Once Again, the Ref Thing

Another draw? Not that anyone predicted it or anything, but yeah, another away draw. This time, though, it was in the Copa del Rey and gives the team an away goal to work with. Valencia have to score to progress, which may not be as easy a thing to do as one suspects, given that only 3 teams have done so all year at the Camp Nou and only 1 visitor has kept a clean sheet there.

But the big deal seems to be Pinto’s handball outside the box with Roberto Soldado bearing down on him. It was a handball and it was outside the box. That much is clear and indisputable thanks to the video evidence. That it comes on the heels of Sandro Rosell’s statements about refs seemed just perfectly on so many levels. The press knows how to play this softball lobbed down the middle. They had their hook baited and someone snapped it up at the first asking, which is all they could ever hope for.

Yet live, I thought it was on the line. Live, I thought there was no way it was a penalty. The ball rebounded off his arm and that was a close call, but damn, well done to stay in the box. No ref can really call that, either, since he’s looking at it from behind and probably a good 40 yards away. So it’s up to the linesman and I’ll admit to ignorance on where the linesman was standing, but if it was anywhere other than directly in line with the play, perspective tells us he probably couldn’t make the call well either. The linesman in the second half got it wrong against Valencia too, having lined up incorrectly when the ball was played, he didn’t see through 2 Valencia players to Mascherano (I believe) behind him.

Referees do make mistakes, that’s for sure. Lassana Diarra wasn’t sent off, but Sergio Ramos was. Pinto wasn’t sent off, but then again, there were several fouls that were worthy of yellow cards that didn’t get one and they would almost certainly have led to second yellows later. Remember when Eric Abidal was sent off against Chelsea for a non-foul on Anelka? These things happen. And sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t. I thought the reffing was rather sad throughout the match last night, but, in the end, it evened out and the 1-1 draw that could have been very different was probably the right outcome. Sport called the whole Callejon-Rosell thing pretty well, though, I have to admit.

What’s best, right now, is to stop talking about referees and start wondering where the midfield dynamism will come from over the next couple of weeks. Xaviniesta, esta es una injury fest. Damn.

Your review is coming up this evening. Hasta mañana.

PS this, forever:

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

53 Comments

  1. Miguel
    February 2, 2012

    Musing that Pep could attach Pinto to a bungee line restricting him to an edge of the box perimeter. Could also work with Valdes ref rage.
    -LLL’s Twitter

    I was thinking more of a shock/e-collar, but Stannard’s idea seems more humane.

  2. Dave
    February 2, 2012

    Can anyone tell me what the main points Revista made about Barca this week?

    • Nik
      February 2, 2012

      I watched it two days ago, so I may not remember everything. Off the top of my head though:

      1. The team is tired and fatigued.
      2. Opposing teams aren’t as scared of attacking Barca when Barca rolls into town.
      3. Pep may need to revert to the back 4 and wait until the team is comfortable again before switching to back 3.
      4. Hunter claims that after Villareal, there’s a sense that not everyone in the squad (including Pep) fully believes they’ll overtake RM.

        • Nik
          February 2, 2012

          No problemo. Hopefully, someone else will chime in if there’s anything important that I forgot to mention.

      • Chiu
        February 2, 2012

        I don’t believe any of squad members already giving up the liga. That’s not our mentality with 54 points to go, esp Pep.

  3. February 2, 2012

    That gif is, well, perfect. Pep’s celebration gif alongside it would have been too much perfection to handle.

  4. Ryan
    February 2, 2012

    I feel like Jordi Alba was getting free reign to foul as a result of the Pinto non-call, but as you said, in the end it was 1-1 and the refereeing in general was pretty sad.

    I love that Puyol gif. 🙂

  5. Laurentiu88
    February 2, 2012

    Seems equally unfair to me for a team to systemically make use of fouls – when a team has 25 fouls, many of which used as last-last resort then is hardly a fair overall consideration.

    How about Pep’s reaction after Puyol’s goal? Apparently he was mad on the extremely wet/moist pitch! (“keep the pitch dry’) which explains a lot of our players having trouble keeping their balance!

    • nzm
      February 2, 2012

      It was the other way around – the pitch was completely dry at Mestalla.

      In his after-match conference, Pep commented about the dry pitch and added that when Valencia arrived at Camp Nou, they would find a very watered and wet pitch!

  6. Lev
    February 2, 2012

    I can live with referee’s making mistakes or missing things. What I don’t like are unfair decisions.

    Ref seem to accept teams fouling the hell out of Messi for example. Just because he is unbelievable hard to stop without fouling him should not dictate a policy of every 3rd foul being called and no yellows given.

    I also get really upset about things like Lass kicking the hell out of Messi but giving the yellow card to Casillas because of not wanting to send off Lass. That is not a mistake. That is a conscious decision of refusing to send off an EE player who fully merited to be sent off.

    • Laurentiu88
      February 3, 2012

      I noticed a strategy in such situations – Casillas coming out strong to get the referee a way out! The same happen at Villareal – in the second half i thought one defender will get his second yellow for another pull on Messi; some players started protesting so strong that one got a yellow but not the one who had committed the foul…

      by the way, Madrid media complains about Barca not having seen any red card this season!!

  7. Calvin
    February 2, 2012

    Sorry the review isn’t up yet, I had a pretty brutal day of testing today and so I’m going to celebrate being done by taking a nap before I get to work on it.

    • BarcaOwl
      February 3, 2012

      I’ll bet that’s a well deserved rest, Calvin. Good reviews are worth waiting for after all. 🙂

  8. SoccerMom
    February 2, 2012

    I so heart this gif.

    When I saw it I couldn’t believe it. We were yelling: “Omigod, Puyi! Omigod, Puyi? Omigod … Puyi!”

    He’s such a varón. To come up with that *&%$# when your team is flagging. Trouble getting upfield? Hard time passing off the press? Just can’t seem to knock one in with your ribcage?

    Let Cap’n Puyi show y’all how it’s done, blaugrana style.

  9. Puyol….. That was even a brilliant goal creating move, had he passed teh ball ahead of Messi. But what a 360, that too twice.

  10. Dani_el
    February 3, 2012

    Maaaaaaaan Puyi has some skills! I knew he had the heart of a lion, and that he was a briliant defender, but to do that on midfield, daaamn! I hope he and Xavi can stay healthy, and can prolongue their careers much more.

  11. February 3, 2012

    Puyol did join La Masia at 17 as a wide-forward, before switching to defensive midfielder and finally to a defender in the youth ranks. He must have had ball skills for Barcelona to have scouted and brought him in as an attacking player.

    Which he does. I think that the reason he has a reputation as someone without ball skills is just because of the amount of technique he’s surrounded with and more than that even because his style also involves so much ruggedness and heart that they became his defining qualities. He has far better technique and passing than most centrebacks in other teams, actually.

    Also, Fabregas with a split head. I thought that was Pique’s domain. Or is the regular head bleeding some kind of some TD?

  12. barca96
    February 3, 2012

    What’s all this fuss about?
    It’s not the first time he made an attacking run forward.

    • Gogah
      February 3, 2012

      when was the last time you saw him do the double ruleta

    • February 3, 2012

      Forget everything. When was the last time you saw ANY player do that ruleta not once but twice? And Puyi is a defender. It was amazing!

      • blitzen
        February 3, 2012

        Especially amazing considering there is a perception of him (by English commentators anyway) as not being particularly skillful on the ball. He may be no Xavi, but he’s got more technical skill than any other defender I can think of.

        • Jim
          February 3, 2012

          Both of our central defenders have pretty awesome ball skills or they wouldn’t be playing for us. I loved the drag back and flick behind the legs from Pique in a difficult defensive position in the last game.

  13. Chiu
    February 3, 2012

    – The referee subjects always come up every season. But I have to admit that this season; the issue in GENERAL has somehow reached its boiling point. Thanks to the already fierce rivalry between us and EE, compounded with “atmosphere” to impede current Barcelona team from dominating further, deteriorated by the antics and propaganda theory from Mou with his Galactico II squad plus all the soaring pressure toward the capital team to topple the Catalan soonest. It’s a complete mix up and we would hear the same thing week in week out till the end of season, unfortunately.

    – I personally love the classy and diplomatic response from Pep regarding the referee matters. The kind of “they have hard job” or “they are human and make mistakes” statements just reflect the champ manner and not a whinny attitude. IMO, the wrong puzzle is the action from Spanish Federation. I don’t understand why RFEF was so passive to date in responding all the brouhaha regarding the officiating. In EPL, players committing violent act would be punished afterward no matter its reported or not by the referee, coaches with disrespecting and harsh statement about referee decision will be banned with significant number of matches. RFEF must learn from FA to actively controlling La Liga and take necessary action from now on.

    • Laurentiu88
      February 3, 2012

      easy for Pep to speak, he has the dark power of Unicef on his side!! 🙂

  14. Considering the depleted squad we are having, was it correct for us to agree for a winter transfer for Maxwell. I mean we should have sold him in the summer.

  15. Roberto Senyera
    February 3, 2012

    Hey there everybody!

    Just wanted to say an initial hello out there to everyone in BFBville.

    Somewhat long time quiet fellow following the blog from a distance whilst sipping on a pint of the black stuff over there in the corner of the pub (watching the blaugrana, of course). Now, I suppose, I can be an occasional commenter also 😉

    Visca Barça!

    • BarcaOwl
      February 3, 2012

      Hi! Welcome! Care for a chocolate cake? 😀

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 3, 2012

        Thank you Owl.

        Chocolate cake? It’s not my BDay.

        • February 3, 2012

          It’s like an initiation of sorts. I had to down two cakes when I joined. Two because I enjoyed the first so much.

          • Roberto Senyera
            February 3, 2012

            They made you go to the grocery store, buy a chocolate cake, forced you to scarf it down in one sitting, and then repeat the exercise for good measure?

            What kind of people are these BFBers?

          • February 3, 2012

            Well I repeated the exercise of my own accord so can’t blame them for that.

            What kind of people are they? Monsters. Pepe’s the lot of them.

    • blitzen
      February 3, 2012

      Welcome, Roberto! Come out of the corner and do some shots with me! 😀

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 3, 2012

        Me and Julio (blitz) taking shots down by the schoolyard.

        Or, did you mean shots up at the bar? Tequila style?

        • Roberto Senyera
          February 3, 2012

          Love your awards btw blitzen. Keep up the fine work.

  16. Calvin
    February 3, 2012

    “What kind of people are these BFBers?”

    Apparently lazy sons of broncos. Which brings me to my next point – the review. I’ll start with the lame excuse – my internets have deserted me for some unknown reason, and I’ve been unable to download the game at school (apparently those download sites are blocked here, who would have known?)

    So, long story short, it doesn’t look like there will be a review. Feel free to throw tomatoes at me here (although all hate mail should be directed at Isaiah).

    If it makes you feel better, I was going to say: “substandard match, good result” in a lot more words than that.

    • Jim
      February 3, 2012

      “substandard match, good result” – you’re a biased idiot 🙂

      Seriously, no problem – we’re capable of having a discussion without the inflammatory prompt of player ratings ( although that does help us get started) !

      Tbh, I quite enjoyed that match. I thought it was quite exciting.

      • Calvin
        February 3, 2012

        Agreed, it was a really good match. Lots of fun to watch which is why it sucks so much I haven’t been able to watch it again.

  17. kinukinu
    February 3, 2012

    That double 360 by Puyol was absolutely insane! Puyol is not the most technical player, but he makes up for it with his sheer will, determination, and nerves of steel. He reminds me of the kid in school who may not have been as smart as the natural geniuses, but studied his a** off and worked 10x as hard as everyone else to pull straight As.

    Many aging players in this stage of their careers kind of sit back and let their reputation carry them. Puyol does the opposite–he works even harder to make up for what time has cost him.

    His recent goal scoring and the fact that he pwned Neymar in the Club World Cup is evidence that he still has a lot of fight in him. I just hope his body doesn’t let him down.

    • Nik
      February 3, 2012

      I just hope his body doesn’t let him down.

      Sadly, I think that applies to most of the team at this point.

  18. Laurentiu88
    February 3, 2012

    Man, why is Valencia bitching so much? in the two encounters with us we still had two penalties not awarded! From a larger perspective we still look worse done compared to them….

  19. blitzen
    February 3, 2012

    BFB mods: the website ads have changed drastically for the better. Thank you very much for listening to my concerns.

    Proof once again what an awesome site/community this is.

    • Ryan
      February 3, 2012

      All I’ve had for a while now is the free WoW advertisement, which is pretty harmless unless you actually start playing and get addicted. 😛

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