Racing – Barcelona Liveblog

Vj to the rescue again.

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Messi, Pedro, Cuenca


  1. i know people would criticize Cesc quite often recently, but i wonder if Messi does not have a better understanding with him than with even Iniesta or Xavi? (Let’s imagine there were no Arsenal period…)

  2. That is the way you take care of business!

    So happy everyone walked off the pitch and didn’t need to be carried off!

    1. Both average but Pedro was trying harder for me. Cuenca hit the post, made a few decent crosses etc. Just average performances

    2. Thanks! Pep said that Pedro is an important player for the team. It’s good to see him giving Pedro a boost of confidence. I used to get annoyed with Pedro last and this seasons, but since his presser a few weeks ago, I’ve changed my mind. He recognizes that his game has been average and the team needs him. He’s been trying and I would like to see Pep continues starting Pedro for all liga games.

    3. I’m manning up and saying I jumped all over him the last 2 months. He IS showing signs of gaining back that impeccable form he’s capable of. I completely agree. Pep needs to continue to give him games. He his important and gives us an extra dimension that Cuenca, Tello, Cesc, and Affelay all do, in their own way. I was paying close attention to him, along w/Cesc, and Cuenca. I thought all 3 had a good game. Cesc, the better of the 3, but Pedro’s coming on!

    4. I think they both did well. Pedro is still not fully to his best but his movements, involvement in the play and pressing were pretty good. With all the injuries he has had I think its understandable that he doesnt have the rhythm to be playing fully. But you can definitely see his play has improved to the last few months. He’ll get there. His first touch is getting better (though not what he used to have) but his finishing is not at all good right now. It’ll come as he gets back his confidence and keeps getting into the right positions.

      Cuenca did well too. I thought he was intelligent tactically and moved well again. He is only 20 so he cannot be expected to have that same level of understanding and technique that you would get from a proper Barca level first team player. He is though at a good enough level to be playing against the lesser Liga teams. But his touch is good, he moves well without the ball but needs to add versatility to his moves with the ball. You’ll always see him go down to the end line and cross. He needs to add the diagonal run to the centre or cut in and go across. Having said that, its extremely important that he stays wide so we dont become over-reliant on playing through the centre which gets congested. But again, he is 20, his game will come along. Another thing to note is that he was promoted as a necessity not necessarily because he was fully ready for the first team. The minutes he has been getting therefore are sufficient and his game will improve as there is no way he is ready to play consistently in as many games as Barca plays. Much like rookies in the NBA sometimes hit a wall and their productivity goes down in March because they are used to playing 40/45 games as opposed to 80 a year. I think Pep is managing him well and we should be more patient.

    5. Yeah, I guess there’s a plus side to being way behind RM. We get to groom young players. If we were neck and neck for the title, Pep wouldn’t continue using Cuenca or Pedro to this extent. We now have more time to experiment and allow them to grow into the game. In a way, I feel sad for Fernando Torres. His main problem is confidence but he’s stuck in a club that is fighting a CL spot and thus they can’t afford to wait on Torres to come back into form. He’s been given chances but they’ve been so inconsistent. I hope similar things don’t happen to Romeu. He’s young and needs to play as much as he can.

    6. For me Cuenca had one of his better games. Just recently I criticized Cuenca on the blog but today he was much lively. He tracked back, made some very good passes and almost score.

      Eventually after a year in the squad, people will start to read his low crosses into the box more often.

      He needs to work on his finishing though or at least shoot more often, same with Tello.

  3. to paraphrase a tweet.. On ‘Barca’s line-up Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Fabregas and Iniesta – maybe the greates midfield of all times’ 🙂

  4. messi already on 50 goals!
    i think its safe to say that pep and messi have ruined football forever for me.

  5. The new ref is fresh blood to be corrupted by EE. Game was good today, one of the better away liga matches for Barca this season, although it should have finished 0-4 with some of the chances we missed but, it was good nonetheless. Racing were just plain dirty and should have ended the game with at least 10 men. Shout out to Puyi who also had a very good match in that 3 man defence and ofcourse Messi was Messi, oh, and it was nice to keep a clean sheet for once.
    I for one don’t think Pique should be back in soon coz Masch is playing wonderful. I think the only reason Pique plays these days is because of his height.

  6. What is up with these pitches? I wouldn’t be surprised if the other teams start laying down sand when facing us at some point.

    1. Or it could be that they don’t have money to place new grass. Most of these clubs are in debt, so they have to spend as little as possible.

    2. That’s what I told my Pops who sat down for the game. His 1st comment was about the pitch. I told him a lot of teams do it on purpose and he got that, but when I mentioned finances, he didn’t understand at all. In the states even the worst financally indebted teams have great baseball fields, baketball stadiums, football fields(some exceptions, due to concerts and other activities held), even MLS stadiums have very good pitches. We should remember that there is still a recession and Spain has been affected greatly. There was a report the other week that said that 60% of Spanish Youth under 25 are unemployed. That’s not a good thing. The smaller clubs simply don’t have the revenue to repair a damaged pitch. Unfortunately, for FCB

  7. Of course Racing were going to let the pitch go a bit. Why facilitate your own hiding? Make the better club work for it. I also think that Racing playing hard and physical, rather than deliberately dirty. There is a difference between inferior players lunging and trying really hard against tricky players, vs. excellent players choosing to play violently. I noted the one instance when, after the Busquets foul, the Racing player was instructing/correcting him teammate. You’d never see, for example, EE doing that. Ever.

  8. Pep is stubbornly sticking to Pedro and Cesc, despite Tello playing better at the moment. At first this made me upset, but I guess I understand now. Pedro IS visibly getting better. Before, he wasn’t playing at all. Then Sanchez got injured, and Pedro has started the last three or four matches, and you can see his is getting better. The first match, he was completely invisible, and when he got the ball, his touch was so bad, he constantly gave the ball away. Then his touch came back, but he was still invisible. Today, his touch was pretty decent, he made some good moves on the ball and made decent movement off it. His finishing is still way off, but he is at least forcing the issue. He’s getting more involved in play and taking chances. He still needs another 3 or 4 starts before I can honestly say I want him starting over Cuenca and Tello though.

    Cuenca didn’t do bad I feel. But he was almost never involved. He had some decent moments on the ball, stayed in position well, and you can tell he is a pretty intelligent player. He knows where to go in order to expose the opposition. And for whatever reason, I can see him completely destroying Marcelo if he plays against Madrid.

    Cesc played better tonight as well. This performance, along with the one against Leverkusen, shows me that he is doing better now. But please Cesc, PLEASE, stop your horrendous one touch passes back to Xavi/Iniesta/Alves. Honestly, I think he just needs a rest.

    Tello… This guy is really good. The ball never came near him during his time on the pitch (mainly because Barcelona really seem to fall asleep at the end of every match), but the two times it, danger. First touch was almost a goal (yes, he was totally in his rights to shoot. Not selfish at all). The other time he was brilliantly played through, but he ran too fast, and no one was there to support him (no, he couldn’t have made that pass to Messi). When are we gonna see this guy start a game?! Rest Fabregas or Xavi (who uncharacteristically made a lot of bad passes), keep Pedro on the right, and start Tello!

    1. Wow i actually thought Cesc had a poor game. Lots of give-aways, slow decision making etc. His assist was his only plus for me. Not sure what to make of his fall for the penalty.

    2. I know what to make of it. It was a stone cold penalty. You can’t put your arm out and across a player who’s going by you. Cesc’s momentum and force of direction meant that any kind of touch would take him down. Let alone a forearm coming across your chest.

    3. I think Pepe is doing a smart thing with Tello. He should not give him the starting position and should use him as an impact sub. Just think at around 65 minute of the match, when the full back are already tired with our constant attacks, you unleash Tello. I think that is and should amplify his impact.

  9. No one’s mentioned the 2 Howlers that Victor potentially had. I think he just fell asleep since he was not involved whatsoever. Still, he needed to control the area on those corners. Go get it or punch it away. I’m sure it’s just a fluke thing and he’ll come back strong next game.

    1. Yeah, the one where he dropped the ball after seemingly catching it could’ve easily ended in a goal.I wonder if the lack of height in the backline has anything to do with him going for those balls on corners. His sprint towards the halfway line is as fast as ever though. 🙂

    2. They are saying he wasn’t even needed to make a save throughout the whole 90. Certainly a lapse in concentration from Victor on those 2 plays.

  10. 4 La Liga wins on the trout lets go guys!!! 12 more games.36 more points. Thats 96pts max we can attain if we win all games remaining.

    LETS DO THIS!!!!

    If EE however do continue like this and reach over 100pts I will certainly give them a round of applause regardless of what it think of the refs.

  11. Not a fan of Fabregas’ match today. At all. On another note, huge call in the Swansea/City match by Sian Massey. Absolutely correct call. But still huge. I don’t want to pit my money on what a Liga official would have done. “Sun was in my eyes.”

    Making the right call isn’t just procedural. It should be, but you always wonder.

  12. Continuing on from Anonymous_69’s comments, I too thought Pedro had a very good game, despite him not getting on the score sheet he was probably the most active of the front three all game, Racing made today’s game very difficult for us to breakdown, Cuenca and Tello both were invisible at times and when an opportunity came for them to make something happen they couldn’t, Pedro however from the get go, scratched and bit his way through forcing racing to lose possession or move out of position and he did it till he was subbed out, It was really good to see that tackle he made around the 80th minute in our box to prevent the racing player from crossing a dangerous ball in to an overcrowded penalty area, and minutes later Pedro would be sprinting from our back third all the way to Racing’s GK to apply pressure and these were in the last five minutes of the game, Amazing.

    1. Have to say that this is very peculiar but I know a fellow who uses the same ‘Oil Can’ handle…strange

      Either way I noted in the loveblob that Pedro was visibly more involved in this game..he had a curling shot go just wide early on and almost scored just before he was subbed off..He seems to be gaining form now which is good as we need him for the upcoming fixtures!

    2. Does this fellow happen to be from Melbourne? 😉

      Pedro’s touch and dribble looked a lot better then it has been in the recent past too.

  13. I’d forgotten just how much of a legend he was, I mean I knew but HOW much gets sorta forgotten. Quite a wonderful article:

    Prostitutes went on the evening news to report that their business was way down on nights Ronaldo was on the telly, the Spanish Federation of Restauranteurs issued a report that 30,000 waiter/cook jobs would be lost that year as the public watched soccer at home rather than went out to eat… A poll conducted by a TV station showed that 3 out of 4 Italians could tell you Ronaldo’s nationality, his age, his girlfriend’s name, and the price Inter-Milan paid for him. 1 out of 4 could even tell you what size shoe he wears.

    1. Amazing!

      But I must say that Messi is better.

      Bassam style;
      This coming from someone who’s been watching him from 1995.

  14. Is there some kind of compilation on the web somewhere of all the blatant fouls EE have drawn and the other, pk’s that should have been given but never was….

  15. Isn’t this the good life? Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini’s 50th goal of the season. Booyah!

    That small picture on the upper-right corner of this site of Abidal lifting the CL trophy. Mwahahah!

    Like I said, this is the good life. May I be selfish enough and take this moment to smirk at the other Liga teams? Thank you.

  16. Riccardo Texiera resigned today as Brazilian FA president. As if he had a choice. Yes, I am still left wondering about the silence of Spanish media as regards the RoSELL involvement in suspicious payments and other allegations, in re: Texiera. I am also left wondering what might be the situation were Laporta in charge of the club with that sort of stuff floating around, and RoSELL and the Oriol Giralt group still out there, calling for recalls and various votes of “no confidence.”

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