Malaga 1-4 Barcelona: “Lack of Hunger? Leo Laughs At You.”

(Insert reference to Lio, lions, and roaring here)

Pep’s notes before the game must have been:

  1. Give Messi the ball.
  2. ????
  4. Repeat 1-3 until sufficient scoreline is achieved.

A simply remarkable game from the world’s best player. But the thing is, this is him being “back on form”. That’s the incredible part.

By his standards, Leo Messi has been a bit lacklustre in away games. Despite being the focus of the opposition team’s defense, a minimum of three defenders on him at all time, despite the fact that that means that the rest of the team has much more space to operate, he only scored one goal in away matches in the Liga this season. (Compared to the 18 goals scored at Camp Nou).

And that is poor. By his standards.

By his standards.

Those are the key words and ones I would repeat ad nauseam.

Because the standards this man has set is higher than Mount Everest and it only continues to elevate as he plays. A standard no other human can ever reach and maintain.

Because Messi to me is like a footballing superhero. Except it’s not Superman, it’s Argentinaman! (His Argie blood gives him strength, don’tcha know?).

He is the team’s greatest offensive threat. He’s been carrying them offensively. The real story this season is not that he’s only score one goal away from home, but that the team itself has had problems scoring. Even if he himself doesn’t have a direct impact, though assist and goals, the indirect influence he has is priceless. He forces a team to change shape and makes sure the opposition can never really relax just by being there because they know that one false move, and BAM. Destruction. Goals. Mayhem.

That’s why Pep doesn’t sub him off.

And as the mister said today: “Messi’s main quality is his consistency; for being decisive in so many games, for such a long time.”

But if he doesn’t dominate the game as his often superhuman, Argentinaman self does, doesn’t shine the way he’s supposed to – the way us Barca fans are used to – then he’s had a bad game. He looks uninterested, unmotivated and has to be subbed off.

If that were me, I’d be weeping at the unfairness of it all.

But not Messi. Because he knows. He knows the standards he’s set. He knows that he has to keep improving, that he can’t just rest on his laurels. That the fans and the club are demanding and expecting and will not allow that. And if he wants to stay, he’ll have to keep pushing himself.

He told Don Balon a couple of weeks ago:

“I’m at the best club in the world, no other team could fulfill me as much as Barcelona does. I grew up at La Masia and I became a man at Barca. I hope to stay here until they get tired of me, which is hopefully never.”

This is our player. And today, he showed that hunger that never left.

Target: Locked

We rolled into Malaga’s stadium with Valdes; Alves, Pique, Masche, Abidal; Busi, Iniesta, Thiago; Adriano, Messi and Alexis. It was an interesting one. No Xavi, Fabregas, or Puyol, and Adriano starts as LW.

The game itself stated with a battle for possession. Malaga weren’t interested in sitting back a la Madrid and going for a counter attack. But unlike many games this season, we got into a rhythm early, passing the ball around, getting into a groove.

Or rather, Messi got into a groove. As early as the 7th minute, he went on one of those classic runs, dancing past Malaga defenders, before slotting the ball to a wide open Thiago on the right who first times the cross for a diving Alexis header in the box which was saved by the excellent Malaga goalkeeper.

But the onslaught was just beginning. Two minutes later, another lovely dribble from Messi ends with a powerful shot deflected JUST past the post for a corner. Iniesta was wide open in space to the left of Leo and he probably should have passed to Ghostface.

Barcelona were really dominating now. But Malaga then decided to try and get something out of the game.

Now Victor Valdes must have the hardest and easiest job ever. The ultimate paradox. He has to be alert to the danger, which is often meager. But if he’s not focused, the goals will pour in like locusts.

In the 14th minute, Valdes produced three successive goal denying saves from Isco to keep Malaga shut out before the Messi show took over.

Messi was once again on a run but the ball is tackled away (he gets accidentally kneed in the head for his troubles). Malaga counter attack. After a nice one-two on the left, Isco unleashes a shot that’s headed for the top right corner, but he is DE-NIED by a flying Valdes. From the resulting corner, Boo! Wellington the pesky Isco directs a header towards goal but that man Valdes saves again. The rebound is smacked goalwards yet again by Isco but no ball shall pass the Wall of Valdes. In the first half anyway.

You shall not pass!

Regular service resumed from there as Pique had a free header in the 17th minute which was poor. Decent chances from Thiago and Adriano followed. The break-through only a matter of time.

Déjà vu hit in the 29th minute when Messi floated an incredible pass to a wide open Abidal. Very reminiscent of the winning goal last Wednesday. But Willy Cabanero was alert to the impending catastrophe and forced Abidal back. Abi passes back to Messi who is lurking in the box. Leo spanks the ball towards goal but Demichelis clears off the line.

But Messi’s wasn’t finished. He lays an incredible pass to Alexis which is saved. The Malaga GK, desperately trying to relieve some pressure, launches a counter attack through Eliseu. He curls a wonderful cross to Ruud van Nistelrooy (yeah, he was playing) who puts it wide.

Fantastic game and still only a half hour in. You’d wonder how it was still 0-0.

That would change in the 32nd minute when Adriano puts in a fabulous floating cross for –who else?– Leo Messi to head in. He may be the second shortest player on the field, but the man can head the ball. I’ve always thought so. The placement was spectacular. 1-0 to Barca.

Eat it, Pele! With a side of paella.

I’ll take the time to say Messi’s passes are just incredible. I mean, really. Nothing flashy, just simple perfectly weighted passes that are so, so deadly.

The half ended with two more half chances. The first comes when Alexis wins the ball at the edge of the Malaga box and play a brilliant pass to Iniesta, but he miscontrols (!) and the danger is cleared. The second was Messi passing the ball through the legs on a Malaga defender to Abidal, but his cross is gathered by the Malaga GK before Alexis could get a head to it.

Halftime. 1-0 Barcelona with 70% of the ball. Ole.

The second half started as the first half ended. Barca camped out in the Malaga half.

Wonderful play by Iniesta would be the instigator for the second goal. He sets up Thiago at the edge of the box, but his shot was saved. The danger for Malaga wasn’t averted as Adriano picked up the rebound and squared the ball to Thiago but he is once again saved by the outstanding Malaga GK. He wouldn’t be able to stop Alexis, as the Chilean manages to put in the rebound. 2-0 Barcelona.

Would we let poor Malaga catch their breath?

Answer: Hell to the no.

Just three minutes later, good pressure from Iniesta Busi Leo in the Malaga half wins Barca possession. Busi slides a short pass back to Messi. Surrounded by three players with another two blocking his path, the genius jinxes his way through, drifting to the right before cutting back to his left and slotting the ball past the keeper. 3-0. Game. Set. Match.

But we’d spend the rest of the game looking for a fourth.

Striker Pique would come out of the long grass around the 70th minute, but the team ignores him he doesn’t get any service.

In the 73rd minute, after Pedro comes on for Iniesta, Messi hits the underside of the crossbar. To describe my feeling, I go to the wonderful Ray Hudson:

“Damn that crossbar! Damn it all to hell! A hat-trick would have been deserved. Look at this, the witching way. I think it crossed the line.”

Aye, sir.

Thiago would get two good opportunities to net the 4th. He’s put through on goal by a great Abidal pass, but he tries to set up Cuenca instead of going for goal. A couple of seconds later, he has a header saved.

The fourth goal would come eventually and to describe it, I will consult my notes from this match:

81st Busi wins the ball in Malaga half. Messi. Dead. 0-4. Hattrick. &#^(@#&@)*#@)*#)!(

Argentinaman. I’m so glad he plays for us.

Match ball is yours!

The End

Make no mistake, Malaga were a dangerous opponent. They had very good looks on goal in the first half. In the second half, substitute Rondon was very lively. He scored after Valdes saved the initial shot from a Malaga player, but pushed the ball into the path of Rondon. That man Rondon would get anther look at goal int he 86th minute, dragging his header wide after a great cross from the left.

He himself would provide a cross in the dying moments of the game but the resultant header was poor.

So it’s not like Malaga were parking the bus — we forced them back and put them relentless pressure. So much so that they couldn’t get into the game (until we dropped off towards the end). Important distinction.

Also, Santi Cazorla is a wonderful footballer.


Team: Easily the best away game of the season. Some frenetic passing in the first half, but calmed down in the second. Was just dominate for 85 minutes and a sensational day between the sticks by the Malaga GK is what kept the score down. No matter who plays, the level doesn’t drop much. Almost scored a goal from pressing in the 26th minute too. This performance was coming, but it was also much needed. Riding the momentum of the Copa win. Keep it up!

But that being said, those last 5 minutes… no me gusta. You can’t just switch off like that. Stay focused for the whole match.

Pep: Made all his subs before the 75th minute!! Also, he had the team ready to play but also rested some key players. As Josep Capdevila, a Spanish journalist, noted on Twitter: Pep is still rotating even with 15 squad players (and a couple of B teamers). This is awesome. Well played, boss.

Valdes: “Without Valdes’ saves in the first half, you don’t know what can happen. Details are decisive in football.” – Pep Guardiola post match. Some really sensational saves Victor. It’s a shame that we couldn’t keep a clean sheet for you. Can’t put too much blame on the Rondon goal, maybe could have push it out, but even then that’s asking a lot.

Alves: Seemed like he was dying in the second half with all those hits. Glad to see he’s okay. Malaga attacked his flank most often in the first half, to be expected. Got up and down the flank with his usual energy. Nice line up play with Messi and Alexis.

Mascherano: Full on man. Fantastic defensive play towards the end of the first half, where he just ate up the ground and blocked van Nistelrooy’s path to goal.

Pique: Getting better. Did some great covering jobs, particularly in the second half. Tried to be a striker, but alas, had to slowly make his way back when it became apparent that a) the team wouldn’t be entertaining that idea, and b) he probably wouldn’t have scored anyway.

Abidal: Maxwell said after he signed for PSG: “Abidal is the best left back in the world. He’s in spectacular form.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Maxy.

Busi: Really loved the game he played today. Always available as an outlet, always keeps it simple. Just a great footballer. That tackle by Camacho in the second half was just awful. Ripped your shorts and everything. I bet some will still call you a diver afterwords though. :roll:

Thiago: Wonderful match. He’s putting in that workman like performance that tends to be a thank less job. Keep possession well, make some great runs into the box. The interesting thing with Thiago is that people are still expecting him to play a looser, flashier match. But he knows that for the team to win, he’ll have to make sacrifices and do the dirty work. I love that.

Iniesta: Another strong match. I love his chemistry with Messi. Their link up play is just a joy to watch. Got some well deserved rest when Pep subbed him off for Pedro.

He loves to attack doesn’t he? He didn’t make as many runs that I’d expect him to. And sometimes he had the defender’s reflex in the box where he cleared the ball away from the Malaga goal instead of towards it. Fantastic cross for the opening goal. Shame you got a cramp towards the end. Let’s hope it’s not serious.

Alexis: El nino maravilla! Movement was good, had great chances to score and eventually put away the second goal. Good day at the office, chileno.

Messi: See above. At the halfway point in 08-09 season he had 11 goals, in 09-10 he had 15, last year he had 18 and now he has 22 [Jafri during LB]. Only one two from a penalty (compared to another player who has 22 goals, 10 9 (!) for the spot). And he’s still expected to do more, to be even better. He wouldn’t want it any other way.


Cuenca (for Alexis): Came in when the match was pretty much decided. Good run out for Isaac.

JDS (for Adriano): Yay! JDS got to play and it wasn’t at rightback! I always love seeing Jona on the pitch.

Pedro (for Iniesta): Looked good. Gain some much needed minutes and had nice touches on the ball. Here’s hoping he comes back to form soon.

So we’re still improving. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be more…unfortunate… results in the future. But the team will keep trying hard to win this Liga. I couldn’t ask for more.

Away form: hopefully fixed.
[All images courtesy of]

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  1. Momo
    January 22, 2012

    “He’s carrying been carrying them offensively. “??

    Great review though

    • January 22, 2012

      Thanks! Fixed.

      I’m in a rush today…

      If there are other glaring mistakes, just leave them below…

  2. Helge
    January 22, 2012

    To be fair, Messi has 2 penalties, Ronaldo has 9.

    Good night (wish I hadn’t looked up the EE result before going to sleep^^).

    • Nav
      January 22, 2012

      Apart from too much blue, it’s miles ahead of the current jersey in terms of design.

    • Jafri
      January 23, 2012

      Nike finally figured out the gradient tool on Photoshop huh? Sigh.

      I think it looks a little more presentable in real life, but ew anyway.

    • January 23, 2012

      I think I’m one of the few who kinda liked! With some minor corrections of course…no 1 being the senyara definetly getting some space on the shirt and no 2 a bit more red somehow somewhere..!

    • January 23, 2012

      Oh dear God. I don’t like it at all! It looks poorly put together and looks like the designer just learned how to use the gradient tool (what Jafri said).

      The ONLY thing I envy about EE are their kitmakers. Adidas is lightyears ahead when it comes to making quality footy kits. EE, Liverpool, Chelsea.

  3. January 22, 2012

    It’s one thing to watch, take notes and understand the match and another to write it all down in a proper way with the piece making sense as a whole and still being funny. I suck at language generally speaking so I guess I can appreciate having a quality read so quickly after a match.

    So, full marks for the review, Kari, and thanks for writing it!

  4. blitzen
    January 22, 2012

    Eat it, Pele! With a side of paella.

    Perfect caption is perfect caption! 😆

    Even with Messi’s hat-trick, I’m voting VV MOTM. Without his brilliant saves the score could have been very different.

    Not to take anything away from Messi, though. He was scoring for fun today. He had a great time and I am thrilled with him. Pele can suck it.

    Excellent point about Thiago, Kari. Some people seemed disappointed with his game, but he was really good. He was playing the Xavi role today which meant that he couldn’t be flashy. He worked hard and hardly put a foot wrong. We saw once again what a great connection he has with Iniesta.

    Adriano also had an excellent game, and the subs performed well for their limited minutes. Really enjoyed this game.

  5. nzm
    January 22, 2012

    Nice one, Kari.

    Isn’t it telling that, since unicef is now on the rear of the samarretas, photos of the backs our boys are now de rigueur? 😀

      • blitzen
        January 23, 2012

        As I said in the loveblob, Busi having to change his shorts wasn’t nearly as exciting as when Puyol did it. 😛

  6. blitzen
    January 22, 2012

    Oh, and also? Didn’t Messi’s hair look nice? Not too long, not too short. It was juuuust right!

    • January 23, 2012

      YES! His perfect haircut was the one he had vs United in 2009, IMO and this is the closest he’s to that since a few years.

  7. January 22, 2012

    Thanks for the compliments, everyone!

    I don’t really do man of the matches for reviews, but if I did it’d have been a co-Man of the match between Valdes and Messi. Different game if VV doesn’t make those saves. (Though I think with the way Messi was going, we would have clawed back anyway.)

    Great match to watch tho. Not as painful as our last couple of away matches.

    Highlights with Ray Hudson commentary available here. Worth it just to watch him scream during Leo’s 4th goal.

    • Momo
      January 23, 2012

      Was Ray crying at the end of the video after messi’s third??

    • nzm
      January 23, 2012

      “Running like he’s got a food mixer down his shorts.”

      😀 😀 😀

      Classic Ray.

      • nzm
        January 23, 2012

        Followed closely by the comment, “Out of his Vulcan mind.” 😀

  8. Kimcelona
    January 22, 2012

    Kari, for the third goal it is actually Messi who pressures and who wins the ball back from the Malaga player. Watched it 5 times. Thiago was there to get the ball and one touch pass it back to Messi and off he went to score the third sublime goal.
    I had to point that out because that was what made the goal all the more special to me 🙂

  9. Rivelino
    January 22, 2012

    Where can I get a torrent with Ray Hudson? Those Brit commentators don’t do the team justice. Is not in their blood to get excited and scream and concoct superlative sentences. You almost wonder if Shakespeare is really from England. Somebody help please!!!

  10. BarcaOwl
    January 22, 2012

    Thanks a lot for the review, Kari. I really enjoyed reading it. I like how different reviewers have different styles. Variety is a good thing. 🙂

  11. Pyro
    January 23, 2012

    My friend pointed out something really important today. He said “It seems that the Barcelona players are really close. Something I don’t see with Real Madrid” If you’ve noticed Ronaldo always goes to hug some sort of Portuguese speaker when he scores. At Barca they just hug their closest player

    • Jafri
      January 23, 2012

      Good point. After Ronaldo scored his penalty he ran to Coentrao on the touchline to hug him, ignoring all the people on the pitch. Bit sad, really.

  12. Jafri
    January 23, 2012

    Great review Kari, especially the speed with which you put it up, I hadn’t even found highlights for the match by then! No errors that I saw, but then again even if there were, doesn’t matter, awesome review is awesome!

  13. January 23, 2012

    I actually didn’t quite like Thiago’s game. I think he misplaced too many pases some where recovered by his teamates but some just went to the opponent. I expected him to start kinda slow because hasn’t been regular lately but it took him almost the whole game. I actually liked him better when he moved to Adriano’s place. I think he can help us at some games on left side so some of our front three can get a rest, although his best position is in the midfield.
    I’m not trying to blame him or anything though…all youngsters get that even Messi was very irregualar when he first joined the 1st team.

    P.s Does anybody know where I can find the stats of the game? For example succesful passes of each player, steals etc

  14. Laurentiu88
    January 23, 2012

    Busi has had an amazing season so far! I think Pep is write that he is the best in the world on his position (for ex. last night Alonso hit more basque players than the ball, with no yellow card given of course). I don’t understand how some still rate him so poorly. He controls the balls in such a dangerous situation with so much elegance… For a player in that role he even has an incredible low number of fauls committed. He has been outstanding!

    • January 23, 2012

      Quietly the “other than Messi” player of the season for us so far IMHO. What impresses me most though is that it looks like he has made it a point to not dive this season. Of course he might exaggerate a foul here or there but I haven’t seen him blatantly dive. The most underrated player in the world.

  15. January 23, 2012

    So what’s this I hear of Xabi telling TB to zip it after yapping with the ref and TB responds with a death stare?

    There really does seem to be a Spanish vs Portuguese rift in the EE dressing room. TB celebrating the penalty with Fabio would further that notion.

    If we can give them a notable beatdown this week, things are going to blow up in the capital.

  16. January 23, 2012

    “Eat it pele! With a side of paella”. Great pics, great captions, and a very enjoyable read of a review. Thanks Kari!

    That Messi header was FAN-BLEEPIN-TASTIC. I believe, distance wise, the furthest header I’ve seen Messi score. Great placement. Think he’s been getting pointers from Cesc?

  17. Helge
    January 23, 2012

    Great review with nice captions for the pictures, Kari.

    Now that I’ve enjoyed the whole review, some little factual corrections:
    -Welington didn’t play at all, it was a triple chance by Isco, the curled shot, the header and the rebound was a personal duell Valdes-Isco with the outright winner being well known 🙂
    -It’s indeed Messi who kicks the ball off the feet from a Malaga player (the ball then goes to Busquets who plays it back to Messi) before the third goal

    Another stat: Messi is the player who hit the post/crossbar more than any other dude in la Liga: 5 times.
    It’s a shame that he’s not #1 of the goalscorer list right now! *damn Crynaldo penalties*

    • January 23, 2012

      Looking at the Golden Boot race there’s some Latvian guy tied with Ronaldo for the lead. He plays in Estonia and the league weighting is only 1 but he has banged in 46 goals! Poor league or not, 46 is a LOT of goals. Yowza!

      • Helge
        January 23, 2012

        Yes, he even could reach Pele’s level if he continues like that (and if he also plays in the Latvian cup competition etc.) 🙂

    • Srini
      January 23, 2012

      Helge, I should have heeded your warning 🙁 about the EE game.

    • nzm
      January 23, 2012

      Helge: I believe that for the 3rd goal, it was Thiago who received the ball from Messi and then gave it back to Messi for the goal. If you follow the track of the person who gave the assist, you’ll see that it’s Thiago who runs up for Messi to jump onto after the goal.

  18. January 23, 2012

    On Thiago:

    Thiago vs Malaga: Attempted 126 passes. Completed 115. Both most on team. 92% accuracy. Attempted 9 long passes. Completed all 9. Xaviesque

    (As a side note, this is why I take copious notes during a match review, then watch it at least twice. It’s why if I was a debating person, I would debate with missingpage about their impressions of the match that Thiago had. I thought he was boss, and didn’t realize the statistics would be so striking. He’s a more dynamic Xavi to me, which is interesting.)

    • Blau-Grenade
      January 23, 2012

      I loved Thiago’s game yesterday. There was something very special about his movement and passing yesterday. I guess you lay it bare in his stats for the game.

    • January 23, 2012

      Based on the views of many on the forum the opinion of which I greatly appreciate and on the stats I checked later it seems I was dead wrong on Thiago’s game yesterday. Maybe it was the stress for the game that made each miplaced pass of his look like a direct goal threat!!
      The funny thing is we were two watching the game and we both had the same opinion and we generally don’t agree ;p
      Anyways, I’ll definetly watch the rerun when its on tv… I’m really curious!!

  19. January 23, 2012

    Terrific review. Very difficult to get a review of this quality done so soon after the match!

    The point on VV and Messi are spot on and interesting. In some ways I’d say that Messi was the best player on the pitch and man of the match but VV was the most “decisive” player in the match.

    Match would have been completely different without Valdes’s brilliance. Shows again why he’s the best shot stopper in the world.

    After the Espanyol match many became alarmed again and started questioning the team’s away form. That’s completely understandable.

    The thing is – Espanyol matches away are always difficult and strange. So I wasn’t really sure if one could draw any conclusions from that match or even connect it to earlier problems the team was facing with its away form.

    Prior to the Espanyol match it really seemed like the team was starting to peak and shift into a higher gear. With the Rayo match, then the first clasico and the club world cup – the team really seemed to be entering its true form.

    But then the Espanyol match took place and it seemed like the team had regressed, especially away.

    It’s just hard to know that’s the case from a 1 match sample against a fierce rival like Espanyol in a stadium that produces so much difficulty year after year.

    Utimately, we need a larger sample of matches to decide.

    The team we saw playing away vs. Madrid in the CdR and Malaga had continuity with the one we saw in the first clasico and club world cup.

    I’m hopeful this is the club we’ll see this second half of the season.

  20. Barcaleya
    January 23, 2012

    Love your review, Kari!!! Missed the game so I’m happy you described the awesomeness in detail. And funnily too!

  21. January 23, 2012

    Good game against Malaga with room for improvement. I liked the fact that Pep kept Xavi and Puyol out. Now that we won, no one will call it a mistake, but in fact it requires lot of courage and confidence to do so. But he knows that the copa game this week will be very important not only for the CDR title but even for the Liga fight. Its about winding and unbalancing your rival even more.

    Results understandably changes the fans argument and attitude toward the performance but the team is as good as it can be this season. Any team slips during the league and the problem of the Spanish Liga is that a draw can cause lots of damage. But this is still the case both ways for the rest of the season. Barcelona is Mentally stronger. Proven. The group is more compact and the moral is better. All what is needed is for RM to draw one more time than Barcelona does in the coming games for the clasico at Camp Nou to decide the liga. Not a certainty, but I cant understand some people’s pessimism.

    Tough games to come with lot of tricky away matches, starting against Villarreal who are not that bad at home (their away record is their main problem). The more we can keep pace the more we can bet on a dramatic change in Liga’s tale. That’s the magic of long league competitions.

    Relevant to previous comments, Thiago was great. I was starting to get worried for the lack of starting opportunities for the kid, and he should play much more.

    Messi likes Alexis. Meaning, the Chilean ticked the last box needed to have an extended great career at Barcelona – and things look promising.

    Talking about Messi, is he going to get even better? Just the thought about it. Pele can say whatever he wants about a thousand goal he scored in training sessions and 3 world cups including one he won by default as he was injured all the way (proving the kind of players he had in his team), Ronaldo can win the Penalichi as many times as his teammates faint in the box. There is Messi, then a space of unexplored vacuum, then every other forward queued and ranked.

    • Helge
      January 23, 2012

      Do you want to say that, a player that Messi does not like has no long-term future at Barca?
      Or rather a player who doesn’t like Messi has no future?

      Let me tell you why I am a little bit pessimistic this season.
      We have dropped A LOT of points already, the year before last we were on 52 points after 19 playdays (that’s 8(!) more than right now). Last year on 49.
      But this year, Real Madrid is on a ridiculous run. If they hadn’t faced us twice over the last months, thewy would be on a 25 matches winning streak. So who apart from us shall stop them? Especially if they win matches such as @ Valencia, @ Mallorca?
      I’m running out of names when thinking about teams who can beat EE. Maybe Getafe, Osasuna, Bilbao or Betis (all away matches).
      While we still have to travel to Osasuna, to Mallorca, to Sevilla, to Betis and maybe one should even include Atleti as possibly difficult away matches.
      IF we go on a 21 matches winning streak (from which we do already have 2 matches succesfully passed) in la Liga, we should win it. But anything else might not be enough. (that would btw equal 101 points, 2 above our maximum).

      You might say ‘EE will get their low(s), too’ – but I don’t believe this anymore (they were low at Mallorca etc. and still somehow won).

  22. January 23, 2012

    For me, the biggest difference in the away match was the form of Messi. He wasn’t at his absolute best, but he was extraordinary today, and underscored his value to the club. His passing has reached an absurd level.

    The flank dynamism was another interesting thing, as well as how (mostly) focused the side looked. I think they now realize they can’t show up wearing the colors, say “Boo!” and have teams roll over.

    The other interesting thing is that we were able to rest Xavi, Puyol and Fabregas, who will be 3 key players midweek.

  23. nzm
    January 23, 2012

    I wish that it was Celia’s birthday every game day if Messi wants to give her presents like that!

  24. Olufestus
    January 23, 2012

    inaugural olufestus award
    PELE’S INCOMPLETE PLAYERS AWARD(FOR PLAYERS WHO CANT USE THEIR HEAD)–LIONEL MESSI(he actually scored the 1st goal with his abdomen,not his head
    PUYOLS “THONGBOY SHALL NOT PASS AWARD”==MASCHERANO(el bleeping jefecito!!!!owned every malaga attckers
    thats all i have in my inaugural award,did i give blitzen a run for his money?

  25. Miguel
    January 23, 2012

    I still have to watch this match, kind of. I slept through it. Not because I found it boring, but because I was tired as fuck. I did stay up for Messi’s headed goal and Ray Ray’s screams woke me up for Leo’s third(?). I didn’t even know JDS got minutes. Walking around art gallery with tatty hair and sleepys in my eyes was my penance.

  26. January 23, 2012

    How two leagues deal with violent conduct:

    Premiership: Balotelli charged with violent conduct in the alleged stomping incident from Sunday’s match w/Spurs. He has until Wednesday to respond, or it’s a 4-game ban. The ref called nothing in that match.

    Liga: Pepe steps on Messi’s hand, and …. nothing, falling back on the sop of if the ref didn’t do anything, we can’t either.

    You tell me which is the modern league.

    • Helge
      January 23, 2012

      German Bundesliga:
      Jermaine Jones stepping on Marco Reus leg, ref didn’t see it
      –> DFB bans Jermaine Jones for 8 matches

    • nzm
      January 23, 2012

      RFEF is run by a pack of spineless cowards who pray facing Madrid.

      I’m also in two minds with FCB’s official lack of response too. How much damage has to be done to a player before the officials scream, “enough”?

      In that City/Spurs game, the commentators were saying, (as they watched the replay of Balotelli’s actions), that the incident report would be filed by Spurs, so that the matter could be retrospectively addressed.

      Why isn’t Barcelona also taking this action?

      It’s a shame that Balotelli’s actions weren’t addressed on the pitch. If he had been sent off, (he was already on a yellow card), he wouldn’t have been on the pitch to create the penalty that won City the match in the dying minute of the game.

      • January 23, 2012

        Boggles the mind as to why Barcelona are not lodging a complaint. I mean I understand the whole notion of us being a noble club or whatnot and not wanting to get into the Clasico finger-pointing mess, but this is different. Trying to deliberately hurt our most prized asset should surely cause our club to speak up. Strange.

        What do we fear exactly? Being branded complainers? Giving Mourinho more “UNICEF-favouring” fuel? I don’t get it.

        This is only going to spur Pepe on. Though his lengthy ban for the Casquero incident clearly didn’t change him either.

  27. January 23, 2012

    I only had time to watch the game once, so there was bound to be some details off. Thanks Helge and Kimcelona! Fixed those points for posterity.

    I’ve got a new post up however. (Yes, another one.)

  28. Nav
    January 23, 2012

    w00t got my tickets for Barca v Real Sociedad on 4th of Feb

    If anyone wants to meet up leave a comment here

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