El Clasico: April 21, 8pm

In case you missed it, El Clasico has been scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at 8pm local time. Need to convert that to your local time? Here is a handy link to do just that! Another victory for the Internets over the evils of having to figure things out on your own. Yay!

The run-in to this is going to be a doozy. Tomorrow (Tuesday) Barça plays Getafe at the Camp Nou (9pm local, 3pm ET) and on Wednesday at 10pm local, 4pm ET, Madrid visits the Calderon for their 3 free points. Madrid then takes on Sporting Gijon at the Bernabeu at 8pm local/2pm ET on Saturday while Barça visits Levante at 10pm local/4pm ET. There’s a break in La Liga action for Barça’s midweek kerfuffle with Chelsea in London and Madrid’s matchup with Bayern in Germany.

And then it is time. It is what we’ve all been waiting for…10pm local, 4pm ET it’s the megaton super spectacular that will be the nightcap game: Sevilla-Levante!!!!

Heh.

O le le, O la la, ser del Barça es el millor que hi ha!

[Updated: the title of this post originally said 10pm. Because I’m an idiot who does idiotic things.]

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

82 Comments

  1. blitzen
    April 9, 2012

    Nertz. I was going to include this in a news post. Never mind. 😀

  2. G6O
    April 9, 2012

    So it is 8pm local or 10pm local (CET)?

  3. K_legit in Oz
    April 9, 2012

    man this game in oz would be at an unearthly hour in the morning..regardless VISCA BARCA!!!

  4. April 9, 2012

    Neither team has an easy run-in. I am hoping that with Diego in the house (they have a few suspensions, though), ATM won’t be the walkover that they usually are. Bilbao and Sevilla are the folks I am really pinning my hopes on, though.

    As I said when it was 10 points and everybody was saying “OVAH!” I will never, ever give up on this team until it is mathematically impossible. Some echoed my sentiment, others called us crazy. But footy is a wacky game. Just like people would have never figured us to lose to Osasuna, or Villarreal to be wrestling with relegation, strange things happen. And stranger things will probably happen still.

    It seems that we have to go through Hlebruary, to find our team healthy, mentally rigid and ready for action by April, ready for crunch time. Would but that it weren’t so, but I know, as an athlete, that it’s impossible to stay fully on and ready for an entire racing season. I can only imagine how professionals must feel about things.

    So it’s 4 points, and 0 margin for error. Tomorrow’s match will be huge. My ideal situation would be a win for us, and some kind of result for ATM. I’d rather have them come into our house needing a result, than being able to draw, and gain by not doing themselves any harm. It’s a very different game plan.

    Now we wait.

    • josesoegaard
      April 9, 2012

      Kxevin I’ll be visiting friends in Chicago that weekend — what’s the best place to watch? Globe?

      • April 9, 2012

        Yep. Globe. All day and all night. Get there early, because it fills up fast, particularly if there’s also a big Prem match. I’d invite you up to my place, but I’m about 25 miles N of downtown, and you REALLY don’t want to see me during a Clasic. It’s violent, and ugly. Wifey goes for a walk for a couple of hours, and looks for the ambulance as she walks up.

        • josesoegaard
          April 9, 2012

          Thanks! Here’s hoping we have every reason to stay calm

      • April 9, 2012

        If you see John the Madridista, you should say hi for me. A Globe regular, as I understand it. Good guy, despite his affiliations with–earmuffs!–Real Madrid.

  5. April 9, 2012

    Oh. And Messi’s brace on Sunday has him with 60 goals this season for his club. 60 goals. Sorry, but that’s just stupid, in that absurd way that makes you say “Huh? What? …. Wait. What?!”

    • nzm
      April 9, 2012

      Just 7 away from equalling Gerd Mueller’s long-standing record from 1972. 😀

    • blitzen
      April 9, 2012

      I always knew he was a metalhead! Apparently he likes to listen to Cannibal Corpse before matches. What a legend.

      • barca96
        April 9, 2012

        Staple on skin??? I could never imagine that. Is this a common practice. It’s 12am here now but I feel like calling my doctor friends to ask them.

        It’s just unbelievable.

    • hansh
      April 9, 2012

      Our players are developing a stupid habit of posting pictures of the metal things that used to be inside their bodies!

  6. April 9, 2012

    3M will get medical clearance very soon, and will be fit/available for the Chelsea tie.

  7. Salia
    April 9, 2012

    Good news atleast we will have Some new options. Mark my words he will be like a new signing for us. call me crazy but I expect him tor get into the first 11 because of pedro woeful form and cesc looking tired and also because he never really played all that much for us last season but he still managed to score two goals and provide an assist against EE by making Marcelo look like a statue

  8. Gogah
    April 9, 2012

    we have only 2 days rest between the clasico and the CL games.
    Madrid have more. Anybody think this will be a non factor?

    • April 9, 2012

      Thankfully, we’re home. My guess is that we blow out of Chelsea like a chicken bone, get home and to bed. Probably no practice the day after, and a light one the day before. At this point, all you can do in practice is get tired/injured.

    • Richzorz
      April 9, 2012

      Madrid (should) have a tougher game against Bayern, shouldn’t be too much of a factor in the grand scheme of things.

  9. blitzen
    April 9, 2012

    Barcelona B won their game on the weekend, with a 2-0 victory over Cordoba (goals by Deulofeu and Riverola). They now sit in 10th place in the Segunda with 46 points. It was a very good performance for a team that has been missing several key players who have been training with the first team. In fact, this was the best I have seen this team play in quite a while. Hopefully they have finally gelled as a team and can continue to improve and move up another few places. I am (still!) working on a piece about how the season has been going for the B team.

    • nzm
      April 9, 2012

      They played a great match – I agree with you that it was one of their better performances under Eusebio.

      Juvenil A won their match against Espanyol today at the Miniestadi – 2-0. The first was an own-goal by Espanyol’s Ruben from a Dongou cross, and the second was a lovely play between Patric and Dongou to set up Dongou to score.

      This was the first defeat for Espanyol this season, I think.

      With only ONE GAME to go in the season, Juve A now leads their league by ONE POINT over Espanyol. It will all be decided on the last day of play next Sunday!

    • zashaw
      April 9, 2012

      Agreed, although I have only one goal for Barca B:
      Goal 1: develop players.
      Goal 1(B): stay in the Segunda A, to give players better experience for development.
      Despite Barca B’s early struggles, it looks like they’re pretty securely above relegation, so I’m happy already. (Of course, last season when they were 3rd that was pretty awesome.)

      I think the other goal is for RM Castilla to stay in the Segunda B, since we don’t need B-team Clasicos on top of the Clasicos we already have. But, there’s nothing Barca B can do about that.

      -Z.

    • blitzen
      April 9, 2012

      It wasn’t “shifted”, it was never officially set. This is the RFEF we are talking about—they only confirm the date/time of matches a couple of weeks in advance.

    • Richzorz
      April 9, 2012

      So that Barca don’t have a 48h gap between clasico and CL 2nd leg, not such a conspiracy this time! 😛

  10. Salia
    April 9, 2012

    It will be a major factor but it depends on the League position if Real are top they will definitely play for a draw but if they are behind which they very well could be they will play for the win but that is not the case for us because Barca almost always play for the win, dead rubber game or not.

  11. Laurentiu88
    April 9, 2012

    irrelevant of whether the gap lowers this classico will be so crucial! the psychological charge of the game will cast its influence on the remaining games as well, meaning it is not just getting the right result but the manner too. what will be the narrative after the game?

    all these games matter so much now.

    • April 9, 2012

      It will be a crazy match. I only hope for a good match, with no violence (ha!) or refereeing nonsense to mar the spectacle. If the points gap stays the same and we win, as I see it, the pressure on BOTH teams will be immense. It is then that we will also see the value of the two coaching philosophies from a psychological viewpoint.

      Mou Mou ramps his players up, higher and higher. You wonder if, like a spring that gets wound too tightly, something might snap. Some say there is evidence, such as Pepe kicking his own teammate, and the Olympic diving tournament that was going on, concurrent with what I am told was an excellent football match.

      Guardiola has a different philosophy, working toward a physical and psychological peak during the key period of April and May, which usually finds us playing our best football. Messi has been SO energized these past few matches, and if Sanchez keeps doing what he’s doing, we will be SUCH a formidable opponent, because as I noted in the previous thread, he is so dynamic and dangerous when he’s on that somebody will get free. Frankly, his play makes Pedro a lot better, as P is better finding space and waiting for the pass, rather than trying to beat a defender. Look at his goals from his two big scoring seasons for that evidence.

      For me (and admittedly I am biased), I can’t see Mourinho’s coaching psychology holding up over a full season without cracks beginning to appear as pressure builds. That strategy, however, can work brilliantly over a two-legged tie, or even a single match.

      With a 1-point gap, I like our chances more and more, as I think that our coaching staff and its philosophy is more conducive to its players dealing with stress and pressure.

      But don’t rule out them coming together and deciding to play football instead of acting like brats when things don’t go their way. And anybody who thinks that us winning the home Clasic is a forgone conclusion is crazy.

      P.S. I’m not much for psychological gestures, but it sure would be cool if Abidal could start the home Clasic. I imagine the Camp Nou, and the players, would be absolutely flying. Then sub him after 5-10 minutes or so, after we were up 4-0 or so. 😀

      • nzm
        April 9, 2012

        Yeah – what a thought – Abi comes on less than 2 weeks after his op and the team scores 4 in the 10 mins that he’s on the pitch!

        Mou’s influence on players is such that they all speak highly of him, even after he’s left a club. I think that it’s a strain of Stockholm Syndrome where the victims start to empathise with their tormentor. 😀

        It’s possible that his style hasn’t worked as effectively at RM because there’s been a divide created between the Portuguese and Spanish players. You could see that in their earlier matches during this season – when Ronaldo scored, the only players to gather around him were the other Portuguese-speaking players. Since then, the team training in how to celebrate goals sees them all join in now!

        You can’t make the Spanish players feel second-rate in their own league. Ditching Raul and Guti was the start – cleaning out the older and established influence in the dressing room. Casillas has born the brunt of it, since then. I think that Casillas will be a happy man when the Mou-era comes to an end at RM.

        • Messiah10
          April 10, 2012

          Haha. NZM. Brilliant! Stockholm Syndrome! Classic

      • Laurentiu88
        April 9, 2012

        i think in Messi’s case is more of a physical preparation. I think sometime this winter they gave him a complete holiday from which they began the physio prep. – i think that explains his sharpness and amazing form (contrasting it with the previous month).

        well EE cracked last season – they lost to sporting then zaragoza.

        and it sure looks this time is not going to well either. sure when their game is working there are no problems and refs are right. but when things get hard they start showing cracks very fast and the shows gets ugly. when teams manage to put on a challenge their liabilities come out.

  12. messifan
    April 9, 2012

    Clasico already? I still have vivid memories of Mou waiting in the Car Park, Pepe stomping Messi’s hand, and many more.

    With a 4-point gap, I’m now going to get more anxious watching Barca. But it’s ok, I’ll take one for the team 🙂

    Did anyone watch RM-Valencia match yesterday? Was it entertaining? I’m contemplating on watching it because Sid Lowe said it was a cracking match.

    Interesting time to be a fan of Barca and the beautiful game. Liga, CL, CdR and the Euro all in three months.

    • nzm
      April 9, 2012

      Yes – watching the RM-Valencia match in retrospective will be really good. It was so tense with lots of scoring ops – 33 for RM and 18 for Valencia. Ronaldo missed 10 of his own.

      Valencia played with heart and guts of steel. It was interesting to see how they could get through the RM defence – sans Ramos and Coentrao. Both sides lacked the finishing.

    • Richzorz
      April 9, 2012

      Probably one of the most entertaining 0-0 games I’ve seen, can only imagine it being even better without the worry that Madrid would eventually get a goal!

  13. barca96
    April 9, 2012

    I wached a bit of EE vs Valencia and Bilbao vs. Seville to keep an eye over Alba and Iker Muniain. They are two players that I would like Pep to sign.

    I said it a couple of times already since last season, we should sign Muniain.
    Superb player. He would be an amazing player for us in either wing.

    I actually told myself to forget about him after the penalty incident with Llorente but he is just too good. I’d take him over Neymar anyday! Santos can keep the deposit!

    • nzm
      April 9, 2012

      Yes – Munian is a great little workhorse and he unsettles the opposition very well and creates amazing opportunities.

      I just don’t like his attitude and his propensity for being violent. He lashes out at players when under pressure and he dives. If he could get his temper under control, he’d be a better player.

        • barca96
          April 9, 2012

          You’ve been MIA for quite some time. Good have you back.

          Yeah i used to not like Neymar because of his attitude and it would be unfair if ignore the fact that Muniain has similar issues too. But Muniain is Spanish and has Thiago and the rest of the rest of his Spanish team mates to put him in the right path and he is a work horse with ball skills so I think that he is perfect for us.

          Neymar may have better skills but Muniain is accustomed to our league, works his socks off and is a better team player than Neymar.

          • nzm
            April 9, 2012

            Thanks! We were away for a week in Morocco.

            It was quite something to watch the Barca-Milan and Barca-Bilbao matches in a cafe surrounded by Moroccan football fans – they are very serious!

            For the Liga game, we arrived early to claim our seats, and had to sit through the Madrid-Osasuna second half. The fans in the crowd who were cheering for Madrid in that match then cheered for Barca during the Bilbao match – it was bizarre!

            Barca rules on the streets of Tangiers – almost every kid wearing kit is in Barca gear. Next would be AC Milan in the popularity stakes.

            Big billboards were everywhere advertising the upcoming clasico. We were told that cafes are not the places to be when the clasicos are played – it’s the only time that things get heated between the fans!

            Fake kit is everywhere for sale – 9 euros for a shirt. We could have got a shirt for every player in the team for about the same price as 1 official shirt!

      • Messiah10
        April 10, 2012

        Sounds like he’s a perfect signing for EE

  14. ooga aga
    April 9, 2012

    “El brasileño, con molestias musculares en el muslo izquierdo, ha hecho una parte del trabajo con el resto del equipo mientras que Piqué se ha ejercitado al margen.”

    “The brazilian (Alves), with muscular problems in the left leg, has done part of the practice with the rest of the team, while Pique has exercised on the margins”

    **http://www.fcbarcelona.es/futbol/primer-equipo/detalle/noticia/alves-hace-parte-de-la-sesion-con-el-grupo

  15. Jim
    April 9, 2012

    Noooooooo !!!!

    My wife has just reminded me that we are flying down to London on the 21st to watch my daughter run in the London Marathon the next day. How could I have missed this clash ?

    She’s running for UNICEF. If I made a sizeable donation would it be unethical of me to try to persuade her not to run?

    Failing that does anyone know a decent football showing pub near London Docklands? Mind you, I’m not sure I can allow myself to be seen in public during a classico.

    Bugger ! ( apologies for the language )

      • Jim
        April 9, 2012

        Don’t ask me how we got into this, Momo. She ran a half marathon for MacMillan Cancer charity last year and raised a decent amount of money. Earlier this year she got a call out of the blue from a UNICEF rep asking if she would consider taking up one of their London Marathon places. She agreed but when the paperwork came through it turned out they expected her to raise £2000 for the privilege so she has spent the last six months of her university life trying to raise enough money to run as she feels obliged. ( Something not right there ?)

        Did I forget to mention I’m really proud of her? A marathon is no joke.

    • Laurentiu88
      April 9, 2012

      as this is a clear case of ‘exceptional conditions’ seems perfectly right to me! 🙂

    • hansh
      April 9, 2012

      I’ll be in a similar situation! I’ll be in the car all day, driving from Washington DC to Massachusetts (about a 9 hour trip without stops). If the match is on TV I can record it and go on internet lockdown until I see it, but I’ll be crazy for the entire drive.

    • NouBarca
      April 12, 2012

      Docklands is quite big. If you know where exactly in Docklands, then I can suggest a few places

  16. blitzen
    April 9, 2012

    Pep is being Pepsimistic, and all is right with the world! He does, however, say that both Dani Alves and Pique are doubtful for tomorrow’s match, and that he only has three, three! (emphasis his), defenders from the first team. That being so, I would like to see something like this tomorrow:

    Valdes
    Montoya Puyol Masch Adriano
    Thiago Busquets Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Cuenca

    Monty is a must to start. Muniesa to get some minutes if the match is well in control. I’m probably wrong about Thiago starting instead of Xavi, but I want to see the Thiniesta combination again, and this will give Xavi’s tendons a good long rest before the weekend game.

    Cesc shouldn’t be eligible to play, but might be because the committee didn’t meet on Monday regarding his card. I would prefer him to sit anyway and think about what he has done. Alexis was great in the last game and might seem like a no-brainer to start, but in the event that Cesc has to miss the game against Levante I wouldn’t want to risk Alexis against Getafe.

    The other concerning thing about tomorrow’s game is that four, four! (emphasis mine), of our players are on four yellow cards: Alexis, Keita, Thiago, and Valdes. If any of them picks up a card tomorrow they would miss the Levante game but be available for El Clasico. If they pick up a card on the weekend, no Clasico for them. Alexis is the one that worries me most—he could get one for handball, fouling, diving. Valdes is prone to mouthing off and timewasting—if he stays focussed he should be OK though. Thiago—maybe try to pick one up against Getafe and sit out Levante? Hate to be so cynical, but…

  17. mom4
    April 9, 2012

    Catching a wee bit of Fulham v Chelsea before work.

    ——YAWN——–

    I hope Chelsea plays like this against us.

    ——SLOW——–

    • Laurentiu88
      April 9, 2012

      agreed, i watched too some of it… their games are really dull to watch lately and there is nothing to impress. i hope we don’t sound cocky now, but honestly … nothing much to fear.

  18. blitzen
    April 9, 2012

    In other news, Pele is on twitter with the handle @Pele. It appears to be a verified account. Follow at your own risk.

  19. April 9, 2012

    The memories: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d7MPyxKYrI&feature=relmfu

    Golazo and the roar of Camp Nou… chills.

    Also this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEybFB3R7PE&feature=relmfu

    😆 at 0:58. Never gets old.

    One more thing: it’s an old interview but it’s an interesting one. Cesc talks to Revista de la Liga (ty to redditbarca for uploading):

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ-zcB9Ao2k

    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8ADULA_qjk&feature=channel

    OT: Watching Fulham-Chelsea: That was a fair penalty for Chelsea. If you’re going to tackle like that in the box, it’s got to be perfect. It wasn’t.

    • hansh
      April 9, 2012

      Oh. My. God. The crowd reaction on Dani Alves’s goal in the first video is almost something supernatural. And then Puyi trips over Casillas :). And then Abidal and Dani dance together :D. Add in some patented Iker Face and that video made my day!

      Also, I know he lived in England for a long time, but I always appreciated how good Cesc’s English is.

    • Ryan
      April 9, 2012

      Ouch, Casillas got beat bad near post in that 2nd clip; he didn’t even move! I’m still amazed we came out on top from those 2 games with the way EE were playing.

  20. Alex
    April 9, 2012

    Also watching Fullham vs Chelsea.

    Fullham has 69 to 31 possession for Chelsea.

    Fullhma looks like the better team. Lord I don’t want to get ahead of myself but we should wipe the floor with Chelski…..

    And Dempsey just scored a VERY deserving equalizer.

  21. April 9, 2012

    First time I’ve watched Chelsea this season… Gotta say the way they defend is really odd. They don’t keep shape well, don’t press the ball, don’t stay compact. They’re just asking to be scored on…

    …And Dempsey makes it 1-1. Well deserved.

    • Ryan
      April 9, 2012

      Mr. USA with his 16th league goal! 😀

    • messifan
      April 9, 2012

      Such a great player! They have to build a statue of him once he retires.

      • blitzen
        April 9, 2012

        I’m already designing it…I’m thinking black marble & the pose will be like after he scored in the 2-6, raising the armband to the sky. 😀

        As for the video: “Oh, no biggie, just stick the STAPLE in my HEAD so I can get to game, kthanxs!” <3

  22. Ryan
    April 9, 2012

    Judging by Chelsea’s defense, maybe we should practice our corner kick plays; Fulham just had 3 great chances from their CKs and scored on one of them!

  23. April 9, 2012

    LOL Gary Cahill deflected the ball goalwards with his arse there. Lucky not to get his arse on the scoresheet 😛

  24. April 9, 2012

    BTW this isn’t the type of performance that we’re going to witness in the SF. Count on that..

    • flyzowee
      April 9, 2012

      Does anyone remember that in 08/09, when we were about to play Chelsea, they were producing equally appauling performances?

      If my memory serves me right, they played Fuhlum before us and went 2-0 up only for fuhlum to equalise in the closing stages.

      They came to camp nou after that and all of a sudden they were defending like monsters and closing down space like eleven Pedros on crack.

      The Chelsea that will face us will be well drilled. Wouldnt even be suprised to see David luiz in the holding role.

      I wouldnt take anything from their poor showings in the epl.
      We wont see any of that crap vs us.

      • Ryan
        April 9, 2012

        Right, and we had destroyed EE 2-6 just before Chelsea, so the scene was definitely set for a clash of vastly different forms.

        • April 9, 2012

          Though, it should be said that Chelsea has stagnated, or at the least hasn’t improved much, while we’ve changed quite a bit…

          Will they defend like dogs? Undoubtedly. But they’ll be old ones who have, for the most part, not learned any new tricks. Unbelievably bold statement for someone who hasn’t watched Chelsea much.

          That said, Chelsea always cause us problems. It’d be tough because they’ve got the underdog thing going and being such favourites just asks for some kind of upset. But I just don’t see them defending better than Milan or counter attacking better than EE. Twice.

  25. Ryan
    April 9, 2012

    It’s finally happened guys: Malaga just beat Racing 3-0 and have moved into 3rd place. How long have Valencia been in third? It seems like years! It helps explain why Valencia were playing like men possessed last night – they knew their (up till now unchallenged) 3rd place spot was at risk.

    I bet they wished they had finished off their numerous chances vs. EE now, eh?

    • April 9, 2012

      Wow. The race for 3rd really heating up now, eh? Maybe that’s why Valencia fans are so unhappy with Unai… Still think Los Che can take back their spot as it’s still uncertain how this Malaga team will deal with the pressure at this stage of the season, though they’ve got Pelligrini and some experienced players to keep ’em in check…

      Malaga in the CL. That’d be interesting…

    • Helge
      April 9, 2012

      I don’t think they regret their missed chances or the outcome of the match in any way. They know themselves that EE could also easily have won that match, in the end EE had more clear chances (and maybe one penalty not given).
      As Emery said afterwards, a draw at the Bernabeu is a terrific result which should give them confidence for the upcoming matches.

      Note that EE scored 3 goals or more in 90% of their home matches. Valencia should take this draw as a win, and the battle for third place is far from over anyway.
      I hope that both of them qualify for the CL, one through the extra qualification and the other directly. Because with all due respect and love for the cinderella story of Levante, they would not stand a chance in the CL. Malaga will be a lot stronger next season. Spanish dominance in Europe might thus continue!

      btw, does the EL winner automatically qualify for next year’s EL?

      • Ryan
        April 9, 2012

        Well yes, Valencia are sure to be happy to have gotten a result at the Bernabeu for the first time in years, but with just a tad more finishing (How did that Costa header not go in?!?) they would have had a huge morale-boosting win. Malaga are indeed far from being consistent, but they don’t have Europa League matches to worry about.

        I agree with your choice of top 4 finishers, altho it sure would be nice if Bilbao somehow got in too. I’m fine with Levante sliding into 5th or 6th place, but surely those old legs of theirs will collapse if they add a European campaign on top of everything!

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 9, 2012

      You definitely used the right word to describe that video!!!

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