Je Ne Sais Pas: Osasuna vs Barcelona Liveblog

Too sick to think of anything clever.

Starting XI: Valdes; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal; Thiago, Mascherano, Sergi Roberto; Alexis, Messi and Pedro

Bench: Adriano, Cesc, Xavi, Iniesta, Tello and Cuenca

Going for a direct game today. Just look at the pitch we’re playing on today.

Let’s go.

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Very interesting/intriguing lineup. The one team that does not messes up wins, IMO, considering the state of the pitch.

    Going to be a tough assignment for Thiago and Sergi Roberto to keep upto the tiki taka in midfield.

  2. Not surprised to see this lineup due to the state of the pitch. We need directness more than ever.

  3. They shouldn’t be playing in such conditions – it is dangerous for the players. Also, it will seriously disrupt our passing game so expect a difficult game 🙁

  4. I guess we should just accept it is was not meant to be our year, move on and focus on the CL. Too many negative factors coming together at the same time

    1. Injuries and fatigue. A midfield of Mascherano, Thiago and Sergi Roberto is not what one needs to dominate possession at one of the more inhospitable grounds in the league.

    2. We’ve lost about 5 points by now due to referee mistakes going against us, and in addition to that, Real has gained another several points due to mistakes going their way. Same thing today – this should have been 1-1, not 2-0, if not for the offside calls (Alexis was a meter onside, their second goal was offside). Yes, you can say that we should have dominated those games to the point where incorrect referee decisions do not matter but this is not possible – in every season, including the previous three when we won it, there are a number of tight games that you win by a small margin, and in which such things are sufficient to tip the balance in one direction or the other

    3. Awful luck with playing conditions. We dropped 2 point in the swamp in Bilbao, now it seems we’ll drop another 3 on the ice in Pamplona. People will say conditions are the same for both teams; yes, they are, but they affect them differently and you can only say it shouldn’t matter if you haven’t played the game yourself or if you are the kind of player for whom it really doesn’t matter (and that’s not a good thing). Try maintaining possession when you have to constantly also think about whether you’re going to slip and fall, when the wind is so strong that the ball moves on its own, is rarely where you think it is going to be, and passes are routinely overhit as a result (notice all those passes in the back that went past the recipient). Try dribbling when the ball bobbles and bounces off the frozen and uneven surface (Osasuna’s pitch has always been horrible even in good weather, now imagine it frozen) and you’re never in complete control of it. A team that relies on passing and skill will always be at great relative disadvantage playing against a more physical even if technically inferior side in such conditions. Those goals do not happen if we maintain possession as we usually do.

    Too much bad luck 🙁

    1. Osasuna also had one wrong offside call against them when a player was through on goal.

      I think it is not down to the ref or the players, we would not have won today with a different ref or starting eleven either.

      I personally would like to hear the team giving up on the title, I found it funny when RM was talking about their possibility of winning la Liga, despite being 12 points behind. At some point, you have to be realistic.
      They should focus completely on the CL now, also because if we do not win it, 95% it’ll be EEs trophy. And losing both titles to EE would suck!

    2. Osasuna also had one wrong offside call against them when a player was through on goal

      Actually in that play there was a second touch by an Osasuna player. Just sayin’

    3. Yep, there was a flick-on that made it offside. I know Pep encourages us to play down the refs, but it certainly doesn’t help when they have such a strong influence in the game.

    4. Well I think if you look at tonights starting eleven that is exactly what Pep is doing. No way he would have started this team if he thought we could realistically win the league. Even when we were down he didnt risk xavi or iniesta and only let Fabs play 15 mins. Says it all really. On the up side I actually thought a lot of our youngsters looked very good today considering the conditions. It showed a lot of character to keep fighting like that to the end.

      I disagree though that decisions have not had a substantial effect on our standing in the league this season. Two dissalowed goals today AND one of their goals was offside. Sorry but that is not an acceptable level of officiating for any league in the world. Its pathetic actually and it has happened time and time again this season. I dont want to use it as an excuse, we can and have played better and we could probably win despite the poor officiating if we were at our best but it doesnt make it right. Wrong decisions are wrong decisions and the right decisions today probably have seen us walk away with the 3 points.

    5. As I’ve said before – you can dominate a game and win 5-0, and have a 100% penalty not given plus a 100% legitimate goal disallowed and it won’t matter. Which happened numerous times this season (remember that Iniesta goal that was disallowed for an offside after the ball was passed back by a defender or all those penalties on Messi that were not given?). But you can not do that every game – there will be many games that are close and in which the margin is small; in those games such decisions matter a lot. It was that way the previous three seasons – about a third of our games have always been close, and it is that way for EE now too – they’ve scored a lot of goals, but they also had close games, in a number of which it was poor referee decisions that gave them the points.

      You can look at the controversial decisions and count the points won and lost by the two teams this year. It’s not even close to being a random distribution – most of the calls in their games went their way and a lot of the calls in our games went against us. I shouldn’t even use the word “controversial” about many if them, because it was obvious to everyone what the right call should have been and there has been so many of them that we could have been on top now instead of 10 points behind. Have we played badly? Yes. Are we as consistent as we were last year? No, we’re not. But all those decisions did make a difference.

    6. Nobody gave up on the league before the match. Cant agree on that! Its just unfair on the whole team if we say that kind of thing. And to sat that “is exactly what Pep is doing” is not cool.

      Was Puyol, Abi rested? These two are the two most important player in the back four, right? Pep could have easily fielded Adriano instead of Abi and rest Puyol by playing Masche in Cb and have JDS do the holding role. But he didn’t! He fielded his best defensive lineup with a mix of fresh players that was on paper way better than Osasunas. The reason is that he probably wanted the team to not concede first an build up a rhythm. And then the attacking substitutions was in the cards. The point was not to concede. And that was not hard task to ask from a backline of Dani, Puyol, Pique, MAsche and Abidal.

      The playing conditions simply ruined the game. Their goals happened and ours just didnt.

  5. Anyone think this Barca team has transcended petty things like winning the league to become a thing of ethereal beauty? Wh***s will have their trinkets – let EE win it this year. We are already world champions…

  6. So it’s finally over. Now we have to win all our matches to avoid giving Real the dreadful Guard of Honour when they visit us. So now the real chance of silverware is Copa Del Rey. Champions League is possible, but it’s going to be really tough.

  7. So was it entirely necessary to drop cesc, xavi and iniesta from the starting line up surely one cudda played at least 45min from the start.
    Why sergi roberto and not dos santos.
    The less said about pique the better. Abidal should return to CB duties with adriano as LB.

    1. It was a strange decision by Pep.

      As I’ve already said above, I don’t think it would have made a huge difference because today was just another day that wasn’t our day. Plus, the goals we conceded had nothing to do with the above mentioned players missing.

      The loss is not debatable and I think this loss doesn’t cost us the league. There will be more setback(s) and maybe EE will not even drop 7 points anyway. The league was over before this match (simply because it was highly improbable that we win 7 more points than EE – now it’s even more improbable to win 10 more in one match less, but we needed a miracle before today imo).

      The press will ask questions about the selection of today. Was it necessary to rest so many key players for one of the toughest away matches? We don’t play ManUnited on Tuesday, but Bayer Leverkusen. Pep took a high risk, now he has to pay the price.
      Or is it a hint from Pep that the focus is indeed on the CL this season? Only Pep knows…

  8. I still love you, Barcelona!!!!

    Swamped with work on a Saturday but I read some twitter feeds and seems like the kids played well – Tello and Cuenca.

    Painful BUT we’re still the best team in the world.

    Visca Barca!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Can i also say that as much as i love Barca, its just unfortunate how the condition of the pitch has such huge impact on our play more than any side that i know in football.
    Our game drops like 2-3 levels while our opponents game seemingly rises in those conditions.

    1. It’s only natural – we rely more than anyone else on accurate passing and individual skill to maintain possession and without control over possession, we suck. Poor playing conditions mess up with those things so we end up playing at a fraction of the level we’re capable of on that day.

      BTW, this team could not have dominated the same way it has for the last few years had it played decades ago when awful pitches were the norm. It would have been much more difficult to play the same kind of quick passing game in those conditions.

  10. Let’s admit is Pep’s fault for this game shall we? With this formation it was clear we will have no middle! Which was true after 5, 15 min 25 min, 45min too… He could have made some change in that regard all this time…

    Refereeing…i did not see the replay of Osasuna’s limit offside call; but they goal was clear offside, Sanchez was not, and his second looked to me again like not (ball does not seem to change is spinning). This has been the story all this league.

    Team was poor, maybe pitch didn’t allow for passing (thou we did pass better in the second part – proving that a team with xavi and iniesta would have been better. Besides that, our away form this season has been a disaster.

  11. So, um, Thiago had a great game, right guys? That’s something to be happy about, right? …right?

    I feel so bad for Alexis. A hat trick of disallowed goals, if I counted correctly.

    1. Thiago was just fantastic. Definitely something to be happy about. Sergi Roberto also had a strong debut, Tello and Cuenca good as well.

      The future is incredibly bright.

    2. Alexis scored two legit goals not three.
      And yeah, Thiago was just fantastic, Tello and Cuenca made a positive impact as well.

  12. Dear Pep,

    Forgive me but playing Masche in DM and an off form Pedro, in a away match is something i really dont get!

    Seeing the starting lineup, I thought we’d play sth like the following, based on recent form.

    Messi- Sergi
    Dani – Pedro

    And 3 wrong offside calls against us, one for each lineman and ref! In an ideal world, the match should be replayed. Please put some pressure on RFEF! Its time.

  13. Very proud to be a Barca fan, today more than ever. This is the risk of rotation. Sergi Roberto, Thiago, Tello, Cuenca… Love how Iniesta, Xavi weren’t risked despite the scoreline and youth were given minutes instead. Grande Pep!

    And Pep is all class, all the time. I’d rather lose La Liga with him than have Mourinho represent my team and a player like Pepe kiss the crest

    Onwards to the CL match!

    1. Those saying that the lineup was indicative of Pep giving up on league only need to look at his reaction on the 1st goal.
      How do you say ‘FFS’ in spanish

    2. There’s always risk of rotation.

      But do you need to take that risk when it is at its highest peak? I.e. when you play at a very tough and notorious stadium like the Reyno de Navarra?
      It makes the rotation even more attackable.

      I do not blame it on the line-up, I would call our la Liga season a ‘Seuchen Saison’ – a season of plague – and we don’t deserve to win it this year. But I would have preferred us to lose this match with a better line-up, just to take some criticism away from Pep.
      With the fanatic sports press in Spain… imagine if they succeed in making Pep lose his passion and joy for his job :/

      Pep is still the best, and so is this team. But they need to recharge their batteries, on both physical and mental level.
      And someone said it in the liveblog, it’s no coincidence that 4 consecutive league titles are won once in a blue moon.
      I checked it, the English league (since 1889) has never been won 4 times in a row!

    3. They can criticize Pep, I don’t care. And I don’t believe he does either. He thinks of the team. The pitch effectively dictated the lineup. I’d be very disappointed in him if he risked Iniesta (fragile and coming back from injury) and Xavi (similar) this game, especially when we have an important game on Tuesday in Germany.

      If we won this game 2-4 with this team, he’d be hailed as a genius. 🙄 He knows this press, so long as the players are hungry (as show in Thiago they definitely are) Pep will stay.

      We don’t have the legs, or the luck, this year. That’s true. Happens. Guess cules will just have to settle for 3 Ligas in a row, being World and European Champions and having killer youth coming through the ranks…

    4. Pep is a genius and one of the biggest football romantic u’ll ever see. He did the right thing like you said. He really doesn’t have anything to prove to Cules and neither does the team.

      I do understand that every one is still motivated (based on 2nd half)and Pep treats every game, situations uniquely and his meticulous approach in the preparation of a particular game is still top top class.

      But what im really confused over is the justification of not picking inform players over the so called reputed ones. Referring to Dani and especially Pedro! These two have worked wonders before, in the old system. But they are specialists. Their work rate/defensive skills are still above the optimum requirement. But in terms of the offense, its easier to counter their moves due to their predictable nature. While both can still deliver though, both offensively, if and only if they are in top form/peak.

      Okay, the line-up was decided from the pitch conditions/ weather. Agreed. Thiago and Sergi had to be thrown in this crucial away match. But why was it hard to throw in the bigger pack ?? All Thiago, Tello, Sergi, Cuenca together. They have their own chemistry playing with the B team already.

    5. ^THIS^

      I would, indeed, rather lose La Liga than have Mourinho represent my team and have nasty players like Pepe.

      I love our team so much. When life is dreadful and dreary, they’re the only ones I look forward to and more often than not, they make me smile.

      I can imagine how painful this loss is for them but well….we can’t win them all.

      We have too many injuries and I would rather conserve players like Iniesta and Xavi for many more years of enjoyment for us.

      We will have many more trophies and days of excitement and wonder over the beautiful way Barca plays this game.

      And we shall savor each and every win more after days like today…

    6. Agreed. But Pep set the standard of class so high that i feel sad for the next coaches to come!

      2nd half was full of heart. Really must have been an amazing feeling for Cuenca and Tello to come and be heroes! Proud as ever!

    7. “Pep is all class, all the time. I’d rather lose La Liga with him than have Mourinho represent my team and a player like Pepe kiss the crest”

      This…forever this…

  14. I’m excited how the tean reacts now. In particular in the CL.

    This is a completely new situation for Pep as a coach. Whatever he says in the pk, I’m sure he also knows that la Liga is practically lost now. How does, being 10 points behind EE, affect the mentality of a team that so far was always on cloud #9?
    It would be nice to answer with a great performance at Leverkusen and seal the qualification in the first leg. It is almost imperative to win in Leverkusen, now that Xaviniesta and Cesc should be very fit.

  15. The team played well in the second half minus that goal by Osasuna, granted Osasuna were parking the bus by that point. Tello was incredible; I like his pace and ability to go pass defenders and his goal was brilliant. Overall, the kids played well but can’t say the same for some first team players.

    That disallowed goal for the equalizer was ridiculous. I refuse to believe that there’s an agenda against Barcelona but overall, Spanish officiating has been very poor. It’s just frustrating to see wrong decision after wrong decision being made and there’s no punishment whatsoever. If we played poorly and deserved to lose, I would gladly accept that. But today we didn’t deserve to lose.

    I actually liked Pep’s lineup- a balance of first team players and youth. But certain individuals let him down today (Pique,Pedro…). For big matches against teams like Valencia, RM, Athletic, or CL teams, we should play our A-team. Against other Liga teams, we should have a mix.

    Also, I’m really annoyed with Pique. I don’t know if he realizes that his performance this season has been abysmal. He needs to step it up!

  16. Mascherano and alves suspended for the valencia game and almost guarantees pique a starting berth.
    I dont know which of these two represents the worst news

  17. So the league is really over, I’m kinda glad becausse now we can forget about it instead of waiting for a miracle.
    This season looked off from the start and that’s because of the many rotations in our squad and the bad luck with injuries. I don’t blame Pep for anything, he may have cost us the league but we gained a lot of things in return, We now have youngsters we can count on, players that proved themselves in curcial games such as Tello and Cuenca.
    I believe that we’ll come back stronger next year if we stay clear of injuries.
    There are two titles we can win now, if we do, we’ll have won 5 titles out of 6 which would be amazing.

  18. This game made me think that the lineup should have been Tello Alexis and Cuenca up front.
    Maybe Messi needs a match or two off…

  19. Last thing:

    It’s not like we’re the team that spent half a billion dollars. We don’t HAVE to win. No Liga after three in a row? No pasa nada. This team isn’t going to disappear after this year. We’ll be back, even better than before — Alexis, Cesc, Thiago second seasons — and hungry to win everything again.

    That being said, Pique desperately needs to have someone in his grill. Constantly.

    Preferably like this:

    get in pique's grill

    1. I understand your line of thinking but the players, Pep, the staff and fans in gen dont see it that way. Half a billion dollars or not we HAVE to win. That we have a brilliant future and maybe perhaps spent a little less (which is great) doesnt really ease the pain for me.
      We have titles to defend and at this stage of the season we are essentially swapping our liga with EEs broken CDR title.
      Thats if we beat Bilboa.

    2. This comment is rather funny. And kinda disappointing, to be completely honest. Mostly disappointing because it comes from one of my favorite writers about Barcelona.

      Yes, in the lasts 3 or 4 years Real Madrid have spent half a billion on a squad. But so what? Last i checked from the numbers, the club has been making profit as an institution for the past 7 years. We built a squad that is allowing us to compete with the best Barca squads of all time. And right now, we are leading by seven points. Compare that to other footballing models like Chelsea and Man City, who have been spending and recording losses every season, and you see the difference. Not to mention, over the past 4 seasons, and if my numbers are correct, Barcelona have spent around 300 million. So that’s no light number at all.

      To say that Barcelona don’t have to win the league is really misplaced. You know the spanish game and the spanish fans, and if there is anything about them, it’s that they demand wins all the time. Barcelona and Real Madrid are ALWAYS required to win the league regardless of how many times they have won it before. Is there more pressure on Real Madrid to win it? Perhaps. But the way i see it, there is also pressure on Barcelona to win it. After all, they are the team that’s suppose to be better than everyone else. To lose it to Real Madrid. And specifically to a Mourinho led Real Madrid is something that no Barcelona fan wants.

      I understand what you are trying to do with the looking forward to the future. I would do the same if I was in your position. With that said, today’s loss was one between Barcelona and Osasuna. Instead, you take digs at Real Madrid to make the loss feel better, rather than address why Barcelona were sleep walking. Believe it or not, Real Madrid had nothing to play in Barcelona losing today. But then again, that’s just me.

      Finally, tough loss. Never fun going there. With that said, the league is not done by any means. We still have to beat Levante. And the trips to Russia are going to be hectic on the team. So there is space to lose more points. RM won the league 5 years ago being 11 points behind, so anything is possible.

    3. Not at all. It’s a trend these days. To be a cule, you have to take 10 digs at Real Madrid. And vice versa, of course. But the argument Kari puts forth above seems very off, IMO. But again, that’s just my opinion.

    4. Not every Cule feels that they have to take a dig a RM. We’ll do us and you do you. You’re right that the game was between Barca and Osasuna. Osasuna wanted it more and personally I’m in the camp that says that Pep made a calculated decision to go for the CL and CdR. Not to risk many of our first team players for the Liga title because it’s a lot of games and we just don’t have the man power.
      Perhaps, Pep should consider giving the CdR less importance next year like has been the case in the past.

    5. Cool, so you have agreed to CSKA’s proposal to play both legs in Moscow, or why are you talking about trips to Russia?
      Well, anyway, the pitch condition in Russia won’t be worse than in Pamplona, you’ll take that hurdle as well.

      This season everything is going your team’s way so far, I believe that Real Madrid has won a few games this season when they have not been at their best and, more importantly, when they have not been the better team (not being at your best is still enough in many matches for such worldclass teams as ours are!).
      And little is going Barca’s way, any day that our team takes off, we get punished with a draw or a loss.
      I guess it was time that Lady Luck changed its side, because we have not been brilliant in all our wins the last seasons either, but we still had the result going our way.

      And well, since you mentioned Mourinho, I’d give you la Liga and maybe (I would have to think about it a bit longer^^) the CL title if Mourinho is guaranteed to leave afterwards – kind a like he did at Inter. And I’d be excited how your club copes the first season after Mourinho 🙂

      So the future will be interesting, with or without Mourinho.

      Talking about the 11 points deficit that your team overturned… in that regard, your club will always have the better mentality. Barca is not good in turning around such situations, once the engine is damaged, we’re pretty much done. No mechanics available…^^
      Yu can easily see that by counting the matches that Barca have turned into a win after being behind. Especially if you discount the matches against your team, which is something different.

      See ya in the CL !

  20. Piques detoriating form is really a cause for concern, I thought with Bartra and Muniesa promoted we might be stocked, but as Pique can not be relied on anymore and we do not know how long Puyi can go any longer, Buying Thiago Silva might not be such a bad idea after all

  21. -Respect G60.. Well said..

    -Pique’s condition in today’s game summarizes our season…

    -whoever calls for PEP to leave is a disgrace to everything Barca related (with all due respect).

    -Referee’s cost us a lot this season (todays mistakes, the missed penalty against espanyol, and our Basque equivalent’s wrongly called offside against EE right before their equaliser just to name a few) but surely it isnt THE reason why we are where we are.

    -PEP was, is, and always will be our crowned king, master, and source of inspiration.. but every genius is entitled to a few mis-calculations.

    -The pitch’s condition is a minor detail, had we been able to contain osasuna in the first 30 minutes and impose our style for the remaining 60 minutes we wouldnt have been complaining now.

    -PEP’s starting eleven is 100% correct given the circumstances. Xavi isnt 25 any more, fabregas is jaded, iniesta isnt match fit, and dos santos would have been an improvement to sergi roberto.

    -Valdes being spains number TWO is clearly an undeserved compliment. Javi varas, Guaita, Casilla (not casillas) and the rest can testify.

    -Alex Ferguson didnt fight against Pique’s return in 2008 like wenger did with fabregas for a reason, and this season we knew why.

    -Mario kempes shouldnt have been slayed when he said that messi’s performances has dipped lately (without going into details).

    -La liga is lost, thats a fact but adding CDR, and the CL, to the three we already won this season makes it a good one (its all about the half full glass of water).

    -If we dont learn how to loose, and then bounce back, we will never deserve the “greatest of all time” tag around our neck.

    -visca el barça i visca catalunya

    1. “Alex Ferguson didnt fight against Pique’s return in 2008 like wenger did with fabregas for a reason, and this season we knew why.”

      Yes.He knew that 4 seasons later Pique would be in a slump.Just like he knew eventually Forlan would stop being amazing, and and Giuseppe Rossi would get a season ending injury somewhere down the line when he sold them for peanuts as well.

    2. Valdes as #2 is undeserved? The man has had a better saved/shots ratio than Casillas for years! He’s had 2 bad passes that stand out during the league this year, but I’ve seen plenty of mistakes or just lesser goalkeeping from those you mentioned.

    3. He’s had 2 bad passes that stand out during the league this year

      come on man.. playing behind puyi and pique (not after banging shakira) is way different than playing behind pepe and carvalho, spahic and fazio, or rami and ruiz. how many conceded goals after misplaced passes should we suffer before we realize that our keeper is a sunday league player and as close to worldclass as my grandmother is to being crowned miss universe..

  22. We may have lost the league, but we still love our team. And we’re still the best.

    Visca barça. Visca catalunya.

  23. Love Barca. This team is LEGEND. If we don’t win the league this year who cares? We’ve had dry spells before this – but the last 3 years have been fairyrale…

  24. a song with only major chords is boring. you need to throw some minor chords in there once in a while to keep it interesting.

    in pep i trust.

  25. Really guys it was an uphill battle since going 6 points behind last year..then we won against EE and the hope was back then a silly draw against that prick of a team Espanyol and it was always difficult. It was out of our hands since the Espanyol game and anow (while I do believe in miracles) it will take some miracles of miracles for us to get back in it. We would have to depened on EE dropping about 10 points while we go on an amazing win streak till the end.

    As much as my head tells me its over, move heart says we can still do it..such is the strength and character of this team. Remember the CL semis against looked hopeless going into stoppage time..we barely had shots on goal and then bam! Iniestazo and we were on to the win it!

    I am really weary about all this ‘hope’ riding on a CL in which ANYTHING can happen. We’ve already won 3 trophies this year guys, it wouldnt kill to not win anything for the rest of the season. We’d just have to regroup and come better next year hopefully with a fitter and more intune squad. In a CL, its not always the best team that goes through..better away goals can make a huge difference even of a team doesnt lose a own goal or a bad backpass can mean the difference between “we’re going to the quarters!” and “darn we got knocked out only cause of a wrongly called handball!” Just saying people..

    Anyhow, I’m VERY proud of this team. And super optimistic about the future (prob not the immediate one)

    Tello, Cuenca and Thiago were great IMO. I felt this game was too much for Sergi and I still feel like that. The only complaints I have about anything tonight were the performances of Pedrito and Piques. Pedrito is excused cause he really has not had a proper season. What has he had like 3 full games…between being injured? Sucks for him. He was not on form. he just came back off a 3 week layoff. Pique on the other hand was a disaster. Not even his so-called false 9 runs were useful. He’s either forgotten how to defend or he needs some football psychology. Even if we had won tonight, I still would have thought his performance was terrible. I’m sick of him with his head up his arse. Someone wake him up! He’s daydreaming… or stoned.

  26. It’s kinda nice to be in this position again. Win the CDR & CL & draw a line under this team. The next generation will have Messi, Tello, Iniesta, Cuenca, Pedro, Afellay et al.

    1. I wont be too optimistic with Pedro for future. His days are numbered imo. His pace is going to diminish and i dont see his close control and decision making to improve drastically. The surprise factor is no longer there as opponents are used to his game. However, his hard work rate still makes him an asset and if he is willing to stay on as a fringe player, then its all good though.

      Affellay is still promising. I hope he’d unleash his long range shooting skills to a great effect.

    2. Agreed, when Pedro’s not scoring he become obsolete. The forward line needs to take the emphasis off Messi

    3. Alexis is doing wonderfully well.

      Tello, Cuenca super promising.
      Villa, Affellay coming back.

      and Cesc with his “directness” lol.

      and possibly an inform Pedro sometime in future.

      So if everyone fit, we got 7 players competing for 2 spots 🙂 Minus one if Cesc integrates into the midfield:D

      Future is brighter!

    4. Agreed. He has got years alright. But the same pace he possess may not be good enough to get him regular starts, even with the rotation policy is in action.

      Here is a case when the team/system has evolved at a rate which is apparently faster than his own evolution. If Pedro can manage to run faster, which does not seem possible, he can be a threat.

      His only way to survive is to chill down a little and work on his decision making skills. That would make him appear to move faster, by maintaining the same pace or less.

      And Tello challenges Pedro already. The only thing that works in his favor is the previously acquired connection with Alvez and Messi. But the system has evolved. The other factor is his shooting skills of course. But that is below Villas caliber.

  27. As i said in another forum, Pique needs to go back dating Ibrahimovic, he was great back then. Shakira is definitely distracting him.

  28. Just in the interest of fairness have a look at the three goals we lost if you have them recorded.

    goal 1 – Pique had to move out towards the wing to cover the Ossasuna attacker who was free for a ball down the wing. No problem as long as the defence shuffles over. Puyol moves over towards the guy on the edge of our area which is why he is late making the tackle on the guy who receives it. What is Abidal’s part in this? Who is he marking if the whole defence needs to shuffle across one? You can take your pick from our DM who was posted missing the whole move, Pique (although he was marking a man and had to leave him which he did as soon as he saw the problem), Puyol for missing the tackle or Abidal who stood and watched Puyol with two men to cover – the nearest man to his position was a good 25 yards away and not involved at all.

    Goal 2 – Thiago fluffs two challenges, Puyol is playing Captain Caveman but ends up out of position and Abidal rightly comes in to cover for him. Pique wrongly claims for offside against the CF who skins Abidal with his turn and plays it through Puyol’s legs (luck?) Pique’s positioning at this time is for me perfect. While the ball is played into the CF have a look at Masch’s positioning. He has come to the LB position but is totally oblivious to the man he should now be picking up. He turns, has one look then stays where he is ( maybe didn’t see him?) however, you’d think he’d realise when the ball is played through to the winger that it’s now his job to close him down. He makes no attempt to do this leaving it to Abidal. When the winger sets up to hit the ball across Alves is marking the scorer and Pique is intent on the ball coming in. It comes past Abidal to doesn’t even stretch out a leg to try to stop it ( Puyol would’ve thrown body at it) and the ball comes between Pique and Valdes to the man Alves has left who scores. Who to blame here? Thiago, Masch, Puyol, Abidal, Valdes or Alves? No, definitely Pique ! Yeah right.

    Goal 3 – There is no danger ! Valdes tries a v difficult pass of about thirty yards on a frozen pitch between two opponents. Notice Pique is in the LB position trying to help out by going wide as we always do. Why didn’t VV choose to pass to Masch who was free? Again, I’m gonna say Thiago should’ve done better in the challenge but there is still no real danger. Pique, seeing what’s happening is making his way back to a central position with a view to catching the CF offside if the ball is played through to him. However, Masch and Roberto make a pig’s breakfast of clearing it (two onto one remember) and the ball is played through to the runner. At this point Pique realises the offside ain’t gonna happen and turns quickly to come back to cover the CF but slips making him later at getting back. Still no real danger if Masch hadn’t stopped to ask for offside instead of racing to cover the cross. By the time he arrives he has to slide in as he’s late and misses his challenge. At this point the only thing I’d blame Pique for is that he should’ve slid the guy rather than letting him get his shot away. so who’s to blame for that one? Got it in one . . Is he at the top of his form? No, but in the last few games he has been getting better and you can’t single him out for today and let others off.

    I know we all get het up watching Barca play. It comes with the territory, especially when we know we’re so much better than the rest but don’t always show it. However, we have developed a tendency to lionise some players and create a witch hunt for others. They are all our players and they are all trying their best. If they weren’t they wouldn’t get near the pitch – Pep would see to that. It happened with Maxwell and already this year knives are being sharpened for Pedro, Pique and Cesc. It was only a couple of months ago that some on the blog were rushing into print to announce that Puyol was finished. At the same time we have the usual hyping up of the youngsters. Neither is accurate in my opinion.

    Happy to hear why I’m wrong and Pique was entirely to blame for all three goals, the global downturn and unrest in the Middle East 🙂

    1. Its not about the goals per se. Its his general game play. He still gotta learn when to play ball and when to hoof it.
      Im not blaming him for the defeat, and even if we hadnt lost his performance would still be below par.
      Im looking at his performance over this season and its shitty and during much of last season it was the same.

      If he is starting over Smash in the CB position then his form should be telling us why.
      In a back 4 of alves-pique-puyol-abidal. Hes turning into our weakest link and its shocks me to hear myself say it.

    2. Might have agreed about a month ago but not in the last few games. You’d be struggling to pick out many genuine mistakes he made in the last two.

  29. Hey, people… La Liga is not over.

    Sure, it seems very hard to win La Liga right now… but hey, once again, it is not over. CL > La Liga, anytime… and I definitely think that we are headed towards another CL title.

  30. Bassam: yeah, that was an unnecessary dig. I tend to say reckless things when I’m pissed but that’s no excuse. Apologies.


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