Daddy’s home! (Well, sort of …. )

Greetings to all, I come with good news and bad news, related to that picture at left that is sort of semi completely unrelated to anything related to FC Barcelona.

Kinda.

First, the good: Yes, some things are noticeable by their absence, like reviews, cranky screeds from Thuram doppelgangers, and the like. So now that the moving and unpacking process is almost complete, evinced by that almost-complete greatroom that you see pictured here, and Comcast has come to make sure that I have TV, them there Internets and all that good stuff, Baby Kxevin’s steed is about to be saddled up and ridden hard again.

Now, the bad: Baby Kxevin’s steed is about to be saddled up and ridden hard again. Yup. I know everyone is far too kind to call Kari or Euler a biased jackass, because they work so hard, and pet puppies and stuff. And it’s common knowledge that Isaiah is just a plain jackass. I even heard it on CNN, so it must be true. So things are about to be back to some vague semblance of normal in this, a rather fraught season that has to date still brimmed with silver, right?

In other news, Mario Kempes has weighed in, in one of those “dude used to be great so we should pay attention to what retirees say” moments. And he says that Messi is below standard this season. Despite my scoffing at the blather of the elderly, he’s right. He also says that others are below standard, as well. And he’s right about that.

“There are players who have dropped their level, especially Messi,” Kempes told COM Radio. “Perhaps he needs a holiday, not now, but when it is time for that. Still, he is not the only one to have dropped a level.”

When I look at the 7-point deficit to team scum, I know that people say referees this, and if x or y ball had not hit the post. But if you think about it, the deficit comes down to a very few plays, among them:

— Messi trying a little chip for a highlight reel goal that didn’t quite come off.

— Valdes not hustling for a ball that became a corner that became a goal that became a draw. Or a loss. Or something.

Take away just those two plays for a 3-point deficit, and we’re brimming with confidence before the home leg of El Clasic, right? I know that the Homeboy-centric rags like to prattle on about “if every match ended at the half, Barca would be 437 points ahead in the Liga standings,” or “if posts counted as goals, donkeys could fly.”

But simple reality is that a below-par club has had moments of inattention. If we’re up to par, those moments cost nothing. Below par, and they’re a loss to Getafe.

Fatigue, want, haircuts, beards, injuries, whatever, whatever, whatever, but this team used to treat goalscoring chances like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat buffet. “This might be the last one! You never know!” And the focus and concentration put ball after ball in the back of the net.

I find Mou Mou a detestable, destabilizing cretin. Does he win? Sure. But at what cost. I also find that his teams usually come to understand that you win tournaments and other long-duration events by plucking the easy ones. You battle back against Bilbao, and eke out a win against Getafe. You do the scut work so that the big jobs become a little easier. I am in no way, shape or form sure how he will feel, if it comes to that, about winning the Liga without being able to beat us. Nor do I care. But that mentality that he has instilled in his charges, when they aren’t being gits, is working.

So far.

I still think that we are in the Liga with a shout, and that isn’t my die-hard Cule heart speaking. They have a very tough 5-match stretch coming up, including the likes of Sevilla, Valencia, etc, all away. They will drop points. The question is, will we? The match to Real Sociedad was, for me, encouraging. The side wasn’t anything vaguely approaching its best, and they eked out a win, with a combo platter of youth, tired veterans and a few good plays. It’s the kind of match that might, potentially, help our club continue to cover itself in glory. I do know that their nightmare will be coming into our house with a deficit of 3 points or less. And we all know why.

— Oh, yeah …. TELLO!!!! Yet another bright, shining example of the talent factory that is our Masia. It also shows the example of pace. Not just quickness, but pace. I would now like to see him unleashed, like a hound straining at the traps, like Henry used to be. Recall how quickly he and Eto’o got to the other end of the pitch after our defense did its job in our end. Feed the ball to Xaviniesta, who fed one of the whippets. And suddenly, we were at the other end for a goal or great chance. We need that. Bad.

— Finally, we recognize that your Team has been laggardly of late in getting stuff done. Want to thank everyone for their patience, and expect business as normal (such as it is) to resume in fairly short order.

Thank you, and drive through.

The (Un)management

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

27 Comments

  1. Blau-Grenade
    February 7, 2012

    Congratulations on settling in. Hope you enjoy your new abode and bring us lots of posts. 🙂

  2. mom4
    February 7, 2012

    Kxevin, your new digs are shockingly devoid of the blau and the grana that I would have expected. 🙂

    Welcome back, aka we all missed you.

    • February 7, 2012

      The five different blocks on the wall are clearly going to have B A R C A on them in the near future. Or not. Either way, congrats on the new place!

  3. barca96
    February 7, 2012

    Yay! Kxevin is back!

    Haven’t started reading but just wanted to celebrate it first!

    • barca96
      February 7, 2012

      Is that a pic of your new living room? Or the old one? Or just a random living room?

      • February 7, 2012

        That is my living room. Built in 1947, one of the first split-level homes in America, period, designed by a guy way ahead of his time.

  4. keith
    February 7, 2012

    if that’s your new place, then i love it! blue stripes on the red sofa would make it perfect

  5. Lev
    February 7, 2012

    “Welcome back, aka we all missed you.”

    That’s the Comment of the Year, right there 🙂

  6. ooga aga
    February 7, 2012

    Tello has shown more ability to beat his marker than Henry ever did (in his Barcelona days). But I agree we need that live-wire, destabilizing influence. i think pep would have liked for him to steep in Barca B for a bit longer, but considering all the injuries we have — desperate times call for desperate measures.

  7. Helge
    February 7, 2012

    The room looks very nice, Kxevin. I can imagine a huge HD TV on the left side of the picture 🙂

    I don’t know if Messi has dropped in form. 37 goals, 19 assists, 9 times woodwork in 36 games. His total contribution to the team is as important as before. His effectiveness might have dropped a little, but since his stats are so amazing, he must have created more chances than last season. It evans out.
    Maybe the problem is that Pedro has dropped in form, combined with the many injuries. Last season Messi was already the dominant goal scorer, but there was still Pedro and Villa.

    Anyway, I want to quote Sir Bobby Charlton:

    “The entire world is listening when Mourinho starts talking. It’s the logical consequence of his success as a coach. He has been extremely successful, and that justifies his heavy wages and big mouth”

    “However, we should not forget that although he is doing well with Real Madrid in La Liga right now, they are still not too convincing.”

    “Real Madrid might have more points than Barcelona, but the latter are still the team to beat if you want to be the best. Barcelona are a unique team. They play at a very high level, and have excellent midfielders and attackers.”

    I completely agree with him. Whatver titles Real win or we do not win, we remain the best and the team to beat. And the future of this teasm is bright, whatever happens this season.
    It would be easier to defend this team as being the best if we win the CL, though 🙂

    • February 7, 2012

      TV downstairs, where I can scream my head off without frightening the new neighbors. Plus wifey and I don’t like TVs in the living room or bedroom. In both places, it tends to stifle preferred activities. It’s a lot nicer.

      I think that Messi’s level is so high that when it falls off, it’s still pretty darned high. Like a Ferrari that needs a tune up. At the end of the day, it’s still a Ferrari.

      And yes, the knock against them, whatever they might win, will be “You still couldn’t beat Barca.”

      I do hope that Mou Mou leaves, only because of the poisonous atmosphere he has brought to the Liga and the games. It has to stop. Clasics have always been intense, and they always will be. But now, things have gone far beyond mere morbo.

  8. mega_tajh
    February 7, 2012

    Popping in to say that New York is crazy right now!!! Parade, drunk people everywhere!! TY GIANTS

  9. Josep
    February 7, 2012

    Where’d you head to? northside?

    – Oh, yeah …. TELLO!!!! Yet another bright, shining example of the talent factory that is our Masia. It also shows the example of pace. Not just quickness, but pace. I would now like to see him unleashed, like a hound straining at the traps, like Henry used to be. Recall how quickly he and Eto’o got to the other end of the pitch after our defense did its job in our end. Feed the ball to Xaviniesta, who fed one of the whippets. And suddenly, we were at the other end for a goal or great chance. We need that. Bad.

    Eh, I don’t think that’s the concept. Tello has pace, which is a nice change of aforementioned word, but our style has changed from the Eto’o years. We’re far more possession demanding, and Xavi and co are less likely to unleash a killer thru ball that has, say, less than 50% chance of arriving. Also with the way we play, once that ball hits Tello on the wing a Villarreal defender will arrive from wherever his team should’ve been playing that day, tug his shirt and completely ruin the chance and draw a yellow.

    • February 7, 2012

      About a mile away from where I was.

      Agree on the overall concept, but I think that sometimes we miss opportunities because we’re so deliberate with our movement up the pitch. Sometimes, and you can see it when an opponent actually attacks us, and we get the ball outside our box. The chance to take advantage of them with numbers is begging.

      I also think that it might be a viable option to offset the strategic fouling that has become a big part of opponents’ game plans.

  10. blitzen
    February 7, 2012

    On Tello, I think he is very exciting as a player, but has a long way to go. He is very young. Still, I think he showed he is up to the challenge.

    If you all don’t already know, this is a boy who was trained at Barça, was let go and joined Espanyol: then was offered a place in the Espanyol first team and turned it down to rejoin Barcelona B.

    This is a young man who is very clear on what he wants and willing to pass up on Primera league football for a chance to prove himself again at Barcelona. That shows dedication and a willingness to work as hard as it takes. This is the kind of player we need right now.

    • Helge
      February 7, 2012

      That is an interesting but confusing history of Tello.
      I did not know that he used to play for Espanyol Juvenil A.

      His dedication to FC Barcelona is obviously immense, but isn’t such a dedication/passion and identification with FC Barcelona a severe contradiction to ever playing for Espanyol?!?
      I like this guy a lot, but I cannot comprehend his decision to join the at least 2nd-fiercest rival of the club to which his heart belongs to.

      • Ryan
        February 7, 2012

        I imagine his family lives in Barcelona and was a major influence in him choosing Espanyol over another primera team farther away. If not, then that would be a pretty intriguing tidbit.

      • blitzen
        February 7, 2012

        isn’t such a dedication/passion and identification with FC Barcelona a severe contradiction to ever playing for Espanyol?!?

        Not really, no. Barça chose not to renew his contract, so he didn’t have a choice about leaving. As Ryan points out, his family is from the Barcelona area, so accepting an offer from Espanyol was a no-brainer. The Espanyol/Barcelona rivalry is an altogether kettle of fish than the RM/Barcelona one.

  11. Dave
    February 7, 2012

    Can anyone sum up the main Barca points from Revista?

  12. February 7, 2012

    Not up to standards AND alone. Messi is doing just about what we would expect from someone who plays 90 every game no rest and no help. By no help I mean Pedro has been absent and we don’t have Villa, Alexis is still adapting. When Messi can’t score, he assists, but who is he assisting? I wonder if Kempes is weighing ALL that in…

    Nice room Kxevin.

  13. February 7, 2012

    Well that looks like a comfy living room.. Congrats for your new house!

    you might be a biased jackass, but I’m glad to have you back.. 😀

  14. mega_tajh
    February 7, 2012

    Breaking NEWS. I repeat BREAKING NEWS!! Messi have now shaved his off beard………….

  15. Jnice
    February 7, 2012

    Welcome back, Kxevin.

    Random question ( I think I asked jordi this before)

    Can anyone tell me why some players who were born in Catalunya, like Christian Tello and Martin Montoya, don’t speak Catalan? I’ve seen a couple of interviews of them both by Barça TV and they’re always asked questions in Catalan, but respond in Castellano. I guess I was assuming that since they were born and raised in Catalunya, they would feel comfortable speaking Catalan. Seems weird to me.

    • February 8, 2012

      Seems that though Catalan is growing in importance as a language, particularly with the recent drive for independence, many Catalans still don’t speak it well enough to be confident using it, though they can understand it sufficiently well to respond to questions.

      A lot of it also depends on a family’s view of the situation. My times in Barcelona have been interesting in that hearing Catalan spoken has popped up at various times, but still, most of what you hear is Castellano.

  16. El Diez
    February 8, 2012

    Anyone has link to Revista of this week ?

  17. BarcaOwl
    February 8, 2012

    Welcome back, Kxevin. That looks like a nice, cozy room.

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