Barcelona – Rayo Vallecano Liveblog

Barcaowl has graciously agreed to run the liveblog for this match, so don’t give her too hard of a time (that means you Eklavya).

I’m writing this way before game time, so if you’re the first to post do me a favor and post the lineup, will ya?

Game time is 3:00 PM EST.

Visca Barca!


  1. According to MD the starting 11 is:
    Valdés; Dani Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Abidal; Keita, Xavi, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi y Villa

    Bench:Pinto, Puyol, Adriano, Thiago, Busquets, Pedro y Cesc.

  2. I’m so ticked at Pique right.
    I hope he gets a 2-3 game suspension.
    I mean really! Pull a shirt for crap sake!

    1. Of course it was. But it looked soooooo silly and sooooooo obvious and reminded me too much of EE’s deliberate CL yellows from last year, ugh! I don’t expect him to endanger someone with a real foul but a handball or a shirt tug would have been so much better.

  3. I only saw last 15 mins due to wrk – but from what I saw EE are going to batter us… 🙁

    1. Sanchez will destroy Arbeloa, if the guy even heals up in time. Messi will continue being Messi to EE’s back line.

  4. Scary first few minutes. Lovely game overall. Spoiled by the idiocy of Pique (dunno why but it’s annoying the crap outta me). Was VV on 4 yellows? Why did he waste time?

  5. we still got a lot of work to do in ball retention and defense.
    not a very assured performance from our boys although the lexus double has made us forget the game as it was.
    hope Pep is seeing it though.

    puleeez play alexis in the left and villa in the middle for clasico. please!

  6. I don’t understand why Piqué did that.

    he just need to sit against Levante and he can play against EE, right?

    the way he got yellow, which was too obvious it’s deliberate, could give him an extra suspension and miss the El Clasico.

    1. No worries there are no extra suspensions in La liga, there weren’t in CL as well till moumou made all that fuss. Players do that all the time for the last 15 years that I’m watching football. I kinda liked how Pique did it. It was as if he said “This is for you moumou, now you can whine all you like and I won’t care one bit!”

      I think Pique was brave here because we’ve all become a bit like “Oh no he didn’t break our player’s leg and we got a foul! Moumou is gonna be so pissed!Oh no!Oh no, we got a penalty!Now moumou team has only won 10 more than we have!Oh no!”

      So cheer up people and enjoy that some of our plyers have this mentality cause otherwise with all the LIES and the propaganda our boys had to endure we wouldn’t have won so many titles especially last year!

    1. Lucky Barcaowl. When you’re on form I miss, on average, 9 minutes and 36 seconds of each match.

    1. Yep, so that Marcelo can get stuck in the grass like he did in the first CL leg for Messi first goal, to get beaten by Ibi

  7. My dad just called me to tell me I needed to pick up my pie dish.

    But then he started talking about the Chelsea – Liverpool league cup game. Apparently Romeu started as the base of the diamond for Chelski. Not only that, but my old man claimed that he was by far the best Chelski player on the pitch.

    Someone call Rosell and tell him to squirrel away 10 million so we can buy him back. I think we are going to regret losing him.

    1. 10 million next summer
      15 million the summer after that…

      Hence the squirreling away 10 million bit.

    2. That’s true, but I don’t doubt that the reason he wanted to go was to get playing time. Last summer you look up at the senior team as a defensive midfielder on the B team and you see Busquets and Mascherano – both young and world class. That is a hard lineup to break into.

      However, with Mascherano playing almost exclusively as a CB this season the team could use another DM to give Busquets some rest (not to mention Busquets hasn’t been phenomenal this season). That’s why Keita has been playing DM so much this season.

      There really aren’t a whole lot of promising DM’s in the higher youth ranks atm. I still believe Romeu loves the club, and I think with the recent opening of room at the DM position he would find game time if he returned (his main concern). He’s only played 3 or 4 games at Chelsea this season as well.

      I think we’d do well to buy him back this summer, and I think he would be amenable to the idea, pending other purchases.

    3. @Calvin

      I’m not getting myself understood, sorry. I pointed out it was his decision in reply to your comment that we are going to regret selling him.

      He wanted playing time we couldn’t offer back then. I think it’s very possible he’ll be back next season or the one after it, if he continues to progress.

    4. yeah, I read somewhere on twitter too, that he was the best player on the pitch.

      buy. him. back!

    5. Playing very well. Don’t think we should have sold him with a buyback that high.

      Here was some good stuff on Romeu via migerucb on twitter:

      migerucb migeru
      Azkargorta on Romeu 6/6: He even passes the ball to the goalie knowing that he’s left footed. His judgment could be good for Chelsea.
      42 minutes ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply
      migerucb migeru
      Azkargorta on Romeu 5/6: He closes down the space well, but he isn’t in control when tackling. His positioning is excellent, very calm.
      42 minutes ago
      migerucb migeru
      Azkargorta on Romeu 4/6: Pace isn’t 1 of his strengths, he doesn’t it tho, but he has some problems with his intensity when he closes down.
      43 minutes ago
      migerucb migeru
      Azkargorta on Romeu 3/6: He constantly forms a triangle with the CBs, it’s important for CFC to have a player who drops to receive the ball.
      43 minutes ago
      migerucb migeru
      Azkargorta on Romeu 2/6: and the FBs to go forward. He’s almost like a sweeper, offering himself to distribute the ball.
      43 minutes ago
      migerucb migeru
      Azkargorta on Romeu 1/6: He sits between the CBs to provoke the construction from the back. It allows both CBs to play wide…
      44 minutes ago
      migerucb migeru
      VIDEO: Oriol Romeu v Wolves. Tactical analysis by Xabier Azkargorta…

  8. I for one are more concerned about Busi picking up a yellow against Levante than say Pique missing El Classico.

  9. *deep breath*

    I agree 100% we need to analyze and critique our team. But when has it become trendy here to be so pessimistic and scared all the time?

    We won a match 4-0 against a team that was very daring and pressed great, yet I can barely see any words of praise for the things we’ve done well. The negativity here is starting to get tiring, to be honest.

    1. not me, I take that as a positive and wonderful match! 😀
      only Gerard who made me a little bit grumpy.

      we have 3 strikers on the scoreline, that’s a really good thing.

      and the dynamic change to 3-5-2 during the match was also a positive point.

    2. I’ve found you have to fight fire with fire.

      See 10 negative posts? Write 5 positive ones (one really long positive post seems to work as well, just beware you don’t get hectored).

      That said the real problem is expectations. It’s easy to forget the games we struggled in and lost points in the last 3 years, and easy to remember the matches where we dominated other teams.

      I’m actually really pumped up for the first time this season. I wasn’t particularly excited about our transfer season and I kind of limped into the start of the season. All of the sudden we find our team with a real challenge, a need to better themselves and triumph against the odds – that really gets my blood pumping.

      I may be more excited now than I have been since the ’09 Champions League final

    3. Yeah, you’re right. It’s just that sometimes like today I get here on a high and it’s like cold water is dumped on me, you know?

      But I agree with you – this challenge is gonna be good for supporters and team alike.

  10. The team played a wonderful match. Very impressed. Loved how Pep introduced an radically new formation and system of play during the match.

    The switch to that 3-5-2 really changed the match. Exciting to see Pep continue to push the team and how they can play.

    1. Yes! Finally someone who saw the same match I did.

      Are you going to review this one? I was hoping to read your take on the formation change.

    2. I was just going to write “I hope you can bring that 3-5-2 topic here on your post or to you review, Euler.”

      interesting conversation between you, Ramzi, and Isaiah on twitter.

      Against EE, Ramzi wrote he proposed 3-5-2 with Messi and Villa upfront. what do you think about that?

    3. I’ll probably right about that more as the match approaches. I think it’s promising.

      The key though is Alexis Sanchez. I don’t think using the 3-5-2 with Adriano/ Alves provides enough attacking intent. It would leave the front two too isolated and easy to mark out.

      It’s like Dani on the right. No one plays him to shoot because he never does. Adriano does more of that – but he’s still not really a player who can directly hurt you on goal.

  11. Was eager to see what we’d do from now on and wasn’t disappointed. What a game!

    Think Pep has been wanting to use the 3-5-2 for a while, but with injuries, he couldn’t test it until now. (He tried 3-4-3 in the meantime — to mixed success of course).

    Absolutely adored Alexis today. A brace, the first an absolute beaut of Villa proportions, beast on the defensive end, sometimes playing almost as a LB / Abidal cover at times.

    He’s still getting into a groove — the direct play suited him better than Getafe’s roadblock — but you can tell he’ll be a monster when he grows into it.

    So glad to have Iniesta back. We really missed him. Almost got a heart attack when he was on the turf after getting his tendons stamped on.

    Levante at home next, and then The Big One. Excited!

    1. Absolutely adored Alexis today

      But he didn’t take his shirt off after the goal 🙁
      Some yellow cards are worth it. 😉 Just sayin’


    2. no but… I mean of course not but…dangit but the man has nicer abs than most…I mean absolutely not you are so right.

  12. Great game.

    But someone with more knowledge please answer—
    Can the league bench Pique and VV for more than one game? More worried about VV than Pique.

    UEFA said they were going to take a hard line against the intentional fouling bit.

    1. Very hard for them to do it.
      Technically speaking, any changes to disciplinary issues would have to be enforced from the start of the season. If it were for example dangerous play on a red card they could extend a ban but you can’t definitively prove that Pique was trying to get booked.

    1. just wasted time to get a yellow card to get banned for Levante at the weekend.
      Valdes was also booked for time wasting but his was just silly as he seemed to be arguing with the ref and then asked where to take the free kick from then got booked.

  13. Pique won’t see an additional ban for forcing the fifth yellow. If the ref wrote mentioned it in his match report, he would be in danger, but P. Laza wrote Pique “delayed the retaking of a throw” rather than “deliberately time wasted to get a yellow card.”*

    Thus, despite his stupidity, he’s only out for Levante.

    *Note: info via Spanish journalists on Twitter [@Edu_Polo, @gemmaherrero, etc.]

    1. Thanks for talking me down Kari and Ciaran. If he had endangered the team and limited Pep’s options by the silly way he got that card…

  14. Other than the first 20 minutes which we were sleep walking, I thought we played really well. Once Sanchez switched to the left and Villa to the center, everything fell into place. Much better movement, much sharper passing, better spacing in the final third. If we didn’t take our foot off the gas it could and should have been 6 or 7 nil.

    I have a feeling that the team we saw today will be the team that starts against Madrid (except for Busi for Keita). Pedro has fallen away too far, and Alexis had too good a game, to not play. Only other dicey situation is Pique vs Puyol vs Mascherano but for me, Pique and Masch are our 2 best CBs (yes I am aware of that stat that says of our 9 losses in the Goatskins era 6 have been with Puyol out but whatever).

    Let’s hope we don’t slip up against Levante. I don’t think we will.

    1. I want to see a 3-5-2 formation consisting of:

      Puyol – Mascherano* – Abidal
      Alves – Xavi – Busi – Iniesta – Alexis
      Messi – Villa

      Puyol has to be there as Thong Boy is normally played on that flank and will be using his pace to take advantage of the space that will be there.

      *Pique vs Mascherano as the centre of the 3 is something to think about.

    2. For me Keita has won his place in the team. Busi just hasn’t been himself this season while Keita has went from strength to strength. He had two very good games these 10 days. Today and against Milan he was just there.

  15. I was really happy with today’s game, we started off a bit awkwardly but Rayo pressed very aggressively. But what made me happy was that Messi virtually sat out the majority of the first half and let the rest of the forward line steal the show. As time went by we got better and better. Straight after the first goal the whole team lifted and we were back into what looked like our old selves.

    What more can you ask, a good showing from our other team members and Messi practically having a rest.

  16. Loved the game after we got the first goal. Sanchez was just a beast – I was more impressed with his work rate than his actual goals. There was one time where he zipped back to steal the ball that was particularly fun to watch. 🙂

    One thing though, was how bad Alves passing was sometimes. Aside from the great assist to Messi, he botched up at least 6 great opportunities by my count. If the man was more consistent we’d likely score +8 a match though, so maybe it’s for the best (from the POV of our opponents at least, heh)

  17. when is the el clasico? is it 9th or 10th? reported 9th and how did villa- guardiola rift came? my dear cules

  18. was Xavi pass to Alexis second goal intentional, or its just slip through from Xavi leg and luckily fall into Alexis run?

    1. I think, like the goal last year today when he flicked the ball over himself, it was intended, but he probably didn’t think it’d work. He looks right to where the ball landed, so I think he meant for it to go there.

  19. OK. Is it only me who thinks that yesterday we played again 3-4-3. This time Messi was playing in the role that we used to see Fabregas in (in the hole behind Villa). Messi was the front edge of the diamond and Keita was playing as an anchor man. We should admit that at times it looked as 3-5-2 but for me this is the same old tried-and-tested 3-4-3 used for the bigger parts of this season.

    Other than that I think that the team performed well and again showed that nothing is lost yet. We are very much in the title race and we can defend the title. The depth of the squad is very good and I hope that if we win the World Club Championship, it will boost the spirit of the players and they will sweep Madrid during the second part of the season.

Comments are closed.