Valencia – Barcelona LiveBlog (That could become a Match Comments post)

So if everything works out, a Barca and true Cule hero (otherwise known as Ryan) will run the Liveblog. If not, well, you’ll just have to blab here.

Categorized as Liveblog

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Whether they beat Racing or not, it is safe to say Madrid are playing like crap. Lucky for them their schedule is very easy the next couple weeks.

    1. Don’t get your hopes up, RM aren’t going to lose twice in a row. Nice to hear they look bad, though!

    2. I agree that they’ll probably win but I’m talking about the quality of play rather than the result, they’re just not looking very good.

  2. I’m thinking about starting this thing 30 minutes before kickoff, just so I can get a feel for things.

    1. You should. It takes a little while to get comfortable with it and you won’t have a ton of people banging on the door to be let in all at once.

  3. Barça startingXI: Valdés; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal; Keita, Sergio, Xavi; Messi, Cesc, Pedro

    yay for Pedro starting! I hope he has a great game. I like this lineup a lot. Villa and Adriano can come in off the bench with fresh legs and mix things up in the 2nd half.

    1. Pep means business!!! Almost a fully operational death-star-like lineup!

      Love how P and Villa are getting rests.

      Can’t LB today; kids have soccer practice. Good luck, Ryan!

      The Mestalla scares me…must start praying…

  4. Starting lineup:

    OFFICIAL: Barça starting XI: VV, Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Abidal, Xavi, Busquets, Keita, Messi, Pedro and Cesc.

  5. Looking at the Atleti match, we are going to have to watch out for Falcao – he’s a beast in the air.

    1. It doesn’t look so different than their starting lineup, no? I think everyone was indeed expecting that they would come out breathing fire and wrecking the pitch with their need to prove themselves. They look tired, for some reason.

    2. Arbeloa, Varane, Diarra, Callejon. No Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao, or DiMaria. Nearly half their outfield players are not starting XI.

  6. Real dropped points, once again to a super defensive team. It isn’t only we who suffer against catenaccio. Good to know. Nobody will be calling Racing’s performance as ‘tactically brillian.” It’s that only when Mou-Mou or the English do it.

  7. Our left side of attack is nonexistent and our right side of defence is breached over n over again

  8. WOW what a game quite entertaining…I will certainly take this game as a draw, not at all upset. All I have to say is that we played wonderfully better when Busi came back in midfield.

    1. Ah, that would explain why there wasn’t anything physical to see. I wonder what he said to get a red over a yellow?

  9. Bravo to Valencia. That Villa chance at the end though…

    PS Messi got two assists but played really quite badly.

    1. I’m not in particular complaining about them, but just saying that it’s something to consider when you say that he played quite badly. Maybe the red card was a way of compensating for those missed calls? I sure didn’t see anything that Jordi did wrong!

  10. Excellent match. Both the teams played very well. Valencia showed why they are top of the tree, really difficult team to defeat.

    Guess we are not as bad in tactics considering one thing all wanted was for Alves to play at back and he did after half time. Sid Lowe was blaming Masch for the goals and my respect for his tactical understanding dropped a notch. Masch was again immense in second half.

    Messi should have scored on his 1 on 1 but he was excellent otherwise. I think our guys played well mostly. This new goalkeeper of Valencia seems quite a good keeper. Wonder where they find all these guys.

  11. THAT GAME WAS AWESOME! Brilliant ad for La Liga..

    EPL FANBOYS, THIS IS WHAT YOU CALL A GAME! Stop with the SPL BS already..

    Super strong ending to the game. Could’ve nicked it. Though Soldado would’ve made it pretty hard if he’d scored that sitter..

    Its not a penalty if you foul Messi huh? Miguel absolutely clattered into him. And the ref. ending things 1 min early? smh..

    Draw fair result. Valencia and especially Banega was excellent..

    1. Barcelona should have won. Awful decision to end things early. I know we aren’t going to get the call on Messi, but it was a penalty. Great save on Villa. Brilliant game by Valencia. Hats off, but it should have been 3 points. They were dead on their feet by the 80 minute mark.

  12. For those saying Messi played bad match, i have no answer. As they say, one can take cow to the lake but cannot make it drink the water.

    Btw, there were lot of passes from our side that were falling short of intended players. I do not think our players became bad passers suddenly so there must be something wrong with the pitch (more grass, less water?). On the other hand, Valencia’s passes were mostly ok.

    1. Didn’t play to his the standards set by himself. He is to blame if his game is out-of-this-world usually :P..

    2. I think the saying is, “lead a ‘horse’ to water.” My friend was making fun of his sister-in-law, a chick who works at a flower shop and takes horticulture classes, and said, “you can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make it drink.” Guy’s a horrible person.

  13. What

    Real were dire and dour

    We should have had at least a penalty

    Refereeing, as usual, farcical

    on the balance of it a fair result

    Masche was fucking boss..if he’d scored, I’d have screamed my fool head off

    Cesc just can’t stop scoring..Messi should have buried his one on one

    Great advert for the League though

    Hay La Liga!

  14. A draw was fair I think. In last minutes we played to win and could have. The ref was BS! ending at 3:30 for 4 min added time with a red in between? WTF?

    The starting formation and the players to execute it hurt us in the beginning. It might be more of the same against Atleti, we must be cautious. it’s better to start out slow risking less and controlling the tempo I think. Should allow us to get into the flow better.

    There was definite lack in movement in the team for alot of the game. Was it tiredness? Maybe we should’ve stepped of the gas in the Osasuna game? (cules are never happy πŸ˜› )

    1. A number of players looked drained, Messi in primis. Valencia were fantastic and credit must go to their work.

  15. Atleti next…we need to win that one for sure..cant drop any more points

    so for now its

    Valencia 10
    Betis 9 (having played 3)
    Malaga 9
    Barça 8


    1. And I think their last two games they won 4-0, so we’re playing yet again another team in roaring form. Should make for an exciting game eh?

    2. sheesh..this can’t be good for my heart..

      I think I am spotting a few gray hairs on my noggin’ now!

    3. It’s not another team, it’s the darned Colchoneros !!!

      Away from home, they are our worst bogey team. I’m not happy that they are on a good run right now. Because contrary to the dropped points today, I will be pissed if we don’t beat Atleti on Saturday πŸ˜€

    4. Yay!

      Valencia and Malaga are my favourites for the CL spots since before the season started.
      Kind a sad that the prediciton game doesn’t exist anymore πŸ™

  16. Brilliant game. Absolutely Brilliant game.

    * Valencia were tactically superior in the first half. You have to give it to Unai Emery. He had Pep’s number by overloading the left wing and getting Dani Alves in no-man’s land. Mathieu was fantastic in the first half and so were Jordi Alba, Pablo and Ever Banega. The Valencia midfield was superb in the first 30 minutes.

    * Pep showed that he can rectify a mess of his own creation by doing the right thing in the second half. Getting Adriano and dropping back Dani Alves was both owning up and retaining the ideas he had before. Great adjustment and it paid off with some typical Barca domination in the second half.

    * Messi was surprisingly wasteful with the decisive pass but for the assist to Pedro in the first half, but was far better in the second one, except for his miss when nearly one-on-one with the goalkeeper. To be fair, he should have got a penalty in the first half off a foul from Adil Rami, but I wasn’t so upset that he didn’t get it. Rami had just been booked unfairly and I suppose, the referee took it for a 50 50 moment.

    * Fabregas is brilliant. He is Messiesque in his finishing and his integration into the Barca squad so quickly is amazing.

    * Thiago was superb in spells in the second half.

    * Valencia’s positional defense was awesome as well.

    * Abidal and Keita had very so-so games. Mascherano will get the blame, but it was not exactly his fault.

    * It was not a penalty in the final minute either..the ball was far away from Messi and he had no chance of scoring, so the referee played the percentages again.

    * Terrific advertisement for the “crap” that is La Liga. This, my friends, *is* the *BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD*. Tactically, Skill-wise, excitement wise and now with Valencia’s early peaking, even parity wise to some extent. Lets hope the Ches and Betis continue their good form and keeps us on our toes. Maybe even knock EE from their *expected second place* perch.

    1. This overloading the left thing is what Valencia do all the time against us so its not like it was unexpected or anything…
      If only Abidal had let that ball go..Valdes had it covered!

    2. It was a penalty dude..Miguel wasn’t even close to touching the ball.
      And if AS, the most anti-cule magazine/website, says Barca deserved 2 penalty kicks, then you can take their word on that.
      I’m not blaming the ref for the draw but I still think both were penalties.

  17. I did write about a comprision between the three man defense in a post on my blog ,
    In that I have pointed out why it will be foolish to play such a formation against a team.which presses well in midfield and can exploit on the wings. Guardoola did the mistake of playing wiyh a three man defense. Can.t blame him as such a formation is the best way to have cesc in degense. Everytime we lost the ball we were facing a real goal conceding oppurtunity. We were pretty lucky that the game didn.t get over by half time. Guardiola should not try these kind of tavtics at our main rivals home. He took Valencia too lightly.

  18. It could’ve so easily been a win for them or for us. That Soldado miss with the open net when it was 2-1 was crucial IMO. Also why do Refs refuse to award Messi pks, he was fouled at-least 3 times in the box and got nothing.

    p.s-LOL @ Real in 7th.

  19. Also, leads don’t really matter at this stage. What’s important is that we keep playing like in those last minutes..

    Also, Thiago and Cesc can play together/at the same time. What this game has shown is that a surplus of good players is never a bad thing.

    Someone should give an award to Xavi for all his work he put in in this match..

    Lastly, Hay Liga!

  20. A draw was the best result for us, a win would have been unfair.

    Let’s hope Real Betis wins tomorrow πŸ˜€

    1. hell no!…i don’t want a 4 point game this early to the top…a draw/defeat would do them Beticos some good!

  21. Oh my – just saw the last 15mins or so. Absolutely riveting and heartstopping.

    Jan_theOptimist : Unfortunately, you have to eat your socks, my dear πŸ˜€

    Anyway, good game. Not so bad in light of EE also dropping pointss.

    I want to watch the whole match. Hope I have time. Looking forward to all the reviews!

  22. What a game!. I love the 3 back system but Puyol can’t get sucked out wide and Xavi and Keita weren’t controlling the flanks. Abidal just unlucky on the first and not even at fault on the second goal. When Alves dropped back in the second half problem solved. Keita again not looking good at all he played scared, especially with the ball at his feet, unacceptable. We need Thiago with the 3 back system, he is just better. If he had started I think the game would have turned.

  23. A Win would’ve been unfair ? Football is unfair.

    We could have killed the match multiple times after the 2nd goal, with Villa, Adriano and Messi all missing.

    3 at the back costs us a lot.

    Why wasn’t Messi given a penalty ? The First one was very clear, The ball was far and Rami was going in full speed.

    1. And it would have been a second yellow for Rami…

      Anyway, Valencia also had their chances, Soldada even missed the biggest chance of the match (for both sides).

  24. I wonder whats Sir Alex secret as ManU is the only League Champion from last season to be on top and flowing. On other note we are better points-wise than we were this stage last year.

    1. No, 9 > 8

      But last season, Real was on 10 points after 4 matches. So at least compared to them, we are better πŸ˜€

  25. coverage had many cheap shots against Barcelona.

    I don’t blame Abidal, Keita or any player. I’ll blame Pep.

  26. Good game, was it? I’m happy with a draw against Valencia, although it takes a bit of the joy out of RM’s result for me. πŸ˜‰

    Poor Abidal with the own goal. πŸ™

  27. It was a good game, but only because Valencia played great, especially in the first and we were awful at the same time.
    Pep rectified an incredibly obvious mistake which saved the match but he made the mistake in the first place.

    Part of the problem of how exposed we were in the first half is that Dani Alves didn’t understand his role. What part of our game ever involves a winger, staying forward and never tracking back? Alves has the energy to get up and down the wing and unlike Osasuna, have pace and skill on the left wing so it was always going to backfire.

    The match significantly changed when Thiago entered. Unfortunately Keita’s skillset was completely wrong in comparison to Thiago’s when trying to dominate a packed midfield.
    Thiago gave Xavi immense support and his defense splitting pass for Messi should’ve been rewarded by a better finish.

  28. This is not the result we wanted but over all Barcelona are in great shape. Valencia is not exactly decimating the league, as fine as they are playing. In the end it will be Madrid and Barcelona, unless EE implodes, which they might. Starting Thiago over Keita and Villa over Pedro probably would have changed this result, but that’s the lineup I expected, so I’m biased. I am a huge Keita fan, but I didn’t feel good about the starting midfield. It wasn’t until Keita was replaced that the worm started to turn and Barcelona began to really dominate the midfield. Thiago coming in only solidified this change and it would have been enough if Messi or Villa had buried their chances.

    Keita is getting too much flak from fans. He has an important place on this team, but I still think Thiago in the starting lineup would have provided the link to the attack we were missing in the first half.

    1. I Agree about Alves not defending as a winger, seems a funny thing to say, maybe thats why he was made a defender in the first place.

      Also I want to applaud Peps courage in testing this new Barca look. Maybe it will or won’t work in the long run but it is a fantastic system designed to bring out the best in our players. Tweak it here and there is hopefully all it needs.

      Last, the harshness of the fouls not given against Messi is absurd. Its becoming a tactic almost to chop him down, knowing the refs won’t call anything in the box. Him getting pissed just plays in their favor. There is nothing more outrageous than these non calls and Madrids red card fouls in stoppage time

  29. By the way, did anyone see Falcao for Atletico again?
    2 goals and he forced the own goal as well as the hattrick at the weekend. We’ll have to be careful on Sat

  30. What a match!!!

    Valencia should have really won the match with the advantage they had in the first half. They played an unbelievable first half, and they deserved the lead. Kudos to Unai Emery for the tactics, and Valencia for their intensity, and the way they played. They did the Barca against Barca.

    Kudos to Pep to changing and adapting the team to come back from behind in the second half.

    I would not single out or blame a single player for any faults in the Barca system. That Valencia played better in the first half was purely tactical. Also, that, Barca came back from the dead in the second half was also purely tactical.

    All the players played their heart out. But if I would have to pick one player for his outstanding contribution to the match it would be Xavi. When he was on the right wing in the first half, he had a non existent game. But from the first whistle of the second half, it was all Xavi command and control. This is the best game I have seen him play in many years. He had two players on him all the time. And he still managed to find time and space to make passes and dictate the game.

    From the Valencia side, I have to give particular praise to Ever Banega from Valencia team for working tirelessly in the midfield and keeping the Messi Cesc partnership from taking over. Also, lot of praise to Soldado for taking Busi out for large parts of the game. Also Alves had a monster game after he dropped back in to the defence. Dude is a real engine. He did two halves worth of work in one half. He shut the right wing down for Valencia. This was Barca’s weakest point in the first half.

    Here is a short summary of where Barca got smoked in the first half:

    Valencia were playing with 4 forwards, and Barca were defending with 3 defenders. When the ball was passed to the right wing, sMash would track back to the right wing. Puyol would be busy marking Soldado. Abidal was left alone to mark two attackers. It was with this numerical advantage that Valencia made Barca pay. Keita and Busi were leaving too much space between the Barca defense and midfield to be effective. They would usually be caught in no man’s land. Also Valencia played a very high tempo game in the middle nullifying Barca’s midfield dominance in the middle. They closed down every ball in the middle of the park now allowing Barca to play from there. This countered the Barca superiority in numbers in the midfield.

    Here is a short summary of where Barca smoked Valencia in the second half:

    Alves moved back to right back. This effectively nullified the advantage Valencia were having in the front line. It also helped with the circulation of the ball, and went a long way in getting the control of the match back. Second, Villa replaced Pedro, which gave Barca width on the left wing. Pedro was playing a little too much towards the middle of the pitch in my mind. Villa was definitely hugging the left wing, and had the attention of a defender with him all the time. This opened up the pitch quite a bit. Next Pep replaced Keita with Thiago. Thiago was effectively playing as a second holding midfielder next to Busi, as opposed to Keita who was playing as the left part of a diamond. This added more shield to the defense. With Messi and Fab playing in the middle there was no width on the right. Now the last substitution was a gamble by Pep, replacing Puyol in the back with Adriano as a right forward. Barca were already down at that moment and Pep had to make a gamble. And it worked out for him.

    What an amazing match. This was the best match I have seen this year so far. It was a true footballing spectacle for me because it involved two teams that came out to play football. It was also a spectacle for me to see how, a great team like Barca can be made to look very ordinary with the right tactics(Unai Emery) and a team that comes out to play football(Valencia), and how a brilliant mastermind like Pep can turn the game around with tactical substitutions.

    1. Adriano replaced Keita, so for a short time Barcelona played a 4-3-3. Thiago replaced Puyol, converting back to the 3-4-3 against tired Valencia legs. Barcelona dominated the match from that point forward.

    2. Thanks for the correction. The substitutions happened in quick succession. But we get the intent of what Pep wanted to do with how the match played out.

    3. Agreed, didn’t mean to undermine your point, which was spot on, just crossing t’s and dotting i’s.

    4. As much as you credit Xavi, that flank has to be his responsibility with only 3 backs. His and Alves. Cesc can rotate there in support also but that leaves the other flank more exposed. Thiago did it singlehandedly against Osasuna, while Villa, Xavi and Cesc controlled the left. Today a very strong flank attack showed us that before we go against last years Arsenal or the 09 Inter we’d better fix it good.

    5. Yes, as a player playing to the right of the diamond, the right wing should have been covered a little bit more by Xavi.

      But he is, and has always been the midfield maestro of Barca, and he was pinching in leaving the right wing wide open.

      Is it Xavi’s fault that he tries to get into the middle of pitch, or, should Pep have thought better. Was he to leave Xavi on the bench and play Thiago as a starter so the right of the diamond, so it would be covered better. Or, was it that Valencia showed up and played a game that caused Xavi to be useless to the right of the diamond. I think it was a combination of all these factors.

    6. This new system raises a lot of questions of how to stay wide , allow Cesc and Messi to get way forward AND defend the exposed flanks. I said earlier that I thought Thiago goes way up on the strength chart because he has a great balance of youth, range, size and mastery on the ball. Winning back the ball in the middle is the key to not exposing the back corners. Xavi, Alves and Masch were pretty well ripped to shreds; once Puyol gets sucked out there its checkmate. I totally agree Xavi shouldn’t be doing both. Alexis did a lot better closing down the space behind him not that Alves couldn’t learn, and Villa totally gets it. Thiago should get the right while Cesc and Xavi support each other on the left. Big question is how Iniesta does when he comes back . He’s fantastic at winning balls I really think Pep is going to fine tune things into a freakin crescendo. This team will be a masterpiece

    7. One last point, can you imagine any team in the world, coming up against Barca with 4 forwards?

      It goes against every rule in the book for playing against Barca.

      I think this bold thinking is what took Barca/Pep by surprise in the first half.

      No team has every done it in my past recollection, and I have been watching most of the Barca matches since Rijkaard took over.

      I think people will look at this match as an example of how to counter the Barca 3 4 3 diamond formation for a long time to come.

    1. He really had the 4 midfield in mind all along. Barcelona is short on defenders and attackers (Bojan and Jeffren exits, only Sanchez brought in, but he’s versatile), but long on midfielders. Defense is the natural spot to sacrifice players as he needs two wide players up front to create space in the middle.

  31. “Zubizarreta, Barcelona’s sports director, was run over by a car with three bags and suffered the impact in one of his ankles”

    Ouch Hope he’s alright.

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