Osasuna 3, Barca 2, aka “Show me that you want it!”

Pressure is a nasty, brutal thing that manifests itself in various ways. Rolling into an away match 7 points down in the Liga standings, the querrulous might suggest that a cold, windy Pamplona is precisely the wrong place for a team whose away form has been, at best, funky.

But there it was.

For me, this piece isn’t as much a review, as a question: Does this club want it?

Osasuna wanted it. They wanted the hell out of it, and started the match looking a lot like we were supposed to, applying pressure on the ball, linking passes together and not giving the opponent a moment’s respite in pressing for the early goal. When it came, 5 minutes in, you could try to assess blame all that you like, but it was a team goal. No pressure, no possession, Puyol marking loose, leading to a shot that no keeper alive could have stopped. All three were team goals. When we are playing as we are supposed to, with want, Messi is as much a defender as Puyol. Everyone is all in. We aren’t all in, and ….

Suddenly it was 1-0, and Osasuna were rampant. Their pressure continued to lead to long clearances that did precious little more than cede possession. When it wound up 2-0, again it was done the Barca way, with style, aggression and lovely, lovely passing for a slot home goal that came at an exceptionally perilous time, and sent us into the locker room down 2-0.

At this point, it’s easy to hail the fight back, and the spike that youth players such as Tello and Cuenca brought to the side. Even Sergi Roberto, despite his lack of manliness on a clearance and maybesortatouch on our third disallowed goal, had a fine match. The future is bright, even if the present is still, for me, defined by a surfeit of want. It’s away matches that define a team and its desire. Hostile crowd, pumped up players, unfamiliar pitch.

Now what?

Unfortunately for us, it has too often been a lack of edge that results in draws and losses. You win the Liga by taking care of business against teams that you are supposed to take care of business against. In the past, we have. If we do this season, we’re sitting pretty. But we haven’t, and I lay it directly at the feet of want.

For you American football fans, recall that the Super Bowl came down to three plays: two passes from Tom Brady to Patriot receivers, both of which hit their hands and were dropped; that absurd pass to Manningham for an even more absurd catch. Want brings that little bit of extra concentration, that extra effort that gets you to the right spot at the fraction of a second that you need to be there.

When I’ve said it it before, I’ve been lambasted. I suspect that I will again. But I just don’t think that there is the same desire that drove the side in the past. Is it the lack of Xavi, the engine room for our attack? Nope. We’ve looked laconic with him in the side. Is it players going from doing it themselves, to thinking that someone else will do it? All valid questions whose answers lie in a 3-2 away defeat and potentially, a 10-point gap in the Liga standings.

For me, that gap isn’t due to injuries or fatigue. The club has had injuries before, it’s been tired before. This is different. Lack of fire? I can’t say. I can say that from what I have been seeing this season, and it’s easy to see how different the past few years have been via downloads or in my case, DVDs of seasons past. There isn’t the same edge, the same quality to the play. Would Pique have allowed his man to so easily get inside him for that third, backbreaking goal? Good question.

What I know is that championships come down to moments. Little things that change or define a match. It’s also a team’s best player stepping up and playing like that best player, not letting the club have things such as today’s match happen.

Yes, urgency came after going down 3-2. But it should have been there all along. And when people say “Oh, the Liga is dead,” I say not until it’s mathematically impossible, in theory.

But in reality, this team has to show me that it wants it. Is it foolhardy to bust legs and lungs, chasing after Liga points when the whole world thinks that EE’s victory is a forgone conclusion? Valid point. Champions League is what we have a real shot at, right? But I say that you take care of business, and put pressure on your opponent, as EE has done, week after week. Then you see how the opponent responds.

In our case, the answers have sort of been “Yeah, whatever.” But not in the obvious sense. It’s positioning, it’s hustle, it’s the concentration that allows a team to read a match and be in the right places, take care of the ball and snuff out danger before it has a chance to develop. As Guardiola said, without the ball, we’re crap. Osasuna, with its gritty, top-class effort, demonstrated that today. But to have the ball, you have to want it.

And I just don’t know that it does any longer, not in the way necessary to get it done against Liga opponents who are, increasingly, smelling blood in the water. It ain’t over til it’s over, but the players, the gladiators, have to want it to not be over.

It isn’t about blaming refs, or conditions. It’s about saying we didn’t get it done, yet again, this season, and having armchair pundits like me ask why. My want theory is just that, a theory, one supported in my own little mind by the lack of edge present in the side, a lack of edge that manifests itself in away matches at first. Can that home invincibility be the next flex point?

It’s easy to say that we didn’t want it enough, and not also give full credit to an Osasuna side that played its heart out. That would be a mistake. Those players worked like dogs, did all the right things and showed a heart and soul that always makes Pamplona a place where it’s pretty easy to get gored.

No, the season isn’t over. Nor is the Liga. But the want has to resurface, and I would imagine that Guardiola is wracking his brain, trying to figure out how to bring it back.

But not the blame game

This is a collective thing that shows how difficult sustained excellence is. For three glorious seasons, this has been the best club footballing side that anyone has ever seen. Psychologically, that’s hard to sustain, even harder to maintain. You can’t actually blame the players for a lack of want. They don’t even know that it has happened, really. How can you? You’re absolutely certain that you’re working as hard as you can. But the want factor is different, and that’s huge.

Excellence has a life cycle, the end of which is unavoidable. To be clear, I am in no way calling the players out for that lack of want. It’s like getting angry at your body when you get sick. Due to any number of factors, it happened. And now you deal with it. I can’t even begin to imagine the soul-crushing pressure that must attend every. last. match. for this side, knowing that the world is watching, waiting for a slip-up, the opportunity to say “A-HA! Told you they weren’t the best!”

What the world doesn’t understand is that these are human beings, striving, week after week, to make sporting magic. Like any other human, they respond to pressures, internal and external and suddenly, things are different.

Believe in this club

It ain’t over til’ it’s over, and it ain’t going to be easy. I’m sure some are saying that Guardiola, with his lineup today, all but said that the Liga is done with. But if you look at the chances that lineup created, he could just as easily have looked line a genius. That’s the game, and the breaks of the game. But a club also makes its own breaks.

The bandwagon is going to get a bit lighter. Let it. This is my club. It’s our club. It burns in my heart, and fills my soul with pride every time I look at my pile of soci cards. But it did the same thing during the last two Rijkaard years, the trophyless ones. That’s just what it does. But I believe, and will continue to believe in this club and love this club, irrespective of what happens in this, or any other season.

Because that’s just how it is.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

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.


  1. El Diez
    February 11, 2012

    We can say gud bye to Liga now…Players are tired..expected if injuries hit a small squad..on top of that tight fixtures..wed Bayer and weekend Valencia 😐

    the worst partis RM fans thinking about passilo now 😐 ..

  2. El Diez
    February 11, 2012

    I am not convinced with your comments “For me, that gap isn’t due to injuries or fatigue”
    The pressing game that Barca playes requires good amount of fitness and it is very difficult to maintain that tempo every season. Just like any other style this too has it weakness and we should accept it. 3 years of total domination cannot be match by any recent teams. If it wasn’t for that bus trip, i still believe we could have won 3 CL titles in a row, such is the quality of the team.
    Having said that we can still win CL and CDR. La Liga is over at-least for me, considering RM squad it is hard to believe otherwise. But realizing these doesn’t stop one from being not a good fan of the team

    • Messiah10
      February 12, 2012

      I’m not sure why anybody is freaking out over this game. Conditions were horrible! I repeat, HORRIBLE!!! Ok, maybe the starting 11 took this Osasuna side lightly. Can you blame them??? We wiped the pitch with them last year and this year. It’s hard not to imagine Pep looking at this game and thinking, “I can rest Xavi, give Ghostface extra recovery time, & bleed in the youngsters.” He made adjustments. Taking off Puyol was not the right one. Pique has been poor this year. To much hanky panky w/Shaqira and not enough “WANT”! There are balls getting behind him and players going past him that did not happen the last 3 years. Mach, Puyol, Abidal, Alves for my back line. Although even Alves has been poor of late. His short passing game has been extemely loose. Still crossing in the box w/surgical precision most of the season. Roberto should’ve come off at half time. Although Pedro definitley needed to come off. I thought he’d have his form back by now, but I’m getting worried. He was a killer the last 2 years. Confidence gone? To Selfish? There were times in the 1st half where he had 2 or 3 guys in the box waiting on a ball and he shoots wildly or gets punked by defender. Terrible. I can’t wait for Tue. I mean, the team will be angry with themselves for such a poor display and I think B. Leverkusen should be worried! One more thing. Messi hasn’t been able to finish the last couple of games. Last game was keeper. He was wonderful. Osasuna game was weird. Messi had some clear chances to put it in the back of the net and didn’t. Those would’ve been done and dusted the last 3 seasons. Even earlier in the season this year. Fatigue? Dumb Bad Luck? I’m not sure. Look at how many games the team has played over 4 years and it’s not rocket science to realize we need more depth and not B team depth either. I just hope this makes Pep stay so he can refocus the team and get it right. Unless, we win the CL and CDR which I think we will!!! Viva Barca 4 Life

  3. SoccerMom
    February 11, 2012

    Yay! An “a.k.a.”!

    Well, maybe they don’t want it so much. But I suppose they don’t have to want it as badly as I want it, or badly as I want them to want it. I’m watching the match from my sofa with a blankie and high-calorie snacks. Can’t just wave my Dorito at the screen and yell, “Want it, damn it!” (Well, I do, but it’s not very nice. Or, apparently, effective!)

    On the other hand, there’s something weird. Why would Pep play Sergio Roberto, Tello and Cuenca when he’s got Fabregas, Iniesta and Xavi on the bench? Where was Puyol? I’m confused. If it’s a Liga match — and every match now is a do-or-die Liga match — why start the youngsters?

    Could it be that Pep has decided to make some executive decisions? Look, the guys are exhausted. Season after season, torneo after torneo, match after match. They are not going to be stellar in every match ever torneo every season.

    Now they’re injured. There’s someone subbed out in as many matches as not, and once they’re out, they tend to stay out. It’s no one’s fault, really, but there it is. You send in Busi to stick out some legs and quarter-hour later he’s brought out on a stretcher. Sub Andrés in minute 88 and spend 2 minutes 30 seconds with your fingers crossed. It’s inhuman to not be affected by that. Remember how horrified Fabregas was. He actually turned grey. And Pep, clutching his head. “Omigod, poor Busi!” they thought. “Now what are we gonna do?”

    So maybe you say, we are going to play La Liga, and the Copa del Rey, and Champions, and do our best. But maybe it’s not healthy for the team or the club as a whole to go all-out for it all this year. So we’re down with CdR, and Champions is coming up. We’re down points in La Liga, and Madrid’s not looking too vulnerable.

    So we’ll call it Development Year. We bring up youngsters … a game here, a slot there. If they work out, great. If not, it’s experience. We’re going to work them into the system so that one day, when I’m gone or Keita is abroad or Andrés is hurt, we’ve got a full bench. And then, as another season go by, we’ve got another seasoned group.

    It’s not a bad idea, really. It’s pretty forward-thinking, in terms of securing a total-football future. It’s generous to the younger players, and it gives a much-needed break to the vets. After all, we can either run the veterans into the ground (or the hospital) and the team into a ditch, or we can make choices.

    I’m going to wait to see what happens in Champions.

    • Kimcelona
      February 11, 2012

      This is a really great comment!

      I am sitting here nodding in agreement with much of what you are saying.

      One thing people have forgotten is that Iniesta has just come back from a 3 week lay-off because of hamstring…would it be smart to put him in the game, in these conditions? The pitch was an ice-skating rink, Osasuna are a physical well-organised team at home, and we were chasing the game..too much risk of a relapse IMO. Xavi was also tired, we dont know if his tendons acted up after the game in midweek against Valencia (remember that?!) so maybe Pep did not want to risk him in these conditions either..Cesc came in but it was the Cuenca and Tello sub that made the difference.

      It really could be a development year.

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      Can’t just wave my Dorito at the screen and yell, “Want it, damn it!”

      Made my day from a 🙁 to a 🙂
      Thank you!

    • blitzen
      February 12, 2012

      Like I said in the liveblog, I would rather have lost this game and the league title than risked Iniesta on that ice rink of a pitch. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Messiah10
      February 12, 2012

      Tello and Cuenca are the real deal! I’m a big fan of Tello. I think he’s a 20+ goals a season guy in the making. Very polished for his age. He needs to build some strength though. Cuenca is lovely and lively too. He can put some beautiful balls in the box. What do you think we could get for Pedro at his point? Before the season started I’d say 20 million. Not sure if we’d get 10 mil now. I’m really disappointed with him. I know he’s been injured and hasn’t had much pitch time, but I don’t see him playing WITH the team. Rather, he’s playing for himself. The Canary needs to go. Tello and Cuenca stay up next year and take his spot. See what Villa does next season and maybe sell him in Jan.

  4. ooga aga
    February 11, 2012

    thanks for the review kxev

    i like SoMa’s thought: a development year.

    but, it’s really hard to make sense of this in real time. time will tell, and it will be easier to analyze, big-picture-wise, in some years’ time.

    we just cant say if, in 5 years, we will be saying: that was the beginning of the end; or, it was a necessary compromise (to sit xavi, iniesta etc); or, a temporary blip or slip in the dynasty.

    the history we are making can not be judged in one game or even in one season. we need to wait until we have read “the complete works.”

    either way, i have been made happy so many times already, all i can feel is thankful.

  5. Chiu
    February 11, 2012

    – I only watched the last 15 minutes, too sleepy to wake up at 2 am. At first, am so surprised to see both Xaviniesta sitting on bench (they’re standing actually in the last 15 minutes, Puyol too). We’re behind and Pep didn’t sub-in our best midfielders instead leaving Thiago and Sergi Roberto find out how to do it. What faith in youngsters? Very proud to see how Pep lives the philosophy. I don’t think any coach in this world would do this with liga title at stake.

    – I still have full confidence when the gap is 7 and we must field the best starting eleven available. Xaviniesta must play whenever they’re on list. I always count home game vs EE in Camp Nou would be 3 point for us. So in my imaginary optimism, the gap was 4. But now is 10, or 7 if we win in Camp Nou. Liga is not over, but almost over. We’re like in the ICU with few points away from last pulse. Still hope and keep hope. But I agree with majority of people here that it would miracle of miracle to make the comeback.

  6. Dave
    February 11, 2012

    After Madrids behaviour under Mourinho they do not deserve a pasillo. If anything over the past two seasons they should have offered grovelling apologies. So while Pep wont do it I wish Barca refuse to it.

  7. just listenin
    February 11, 2012

    One could hope the interesting approach Pep is taking is some kind of a genius level win-win as a couple of people have hinted toward above… and maybe not in so premeditated a way, but just because “he gets it” on a visceral level.

    You season the youth, and maybe expectations reset and psychology shifts. If RM are to slip up it would likely be because they lost their own edge feeling it was all in the bag. Opponents across the board can soon stop seeing it as a massive achievement to beat Barca… “Oh yeah?, you beat Barca?, good for you, you join the ranks as such legendary teams as the 2012 Getafe and Osasuna”. Something has to give. I have been saying for a while the king of the hill game is tough, it might be easier to climb and topple someone again soon, than it is to keep fending off everyone trying to have the game of their lives to claw you down… Which we shouldn’t kid ourselves, many have brought the game of their lives. When we’re not good we are still great, but some teams are just playing well above themselves and keepers are having phenomenal matches against us at levels they can’t and don’t sustain, Veras, Diego Alves, Fernandez…some peak performances. Then there is the luck and lay of the land issues, lots of posts, calls falling agsint you when you need them, etc. etc. Tough year, transition year. Soon the vets will be gone, those guys in the middle range, will be the seasoned vets, the youngsters will be assimilated and the new middle men, and new youth will show up and somewhere in there because this club, is this club, something magical will happen again, no doubt.
    Fascinating, and awesome, Visca Barca (win, lose or draw), great ride.

  8. camiseta
    February 11, 2012

    touche Kxevin.
    I ,too, believe in our club. 🙂

  9. Miguel
    February 11, 2012

    I haven’t watched the second half yet. Should I just start crying now? I have much too good of a buzz going on, though, for that.

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      2nd half performance was much much better and there was no Pedro =p

  10. mom4
    February 11, 2012

    Well, I’ve been away all day and now I guess I’m gonna go make myself watch this game. Our lineup seemed pretty telling. So if Pep wants to focus on the CL and CdR so be it, but then it would have been nice to rest Messi too. Let’s try the best we can without killing ourselves in the league an by all means avoid a pasillo, though.

    Enjoy the team, enjoy the style of play, love the club, enjoy your doritos, SoMa (yum!), downplay the importance of winning everything, and appreciate the beauty more when you do see it.

    Así es la vida/ així és la vida. Visca Barca.

  11. Oil_Can
    February 11, 2012

    It was tough watching this game. As fans we all want Barca to win every single game, but sometimes there will always be blips and complications.

    I was extremely frustrated while watching, I just couldn’t bare to watch us struggle to even impose our own playing style, it was just clustered mess (some moments however were brilliant). But to be honest I kind of feel guilty being upset and frustrated because you could see it on our players faces that they were feeling the real pain and frustration, and it was clear signs that they wanted to win this game so badly, the same during every game we drew and lost this season.

  12. Kimcelona
    February 11, 2012

    Call me supersticious, paranoid, off the rocker but I cannot, repeat cannot shake the feeling that too much is riding on winning the CL. I’m seeing too many cules talking as if its only natural we win the CL now…as if its some easy competition.
    The last time we were desperate to win it we got knocked out by Inter on a lacklustre first leg and bogus handball call. I’m just a little bit weary that some cules feel like its our ordained right to win the CL now because we seemed to have missed out on the Liga. Anything can happen in the CL. I’ve said it in the other thread but the team can be an own goal or equalizing away goal away from being knocked out of that competition.

    I’m not saying we can’t win it, I’d love to, but now I feel like theres this huge pressure now to deliver that :/

    • mom4
      February 11, 2012

      I see what you’re saying. But I don’t think that anyone here at least is saying it’s pre-ordained for us now to win the CL, rather that our focus shifts more to the CL i.e. our best players get rested for it etc.

  13. Skipper5
    February 11, 2012

    i really think injuries have done us in. The difference with the injuries we have had this season is that noone has really picked up the slack, no Pedro has made that breakout season, the likes of iniesta haven’t had a chance to hit full tilt every tym he has a run of games Murphy strikes and he is out 2wks,same with Sanchez. The lack of continuity has done us in coupled with the lack of full blood replacements. It is easy to take for granted how high a level iniesta plays at and these kids do a gr8 job but the iniesta villa level is “stratovarius”.

  14. barca96
    February 12, 2012

    So I guess we can’t beat Stoke on a cold wet Tuesday night 🙁

  15. barca96
    February 12, 2012

    -On a more serious note although I must say that the conditions were similiar to those in England, the winds were very strong. There is no way that we could’ve played tiki taka.


    But that just proved that we need a plan B! Fast & direct play just like how Osasuna’s goals came about and also ours. There is absolutely no point in trying to try and play 1-2’s around the box.

    -Messi is just awful. Thank God he can make up for it by passing.
    Man…he needs to frickin pass the ball more when he’s in the box!
    Alexis was clear on goal while he was off balance and still took a weak ass shot.

    Pep needs to sit down with him and bring him back down to earth!

    -I thought that Cesc should’ve started since he is more accustomed to these type of weather. And you could see the difference when he came on.

    -Pique needs to be benched!

    -Messi too for being so selfish and not helping in recovering the ball.

    -Abidal time and time again caught playing a striker on side.

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      Oh and I totally forgot about Pedro 😆

  16. February 12, 2012

    no, it’s not easy by any mean.. those 7 CL matches left are a mountain to climb.. many factors will involve there, such as luck, referee, etc..

    but with this small and injured squad, 7 points (+3?) behind in La Liga, a coach will make a priority..

    • February 12, 2012

      this supposed to be a reply for Kimcelona 😕

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      Hey finally you’re back.

      I’ve been lonely in this space lately because I had no new comments to read because we’re in the same time zone.

    • February 12, 2012

      lol, I just woke up tbh.. I didn’t sleep all night, I stayed awake until 05.30 AM to watch that performance..

  17. nia
    February 12, 2012

    I saw this coming from the beggining of the season that the team would not maintain the level of the last few yrs. I don’t think the team is complacent at all but, tired, hence the low work rate to win the ball back asap. Messi is just walking out there and even a half Messi, he’s still good but, if he doesn’t perform (which he really hasn’t in away games in la liga) the team suffers as everything goes thru him.
    I’m not mad with my team as every good thing comes to an end but, i don’t think this is the end of Barca. I bet if it wasn’t Mou at EE not a lot of people would be that upset if we lose liga. The ref’s decisions haven’t helped the issue, neither have the injuries but, we just have to get over it and move on. I doubt RM will lose many more points. At least we are in one final and hopefully we can get to the CL final as well. Last yr i predicted that we’d win liga and CL and when the season started, i predicted CL and copa, hope my wishes come true again. VISCA BARCA!!!

  18. Roberto Senyera
    February 12, 2012

    I’m sorry BFBers but this must be said. I’ve had a few pints tonight but that is beside the point. This isn’t directed at anyone in particular so please note that moderators. The league is officially unofficially lost as of today. Anyone that still thinks otherwise needs professional help. Those overly optimistic folk please schedule an appointment Monday with your family doctor or mental health care practitioner.

    I love Pep but playing Sergio Roberto today was a bridge too far. Every other selection I could agree with under the circumstances. But Cesc should have been in from the off for Roberto.

    Forget the league this year. Give us the trophy with the big ears and the one that was run over by a bus last year and I’ll still be happier than an Irishman on St. Paddy’s Day 😉

    I feel like someone ran over my dog today. Totally gutted 🙁

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      What is wrong with being optimistic?

      I also thought that by playing S. ROberto in a tough away stadium in a tricky condition was the icing on the cake to suggest that he is not going all out on the La Liga.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 12, 2012

      No offense but if you think the league can still be won than you need some medication. Optimism is one thing but after tomorrow the gap will be ten points. If you think that gap can be bridged then you are not optimistic, you my friend are delusional.

      Cesc should have started for Roberto. Cesc is still young (24, like Messi and unlike Xavi who needs the rest), is coming off a blinder in his last outing, and is not coming off an injury (like Iniesta and Busquets). Hey, Pep is the best in the business but he layed an egg on Roberto over Cesc today. That alone could have been the difference. Pep played too many non best XI today and expect a victory. He may have said before today that they will go after the league full tilt but his selections spoke louder than words. He knew the league was done before we lost today and reprioritized for the UCL. That’s the way I say it and interpreted it. No offense, just my observation and opinion.

      It’s a shame really. This team has the quality to have at least matched The Dream Team with four straight La Liga titles and even match the EE’s five in a row with their turkey vulture squad of the past. Hell, they could have past five in a row. Damn those injuries.

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      I agree with a lot what you had to say but I just didn’t like the fact that you think it’s wrong for people to have some optimism.
      I mean, I personally don’t think it’s possible for us to win the league. Been saying that since last month or so when we had the
      “which title is more important” debate.

      But still, you might have offended others who are optimistic.

  19. Roberto Senyera
    February 12, 2012

    Any team that gives up three goals to Osasuna does not deserve to win the league. Full stop.

    We better be focused come Tuesday and the rest of the UCL campaign or this season will become a Pepto Bismol season in a hurry. And how I hoped and prayed that Mou Mou would be sent back to England with his tail firmly between his legs never to soil La Liga again. Alas, that will not come to pass. I feel as though Lady Justice has turned a cheek.

    I’ll need some tequila to get through until Tuesday. Osasuna put three past us?!?! Wtf Batman. Amigo, pass the Patron por favor.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 12, 2012

      As Wayne Rooney might say after such a turd of a performance today, “I’m absolutely gob smacked!”

      The UCL cannot recommence soon enough. We all could use a proper remedy to get this bad taste from our mouths.

      Dos cerveza por favor. And a Patron chaser. Gracias señor.

    • SoccerMom
      February 12, 2012

      Roberto, I’m sending you home with my hometown favorite:

      1. Butter-garlic (b.g.) fries

      2. A burrito “as big as your head” (or gyro, take your pick)

      3. Two ibuprofen.

  20. simple_barcafan
    February 12, 2012

    I just want to say, This is(was?) a great team. An incredible team. One whose beauty has enthralled all of us. There was/will always be comparisons with great teams,and for cules, most often with the Dream Team (whether we care or not). This team has nothing to prove to anybody, it had done much already. Yet I had this one small desire that they win this la liga one last time, just to shut that nagging voice which might, at the time of comparing point out that the Dream Team won 4 in a row. Probably it wont matter, it shouldn’t, but…

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      Why WAS

      They still can produce brilliant performances but it’s just not on a consistent basis.

      They are still the best team in the planet right now.

    • simple_barcafan
      February 13, 2012

      @barca96: that was just for people who are lamenting that our best is over.

  21. Sheena
    February 12, 2012

    I think that the fact that we’re all left reeling from conceding 3 goals at one of the toughest grounds in the Liga is more a testament to how stellar this team has been under Pep instead of how poorly it played last night.

    These losses happen to every team at some point. The idea that it’s so uncommon for it to happen to our team only goes to show the kind of level it’s been performing at consistently for the past 3 seasons. You’ve got to admire that.

  22. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
    February 12, 2012

    Here is a thought: in their last 2 home matches Osasuna lost to racing (17th in the league) and to pathetico, PATHETICO FOR GODS SAKE
    and were on a 5 games winless streak, but still they can beat us?
    nevertheless LOVE THIS TEAM.

  23. Chiu
    February 12, 2012

    – Pique??? What happened to you dude? Overall he was indiscipline with his positioning and marking. He looked lazy to run; no real effort in covering Osasuna player and really look like playing ice skating there. Pique is the player that I couldn’t saw that “want”, the most. All three goals we conceded was fairly involving mistake from Pique, I second someone comment about this from last thread.

    – As much as I admire Pep confidence in youngsters, I agree with R.Senyera that playing S.Roberto was too gutsy, considering Cesc was fit (assume benching Xavinesta was injury precaution) and liga title at risk.

    – I always in the camp that consider liga is the most important title of the season and we must go all out on it, at least until it was 7 point gap before this match. But pragmatically speaking now, CL is utmost priority while keep wishing small probability EE to let their lead evaporate or they would undergoing bad form spell sometime between now to May. Perhaps EE players are already partying their victory now. **sigh**

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      Pique is hopeless now.
      Pep should’ve never taken Puyol out. Pique is the one who should’ve gone out or at least played at DM. Never be in CB again!

      It was Jim who pointed out his errors btw.

    • Jim
      February 12, 2012

      I did point out an error for the third but only in the context of saying he is being unfairly blamed for all three goals when it was down to a whole host of defensive errors. Don’t like it when folks just look at who is standing closest and attribute blame to them. Pique was certainly no more to blame for the goals than Mascherano was and perhaps to a lesser extent Abidal.

      He’s just the current whipping boy. You can’t suddenly say the way he moves looks “lazy to run”. That’s the way he’s run all his Barca career and it has seen off CR7 often enough. I’ve just rewatched the first 30 minutes concentrating on Pique. In that time he completed about 10 passes including some long ones and was guilty of losing possession with his passes twice ( once arguably the result of Abidal putting him under pressure and he put it out of play, the other an attempt at a through ball. ) You just can’t watch those first 30 and suggest he isn’t playing well. In fact, watching the second goal again I wasn’t nearly hard enough on Alves in my reply in the last post . He just leaves his man completely unattended to run in and score. Pique doesn’t even know he’s there as he’s behind him.

      Maybe he deteriorated after the first 30 but I don’t remember thinking that live. Would someone care to point out these horrendous mistakes he’s making to me as I’m obviously dropping off in the middle of matches and missing his errors? Again, i would have agreed he wasn’t playing well up till a few games ago but since then he has done much better.

    • Chiu
      February 12, 2012

      Nothing easy in CL. No taking for granted.

    • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
      February 12, 2012

      Bayer Leverkusen are a very good team, however they have their own injury crisis, it wont be easy at all but i think we can beat them.

    • nzm
      February 12, 2012

      Yeah – well, Barca just lost to Osasuna and played a very poor game, all the team was out of form.

      Kinda evens things up, doesn’t it? 🙂

    • Laurentiu88
      February 13, 2012

      Osasuna’s stats were bad too and they put 3 past us. Let’s admit that we are in a hole and need a long sting of good games to recover.

  24. barca96
    February 12, 2012

    I have a question to those people who are so against the use of video technology.

    Are you guys still against it now that we have lost so many points due to human error?

    -offside calls
    -disallowed goals
    -off the ball fouls

    • February 12, 2012

      Why are we blaming the linesman this much? In the first half Alexis was onside, but then they also had a similar chance which was also nullified. I though the decision to disallow Alexis goal in second half was the right one. It took at least 3-4 replays to make sure that the ball didn’t make contact with Roberto. So why blame the linesman, he made the correct call.

      We lost because of our mistakes. Especially the mistakes which lead to the 3rd goal. We had the match in our hands before that goal happened and mostly we would have also won if that hadn’t happened.

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      I’m not talking about this particular match. I’m talking in general, not even just this season but for hte past few years already. FIFA jsut needs to implement a video technology in order for teams not to get these stupid calls against them.

      This simply has to stop! We have the technology so why not make full use of it?

  25. Huckleberry
    February 12, 2012

    There is a crisis. no doubt. Just look at the record of the last 5-6 games. At a traditionally tough ground and without the permission to lose, Pep sent out a team of b-teamers and out of form a-teamers. deliberatly or not… Besides the big games, the team looks rather demotivated in these days.

  26. Helge
    February 12, 2012

    I think we will better know whether Pep sees this year as a ‘development year’ after the Valencia match.

    Yesterday he could have been pushed to field such a line-up due to the injuries, the pitch condition (which might increase the risk of new injuries resp. of reoccuring injuries from the players who have just been declared fit) and the looming CL match.
    After the Valencia match it is one of the vey few weeks without a midweek-match. So if Pep chooses a rather unconventional line-up for that match, I’m sure that he uses la Liga for a development year.
    That’s not to say he intended to do that from the beginning of the season, but over the year decisions went against us, pro Real Madrid and Real Madrid is playing an incredible season (credit where it’s due, they would be on a 28 matches winning streak in all competitons if they didn’t face us thrice).
    But those 3 matches that Real Madrid did not win inspire me with hope for a succesful Champions League campaign, even if we should drop behind farther in la Liga.

    I also want to say that for me, a ‘pasillo’ would not be the end of the world. Our players made classy comments about applauding Real if they win the title. They won’t die from giving them a pasillo.
    It also could turn the match into the least-heated Clasico since the Mou era and thus have a positive effect on the relation between Barca and RM Spanish internationals (which might be destroyed by another CL clash, though – unless we face each other in the quarter finals, which is before la Liga Clasico. Imagine you were a Madrid player or fan and you lost to Barca in the CL quarters, would a pasillo do you any proud then?).

  27. Hassan Chakroun
    February 12, 2012

    Optimism is what drives us forward.. One has to believe in order to achieve.. Wining the CDR and the CL would be a blast… Remember we would be the only team to ever defend it’s CL crown successfully, so we still have a lot to play for.. Sure la liga is important but our dominance was always going to end someday.. Let be now when we have pep to correct and build, better than winning la liga now and having EE end our streak Sometime in the near future when pep is not here.

    There are many positives from this season.. Giving confidence to tello Cuenca Roberto and dos Santos will surely benefit us in the near future. The league was not lost against osasuna.. Even if we had won yesterday it still would have been a difficult task to overcome a desperate mourinho driven real Madrid side.. I mean 7 points is a lot.

    Those who are criticizing pep for not playing xavi iniesta and fabregas should realize that iniesta is back from 3 weeks on the sidelines, xavi isn’t 25 any more, and fabregas is jaded. Why would he ever want to risk his 3 maestros in a weekend that might not change anything if EE defeated levante when we still have the CL and CDR final to play for.. And if not against teams like osasuna then when are our young gems going to get playing time, learn and establish themselves.. Come on guys give pep a break, his veins pump up blue and red.

    A combination of several factors ended our la liga dream this year.. Injuries to ibi guaje ghost face busi Pedro and king xavi surely effected us, in addition to bad luck.. Refereeing surely went against us, and the fact that some of our first team players lost a bit of their hunger (who would leave shakira laying naked on the bed to go train at -4 degrees)..

    Maybe it’s better to realize that la liga is gone now so we can channel our effort solely on CL, than to spend our energy on a lost cause.. Mourinho wants la liga more than anything in the world, let him have it, and let’s prepare to celebrate a historic CL. And come up next year with a better well built more experienced squad.

    Visca barca I visca catalunya

    • Helge
      February 12, 2012

      I guess Mourinho wants the CL even more, because that’s what he’s been appointed for. Winning the 10th CL and beating Barcelona. So far he has not done neither of it.

  28. Gogah
    February 12, 2012

    What a brilliant revenge story for osasuna and i imagine that this 3-2 win feels way better for them than the 8-0 win did for us.
    I don’t want to criticize Pep, but i would have played Fab instead of Sergi and Masch instead of Pique.
    Also I just can’t remember the last time I saw the team go down 2-0 under Guardiola.

    • Sheena
      February 12, 2012

      0-2 against Hercules at the Camp Nou last season? And against Betis over at their stadium?

    • barca96
      February 12, 2012

      Oh and Mr. Twitter Rio didn’t help the cause by refusing to accept Suarez’ offer for a handshake.

      Interesting conversation between Rio & a journalist that I found yesterday but only decided to copy and paste it today.

      rioferdy5 Rio Ferdinand
      I think we need an English manager now, we don’t need anything else lost in translation….Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance.

      DickinsonTimes Matt Dickinson
      Perhaps @WayneRooney and @rioferdy5 can tell us who should be next #mufc manager too? Or not their place to say?

      rioferdy5 Rio Ferdinand
      @DickinsonTimes our manager is still in the job you egg!

      One fan replied something like this;
      So is Spurs you egg!

      But unfortunately that comment has been removed I think

    • February 12, 2012

      That made me lol

  29. blitzen
    February 12, 2012

    I have identified the problem. Just look at the picture at the top of this post. Pep is wearing Arsene Wenger’s Puffy Coat of Doom!

    We must take that evil garment and burn it immediately!!! 😈

    • nia
      February 12, 2012

      HA ha, i thought the same thing when i saw that and remembered Arsene when he came to camp nou last yr and he looked like a walking sleeping bag.

    • messifan
      February 12, 2012

      But Pep wore it better!

  30. Jim
    February 12, 2012


    • Jim
      February 12, 2012

      Mind you, it would’ve been nice if the apology had included Evra rather than just for letting down the good name of the club. Good also to see Dalglish ( one of my boyhood heroes ) also having to apologise for his post match aggression to the interviewer. Couldn’t believe what I was hearing from him last night.

  31. Ryan
    February 12, 2012

    A moment of silence for the end of Puyol’s undefeated streak. 🙁

  32. nzm
    February 12, 2012

    Watching Valencia beating Sporting Gijon at the Mestalla.

    I’ve never seen so much diving from one team since watching the aquatics at the Olympics.

    Their tactical fouling is admirable if you like that kind of play, and unless the refs grow some and start to ping it early with cards, it’s going to become a more prominent part of Liga play.

    Valencia is well-rehearsed in playing the tainted fine line between sportsmanship and thuggery. I used to admire them.

  33. February 12, 2012

    The gap in points between us and EE is freakish. We haven’t even lost to them! Goes to show how good their squad is, even their reserves can do the job away. Messi has been playing for so long without a break he isn’t his usual prolific self. We simply need more players.

    The small squad has its advantages, and it worked last time. Even then, VV said that it was the hardest they’ve ever worked to win. We still can beat any team over two legs, or in a final. In the league though, depth is key.

    I’m not buying the argument that we’ve lost the hunger and what not. Don’t believe me? Watch the team work their behinds off the next game. This team is still the best, the squad isn’t..


    Oh and I pity Leverkusen..

    • Helge
      February 12, 2012

      Careful… the match against Leverkusen has not been played yet.

      I hope you can pity them afterwards, but right now we should better be humble. Stick to our humility. Maybe the not-sticking to it is also one reason for our situation in la Liga (thinking about the matches in San Sebastian and Getafe, for instance).

    • February 12, 2012

      Did you try getting tickets Helge? I assume it’s too late now of course..

    • Helge
      February 12, 2012

      haha, I tried…

      When the tickets were on sale, the ticket shop received 200,000 phone calls within the first 15 min(!).
      I guess they did not answer all of them, but about 180,000 received a busy tone.
      For non-club members it is impossible to get a ticket from the official ticket shops.

  34. TITO
    February 12, 2012

    If someone have enough of spare time and go back to the games(some site) this season and have a look at the goals we conceded, just to count all the mistakes that we made and that have cost us goals.
    I’m a bit lazy about statistics but i would like to know it cause i’m sure is a high percentage of it.

    • February 13, 2012

      I’m not one of them, but there are some people who believe that every goal scored is the result of a defensive mistake.

  35. Judas Pissed
    February 12, 2012

    Well I never – EE 1-0 down so get a penalty & a man sent off. Thats not something that happens EVERY GAME THEY PLAY!

    • February 12, 2012

      I try to not to watch them play because every time I do something like this happens. Almost without fail! Was it at least an actual penalty or soft as it normally is it?

    • jordi™
      February 12, 2012

      It was a penalty but the handball clearly wasn’t intentional nor a clear goal scoring opportunity.The referee didn’t hesitate to give a second yellow, but when ramos did a Pepe and assaulted a player off the ball, no red card of course. Lets say Pepe’s handball last week against Getafe was much clearer and we all know if the ref had the guts to actually call it he wouldn’t have given Pepe a second yellow, but thats life.

  36. Helge
    February 12, 2012

    So to all the optimists who keep talking about ‘la Liga ain’t over till it’s over’ etc. ?!?
    It is illusory to think so, sorry. Don’t deceive yourselves.

    This la Liga season is over. Full stop.

    • blitzen
      February 12, 2012

      It may be or it may not be. I’m just that the team doesn’t share your point of view. They will keep fighting until the last possible moment and the least we as fans can do is support their efforts.

    • Helge
      February 12, 2012

      They did not really fight during the first half of Osasuna. There will be forther moments during which the team will not fight for la Liga.
      And I don’t blame them for it. I even think they should take the rest of la Liga for a development season.

      I will still cross my fingers for them in every Liga match, but while doing so I for myself know that it won’t give us the title.

      I am already now looking forward to the Valenica and Atletico matches because they might be fun, but they are not relevant with regards to winning another trophy.

      The relevant matches are the CL and CdR final. If the team shows a pathetic performance in the CL as they did for instance at Getafe, I will blame them for once.
      And then keep looking forward to a new season, to a probably even tougher challenge – but with a rejuvenated Messi (cannot say this about the Spanish internationals, damn the EURO* ^^.

      *although I’m also looking forward to it, sooo many great matches (at least on paper) already in the groupstages. That tournament will be fun!

  37. February 12, 2012

    Oh great, yet another penalty and hatrick for ronaldo. This season just keeps getting better and better!

    • jordi™
      February 12, 2012

      I think the interesting stat is they havent had a single penalty awarded against them.Shocking if you consider how aggressive oafs like pepe and ramos are in the box.Then you have pepe and higuain playing goalkeeper and it all adds up.

  38. jordi™
    February 12, 2012

    So the ivory coast lose the ACN without conceding a goal.Great story for the Zambian team.

  39. February 12, 2012

    Three things:


    –I’m not into spite, or scoffing at things that EE gets that we don’t. We had a chance to win every game that we drew or lost. And we didn’t. That’s on us. Not any referees, or goalposts, or “if only” stuff that EMD and Sport will babble about endlessly.

    –If some of us want to have hope, let us alone. There’s Champions League and a difficult away trip to Russia for them. There’s also a difficult stretch in which they are away to Betis, Villarreal and Osasuna. They’re also away to Pathetico, but we know what will happen then. They also have Sevilla and Valencia. Comparatively, our schedule is a little easier.

    Anything is possible, until it is no longer possible. I don’t think calling fellow BFBers delusional or silly helps matters. At. All.

    • Helge
      February 12, 2012

      I didn’t want to offend anybody, so I hereby apologize if someone felt offended by my statement about optimistic assessment of our Liga campaign.
      For me, illusory is not as strong as delusional though (but I’m not a native speaker, so maybe my idea of the difference between them is wrong).

    • February 12, 2012

      Oh, no apologies really necessary, just making the point that for many, part of loving a team means never, ever admitting that the team doesn’t have a chance until the math says “That’s it. Done.” I’m one of those weirdos. I think that many others are, as well.

      I just believe that though Mou Mou certainly has them taking care of business, anything could happen. A TB injury makes them a very beatable side, for example. Not to wish injury on anyone, but things happen, just as they have to us this year.

    • February 13, 2012

      I’m more concerned about the equating of optimistic BFBers with people who have legitimate mental disorders.

      Perpetuation of the stigma associated with mental disorders and all that. I won’t get into it because I could rant and ramble for hours about it.

  40. Dave
    February 12, 2012

    Just reflecting on the match. The team was very poor but I honestly feel they are burnt out from years of excellence. I honestly don’t know how Pep will motivate them. We do miss Tito,no question. I feel Spain will suffer this summer also.

    • nzm
      February 12, 2012

      Tito was on the bench for the Osasuna game.

      However, I haven’t seen him much at the team training.

  41. Helge
    February 12, 2012

    Some good (night) news:
    Cristian Tello has been registered for the CL knockout stage! 🙂

    • February 12, 2012

      TELLO! Is he the new Pedro!!

    • K_legit in Oz
      February 12, 2012

      He’s not the new anything..he’s just an original Tello

  42. Ferdinando
    February 12, 2012

    It is impossible for a team to maintain the level Barca has held for the last three years. It is inevitable to take a step back due to injuries, ill fortune, and complacency. I believe la liga is done. Watching Pique and Alves this season has been cringe inducing. The two have their mind somewhere else. And they are entitled to because they are human beings. Messi looks mortal and is playing more and more as he does for Argentina. The injuries to Villa, Iniesta and Pedro have hurt the continuity and that has hurt any cohesion and rhythm.
    I am encouraged to see Puyol play so reenergized. I was happy to see Sergi Roberto, Cuenca and Tello play well yesterday. I am looking forward to seeing Montoya soon. I am disappointed in Fabregas and Alexis but can see that they can fit into the system when all the parts are fit and healthy.
    There is nothing wrong with taking a step back as long as the team is willing to learn from it and become stronger.

  43. February 13, 2012

    I think we should rest Messi for the first leg in Germany. He needs a bit of rest to get his mind straight.

    As far as La Liga is concerned, it’s over. There is no 2 way about it. Madrid may drop some points, but we will drop more. So we may have to roll out the rather humiliating Guard of Honour for the wretched rivals when they visit Camp Nou in April. Even though it will be humiliating, that could seriously shake the boys up again as most of them are from the youth set ups and understand the significance of the same.

  44. February 13, 2012

    I thought both Thiago and Roberto played really well against Osasuna. Agreed Iniesta and Xavi would have done a better job, but those kids were pretty decent and exciting. The only mistake done by Guardiola for me was starting Pedro ahead of Tello or Cuenca or even Fabregas. That could have been avoided. Having said that we conceded goals from pathetic defensive mistake. The mistakes which lead to the thrid goal was teh one which killed us. Otherwise we would have won this match. What is worrying is Pique’s attitude. He simply stops tracking the attacker at times. To make matters worse he is slow and once he does that it’s all over. Remember the mistake that lead to Higuain’s shot in the match against Real, he is doing lot of those recently. Guardiola needs to give him some serious talking. He also needs to talk to Abidal to stop being so fancy with his skills. The third goal cam with abidal holding the ball long unnecessarily and then passing it to Valdes, who made the mistake when put under pressure. Abidal had enough outlet to pass the ball, but he tried to be clever.

  45. simple_barcafan
    February 13, 2012

    if it is worth playing for, then it is worth fighting for…

  46. February 13, 2012

    Im sure we will go through to the next round of the CL, I just hope we take care of business in Germany. Our 1st (always away) leg performance in the Round of 16 has been miserable under Pep:

    1-1 against Lyon
    1-1 against Stuttgart
    2-1 against Arsenal

    Although the draws aren’t *that* bad considering that they’re on the opponents ground, but the performance we’ve had has been usually abysmal. Against Lyon we got outplayed for a half, against Stuttgart we were getting owned (even by Hleb) till Ibra scored an ugly, grind like goal (the type we bought him for), and everyone already knows the story with the lost leg against Arsenal.

    We’ve always made up for it in the return leg at the camp Nou (5-1 vs Lyon, 4-0 vs Stuttgart and 3-1 vs Arsenal). Still, it will be nice to be over with it straight away so that we can rest Messi in the return leg (Yeah, I doubt it too). It’s Hlebuary after all…

    -As for La Liga, it’s over in my eyes. Not being pessimistic here or anything. Not only do we depend on EE losing points, but also on ourselves being consistent in our winning which hasn’t been the case much of this season the in the league. Too many times we’ve fallen off to sleep, become complacent, or haven’t been out all since the beginning. Basically more reactive and proactive.

    Anyway, my prediction at the start of the season was that we’d win La Liga and perhaps the CDR. I personally don’t think there’s going to be a team winning the CL twice in a row anytime soon. It’s not really an argument, just a feeling, which might be (hopefully) completely false. We don’t have any real opponent to be afraid of, I’m sure we can beat EE and Bayern, but were pretty prone to other stuff…

    • Helge
      February 13, 2012

      I think there is only one opponent, and that is EE.

      Bayern Munich is playing a rather poor football since months, and their defense will not become any better. It is a pathetic defence for a team that wants to fight for the CL title.

      Although they have both been eliminated, the Manchester clubs could have been a dangerous opponent for both (us and EE). I don’t really get how they finished 3rd in their respective groups, because their overall performance this season is the strongest in Europe, apart from the 2 Spanish giants.

      My current top5 in Europe:

      1. Real
      2. Barca

      3. ManCity
      4. ManUtd

      5. Bayern/Milan

      (Real on top only due to la Liga standing, the first two places are tight fought, then there is a small gap to the Mancurians and a little bigger gap to Bayern/Milan who I deem equally strong/weak).

    • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
      February 13, 2012

      I think we will win away at Leverkusen, except for the long term injuries most of our players are back, while bayer have up to five regular starters injured, including their two top scorers
      furthermore, they played a very tough game away to BVB dortmund on saturday (same day when Osasuna kicked our a****, but i reallly belive that we got this.

Comments are closed.