blitzen awards, now with added video! or not.

I have to say, it was a real pleasure rewatching this game. Both teams played extremely well and there were plenty of “Oooh, pretty!” moments that made me laugh out loud in sheer enjoyment. There was no drama, no controversy, no antics. It was almost like it was two teams of grown-ups playing a game together. Huh.

MOTMOTM Award: This was a really tough one to decide. Everyone played really well. Thiago, Iniesta, Mascherano, & Busquets all had good arguments going for them. So in the end I picked two: 1) Javi Martinez, who was absolutely immense for Athletic playing as a CB, and 2) Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz. Who, you say? He was the referee, and his calmness and competence were a breath of fresh air after the shenanigans we have seen in La Liga recently. He got every major call right, and the few small errors he made had no effect on the match. Can we clone him?

It’s A Kind Of Magic Award:  In case you missed this bit of wizardry from Thiago, here it is. Boy is smooth like silk. Think we’ll keep him. Thiago skill

Zees Ees Fashun Award: Haven’t given this one out for a while, but Bielsa’s fetching sweatshirt/pants ensemble is surely worthy of mention. You would think he would have dressed up for such an important occasion, but Bielsa marches to the beat of his own drum.

Heigh Ho Silver! Award:  Busi, for his attempt to mount Oscar de Marcos and ride him away into the sunset. He probably should have had a card for getting his leg up that high, but it seemed more accidental than not.

Iker Face Award:  Some of the faces Bielsa was making on the sidelines were downright frightening. If I was one of his players and spotted him grimacing at me that way I would have nightmares for weeks!

You Complete Me Award: We talk all the time about how well Xavi & Iniesta combine in midfield, but this season’s revelation for me has been the Thiago & Iniesta pairing. Their on-field connection in this game was terrific, and they seemed to take it in turns to attack and drop back. I look forward to many many more years of watching these two playing together.

Baby Needs A New Pair Of Scoring Shoes Award: Iniesta had so many chances that by the time he finally scored I was on the edge of my seat and desperate for it to go in. And so was he. I can’t believe that is only his second league goal this year. He certainly deserves more.

The Green Green Grass Of Home Award: Nice pitch, wasn’t it?

This Is Why We Call Him Cuddly Toy Award: Bojan, for being extra huggable when he scored his goal in today’s Roma game and lifting his shirt to reveal a message for Abidal (“All the strength of this goal is for Abi”). All together now, “Awwwwww!!!!”


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Written by:

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. blitzen
    April 1, 2012

    I could NOT figure out how to embed that YouTube video. If one of the other mods would like to fix that and let me know how it’s done, I would appreciate it.

  2. dean
    April 1, 2012

    Haha but you forgot the special mention to CR7 and pipita
    ” We Choot Da Ball And Down We Fall Award”:

    And the award to the camp nou.
    ” Out Of Superlatives Award”: To the Camp Nou faithful who after hours of deliberation played it safe and acknowledged Messi’s uniqueness.

  3. Blau-Grenade
    April 1, 2012

    Zee Most Underrated Performance Award: This award goes to Adriano for playing a unbelievable game on the left wing, for running up and down all night, and causing havoc on the Athletic left hand side of the pitch. Dude was immense. Hope he stays injury free for rest of the season. Barca medicos, please wrap him up in cotton and wool.

  4. hansh
    April 1, 2012

    I loved this game. Absolutely brilliant football which had me on the edge of my seat.

    So many people had great games that I won’t try to name one MOTM, but Pique really stood out to me. I definitely endorse blitzen’s choiches for MOTM. Blitzen, I also love the You Complete Me Award – Thiago and Iniesta together is incredible! The more I see of Thiago, the more I love him.

    BTW, when’s the last time Iniesta played a full 90 minutes? Seems like he gets subbed off a ton.

  5. nia
    April 1, 2012

    What!?!! No mention of ‘Pique’. zee guy saved a sure goal and he was ‘puto’ jefe yesterday.

    • lol, I was surprised too no mention about Pique.. I would give him a Welcome Back Award.. He’s starting to look like Gerard Pique we used to know.. Hopefully he’ll keep it up for the rest of the season..

  6. April 1, 2012

    Pique was very good in the second half of the Milan game too. That’s when I sensed he’d turned the corner and it showed in this game too, let’s hope it continues. When he’s on his game, we’re a much better side.

  7. Anonymous_69
    April 1, 2012

    Totally agree about the Iniesta and Thiago connection. When Xavi was injured during the summer, Thiago played a couple of preseason matches beside Iniesta, and they were wonderful together.

    Just a thought: is it just me, or do Sanchez and Alves make a bad combination together? Even against Bilbao, where both Alves and Sanchez played terrific individual games on the right, they never really played between each other. At times it almost looked like they were just trying to stay clear of each other’s space. Obviously Messi-Alves was fantastic, nothing can compare to that. But even Pedro and Alves formed a very strong understanding, and last season their little give and goes were one of our biggest assets in retaining possession in attack. Maybe once Sanchez stays injury free and plays more, but I don’t know. It’s almost like it’s not a good idea to have two extremely energized players who sprint everywhere playing on the same wing. Like they take each other’s space almost. I would like to see Montoya play with Sanchez a few times more this season, to see if it’s any different between them.

    • simple_barcafan
      April 2, 2012

      Alves always looks for Messi..that is his first thought. So Sanchez anticipates that and probably positons himself accordingly..

  8. Pique is just like Manchester United, slow starters and immense towards the end of the season.

    Sanchez has played on the left or left-centre for us before, right? I think? Like Anon_69 said somehow having two extremely energetic covers-whole-flanks players on each side (especially with our sometimes undermanned left side) seems a lot more fun than the two occupying each others’ space.

    If only if only Madrid would lose just. one. more. game. Before the Camp Nou showdown. Just one. Come on! I still think they’re very much favorites for La Liga but being so agonizingly close is frustrating.

  9. yana
    April 2, 2012

    That was a really fun match. I really hope Alexis and Adriano are able to stay healthy for the duration of the season. Alexis especially, I feel like he still doesn’t have an integrated presence even though he hasn’t had to actually fight for a starting spot to get playing time, as we would have thought at the beginning of the season, given Villa’s injury.

    Someone really needs to teach Ray and Phil how to pronounce Alcantara and Muniain.

    • flyzowee
      April 2, 2012

      Those are some great pics. I really admire mutual respect between pros esp when they are rivals.

      Seeing Iniesta with all that hair was weird though

      • hammeronmessi
        April 2, 2012

        thank you.

        i dont deserve it though,it was posted by a member of a football group in facebook.

        those pictures say what a class man pep G is.the passion shared and respect showed to some of the most famous madritistas by him was simply mind boggling.

        he is really a great gentleman,football needs more characters like him

    • Jafri
      April 2, 2012

      Great article. I’m super sad about Pep leaving Barcelona at 30 and the circumstances in which he had to though, with the stupid president and the difficult dressing room conditions. If he was playing in this era, I don’t think his fellow players would have allowed him to leave. That’s like Puyol leaving right now. Unthinkable.

  10. Huckleberry
    April 2, 2012

    One avard is missing: the Angel de Maria Avard for Tello…

  11. Salia
    April 2, 2012

    Xavi yesterday didn’t train because of a calf muscle problem. It will only tomorrow be clear if he can play against Milan. (md)

    Please say this is md bullshitting like they always are because xavi was our best offensive player in that first leg

  12. Salia
    April 2, 2012

    Haha San Iker Imagine his face when he finds out

  13. If I am not wrong Sanchez did start on the left side at the start of the La Liga season. Why are we not trying him over there lately? As Anon_69 said, Alves and Sanchez together does not work. It’s better to have Pedro and Alves on the right.

  14. blitzen
    April 2, 2012

    So Xavi has a calf muscle problem and might not be able to play tomorrow against Milan. If that is the case I really hope Pep plays the Thiago-Iniesta-Busi midfield again.

    • mega_tajh
      April 2, 2012

      Without Xavi I was thinking maybe the Cesc-Iniesta-Busi midfield with Pedro returning to the front line. If not then yeah we maybe need both Cesc and Thaigo to do Xavi’s job.

    • Jafri
      April 2, 2012

      Not too keen on having two DMS, but I like the 4-2-3-1 for us because of our fluidity and versatility – our fullbacks can both play as wingers while masch and busquets can drop down into defense while we attack in a 4-3-3, and we can also hunker down into the 4-2-3-1.

      On the other hand, Barcelona? Defend instead of grabbing the bull by the horns? Nevaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

  15. April 2, 2012

    Hahah Bielsa DOES make some scary faces doesn’t he? He looks serial-killer-esque at times. I expect his smile (or lack thereof) to start twitching any second.

    Also, Bielsa squatting, and Villas-Boas squatting are two very, very different things.

    Cracker of a game it was. Would have liked Bilbao to test Valdes a bit more as I believe they didn’t even have a shot for most of the game. Great ref too. Sad that we have to keep pointing out a ref that’s doing his job the way he’s meant to because it’s become so rare in Spain.

  16. Laurentiu88
    April 2, 2012

    why is everybody calling the ref great – that was not a penalty! i mean not according to how football is played by in accordance with the liga standards. is it now a rule to run in the box and stop hopping some defender will crumble over you? i wish not! but i see why maybe the ref had to call it 🙂 still does not make it right.

    by the way, hasn’t Messi got too irritated with the defenders holding him grabbing at each chance? he looked quite nervous…

  17. Laurentiu88
    April 2, 2012

    why is everybody calling the ref great – that was not a penalty! i mean not according to how football is played, but in accordance with the liga standards. is it now a rule to run in the box and stop hopping some defender will crumble over you? i wish not! but i see why maybe the ref had to call it 🙂 still does not make it right.

    by the way, hasn’t Messi got too irritated with the defenders holding him grabbing at each chance? he looked quite nervous…

    • ooga aga
      April 2, 2012

      there was a clear shirt pull and dude had all three hands groping tello.

      i agree, tello went down easy, but his ability to shoot on goal was clearly hindered by the defender. penalty all day.

    • Peterj
      April 2, 2012

      Its been given already,nothing u can do about it..btw it was the right call

  18. April 2, 2012

    Xavi not training with the group, which means he is unlikely to play tomorrow. So:

    Alves Pique Puyol Mascherano
    Busquets Iniesta Thiago
    Fabregas Messi Sanchez

    Migratory penetrators (good punk band name, that!) who are all comfortable with the ball at their feet and can all score goals (assuming force field still down for Iniesta). Might actually work better against the parked bus we are likely to see than Xavi.

  19. April 2, 2012

    I’d prefer:

    Alves Piqué Masch Puyol
    Thiago Busi Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Sanchez

  20. April 2, 2012

    Doesn’t look good for Xavi playing tomorrow unfortunately.

    This really makes things difficult for Pep. Barca’s style of play will invariably change with Xavi out.

    So the real challenge Pep needs to decide upon is this: what direction do I want this change of style to go in? How does that change contribute to breaking Milan’s shape? How do the other pieces on the team and what I was hoping to do in this match fit around the CM player replacing Xavi.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this is as straight forward as just slipping Cesc into the line up as Cesc and Xavi right now are such different players.

    • flyzowee
      April 2, 2012

      I agree. There are lots of questions but some things are happening for sure like

      1. Adriano starting: Thats the only problem I have with kxevins backline – mashe, pique and puyol is just too much cover for what is likely to be deep seeted Milan Imo.

      2. Cesc starting: This was likely even with xavi fit. But now that hes injured.

      3. Less possession
      Risks need to be taken coz we need to score. Messi as usual will be taking the most risks and with iniesta and thiago? playing, we may be guilty of moving the ball forward too quickly. Hopefully Busi’s safer passing will bring a balance but xavi will be missed all the same.

  21. Salia
    April 2, 2012

    Okay I know it was April Fools yesterday and this is the biggest joke Ive ever seen from “Cesc fabregas is a target for city because he does not maintain a good relationship with Coach Pep Guardiola” I rofl’d for about 5 minutes. I mean I know its probably a slow news day but give ya readers something realistic to read. I mean why would Barcelona sell a player that they went to so much trouble to sign for like a year and a half saga. Besides 15 goals and 20 assists says different. aybe he is still trying to find his position and needs to improve a lot but so does Alexis. I think Cesc has done fantastic in the circumstances. I hope he never leaves us

  22. April 2, 2012

    Xavi is in the squad for tomorrow. He will face a fitness test in the practice before the match.

    • Anonymous_69
      April 2, 2012

      I think this might be one of those very few situations where Pep will be willing to risk a player who isn’t fit. Like with Henry and Iniesta against Manchester United in 2009. Or maybe Pep is just playing a Wenger-esque mind game…

  23. Salia
    April 2, 2012

    I doubt he’ll play though. At best he will make it on to the bench

  24. Messiah10
    April 2, 2012

    Even w/out Xavi, I like our chances at Camp Nou. Beautiful pitch, large dimensions, scary home record, on form Pique, Mash(no more said), Messi(no more said). I like our chances. Obviously, Milan will either play for a goal less draw to advance, or play deep and sneak a goal on the counter w/out conceding 1. We’ll maintain majority possesion even without Xavi because Milan are negative. 3-1 prediction. Messi (2), Cesc w/Ibra scoring a consulation goal.

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