Let’s Get Back On Track: Barcelona vs Mallorca LiveBlog

Meaning we win by 5 goals, of course. Big news is Iniesta (on the bench) and no Xavi at all (one of three players in stands; Fontas and Maxwell the others).

Barcelona lineup: Valdés, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Adriano; Busi, Keita, Thiago; Villa, Messi, Cuenca

Bench: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Pique, Cesc, Iniesta, Deulofeu

Mallorca lineup: Aouate; Cendrós, Ramis, Chico, Bigas; Joao Victor, Martí, Tissone; Chori Castro, Nsue and Álvaro Jiménez

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. BarcaGirl_Indo
    October 29, 2011

    can we just move FONTAS back to Barça B?
    poor kid can’t even make it as a benchwarmer, why did Pep promote him?

  2. mom4
    October 29, 2011

    In Pep we what is this lineup all about Messi is going to have to be building up the play from way back and be a forward at the same time and that’s no way to get him some rest I’m so frustrated and yes I know we have a CL game coming up but really why no Iniesta he’s gotten some rest lately and what about Cesc trust.

    I’m going to work now, ugh!

    • mom4
      October 29, 2011

      Later that night…

      In Pep we I will never complain about Pep’s lineup again (at least until the next time he baffles me) trust.

  3. Calvin
    October 29, 2011

    Its interesting (and unexpected) to see Montoya on the bench ahead of both Maxwell and Fontas. Neither of them has been playing a whole lot, and this would seem like a great opportunity for them to get some minutes.

    Either Montoya has been irrepressible in practice this week, or Pep sees Montoya as the future over both Fontas and Maxwell.

    • Miguel
      October 29, 2011

      I hope Pep’s thinking about resting Dani a little for the Champions League trip to Pilsner.

    • footballfan
      October 29, 2011

      which further begs the question of why Fontas is promoted.

    • Kimcelona
      October 29, 2011

      Maxwell had discomfort and rested as a precaution. Xavi rested for the obvious and Fontas..I dunno.
      Fontas is our very own water boy..poor kid 🙁

  4. barca96
    October 29, 2011

    So Deulofeu made the final cut.

    I dare to bet that even when we’re 5-0 up by half time, Pep wouldn’t put Fontas in. I don’t dare to say the same of Deulofeu though.

  5. October 29, 2011

    Quite puzzled by the line-up. We had all of our three midfielders available, I understand resting Xavi but BOTH Iniesta and Cesc being rested seems odd.

    Agree with sentiments re: Fontas.

    Oh Bojan, who came on as a sub around halftime, just scored for Roma to make it 2-3 with only a handful of minutes left for Roma to equalize. According to Soccernet Gamecast, Milan only had three shots on goal but seem to have scored with all three, with seven shots total. While Roma have 19 shots, 8 on target, and about 60% possession.

  6. October 29, 2011

    And looking at further positives, Valencia won 3-1 and Villareal finally got a victory that was long coming 2-0. I like Valencia most after Barca so happy for them, and Villareal are just one of the most likable sides on the planet so I’m happy to see them out of their malaise.

  7. olbucky
    October 29, 2011

    Kxkevin with the shout out from Ray Ray….classic.

      • SoccerMom
        October 29, 2011

        At the beginning of the match RayRay said he wanted “to acknowledge Kevin from ‘Barcelona Football Blog’ at bfb.com” for recognizing Cuenca’s potential.

        I was so excited! Like in an embarassingly thuper way!

  8. Miguel
    October 29, 2011


    “Tal día como hoy debutaron Raúl (hace 17 años) e Iniesta (hace 9 años). Atención a todos los chavales que debuten hoy: están bendecidos.” -Mister Chip

  9. October 29, 2011

    They key to that match was Barcelona’s use of width. May have been their best use of width in a match since the Villareal match.

    The past three matches teams have defended Barca extremely narrowly. Often defenses will pinch in off the left flank to support the middle taking their chances with attacks from the Barca LB.

    But this season defenses have pinched in off the right flank as well.

    And part of that is due to Dani Alves not getting as forward as he did last season due to tactical changes Pep has made.

    Add to that Pedro ineffectiveness and that right flank just hasn’t been great.

    This has allowed defenses to get away with pinching in off both flanks without paying a price.

    The past three games Barcelona has tried to play through the middle over and over and over despite how narrow they’ve been defended. That’s a major reason why their passing on final balls had been so errant. They kept trying to pass through the middle of congested space.

    Today – it was clear that Pep instructed the team to focus on wide play again.

    Cuenca was terrific – so much of the game play ran through him. His combination play is very strong. He has good close control and nice touch. Good with both feet.

    The real question with him is how his finishing and goal scoring will be. At times – even on the B team – he plays almost like a midfielder in an advanced, wide role. But in the Barca system the forwards must score.

    It was very good to see him finish that goal with the calm, systematic approach he took (his use of both feet on that play was fantastic). Very promising young talent. Needs to add muscle – but he has a real chance to be good.

    Adriano was fantastic. One of the best players on the pitch. He made Mallorca pay for pinching in off that left flank. Dangerous runs. Nice crosses. Really good match.

    Dani was also very good. Very balanced match finished off by that golazo. Very sweet goal as it was clear that Mallorca had ticked off Barca with that awful, cheap foul on Messi and Dani looked to hurt them before the clock finished. He rarely shoots from that kind of distance. Very happy to see him play so well again.

    Without Xavi and Iniesta the team naturally played less through the middle. Thiago did a very nice job with his lateral movement and play from side to side. And his defensive work is just so impressive. He’s become such a well rounded footballer at a very young age.

    Deulofeu gets his debut. He looked nervous and a bit jittery but that’s not unexpected at all.

    Given the lack of depth on the front line and Ibi’s injury – Barca is going to need Cuenca and likely Deulofeu to contribute this season. Cuenca more obviously – but they are probably going to need Deulofeu as well to provide some rest in the Copa.

    • nzm
      October 29, 2011

      Yes – good to see them play wide again. Finally, we play with effective left and right wings!

      Cuenca showed Villa how to round the GK to score….

      Without Xavi and Iniesta, the game actually flowed more freely, to be honest. Plus, Mallorca played (or was made to play) their backline just forward of the penalty box which allowed the wingers to get in behind to make the crosses, as well as some great diagonal balls from midfield into the box to the Barca players standing in Mallorca’s backline.

      Thiago is still too casual on some occasions for my liking. He gave away some silly possession tonight at times, and there was one occasion where he lost the ball and Puyol dived in to save it and received a knock as he went to ground. Still some lessons to be learned.

      Midfield worked really well with Busquets, Thiago and Keita. Keita was really good tonight both on attack and defence.

    • October 29, 2011

      I really liked Cuenca’s crosses in recent games. Not just the one that led to the goal, but his low crosses across the face of goal. Just begging for someone to bundle in and finish them. So not used to seeing us with threatening crosses, high or low.

      • Ryan
        October 29, 2011

        Seriously, the last one that sticks in my mind is from last season from Jeffren to Villa. They’re so effective, I hope we do more of them!

        • October 29, 2011

          Yeah. And he seems to get it perfectly across the face of goal with people not getting on it. It seems to be a big part of Cuenca’s play though so we’ll probably see more of it. Now we need our forwards and a midfielder- as in, Fabregas- crashing the box to poke home those.

          I like Adriano’s hard crosses into the box too. I quite like Adriano in the side. Abidal gives us so much defensive solidity but I love Adriano the attacker (not bad at defending either). I hope he gets more game time against the weaker sides where we won’t need to be as defensively lockdown as the big games and CL ties.

  10. Helge
    October 29, 2011

    8 consecutive matches (in all competitions) without conceding!

    New record under Pep?

  11. Eklavya
    October 29, 2011

    Someone needs to put on the RayRay shoutout clips on YouTube! I think it was Jnice who did it last time..

  12. blitzen
    October 29, 2011

    So I went to my local poutinerie after the game, like I promised (I got peppercorn beef & mushrooms if you want to know), and on this big chalkboard they have I saw written “Catalunya lliure i indepenta” and “Spain is fascism”. So that’s…yeah. Random.

    Anyhoo, that was a fun game, wasn’t it? Messi being cheeky with the cameras, Adriano rampant, Thiago bossing the midfield, VV taking a break from his modelling career to make picking the ball out of the air look easy as pie. Nice.

    And what a goal for the new kid in town! Cuenca should be very happy with himself, not just for the goal, but for his overall performance. He was really good. He seems to have an excellent sense of positioning, reminiscent of pre-slump Pedro, and he never stops running. I think we can all see why Pep is so impressed with him.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 29, 2011

      That Cuenca goal was awesome!!!! Loved how he gave width to the team upfront.
      Now if only Alexis can get better and double that width.

      • Helge
        October 30, 2011

        I believe that Sanchez was quite good in most of the matches he played for us. At least he does not need to improve a lot, he just has to stay fit.

  13. ElJefe
    October 29, 2011

    Cuenca looked great! Some rough touches but overall fantastic. Really like the wide positioning and crossing, but more importantly the threat that he could be you on the ball to complement the crossing. With Alves, Adriano, Cuenca all playing dangerous wide bodes very well for crashers like Messiah and Cesc.

    Even Pique may be scoring some goals as a result. And Capitan Caveman getting some minutes always makes me happy as well for future Clasicos. Just the momentum we need.

  14. Ian in Tokyo
    October 29, 2011

    As others have said, it was great to see Cuenca play so well today. His extreme lankiness makes him look a bit wild at times, but that just adds entertainment for me ー as Euler pointed out, he actually showed very good close control.

    Seeing Deulofeu debut with the big team was also exciting. He only got a few touches in attack and didn’t have a chance to do too much, but he did have a nifty dribble to beat a defender ー right through the defender’s legs. However, I was quite impressed by his defensive contributions, especially as this was a weak spot for him in the past. He pressed, tracked back, and won several balls. It was clear he is making big strides in this area, and today he showed he can play the way a wide forward needs to play in our system.

    Between those two, it feels like we have a lot to look forward to when it comes to homeーgrown forwards.

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