Evil Empire 1, Barca 3, aka “What say ye now, doubting world?”

You all are getting a Eulertastic review, so stand back for that one. But just some quick thoughts from me, and let’s share some joy:

 

–I tuned in at 1-0, and was oddly calm. It looked like they had played their best, and we hadn’t.

–I have NO idea how we are going to replace Puyol.

–Fabregas was invisible most of the match, popped up at the right time.

–Happy 600th for Xavi, way to celebrate with a goal. Next time, lay off the hair gel, and you could have a brace.

–Messi was erratic, but enormous at a few crucial times.

–Sanchez is worth every penny. He seems to have said “The hell with it,” and is playing his game. Amazing stuff.

–Valdes needs to work on passing out of the back, man-style.

–The return of Iniesta to the midfield saw the surge of our dominance.

–Keita is. He just is. I predicted he would come on about ’75, for those in-the-way qualities, and so he did. Brilliant.

–Abidal, when players weren’t getting full-speed runs at him, was enormous.

–Best of all, there is absolutely NOTHING they can say about this match. No refs, no diving, no nothing. We walked into their house, and whipped their asses.

 

That’s all it got for now, folks, but let’s have some FUUUUUNNNNN!

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In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

157 Comments

  1. December 10, 2011

    I just wanna say how proud I am of this team…
    Not playing at their best and still being brilliant despite being a goal down in your archrival’s
    turf… That composure, our capitan playing his heart out, taking our chances, being true to their style, supporting each other as a team…
    T’estimo Barça…T’estimo Pep.
    Gràcies!

  2. December 10, 2011

    I’m sorry but Iniesta > all.

  3. BarcaOwl
    December 10, 2011

    Now I know why Pep warned us to have our seatbelts fastened. That match would give any rollercoaster ride a run for their money.

  4. Calvin
    December 10, 2011

    On this fantastic night I keep thinking that Pep will never get enough credit. The players got the result but they were able to largely because Pep has infused the team with his own spirit.

    A manager who didn’t know the club as well as he does might have started Mascherano over Puyol today. Recent form and Puyols fitness troubles would have made this an understandable decision. But Pep knows and bleeds the club, and he knew Puyol had to be on the pitch today. Puyol played like a lion today, and his heart spurred the team on. Mascherano may have played as well, but wouldn’t have given the team the psychological advantage Puyol did.

    It’s no surprise players we’ve bought always seem to score in the Clasico. It’s a testament to Pep’s ability to discern the needs of the team and address them in the market. His reputation as a manager means that players want to play under him. Fabregas may have had more personal reasons for coming(including his relationship with Pep), but there’s no denying Sanchez moved in part because he wanted to play under Pep.

    It’s a privilege to witness this team, and I don’t think its possible to overstate how important Pep has been to this team.

    • Gogah
      December 11, 2011

      ^ T H I S

  5. December 10, 2011

    I know They will all praise Iniesta in tomorrow’s paper. After few days they will go back to their old self, saying he is not good enough.

    • December 10, 2011

      Who has ever claimed Iniesta is not good enough?

      • BTTFCule
        December 11, 2011

        I will smack\eye poke anyone who says Iniesta is not good enough. What more he has to do ? Score hatt tricks @ World cup final ?

  6. Momo
    December 10, 2011

    Iniesta was pure sex in the second half. How he’s not up for Ballon Dor is beyond me.

  7. December 10, 2011

    Once again I am left feeling like an absolute idiot for ever doubting this team even for one second.

    Pep is a tactical genius, if anyone is special it is him. He has completely revolutionised the way football is played. The way he changed this game using the flexibility of the players on the pitch was remarkable to witness as the game played out. He is constantly molding the team, even while they are playing, it truly is remarkable. Granted he has an exceptional selection of extremely talented and versatile players but he is able to take full advantage of that. I really feel like we are witnessing another evolution in the Barca style.

    Keep trying MouMou.

    Oh and Ronaldo was pants today, absolute pants.

    Iniesta is now officially my favourite player and Sanchez is the real deal. Big players show up in the big games.

  8. jordi™
    December 10, 2011

    So I watched the replay of the Madrid goal, I noticed Puyi as always is the one animating the players when we conceded.That’s why we win so many games with him, he never lets anyone’s head drop.True legend.

  9. nzm
    December 10, 2011

    I just watched the game again – this time in a more relaxed state of mind. 🙂

    Puyol, Busquets and Abidal (the latter had 1 scary moment) were beasts in this game, and it was all credit to them that the defence stood firm. Puyol was indescribable with his performance, and Busquets got the team out of jail on quite a few occasions. So excellent to see him play as he is more than capable of doing, without the theatrics.

    Pique made some good clearances, but most times he just didn’t look like he was in the game. Bit worried about our Gerard – recently he’s not to be seen in the stands at matches when he doesn’t play, like the rest of our guys.

    Alves was so-so, but his cross into Cesc for the goal went some way to redeeming his performance.

    Xavi did extremely well, given that RM were all over him whenever he did get the ball.

    Iniesta (on the wing in the first half), improved greatly when he came into midfield in the second. A great game from him when he had the space to move.

    Cesc looked invisible and gave away some silly balls, but he actually took on a more Villa-like role tonight of unsettling RM and drawing away defenders. His header was sublime.

    Messi was sublime in the first half. That jinking run to assist Sanchez was such a key point in getting the game back on track for Barca. He quietened down a little after getting the yellow.

    Sanchez was amazing. He is such an intelligent player. He’s supremely aware of his positioning. His little look up to gauge where he was before he shot the goal was beautiful.

    After that disastrous start, VV was great in goal. His 84 min save against Kaka was pure reflex.

    It’s as well that Cristiano didn’t make the most of his 2 clear oppotunities, otherwise we’d have been looking at a different ballgame. Di Maria also blew a op that would have been dangerous if he had crossed into the middle instead of shooting for goal.

    Watching for the second time made me aware of the pressure that the team was under from RM. Although their intensity dropped as the game got longer, they were still so dangerous with their attacks.

    Pep – what a superstar. If he doesn’t win best manager this year, I’m not sure what else the guy has to do to get it. Compared to Mourinho (Copa del Rey) and Ferguson (Premier League), Pep is streets ahead.

    In other news – Levante beat Seville 1-0, and Betis came from behind to beat Valencia 2-1! And Hercules is leading the Liga Adelante with 1 game in hand!

    • Ryan
      December 10, 2011

      Betis scored 2 goals in extra time to beat Valencia, ouch. Was really hoping Valencia would win to cut the distance between the big two. Always great to see Levante win though!

  10. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 10, 2011

    I just love how Madridistas ‘hate’ Thong Boy today.

    The Egoistic King.
    Big Match Bottler/Flop.

    those words come from them.

    • Momo
      December 10, 2011

      Never got the feeling they really liked him. As far as I’ve seen Madrid fans and “CR7 is the bestest plyer in the world FTW” fans are completely separate.

    • culegirl3
      December 10, 2011

      Yup..I’ve been seeing a lot of TB bashing on various EE sites.

      I find it funny and fascinating how quickly they turn on him…some go so far as to ask that he be benched for the next clasico.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        December 10, 2011

        some go so far as to ask that he be benched for the next clasico.

        true. they said Callejon (EE youth product) will be better because he has “El Clasico soul” more than TB.

      • culegirl3
        December 10, 2011

        Having “clasico soul” is irrelevant.

        Their problem is that not all players play as a team..it’s like someone creating a boy band instead of a bunch of guys creating their own group. I feel TB is more of an individualistic/showoff type player than someone who can really reign in their ego for the good of the team.

        And honestly Callejon is IMO a mediocre player in comparison to TB(can’t believe I’m saying this)

    • Chiu
      December 10, 2011

      Poor cryronaldo. He is always drown in big stages

    • Momo
      December 10, 2011

      Heehee

    • Chiu
      December 10, 2011

      Lol 🙂

  11. culegirl3
    December 10, 2011

    I wonder what is more painful for EE: Last year’s manita or today’s clasico.

    IMO I would say today must be more painful given the fact that mad-cow Mou has had a whole year to turn his “project” around and yet after having made the proper adjustments and having a cohesive team EE still cannot beat Barcelona(particularly when they’re not at their best).

    • Nik
      December 10, 2011

      Agreed. The 5-0 was at the Camp Nou with Barça playing at an unbelievable level; this beatdown was at home in front of all their fans with us playing in 3rd gear for the majority of the match. Not to mention the fact they couldn’t hang onto the lead after we gifted them a goal in the first 20 seconds of the match. Their confidence has to be shot.

  12. December 10, 2011

    By far the craziest thing I’ve seen is (unwarranted) Casillas bashing. Unbelievable. Without him, they’d have conceded at least two or three more.

    • Nik
      December 10, 2011

      <3

  13. just listenin
    December 10, 2011

    Cheers to all, hope you’re enjoying a great victory…what a match, what. a. match.

    Can you imagine the psychological blow to EE from these matches? They will make excuses and invoke curses of bad luck… But it was a pure and simple outplaying, great squad selection, brilliant tactical adjustment, and a handful of amazing performances, Puyol, Busquests, Iniesta especially… Phenomenal.

    If there is anyone lucky it is us, for having the sensibilities that give us an affinity for being cules

  14. adopted cule
    December 10, 2011

    Bravest manager of all time: Pep. Played a 3-4-3 in the Bernabeu and won against a great Real side. So overjoyed by this display. What a team!

  15. Chiu
    December 10, 2011

    Anyone know what’s the cause of last minute brawl involving keita? Any report about it?

  16. lyd
    December 10, 2011

    Proud of the system! Respect for Pep increased so much more yet remains infinity.

    I turned dyslexic at the 22nd second. And cured by Mes-lexis. Then whatever happened was X-Cesc 😛

    Great comeback ..the ease with which we made movements. Not the perfect game but played with the purest soul.

    What a feeling!

  17. Anonymous_69
    December 10, 2011

    I thought Pique actually played well. Besides falling asleep on 22 seconds, he didn’t make any mistakes. His passing was great for relieving pressure (even though he did mishit a couple of them). He wasn’t required to make as many last ditch tackles as Puyol and Abidal, but he was rarely beat.

    Like Alves, I don’t think Pique has been at the top this season. But they both stepped it up big time for El Clasico. Just like Barcelona as a whole: I don’t think we’ve been our best this season, but we stepped it up and played very well today. We did a lot of things that have overall been missing this season, and although it wasn’t nearly as perfect as the Manita, it showed signs that we our reaching our best.

  18. pr17
    December 10, 2011

    What a win. Brilliant. Saved me a week of depression if we had lost. Not a vintage performance but it was all character. I frankly thought alexis n cesc didn’t contribute that much apart from goals but I will take goals anyday.
    Among the lesser lights, puyol was played just to keep pique at his best. Still think masche would have been equally good but piqué wouldn’t have been.
    Busi was sensational. Shielded the ball in high press situations and his high risk turns usually took 2-3 ee players out of equation. Don’t think either masche or Keita could do that at def mid. Any Tom dick n Harry can stand at def mid and make few tackles but busi’s role here was immense.
    Alves for once was amazing. Very few bad passes. Cut off Marcelo from attack and laid some good balls to alexis n messi in centre and made good dribbles too.
    And finally a word about valdes. He has balls man. adherence to system was one thing we showed today. And pep – always changes system if it isn’t working.

  19. Kimcelona
    December 11, 2011

    I’m so proud of this team. This victory really hit home how lucky we are to be watching this generation. Far from our best ever but still a brilliant match as soon as we got back into the game.

    Messi was great in the first half. How he can ride challenges/hacks like that and still be able to let off a perfect pass is beyond me and his tracking back before the card was superb! I saw Messi in DM at one point! But he disappeared in patches in the second..maybe for fear of not gettig another booking. Alexis started off slow but then came into the game as his own and then scored one of the coolest finishes under pressure you can ever hope for. Cesc was invisible for a lot of the match, especially in the first half. I wondered if we decided not to start with him afterall..and then he popped up, stole the ball in our half fed it to someone (I dont remember)then sprinted upfield to finish off that glorious Dani cross with a diving header. Then he disappeared for a bit again, popping up a few times in which he gave the ball away cheaply sometimes. Xavi did well under pressure. I really didnt expect him to have a perfect game cause I knew about RM’s pressuring. And I was so glad he SHOT! I still see it as his goal! I think it was goalward bound even if Marcelo had not deflected it. Iniesta was letting me down in the first half. But then he BLEW ME AWAY in the second half when he went back to where he belonged- midfield. Definately my third fave player EVER behind Messi and Ronnie. Busquets was perfect! He is one of my MOTM along with Puyol. What can you say about our Capita? BEAST. Abi was pretty solid as well. Dani had a good game to me..a few misplaced passes and poor decisions but overall good game.
    Keita coming on was like a security blanket for me. When he came on and started cleaning stuff up in midfield I stopped shivering a little.Pique had a so-so game but he wasnt that bad as people are making him out to be.

    And lastly, Pep–what a freakin’ GENIUS. I’ll always trust this man.

    Tears. That is all.

  20. puchanamano
    December 11, 2011

    i came home from drinking all night at around 3am, went to sleep for a wee bit and woke up at 5am to watch the game. the first goal made me nervous. but these are the situations that test a team’s mettle. our team kicked ass. at the bernabooo. i think i woke up a few people at my house from all the yelling haha

    tots units fem forca!

  21. Manish
    December 11, 2011

    I want to give a big HUG to Iniesta right now and say THANK YOU.. he’s right there with the best.. lucky me..lucky me..

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