Athletico – Barcelona Liveblog

Vj is coming up big and liveblogging today, so don’t be too hard on him.

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi, Fabregas

Bench: Pinto, Pique, Adriano, Keita, Thiago, Pedro, Cuenca


Vj says the liveblog will start ~15 minutes before the match

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  1. February 26, 2012

    Vj did say that the liveblog will start ~15 mins before the match. Approx. 10 mins later..

  2. Dave
    February 26, 2012

    Ref in the Rayo match was a disgrace. Whats new…

    • Helge
      February 26, 2012

      Another poor match, another 3 points for Madrid.

      I just hope they keep on driving that road, then we will k*ll them in the CL.

  3. barca96
    February 26, 2012

    Please moderate my comment. It’s been 4 hours.

    What a silly challenge by Cesc. It wasn’t as bad as it looks though and far from the disastrous challenge that my commentator is saying.

  4. Helge
    February 26, 2012


    Messi finally gets a game of rest, it was his 5th yellow 😀

    • blitzen
      February 26, 2012

      He has just been rested for a full week. Get off that horse, it’s dead.

  5. blitzen
    February 26, 2012

    Thank you Victor, thank you Puyi, thank you Messi!

  6. February 26, 2012

    I need to pluck out a few grey hairs after tonight..

  7. February 26, 2012

    So where can I lodge an official complain for being banned in the LB for no reason? Where’s Calvin?!

    And we won yay

    • February 26, 2012

      Complaint noted. We will be setting up an official committee to look into it.

      • kinukinu
        February 26, 2012

        If it wasn’t in the Live Blog Report, punitive action cannot be taken 😛

        • Chiu
          February 26, 2012

          BFB federation is not RFEF. So it doesn’t need to be written in the LB report in order to make the investigation. 🙂

  8. K_legit in Oz
    February 26, 2012

    oh btw Messi is suspended for the game against Gijon

  9. nzm
    February 26, 2012

    Whoa – Pep’s trying not to smile in the press conference! 😀

  10. Kimcelona
    February 26, 2012

    I really dont want ANYONE (cule or non-cule) to tell me about any supposed calls for us in this AINT gonna change my mind that over the WHOLE season we havent been getting any. To me, its a straw men argument ONCE AGAIN. ONE match where minor decisions didnt go for Atleti (forgetting that we had decisions against us too) and people are fulling up my timeline about being quiet when we got a few calls? Get off it, will you?

    Sorry just had to get that off my chest.

    Anyways, VISCA!!!! Heartattack-inducing game, I survived and so did the team…barely. 🙂
    Three points FTW! Thank you Messi, VV, Masch and Puyi!

    • February 26, 2012

      Sometimes I read the second paragraph first #trollDNA

    • justsayin
      February 26, 2012

      Well, hand ball in the box isn’t a minor decision, it’s a penalty.

      We should keep tally from now on, kinda our own personal litmus test.

      So far:
      v. Atletico = more calls made in our favor
      v. Gijon = ?

      • Humphrey Bogart
        February 26, 2012

        That is not true, not every handball is a yellow/penalty, it must be a deliberate handball

        • February 26, 2012

          That’s not entirely true either. Handballs that aren’t deliberate can still be called if the have a big impact on the play.

          Example: I’m in the box and a cross hits my lower arm and drops directly to my feet and I score. Should be called a handball

        • justsayin
          February 26, 2012

          That was a penalty. 100%. Busquets arms are over his head and the highest point during the jump in the air, he has an unfair opportunity of deflecting the ball. If that is not considered a penalty than all players were jump with their arms up.

          But, … if it was an Atleti player that stopped a ball with his hand in the box from a Xavi corner, heading straight for Messi, we would remember that and say the ref’s were against us.

          But, Atleti lost the game themselves by not setting up correctly for our second goal.

          • Kimcelona
            February 26, 2012

            Thats BS. Busquets’ arm was pushed up in the midst of THREE Atleti players jumping with him. Unintentional, and that would have been extremely harsh to call that. No one protested. Not even the crowd. Furthermore I watched the replay about six times and I cant see where his hands were the ones that deflected the ball bounced off an Atleti player’s head onto his pushed up arm and then skimmed the head of another player before landing at the Atleti player’s feet whose shot VV saved. You need to watch again.

            But thats not even the point I was trying to make. Apart from two close offside calls that werent really offside, I saw nothing warranting cules to be telling me NOT to speak out against millions of calls against us this season. It is what it is.

    • G6O
      February 26, 2012

      Objectivity requires us to admit that the refs bailed us out today – two bogus offside calls and I have seen that kind of handballs being given as penalties so it would not have been unfair if at least one was given.

      But objectivity also requires to admit that refs have been a big reason why we’re 10 points behind.

      • February 26, 2012

        It all evens out in the end.

        I’m going to have to wash my mouth out with soap after this, but Madrid have just been better than us in La Liga this year, especially away from home

        • G6O
          February 26, 2012

          Yes, they have, nobody disputes that.

        • Helge
          February 26, 2012

          But still, ‘even’ after today’s matches, not 10 points imho.

    • just listenin
      February 26, 2012

      Here’s what I think.
      There are refs who are pro-Barca, refs who are pro-Madrid, these have human biases. There are refs who are Incompetent, and get it wrong sometimes. And there are refs who are probably bought and sold.
      I think figuring out which are which can be challenging, but I would say there have been a couple of three matches this season where thngs really seemed fishy, it just isn’t every match. I always feel like the CL matches are so much more neutral, and well officiated generally, except for that weird RM-Ajax match that coincided with that huge turnaround and acusation of match fixing in the other game in the group the same day that kept Ajax out of the next round. Either very coincidental correlated incompetence, but that all felt really off. I would have to go back and watch which of everyone’s favorite gripe list they were in our Liga matches, because there was something beyond the decisive wrong calls, it was non-calls and harsh calls too, those matches felt off.
      I would really like to see a list of all matches, the disputed calls and the list of referees for those matches… Would be happy to be wrong that there is some limited suspicious trends and outcomes.

  11. Jim
    February 26, 2012

    That’ll be interesting. We might just find out how much we rely on him. No way anybody else was winning us that game tonight. Time for others to step up when he’s missing but who?

    On tonight’s game, it occurred to me that we were much less offensive in our passing than at home. The pace is slower and there’s less committing of bodies into attack. Iniesta in particular seemed to be mostly across and back where we really need him to unsettle the opposition. Against Gijon he needs to be running at them.

    Slightly disappointed to see Pique on the bench again after he seemed to be coming out of his rough patch although Masch played well enough. Hope there isn’t a problem building there with Pep. We need his height in defense. At least he can’t be blamed for their goal tonight, ‘though 🙂 Who takes the rap for this one?

    On a tangent, I’m also fed up pouring a nice glass of wine at half time and finding it untouched at 90 minutes. What happened to us passing out a game and the opposition not touching it?

    • justsayin
      February 26, 2012

      Puyol takes the rap for the goal, Falcon is his mark.

      • February 26, 2012

        Puyol takes the rap for the goal, Falcon is his mark.

        Not really Puyol’s “fault” per se. Barcelona use zonal marking to defend corners. Falcoa wasn’t Puyol’s “mark.” There are no true “marks” of players vs. players in the zonal scheme. Puyol stayed in the zone he was supposed to. In fact the stopped himself from tracking Flacao to maintain tactical discipline.

        Which is why Falcao was lined up in that zone to begin with. The idea was to place Falcao in that zone.

        The goal scored primarily due to the poor header from Busquets that failed to clear the ball. In the zonal scheme Busquets responsibility to clear corners that enter that zone.

        Another secondary issue was Fabregas not being able to close down Falcao.

        The other factor was the random behavior of football. Busquets deflection just happened to line up exactly on Falcao’s boot.

        But the main issue was the initial clearance. Barca’s entire corner defending is predicated on the player occupying the zone Busquets was manning clearing those kinds of crosses.

        Interestingly, it’s usually Pique who occupies that zone on corners for Barca.

        • justsayin
          February 26, 2012

          I’ll have to defer to you Euler because I respect and usually agree with your assessments. But, I would say that outside of corners, I do believe that Puyols main mark was Falcao. If we implement zonal marking during corners, maybe that attributes to our poor form during corner kicks (besides our height disadvantage).

          I find that Barca doesn’t man mark during corners and perhaps that’s due to zonal marking. But, I would have liked to see someone with a hand on Falcao during that corner to make sure that he didn’t sneak away. But, he was free to roam and no one in particular had a good eye on him.

          • February 26, 2012

            I was thinking about writing up a post on this as its confusing. Maybe I’ll do that to clarify.

            Puyol tracking Falcao would have been wrong there. Fabregas perhaps should have stepped out on him given Falcao’s prowess in the air. But not Puyol.

            But ultimately it was the flawed clearance that set things in motion.

            And zonal marking is essential for a team that is as short as Barca. They would get roasted if they tried to man mark corners.

          • justsayin
            February 26, 2012

            If you had time to post on that Euler, I think we’d all be better informed.

            I totally get the zonal marking on the field, but don’t understand it in the box. What’s the danger? A quick counter?

            All I can see it as is a disadvantage, so if you could show the other side that I can’t see, I’d love to read it.

            Just about every other team in any league will grab a man during a corner, stand next to him, put a hand on him, tug on his shirt or at times put his arms around him. Anything to make sure that you know where your man is and make it difficult for him to jump or run.

            Completely different case when another team takes a corner against us. The ball flies into the box and our opponents are free to fly up in the air with little or no physical challenge. We’re so vulnerable … how many goals have been scored from corners? Too many, so maybe they need to re-think that system?

        • Jim
          February 26, 2012

          Yeah, I’m actually getting a little hacked off at the number of times our defenders turn their backs on crosses. When Alves came across in front of him and missed it Busi seemed to turn his back on it allowing it to be deflected off him.

          This left Puyol flat footed – although I’m not entirely sure about the zonal marking on this one Euler. Imo, it wasn’t coincidence that Puyol was marking Falcao. looked to me like he was man marking. Otherwise, you wouldn’t give him a zone only a couple of yards inside the 18 yard box to mark would you? You’d have him in the heart of the action especially if all you have at the edge of the 6 yard box was Alexis, Masch, Alves and Fabregas.

          • justsayin
            February 26, 2012

            I see that the point is to defend danger zones and always stick with the system and not mark any man no matter where they decide to stand. But, I wonder how they account for certain opponents, like Falcao, who are so dangerous? If our main defenders like Puyol, Pique, Busquets have their set positions, shouldn’t other Barca players try to man mark? Does Cesc have a set position? I”m not sure. If not, perhaps those who are not part of the zonal scheme should watch dangerous players?

    • February 26, 2012

      What happened to us passing out a game and the opposition not touching it?

      Probably many things. But part of it is that the opposition has adjusted to this strategy and committed significant tactical resources to try to make sure Barca can’t do this as effectively as they have in the past.

      The opposition has adjusted. It was inevitable. That’s the nature of competition. It’s part of why dominance in football almost never seems to last longer than three years or so.

      Barca needs to base their play in their philosophy. But how that philosophy is implemented needs to evolve.

      Pep understands this. It’s why he pushes the team into new directions. But those transitions aren’t easy to navigate.

      After a great deal of trial and error – and a great deal of losing – the opposition has learned and made changes.

      How Barca is able to adjust back is going to go a long way in defining how long this cycle of brilliance will last.

      • G6O
        February 26, 2012

        I agree with the validity of the general idea.

        However, it does not answer the question why we’re routinely scoring 5 goals at home while we struggle so badly in our away games. Sure if the opposition has successfully and consistently adjusted, they would give us a hard time no matter where we play. But that’s not the case.

        And in all of our away games we indeed look slow and sluggish, and we play a good 20 meters behind where we play at home. I was thinking it was due to fatigue or something but this week we didn’t have a midweek game so we were supposedly rested, but we still looked exactly the same way we looked in our other away games.

        • February 26, 2012

          The issue of away form is perplexing. That’s a separate issue however from what I was commenting on. Don’t disagree with your comment – just a separate issue.

  12. messifan
    February 26, 2012

    That was an exciting game. What is wrong with our league away form this season? Not a lot of passing rhythm in that game and everything seemed to go through the middle. Now that Messi and Busquets are out of the next game, others have to step it up, especially in offense.

  13. Laurentiu88
    February 26, 2012

    I liked Pep’s comment ‘i was not aware of any rule requiring a YC for a handball’ 🙂

    Game was really nice, a lot of intensity. AM put in a lot of effort (at the end only 3 players had not seen a YC). On the other hand their goal was more luck and other pressure on us was in form of high balls. Unfortunate to have some mistaken offside calls. Lucky to finish with 11 pl. Busi’s hand ball would have been a harsh call, could not even move arm and I though AM’s plyr hit the ball anyway…

    Great for the team to win at such a strong opponent! We did lack an extra speed or two – maybe because of the state of the pitch? Not many chances thou’ but still 75 % possession.

    Totally happy with team’s performance.

    Somehow all 4 players with 4 cards managed to get one more. Maybe like this we can see Tello again?

    Nice to see players at the end congratulating each other for their effort.

  14. culegirl3
    February 26, 2012
    Stop watching after 18 seconds…unless you’d like a headache.

    Since when did Pep become such a debbie downer? Or is this a strategy of some kid on his part?

    “No, no la Liga no la ganaremos. Tengo la impresion de que la Liga no la ganaremos pero vamos a intentar competirla. Pero no creeo que podamos llegar atraparlos”

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