, who sent Fabregas and Messi off to the races.

Fabregas: 8. He still has times where he looks lost out there, and he was way, way too casual on that scoring attempt that he should have buried. But an excellent, excellent match for a player who must be feeling a ton of pressure. This was as unbound as I have seen him play, for us or Arsenal, in a very long time.

Villa: 8. His work rate was off the charts today. Yes, he scored but for me, seeing that studs-up challenge and the other times he busted his butt on the defensive end, warmed my heart. That’s the second match in which we have seen this new, uber-Villa.

Messi: 8. He continues to move toward being unplayable, and his partnership with Fabregas is already looking impressive. He has a new confidence this season that has resulted in unselfishness. Assists make him just as happy as goals. Opponents should be very worried about this.


Adriano (for Abidal): 7. And that rating is with a bullet, as more time would have assuredly brought a higher rating. Saved Afellay’s bacon on a couple of occasions as well, and demonstrated sideline-to-sideline range.

Maxwell (for Puyol): 5. Solid positionally, but showed signs of rust, which is to be expected. The way that Abidal and Adriano are playing, however, I fear that his future will be in matches that have been put to bed.

Afellay (for Xavi): 3. Whoa, 3M had some serious suck today, giving away passes including one that led directly to a good scoring chance for Osasuna. It happens with young players, but whoa.

Next up is a mid-week match, away to (present league leaders as EE have not played) Valencia. This should be a good one. Until then, here’s what’s looking like our new Dynamic Duo.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Watched the game and couldn’t stop smiling. Nice write up.

    Fabregas is exactly what we needed…a xavi/iniesta that can score goals regulalry, he is a triple threat no question that is sure to cause alarm in defenders and proves a valuable outlet to both midfield creativity and goal scoring prowess. Look for him to score double figures this year in assists and goals.

  2. Great read after witnessing a great great display from Barcelona.. although Osasuna should have done far better defensively in the second half.

    *I thought Abidal deserved a better rating. Not that the number you have given him matters, but I thought his play was simply awesome – terrific pace, complemented by great passing in the late first half after slight foibles early on. Abidal is finally rounding into the terrific form he was displaying before his tumor diagnosis.

    *Good point on the “aerial passes”. In a highlight somewhere (against Sociedad/Milan?) Guardiola does that thumbs up thing chuffed with the aerial passes. It shows that he has put that as a strategic key this season.

    *Has been said but has to be said again. The positional flexibility of the Barca players is off the charts. This is yet another game that emphasised the structure and dynamism dialectic that Euler was raving about after the Villareal game.

    *We have had a False Nine in Messi. We now have a False 10 in Fabregas. In essence, we have a new range of Falsetto in the Barcelona Opera. Add Alexis to the music and I can imagine how screeching our tone is going to be for the opposition. Hopefully the defense rounds itself up into shape pretty soon to lend edge to the compositions.

  3. I would have gone crazy had Abidal scored… what a match…Osasuna did the wrong thing of not staying compact, and to make matters worse they started chasing the ball in the first half. They were bound to be destroyed…

  4. So I guess we are not at the end of an era haha.

    Thanks for the review Kxevin. I can’t wait to fully read it.

    1. That’s a verbatim copy..not cool at all..don’t know much about the blog (seeing it for the first time) but one name in the comments section ‘Adi-Oula Sebastian’ is kinda familiar..he writes Barça related stuff for the Bleacher Report site amongst others

    2. Yep. Have reached out to them via e-mail, and through SB Nation that they should knock that shit off. Have also outed them on Twitter. The Offside is now part of the SB Nation family, and the Offside Barca folks will be going to bat on our behalf as well.

      If a newspaper did that in the real world, it would be sued and the reporter fired.

    3. Yeah just saw it via your twitter and offside’s.
      It’s plagiarism! They should’ve credited it to you at the start and at the end and put a link back to this site.

      But hey, at least they took it from the best 🙂

  5. And a Kxevin review for a Liga game at last.. 😀
    Waiting for the ‘Kxevin is a biased idiot’ comments to come in 5..4..3..

  6. Hi all,

    i’m a long time reader on this great blog and hv been following Barca since Van Gaal era. Just a last couple of threads, i signed up so can join quality discussion with people here.

    the intensity that we have, especially in the 1st half must be maintained throughout the season. no matteer it’s still 0-0 or we 2 or 3 goals leading. i think we can do that this season because we have more depth. our bench is more capable to keep the same level of intensity, considering the quality of the whole squad. i think this season every players will hv considerable contribution. looking at how Pep “utilize” all players in every matches with different tactics. **Optimistic mode**

    Great review for Kxevin, as always

  7. Yeah, good review, Kxevin, and spot on with our over the top strategy although ever since teams started pushing their back line up to compress the game against us it has been calling out for that. Couldn’t believe my eyes when Abidal hit that great long ball to Villa – that pass alone should have sent shivers through the rest of Europe.

    Thanks for the 10 for Xavi – never more deserved and saved me splashing out for an even bigger TV for you 🙂 I’m starting to think we shouldn’t even rate Messi anymore. We are soooo privileged to be living at this time.

    Someone has been working with Mascherano. His passing is much crisper and he drilled a few of them into midfield yesterday. good to see.

    Finally, at least there shouldn’t be any more talk of end of era or a while. Perspective is a great thing. However, it works both ways and where I would urge caution is in thinking that Puyol’s return isn’t necessary for the defence. His positional sense, even in a changing back line is excellent. Masch and Busi are not a pairing that inspire confidence in me. Good to see Busi looking more at ease in his position yesterday.

  8. The only difference between this match and the previous one: This Osasuna was not like that Milan. Barcelona is still the same team before Milan, after Osasuna and in between. Same strengths, and same flaws.

    As an example, watch Milan’s match again and let me know where would you find a space for any passing behind their defense like we’ve seen last night against Osasuna (where we wasted even more chances than against Milan, and were asked questions in defense by a far less lethal side). So yea… Lets not doubt the team’s quality, but still keep pending judgment about how this team will deal with more disciplined and less Scattered-all-over-the-place defense. This is still the biggest challenge for the club – especially in the CL where the excess of quality may not have the same impact on washing tactical and technical flaws as it does in the liga.

    So I hope we start proving as consistency in our judgement as we demand the players to show on the field.

    /This is not a comment targeting Kxevin – just a general observation.

  9. i have to respectfully disagree regarding the defense was a non-issue and we would’ve won regardless.

    having Busquets in midfield instead of in the back is actually pretty damn crucial for team movement and passing and what not.

    so i think having a proper CB at CB and a proper DM at DM did contribute to the difference between this game and the one we drew.

  10. Great review Kxevin but would have to respectfully disagree with your Messi and Fab ratings. If Xavi gets a 10 then so do they, I mean Messi had a hat-trick, 2 assists and hit the post 2 times. That’s a perfect performance. So does Fab with his more than awesome goal and hat-trick of assists.

  11. But looking back at the previous three seasons, you can’t help but notice Pep is starting to use some kind of defender rotation system. I know that our main defenders are injured and that is why so far we’ve seen many different line-ups. But even looking back at the pre-season you could see Pep trying to give as many minutes in defense for Busquets and Fontas.

    Busquets will probably play no more than 15 la liga games in defence same as Fontas. But IMO they will be more match ready when Hlebuary comes around, now compare that to the past seasons where in 08/09 we had Sylvinho and Caceres as backup defenders (keep in mind we were very lucky our main defenders did not sustain any injuries) and in 09/10 we had Marquez, Milito and chygrynsky and last season we had only Milito and Mascherano. Nearly all those players were extremely lacking match fitness when it came to mid-season.

    Mascherano, Busquets, Abidal, Fontas and Puyol are all going to rotate in the centre of defence, they all will rack up b/w 10 to 30 starts in the Liga. To me, when it comes time in February when we reach the knockouts on the CL, any injuries that hinder our defense will not have a major effect on our performance. Imagine if we had Botia as our Back-up who by February would rack up no more than ten starts in all comps, he will most definitely not be match ready and will he be any useful then say…Busquets?

  12. Great review Kxevin, thanks!
    I knew the team’s gonna bounce back! Happy for them, and great job Pep!
    felt sorry for osasuna though… The look on their faces everytime we scored..Pain!
    Anyway, twould really make me happier if Ibi plays better and plays more… It’s understandable though, he’s been gone long..

    Oh by the way, read the open letter to you over at BB by mr. Sebastian ..
    Read it yet?? Apparently they’ve deleted the articles already…however, i think he said some things that were unnecessary…but that’s just my opinion.

    1. That open letter is mind blowing. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier to just say that it was a fan post, apologize to Kxevin for letting it happen, and saying that he understood Kxevin’s anger, but that he hoped the two sides could resolve the problem peacefully. Seems like he wants a war. Who’s the attention seeker?

    2. Ooh, so true… That would have been better but not easier..
      You see it’s actually very hard for people to admit a mistake, say sorry, take responsibility, and just be humble in general..
      Anyway, not all culés can be as classy as Pep.. 🙁

  13. @Kxevin re: Barca Blaugranes, the said article is gone and there is a post for you there when I visit the site 😀

  14. Wow, I’m still stunned by this awesome show! 🙂

    I was down during the last days, not because I doubted the quality of this side, but I simply cannot be happy when Barça draws two consecutive times – and both were unnecessary results.

    Yesterday’s match was like PlayStation, for me it was a lot of fun to watch, because of our last matches. The next matches can again be more close, and probably will since it’s Valencia and Atletico.

    Good points about the future, it looks bright. And I like the new variety in attack with the lobs over the defence, into the runs of Messi, Cesc and now even Xavi!
    I think it’s not Messi per sé who is getting closer to be unplayable, it’s the midfield or Messi in combination with the midfield.
    Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Cesc, Thiago – that is the best combination of midfielders (let me call them so^^) you’ll ever see. It does not really make a difference which one of the 5 does not play, as long as 4 of them are on the pitch and don’t have a day off, they are – together as a unit – unplayable (unless you hack them to death, as EE might try again).

    Cesc so far is definitely surpassing my expectations. To the more close Arsenal followers here, was he really that good at Arsenal???
    Or has he already improved in just 4 weeks or so under Pep?

    I’ll finish with a bold statement:
    The connection between Messi and Cesc has the potential to be more lethal and decisive than Xaviniesta’s!

  15. Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s terrifying domination of La Liga prompted Sevilla’s president to label the league ‘rubbish – the biggest pile of junk in Europe’. The financial might of the top clubs in Spain has put them in a league of their own, and this will only be exacerbated by UEFA’s new fair play legislation. The same problem is quickly developing in England, where the two Manchester clubs are strolling to success in the league. Read more on this developing crisis at

  16. Thanks for the review Kxevin. Euler will probably cover this, but at the beginning of the match, there was some thought that Messi would be out on the wing, but Alves was up on the right wing basically the entire game. This meant that Barcelona were effectively playing a 3-4-3, which I hadn’t thought to see again until some of the walking wounded came back. With Xavi and Thiago holding down the more traditional midfield roles, this allowed Fabregas the license to play the false ten role that he seems so comfortable playing alongside Messi. When on as a fourth midfielder he has been dynamic all year. When in the 4-3-3, he looks nowhere near as dangerous, which is exciting because it means that he is still in a steep learning curve.

    I have been down on Villa and Alves all year, but a few more performances like those will make me forget my gripes.

    1. If you’re referring to the ‘false ten’, I forget where I first read it, but it’s not mine. I think it is a good description of what Fabregas is doing as the fourth midfielder though.

  17. Thanks to the folks who did, for bringing the article to my attention. It has been removed from their annex site. I suggested that they make the distinction between “Fan post” site and “official” site clearer, as both sites carry the Barca Blaugranes logo, so the inference is clear, even if the distiction is clear to them.

    Beyond that, I’m done with it. I don’t do pissing matches. The content is down, so I’m happy.

    1. No.

      How dare you complain on twitter when someone steals YOUR content? Its not Barcablaugranes’ fault that plagiarized fanposts appear on their website. Didn’t you see that tiny icon, you know, the one that differentiates fanposts from editorials by staff members? Never mind if they can’t spell plagiarized right..

      Their reputation is tarnished now *weeps*. Their rebellious character is hurt. They’ve taken the high road about your complaining on twitter, by complaining more on twitter(@barcablauganes). Your logic is flawed in accusing them of plagiarism and you have to apologize. Oh and you are an attention seeker and classless (where have I heard that before?) as well..

    2. Well, still. My bad for confusing the two, and as I pointed out to them, the lack of distinction between the fan and official sites, to non-regulars, is a problem.

      In the real world of paid journalism, newspapers and other media outlets wrestle with how to adapt citizen journalism, without having something like this happen, where a non-professional somehow damages the reputation of the mothership.

      It’s also why, while we have comments sections, and do pluck family members from the chat stew to become contributors, BFB will never have a fan posting site such as that. It’s way too easy to confuse the two.

      A little birdie just told me that the post on their home page is gone. Not sure what that means, but as far as I’m concerned, the matter is done. And dusted. Like Osasuna.

    3. I’m afraid I lost my temper a bit in their comments. Apologies, Kxevin, for not letting you fight your own battles.

    4. No worries. It’s not much of a battle, really. The content was up there, and now it’s gone. I just hope that they will understand how difficult it is to discern between the two sites, as they are under the same Barca Blaugranes umbrella.

    5. Ah, you were referring to the open letter. Thought you were referring to your articles being deleted from their fan site.

    6. Open letter is gone? Damn! I should’ve copied and pasted it haha.

      But I do think that Kxevin shouldn’t have gone on Twitter with it.

    7. I think that social media has become a very good place to ask questions and get answers. It can also pressurize in a way that simple queries can’t.

      I didn’t press the matter because I wanted the content gone. But the fact of the matter is that fan site or not, it IS their site. Is the fan site more or less Barca Blaugranes than the official site? That’s a semantic question. To them, yes. To others, no. I rather imagine that SB Nation doesn’t separate the clicks garnered.

      Another way to look at it is if the New York Times ran a letter to the editor that was lifted from somewhere else and claimed as the letter-writer’s, It would be a major problem. Though an op-ed section is always billed as “separate” from the rest of the newspaper, it’s perceived as part and parcel of that entity. It’s why the Tribune and other papers vet the hell out of letters to the editor. Because things such as that can damage the perception of the source in question.

  18. I’m a left coastie, just woke up. Oy. I didn’t mean to provoke a twitter war. 🙁 Sorry about that, Kxevin. I didn’t realize that some posts were readers’ — actual posts, not just comments like they are at most places.

    And yet. It was a post on their site, blatantly lifting content, and it pissed me off. They are responsible for everything that appears under their banner, in my opinion.

    1. You didn’t start anything. I appreciate the vigilance. No apologies necessary. If you didn’t bring it to my attention (he was using some of Kari’s posts also), it would have gone on for lord knows how long. Eventually, the Barca Blaugranes folks will also appreciate how that wouldn’t have been good for them, either.

    2. One of the things I do notice, now that I’m looking for the distinction between official and user-generated content, is that “fans” can apparently be invited to write official posts. There’s a post in the main body of the site that’s “Part 2” of a series on Messi. This article is tagged “editorial,” which I read to mean official. Glance over to the sidebar, and there’s the link to “Part 1.”

      This sidebar does have the header “FanPosts” (small, easily scrolled by…). I think this is how I saw the link to your article, actually — read Part 2 on Messi, the link to Part 1 caught my eye, and then, Hey What the?… your titles are very distinctive, aka “screams out to long-time readers of BFB.” 😉

      Anyway, my point being that not only is there a blurred line between official and user-generated content, but it’s feasible that this poster could have gotten recognition for his “writing” (as it is indeed excellent), and have been invited to contribute on a formal basis.

      Oh well, glad it’s resolved. I do like what I’ve seen of their official content, as well as having a good aggregation of news, which is probably why I had bookmarked the site at some point.

    3. I think they should also check the contents first before it’s being posted. It’s like signing documents really on black and white. You always gotta read through the documents.

      Just a few weeks back, a Korean national MC meaning the #1 MC in the country had to stop all his variety shows (4 of them where he is the main guy of course) because of his mistake. It was in fact his accountant’s mistake for not paying enough tax but the said MC signed it off before checking it. But in this case, he hired a professional accountant to do his job. Obviously the MC isn’t good with numbers, I can confirm that as I watch his shows week in week out for over two years already. Anyways, he is paying the price for his accountant’s mistakes.

      It is in a way similar to BB. They can’t simply let people post things without checking it.

  19. Now let’s get back to the match, football match 🙂

    What a difference playing Busi back in midfield make.
    I like Keita, I found him to be very good in fact in the last match because he was recovering balls every where. But so can Busi and Busi also adds to our attack. That is something that will always lack with Keita in Busi’s place (DM).
    It’s sad really that we don’t have any space for Keita in CM. I really don’t want him to leave but he might become frustrated at one point and with so many suitors, he might leave in the near future.

    Aguero is with Puma now 🙁 No wonder he has been wearing pitch black shoes all this while. I guess he was in between brands.

    How come players without contract with any brand wear an all black shoe; VV, Dos Santos just to name a few. Can’t they simply wear a Nike or Adidas shoe even if they don’t have a contract with them? What brand are they actually?

    1. See for me, the biggest difference in the match wasn’t Busquets, but the attitude of the players and their willingness to attack the box. And focus. I think it would have been 8-0 with ME as DM (okay, maybe 7-0 😀 ).

      Re your shoe question, I imagine their agents tell them not to give anything away. They probably could wear any shoe they liked, and probably do. It’s the same way that Tour de France riders love a certain bike, but if a team has a bike deal they will often have the bike from the manufacturer they like painted like the official team bikes. Pro athletes don’t do anything endorsement-wise for free.

    2. I agree with you, Kxevin, but Busquets adds a lot to our flow and the offense of the team. His ability to pass incisively is crucial because it takes defenders out of the picture and allows Messi, Xavi, or whoever to face goal with less pressure on his back. He’s just so intelligent with the way he moves and how quickly he spots passes. For example, he made a quick pass to Abidal yesterday that I didn’t even think was possible.

      No disrespect to Keita and he has done relatively well, but I really love how the team looks with Busquets in midfield.

    3. We have to consider the level of opponent as well, like Ramzi mentioned above. I think we have the same attitude and eagerness to harrass Milan defence if we looked at goal chances created. Maybe the sharpness of our finishing is not there yet. As season progress, it will get better and expect to see another drubbing like Osasuna match more often.

  20. Coming out of lurker mode just to say that last seasons EPL winners are winning 3-0 vs. last years runner up at the half….That is all.

    1. Actually Chelsea is the better team, but with Torres and Ramires missing the best possible chances, you cannot get a point at Old Trafford.
      (now Berbatov also missed one)

    2. He did look sharp and as pacey as I’ve seen him in a long time.That miss though :O. Chelsea should have at least drawn the match with the chances they made.

    3. During the past 10 years or more, Sir Alex can always create a serious title contender team. Even when i think they dont play the best football in EPL or they dont hv the kind of “super star” player. And 2 or 3 young players join the squad each season, some thrive, some fail. But they keep winning and overall achievement they had at the end of each season is so constant.

    1. Let’s just say it was unnecessary. There is no need at all to attack Kxevin like that. Kxevin attacked a website, not a person, a journalist but that guy decided to attack Kxevin the journalist. It is really ugly!
      Hopefully it won’t affect Kxevin career.

  21. The editor accused Kxevin of being an attention seeker who started a twitter war instead of contacting the site directly to air a grievance. Attacked his journalistic integrity.

    1. I wasn’t able to read the letter, but from reading Twitter it seems like that website’s editor tried to deflect the blame and misdeeds committed on his website (plagiarism) by arguing with Kxevin’s methods of confrontation. Rather than get angry, he should have accepted that they were wrong, agree to stop it from happening again, and issue an apology – but I suppose getting angry and indignant is easier.

  22. Javier Mascherano

    “In general terms we put in a good performance, but it wasn’t that different to Tuesday’s – just that we were sharper up front, we had plenty of chances against Milan, but couldn’t put them away.

    We weren’t a disaster on Tuesday (against Milan) and we aren’t suddenly marvellous now.

    We showed that this team is alive and we still have plenty to come. We are hungry to achieve things.”

    Aw yeah, Mascherano knows what’s up.

  23. Oh…It worth repeating this again…

    Long story short: The only difference between this match and the CL match was that this Osasuna wass not THAT Milan. JUST that. Sorry for the lack of thriller-like excitement, but I showed enough excitement about the team when most didnt, so fair enough:)

  24. Snap! I missed all the drama! 😀

    They’ve taken it down now, so I can’t see the posts anymore. Oh well.

    I had a sneaking feeling some people were taking some of BFB’s content. If you go the ‘’ Readers Online section, you’ll see people copying whole posts (well, not really. You get snippets of what they copied and comment section is included…but some days it’s obvious).

    It seems that they got all angry and indignant about it (typical) rather than fess up, apologize, and say it was a mistake (it probably wasn’t. Clicks are clicks after all).

    I can’t say I’m not flattered though. :mrgreen: I wonder what posts of mine they stole…

    1. That’s just sad. Reminds me of the movie “The Squid and the Whale” where Jessie Eisenberg’s character tries to pass off a Pink Floyd song as his own at a school talent show.

  25. Exactly what is happening? This isnt like an assignment which someone flicked from their friend. This guy has a blog with his name on it and he is blatantly copying stuff. Doesn’t he realise he will be found out? Holy shit. Even otherwise what about his morals?

  26. To admins I suggest:

    Please put a notice restricting reuse of articles

    And think of owning your blog name

  27. Madrid down to ten men, 2 on 1 counter and juanlu shoots instead of passing for the tap in. Kone still makes it 1-0 later though but i hate players that take the harder option >={

    1. This is so awesome. I shouldn’t be enjoying this so much, but I don’t care. Levante aren’t even parking the bus. Trying to go forward when they can.

    2. According to ESPN gamecast, they’ve had almost as many shots on goal as Mordor.

      What did Khedira get sent off for?

  28. I’m loving Levante right now! No shame in admitting I’m enjoying this game to the max. Somehow Madrid still manages to shock me with their dirty play. Coentrao must be getting private lessons from Pepe, Marcelo, and Ramos.

    1. i take that back — if betis holds on against bilbao, they and valencia will both be on 9 points.

      how about that betis?

    1. Was it just me wishing it or did I really hear the Levante fans chanting “Porque, porque, porque, porque . . . ” when Khedira was sent off ?


  29. Levante said, “give me more RM players!” And Juan Ignicio Martinez said, “there are no more!”

    I love them and their broke arses. My sis said I was a sadist for enjoying EE lose and suffer. I just said, “nope, I’m just a cule.”

    Just wish I saw the Iker face. Oh well, there is always the Mourinho whine to look forward to. 😀

  30. I like how levante didnt water the pitch or cut the grass and had pot holes.Taking lessons from Madrid 😀 .

  31. And to make matters even better, our Valencia match is on GolTV, our first dose of Ray Ray for the new season. Not sure I know what to say. I was pretty stunned after the Sociedad result. Can’t imagine how EE and their supporters feel after dropping points to Levante. I confess to not knowing their record against that side, but it might just be a bogey side for them, as Sociedad is (was) for us.

    Del Nido has just had his theories blown out of the water, right? He was overjoyed with us proving his point, and then Levante had to come along and mess things up. I’ll have to take some anti-nausea meds and watch the rebroadcast. It’s a Ray Ray match, as well, so I can crank the volume.

    1. their record in levante’s stadium is 5 wins, 1 draw and now one defeat (well two if you count the copa when lost 1-0 after winning the 1st leg 7-0)

    2. last week it happened to us with Socieadad. Now it’s for EE with Levante. It’s going to be a tough and long laliga season. anyway hurrray…

  32. It’s only week 3 so it doesn’t mean anything but…


    The little unexpected joys of life are awesome…

  33. Wow! Amazing job by Levante.
    They already held EE to a 0-0 last season, and now they did even improve on that result.

    I would seriously not have expected us to catch up with EE during the next weeks, since they have a quite easy schedule.

    It’s unfortunate that we have to play Valencia on Wednesday, I would actually like them to continue their winning streak, so that ‘Hay Liga!’ – but not against us :/

  34. Just finished watching the game on TV.

    EE had a tough time overcoming the Levante defense, which was compact, narrow and disciplined. Ballesteros looks like a lumbering WWE wrestler, but shows surprisingly good ability to read plays and even some quickness. He also showed some street smartness in getting Dive Maria to make an utter fool of himself, by getting Sami Khedira sent off. It is the first time I have seen someone dive to get his own teammate off! Dumb EE and Dumber Dive Maria.

    The second half was all about Levante trying to continue to be disciplined while looking for the counter attacks. The Ivory Coast striker Kone was very good and so was the left winger Juanlu who was a touch selfish on a play which should have been the first goal for Levante.

    Mourinho ultimately made a fool of himself by taking out his creative and pacy threats out of the game – i.e. both Oezil and Ronaldo. The result was sloppy play in midfield and Kaka was a disaster.

    For all the hype about EE being a surefire contender and an even stronger threat than Barca for the title, this kind of games show that EE is vulnerable. When the chips are down, EE turns on the evil. Pepe is transformed into a vampire in particular and the Portuguese speaking players in particular seem to put on horns.

    EE is not going to win any friends outside the Central Lechera by their terrible attitude whose fountainhead is the grouchy and disgraceful Mourinho. Speaking of whom, when is the Competition Commission going to sentence him for his eye gouging acts?

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