Do You Believe Yet? Barça 4 – 0 Osasuna

So we're incompatible? Huh. (Getty)

It appears that visiting the Camp Nou is the footballing equivalent to a death sentence. Since the 2-2 draw with AC Milan in the Champions League group stage on September 13, 2011, Barça has allowed exactly 0 goals at home. In La Liga, 8 matches have produced 39 goals for; in the Champions League, 2 matches meant 6 more goals; and in the Copa del Rey, L’Hospitalet fell 9-0 and now Osasuna has gone down 4-0 as well. In total, that’s 58 goals to none against. 60 goals with 2 against is the season-long total unless you count the Supercopa de España second leg match against Real Madrid that ended 3-2 in Barça’s favor.

Osasuna, whatever their complaints about the grass or Messi’s inclusion in the squad after the announcement of his illness, should recognize that the final score was a fairly just outcome for how they played. Opening salvos aside, it was a one-dimensional match: Barça attacking. That anyone could possibly complain about being played off the pitch is simply a testament to how much it sucks to get blown out, no matter who the opponent is.

As a casual amateur player, I get upset when I lose a tight match, much less when my team is repeatedly subjected to the other team’s goal celebrations. And the largest number of fans we have are the teams waiting to play after us. We’re competitive, even if we’re not, you know, competitive. Being competitive is the lifeblood of any athlete and it is only increasingly so as the stakes get higher, so it’s understandable that Osasuna is pissed about having had 12 goals put on them in 2 matches.

Speaking of competitive, Guardiola rolled out a very serious lineup, starting Pinto, Puyol, Mascherano, Pique, Busquets, Thiago, Xavi, Cesc, Pedro, Cuenca, Alves, a 3-4-3 on paper and mostly so in practice. You have to start at least 7 first teamers, so next week’s match, while pretty much a formality, will not be replete with B teamers called up for the occasion. It’ll be something like what appeared against L’Hospi, one can assume.

The match, then

Early pressing by Osasuna created a couple of delicate moments, including a risky pass by Pinto out of the back to Pique. When Osasuna got the ball, however, Barça was quick to press and Osasuna gave the ball up fairly cheaply. By the 6th minute, Barça’s rhythm had been established and the day’s theme began to emerge: Osasuna’s midfield would press forward while the defense became discombobulated and lost the plot. The back line would just hang around with FCB’s forwards and leave the middle channels completely open for quick bursts through the middle.

Barcelona’s shape was, as always, dependent on the moment. Cuenca and Pedro switched positions from time-to-time, causing slight panic in the defense that Cesc took full advantage of throughout. He was everywhere and I suppose it’s worth a paragraph about him:

Cesc Fabregas is a wonderful player. We all know that. We’ve all known that for a long time. I wasn’t in favor of his purchase for a couple of reasons that aren’t really worth going into at the moment, but suffice to say that they didn’t have much to do with his on-field abilities. Since his arrival, I haven’t been particularly impressed with a couple of aspects of his game. Compare him to Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, and even Thiago and you can say that he has subpar on-the-ball qualities. He’s not as fast or physical as everyone in England claimed he’d be (though that is a lame argument on my part since I didn’t buy it back then either) and his passing sometimes leaves something to be desired, but he is—and this is very important—absolutely ridiculously awesome at spacing. He’s got that innate knowledge of where to be and how to position himself to create space around him. It’s a lovely thing to watch and yesterday’s match was that plus a work rate that was virtually unmatched. He was everywhere and doing everything. He put in his best all-around performance in a blaugrana shirt. What’s tough for him, of course, is that his performance was nearly overshadowed by that of Xavi. Or possibly even Messi, who played for just 30 minutes.

But no, my Man of the Match is Cesc Fabregas. He was spectacular. He could have had 4 goals and as many assists, but ended with “just” a brace and a single assist.

And yet.

It’s a team game and this team, this Futbol Club Barcelona is simply on another planet right now. They’re space aliens come to earth to mess with our brains. As long as their mothership doesn’t come to take them away, I gladly welcome our new overlords. Because, damn, they’re somethin’ and that somethin’ is such a pleasure to watch.

The team is playing at such a high level that it’s almost incomprehensible how they lost to Getafe just a few weeks ago or even conceded a single shot on goal to that one team in white, much less a goal. Osasuna ran into a buzzsaw and if Madrid gets past Malaga to reach the quarters with Barça, it’s going to be a crazy couple of games, but 2 which the team should win. Al Sadd and Santos can tell them what it’s going to be like. L’Hospi is still searching for a ball to play with since we still have them all in our house. Osasuna thought they were doing okay, but then half jogged for a moment and bam. 4-0.

The Bad

A couple of odd moments at the back, Pedro’s anonymity throughout, and the lack of a pressure during a small period where Osasuna played their way into the game and probably should have gotten on the scoreboard to teach us a lesson about going to sleep. That’s about the only bad, I guess, except for pretty much all of Osasuna’s performance.

The Good

Cesc, Xavi, Messi’s sick performance, and the overall defensive display. Also good was Ivorian-Guinean-Belgian striker Roland Lamah, a second half substitution who showed determination and a couple of good moves. Pretty much the only bright spot in an otherwise bad performance by the team. I enjoyed the team’s overall work rate and especially the willingness to track back when things slipped through the first layer of defense. Sánchez stood out in that, for instance. Puyol was an inspiration. What a guy.

Messi was incredible in his few minutes. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how good he really is, then he comes on and bam, it’s a different game. He is so complete now: his passing, vision, and ability with the ball are simply unfathomable skills. Twice he combined with other players to go on a sick run. The first, with Alves, deserved a goal. The second, with Xavi, was more intricate and probably better, but ended with a little shirt tug that could have been called a penalty but would probably have been too harsh. Whatever. Incredible. I’m a Xavi guy, really, a fan of playmakers, of midfielders in general, and yet I’m enthralled by this Lionel Messi. How can you not be? He’s astounding.

Next up is the Catalan derbi. So yeah, let’s keep this level of play up and put pressure on Madrid going into their intense match against Malaga that could go either way (though will probably go in RM’s favor). Do you believe in this team? You should. If you don’t, go watch them again and drink in the lovely draughts of The Best Team Ever. You won’t get another chance for 30 years, so go for it, go all in. It’s fun.

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Written by:

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

122 Comments

  1. January 5, 2012

    Messi had a slight stomach ache it seems, and not a full out flu. The greatest “sick” performance, IMHO, is still Michael Jeffrey Jordan’s 38 points + a game winner.

    Wait, unless we’re counting greatest FAKE performances a la Paul Pierce coming out in a wheelchair for the Celts.

  2. blitzen
    January 5, 2012

    I had so much fun watching this match I couldn’t help but put together a few blitzen awards! So, in honour of Osasuna! (Where the bulls come sweeping down the plain!), here you go:

    MOTMOTMOI Award: Xavi, no question. Everyone had a good game, but Xavi was fantastic. He was whip-fast, with almost frightening no-look passes, a sixth sense of where everyone was and would be positioned, zinging that ball around at a furious pace. Three assists and so close to a goal for himself. One of the best games I have ever seen him play, and that is saying a lot. Cesc, Busquets & Alves also had stand-out games.

    Swaythling Cup Men’s Team World Champions Award: What? They were playing football, not table tennis? Are you sure? It sure seemed a lot like ping pong at times, didn’t it? There were a lot of short, fast passes that caught an unusual amount of air. It was a lot of fun to watch, anyway. (incidentally, did you know that Hungary dominated the first 10 Table Tennis World Championships (1926-1935)? Well, now you do.)

    Jack Of All Trades Award: So our replacement for David Villa is going to be…Puyol, who decided to play as a Centre-Forward for large portions of last night’s match, and had several clear scoring opportunities (with his feet, not his head per usual). He even tried Villa’s signature “through the keeper’s legs” shot! He just needs to work on his finishing a little. Or a lot. 😛

    The Pants That Shook The World Award: And speaking of Puyi, I’m sure you have all seen that photo by now. My twitter TL practically melted down from all the overheated fangirls drooling over it. Yes, that does include me. Don’t judge me!

    We Meant He Had The “Flew”, Not The “Flu” Award: Messi. Because he flies. Geddit?

    ”We Just Can’t Catch A Break, Can We?” Award: This is what I imagine the Osasuna coach said to Messi, causing him to break out that huge grin just before he came on. Mendilibar must have been thinking, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

    Rosell-Cruyff Joint Award For Running Your Mouth: The entire team. Last night it was Dani’s turn, but really, HOW many cards has this team earned for yapping to the ref? Almost all of the cards Xavi has ever received have been for talking back. Just shut UP! Even Pep apparently told Masch to shut his mouth before he got himself a card.

    WTF, Dude? Award: Cuenca, for that less-than-pleased look he shot at Pinto after the keeper earned him a yellow card by tossing the ball against his arm. That was some classic Pinto Scramble right there. What on earth was he thinking? I don’t blame Cuenca for looking pissed.

    Trollhattan Memorial Cup For Troll Of The Match (TOTM): A new award for the most trollish person or moment of the match (or post-match). The inaugural award goes to the cameraman (or more likely woman) who made sure to catch Puyol in his full glory even though nothing was shown on my feed or even commented on during the match. Thank you, and keep on trollin’! 😛

    Oh, and Happy Three Kings Day! This is the day communities in Spain traditionally have a parade featuring the Three Magi, and Sergio Ramos someone wears blackface to represent Balthazar. Well done, Spain. :roll:

      • mom4
        January 5, 2012

        Xavi, then Messi, then Cesc. I love having Cesc here (whod’ve thought I’d say that) and he adds a lot but that boy has gotta stop misplacing passes.

    • Ryan
      January 5, 2012

      Don’t forget that Reyes is also when kids get presents!

    • Miguel
      January 5, 2012

      A little too much Puyi booty for me, but awesome job!

  3. January 5, 2012

    This match was super fun. You can really tell the team’s gotten a hang of this 3-4-3 business. I’m too sick to notice the real nitty-gritty tactics wise, but it sure was purrrty.

    Btw, Michele: I forgot to add in our email, team@barcelonafootballblog.com.

    • nzm
      January 5, 2012

      Thanks, Kari.

      How many pics do you want?

      • January 5, 2012

        As many as you feel like giving us! The more the merrier*!

        And if you could also write a blurb about your experience, that’d be even better! Less work for me

        *That said if you have, like, 50 pics, you might want to pick your favourite ones out of them. 😛

        • nzm
          January 5, 2012

          That’s what I have – 50 pics. 😀

          I’ll do some weeding and write a blurb tomorrow. Time for bed, now!

  4. Gogah
    January 5, 2012

    Am I the only one who feels a little sorry for Pedro-!-no-more?
    I think he is catching a bit of the ‘Villa symptom’, the kind where one wants to impress so bad in a crowd of superstars that it works to his detriment.

    apart from that, mind blowing stuff from this crazy team.
    as for THE picture, what can i say, only Puyol can pull that off…not that we want him to…no pun intended.

  5. January 5, 2012

    This team is continuing to get better and better. They are now fully understanding what Pep has been hoping to do this season and are implementing it.

    At the same time, Pep has had time to observe the results of his early season “experiments” and make the needed adjustments.

    And it’s all coming together to devastating effect.

    The two major things Barca have done to refine the 3-4-3 is to stabilize the defense on the right flank and to better space the pitch. Those are the two things which have allowed them to play out of the formation in ways which maximize its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

    Having Puyol back is of course immense. But perhaps just as important – playing Dani as a RW has really changed the defense on the right flank. And that’s the area where holes developed, particularly in transition situations. He’s been brilliant up there both in attack and defense.

    Just a guess – but I think Pep’s “first choice” front line is going to be Alexis-Messi-Dani for this season. Of course they’ll always mix things up – but that’s going to be the front three often I think.

    This issue of flank defense gets to the major issue – the team is spacing the pitch much more efficiently now out of the 3-4-3. Fabregas’s role yesterday was very interesting. Pep is still toying with how to use Cesc. It’s really interesting to watch the evolution.

    Mascherano’s role was also really interesting yesterday. I believe this is the first time he’s played on the left side of the pitch for Barca. And I can’t remember him ever playing on the left prior in his career. I know he played RB a few times at Liverpool but don’t think he ever played on the left. Maybe I’m forgetting.

    He was great defensively. But you could see the adjustment he was making on the left when in possession. It created challenges for him passing out of the back.

    Messi – ridiculous. He’s still getting better.

    Finally – Xavi. Unbelievable. He was sublime. Osasuna, as many sides have done, attempted to press Barca high. Bad news for the opposition is that Barca is now getting used to it and getting better and better at countering it.

    Yesterday, once Barca worked the ball patiently through the press, Osasuna had to try to rapidly get their defenders ball side again. Not easy when so many are playing high up the pitch.

    This left Xavi with more space then he often gets and he just hammered Osasuna.

    Personally speaking, I thought Xavi’s match yesterday was one of the single best performances I’ve seen from any player in Europe this season.

    • Miguel
      January 5, 2012

      Mascherano’s role was also really interesting yesterday. I believe this is the first time he’s played on the left side of the pitch for Barca. And I can’t remember him ever playing on the left prior in his career. I know he played RB a few times at Liverpool but don’t think he ever played on the left. Maybe I’m forgetting.

      He was great defensively. But you could see the adjustment he was making on the left when in possession. It created challenges for him passing out of the back.

      Yeah, I mentioned this briefly in the liveblog yesterday. It just points to how invaluable Puyi is on the right covering for Dani. Capità is definitely still an automatic starter in a three man defense to me.

      Oh, and guys, I finally watched The Godfather last night. Poor Apollonia. She was so hot.

      • mega_tajh
        January 5, 2012

        I have never watched The Godfather nor Scarface….maybe not that there on netflix I may give them a view.

  6. nzm
    January 5, 2012

    A 10-man Espanyol was beaten away at Cordoba tonight in their Copa del Rey match: 2-1.

    Espanyol GK Kiko Casilla was sent off following a silly challenge/dive by the Cordoba player in the box. Reserve goalie saved the penalty, but Cordoba had heaps of chances and managed to put 2 away.

    Valencia won 1-0 against Sevilla in a scrappy game full of cards (for Sevilla) and protests. Sevilla had chances, but just couldn’t string together the decisive shot for goal. Navas put in some great crosses that should have been converted into points.

    • Chiu
      January 5, 2012

      so, would the red card suspension apply for next liga match agaist us or apply for next copa match?

  7. sebi
    January 5, 2012

    Hello everyone. I’m Xavier from the Philippines. I’ve been a Barça fan for a long time and have been lurking around this wonderful blog for a couple of years now — having a blast reading the posts and enjoying all the comments and the amazing personalities herein, it must be said. Great articles, intelligent comments, and all-around good read for all Culés and everyone who loves this beautiful game.

    A friend, also an FCB fan but loves Mouron (talk about having issues, eh?), who writes a football column for a local daily here in Cebu once referred to me as someone whose knowledge of Barça rivals that of Google **that’s everybody’s cue to take a large pinch of salt, LOL** all due credit to the “mes que un football acumen” of Kxevin, Isaiah, Euler, Kari, Blitzen, SoMa, and everyone here.

    I guess there’s a distinct possibility that may just ramble on unintelligibly so to avoid that I’ll go back to lurking happily now. Happy Three Kings to everyone and here’s to hoping that the gift in store for us is many more years of otherworldly football from our beloved squad and, well I gotta say this one, an unending season of pure joy brought about by this El P*to Amo of Blogs. Indeed being a Culé is the greatest thing there is.

    Visca el Barça i Visca BFB!!!

    • Jim
      January 6, 2012

      Welcome! Good first post and no need to lurk. All opinions are valued here.

    • January 6, 2012

      Welcome sebi! I semi-lurk here too…it’s fun.:) I love your country and the beaches there..hopefully I could visit again some day.
      Barcaleya is also a filipino but haven’t seen her here lately.
      Again, welcome!

    • Megster
      January 7, 2012

      Welcome sebi! So that makes the three of us Pinoys (me, you & Barcaleya) here in bfb. 😉

        • Megster
          January 7, 2012

          Wooohoo!!! Now we have to be five, manita na!!! Yesss!!!
          🙂

          • 505
            January 7, 2012

            megster, pinay din ako 🙂 pede na tayo mag-tagalog dito!

            hahaha! trolling — #itsmorefuninthephilippines 🙂

          • puchanamano
            January 8, 2012

            make that 6 hehe checking in from malabon!!

  8. bhed
    January 5, 2012

    No Espanol game on goltv, and my espn3 stream is terrible. What’s the other site besides fbtz that posts game downloads? I know it’s been mentioned on here before. Thanks!

    • mom4
      January 5, 2012

      My hero.
      5:30 was waaaaaaay too early.

    • Chiu
      January 6, 2012

      nzm, do you get shot in this video? 🙂

      • blitzen
        January 6, 2012

        I was disappointed not to spot Michele (nzm) up front with a giant “Xavi is a victory for football!” sign. 😛

        For those who don’t have a spare hour and a half to watch the video, it basically consists of:

        Running, stretching, rondos, rondos, Pep looking moody, rondos, team rondos, more Pep, a 5-a-side game with Iniesta as a free radical, Sanchez waving an imaginary card (they train on that, too?), courtesy lap, signing stuff, lucky wheelchair people getting pictures.

        • nzm
          January 6, 2012

          My sign would have read, “Occupy Xavi” but no one here would have got the meaning!

      • nzm
        January 6, 2012

        No, Chiu – we didn’t get very good seats and were stuck behind the cattle fence at the back of the north goal. We would have been better off watching it on TV, to be honest!

        Blitzen: those wheelchair people hogged the players! Actually, it was the FCB media people telling the players to go over there for the perfect photo ops.

        All in all, it was quite a let-down, and you’ll read more once my report that I’ve sent in gets put up.

        • nzm
          January 6, 2012

          Sorry – we were behind the south goal.

        • blitzen
          January 6, 2012

          Those lucky, lucky cripples. 😛

          • nzm
            January 6, 2012

            Next time, we’re stealing a wheelchair! 😀

  9. ooga aga
    January 5, 2012

    rafael marquez “el kaiser” practiced with the barca B team today. he might practice with the first team yet.

  10. Ratu
    January 6, 2012

    Hi everyone, this is my first post here on BFB.

    I’ve been lurking on this community’s site since the beginning of the year, so you can all sleep better with that knowledge now. I wasn’t a regular to football before 2010 (I’m passionately into Formula One) and all I knew about Barcelona were a few funny words like ‘Xavi’, ‘Messi’ and ‘Champions'(Yes, I don’t know what rock I was hiding under either!). Puyol was just that untamed-Tarzan-like guy who scored the winning header against my cherished German team in the World-Cup.

    So first, I ask for forgiveness from you lot. Put away those machetes , for I was just new to all this.

    After the World-Cup I was an official newb to this footie game and have been, inevitably, following it quite regularly. Just as inevitably, I finally tripped over tiki-taka and that was what openend up my curiosity over this club. I just loved the way the ball was one-touch ping-ponged around.

    It wasn’t Messi, Xavi, Iniesta or that monster Puyol that caught my eye. It was a bunch of guys who I watched for all of maybe a minute and the principle that seemed to guide their play, it was too beautiful to look away from- I couldn’t change the channel. I looked them up and they apparently constituted a team called Barcelona and had names like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and whatnot. My intrigue gave way to admiration and I found myself cheering this way of playing. It quickly became an irrational full-fledged support for these small players with gigantic talent. I had become a fan.

    Naturally, fans look for a like-minded group, right? A mob they can jump in with and chant during victory or just look pissed during defeat. So I looked for an online forum and came across BFB. Let me be honest here, I love the way Barcelona play their football and even if that changes I will still support them and the efficiency of the tactics that they might employ.. but that’s not why I came to this blog. I came here because I saw people who seem to care about this club’s well-being in their words here. I don’t refer to just Kxevin, Euler, Kari and Isaiah but also to everyone in the comments section. I’ve lurked here long enought to know that the emotion and love is true (Kxevin’s agony at Busquets’s alleged racism pops to mind, as does EVERYONE’S warmth over Abidal being given the captain’s armband and being the one to lift the CL Trophy). Puyol – I have to say that he’s as much warmth and heart as he is a beast. I saw players and fans make ‘mes que un club’ more than just a catchy tagline.

    I saw a manager whose press and interview comments were about belief in spirit and a philosophy. I like to think that there is a right attitude and an approach to whatever you do, that can be both beautiful and effective. I saw it here. I see it in whatever little I know of Pep Guardiola.

    Beautiful football. Player’s with skill and heart. Genuine people supporting the club. If either of those three were missing, I might not’ve come here.

    It goes without saying, the quality of the articles here are a major factor behind me coming here repeatedly. Kxevin’s takes on the games make for a great read and Euler’s analysis should be put in literature and tactical text-books and taught in schools. Kari is wonderfully crazy – and I mean that in the sweetest way possible- and Isaiah’s posts are always different and have their own style, they are structured differently (like an on-form Torres in a Barcelona team). If I’ve left anyone out then please feel free to troll me but also eventually forgive me. You all give this place the vigor that drives it !

    I actually can’t watch La Liga games in my country because they’re not broadcast here(we get some highlights and select reruns though) and I’ve been reading the reviews here to keep up with this club. I depend on your reviews, rants and other miscellaneous thoughts to stay up-to-date and sound knowledgeable about FCB.

    I look forward to more here.

    And, just as importantly, I hope this first post doesn’t get Hectored/Hlebed !

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      January 6, 2012

      welcome to this amazing community, Ratu!
      the best FC Barcelona fans community on the internet, in my opinion.

      I thought you’re Indonesian girl, because Ratu means Queen in Indonesia. but you said “I actually can’t watch La Liga games in my country because they’re not broadcast here”, so I guess you’re not. 😀

      • nzm
        January 6, 2012

        Heh – Ratu means Chief in Fijian! 🙂

    • BarcaOwl
      January 6, 2012

      Welcome, welcome! Always fun to see new faces here. 😀

    • Ryan
      January 6, 2012

      If your internet can support it, you really should try streaming a game! If you join a Liveblog people will be glad to offer you links so that you can watch the game online.

      • blitzen
        January 6, 2012

        What Ryan says. I very rarely get to watch games on TV, but there are plenty of sites out there with streaming links. I posted one just a bit above ^ : rojadirecta.es. It can be a bit frustrating, but it is better than not watching the games at all!

        Come to our next liveblog if you can, we’ll try not to scare you off! 😀

        • Ratu
          January 6, 2012

          blitzen ! I love your awards ! I’ll join a Liveblog as soon as I have the facilities. An evening nap and some redbull will keep me up through the night I hope…. but I warn you, you have your hands full if you think you can be scarier than me when I’m up at 2am 😀

      • Ratu
        January 6, 2012

        Whoa, before my gender goes into question let me point out that I am a male. An Indian male.

        @BarcaGirl_Indo :
        Thank you ! It feels good to finally be here. I may not be Indonesian but ,hey, we’re only 3391 miles apart. Ratu is actually a nick bestowed upon me by my cousins, derived from my name. I’m sure they didn’t know it meant ‘queen’ in Indonesia. I’m not going to let them know now either 😀

        @BarcaOwl :
        Thanks for the welcome hoot 🙂 I’ll do my best to behave myself for as long as possible.

        @Ryan:
        Yeah, I really should try those. Especially the Liveblog. I’d like that. I’m in the middle of finding an apartment and it’s currently a strange situation where I don’t have TV nor internet at my make-shift-home right now. I will as soon as I get my new place though. ESPN will apparently broadcast La Liga here this year, for me that translates to a match start time of around 1:30 am IST. Buy TV. Buy Service Provider’s premium sports pack. Agenda set.

        Generally, I manage to catch the highlights when they’re shown at a more Ratu-friendly time. As soon as my situation here improves I should be a little better off when it comes to FCB.

        01:30 am, oh joy.

        • January 6, 2012

          Welcome from a fellow Indian.

          Ten Action+ usually carries Barca’s Liga matches here. Try to make it to the Loveblob. It’s fun!

          Espinosa.

          • Ratu
            January 7, 2012

            Hey, great, we’ll bond over ‘Why this kolaveri di?’ ! 😀

            I tried getting TenAction+ through Tata long ago but they never actually enabled it. I shall make the Loveblob my next target then.

            and something about what you said makes me shiver.

        • Ryan
          January 6, 2012

          I feel your pain, as I did 3 years of 2:45am Barca watching while I lived in Japan. Even though the English games were played at a much more reasonable hour and thus I figured everyone would be United fans, it was funny/awesome how all my students were Barca fans. 😀

        • nzm
          January 6, 2012

          Ratu – you can tell your cousins that Ratu means Chief in Fijian. I think, for you, it’s better than Queen! 😀

          Welcome to the BFB site!

          • Ratu
            January 7, 2012

            @Ryan:
            Japan? I bet you have some more good stories then. I studied kindergarten level Japanese back in university. The phonetic spelling and the way each picture stands for a word were so amusing. It eventually led to me reading the Hiragana on noodles packets in the supermarket and impressing the heck out of my kid brother 😀

            Japan – Watashi wa will visit you someday.

    • mom4
      January 6, 2012

      a few funny words like ‘Xavi’, ‘Messi’ and…
      I was introduced to real soocer while vacationing with friends the summer of 2009 (Confed Cup). I thought it funny that there was a guy with the name of caca (Kaka oc). Then our friends told us about a better player with the equally funny name of Mess”y”. Since then I have( in my silly, juvenile, schoolgirl mind) collected funny (to English speakers) soccer names like Messi, Kaka, Trasche, Butt, Rat, and I guess Pique should count, too.

      Cookies with sprinklers for Ratu:
      http://bakingfix.com/thefix/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2-almond-paste-drops.jpg

      • BarcaOwl
        January 6, 2012

        So. Much. Sprinkles.

        I think I developed cavities just looking at that picture.

        • mom4
          January 6, 2012

          Cookies for newcomer, sebi, too. Sorry.

          • nzm
            January 6, 2012

            I’m hoping that cookies with sprinklers make to Barcelona. 😀

          • Ratu
            January 7, 2012

            mom4, haha, thanks they look fab! I should let you know that the word Xavi is extremely similar to the word that means ‘key’ in my regional language. Xavi is the xavi to Barca’s success…. hey, that works!

            I am also alternatively called Rat, so let me put myself into that list… of ‘Funny names’ not ‘ Epic Footballing Talent’ 😀

          • Ratu
            January 7, 2012

            @nzm:
            Haha , super thanks for the Fijian version, I’ll keep it as the ace up my sleeve. Let them ‘queen’ me first before I fight back with ‘chief’ – atleast this way I have the last laugh, right ?

          • nzm
            January 7, 2012

            sebi’s real name is Xavier too! 🙂

          • mom4
            January 7, 2012

            @nzm- yeah, hubby wishes I was that domestic, too. I really hate baking(love cooking). Google image all the way. And why would you pick cookies over those churros and chocolate you have access too every day?

            Thanks for the Xavi. 🙂

    • Blau-Grenade
      January 6, 2012

      The Forlan thing is a pun of course, but I am still a big fan of that guy. And if it does happen, it will definitely add a whole new dimension to Barca. Forlan reminds me of Eto’o in some ways, but he has some capabilities like dropping back, and play making, that are way beyond ordinary.

      • Calvin
        January 6, 2012

        Last summer I would have agreed with you 100%. In fact last summer I was actively advocating that we make a move for Forlan.

        But he isn’t what we need anymore. The role he would have filled in the team has been successfully filled by none other than Mr. Fabregulous.

        I hate to say it but we really don’t need someone to fill in for Villa. We have Cuenca, Thiago has gotten a couple minutes at LW, and in a pinch there is always Iniesta.

        The really sad thing is that Villa just wasnt having that good of a season before he broke his leg, and therefore he ultimately isn’t going to be that hard to replace.

          • blitzen
            January 7, 2012

            And Dani plays pretty much as a winger in the 3-4-3 formation.

  11. January 6, 2012

    blitzen- “I very rarely get to watch games on TV”

    Do you not have GOLTV then?

    A couple of new folks this morning. Welcome all you’ve made the right choice.

    • blitzen
      January 6, 2012

      Nope, I don’t even have basic cable. By choice, mostly. I watch too much TV as it is, I don’t need a whole bunch of extra channels.

      I generally watch games via streaming video, then download a nicer version to watch afterwards.

      • Calvin
        January 6, 2012

        I’m with you there blitzen. I don’t have goltv, cable, any of the basic channels, and I was just given an old TV 3 months ago (before that I lived for over a year without one).

        If I could pay a small fee to just get goltv and fox soccer channel I would jump on it in a second. Unfortunately for me to get both those channels it would cost over $100 per month due to the obnoxious way cable providers lump together stations and make you pay for extra stations.

        Apart from old Arrested Development and Star Trek episodes (Netflix) I would never watch TV except to watch soccer games.

        I find it extremely frustrating how behind the time cable channels are. Why should I be forced to pay $100 month to watch ~4 hours a week on two channels, while someone who has the basic cable package might watch over 50 hours a week on tons of channels and pay half what I do.

        /end rant

        • blitzen
          January 6, 2012

          I hope someday we will have a system where we can pick & choose whatever channels we want without having to bundle anything. All I need are the sports channels, Discovery, Newsworld, BBC. AMC, Comedy…that’s about all.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          January 7, 2012

          for $22 a month I get all local channels (one of them broadcasting Barça live every single week, including Copa del Rey!), ESPN, Star Sports, HBO, BBC Knowledge, CNN, Al Jazeera, Discovery, National Geographic, CI, Euro News, Fox News, Nickeledeon, Disney Channel, Warner TV, Australian Network, and so on.

          now I feel very lucky.

          • hammeronmessi
            January 7, 2012

            get all those+discovery,animal planet,history + all local channels for $5 a month.

            muhahahaha.

            and yes ,finally bought a 50 inch.

            life is good indeed.

  12. sebi
    January 6, 2012

    Thanks for the welcome, y’all.
    I’m connected with a local hospital here and I generally make it a point to schedule my on-call surgical shifts on Barça matchdays — two birds meeting one stone really in terms of the staying-up-all-night issue since kickoff is usually 3-4AM local time. Will take you guys up on that loveblob whenever I get “slow” nights otherwise I usually just have RadioBarça instead of music when I’m doing surgery at that time (don’t look at me like that… it’s not brain surgery… and I’m good at multitasking. LOL). Tried following a couple of liveblogs before albeit only lurking in the background but next time i’ll try to actively participate — maybe that would put me in good stead with everybody and I get to move to the BFB Moon Base just in case those Mayans prove to be correct, eh Blitz?

      • Ratu
        January 7, 2012

        Sometimes, when I’m at work creating cyber-magic I tend to use the computer’s keyboard like a piano when some good music plays. Then, I promtply ‘backspace’ the random letters and go back to work.

        I dare say, sebi, you can’t have the luxury of ‘backspace’ ?…

      • sebi
        January 7, 2012

        haha. just an anonymous bone-setting, fracture-fixing guy. (hooray to the Can Barça physios!). And sadly, Ratu, no I don’t have ‘backspace’… hahaha. that would have been nice to have — at least waaay better than “ooops!” hahaha. just kidding

        • mom4
          January 7, 2012

          Cule 101 needed:

          (hooray to the Can Barça physios!)

          Elighten me people. I’ve only been cool cule for 3 years. What does “Can” Barça mean? It’s not the first time I’ve seen this used rather than FC. Google has been useless with this. HELP!

          • nzm
            January 7, 2012

            “Can” is Català for “House”, like “Casa” in Castellano. It’s also used in Mallorqui which is the Mallorcan version of Català.

            It wasn’t until we went to Mallorca in September that we saw this word on virtually every house nameplate. It’s then that the penny dropped as to the meaning of the word! 😀

        • January 7, 2012

          bone-setting, fracture-fixing guy

          Yeah, that’s what I said, a lobotomist! LOL. You have my respect.

          @Mom4ever: no clue, but google can be a troll sometimes.

      • hammeronmessi
        January 7, 2012

        lobotomist??????????

        heard many istis in my life,but not this one

        • mom4
          January 7, 2012

          I’d rather have a bottle in front o’ me than a frontal lobotomy. 😉

  13. Renata
    January 7, 2012

    I’ve just found out one of the local ESPN channels will air Espanyol vs. Barça live. It’s been forever since I’ve watched us on TV… One of the perks of visiting my parents.

  14. drogon
    January 7, 2012

    Barça B – Numancia kick off in 1 minute! Interesting game as Numancia are only 2 points ahead Barça!!

  15. ooga aga
    January 7, 2012

    rafa marquez “el kaiser” practiced with the first team today! sus ex-companeros! go here to see pix

    *http://www.fcbarcelona.es/futbol/primer-equipo/detalle/galeria-de-imagenes/entrenamiento-07-01-12

    • ooga aga
      January 7, 2012

      and there is some video here of “el kaiser”

      *http://www.fcbarcelona.es/futbol/primer-equipo/detalle/noticia/iniesta-con-el-alta-medica-principal-novedad-para-el-derbi

    • Chiu
      January 7, 2012

      So it’s been a trend now for MLS player to train with their ex-European team when their league is off haha..

      Why they dont use their holiday? is it because the league not so demanding. So they still hv much energy to train during holiday??

  16. blitzen
    January 7, 2012

    I have been trying to figure out what that new ad at the top right corner of the site is for, so I finally clicked on it.

    It is an ad for mail-order brides. Asian girls who, according to the blurb, “They grew up to do the cooking, cleaning, and basically take care of their man.”

    I am frankly very unhappy to see advertising of this sort on this site. I know advertising is a necessary evil for this blog to survive, but I would hope the mods would be aware of the content of ads that appear here. I am very disappointed.

    • blitzen
      January 7, 2012

      I mean, of course, the ad with the woman bending over acting as a table, not the “Love Test” that is currently showing.

      • January 7, 2012

        They are selected by the provider eg. AdSense and are usually different for different regions or context. Haven’t seen that ad as yet here though some NSFW ads have featured on the site regularly. Not sure what the blog can do about it. Tarun should have a better idea about it.

        An ad-blocker perhaps is a good solution for the time being..

        • mega_tajh
          January 7, 2012

          Oh yeah I remember when I vacationed in the Caribbean and visited the site it had local island ads on it. Regional ads make sense now.

        • blitzen
          January 7, 2012

          I don’t care about NSFW content, I’m certainly no prude. I care about the exploitative content. Offering up girls as the perfect submissive wife to lonely middle-aged losers. It’s gross.

          • January 7, 2012

            Yes but this blog is aimed towards a more general audience. Mods for example filter out the strong language and take other measures so that young users with an impressionable minds (like Eklavya) can browse unhindered. NSFW (exploitative especially) content in the ads send the wrong message and we’re just one nosy/concerned parent away from trouble..

        • blitzen
          January 7, 2012

          “Not sure what the blog can do about it. ”

          They could pick a different advertiser.

      • January 7, 2012

        I have ad blocker so I wasn’t aware. Dunno if we control our own ads, but thanks for letting us know.

    • mega_tajh
      January 7, 2012

      Thanks to my ad blocker Ive never really seen any ads on this site,something I should be thankfull for.

  17. mega_tajh
    January 7, 2012

    Heres hoping A Granada miracle…but man Benzema has really turned on the style this season. He is everywhere doing something good. Good news for France.

    • Ryan
      January 7, 2012

      Whatever happens, we know that VV is gonna get yet another Zamora. 🙂

      • mega_tajh
        January 7, 2012

        hahahaha when I finally decide to turn off the tv and come online they score? That’s it no more Madrid games for me.

        • nzm
          January 7, 2012

          Yeah – us too. We started watching and jinxed Granada. No more.

            • January 7, 2012

              Fair enough. I turned on the TV and saw Ramos score after not getting booked for the forearm on Nyom. Bah.

          • January 7, 2012

            It occurred to me that happened when we played them too. Weird..

        • Chiu
          January 7, 2012

          same here. my wife woke me up at HT because our baby cry. Then i sneaked to check the livescore, 2-1 scoreline. I thought the game is still pretty open and hope granada can get draw at least. 1 hours later i woke up for toilet, then 5-1. arrghh..:)

  18. blitzen
    January 7, 2012

    Just finished watching this game again and I have a few more observations:

    1. Dani Alves really did have a terrific game, didn’t he? If Xavi hadn’t been so spectacular he would have been my MOTMOTMOI.
    2. Lousy game from Pinto. He is lucky he is such an asset to the dressing room and the “Keep Messi Happy” campaign.
    3. Cuenca needs to be more alert when he is off the ball. He zoned out a few times, resulting in his yellow card and missing out on a gorgeous cross from Cesc that should have been a goal.
    4. Ladies & Gentlemen, we have found our replacement for Puyol when he retires (NOOOOO!!!!!). His name is Javier Mascherano. Not just because of his skills, but because of the heart he shows on the field and his willingness to put his body on the line 100% every game. He is learning how to be a leader on this team as well.
    5. That Messi lad is kind of good, eh? His teammates constantly say that he “makes things easier” for everyone. Someone *cough*Euler*cough* needs to do a post on how exactly he does that.
    6. The Barcelona derby is tomorrow! Where is our preview???

    • nzm
      January 7, 2012

      6. The Barcelona derby is tomorrow! Where is our preview???

      Probably in the same place as my Open Practice report.

      • mom4
        January 7, 2012

        @ Blitz-
        5. That Messi lad is kind of good, eh? His teammates constantly say that he “makes things easier” for everyone. Someone *cough*Euler*cough* needs to do a post on how exactly he does that.
        OMgosh that would be such a great analysis. We know he’s great, but Euler could explain how and why.

        @ Michele –
        Xavi pics I hope! BTW, is wasn’t a real practice because I watched it and not once did I see Messi sit on a ball or chew on his shirt.

        • Chiu
          January 7, 2012

          Yea mom4, the open training looked more like a meet and greet session. Fans cheering and bring banner, picture taking, signing. Too relax and no intensity, methink. 🙂

        • nzm
          January 8, 2012

          If my report gets put on here, you’ll read that the practice was really just a stretching exercise after the Osasuna match. Nothing to be seen, really. The team spent most of their meet and greet time with the wheelchair contingent on the sideline. Not much time was spent with the rest of us plebs, much to the disappointment of a lot of kids around us.

          Mom4: I sent you the best Xavi pic. 🙂

    • Chiu
      January 7, 2012

      I’m a bit nervous with the derby tonight. Our away result was not so convincing this season. I know part of this was the negative outcome from experimentation and rotation that Pep conducting. Looking the last couple of match, it looked as if the experimentation has been reaching the conclusion part.

      So expect our away performance on the 2nd half of the season would be equally superior as home game. No more dropping away point Pep, please. EE would rarely dropping points, except against us.

  19. January 7, 2012

    100+ comments! So we’re “officially” back from the nap weeks? Yay.

  20. Jafri
    January 7, 2012

    Espanyol preview? Please? Pretty please? Watching matches is no fun without previews. They make the world go round. Really.

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