Let’s talk about the B-team

Might as well. It keeps coming up anyhow.

As you know, our B-team, which is affectionately called ‘The Barca Babies’ around here and probably anywhere of importance, is playing the Segunda division. That means the same place as the once SuperDepor and giant killing Alcorcon.

Last season, they finished third in the standings which would have meant they could have been promoted had it not been for the first team also playing there.

We (read: myself and readers blitzen, Miguel, jordi, and Jnice) wrote up a scouting report at the end of the season, which you should read before continuing. And if you’ve read it, read it again.

Part One. Part Two.


Enter Eusebio in place of Luis ‘Lucho’ Enrique (now at Roma) and Kiko Femenia and Rodri in place of Nolito (sold to Benfica) and Jonathan Soriano (long term injury).


Let’s talk about the good things

-If I had to pick four players who have been the most consistent I’d say Bartra, JDS, Montoya and Sergi Roberto. When talking about experienced players, it’s those four who have been the calmest under pressure and have been trying to lead the team out of the rut it’s been in. (More on that later).

Our promoted Juvenil A players: Rafinha, Espinosa, Sergi Gomez, and Deulofeu also known to me as God Made Him (In Catalan, ‘Deu’ means God, ‘lo feu’ means ‘made him’. Put together Deu + lo feu = Deulofeu or God Made Him).

Those four players have adapted quite well to the Segunda division. They obviously have a lot to learn, but it is very heartening to see they aren’t intimidated by the jump from the under-19s (Juvenil A) to the Segunda.

To talk about them individually:

Sergi Gomez: still has to get a hang of Segunda forwards, but given time, he can improve, especially if Bartra is the one to partner him in defence. His height is a huge asset and his positioning is superb.

Rafinha: although he’s been playing out of position, he still shines. Not as brightly as he could, but more probably more than he should given where he’s been playing. Like Thiago, he’s got this Brazilian flair. Seeing him dribble is really something. His set piece moves with Sergi Roberto and JDS have been stuff to behold even though they rarely come off.

Espinosa: simply put, there isn’t another player like him in the team. Personally, his style reminds me of Iniesta, very smooth as he weaves his way past players. As a player who can ‘play between the lines’, he’s crucial to creativity in the midfield (alongside JDS and Sergi Roberto). Although, he still has a long way to go, so no need to hype him more than necessary.

Deulofeu: speaking of hype, we should also be careful with this one– it’s easy to get carried away when talking about God Made Him. That being said, this season, his selfishness has toned down a lot; he’s passing more and making space for his teammates instead of dribbling into trouble. When he comes on, he’s usually the go-to man offensively. It’s quite amazing to see him make fools out of seasoned defenders, though the same can be said for Rafinha. To put the above into perspective, he recently got a standing ovation away from home in the 1-0 win against Huesca.

Oh, and we won our last two matches: 4-1 and 0-1.

Let’s talk about the bad things

– Those wins came off a seven match winless streak during which the team either: a) fell behind and could not score, b) scored but tried to hold on for the win and failed, or c) where they did b) and then a).

– We were in the relegation zone after eight games. Now, we sit in 15th place after 10 games. (This is good news).

– If you have never seen Armando and Carmona play, you have been spared of a truly traumatic experience.

Carmona basically thinks he’s Messi. He’s hulky and slow, with blocks of concrete for feet, but feels the need to constantly dribble instead of passing. He tries to take control of the situation, as ‘the experienced forward’, but ends up just making things worse.

Armando is just…bad. Really, really bad. He is slow, gives the ball away cheaply in dangerous positions, and get beaten by players with regularity. Which wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t a defender.

I don’t know what is with the B-team and useless twentysomethings.

(Players like Nolito and Jonathan Soriano are exceptions to the rule (which consists of Saul, Benja, Carmona… #&@^! hell.)

Levante were the ones who gave Armando hope of a professional career in football and were the stepping stones to propel him towards us via FC Cartagena. Those evil table topping b*stards.

– The injury to Jonathan Soriano has been pretty crushing for our offense. Although it’s still probably too early to say, Rodri, the new 9 to ‘replace’ him, just isn’t cutting it. He’s having a hard time getting settled. The same goes for Kiko, who hasn’t been bad, but hasn’t been setting the world alight either.

(Tello is another player who, while still a danger, is missing that  special sense that tell one when to shoot and when to pass to another player. He’s not that bad though, so perhaps I’m being a bit harsh on him).

– We score a goal, but can’t score a second or hang on. We concede a goal then another and then another… Yes! We get one back! Remuntada, baby–ah. Armando slipped. We concede another goal. Never mind.

Let’s talk about Eusebio and… oh hell no.

When he’s not playing Armando, he’s starting Carmona. If he’s not starting Carmona or Armando, then he’ll take off his best player for him. If he’s not playing Espinosa or Deulofeu, it because he’s playing both Armando and Carmona together at the same time.

Which is within his right to do, I guess, since they are available players (damn).

The problem lies with him. And his tactics. More accurately, the lack thereof.

I’m not a Jonathan Wilson, Zonal Marking, Euler-esque tactician, so there is something very, very wrong when I can see the problems with the team and the head coach can’t.

What’s happening is that Eusebio starts an initial lineup which is set up to fail (like playing players out of position or starting Armando in the center of defense as the ‘leader’ alongside rookie Sergi Gomez) then throws on the kids, usually Deulofeu or Espinosa, and Carmona to put out a self-created fire.

The kids and Carmona.

And by the time he throws on the kids and Carmona, there isn’t enough time for them to fix anything. Because they were thrown on fifteen minutes too late. Or not all all.

Eusebio is a former player of ours, which is why he was given the job probably (following the examples of Pep and Lucho), but this could be a mistake.It should also be noted that Eusebio was head coach of Celta Vigo, another former club of his, for the 2009/10 season and almost got them relegated (he was subsequently fired) so it’s not like his track record is the greatest…

He’s basically killing the development of promising teenagers for the sake of his job, the job whose premier objective is to help develop the very kids he’s benching in favour of new signings (Kiko and Rodri), Carmona, and Armando.

Let me repeat that: Eusebio…benching promising kids… for… Carmona and Armando.

There was a time where we couldn’t hold onto a lead. To the point where squad (self-) confidence was seriously in danger of being destroyed. Like, seriously.


Will that stop them, Pep? I doubt it.

The B-team is meant to be a place where players from our youth level teams come in and develop. Because our team is awesome and has made its way into the Segunda, players with ‘experience’ are added into the team to provide leadership and, uh, experience to the younger, inexperienced kids. Good idea, right?

Yeah, I thought so too. I don’t think Eusebio does though. The attitude he seems to have towards this B-team is this win at all cost, experience first mentality, one that is not working.

‘We should give him time because it’s still too early to tell’, ‘let’s not make any hasty decisions’, ‘we’ll improve’.

The above has been repeated ad nauseam, but I really honestly believe that he doesn’t understand why things aren’t working at a fundamental level. Which is a pretty damning misgiving to have.

No one is expecting the B-team to come anywhere close to where they were last season, but they shouldn’t been in danger of being relegated.

The frustrating part is that Eusebio actually has all the tools to do very, very well in the Segunda; he’s just doesn’t understand how to use them properly, or at all.

It’s like giving someone all the land and materials they need to build a mansion only for them to throw a shack together — a shack that’s about to fall apart at that.

Yo, Pep, I don’t think they’ll be talking about this on the radio. Or on TV.

Because they haven’t been broadcasting the Babies’ games. It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen Eusebio in his hipster jeans, looking all worried and feebly gesticulating things on the touchline.

The B-team has won both matches since the ending of the broadcasting.

What’s going on? What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? Beats me.

I think it’s a conspiracy by Eusebio. ‘See? We’re winning now. It’s all good.’

This is unfair. I say we launch an Occupy!Eusebio campaign.

…Wait, did I do that right?

Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be

Well, you know how it is. As for what it could be, my gut instinct says that if we had Juvenil A coach Oscar Garcia — the same Oscar Garcia who lead a Juvenil A which featured Gomez, Rafinha, God Made Him and Espinosa to the treble last season– take over, we’d be comfortably in the top 10.


In other news, I will be temporarily off BFB for a while starting November 1st.  Try not to miss me too much. 😛

If you’re interested in being a back-up to Calvin Liveblogger while I’m gone, leave a comment below.


In totally random news, cleverbot.com is the best time-wasting site ever.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

(All pictures print screen’d by me).

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. BarcaOwl
    October 27, 2011

    Kari, I could strangle you for introducing cleverbot.com to me. But then we’d miss you. 😀

    If there’s no one else to be backup for Calvin, I’ll volunteer. Unfortunately not for the Champions League matches because there’s an EE bias going on in my TV station. They persist in putting Barcelona matches in delayed telecast but start EE’s matches on time.

    Don’t stay away too long and come back soon, Kari.

  2. October 27, 2011

    I was about to irritably suggest you Barca-B’cule’s go hijack the Offide B site or something….but you redeem yourself with some chatbot silliness.

    • blitzen
      October 28, 2011

      You have some sort of problem with discussing the Barça B team?

    • BarcaOwl
      October 28, 2011

      You might not be interested in reading about Barca B but others are. The last time I checked, there’s no one holding a gun to anyone’s head demanding that all posts MUST be read.

      You have the choice to ignore this post since you have no interest in the subject matter. Just as others have the choice to ignore posts which do not appeal to them.

    • mom4
      October 28, 2011

      Um…guys like Messi, Xavi and Iniesta didn’t just fall off the apple cart and land in the Camp Nou in time for their first-team debut. The B team (and by extension the youth teams) are very important and if it can’t stay up in the Segunda it’s players won’t be exposed to the higher level of competition they get there that makes them more ready for Pep’s call-ups..

      • October 28, 2011

        @blitzen,BarcaOwl n mom4 Flogging deserved, sorry.(I think i took out my frustration with Grenada game in the wrong way) I will try to expand my horizons a bit.

        And for the record Kari I appreciate your posts and hard work. Hurry back.

  3. October 28, 2011

    Lucho needed like 15 games of mess to find his way around. Not sure of Eusebio’s approach but I won’t judge him yet.

    And for the record, he was also in the staff lead by Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona.

  4. Helge
    October 28, 2011

    Ohh… Kari 🙁

    Could you go a little bit more into detail, like for how long you’ll be away, where you at and so on?

  5. adopted cule
    October 28, 2011

    My wife is scheduled to have our third baby on the first (planned C-section), but if you’re going to be gone for an extended time, I’d be happy to host later in the month if no one else can.

    Thanks to all who put in the effort on the Barca B scouting report.

  6. blitzen
    October 28, 2011

    I mostly agree with all your points, Kari, but I do think you are a bit hard on Tello. Before he picked up that injury he was one of our most consistent players. He is back now, right? And apparently Soriano has been declared fit as well, so the situation up front has improved immensely. I will be interested to see what a Tello – Soriano – Deulofeu front line can do.

    Neither Rodri nor Kiko has found his feet yet, which after two months into the season is very worrying. I’m frankly not sure either of them is going to cut it. Kiko was explicitly bought with an eye to getting a shot with the first team, but isn’t anywhere near that level. Cuenca, on the other hand, is. Amazingly, you didn’t mention Cuenca at all in this post. I can only assume that is because you have already mentally elevated him to first team status. 😉 He is a very talented boy and given time I think he will be a hell of a player for both the B team and as (apparently) Pep’s special project.

    I thought JDS had a pretty poor season last year, so I am happy to say he has been by far the best and most consistent player so far this year. The B team is still suffering from the lack of Thiago, but JDS has stepped up big time to control the midfield. Between him, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Riverola, & Espinosa, the team has had the midfield on lockdown for the bulk of almost every game they have played. Unfortunately a lack of collective experience, plus the Carmona factor, has led them into small errors which become big errors when the shaky backline falls apart.

    The backline has suffered the most from injuries. At one time or another Bartra, Muniesa, & Montoya have all been out, meaning Sergi Gomez and Armando have formed the core of the defense. The first one is very inexperienced, the second one is…just not good. Bartra is pretty much essential at this point to whip the defense into shape.

    I have said before that, tactical considerations aside, the main problem I see with Eusebio is that he is not the sort of coach to inspire self-belief in his players. Lucho made his players believe they could succeed because HE believed they could succeed at the highest level. Eusebio sits talented players and makes them lose confidence in themselves. The last couple of good results will go a long way towards restoring confidence, and let’s hope this is a turning point for the season as a whole.

    And Kari, unless you are spending a month in a salt mine or a backwoods logging camp with no internet access, you are not allowed to go away and leave us unsupervised. 👿

  7. mom4
    October 28, 2011

    Thanks, Kari. I was wondering when someone would tackle this rather worrying topic.

    Enjoy your little sabbatical next month.

  8. BarcaGirl_Indo
    October 28, 2011

    thank you for your nonsense and thoughts about Barça B..
    for me who can’t watch Barça Babies because my internet is not fast enough (damn!!) for streaming, your posts (and other BFBers) are very useful for me..

    enjoy whatever you do in real life, Kari… and come back soon!

    and oh, congrats adopted cule! 😀

  9. mom4
    October 28, 2011

    Some good news for the babies:

    FCBarcelonaFl #fcblive Barcelona B striker Johnathan Soriano today received the medical green light after being hurt 3 months…

  10. Josep
    October 28, 2011

    y’all harsh as hell on Eusebio, I hope you guys think everyones harsh on Lucho too because that’s exactly how you’re treating them.

    • blitzen
      October 28, 2011

      I take your point, but there are some differences in the situations the two coaches are in.

      Luis Enrique has the task of introducing a whole new system, philosophy and playing style to a historic team with mature and well-established players. Daunting to say the least. He has had a difficult start, with some major setbacks, but the team seems to be gradually getting it and is now sitting comfortably mid-table. His players seem quite motivated, and even Totti may be coming around.

      Eusebio has a group of young players, and a few older ones, who with the exceptions of Rodri and Kiko have been playing the same style for years. Most of them have been playing with each other for years as well. His job is to improve on the skills these players already have, to find the best ways to utilize them, and develop them as potential first-team players. Not just win games at any cost (which he isn’t doing either). His stubbornness regarding Carmona (for example) or where to play Rafinha (for another) is damaging the entire team.

      So why don’t you contribute to the discussion and give us your opinion of how the B team is performing?

  11. October 28, 2011

    Not to out Kari, but she’s just busy with life and stuff, like the rest of your hard-working (in her case) and not-so-hard-working (the rest of us) mods. It happens. Nothing major. I’ll try to be more active as I am in a mini training break. I realize this is a pretty crappy deal for everyone, but what can I say? Life is hard, and then you die. 😀

  12. October 28, 2011

    Some great quotes from the Guardiola presser, including plenty about Messi (graciously Tweeted out by #fcblive):

    “Everyone one has their opinion whether one agrees or not…The important thing is Messi knows what we think of him which what matters.”

    Re: Messi as a sub. “If he gets upset he has two tasks-get annoyed and stop being annoyed. I am the one who decides.”

    “It’d be really good if players like Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol coached and helped youngsters grow, once they retire.”

    “We’re very happy with what Messi has done. Nothing of what we have achieved would have been possible without him. We do not doubt him.”

    “He never plays badly. He’s superior to the rest. He has that special something, w/ respect to the Peles and DiStefanos. He’s consistent.”

    “I already said so the other day, it’s newsworthy when he doesn’t score. Two days w/out scoring spurs a debate. Third one, crisis.”

    “Mascherano is the best CB we have right now because of his good form.”

    “We do not doubt Messi, even if from now until the end of the season he doesn’t score another goal. You won’t make him any less strong.”

    “I don’t think that in history there has been another player who has been doing what he does every day, every 3 days, for 4 years.”

    “Many kids become cules because of Messi. Finding a player who plays with such regularity over 4 years is impossible.”

    • footballfan
      October 28, 2011

      Great statements from Pep. Lots of love for Messi 😀

  13. Miguel
    October 28, 2011

    Where are you going? When are you coming back? Can I come with you? Don’t go. I miss you. 🙁

  14. October 28, 2011

    Interesting exchange from the “ask Guillem” piece on Guillem Balague’s website, a variant on the “They don’t like it innem, eh,” Prem-centric notions:


    Barcelona is a great team. I am however surprised that every team gives them so much space. I would mark everyone and I mean everyone, man to man, within half-a-metre, not the 5+ yards they are conceding when playing zonal. Playing man to man at worst Barcelona would have to run just as much, whereas now the opposition does all the chasing. At present, one can observe that Barcelona always have more than one option to pass to a free player with acres of space, no wonder they have time to pick the opposition apart. Barcelona`s individual players are technically very strong, but, when someone is continuously breathing down your neck, you don`t have as much time or the space to produce your magic and hence more mistakes. I have never seen any team marking Barcelona man to man. To me, this strategy would give most teams a much higher percentage of success. Right now, most teams have a 10% chance of success, at best! What do you think? Jose Lourenco (Chelsea)


    Try it in the park. Find five players who can play one-twos and try to follow them, one-to-one by man-marking them. You would go crazy. Also, you would be taken wherever your opponent wants to take you, so if they want to play on the left-hand side you also have to be on the left hand side. How do you stop one of the attackers breaking the lines and ending up in a huge space elsewhere on the field? There`s no way that is a good solution and that`s why it hasn`t been tried. The technical ability of Barcelona and their sense of positioning makes it absolutely impossible to follow them, even if you had the best athletes. Following the man constantly would be so tiring that Barcelona would destroy you.

    • Dani_el
      October 28, 2011

      Thanks for sharing this Kxevin! I believe he’s right, jut look at them to “rondos” in the Allas video. I do wish EE try this strategy though. 🙂

  15. Dani_el
    October 28, 2011

    Thanks for the B team review Kari, it was a fun read. I hope you enjoy your vacations (I hope the word is accurate) and hope for your return soon. You will be missed. (even if it is a couple of weeks)

  16. October 28, 2011

    Couple of things:

    -Lucho and Eusebio’s situations are not comparable. Period.

    blitzen sums it up well (I’d highly recommend reading both her comments, fantastic): with Lucho he has to change a style of play, a philosophy, mentality of a club. And not just any club, a big club. He’s got veteran players to deal with along with new signings to fit in. It was a bit of a mess at first, but you can clearly see where Lucho was going.

    Moreover, his personality is such that it gets his players hyped up. He’s competitive and is really on your butt all the time.

    Eusebio on the other hand, has inherited a squad whose core has been playing together for a long time. There is a solid philosophy and plan in place. They were playing well, had good consistency as well as confidence. Lucho did great work with them.

    His approach is that of winning all the games at all cost, despite the fact that the B-team cannot be promoted. It’s like he wants to match Lucho’s achievement of 3rd so badly he’s forgetting why he’s there in the first place: to develop the players in the team and not get.

    This isn’t Celta, or Deportivo or whatever. Nor is it a major team in Italy. The main objective isn’t promotion/Segunda title. He can lose a couple of games here and there, no big deal. It becomes a problem when he’s losing games and not instilling confidence in the squad, or pushing them to get better.

    He is stubborn with the experience first policy, which is odd given that the majority of the squad are there to gain experience.
    What’s worse is the players he is stubbornly playing (Armando and Carmona) are truly terrible and are actually detrimental to the team when they are there. This isn’t an exaggeration.

    He doesn’t know where to play the newer players, so he either throws them somewhere (Rafinha) or does not play them at all (Espinosa).

    When a problem arises, I’m not convinced he actually knows what the core of the problem is.

    A lack of width? I’ll throw in Carmona. We have no players who can play between the lines? I’ll put in Kiko. Deulofeu and Espinosa? Nah, Carmona and Kiko have more experience.

    Look, I want the B-team to do well. Or at the very least, not get relegated. Eusebio is a nice guy and all, but I just don’t think he’s doing his job properly.

    Is that harsh? No. If you ever get a chance to watch the B-team play, like any of the 8 previous matches they’ve played, you’d get my point.

    I hope he goes back to the structure Pep and Lucho have been using instead of what he’s been doing now. Let’s hope the last two games have indeed been the season’s turning point.

    “And for the record, he was also in the staff lead by Rijkaard”

    Yeah, I know. Forgot to add that part, but it just adds to the ‘former player/assistant gets the job’ thing the Club’s been going for.

    “The defense has suffered most from injuries.”

    That is true. There were a lot of things I should have delved into further, so I could really hammer the points home, but I, uh, didn’t.

    Bartra has been absolutely immense at the back. The injury to him was quite damaging as it allowed Armando to get minutes. Muniesa has also been a loss, as Planas has not been very good on the left. (I mean, I’d actually prefer Grimaldo and he’s like 15…)

    “Amazingly, you didn’t mention Cuenca at all”

    Yeah, I consider him as kind of part of the A-team, Thiago and Fontas-style. :mrgreen:

    He’s been brilliant though, hasn’t he? Hope he keeps it up.

    “I think you were a bit hard on Tello.”

    Yep, that’s fair. I thought I was. He hasn’t been that bad (much better than Rodri, Kiko and Carmona).


    Also, it’s just as Kxevin says: I’m just going to be busy for a while. School and my placement and whatnot. Nothing too big, but it does mean I won’t have the time to blog and all that fun stuff.

    Thanks for the kind wishes, guys!

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