Boy, did someone let me have it on Twitter, after I Tweeted: Wonder when pple will realize that the players won’t blame the refs because they know it’s all on them, not refs.
And the response: do you honestly believe that? they don’t talk about the refs because it’s futile not because there aren’t any problems.
And while it reassures me to know that I am, once again, stupid, allow to suggest an alternate bit of reality.
We’ve all heard our players, as well as our coach, talking about — rather, not talking about the officials. Guardiola has said it, Fabregas has said it, Iniesta has said it, Xavi has said it.
Despite all of that, we see the stories, about how the table would be were it not for X or Y refereeing decision, this sort of alternate world nonsense that is, customarily, the province of those whom we have, in the past, vanquished.
“They get all the calls,” bleats another manita victim. “How are we supposed to play against them and the ref?”
Then we sit here, in this space, and note that had the opponent defended better, perhaps …. And we are absolutely right to say that, just as I am absolutely right (in my own, cockeyed little environs) in saying that we aren’t 10 points down in the Liga because of the officials. Have the officials made calls that could have been called another way? You bet. Have those calls affected play? Absolutely. Are those calls the reason that we’re looking up the table at our most hated rival?
Aye, there’s the question, right? Here’s another way to look at it:
Real Sociedad draw: We’re up 0-2 and rolling, then we lose interest, with shambolic defending. Is that the fault of the officiating?
Valencia draw: Abidal gets Valencia off to a bright start with an own goal, a ball that Valdes has controlled and lined up. Perhaps the official put tape over Valdes’ mouth, so that he couldn’t talk to his defenders, then distracted our players so that they would again defend like dimwits on the second Valencia goal.
Sevilla draw: I’m going to be silly, here, and ask what might have happened had Messi not taken the worst penalty kick in the world?
Athletic Bilbao draw: What might have happened had Pique been on his game during the goal mouth scramble? Good question, right? Or what if we’d played any defense at all during that first Bilbao goal? Just asking.
Getafe loss: Villa shoots wide, Sanchez shoots wide, Messi goes a dribble too far, everybody and their mama can’t hit the broad side of a barn …. or they hit the post.
Espanyol draw: Let’s just leave two unmarked men in the box so that they can head home for an equalizer. And lost in the “ref should have called the Pedro handball” frawfraw is that Pique missed and easy one, then Iniesta skied another easy one, after the handball. And this doesn’t even include the rash of blown chances before that desperate attack on a reserve keeper.
Villarreal draw: Messi misses a sitter, with the keeper dead to rights. Why chip, when you can just slot it past him? Then Fabregas misses an open net.
Osasuna loss: Of course, the refereeing was the cause of our ridiculous defending in that match, right?
Isaiah made a previous reference to this foolishness in an earlier post, but I got to thinking about it, and wanted to document it, match by match, the errors that led to our points deficit. You math majors can work some figures if you like, but it doesn’t take a lot for me to see that if even a few of those draws are wins, even losses draws, That Other Spanish Team is a lot more nervous.
Further, if we take care of business the way that we have the past few seasons, we are 8 points up, at the top of the table. But because that didn’t happen, we are 10 points down with a fight on our hands. Did the officials miss some calls this season that could have benefited us? Absolutely. As they do every season. The difference is that in past seasons, we have been so incredibly good that it didn’t matter. So a bad call meant a 4-1 win instead of 5-1. Oh, well. Whatevs.
We should never, ever be a club that makes excuses, and blaming officials is an excuse, make no mistake about it. Mou Mou has been doing it all season, making a point of it as part of his strategy. But the fact that so many of their opponents wind up playing with 10 men has vastly more to do with the way that side plays, than any officiating controversies. Should they have had players sent off at some points this season? Sure, okay. But we’ve gotten a number of beneficial calls as well.
As Guardiola has said, officials are human, and they make mistakes. He’s right. But when an official has a bad match, they usually have a bad match for both sides. Opponents can often just as easily point out moments they have been wronged by those damnable, Barcelona-centric officials.
I didn’t want this to get lost in the commotion of the last post, because it’s a very good series of thoughts that deserve to be grokked in their fullness. blitzen threw up a link to this post, where journalist Martin Pernau notes that the board is screwing the pooch, that the departure of Juvenil A coach Oscar Garcia was preventable and further, there are board-related complexities in the renewal of Pep Guardiola.
Then nzm rolled in to drop this bomb:
This year, Pep’s holding out for total control, and if he doesn’t get it, he’s going to walk. After the last pre-season fiasco, he’s determined that it won’t happen again while he’s manager – he was furious after the US tour. All Rosell can think of is turning the team into show ponies playing in front of sponsors and potential money machines.
Last season, Pep was a little untouchable – given that it was Rosell’s first year and he didn’t want to rock the boat too much. Luis Enrique took the flak. This year, it’s Oscar Garcia – turned down for the Barca B job in favour of Eusebio; doing wonders with Juvenil A and then stabbed in the back again when it looked as if Eusebio wasn’t going to work but was then renewed. Eusebio will have no doubt sold his soul to get the renewal. Little wonder that Garcia is going.
I’m not at all confident that Pep is going to renew, because I’m not sure if Rosell and co are willing to hand over that much power – à la Perez to Mourinho. However, if he does renew, he’ll have made certain that he will get his own way 100%. He’s just requested Puyol’s renewal which includes a contract for the capità that will see him working for the club when he retires. In the meantime, just as Pep is holding out on renewal, the board is “gently threatening” him with “leaked” contingency plans about alternative coaches to take his place.
It’s rather ugly and will most likely get worse. I’d wager that we’re only hearing about 10% of what’s really happening.
My .02 is that Guardiola is Laporta’s coach, and RoSELL hates everything about Laporta, from the car he drives to his underwear. As such, it won’t take much for a coach who was Laporta’s selection, and let’s add one for whom he went out on a limb and was richly rewarded for that risk, to get on bad paper with RoSELL and the Gnomes.
Further, if what nzm suggests is true, is Guardiola making such demands to force their hand and give him an exit strategy?
More good questions, and I’m sure everyone here will have plenty of answers.
Forgive me for reTweeting a Tweet in the blog format, but in efforts to assuage my worries about this weekend’s match, I came upon an interesting statistic about Messi’s most-victimized Liga opponents, and observed nothing says independencia like Messi’s record against capital sides, noting his 17(!) withdrawals at the ATM, and 14 against the Evil Empire. Did it make me feel any better? Not really, but as you all know, the determined cule needs precious little more than an off-kilter sunrise to see gloom and doom.
And that’s what I know.