Operation Win And Don’t Get Injured: Villarreal vs Barcelona Liveblog

Well. It seems we haven’t got any forwards left with Pedro picking up a small injury, forcing Alexis to travel and possibly play with painkillers.

At first glance, this is terribly unfortunate. And annoying. And thought provoking. But mostly why is this happening I hate hamstring injuries screw it all to Madrid and back arghhhhhh!!!112!1!

But then you stop and realize the truth behind the madness. That we actually have 32 first team players when you really think about it.

Xavi is worth 12 players*, Abidal is 7 players, Busi is roughly worth 3[10^2974*(x-3 + 71)] + 2 – YAYA + y players, and Puyol is worth PUYI players. Messi is worth ∞ players.

*Where 0.12452 player is equal to approximately 3 million Pepe-s.

So have no fear, our lineup of heroes are here. The only kryptonite is yellow cards, as if Busi and Messi pick up one [both on 4] they’ll be suspended for the next match (vs. Real Sociedad)

FCB lineup: Valdes Alves Puyol Pique Abidal; Xavi Busquets Mascherano: Cesc Messi Adriano

Bench: Pinto, Thiago, Alexis, dos Santos, Roberto, Tello, Cuenca.

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. I know we can still win, but I’m not as confident about coming behind from 7 pts with 18 games as I was with 5 pts with 19 games.

    What follows is entirely personal and self-indulgent, but I’ll share it because I’m very fond of this community. Please ignore it if you’re not interested in the details/thoughts/feelings of Some Guy On The Internet’s life.

    I’m going to be honest with you all and admit that I’ve been afraid that for all my reasons and beliefs otherwise, I am at heart a Barca Bandwagoner. Last night erased those doubts, though it wasn’t a good feeling. The realization that my emotions seem so inextricably tied with the fate of a bunch of guys kicking around a ball who’ve never and probably will never meet me individually was a scary one. I felt helpless. I’ve been in bad relationships and thankfully they broke up, although the first one I stayed in too long… but I’ve always had a feeling during them of “if this gets REALLY bad, I can always opt out”. I didn’t have that feeling yesterday.
    I considered the future in different, sometimes improbable, ways it could happen. I imagined, many years or decades from now, FCB languishing at the lower end of the table. I even imagined the team playing in the Segunda. And I saw myself still watching, still cheering, but remembering with bittersweet nostalgia over how wonderfully high we flew during the tail end of 2000-2010.

    I grieved over yesterday’s result and I wept when I read Puyol and Valdes’ facebook statuses. They’re going to keep going and I will cheer all of them on, come what may. I’ve screwed up enough of my own life due to perfectionism and being unwilling to accept anything less than total victory: I for one will be using FCB as an example, an inspiration for how I’ve been trying to turn things around. I’ll keep forging on with my life. When my personal struggles hit a new low in 2010, FC Barcelona won so I didn’t have to. Cheering them on carried me through the weeks. Now things are looking better in my own life, and if FCB can’t or won’t succeed, regardless of how much effort they do or don’t put in, I’ll keep cheering for them. I owe them, and myself, that much.

    “Love competition.
    Love risking your pride.
    Love winning it back.
    Love giving it everything you’ve got.
    Love the glory. Love the pain.
    Love sport even when it breaks your heart.”

    1. On a final note, it is still mathematically possible for us to end the season 47 points ahead of EE. Just sayin’

    2. God bless you Xingxian. I’m happy that you found your inspiration through them as well as to your final note. 🙂

    3. Us, EE, and Athletic have always been in la Primera, and probably always will be. Although dropping into 3rd place would almost feel like becoming a Segunda side, after these 3-4 years of absolute awesomeness, eh?

  2. Luckily, our boys are given a day off today. A closed door team meeting will be held tomorrow before the press conference with Pinto.

    Our boys will have a grueling schedule next month. Aside from the team commitments, some of them might be called up for Spain NT’s friendly game against Venezuela on February 29 in Malaga.

  3. Am I the only one who sees the Euro 2012 pendulum swing ever more towards Germany because of the fatigue in Barcelona and the once again very heated atmosphere between Madrid and Barca Spanish internationals???

    I was just thinking about when is the time for our players to charge their batteries. And with the Euro 2012, it might develop into a long-term problem for us :/
    It’s already a heavy short-term problem which might cost us the CdR because of the damn tough Hlebuary schedule. But looking into the future, I don’t see much more favourable months coming up. It’s a relief that we only have to play Leverkusen in the CL, but even they might figure out that we are vulnerable to high intensity games right now.
    Villarreal players proclaimed before the match that they’ll run for their lives, pressing etc. It seems to be a viable option atm against us. If the next teams take the same approach (I’m dead-sure Valencia will…), there is absolutely no room for our players to play with less than 100%. Which makes regeneration even harder and a longer process.
    This is also a new situation, mentally, for our players. At least new under Pep Guardiola. Tough times ahead!

    I could fully understand if the focus is now shifted towards the defending of the CL title. It requires less energy than winning la Liga, but it would make me equally happy 🙂

  4. Thanks for the welcome back guys. I’ll write something up about the experience later after I catch up on laundry. BTW, if you ever go to a Betis v Sevilla derby live, buy the home team scarf. Best 10 Euro safety insurance policy I ever bought. About the derby, did you know that there are about 101 different ways to properly use the word, put*?

    Blitzen’s comment and the comments that followed made my day. There’s a lot of league left, and even if we don’t win a single thing more than the 3 trophies we already have won, the team doesn’t owe us anything more than trying their best.

    @ SoMa
    Did you live my football fantasy, in which your Iberia flight is overbooked and so you are bumped to the plane’s first-class cabin and discover your seatmate is Xavi Hernández, and you pretend to not really know who he is so as not to burden him with his own fame, and pretty soon you two are clinking plastic cups of cava and discussing mushrooms before dozing off to sleep listening to “Darkness on the Edge of Town” on a shared iPod?
    Sadly, no. But it’s a great fantasy; I might borrow it! But I did eat mushrooms and drink plenty of cava (maybe way too much cava as for the first time since college I woke up with a hangover 2 out of 3 days in a row…but I blame nzm for that 😉 ) and reveled in the beauty of watching Xavi dance play football live. Does that count?

    Finally…Hlebruary, the gift that keeps on painfully giving, is upon us early. So many injuries. I know what could help us but we can’t have it yet. Even so, I can’t help shouting out in my best Crackovia Puyol voice:


    I told y’all we were gonna miss him.

    1. Huh – she blames the hangover on me. We were hungover for the first time in ages too, because of Mom4 and Dad4 hitting town. 😀

      But – we wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to meet such wonderful people and such diehard Barca fans. We finally got some visitors into town who weren’t bored out of their brains by our football talk! 😀

      We’re gonna miss you both until we do the Basque Country on your next visit!

  5. I don’t agree that getting a player on loan is a solution right now. For one, it’s putting energy into a temporary situation with absolutely no guarantee that the player would be able to integrate effectively. The benefit of using the babies is that, in addition to having been brought up in the system, many of them have already been training with the first team on a frequent basis. They are more tested in the context of the squad.

    The downside, of course, is putting too much pressure on them when they’re not ready. Especially after the Bojan Chronicles, Pep is very aware of this. Probably one of the reasons that he didn’t play Tello until late–worst case scenario, he doesn’t do any worse than the first teamers. Best case scenario, he makes a difference. (Which he did)

    The babies have so much more invested in this club than any temporary newcomer could. And while providing backup support, they are simultaneously being groomed to make a more permanent step up. In the long run, this is a far better investment.

    1. *unless, of course, there’s another Alexis or Cesc out there who happens to be short, cute, humble, speaks Spanish, dreams of wearing the Barca shirt, scores lots of goals on a regular basis, and just happens to be sitting on a bench somewhere not getting minutes. I’d take that guy…

  6. I think is much simpler than we actually try to understand it why is not working like the previous seasons.
    The Gods are not with us this season in La Liga. So many missed chances in those draws is something that didn’t happened last year or the year before that. We were scoring them, always, and what Madrid is doing now winning those close games, we used to do it.
    Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal, Espanyol, Getafe, Sociedad…Bilbao game was the only one where we should have lost point/s. And what makes me nervous is the chances that we miss over and over again and we simply cannot AFFORD to miss them. Hopefully this wont follow us in the KO stages.

  7. To those who are about to give up, or has given up already:

    Okay, we probably will not win la liga this time. Four consecutive season wins was always going to be the most uphill task ever, with a nucleus of players who’ve won so many titles other than la liga in the past four years. And now this 7 points gap with a previously starved and now blood thirsty, uber motivated EE under Mourinho(in his over glorified second season) do not allow optimism to function.

    This might seem an impossible task to many but what are dream teams for? Isn’t a dream team supposed to make you believe in fairy tales? And speaking of dream teams, the previous one won their 4th successive season (’93-94 ) in a cliff hanger with Deportivo. 25W-6L-7D accumulating 56 points, same as Deportivo. It was that tough! Now this one is on 45 points with 18 games to be played and recording 13W-1L-6D on the process. History always teaches us important things. More importantly, it repeats! So don’t lose hope, just yet! The draws against Real Sociedad, Espanyol (where we threw away the lead)and Sevilla (missed a penalty/home game) are the culprits. Not this Villareal game which was likely to be tough with the state of our squad and historically. Wish that loss to Getafe never happened. Then there would have been the possibility of ending the season unbeaten. Sigh!

    We are still favorites to win CL- successive CLs and CRD! One thing i dont get with how many are betting against EE on losing points apart from the Camp Nou game. I would rather bet on us winning the liga by losing more points on the way than EE not losing points at all, if i had a two way option. So those who are giving up, look at some of EE’s fixtures to come- They play Getafe, Betis, Villareal, Osasuna, Ath Madrid, Us, Athletic Bilbao, Granada AWAY! And at Home they face Rayo vallecano (after traveling to CSKA moskow), Espanyol and Valencia. Look, EE lost to Levante earlier after they traveled to play Dinamo Zagreb. So that makes me optimistic for them facing Rayo. And after Levante they later drew with Racing. Both were AWAY matches. So this la liga chase is not over until its mathematically over.

    However, we got our own problems! And quite a lot this time. The way things are going, we are likely to lose more points like the one last night. So this current 7 points gap is not the biggest concern. The main problems, like many said, are the motivational factor, fatigue, injuries, small squad etc. But imho, i think we’d be good to go once Pep and Tito figures out how to solve the “Curious case of Cesc”, gets Iniesta back asap and permanently till the end of season, use the babies more efficiently. Somehow the rotational policy is not in action to my liking as Thiago, I felt, should have played in the last clasico ( with Cesc as an impact sub) and last night (instead of Adriano). But then again, Pep knows best! Lets see what happens. The main objective is to improve constantly and recover that familiar dynamism on and off the pitch.

  8. in football many things can happen, there is no reason to keep hoping. the thing is that when our team needs to offer the extra push we are either unlucky – posts!! – or some refereeing – see Valencia Getafe!

    Equally relevant, when the other team needs the same effort they do manage to get it – because they do have value, and sometimes they do get the referee call. Nine penalty calls for none against; offside calls – Malaga was unbelievable! Apparently they even need it when facing RZ 🙂

    Maybe this sounds like some pathetic bitching but really I never imagined that you get attack the opposite coach or have a whole country shocked by acts of likes of Pepe with no consequences what so ever!!

  9. The real issue we’ve seen time & time again, even moreso this season, is if Messi is really off, who is going to step up. And, he was off, and tends to force passes and over-hold the ball to try and play out of it.

    Add a 2nd consecutive bad game for Xavi (unheard of)…having both off their game proved fatal.

    Fabregas has had a couple of terrible, I mean stinker games. He was static today. I would really like Pep to start making subs earlier when the team is clearly off, as you could see today. We could have really used a couple of sparkplug additions at halftime like Pedro or Alexis earlier. Teams will always play for the tie against us, and :30 leaves very little time for a turnaround.

    Telo was encouraging. Would loved to have seen Cuenca out there to push the pace. He’s shown great performance each game he’s been in. Time to reward based on performance. Team needs a wake-up call.

    1. Messi is off because he is dead tired.

      Pep simply needs to rest him whenever we are winning by a 2 or 3 goal margins and not keep him on the pitch so that he can score more goals.

      That is the problem!!

  10. And if we lose the liga and lose the copa….but win the Champs League…we’ll be the first team ever to win it back to back, right?

    That will overshadow any loss we might have this season. So I think we should go for that 😀

    In any case, as many beloved cules here have stated – win, lose, draw, trophyless, whatever – VISCA BARCA FOREVER!!!!

    I’m sure it’s nice to remember the big occasions in life – weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birth of children, etc BUT most of life is really made of the daily, trivial day-to-day stuff.

    And make no mistake – there is no other team in the world that has made its fans as happy as Barca has made us on a daily, weekly basis. Week in, week out, they have performed to our delight and amazement, that we should certainly be able to forgive the draws and the disappointments.

    At this point of my “culeness,” I don’t care so much anymore about winning it all (cause I am also certain that we will win some, in fact we already have three this season). All I care about is me looking forward to the day of their games and looking forward to watching them play and knowing, KNOWING, whether they win or lose that they are so much better than any other team in the world at this point.

    So, if we lose the liga and even the copa……BUT win the Champs League, that’s another achievement no on has done before us.

    So all is not lost, my dear friends. We can only look forward to more achievements in the history books….

  11. It’s nice to say we can still win Liga and all that. However, in real life sometimes you can’t win everything because you risk winning nothing.

    FCB needs to make a strategic decision and prioritize things given limited resources in players.

    Number one goal is CL, a historical back-to-back CL.
    Number two is Liga. Number 3 is CDR.

    Going for all 3 might jeopardize attaining No. 1.
    It could be just as simple as reserving our very best lineups for CL matches and putting Liga and CDR matches as second priority if players need to be rested for CL matches.

    A long-term benefit is giving more Liga playing time to the best B-teamers such as Cuenca, Tello, S. Roberto, Montoya and Bartra, and newly promoted Thiago. I think JDS is not going to make the first team so while his experience makes him a solid backup the priority is to develop the ones who have excellent first team chances in the next 2 years. The model is basically the team that went 4-0 at Bate.

    1. Well, given that the CdR trophy is just two matches away (Bilbao away from the San Mames or Mirandes would be no match, imo) I would focus on the first leg against Valencia, give less priority to the home match vs RSSD. As long as RSSD doesn’t play a very intense and strong match, even a weakened side will beat them.
      But a weakened side will not survive at the Mestalla…

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