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.

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. January 28, 2012

    Busquets probably beside Xavi, which is a good move. Unlikely, but will like to see this:


  2. Helge
    January 28, 2012

    Haha, this is probably the funniest introduction to a liveblog ever 😀

    Dear Footy God, please let our ‘Operation Win And Don’t Get Injured’ be a success!

  3. K_legit in Oz
    January 28, 2012

    Having no legs for it is one thing but to absolutely miss sitters is another!

  4. HisR0yalFlyness
    January 28, 2012

    Once again we leave it till the last second to start playing like we should. SMH…..this is ridiculous.

  5. G6O
    January 28, 2012

    You could tell it was going to be one of those games from the beginning. We completely broke the system and I don’t remember a game in which Xavi touched the ball so few times…

    I guess it’s over now…

    P.S. I’m ready to swear that Gonsalo had a yellow in the first half and then he got a second around the 85th minute but wasn’t sent off. That’s what the livescore was saying too. Does this means we can get this game replayed or he didn’t really get a yellow in the first half?

    • Helge
      January 28, 2012

      It was a yellow for Marco Ruben, although the broadcast showed it was for Gonzalo. Marco Ruben fouled Alves, who fell into Gonzalo.

  6. K_legit in Oz
    January 28, 2012

    Tello was awesome in that little cameo..shame no one else turned up to play! Cesc needs a good talking to..he has been abhorrent the last few games

  7. January 28, 2012

    Our ‘believe in the B team’ policy isn’t gonna work if we sub them on with 10 mins left. A couple of injuries more and we can kiss whatever we’ve earned up to this point goodbye..

  8. January 28, 2012

    7 points difference. The main problem is that February is a tough month. Need to reduce it to at least 5 points before the clasico, and it only happens if we dont collapse in February.

    And as I mentioned on Liveblog, kindly no nonsense about “Not wanting it” and such casual analysis. You are way smarter than that.

    Half team injured, coming from clasico and against a team well suited to hurt us.

    Beside the issues with Cesc and an exhausted Xavi.

    Next Valencia in Cdr

    • Helge
      January 28, 2012

      Would you focus on the CdR now or on the leagur matches vs Sociedad and in (!) Pamplona?

      We eliminated Real from the Copa, it would be worth nothing if we don’t win the Copa.

      I said it before, forget about la Liga. The CdR is now maybe a more likely title than la Liga.
      And the CL title would still be the icing on the cake, making the season almost perfect. That’s how I think, I know others value la Liga higher.

      PS: We hit the crossbar against Espanyol, against Villarreal, Pedro could have burried the chance vs Espanyol, Cesc should have hit the target and not 10m high into the stands… it would have been possible to be in a better situation. Sucks!

      • January 28, 2012

        We are still in the Liga, as odd as this may sound. CL is still more difficult to win than Liga. Cdr is a snack.

        I think it will all depend on February results. We may afford adding one more point n the difference but not more by the end of February. Thats the challenge.

    • Ryan
      January 28, 2012

      Can we give Cesc 5 yellows so he sits one out and practices converting chances?

  9. January 28, 2012

    Oh and Messi played that Chip right. No doubt. Just unfortunate.

  10. January 28, 2012

    People are going to be upset. Understandably so.

    But this match wasn’t predominantly about the team lacking hunger or not wanting the win enough.

    This was about a team that is just dead tired.

    They just didn’t have the legs.

    You could see this coming during the match with Madrid. It wasn’t that the team was complacent then – they were just getting fatigued.

    The squad is small to begin with. With the injuries it’s just become too much.

    • Does the small squad prevent Guardiola from making the right substitution? If it has happened with we don’t have any options to play with, then I can understand the small squad excuse.

  11. The league is over. Whoever say it’s not, is seriously joking. We need Real Madrid to slip up at least two times and hopefully we don’t slip any further.

    It’s quite funny that people took serious offense when I said “Guardiola is responsible for the draw” in the liveblog. Are we moving into blind faith kind of scenario? He was pretty poor with his substitution. He should have brought in Thiago for Cesc because it was in the middle we were losing the battle. Instead he waited till 75th minute to make that change. The Tello change came at perfect time. Why on earth Cesc was on the pitch after 60 minutes, god knows! Am I a manager? No I am not. But that doesn’t means taht whatever I say is bullshit.

    • Ryan
      January 28, 2012

      I was pretty shocked at how slow Cesc was. At least with Thiago you have a bundle of energy just ready to unleash on the opposition. I wonder what his thinking was behind taking so long to put him on the field. If memory serves, his first ever appearance was vs. a much better Villarreal, and he did really well!

    • Lou
      January 28, 2012

      Yeah, but a lot can happen in five months. Madrid have been great but it is hard to believe that they won’t drop any points. If Barcelona is seven points behind in May then I would agree that it is unlikely that they will win the league, but in January? It’s not over yet.

      And Cesc didn’t have a good game but he’s the type of player needed for a game like this. Making runs into the box is his specialty.

    • BarcaOwl
      January 28, 2012

      Oh, I didn’t say you’re spouting crap. But unless you have something to give your words weight, your opinion is worth about as much as a jello axe in a lumberjack contest.

      At the present moment, the opinions of the likes of Euler and Kxevin hold more weigh than yours. It’s so easy to judge when you’re outside looking in, isn’t it?

      • Everyone here is looking from outside. Even Euler and kxevin. Now if you care only to listen to them, that’s your problem.

        • BarcaOwl
          January 28, 2012

          Correction. You perceive that I have a problem. But i’ll leave it that.

  12. Kimcelona
    January 28, 2012

    No injuries, Second in the league behind the best team in the world, EE (eye roll) and still in Copa and CL..so far. Seems decent.

    Four years of nonstop football and the team is still expected to win the treble. Says alot about the quality of the team. Though I feel like bawling right now because I think the league is over, I’m still proud we were able to last this long..this is just a break until next season..

    Lets hope the team doesnt capitulate..

    • Yup it’s decent. But this is the first match of the second half of teh liga and we are already looking out of it. That’s not decent.

  13. y2k156
    January 28, 2012

    Well, February has never been a kind month for us. With the silly margins of error, it just shows too much.

    Credit to Villareal, who played a brave and fantastic match. Game was reminiscent of so many of clashes with them. If they play this way, they will surely come in top half.

    As for our team, we felt well considering everything.

    Do have two gripes and they are the ones that i have since ages. First is Adriano who is good player but thinks too highly of his shots. Alves used to be like that but is much better now. Adriano wastes more then few chances always on account of his high opinion of himself. Second is Cesc. He is great player but shame that he still does not fit completely in system. Also for such a player, he really does not have great touch and passing always. He can provide great passes but also misses more then few.

    On positive side, Tello was excellent in his cameo.

    Overall, disappointed with the way things are. Do believe in the team and am sure we will play fantastic football again in near future.

  14. majatt
    January 28, 2012

    I call BS on alot of this tired and not wanting it crap. Villareal defended like dogs, they fouled, pressed and jedi mind tricked the ball away from the net.

    When we did get our chances, the finishing was woeful, Fabregas hat the goal at his MERCY in the late stages and shot at the crowd. Our directors AND pep thought this thin a squad was a good idea and didn’t trust the fresh faces soon enough. We learn our lessons from this and play as much of a B team as possible vs Valencia as the league is practically lost but not yet and its more important than the Copa.

    We had our chances and we lost, pure and simple. I hope Pep trusts the B team players a bit more and players like Fabregas and Adriano step it up while Villa, Pedro, Affelay and Iniesta are out.

    • Jim
      January 28, 2012

      “Late stages”. That actually does mean that players would be tired anyway, never mind three days after a Clasico. That ball came unexpectedly to him when he was tired on his weaker foot and he had to take it first time. Will he be disappointed? Sure, but don’t think some people around here know what it’s like to be out on your feet in the last quarter of a match. I’d cut him a bit of slack. I’f anything some of his earlier touches were more worthy of criticism.

  15. January 28, 2012

    If we didn’t lose, that’s a good result for me. Teams are still going all out on us.

    Considering the sheer amount of hamstring injuries*, it’s clear they’re exhausted.

    *The thing with hamstrings: injuries generally stem from:

    1) Muscle fatigue which leads to over-exertion
    2) Poor stretching
    3) Poor warm ups (usually in conjunction with 2)

    When you’re travelling around the world, add in jet lag, poor rest, no sleep, and the host of probelems that come with that: this was coming for a long time.

    Some like Fontas, is just bad luck, but Villa’s was coming. Afellay, Iniesta, Pedro… Effects of the last 3/4 years finally hitting the team. Internationals and club games make 50+ games a year. Too much in a squad this small.

    Simply put, expectations should be lowered a bit. We’re not going to win every game. Not because we’re lacking hunger, didn’t want it, were too casual or anything like that. It’s because we simply don’t have the legs.

    Added to that is the still integrating players (Cesc (dear God, his game today…) Alexis, Thiago, Cuenca, and now Tello) and this is very much a transition season IMO.

    Liga will be extremely difficult. But hey, it ain’t over till it’s over. And appreciate how we’ve won it the last 3 years in a row — each year harder than the next.

    CL, on the other hand, is still a go. 8)

    • Kimcelona
      January 28, 2012

      I dont get it..if we’re so tired, how come people are still expecting the CL and the Copa?

      Reminder: We’ve won 3 trophies already this season.

      • January 28, 2012

        Because they know we can do it. CLs aren’t consistently every week, that’s why it’s seen as more “realistic” to some — two games, win one, draw the next, and you’re through. Easier to prepare and give everything (if it’s your priority).

        Copa is similar as well.

        For clarity: I don’t expect anything, but I would like to win CL.

        • Kimcelona
          January 28, 2012

          But CL and Copa matches are midweek. They’d be having matches non-stop. Unless we dont plan to turn up for Liga matches, I dont see how the team escapes tiredness for CL and Copa matches…AND CL matches arent against Liga teams, these are matches against what are supposed to be the best teams from each league in Europe.

          If we win any of the 2, would I be estatic? OFCOURSE! But, I’m not counting on it..

          • January 28, 2012

            Oh, you’re right of course –it’s much harder than winning Liga. And Pep won’t just tell the team “okay, Liga is impossible. Focus on the CL.” No way. Just explaining the point of view of some people.

      • jordi™
        January 28, 2012

        Its simple really, the same results we are having in the league right now – superb at home, subpar away is more than enough to reach a cl final. Id back us do enough at home to qualify on aggregate against any side in europe. While consistency is needed in the league, you get that secnd chance to recover from or overturn set backs in any 2 legged cup tie which is why the likes of a schalke can reach a cl semi final but not do anything in their league last season. For what its worth i never expect any thing during a season other than our players trying their best.I do hope though.

        • January 29, 2012

          Never thought we were bad away in the CL or the CdR, just the league. Funny innit? Our away form this season has come into question when we’ve won ALL of our away games in Europe and CdR including Milan and Madrid..

  16. Jim
    January 28, 2012

    For me I hope this game marks the end of the 3 at the back for a while. First half our defence was left with too many players running at it with no cover. Noticeable that they died out of the game once we changed. Of course some of the problems came from the midfield where our lack of legs meant that we couldn’t press or maintain possession well enough to keep them off us. This in turn meant not enough decent supply to the front line.

    Don’t like the anti Pique sentiment that’s building either. He’s not really suited to a back 3 where it can end up a matter of pace. So play a back four or leave him out. And a lot of people have forgotten the goals that Cesc has given us so far this season. I didn’t notice a lot of shots from anyone else. We’ll be complaining about Messi’s miss next.

    • Lou
      January 28, 2012

      I actually thought Pique played really well today.

      The problem with the back three was that there still seemed to be some confusion about who to mark for crosses. There were several times when Bruno was totally free on the left on the edge of the Barcelona box. Luckily Villareal didn’t often find him there.

  17. Helge
    January 28, 2012

    Listening to Leonard Cohen now. Dunno if this right now eases or strengthens my soul pain ?!?
    ‘Like a bird on a wire’

    • Dave
      January 28, 2012

      Stop the stereotypes- the current state of music is far more depressing than Legend Cohen.

  18. January 28, 2012

    I’ll also say this – until the math says so the Liga race is not over.

    This club has achieved extraordinary things. Things that were unimaginable when Pep first took over.

    They’ll keep competing and trying. They’ll leave everything on the pitch. And they deserve our support until La Liga is officially decided.

    The odds are stacked against us. But probability is just that. Probability. Until Madrid shows they can seal off the Liga Championship it is not decided.

    And there is still the Champions League and CdR to play for. Those are far from inconsequential.

  19. January 28, 2012

    It’s unfortunate but there’s not much to be done about it. Tiredness and injuries are a wicked combination.

    One thing I don’t like is that a lot of people are now complaining about a small squad. The small squad has served us well for a while, so we can’t suddenly decide it’s a bad idea the minute it stops working. There have been many benefits to the smallish squad (good team spirit, no Balotelli/Adebayor/Tevez type issues, everyone playing regularly and in a rhythm etc) and we have to account for them as well as the costs.

    Also, these many injuries is a bit of a freak occurrence.

    • Dave
      January 28, 2012

      Don’t think injuries are freak occurrence. Terrible pre-season and short squad

    • January 28, 2012

      I dunno about complaining about a small squad — but what we’re seeing right now are the effects of having one, is all I’m saying.

    • Calvin
      January 28, 2012

      I didn’t watch the match, but my issue right now is that with all the injuries we have the club hasnt even stuck their toe into the transfer market just to see what’s out there. I’m not saying we should spend big, but it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to bring a forward in on loan – someone with experience who can either make sub appearances or start some games and make a difference.

      In ’04 the club was struggling and the midseason loan of Edgar Davids acted as a catalyst that took the team into second place at the end of the season. We should be at least looking for options like this.

      I’m all for using the youth team, but it is very important we aren’t using it in such a way that the young players are put under too much pressure. They need to be nurtured, to gain confidence by participating in games we win where they are surrounded by veterans who can help them out. The way this season is going I fear without a loan signing we will. E asking too much of our youth players – as skilled as they are.

      • jordi™
        January 28, 2012

        But don’t you think if there was some out there they would move for them? Last year they moved for Ibi and he helped us through the champions league against Madrid.If there was a Davids or Larsson out there you can be sure the technical staff would move for them.They aren’t masochists.

        • January 28, 2012


          There’s a lack of quality, experienced players in world football right now IMO…

          • January 29, 2012

            Not really. Its just that after the Ibra fiasco, we are looking out for players coming on the cheap and those who want to come here and nowhere else.

            The team could do with experienced ‘water-carriers’ like Adriano but instead we go for the babies. Not bad considering Tello’s performance back there but IMO we need both. High time the staff realized it..

        • Ryan
          January 28, 2012

          How about Mr. “It’s a Disgrace” himself? O:) We haven’t had a battering ram in a while.

          • jordi™
            January 28, 2012

            Drogba would definitely be interesting, but he said hes looking for his last big money deal in china or somewhere. If we truly are desperate We could’ve signed Maxi Lopez again lol

  20. January 28, 2012

    Tough result

    I’m not giving up on La Liga, just shifting my expectations. I’m being realistic. I’ll go for the boys with all my heart during the rest of the league matches, but I’m going to take a calmer attitude to them now, and focus my hopes on the CL and Copa, in which our chances are alive and well.

    It’s going to be okay, I think the team is improving and this year has been tough. New tactical system, new players, so many injuries that go beyond the usual casualties teams get in the course of their seasons.

    While I’m taking a realistic attitude, I have every faith in this club, and nothing is impossible. Visca el Barça.

  21. January 28, 2012

    One thing that legitimately worries me more than whether we win La Liga or not is Pep’s thoughts on this. If we don’t win (especially if the gap at the end of the year stays in the 6-8 point range rather than 1-3) then we will see the same old “end of the cycle” stories. And the danger is that Pep may buy into that, he’s always said that coaches and managers have a particular fixed time with teams after which there’s nothing more to be done. If we don’t win, he might take that as proof of his point, and walk away.

    • January 28, 2012

      Don’t think so. Pep isn’t just building a team == he’s building a dynasty. Alexis 22 years, Fabregas 24 years, Thiago and Cuenca 20 years. Young players ready to contribute for years, who have yet to achieve anything. Think he could care less about what the media have to say; what matters to him is that the players are hungry and ready to improve. So long as that continues, he’ll stay.

      • January 28, 2012

        Sorry I wasn’t clear earlier. I’m not saying he will be influenced by the media per se. What I’m saying is that he himself may believe the same things the media does based on our results.

  22. January 28, 2012

    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst..

    Like barca_ctb said on twitter, adjusment in my expectations.. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop supporting Barça in La Liga..

    Just look at the schedule in Hlebbuary and how many players we have left.. These guys we’ll be really dead tired, I’m afraid..

    Oh well, Valencia is next..

  23. jordi™
    January 28, 2012

    Well apart from the disappointment of the result I’m happy for Cristian making his debut. When he went to Espanyol I bet he never thought he would be making an appearance for the first team 4 years later.

  24. January 28, 2012

    I was surprised Pep didn’t start with Xavi – Busquets – Thiago in midfield… I believe Thiago and Cuenca should’ve played from the start… I understand why Alexis didn’t start, he’s not 100% fit…

    or because Pep is saving them for Valencia match? I have no idea…

  25. zitux
    January 28, 2012

    i watch Thiago and Tello play better than Cesc and Adriano

  26. zitux
    January 28, 2012

    maybe Winning CL easier for Barca than win Liga because home away match, every club on Liga maybe will try “Madrid way” againts us, Pep must change something to surprise our opponent every match,
    but La Liga still 18 match, i hope Barca will win win win until 18 match and hope Madrid drops more poin

    visca Barca!!

  27. Oil_Can
    January 28, 2012

    This is nothing new, we’ve always had difficulties away from home against Villareal. This result doesn’t really speak of how much we have dropped off from our previous seasons, but it speaks more about how much more difficult and complicated this season has been for us than previous seasons.

  28. mom4
    January 28, 2012

    Home from Spain. Loved it, especially Barcelona but am a little tired of eating ham (not tired of cava or the coffee, or the chocolate). The game we saw live, Barca v R. Betis was phenominal. I don’t think we played our best but we were still absolutely amazing. Too tired to write much more now.

    The game today—was on a plane and didn’t see it—so Hlebruary comes early this year??? Asi es la vida, darnit. Better a cule with a 7 point deficit than a Madridista any day.

    • Blau-Grenade
      January 28, 2012

      You’re too funny. That’s why we’ve been missing your cookies.

    • BarcaOwl
      January 28, 2012

      Welcome home, Mom4. Good to have you back.:)

      I envy you being able to see the boys play live. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance too.

    • SoccerMom
      January 29, 2012


      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?

      Didja? Didja?

      • hansh
        January 29, 2012

        Sorry, but is there something about Xavi and “Darkness on the Edge of Town”? I definitely know about him and mushrooms. 😀

        • Miguel
          January 29, 2012

          Uh, ya. I don’t remember where I saw it but he’s a fan of “The Boss.” Probably in that same article that said Puyi listened to Cannibal Corpse before matches.

      • Miguel
        January 29, 2012

        OMG! That’s your fantasy, too? We should hack into Xavi’s iPhone and look for his flight confirmations.

  29. just listenin
    January 28, 2012

    A few thoughts,
    First, win, lose or draw, visca barca. You win some you lose some it is sport – nuff said on that.
    Second, the small squad and injuries are only a part of the issue, I’ve been complaining about the steadily increasing and seemingly now acceptable level of physical challenge for a while, and how this has also become the accepted way to “deal with Barca” (thanks, Mou),…teams set the tone early, challenge refs to card in early minutes, get their licks in and slow the team. The injuries are combination fatigue and the impact of the kicking, knocking, thumping and pulling – it’s taking a toll. We aren’t a team that relies on physicality, and if fatigued, this can becomes more problematic, when coupled with hyped up physical play. After all, most of the footballing world has learned already, play them, you lose, kick them, chop them and walk the red card tight rope, maybe you have a chance, sad but I believe true. I suspect even those not injured enough to be sidelined, are probably carrying knocks based on the nature of the matches we’ve been watching for a while now. It’s frog boiling, the temperature has been turned up slowly over time and seems “normal” now.
    Couple this with the fact that there isn’t an opposing player on the pitch in most matches who isn’t playing for pride while our team has achieved about all that can be achieved. Really think about it, as an athlete, do you want to be able to pull out of a box under the bed, and show your grand kids, the front page of Marca, or Sport, or MD and tell them, “I played the great Barcelona and Messi and Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol and friends, the Spanish world cup champs, and beat them, or held them… This can’t be underestimated. It’s king of the hill, starts in the schoolyard as kids and follows us in all areas of life.
    Lastly an unpopular and controversial view, just my opinion, there are shenanigans. I’ve said it before, I don’t mean a mysterious electronically disguised voice over a conference call in the halls of the He-man Barca haters club, with every ref in the Liga sitting around a grand conference table like knights of the round table, but there is pressure. Systematic, concerted, steady and influential, probably pocketed and opportunistic, it waits by your car, but it adds to the climate, and in sports of seconds an inches, it really doesn’t take that much to make a difference. I know many don’t buy into these things and consider them conspiracy theories, but it isn’t a twisted and grandiose idea at all, it happens all the time, and the history of sports is littered with it, it’s actually quite “rational”. A LOT of money has been spent to bring silverware to the ones in white, and it is very, very hard to imagine that the lack of return on that investment is being taken quietly or passively. A little influence can go a long way.

  30. blitzen
    January 28, 2012

    I love this team. Unconditionally. You can all whine all you want, but the fact is, this team has been playing at the highest level for four years without a break. They are tired, they are depleted, they are injured. We may win nothing this year (oh, aside from the three trophies we have already won. Yeah.).

    Barça may lose the league. They may be knocked out of the Copa. Not advance in the CL (although they probably will). Whatever happens, I still believe this is the best team of all time. The way they play, the things they have achieved, the respect they command from their peers, the way they comport themselves on and off the pitch…

    This is Barça. This is football. This is love.

    • CuleFromLiveBlog
      January 28, 2012

      Blitzen, this comment has made my day. I swear I can’t thank you enough.

      I, too, love this team regardless of this season’s outcome, but I can’t help but yearn for a CL trophy, winning it reduces me to tears (of joy).

      I have always believed in this team. I was there when we were trailing Estudiantes in Abu Dhabi two years ago until P! scored that emphatic header in the dying minutes.

      As Xavi famously said.. “For me, Barcelona is unconditional”

      Win, Lose, qualify or crash out.. Pep’s boys have already enshrined themselves in history books as the best team ever.

      Visca FCB! Visca BFB!

      Love you all!

    • kinukinu
      January 28, 2012

      Puyol now hasn’t lost in 52 games for Barcelona.

      Abidal beat CANCER, raised the CL trophy, and at age 32, continues to develop into one of the best left backs in the world.

      Dani Alves was called a Donkey. He laughed and shrugged it off, and continued to DANCE.

      Tello has been a blip on the first team radar, yet he stepped up and integrated seamlessly when the team needed him.

      Barca babies gave a preview of what’s to come in the CL and got a standing ovation from the veterans. (the future is BRIGHT, people!)

      Pedro threw his dip in form to the side to score a crucial Clasico goal

      Messi is the best player in the WORLD.

      Alexis won our hearts, has fought back from 3(!) injuries in his first season, took god knows what painkillers today, and SHOWED UP

      3 of our last 4 goals have been scored by DEFENDERS

      Victor Valdes has conceded 12 goals in 1772 minutes this season. (That’s an average of 1 goal every 147.6 hours)

      Busquets, the unsung hero continues to be a quiet, but essential reinforcement.

      Xavi turns football into a symphony, Iniesta turns it into a ballet.

      Adriano, Keita, Pinto, and Mascherano patiently wait their turns on the bench, don’t utter a peep, and always show up when called upon.

      Villa played through an injury til it literally broke him, now he fights every day to come back as soon as super-humanly as possible.

      And then there’s Pep–the real puto jefe. We love him–a lot a lot–nuff said

    • simple_barcafan
      January 29, 2012

      thank you blitzen…too quick are we to judge this team…

    • lyd
      January 29, 2012

      ….. + This is Barça. This is football. This is love.

      More than a comment!

  31. zitux
    January 28, 2012

    if Barca not win thropy this season
    People stay remember how Barca play
    it is art of football
    passing, one touch play, possesion, goalkeeper short passing, dictate tempo,

    I love to watch Barca not. just because Barca have many thropy, but also because Barca play beautifull football when other club play pragmatic football, some negative football, dirty football , kungfu football, political football, big-mouth-press-conference-football, when football become no fun to watch
    but Barca still play try beatiful football , Barca make football fun to watch again as art

    but Barca still on CL, semifinal Copa, and 18 Match Liga,
    there are still chance too win

  32. barca96
    January 29, 2012

    I woke up at 5am and didn’t even feel anxious. Ever since the Madrid match, I already expected them to be fatigued and especially playing vs. Villareal. Never ever easy.

    It’s good now that our expectations are lower. Maybe that of the players too so that they can relax a little.

  33. barca96
    January 29, 2012

    Cesc may have misplaced passes and screwed the pooc as the great Kxevin would’ve said, but that was in no way an easy ball to strike. You guys can complain all you want, but even Messi might have missed it.

    And I thought it was good that Pep kept Cesc on, he was everywhere, hustling, sliding here and there, winning balls and Pep knows that he can pop a goal with his runs.
    He can score headers too!

    And the game was pretty physical and he is better at that than our usual guys especially since Keita is gone.

    What do you guys make out the another Xavi substitution?

    Thiago played extremely well at LW in the CWC in the absence of Villa. I wish he would play there again but I wonder if it was because of the lack of discipline by the Santos back line or it was really down to him.

  34. mega_tajh
    January 29, 2012

    Expectations very lower. But hey not giving up on the league. I always wanted the UCL more this season than anything else, so what if we end up gifting Madrid La Liga this season.

    Next season is where I expect to see the fruits of our labor. Imagine a fully fit Villa in the front line with Messi and Alexis.

  35. ooga aga
    January 29, 2012

    dudes and dudettes. it’s the mid point of the season. so far from over i cant even begin to tell you.

    so i won’t. but if RM gained 7 points on us through half the season, surely, given other circumstances, we, the best team in a generation, can do the same in the next half. if we dont, RM deserve it. hats off for an amazing season. i’ll say that at the end of the season. but not now. but, good half a season. no silverware for half a season though.

    pep’s press conference here. what im wondering about is the cola drink being advertised on his microphone. interesting new cola flavor? see for yourself:


    • BarcaOwl
      January 29, 2012

      i googled that, ooga. According to Wikipedia, it’s a beer brewed by the company Grupo Mahou – San Miguel in Madrid. But the odd thing is that it’s the official beer for EE. Ours is Estrella Damm, right?

    • Miguel
      January 29, 2012

      There’s a tilde and an accent mark there, you know, malpensado.

      Subtle. Worst/best name ever!

      • BarcaOwl
        January 29, 2012

        Tidle and accentmark where, Miguel?

        • ooga aga
          January 29, 2012

          miguel got it, barcaowl did not.

        • Miguel
          January 29, 2012

          Oh, Owl…. It’s like one of those Magic Eye posters from back in the day. Stare at it long enough and it will appear.

  36. Oil_Can
    January 29, 2012

    I’m liking all the positive posts on this blog, its really great to read.

    We have to give credit to the various la liga teams that have come out and won points against this Barca side, and even to those teams that came close. There are many teams in this league that are capable of producing a worthy game-plan that can compete with the Barca system. Even with financial difficulties other teams show they can still compete and that is positive.

    As for Barca, no matter the formation, the overall game-plan stays the same and when results don’t go as planned, it is usually more then likely that we didn’t play true enough to our gameplan. Little things like holding possession longer, more off the ball movement or passing the ball around more rather than being more direct have a majority influence on our results.

    the proof is shown in those crunch games when the team has to play to the best of their ability. The Media dub us a “big game” team, well frankly there is another name for that and its a “champion” team. The league so far has been complicated, but we can all sense that the team is working very hard to overcome it.

  37. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
    January 29, 2012

    The team is tired: our fault, if we treated the copa as we should and got out earlier we wont be so tired now, right, and yes now EE have a full week to preapre for their next liga game, while we have to play away to a strong valencia very late on wed night before we can start thinking about preeparing for our liga game.
    Seriously i always thought the copa was a sh**y competition, now i’m more convinced that i was right.
    I love this team, i will never follow any other team, i want it to always be the best, it breaks my heart to see us fall behind.

    • The__K__Man
      January 29, 2012

      A shitty tournament your favorite team won 25 times and is the only championship we’ve won more then Madrid. We always fought for this tournament and I don’t see why we shouldn’t continue to do so. Were we expected to lose to L’Hospitalet or EE on purpose?

      • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
        January 29, 2012

        Doesn’t matter if we won it once or a 100 times, a crappy low level competition will be a crappy low level competition.
        And NO you don’t lose on purpose, you just field as many B teamers as you can and as few regular starters, whether you are facing EE or Hospitalet, that’s about it.
        Why we shouldn’t fight for this tournament is because we have a very limited squad, if we had like 25 players (the max) then yes why not, but when you have 17 or 18 players you just know its not worth it.

        • Ryan
          January 29, 2012

          It might be a bit dangerous to start instilling a belief that it’s ok to lose games, no matter how insignificant the tournament is.

          • January 29, 2012

            ^This. Pep is simply not that type of coach. You can’t take liberties with so-called lesser trophies because it comes back to bite you.

    • nzm
      January 29, 2012

      This is no shitty cup – it’s Spain’s equivalent of England’s FA Cup and, as such, is the second major trophy in Spanish Football between the Liga trophy and Supacopa.

      That brings me to another dreaded thought: if RM win La Liga and if Barca wins Copa del Rey, we’re in for another 2 pre-season clasico Supacopa matches. 😐

  38. mjtaba
    January 29, 2012

    The situation is very difficult i agree , BUT as they say ” when the going gets tough , the Tough gets going” . This is the time to show some class and no matter what anyone says in this match i didnt liked the coach decision timing and i was not agreeing with the playing form of the players. The obvious reason was not Cdr but playing against RM , that what drains you out mentally and physically specially when u havent won.

    But i believe in this particular match if Pep had started with more fresh legs no matter how inexperienced—— we had a better chance—–

    cuz the youth products are that damn good ,the changes even in the lineup which wouldve changed the match for sure in my view are
    1. Tello for cesc ( from the start of 2nd Half)
    2. Thiago for xavi (starting line up )
    3. Cuenca for Alexis ( Starting line up)
    4. and S.Roberto where appropriate ( but within the starting line up)
    no one believes in the system like pep does, but these are the times to really seperate the men from the boys . YES a win wouldve been perfect but u cant win with a tired team , no matter how lowly they are in the league.
    with the title race in such a condition , now we shouldnt wait for a slip from RM but we should make the squad stronger and surprise RM the next time they come to CAMP NOU with some new entries in the starting eleven if they turn out good.

    • I think no one expected Tello to be of such impact in this match. So I am not sure substituting Cesc for Tello. What I wanted Guardiola to do was bring Thiago on for Cesc around sixty minutes. If we look at the CDR match against Madrid at Camp Nou, we were being over-run on the left side of midfield. It’s simply because Cesc is not a player in the mould of Iniesta or Xavi. He is a advanced playing attacking midfielder. The last thing you want him to do is ball possession and winning the possession. He is not good that. I though Tello substitution came at the right time. Had Guardiola made the Thiago change around 60th minute we would have set ourselves into brilliant groove when he came on.

      There is no doubt that Villareal is a tough place to visit and we have a depleted squad. But yesterday in the squad we had the players to win this match. This team has given us so much, that doesn’t mean that we stop expecting and hoping them to give us more. Nobody will shout at the team even if they don’t win any more titles this season. But when we are reviewing individual match, it’s better stay focussed to that match. No past , no future, just focus on the present.

  39. TITO
    January 29, 2012

    A new one here, i was reviewing the blog for a while before i joined, but glad to have some more supporters to discuss with. Though i would like to see some madridista here just to make it more interesting.
    As for match, that was one of the easiest matches to win, away from home. I still cant figure it out how we didn’t win it.

    Anyway, i am at this forum http://www.europeanboard.net/ as well ( 5-6 years already) and the most of the posters are from the back old 606 (if someone remembers it. We are some, madridistas are more, but the variety of different opinions from supporters of different European clubs is what makes it interesting. Feel free to interfere from time to time.
    I will surely spend time here as well, i like the reviews (although a little bit long for my taste) and the comments are mostly great.
    So…Valencia next!!!

    • Ryan
      January 29, 2012

      Before the new coach, sure, it would’ve been one of the easiest mathces. But this is a revived Villarreal, who were pretty close to beating Valencia before they had a remuntada of their own.

  40. Gogah
    January 29, 2012

    Really disappointing draw.
    I’m loving all the optimism on this blog, and it is true that the league isn’t over, only for the reason that there are some 18 more games to go.
    But i don’t believe that Madrid are going to drop many points.
    i have mentally prepared myself.
    it’s not throwing in the towel. I love this team way too much.
    And I’m completely okay with not winning our 4th league in a row.

    This is what i pointed out when we were going to play them in the CDR. i was saying that i’d rather lose this one to EE and let them deal with the crazy amount of midweek matches and fatigue. Its always been, in my opinion, a rather useless competition. It would have made more sense if the CDR didnt have these ridiculous 2 legged ties. But that’s that and we progressed and now we have to deal with emery thrice in this month while having to deal with important injuries.

    About the small squad, i had an interesting thought. Yes, we have always complained about it before the start of every year and yet we have seen this great team prevail in the end. But i started thinking why do we have a small squad apart from the well documented reasons like harmony, rhythm, close knit vibe, well distributed playing time and so on…
    Nobody remembers that our team has apparently the highest wage bill in the world! across all sports!! inspite of being a small squad!! inspite of the majority coming through the academy!! inspite of the honour that comes with playing for barca!

    i found that a little strange. i am sorry to offer this rather ‘un-romantic’ view point, but its entirely possible that we are not making any additions because of the money!
    if that is indeed a reason, it is something we have to sort out.

    don;t get me wrong, this is barca and these players are god like and once in a lifetime bunch and they deserve all the money and praise and motivation required to perform the way they do, but i don’t buy this BS of we don’t want to disrupt the team with additions. it can only do us good. We are soo competitive on the field. It about time that rosell and the board made us as competitive off it too.

    • Ryan
      January 29, 2012

      I don’t think it’s surprising at all that the best players in the world have the biggest paychecks. Them being brought up from la Masia just means they don’t have a transfer fee. I think wages became a bit distorted when Ibra came though, as his high demands shifted everyone’s wages higher to compensate.

  41. January 29, 2012

    Surely, us dropping points when Tito’s not around isn’t a coincidence. To give a measure of how injury-ravaged we are, even members of the technical staff are out.

    Its not that we’re bad, surely we wouldn’t beat EE so many times if that were the case. Its that we’re always sluggish coming after important games (yesterday and against Getafe after Milan).

    But I’d like it if we weren’t so profligate in front of goal. This would allow us to end our matches early and cruise for the rest of the game. You HAVE TO put away chances like Cesc had (even Pedro v. Espanyol and Messi v. Sevilla). Period.

    Oh joy, here comes Hlebuary with a fixture pileup with our squad already short. But then again, we are FCB, we can win every match, we need to. I have faith. REMUNTADA!


  42. Laurentiu88
    January 29, 2012

    I watched RM’s game before too, and they were dreadful. You could see how tired the team was – maybe mentally too – and they had half a team fresh. they did win, with an offside goal and the other team that surprisingly did not push at the end – RM were down, they had two great chances and then… they jsut did not press anymore. Sad for them.

    Our game was really frenzy. Unfortunately we did miss early chances, I bet Messi regrets trying that lob now…

    we were lucky enough not to get a penalty against us – thou i don’t think it was, but it is given for less sometimes. we were unlucky not to have a Villareal player send off for the second hold on Messi…

    Just sad the team really pushed and pressed so late. Last night – we did not try to control the high tempo of the game; Xavi needs another good midfielder next to him.

    Did u noticed how exasperated Pep was when Tello was pulled from behind? Again and again our plays die like that with referees allowing for this. I understand it is the rule? But what if a team does that constantly during a game? Is it still football still defending?

  43. January 29, 2012

    Unfortunate draw, I cant blame our players though, like so many here have stated they have given us so much. With the injuries and the accumilated fatigue this sort of thing is bound to happen and on top of all that we were still pretty unlucky not to win. Beteen Messi’s missed lob, the post and Cesc’s missed sitter we should have had the 3 points in the bag. Looks like the gods of football dont want us to win the league this season. I read somewhere that if all the shots that had hit the post for us this season would have gone in we would be 3 points clear at the top and that doesnt even take into account some of the blatant pens that werent given. Some things are just not meant to be I guess.

    Still, what pisses me off more than anything is the way teams play us compared to the way teams play Madrid, especially the good teams like Sevilla, Valencia, Bilbao, Villareal, etc. All have taken points from us after playing incredible games against us and ALL have done the complete opposite vs Madrid. Its almost as if we have to compete in a different league, I dont get it.

  44. January 29, 2012

    I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the notion of “want.” It’s easy to scoff and call it nonsense, but the thing about athletics is that “want” is a force that drives, and drives athletes to extraordinary things. The athlete evaluates the tank, figures out how many killer efforts he or she has, then makes those efforts. “Want” brings out the extraordinary.

    For the first time in a while, I believe we are faced with a “want” deficit. This isn’t to say that the players don’t want to win, or don’t know how to win. This is obviously crazy. But I think about my training mates and I in-season, doing sprints until we vomit. And that’s actually, not figuratively. It’s want. People look at us laying in the grass and think that we’re crazy. We aren’t. We just have an overabundance of “want.”

    EE is us, laying in the grass, puking, tired of losing to the same dude(s). They have that “want” that we used to have, that ultimate desire and drive that is hard to explain, but you know it when you see it (or feel it, in the case of athletes in the house). Plain and simple, they “want” it more, and have a coach who is well-equipped to maximize that “want.” They are understanding that the Liga is won against the Levantes and Gijons. It happens, even to the best club in history.

    I said before that keeping the “want” in this club was going to be Guardiola’s biggest challenge, and this is proving to be the case. It’s one or two plays, one or two moments where instead of thinking “This is it, and I want it,” you think “There will be other chances,” because there always are, right? Then suddenly you look up and it’s the 80th minute and you have to concentrate.

    Lack of the ultimate “want” isn’t a bad thing. It’s a human thing, particularly for a side that has won so much, done so much and is now full-on Celebrity. Players are dating global pop stars and being photographed on yachts with their girlfriends, who mothers are or are not chasing with frying pans. There are interviews, and fashion spreads and all the other stuff that takes time, fatigues and dilutes “want.” And the more trophies a team wins, the worse it gets.

    Our club is human. We’ve always known that. Now they have the opportunity to be superhuman. I would never bet against that.


    • barca96
      January 29, 2012

      doing sprints until we vomit

      I can relate to that as we used to hold cycling races around the park as we loved Tour de France. After 5 races, it becomes harder and harder to win and it always becomes a photo finish (without the photo) and I always had this vomit feeling.

      Was told later by my friends that it was because of the extreme push during the last sprint in order for me to catch up. My tactic or lack off was always to cycle at the same pace and catch up at the end and not attack from the start but after a while the others are too far and it takes that much extra effort to catch up.

      I miss cycling 🙁

    • Anonymous_69
      January 29, 2012

      I understand what you’re saying, but I just can’t agree. “Plain and simple, they “want” it more,” but I just don’t agree with this. I do think that Real Madrid are doing a better job of getting the tight wins than Barcelona, but I don’t think it has to do with want.

      That Cesc miss doesn’t have anything to do with how bad he wants it. You know Cesc wants it more than anyone else on the team, but he just miss hit it. Shots going against the post, getting unfortunate ref calls, having all only 12 fit players on the team. To me, these are WAY bigger factors than the desire. I don’t see any more desire in the Madrid camp. I see a huge squad filled with some of the most physically gifted players in Europe. That’s what allows them to make that extra sprint.

      Not more determination. There are things that are out of the players’ hands. Maybe whether we win or lose isn’t always down to how much we want it. Maybe the opponent deserves credit for shutting us out. Maybe I’m wrong and the players simply aren’t putting 100% heart into it. But maybe I’m right, and as soon as the game is over they collapse from exaustions in the dressing room. But we don’t know, and it isn’t fair to question them now.

  45. January 29, 2012

    Remember when we won La Liga last season, Valdes said it was the hardest La Liga trophy to win..
    Villa said, for the trophy they really pushed themself to the limit, every single week..

    We really can’t blame our players if they just get tired mentally and physically this season.. Add injuries storm and small squad to that..

    I can see Kxevin’s point.. It’s not they don’t want to win, lose motivation, or don’t know how to win..

  46. Laurentiu88
    January 29, 2012

    Did anyone else laugh the the Goal.com player ratings ? All Vil. players got marks above 7.5 with the goalkeeper the MOM (sic.) and all our players got under 7!?!? I thought this was at best an even match, I guess they thought we were dominated…

    I guess press is in a cascade info. as always.

    We must look beyond this one game! We have a problem with away games, something in our game prove a liability in too many games – we were unable to control and manage the away games. No matter the refereeing and our missing players something went wrong too often.

  47. Xingxian
    January 29, 2012

    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.”

    • Xingxian
      January 29, 2012

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

      • Helge
        January 29, 2012

        And it’s still possible to reach our record 99 points from two seasons ago^^

      • Megster
        January 29, 2012

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

    • Ryan
      January 29, 2012

      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?

  48. Megster
    January 29, 2012

    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.

  49. Helge
    January 29, 2012

    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 🙂

    • Ryan
      January 29, 2012

      Don’t forget that Nadal lost – Spanish NT wins have coincided with Rafa winning. :/

  50. mom4
    January 29, 2012

    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.

    • January 29, 2012

      I’ll be expecting a 10 page report, like the one you made write, mom4! No escaping this time! 🙂

    • nzm
      January 29, 2012

      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!

  51. kinukinu
    January 29, 2012

    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.

    • kinukinu
      January 29, 2012

      *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…

  52. TITO
    January 29, 2012

    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.

  53. lyd
    January 29, 2012

    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.

    • Laurentiu88
      January 29, 2012

      from what i remember even the dream team won 3 leagues in the last day of the season!

  54. Laurentiu88
    January 29, 2012

    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!!

  55. ElJefe
    January 29, 2012

    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.

    • barca96
      January 29, 2012

      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!!

  56. Diego
    January 29, 2012

    With Pep’s Transfer strategy, I think Our Squad will consist of 5 players in 2015 ! 😀

  57. Barcaleya
    January 29, 2012

    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….

  58. htMillBay
    January 29, 2012

    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.

    • Helge
      January 30, 2012

      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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