El Derbi Catala Part 1: Espanyol vs Barcelona Liveblog

As per usual, Liveblog start 10-15 minutes before the game. Everyone is welcome! Including you. Yes, YOU.

Barca lineup (official): Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Cesc, Alexis, Messi

Pinto, Fontas, Adriano, Masche, Keita, Pedro, Thiago. No Cuenca or Maxwell.

Same lineup as the one that won at the Bernabeu. We got this. Vamos!

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


    • Gogah
      January 8, 2012

      My body clock has been messed up cos of being a die hard Barcelona fan in India.

    • nzm
      January 8, 2012

      At Pep’s press conference just now, he looked as if he was about to burst out crying. Towards the end, he had to keep looking up to keep his eyes from filling up with tears.

  1. EvaDaniu
    January 8, 2012

    I don’t know how to react, It’s 6:33 am, I have been stayed all night to watch barca game but now i can’t sleep (I should.) because my team lost in a very strange way.
    The team was lifeless and kind of unorganized.

    • IamXavi6
      January 8, 2012

      Glad we got out of there with a point. Easily could’ve been a loss. Just gotta put up with Madrid articles and newspaper comments etc now until we can claw back the 5 point lead.

      Still plenty of games to go chaps – hats of to Espanyol who were excellent – we were shite.

  2. G6O
    January 8, 2012

    OK, we didn’t play as well as we usually do (why did we have to run so much on Wednesday?), we conceded a lot of possession, off the ball movement sucked, etc. Still, this is just scandalous and it is not the first time it happens this season…

  3. January 8, 2012

    Well if people decide the Liga is lost/won after 17 games, they need a reality check..

    • Jnice
      January 8, 2012

      Guess I do, but like I said on twitter…. Yes, Madrid are bound to drop points, but so are we. We won’t win the rest of games, certainly not the away ones. Madrid have a 5 point cushion. People are treating this as if we are both on equal footing. We’re not. Look at our away record and tell me if you’re confident in us not dropping more points.

      How many times have we seen Madrid play below-par, yet still come away with the 3 points? It happens year after year. We seem to have these games every year… 1 goal lead… the other team scores from a corner or we score an own goal. It’s what happens.

      Sorry if I can’t convince myself to feel any other way. But please, reality check me… maybe I’ll come to my senses.

      • Ryan
        January 8, 2012

        Espanyol has taken more points from us than any other team in recent years – this kind of result isn’t much of a shock and we’re still in the fight for this thing.

      • jordi™
        January 8, 2012

        I dont know, I think if we can keep close, around march and april fatigue will trouble them, especially mental. The last years they have kept winning late in the season because they’ve not had the pressure of being in front, its always us they have been chasing.

        The time they won the league out front from the start, it was when they didnt go far in the cl but if they do as expected this year, it will be interesting how they juggle the rigours and demands of being leaders and fighting for the cl, its when you have comfortable leads that you become complacent and its not only us who have thrown away a league that way this decade..

        Keep in mind once we beat them at Camp Nou (wink) all we need is one or two unexpected draws. Hopefully we’ll still be in the race to capitalise when and if it happens.

  4. mega_tajh
    January 8, 2012

    What the heck is up with our away form. 5pts is enough,no more dropping points Barca!!! If EE lead over the league increases anymore we can call La Liga race over……The team performs so well in knockout legs why are we so inconsistent.

  5. Gogah
    January 8, 2012

    dont think ive seen messi play a worse game. i know he is given license to lose the most balls, but he was a bit too static for me.
    use of width was decent in transition from defense to attack but very poor in the final third. unlucky on those poor calls and non calls from the ref, but time to move on. its not even half the season, but its very hard to see the ee dropping much points.

    • nzm
      January 8, 2012

      Yeah – he was pretty bad tonight. Concrete in his boots.

    • nzm
      January 8, 2012

      But then, Sanchez lost a lot too, but at least he was trying to move.

      • Gogah
        January 8, 2012

        sanchez could have shot a bit more, but he wasn’t as static as leo

  6. nzm
    January 8, 2012

    At Pep’s press conference just now, he looked as if he was about to burst out crying. Towards the end, he had to keep looking up to keep his eyes from filling up with tears.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      January 8, 2012

      damn, that can’t be good, can it?
      that is really really bad.

      he looked fine after Getafe game, I think because he knew the el Clasico was coming. but now…

  7. jordi™
    January 8, 2012

    God I loathe Espanyol.

    And since when has our home kit ever clashed with theirs? Its not like we were playing levante, I knew the ref would be ‘peculiar’ from that moment.

    And like clock work we could obviously trust him to see Messi’s low inadvertent handball and give him a yellow, but the most blatant suarez imitation is play on and no penalty.Just because we play like shit in an isolated match doesn’t mean the laws of the game stop applying to us that match.

  8. BarcaGirl_Indo
    January 8, 2012

    17 matches to go.

    can I see EE drop some points? yes.
    can I see us win all 17 games left? no.

    • Srini
      January 8, 2012

      21 to go, actually.

      –can I see EE drop some points?
      They WILL.

      –can I see us win all 21 games left?


      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        January 8, 2012

        yikes, sorry, 21.

        17 matches is the number we have done.

  9. blitzen
    January 8, 2012

    Espanyol deserved the point. Worst Barça game I have seen since the loss to Getafe. Yes, that should have been a PK at the end, but that doesn’t excuse what happened the rest of the match.

    Malish. Barça may not win the league this year, but there is still plenty of time to make a run at it.

    Bandwagoners are invited to jump off now & let the rest of us get on with it.

  10. January 8, 2012

    What’s the one glaring similarity between this game and the Getafe game? No Tito..

  11. just listenin
    January 8, 2012

    I think we should all chip in and get Messi a plane ticket and fly him back and forth across the ocean with a contaminated ventilation system so he comes back jet lagged and carrying flu. #wheretheheckwasmessitoday

    • jordi™
      January 8, 2012

      Well my theory is coming on as a sub against Osasuna at home is obviously not the same as a game so intense as a derbi against the pericos. He could get away with not being fully fit in the midweek game but in a game like today you to be at your sharpest. When jordi amat is reading his dribbles and coming away with the ball you can tell despite his great cameo on Wednesday masking it,he has only been back a week.

      • just listenin
        January 8, 2012

        Yeah, clearly. Just trying to bring a little levity to a depressing state of affairs.
        That said, he was a bit more invisible and ineffective than he usually is in these post break or intense period less than full throttle matches he plays at times.., in other words, I thought this was a bad match even for bad Messi

  12. BarcaGirl_Indo
    January 8, 2012

    anyone other than Michele saw Pep’s press conference?

    are you agree he looked as if he was about to burst out crying?

    • ooga aga
      January 8, 2012

      some of the presser is here


      but i dont see where he looks like he is about to cry. he is looking up but…i dont think he was crying. he seemed convincing too when he said the refs dont matter.

      • January 9, 2012

        Towards the end, where I saw. It wasn’t obvious, but I could tell he was feeling emotional. I dunno, maybe it was just me.

        • nzm
          January 9, 2012

          No – it wasn’t just you, Kari – I saw it too.

          This clip doesn’t show him just before he ends the press conference. He was more upset then. But you can see it in this video if you really watch his movements – his mouth is different, he touches his face a lot more then usual. He’s looking all over the place. He’s usually a lot more calmer and direct than he was in this presser. Shaken.

  13. January 8, 2012

    We had a strange lack of intensity for a derby match today. Messi and Xavi had seriously under par games. They just didn’t seem interested. I thought we’d kill them today, given our recent form, but oh well. Don’t think Liga is over but I don’t think we can drop points in more than 2 games from here on in.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      January 8, 2012

      Messi, Xavi, Dani, Alexis…

      Dani and Alexis also frustrated me, but Dani probably lose his head from those disgustung monkey chants.

  14. Dani_el
    January 8, 2012

    Interesting how now LaLiga is more important to Mou than the CL. That’s one of the reasons why I want our team to beat them for LaLiga. It was a strange game, Pep must be more bald this minutes. He will figure something out.
    So much for Del Nido’s “liga de mierda”; we are trailing madrid by 5 pts, Valencia is trailing us by 4 pts, they are leading Levante by 4 points, and Levante are leading Osasuna by 4 pts.
    We still have a lot of chances for la liga, I don’t see EE losing 10 points for us losing 5 points, and being tied for the CampNou game, but who knows…


  15. Para
    January 8, 2012

    Kari, I noticed on twitter you mentioned watching the post-match press conference. Do you have a link to it by any chance?

  16. January 8, 2012

    Just to sort out your records mates…
    What’s needed is RM committing one more draw than our results in the following 20 games and the clasico at Camp Nou decides it all, which was the case before this match.

    You think this result added a challenge? Understandable. You think this result damaged our liga hopes? You are way over reacting and need a probability course.

    • The__K__Man
      January 8, 2012

      Nothing is completely lost but freaking out because of a 5point gap is not totally unreasonable. 1.There’s no guarantee they’ll drop more points than us (the reverse is even closer to reality right now) 2. There’s no guarantee we’ll even win the Camp Nou clasico 3. Playing with that cushion and no added pressure will only make it easier for them vs other teams

      • January 8, 2012

        There were no guarantees before the draw as well. That’s my point, not much difference.

  17. The__K__Man
    January 8, 2012

    For the love of god can someone explain to me our erratic/laughable/tragic away form this season? Last year the first away points we dropped were in February vs Sporting Gijon. This year I only remember us only beating EE and Granada. What happens to us away from home? How can we beat EE and Milan at their home grounds so comfortably yet fail so miserably against those other team? We weren’t even close to winning this one. Not 1 clear chance did we have between our goal and theirs.

    Also why does our team suck as a unit in some matches? I mean you never see 1 or 2 players playing badly and the other picking things up (like how Benz/Higuain pick up the team when Thong Boy is choking). Look at today’s match, the one vs Sevilla, the one vs Granada (and some others) there we’re almost no good players on the pitch.
    No one was even mildly good (maybe Iniesta). How can everyone be out of form at the same time?

    We have no option but to continue fighting for La Liga although it really is a long shot right now especially with our erratic away form. I hope we can focus more on being the first team ever to retain the CL title and maybe get the CdR too.

    Sorry for the rant. I just had to.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      January 8, 2012

      For the love of god can someone explain to me our erratic/laughable/tragic away form this season?

      Also why does our team suck as a unit in some matches? How can everyone be out of form at the same time?

      those are my question too, my brother.
      remember last season when we were so great in away games?

    • BarcaRoja
      January 8, 2012

      I think it’s just a plain and simple case of the team who wants it more, wins (in this case a draw seems a win for them and a loss for us).

      That’s the most logical explanation why we suck as a unit in these type of matches. The waiting and feeling from each individual player ‘you go first’ attitude – trying to wait for whoever wants to step up to the plate but in the end, runs out of time to do so.

      Individually, the Espanyol players wanted it more, wanted it badly, and so it manifested collectively as a unit. And they got the result that they wanted.

  18. BarcaGirl_Indo
    January 8, 2012

    this draw is Espanyol’s mistake for scored the late goal.
    they should’ve equalized 30-40 minutes earlier, because we got out intensity back after they equalized. #nonsense

  19. January 8, 2012

    Very disappointing match obviously.

    Ironically, the match was lost in middle of the pitch.

    Espanyol was side that dictated the tempo and rhythm of the match. That’s ultimately why they were able to secure a positive result and pick up a point.

    Barca somehow fell into the rhythm that Espanyol wanted to play. They allowed the match to turn into a frenetic scrum. That’s always going to be a significant tactical victory for the opposition.

    Altering formations is still a work in progress. Today the team had too many players in advanced positions.

    The game was decided behind them.

    Cesc was very high up the pitch. This allowed him to score that wonderful goal. But it also removed him from the midfield zone where they really could have used another player consistently.

    And outside of positioning, Cesc still is working on integrating himself into the possession game. Remarkable in the final third and finishing. But supporting possession he’s just not quite there.

    Alves was also too high up the pitch until minute 70 when they converted to a four man backline.

    I would have preferred them to set up like they did against Madrid. Alexis alone up top. Messi as a 10 supporting midfield. Cesc in a more box to box role and Dani deeper on the wing.

    That may have given Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets the support they needed to dictate rhythm more fully.

    As it was, the team tried to play too fast. They needed to slow the match down much more. Instead they tried to speed it up.

    And that was a major reason why they didn’t score that second goal.

    But these are the things that always seem to happen away at Espanyol. Don’t know how connected this match is to prior away disappointments.

    The probability of winning La Liga decreased today. But it’s still far from over.

    They’ve just made their work much more difficult.

    • justsayin
      January 8, 2012

      Totally agree. Español was able to run box to box without much of a defensive effort from our midfield. Busquets, who normally is steadfast as the last man defending the ball before it gets to the back line, was also non-existent. It was like we had 8 men pushing forward (including Alves) and 2 men defending. Surprised that Pep didn’t make an adjustment.

      Additionally, Messi should have been subbed, not Alexis who was having a better game than Messi. Would have liked Pep to have made this sub to show that everyone is fair game out there. Special treatment for Messi when he is having an awful game can’t be at the expense of a win. The game should have ended with Fabregas, Pedro and Alexis up front.

  20. messifan
    January 8, 2012

    What happened!? I didn’t watch the game but from what I can gather the team was too erratic, too direct and didn’t dictate the game. Yike! Losing two points is not going to help Barca retain La Liga but there are many games left and nothing is decided yet.

    I’ve been wondering about this for awhile; I think Pep misses Tito on the bench to give him some insights about the game. Someone mentioned above that this draw and the Getafe lost were without Tito’s presence. I think he plays a huge part in the team’s tactics, and Tito probably knows more on how to utilize Cesc than Pep. About Cesc, he’s added a new dimension to the team but he needs to step it up with his passing accuracy esp. in midfield. I saw him in the clasico and a few times after that (haven’t seen this game), and I’m not exactly sure if he can fit in the team’s midfield area.

    Tbh, my least concern right now is losing the league, I sort of accept that possibility since we dropped points in Bilbao. What I’ve been most looking forward to seeing this season is their playing evolution. Since the epic manita game last season, I’ve been waiting for the team to reach that same height or even exceed that level once more. The team has played well but their form is inconsistent especially against big teams. Even in the win against Madrid or Milan, they didn’t dominate those matches. Their erratic form can also be extended to pretty much every away liga game. So hopefully they can sort that out. It will be interesting to see how they react after this; hopefully they’re not losing their hunger. I know they are capable of achieving perfect football 🙂

    Also, dear football gods, no more injuries to our players please. Healthy players are very important to this system.

  21. mega_tajh
    January 8, 2012

    So basically no Tito no party?? Seems that way.

  22. Kimcelona
    January 8, 2012

    At this point its EE’s to lose. If we continue this poor away form we should be worried not only about falling further away from Madrid but also giving up second spot. When I saw Pep’s face today in the presser, I didnt see one of hope I saw one of oh sh*t we just dropped some vital points. I hate having to depend on other teams to take points off Madrid..its pratically fighting a losing battle..I just dont see it. I have said before and I will say it again I dont see Madrid dropping points to any other team in the Liga. And I think I’m gonna stick by this. So virtually the Liga just got a whole lot harder to fight for. I’ll still believe we can win it till its mathematically impossible but now I’m just sitting back without any expectations.

    And I may be in the minority on this blog but Pedro was the spark we needed EARLIER in my opinion. I dont know what everyone else was watching but I only believed we could have gotten a second when Pedro came in and started causing havoc. He was a livewire but he needed to be subbed in earlier. I was pissed Pep waited till the 71st min to make a sub but you think I should be used to that by now :/

    And contary to popular belief I thought Iniesta was subpar along with Messi and Xavi. With Messi being the worst, he was basically invisible. He was walking around the pitch like a zombie and giving away balls when he did get involved. They all had bad games IMO though. Busquets was the only saving grace in the midfield and even he was giving away balls for fun. Cesc always has weird games for me. While he’s always available in the box and is sometimes one of the only players pushing forward, his midfield play leaves a lot to be desired. Between sloppy play, givewaways and bad control at times, maybe Pep should just convert him to an out and out striker. Alxis wasnt all that bad to me but had some really bad decision making at times. The backline excluding Dani did okay. Dani was bad. The end. Apart from that cross to Cesc he was tricking and flicking- basically doing too much while in possesion rather than keeping it simple to let play flow and he was just annoying me all through the match. Just pass the ball and keep it moving for CK. With all that said, Valdes was MOTM for me. Nothing he could do about the goal and he saved our bums a couple times.

    In this game, I dont think we played too direct. In fact, at times when we had chances to counter attack we slowed the ball down and allowed Espanyol to get back into shape to defend. There was also many times when Messi or someone else would carry the ball forward and there was no one there..no one making a run, nothing but a sea of pericos..WTH? And we still tried to play the ball too much to the right and throuhgh the middle even when it was congested.

    Its bad that this season EVERY away game is nervewracking for me..even games against Zaragoza could be a slip up. That needs to change..Pep needs to take a serious look.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      January 8, 2012

      I think I agree with most of your post.

      And I may be in the minority on this blog but Pedro was the spark we needed EARLIER in my opinion.

      no, I’m with you. I was so nervous with Pep, why didn’t he sub in Pedro much earlier?
      obviously Alexis had a bad game since the 1st half. I saw my TL screamed “c’mon Pep, you can use a sub anytime you want.. what are you waiting for?”

      however I do not blame Pep for started Alexis. he used the same El Clasico starting XI line up, hoped it will bring another success like the previous one. but it didn’t.

      I do however, questioning his decision not put Pedro earlier.

      but the big question why, why, why we played so horrible in away games?
      we already dropped 13 points in January, last season we only dropped 5 points this time around. gaah.

  23. mom4
    January 8, 2012

    Had to work so didn’t see the game.
    Judging by the comments, it’s not something I want to see.
    So now we are one clasico + one draw by them away from the title.
    The poor form of which y’all speak worries me more than the result. But then again, various players on the team have been suffering from various forms of influenza/crud/viral-illness-of-undetermined-identity-but-they’ll-call-it-the-flu-anyway. Let’s not start panicking yet (like we did after Getafe/2011 Arsenal away/ etc). EE is bound to have a game or two where they play like crap, too(and I prefer our crap to their good stuff any day).

  24. nia
    January 8, 2012

    Don’t know what to think of Messi today but, i’ll cut him a break coz he’s saved our asses so many times. This game and the Valencia 2-2 are the the only 2 games i’m not dissapointed with the results coz both times the results were deserved.

  25. Srini
    January 8, 2012

    While I understand that the 5 point gap is the talking point after the game, I am more worried generally about our away form. Why is that FCB are so indomitable at home this year – they have been more than super majestic with their record – and mediocre (by their standards) away, except of course the 3-1 against EE?

    Euler’s exposition about *this game* makes it a logical explanation of why the team failed to defeat Espanyol. But the question persists as to why there is such a gap between home and away performances.

    Last season, the team went on a splendid run, when home/away didn’t matter at all; this season it is more sinusoidal – the team seems other wordly at home than away.

    Perhaps it is easier making all the in-game transitions to various Pep strategies at home rather than away, but that doesn’t explain the calmness and precision that saw them win at the Bernabeu. Or maybe, indeed, the team *has* the ability to make those transitions at away games since the Bernabeu game, but failed to do so at the Cornella El Prat as an one-off. The latter is an optimistic assessment.

    I don’t believe that the season is over though. I see one tough encounter for EE in the horizon against Bilbao, which I am (boldly) marking as a draw for EE; which leaves us with a chance at the Camp Nou to get even and over provided there aren’t any further slip-ups.

    And the referee was a marginal reason for the loss of 2 points today, but I don’t understand why getting a penalty when it is due, is near impossible this season. Hopefully Pep’s high ground approach atleast tilts the lever to the “justice” territory.

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