Attack of the Tamudos: Barça – Rayo

I don't know either, but hell yeah (from siyanor.com)

Liga Preview: Barcelona – Rayo Vallecano, Tuesday 3pmET, ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com

I’ve been away from the Barça world for a few days. Returning to it (and New York) after a Thanksgiving in the boonies of Washington DC, I feel a bit removed from all the gnashing of teeth and end-of-the-world proclamations I’ve scanned through on Twitter. I haven’t read the comments here, which is probably too bad since they’re usually insightful and entertaining, so perhaps I’m wrong as to the general consensus about the season’s final trophy tally, but I’ve heard it’s between 0 and negative 30. They’ll take away our trophies! They’ll let Segio Ramos run them all over with a bus!

First SoMa and then Euler came out with fantastic posts about the Getafe match, whose first 20 minutes I missed due to lunch at a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church. Sup, Huong Viet! Not being familiar with the geography of the DC metro area, I have to say I was fascinated by 7 Corners and its, well, uh, 7 corners. Who designs roads like that and why? We followed up our lunch with these delicious pupusas salvadoreñas from a food truck sitting in Home Depot’s parking lot, so by the time I got around to finding a working stream of the match, I was not only full, I was verging on a food coma. I think that might be why I was less inclined to anger or frustration throughout an anger and frustration inducing match. Either that or I’m mellowing dramatically in my old age.

Whatever, I’m more saddened by losses than filled with anger, though that’s probably not true were we to lose a major match to the likes of Moudrid. Still, it was Getafe and while those are winnable games, I think perspective allows the team to lose now and then regardless of what another team is doing. As I mentioned on Twitter, however, it seemed the team was somewhat uninterested in the match until the final few minutes when they were galvanized by a couple of tactical switches. Suddenly there was intent, there was movement, and Messi banged one off the far post when I thought he’d rescued a point for sure.

I bring this up not to point out how badly the team played, but rather to point out that they got it going in the last few minutes. I think that intent and that desire will carry over into the match against Rayo, the team’s game in hand over everyone else and one that, I think, will allow the pundits and fans alike to stop wearing their fingers to the bone trying to produce obituaries for El Pep Team. The gap at the top is 6 points, yes, but if you think about it as just 6 points instead of holy crap 6 whole points, you can feel more comfortable leaving your defibrillator at home when you go to work.

But what makes me so optimistic at such a dreary time of the year? First, the sun has been shining and it’s been over 60 degrees every day this Thanksgiving weekend. It’s either a sign to keep my knickers untwisted or it’s a sign of the apocalypse. Either way, I should relax about Barça’s results because if we’re going to go through a Rapture sometime soon, perhaps I should be spending time with my parents. Though, then again, if this is the last I’m going to see of Barça…to the BFB mobile! Time to head to the Camp Nou to scream obscenities at Rayo! They’re from the capital, after all.

Their squad: Cobeño, Tito, Casado, Delibasic, Movilla, Rafa García, Piti, Dani, Arribas, Javi Fuego, Míchel, Lass, Botelho, Jordi, Sueliton, Michu, Labaka, Tamudo, Pacheco.

The team is very middle of the road. They’re 10th in the league with 16 points, hanging out in the mid-table doldrums alongside Atleti and Villarreal. It may seem like they’re punching above their weight, but their record 4W-4D-5L (15GF, 15GA) suggests they’re pretty much exactly where they should be. Away from home they’re 2W-3D-2L (7GF, 10GA), which is about par as well. It’s just that those 2 wins were at Getafe and Betis–only perhaps now isn’t the time to point out where Getafe sits in the table and how such a result suggests that maybe Rayo isn’t so great. They lost at Villarreal 2-0 as well and are just coming off a 2-1 loss at home to Valencia.

Incidentally, that victory by Los Che actually puts them 1 point behind Barça (27 to 28). Not an unheard of amount to overtake someone, though Sport and MD would probably have you believe otherwise were Moudrid behind los angeles del Camp Nou by exactly that much. Whatever, it’s forward we look, not backwards at the nether regions of the league (that’d be 20th-3rd place, of course).

If there’s one person who is taking this visit to the Camp Nou more seriously than other Rayo players, it’s got to be Raul Tamudo. He knows he could heap horrible things on the people of la ciudad condal, like he’s done in the past. Not that we talk about that around these parts. The consternation it evokes is enough to destroy the earth. Talk about a crisis!

So it’s up to the squad to rebound, to come back with the verve and movement that has characterized the last 3 years of utterly wonderful football. Yet fans should also maintain a bit of perspective: Numancia, Inter Milan, Hércules, Atletico Madrid. These are our reminders that hyperbolic attacks on particular players are often misguided and even more often merely show our lack of knowledge on the subject at hand. We may claim to have blogged about it for 5 years (has it been so long?) or followed it for half a century, but it doesn’t much matter if we’ve failed to gain a measure of perspective. As one life-long member told me two years ago during Hlebruary, “It doesn’t matter whether we win or lose this match;  it’s nothing like it was before.” Before. Before Laporta, before Messi, before Rijkaard and the little maestro named Xavi appearing on the scene. And that was two years ago, before the quadruple clásicos destroyed the sport and wrecked my soul for a good long while.

Rayo. We’re talking about Rayo. There’s good news and there’s great news. The good news is that both Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas are back in training and are available for the match. That should help this whole idea of “directness” –but weren’t we worried about width?—and also relieve some of the minutes being played by other squad members. And no, that’s not the great news.

The great news is that Tito Vilanova has been released from the hospital to continue his recuperation at home. This is fantastic. Far more important than a single match or even a full season. A lifetime of seasons pale in comparison, in fact. And don’t you forget it! What Abidal went through last year was testament to this view and what Tito is going through, regardless of how serious or meaningless it may turn out to be later, is another example of life being so much bigger than sport.

Certainly, welcome back Iniesta and Cesc. We’re happy to have you in the lineup again. Please don’t get injured ever again. I don’t care for it, so cut it out of your schedule. You shall remain healthy until you retire at the ripe old age of 35. Both of you, in fact. Messi has already agreed to this plan, so you might as well join up too. And bring Carles with you, if you wouldn’t mind. Except he has to stay until he’s 40 because, damn, he’s capi.

Lineup prediction: Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Abidal, Keita, Thiago, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro

Dunno why I think Villa gets dropped, but I do. And despite wanting Messi to have a break, I don’ see that ever happening until he’s ground himself to a find powder and is physically incapable of getting off the team bus. Hopefully that’s further away than nature typically dictates, so maybe we should all just enjoy his breathtaking runs while we can.

Official Prediction: 2-0, goals by Messi and Pedro.

Remember, we’ll have a game in hand going into the Clásico, so if we can put 6 points on the board, we’ll only be 3 behind at the time and tied going out of it if we can win. Just don’t forget to mark Tamudo out of the game. For all 90 minutes.

Liveblog: are you interested in running the BFB liveblog? It’s super easy. Just respond here or email and if you’ve never done it, I’ll send you the info you need. Woohoo!

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

36 Comments

  1. BarcaGirl_Indo
    November 28, 2011

    last year, exactly this date, we witnessed one of best display in the history of football.

    29 November 2010, we gave a slap with our “little hand” to a certain team from the capital. La manita. before the game, they said “Evil Empire is stronger than ever, they are unbeatable! and they coached by Barça killer! you’re going down, Barça!”
    after the game, we sent a message to the world : we are FC Barcelona, one of the best team in the history of football.

    today, we’ll have another team from the capital. it’s not the same team. but hopefully the spirit will be the same.

    • November 28, 2011

      Yeah, but it’s still November 28 where I am. So you’ll get your little fun bit o’ mockery tomorrow.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        November 28, 2011

        lol, at least in Spain and where I am it’s already November 29..

        so I’m celebrating La Manita 1st anniversary and FCB’s 112th birthday now… 😉

  2. momo
    November 28, 2011

    Prediction:

    —–valdes—–
    alves–mascherano–puyol–adriano
    ———busq—————-
    —-xavi———-iniesta——-
    pedro——messi—-sanchez—–

    3-0
    Messi
    Messi
    iniesta

    Mark my words…

  3. mega_tajh
    November 28, 2011

    “So, Guardiola has decided to rotate the team like a carousel” seems even AS writers are observing the same. I expect Pep to roll out a 3-4-3 2moro.

  4. barca96
    November 29, 2011

    I thought you always had a hunch that Villa is going to score? 😆

    Off topic. Did any of you who is in USA rush to the Walmarts and Best Buys on Black Friday? Looks kinda dangerous but good deals. I would want to experience that once in my life though 🙂

    • Chiu
      November 29, 2011

      I read somewhere last Black Friday made a sales record. Never been to US, also wish someday can experience Thanksgiving or Xmas there.

      • mom4
        November 29, 2011

        My family likes to incorporate traditions from other parts of the world in our celebrations. You can do the same.

        A traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes (but is not limited to):
        roasted turkey with gravy
        stuffing (or dressing)
        mashed potatoes
        sweet potatoes (baked or in a casserole)
        cranberry sauce
        a token vegetable that nobody eats
        apple pie
        pumpking pie (an absolute must) or sweet potato pie (excellent as well)
        other pies (pies are big for Thankgiving dessert)
        a couple of Rolaids, Tums, or other antacid as needed afterwards
        And in our house, it includes a prayer of thankfullness to the Almighty.

        Google some recipes and go wild. Substitute local foods if ingredients aren’t available (for example, lingonberry sauce for cranberry or chicken for turkey)

      • blitzen
        November 29, 2011

        Nice to hear all the obedient little consumers spent tons of money they don’t have on things they don’t need and didn’t even know they wanted until they saw the “50% off” sign. Economy tanking? No jobs? It’s OK, we have credit!

        /snark

        • mom4
          November 29, 2011

          Hey, if you’re gonna buy it anyway, why not save some money.

          /snark back at ya 🙂

        • mom4
          November 29, 2011

          And used credit for nothing, so there!

          snarky snark snark 🙂

      • November 29, 2011

        I don’t know that all Americans will agree with this, but if you’re coming here to experience a cultural event, Thanksgiving probably isn’t your best bet. A lot of families get together and spend time with each other then and don’t really go out. There’s a parade in NYC (and probably some other cities), but otherwise, a time like 4th of July or Christmas are much more exuberant holidays. There are things to do, more than just things to eat at Grandma’s house. Or, in my case this year, my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws.

        Plus, traveling around Thanksgiving can be a real nightmare, though this year seemed like it all went pretty smoothly because of the fantastic weather on the east coast.

        Just my two cents.

        • mom4
          November 29, 2011

          Thanksgiving is my favorite. Friends and family, good food, a thankful attitude, no need for presents, delicious smells, football (the throwball type)…what more could you want (well some live real football would have been fun but none was on the tube)? Plus the Ravens won (oh yeah, baby!!!)
          Yeah, the travel can suck, though. #planninghelpstons

        • barca96
          November 29, 2011

          Thanks for your kind suggestions.

          The reason why I would like to go during Thanksgiving is to experience Black Friday. My best friend has been in San Frisco for 3 years and he has yet to experience it. He’s scared of being crushed 😆 he’s a small guy 😆

          Thanksgiving is just one of the things that I want to experience in USA. The other things are;

          -eating at a diner
          -visit LA
          -visit Lake Tahoe
          -Golden Gate Bridge

    • mega_tajh
      November 29, 2011

      I did!!! Black Friday was a rush! I got the BestBuy massive deals on a 42inch Tv and the new PS3 all for $200 each.

      • Chiu
        November 29, 2011

        Wow, what a deal? May I buy your TV $250 haha..

    • mom4
      November 29, 2011

      Nah. Did the local mall, Target and had breakfast at Starbucks at 4 am with my daughter, though. Our tradition. Noooooooo way was I going near Walmart that morning.

      In general (as with anything the media does in order to sensationalize events and sell news), you see only the worst cases on TV. 99.999 % of Americans ARE NOT trampling people and stampeding to save a few bucks. It’s crowded on Black Friday, the lines can be long, there can be pushy people but in general most of the people were like us; out shopping, saving a few bucks, polite, smiling, and laughing with the strangers in line with you. Most places everything went just fine. Found a few good buys but wasn’t as impressed with the sales as last year.

      • SoccerMom
        November 29, 2011

        The best part of Thanksgiving Friday is lounging around the sofa in flannel pants munching left-over turkey & Swiss on toast watching whatever four-hour, food-coma movie is on basic cable like ‘Dr Zhivago’ or something.

        • mom4
          November 29, 2011

          Turkey sandwiches and DVRs (usually White Christmas, Singing in the Rain(nothing to do with the holidays but fun), Christmas in Connecticutt, and all three holiday Peanuts specials in a row (It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Browm Christmas)

          • SoccerMom
            November 29, 2011

            😉 Then it’s time for the Annual Turkey Tick-Off, in which SoMa and Spouse get into pointless argument while detangling and short-circuiting last year’s Christmas lights.

            I also like to do the One-Percenter’s Black Friday. Travel to nearest large urban center, admire giant window displays, wander around high-end department stores, allow shopclerks to spritz liberally with fancy perfumes, try on shiniest rock at fine jewelry counter and sigh with fake ‘upper crust’ accent (just roll or drop your ‘r’): “I don’t know, Worthington, it’s a little … small, is it not?”

  5. Chiu
    November 29, 2011

    Await the reaction from the team tonight. I sense we win convincingly as we need the confidence back soonest possible. Lets stand up again Barca

  6. Para
    November 29, 2011

    I’m awfully confused about this ‘game in hand’ business. As far as I can tell, Barcelona have played the same number of matches as everyone else. If they have a game this week and Madrid don’t then, sure, Barcelona may go into the clasico only three points down, but aren’t Madrid the team with a game in hand?

  7. BarcaOwl
    November 29, 2011

    I thought Calvin was in charge of liveblogs, Isiah?

    If no one else volunteers, I’ll put my hand up.

    Looking forward to a great game tonight.

    • Calvin
      November 29, 2011

      I’ve been demoted!!!

      In all honesty, Kari is still on her sabbatical and its very difficult for me to take off two hours on a Tuesday afternoon (Wednesdays are fine – I get the afternoon off most of the time).

      If you’re really interested send a quick email to us – the email is around the site somewhere, don’t know it off the top of my head – and you’ll get a deluge of instructions and praise and probably some nonsense as well.

  8. K_legit in Oz
    November 29, 2011

    So I finally got off my lazy ass and have at last started talking catalan lessons 😀

  9. mom4
    November 29, 2011

    One year ago on this day, guys!

    A good day to start anew!

  10. jnelson
    November 29, 2011

    It’s been a while since I’ve been so depressed over a loss. Oh yeah, we hadn’t lost since April…The last few minutes of the Getafe match were crazy, and motivating (enough for me to scream NO!!! nO!!! and beat my sofa into submission), but the fact is it’s almost December and we are not in gear. Every year, THIS is the time of year we hit our stride (speaking of the manita anniversary). What is happening? Injuries? Width?
    Some things that have really ticked me off lately:
    Defenders hoofing the ball upfield when we are desperate (NO! Don’t do that!)
    Corners: We have made NOTHING of them. It is actually more beneficial for an opposing team to allow a corner than 1) let us play and 2) allow a throw-in WOW
    Short Passing: Busi has had some AWFUL passes lately. ditto for Keita and Smasch (Who hasn’t been the same since he was rested before the international break). Short passing is the base of our game, and while Messi and Xavi can spring 1-2s, it means nothing if we are turning the ball over in the center of the pitch between our backline and MIDs.
    Long Passing: Too many times I see Pique try a long, low pass to someone already with a defender against their back (Usually, the defender breaks on the ball, intercepts it, and starts a dangerous counter).
    Pressing: We always do a lot of it, but too often the second and third man are not marking the outlets, leading to nothing but uncoordinated energy wasting.
    Counter-attacking: Remember Pep’s first season, or even a good part of the Ibra season? We were as dangerous as anyone on the break. Now, we too often don’t know what to do with the ball when we have advantage. Villa screws a pass. Pedro can’t control a pass. etc.. or we just hold the ball up to wait for the opposing team to repark the bus..

    • mom4
      November 29, 2011

      The most annoying thing for me has been letting the balls run out for a throw in. I thought I was crazy until Kxevin mentioned noticing it as well. That and the long balls from VV.

      BUT…today is the first day of the rest of our season. (Oops, is optimism even allowed from a cule?) Let the chase begin!

  11. SoccerMom
    November 29, 2011

    “Pooh-pooh to Ta-Moo-Doo!” Isaiah was humming.
    “How dare we worry no silver is coming?
    “Barça will stand up! Today at 3 Eastern, or Central at Two!
    “Mouths will sing ‘el Cant’ at Camp Nou
    “And the Whos down in Mou-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!”

  12. barca96
    November 29, 2011

    Pep needs to show the boys the highlights of the match in the dressing room before the match. Just the highlights, not too long and not short, jsut enough to get the message across.

  13. Xingxian
    November 29, 2011

    “so perhaps I’m wrong as to the general consensus about the season’s final trophy tally, but I’ve heard it’s between 0 and negative 30. They’ll take away our trophies! They’ll let Sergio Ramos run them all over with a bus!

    Isaiah you improve the quality of my life.

    (Also many many others here)

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