blitzen awards, the bloated luxury liner edition.

A special edition of blitzen awards for you today. See if you can identify the theme! 😉

All Hands On Deck Award: This was a team that came out right from the kickoff looking like they meant business. They were all over the ball and all over the field—Puyol was playing so far forward at times he was the only one in the opposing box! A true team effort.

That Sinking Feeling Award: Real Madrid, who will be going into today’s match with Atletico Madrid with a slim one-point lead in the Liga race and one eye looking over their shoulder at a rampant Barça who are coming very close to taking it off them. Realistically I don’t expect RM to drop points against Pathetico today, but the psychological pressure the meringue players are under right now could lead them to make uncharacteristic errors. Here’s hoping!

The Band Played On Award: Messi just keeps making his sweet, sweet music on the field. Yesterday’s goal put him at 61 for the season, with plenty more goal scoring opportunities to go. Will he crack 70 this year? Maybe not, but he will surely come close. So sit down, Pele! That’s enough out of you.

He’s The King Of The World! Award: If you didn’t tear up when the crowd gave Rey Abidal an ovation in the 22nd minute, you are a heartless beast. First indications (via Rosell and Abi’s wife on his Facebook account) are that the operation went well and both patients are in good condition. Such a relief!

Unsinkable Molly Brown Memorial Award: Ibrahim Afellay, who has today been declared medically fit and available for the team after the better part of 7 months out. Congratulations and welcome back! I am really looking forward to seeing what he can contribute to this team in its current incarnation (did he ever get to play with Cesc or Alexis before he got injured?). Maybe he will even get a few minutes against Levante this weekend?

Full Steam A Head Award: Pedro’s head, that is. What a fantastic header from one of the shortest guys on the team! And from a set piece! Who says we can’t beat Stoke now, eh? Eh?

White Star (Goal)Line Award: To the linesman who disallowed Xavi’s goal after failing to see that at least 75% of the ball had crossed the line. Boo! An Injustice for Football!

SOS (Signs Of Sentiment) Award: I absolutely adore it when Iniesta launches himself into Messi’s arms like that. Like a shot of pure joy to the heart. And after that same goal Pep sought out Tito specially for a big hug as well. This must be the huggiest team in the world. 😀

Stretching The Metaphor Past Its Snapping Point Award: Um, something about Puyol & Mascherano being like icebergs that other teams run into and sink? Yes.

And a special Feliz Cumpleaños to Thiago Alcantara, who is celebrating his 21st birthday today! A round of manitas for all!

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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.

185 Comments

  1. nzm
    April 11, 2012

    These were awards of Titanical proportions, blitzen.

    A manita on the rocks, please!

  2. blitzen
    April 11, 2012

    Forgive me for posting a link to a story on BS.com, but:

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2012/04/11/3028584/former-referee-iturralde-gonzalez-hits-out-at-mourinho

    “Former referee Iturralde Gonzalez has hit out at Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for his ongoing criticism of referees and added that the Portuguese coach has a similarly poor reputation in the countries where he previously worked.

    Gonzalez recently hung up his whistle and the former Uefa referee has not wasted any time to voice his dismay with the Portuguese coach’s behaviour.

    “He has a lengthy history of criticising referees. Just look at how he behaved in England when he was at Chelsea, in Italy during his spell with Inter, or in Portugal with Porto,” Gonzalez said to Ona FM.

    “If you talk to the referees in England and Italy, you know how they all think about Mourinho. Just look at his behaviour there and you’ll realise that what he’s doing now is nothing new.”

    The 45-year-old Gonzalez officiated La Liga matches from 1995 until 2012, but retired earlier this year after a dispute with the Spanish football association.”

    Is anyone surprised? Me neither.

    • mom4
      April 11, 2012

      Awwww, I liked Iturralde. He’s gone now? Dang? Will miss his curly top.
      Dispute with the Spanish FA? Did he expect competance or something?

    • nzm
      April 11, 2012

      The last game that he reffed was the Madrid-Betis game, and he left the field at halftime with an injury and continued as a sideline judge.

      Struck me as weird at the time. I know that referees can get injured, but still. This event was quickly followed by his retirement.

      • Peterj
        April 11, 2012

        Yeah,there was something fishy on that day

    • olbucky
      April 11, 2012

      That blows that he retired. He was the best. He looked like Nick Tortelli from The tv show Cheers, Carlas boyfriend. He cracked me up every time I saw him. Barcas record with him was great. Sorry to see him go.

  3. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
    April 11, 2012

    This run in is shaping up to be the best time of the season, Abidal is fine, Afellay is back, the team is winning, EE is bleeding points and Blitzen awards to have some fun, I’m lovin it.

  4. mom4
    April 11, 2012

    Firstly, I hope that all our BFBers and family thereof who live in Indonesia are safe. Seems the Tsunami threat is over.

    Yay, Abi and his cousin! May they continue to recover well!

    Yay, Blizen awards!
    “Who says we can’t beat Stoke now, eh? Eh?”
    So does this mean we should sign Rory Delap for throw-ins?

    “This must be the huggiest team in the world”
    I simply adore our hugginess!!!

    Also, I’m so sorry for the BFBers who thought their team was coming to them on tour. BUT, this is absolutely the sanest thing I’ve seen the “powers that be” at Barca do in a while.

    • Miguel
      April 11, 2012

      Huggies Diapers should be an official Barça sponsor.

      • blitzen
        April 11, 2012

        I now have a very disturbing image in my head of Iniesta wearing a diaper. I hate you.

        • nzm
          April 11, 2012

          …and sucking his thumb just after he scores a goal.

    • Messiah10
      April 11, 2012

      Also, a sign that Pep is finally getting his way and Rosell is conceding revenue streams for him so that he’ll stay. Rosell realizes the backlash from Cules worldwide if he was responsible for Pep’s exit.

  5. April 11, 2012

    Chiu,

    Regarding barca’s formation in the last match – very complicated.

    Functionally it was almost a 2-2-3-3. But that doesn’t really do it justice as it was so fluid. Often times it was a 2-4-4. At others a 1-2-3-4 in attack or even a 1-2-2-5.

    I’d say the main take home point on the formation was this:

    There are basically three types of roles in Pep’s system now. Players that provide system structure, players that provide dyanmics and players that mix both.

    The structure in the system yesterday was provided by three players. The key was Masche. He functionally played as a sweeper – but Barca mostly played two deep at the back to make sure they had a 2 vs. 1 against the lone striker.

    The interesting thing is that Masche’s partner in the 2 man deep formation was constantly changing. That was almost a generic spot that other players would need to read and react into moving in. Often it was Adriano which was surprising as Puyol pushed forward so high.

    The other very structural roles in the system were the two wingers who created tactical width.

    Within that 3 player structure – tremendous dynamism, especially between Messi and Sanchez.

    • Roberto Senyera
      April 11, 2012

      “The key was Masche. He functionally played as a sweeper – but Barca mostly played two deep at the back to make sure they had a 2 vs. 1 against the lone striker.”

      Yes. No matter the fluid system FCB played against Getafe, who basically played a 4-5-1, the key was that they played ten men behind the ball. And Pep said, fine, everybody else join the attack. Two to cover their lone attacker. Simple. Don’t waste defenders covering space that’s not occupied by the other team’s attackers. We didn’t need more than two deep lying defenders in that match because of the way the other team decided to play against us.

      I’ve never seen Puyol play so high up the pitch.

  6. April 11, 2012

    Montpellier! Beat Marseille today to return to the top of the table. This is a club that I fell for back in their Ligue 2 days, when I used to go the Stade Mosson when I was in the region on vacay, just because. There weren’t a lot of fans, but the fans that were there were vocal, and committed to their side. It was awesome.

    After promotion, they have been fast improving, and had some sniffs of the top of table last season. This year they have come together very, very nicely, and are looking good to finish top, which would be awesome x12.

    Here’s the third goal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_XajTG53MY

    • nzm
      April 11, 2012

      Ah the French League…

      It was a good game – I did watch it because it was live here in Spain on Gol Television.

      I am watching PSG because of Maxwell. He still has good hair, albeit shorter than he wore it at Barca. 😀

    • blitzen
      April 11, 2012

      Also, Iniesta as Tintin:

      http://www.martiperarnau.com/2012/03/el-tintin-de-albacete/

      Oiga, yo les construyo esta pasarela hasta la portería contraria, pero no le digan a nadie que fui yo; digan que fue casualidad, que yo solo pasaba por allí..

      Hey, I will build this gateway to the opposing goal, but do not tell anyone it was me, say it was a coincidence, I just walked by ..

    • Dani_el
      April 11, 2012

      I loved his references about Messi and Oliver Aton. I don’t know if it was as popular in north america as it was in south america, but that cartoon (anime) rocked! It was about a little guy, as little as it gets, from Japan, that loves to play football, and he’s technical and most of the times he beats a big, tall, physical type kind of guy. Here I leave you the first chapter:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOAz7Qfba98

      Mind you, it’s for kids, I actually saw it when I was little in the 90’s but it seems like Messi.

      Thanks for the article, Perarnau rocks! When he does one of those unforgettable articles I’ll be sure of translate it and post it here!

      • blitzen
        April 11, 2012

        Just as a point of interest, “Oliver” is one of the nicknames the other Spanish NT players call David Villa.

        • hansh
          April 11, 2012

          Is there a story behind this? I’d love to hear it.

          • blitzen
            April 11, 2012

            It’s after the same “Oliver y Benji” anime that Dani_el is talking about. It was very popular in Spain.

  7. BTTFCule
    April 11, 2012

    Anyone watching Dortmund – Bayern ?

    Hummels looks the deal. I saw him making atleast 3 crazy ass runs Beckenbaur style

    • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
      April 11, 2012

      I’m watching, have to say its not up to the hype so far.

      • BTTFCule
        April 11, 2012

        I agree. Game as a whole is average. But to be expected as it’s a title decider

        • BTTFCule
          April 11, 2012

          Don’t know what happened to Muller though. Maybe the hype got to him after WC?

          • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
            April 11, 2012

            Bayern are 3 points behind Dortmund, they need to win, but they are not attacking with full force, the better chances were to Dortmund, generally I’m Anti-Bayern except for next week of course.

          • Messiah10
            April 11, 2012

            Schweinsteiger just subbed n 4 Muller. I like Basten a lot but more of a defensive minded player. Maybe thinking they need to control midfield in order to move forward instead of the supply Muller can provide as well as goals(although less this year)

      • Messiah10
        April 11, 2012

        I love Dortmund. Anytime they’re on GolTv I watch them over any other games on FSC. I think their coach is top notch and should Pep ever leave, he’d be a good fit. Kagawa is the real deal. To bad he just signed extension. His vision is on par w/Xavi & Messi. I’m not exagerating. He has the Vision and touch and makes some jaw dropping passes and thru balls. I’m really a big fan of his.

        • Ryan
          April 11, 2012

          Announcer said he was signed for 350,000 and is now estimated to be worth 17,000,000. That is an amazing upturn on Dortmund’s behalf, regardless of whether he’s sold or kept to help the team win trophies next year.

          • Messiah10
            April 11, 2012

            Wow. Didn’t realize he’d been signed for so little. What a return indeed. I thought he’d stay. Dortmund have quite a team and their CL form was on par with their early season form. They started slow and it showed in CL. They’ll certainly take experience from it and definitely give a better showing next year. Expect them to get out of group stage for sure. The “German Messi’s” been injured most of year as well.

        • Peterj
          April 12, 2012

          His vision on par with xavi and messi?haha i think some fans just underrate our players with words like this

        • Peterj
          April 12, 2012

          His vision on par with xavi and messi?u know u are levelling him with them,right? Why dont u rate him with players of his level like ozil,silva,mata e.t.c..IS HE BETTER THAN THEM?

          • Messiah10
            April 12, 2012

            Have you watched most of his games this year? He has tremendous potential. I’m not under rating Xavi or Messi. I think they’re the best in the world. However, I’ve watched a lot of Kigawa and when he’s in form his vision is as good as both of them. He slips perfectly weighted balls through 3 defenders JUST like Messi and Xavi. I don’t see Silva & Matad oing that. Maybe Ozil when he’s on form. I like Silva a lot but I think his brilliance is his movement w/the ball and lulling defenders to sleep to slip a thru ball past 1 or 2 defenders. He’s not splitting a whole back line. I would take Kagawa based on upside potential then Mata or Silva. He can score more goals and looks to make threatening runs. Ozil is a hard one. Can’t say I would.

    • Ryan
      April 11, 2012

      What a nice flick for the Dortmund goal! Offside maybe?

      • Messiah10
        April 11, 2012

        Was great flick! No offside I could see. Penalty a killer! WOWWWWW Save. What a game!

        • Messiah10
          April 11, 2012

          Didn’t like Subotic getting in Robbin’s face. Not very sportmanslike. Don’t think he dived. Really tough to tell on replay.

          • Ryan
            April 11, 2012

            Yeah, I was being harsh on Robben. But Ribery earlier was definitely trying his best DiMaria impression.

  8. Messiah10
    April 11, 2012

    Real Madrid want Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, 28, after the Serbian’s outstanding campaign.

    Full story: Daily Mirror

    I pulled this from BBC Sport/Football Gossip section. First thought? OF COURSE they do! Especially after his haymaker punch to the back of Wigan player over the weekend. Can you imagine Pepe & Ivanovic both on EE. Scary. They could end someone’s career.

  9. Ahmad
    April 11, 2012

    Ya…Don’t get your hopes up high guys. Bayern ain’t beating Madrid.

    • Ryan
      April 11, 2012

      You never know with Ribery and Robben diving all over.

      • Ryan
        April 11, 2012

        Oh man, penalty saved! Subotic having a bit of fun there with Robben…

    • Messiah10
      April 11, 2012

      I wouldn’t say that. Dortmund are a hell of a team. Barca would have trouble with them. We’d control possession as usual but their counter attacking is SO quick and passing is great. We’d be in for a game

  10. Messiah10
    April 11, 2012

    C’mon Pathetico!!! Get that 1st win in 13 years. 13 is their lucky #. Hey, it’s the 13th this Fri.!!! Good Omen

    • Manish
      April 11, 2012

      Messiah10.. your reasoning might make Sherlock Holmes proud if Pathetico win..genius i must say..

    • Ryan
      April 11, 2012

      Great atmosphere so far. Get at ’em, Falcao and Adrian!

  11. April 11, 2012

    What a shock! Down 1-0 already! In fairness, it was a great FK.

      • Ryan
        April 11, 2012

        Both teams making plenty of chances, that’s for sure!

    • Manish
      April 11, 2012

      Ronaldo.. his free kicks are really awesome though he hasn’t scored much this season…

      • Ahmad
        April 11, 2012

        He has scored only 1 this season. At least now he has a 0.025% conversion rate for freekicks…

        • ooga aga
          April 11, 2012

          maths check: this would mean he has converted 1 in 4000 free kicks. oh, i guess that sounds right. 🙂

        • Manish
          April 11, 2012

          This has been a bad season in the conversion area.. but he’s good no doubt…

  12. Dani_el
    April 11, 2012

    Goaaaaaaaal from Atleti! Radamel Falcao García!! Amazing header

    • Dani_el
      April 11, 2012

      Commentator Juan Pablo Varsky: “And Coentrao hides from the play saying, “oh no look who’s coming”, and protects himself leaving Falcao alone with an aggresive header”

  13. jordi™
    April 11, 2012

    el tigre equalizes.I dont understand how the hell alonso doesnt ever get yellows.How is it legal to body check the opponent?

  14. April 11, 2012

    You have to hand it to Ronaldo, those were two awesome goals and may have saved Madrid’s season.

    • Ryan
      April 11, 2012

      So much space afforded to him for the 2nd though!

  15. culegirl3
    April 11, 2012

    That did not look like a penalty to me!

  16. deckardcain
    April 11, 2012

    How the hell is that a penalty?!

  17. Jafri
    April 11, 2012

    Penalty/ Hattrick to Ronaldi. Called it ages ago.

  18. April 11, 2012

    It was a penalty in my view. He bundled him over and pushed in his back. That’s a penalty 100%. Was it kinda/sorta soft? Sure. But it was a penalty.

  19. Kimcelona
    April 11, 2012

    Told you guys to not get your hope up. We have Levante on the weekend a far sterner test. We should focus on that!

    We should only do our part, the best way we can. Depending on teams like Pathetico is too desperate, even for me.

    BTW, great Blitzen awards!

    • Ryan
      April 11, 2012

      EE needed some absolute stunning goals to break down Atleti, to be fair. At 1-1 the stadium was loud, the players were pumped, and anything could have happened. TB was up to the challenge this time, unfortunately.

  20. mega_tajh
    April 11, 2012

    3 goals and 1 assist for TB. He showed up when his team needed him nothing more to say really. 4points as we knew it would’ve.

  21. Kimcelona
    April 11, 2012

    Tito’s son on twitter:

    Adria Vilanova‏@AdriaVilanova:
    Otro año mas , patetico de madrid , el sporting les gana ajajaj , Bonanit!

    LOL The BlaugranaDNA is too strong in that one.

  22. Judas Pissed
    April 11, 2012

    I don’t know why Atletico even bother playing EE each season – just had them the 6 points every year & save everyone the bother…

  23. TITO
    April 11, 2012

    It’s really Pathetic from us having hope on Pathetico to do something NON Pathetic.

  24. nia
    April 11, 2012

    After watching the Bayern game, i think they are going to be torn apart by EE. Ribbery + Robben, ie Robbery, were not that good today. Ribbery is such a diver, he makes Di Diver look good.

    • Helge
      April 11, 2012

      Well, to be honest, EE was not that good either. Chaotic defending, especially in the first half.

      But even when Atleti didn’t play that bad in their recent matches against EE, they still lost. I think it’s also a mental problem. Last win is like 13 years and 23 matches ago!

      Bayern Munich does not have this mental blockade, plus they might now focus solely on the CL. I am actually more optimistic about Bayern kicking EE out of the CL than us winning the league.
      Because apart from Athletic Bilbao, there is no potentially dangerous match left. And the thing with Bilbao is that they have shown very subdued performances in la Liga, since they outplayed ManUtd I somehow believe they only focus on the EL.

      • Clouseau
        April 12, 2012

        as long as heynckes don’t solve the problem with robbery/gomez they will suffer not progress! robben tendency to always cut inside is nothing new for mourinho and as well his lack of effort to help defencewise gonna be play in for josés plans.
        i fear that lahm gonna have to deal with marcelo and penaldo on his own.

        would wish them to progress but minds says it’s highly unlikely..

  25. jordi™
    April 11, 2012

    Courtois’ positioning is really meh. You would think after being surprised by Messi’s freekick he would stop gambling to one side but hes continued and it cost them again today.Thats the price when your goalkeeper is 19 I suppose.Madrid don’t drop points in the obvious games because of their individual brilliance, so it will take another surprise by a Sporting or Granada to give us a chance because Athletic will dominate the game and lose to a 40 yard goal or a counter attack.

    • April 11, 2012

      Look back at the freekick. The ball moves so much in the air. It was headed right to the GK but dips right towards the end.

      • April 11, 2012

        It does. That said Courtois was not well positioned with respect to where he set up his wall. He could have done better but that’s what happens when you play a 19 year old keeper even one as talented as Courtois.

        The movement on the ball was a bigger factor on that second strike, IMO. Courtois was actually positioned to stop it but the pace and movement saw him just miss the ball over his head.

  26. April 11, 2012

    What a packed day of football. So much going on. Dortmund wins an enormous match vs. Bayern that really may have locked in their second straight Bundesliga title.

    Brilliant piece of skill from Lewandowski to score the only goal. Wonderful heel flick.

    Watching that match I was thinking how unfortunate it is that the Clascio’s no longer reach that level of play and how marred they are with violence now.

    Montpellier played just an absolutely wonderful match to pull 3 pts clear of PSG in league one. They are such an entertaining side. Kevin posted the highlight above – but their third goal is just fantastic and Belhanda’s finish was phenomenal. Take a look at that entire move and goal if you can.

    Juve beat a Lazio team that’s been playing very well to move back to the top of the table after Milan’s win yesterday over Chievo.

    And give RM credit. Given recent history, Atleti played fairly well for most the match but then just collapsed after Madrid scored that second goal reverting back to pathetico form.

    Nonetheless-league race is still on. I know people are always wary of Madrid ever dropping points but they have and I don’t think they’ll win out in every non-clasico match left. If they do they will have earned the title.

  27. I didn’t hope much from Atletico for obvious reason.
    And I’m not sure EE will drop any points other than in El Clasico. Sure Bilbao is such an amazing team, but their focus is on EL.

    However, that’s what I thought when they were leading 10 points, that they won’t drop too many points. But football is full of surprise, we never know.

  28. Roberto Senyera
    April 11, 2012

    I had hope in Pathetico today. I really did.

    Falcao was beautiful on 55′. Then it all turned sideways.

    We must give credit to TB. His free kick and his strike from open play were extremely sublime. That was the difference. Those were far from ugly strikes. And nobody could ever call TB ugly … at least superficially. Subdermally is another matter.

    However, the same cannot be said of Ozil. He’s not Avatar Eyes as Ray Ray says. Nope. The man is Fish Eyes.

    And dive Maria is a bridge beyond that.

    However, I’m sure those two are beautiful under the skin. And, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Visca Barça!!

  29. simple_barcafan
    April 11, 2012

    lol..so much hopes on the Bilbao- Madrid game. It seems for some reason, everyone thinks thats gonna be a decider. I think there will be more barcelona fans watching than the Madrid – Bilbao fans combined !! 😛

    • barca96
      April 12, 2012

      I don’t want to put any hopes up because since last season, when we expect teams to give EE trouble, it will be a walkover.

  30. Dani_el
    April 11, 2012

    Here’s yet, another excellent article from Martí Perarnau’s blog. This time written by a third division “10”, and how he learned to run less, to make more damage when it matters, prevent injuries, and learn when to run to prolong his career. Pretty practical:

    http://www.martiperarnau.com/2012/04/messi-el-acordeon/

    It also explains, why the player can resist all of those games, and how the technical staff manages to put him on field without much danger.

  31. messifan
    April 11, 2012

    And to continue with more worthy football stories, there are some interesting articles in Issue Four of the Blizzard. It’s a magazine that you can digitally subscribe for about $5/quarterly. I definitely recommend this to anyone who’s interested. Plus once you subscribe, you can access previous issues for free.

    This issue has a Barcelona section featuring three articles. One is about Xavi (an extract from Hunter’s book). The other one written by David Winner comparing tiki-taka to bullfighting and today’s political context associated with La Roja and Catalunya. The last article is a brief history of the rivalry between Athletic and Barcelona in the 80s featuring Clemente, Maradona and Menotti (plus political background in Argentina and the Basque Country).

    Other interesting articles include football in Egyptian politics, and a conservation between Didier Deschamps and Jean-Claude Suaudeau on modern attacking football. That dialogue was published in France Football and translated for the Blizzard. They discussed trends in football, specifically on the roles of space, movement and midfield, using Barcelona as an example. Quiet philosophical. There are so many more articles but I haven’t finished reading all of them yet.

    Anyway, I think it’s a good publication and just want to spread more awareness of its existence.

    My favorite article so far is one written by Simon Kuper and David Winner comparing Apple and Oranje a.k.a the Beatles and Johan Cruyff. Sounds fun? Y’all should check it out. Cheers!

  32. barca96
    April 12, 2012

    Yeah we noticed it too that our bench love to hug.
    It’s like a goal=trophy 😆

    A few days ago I read that many people were writing Chelsea off. I would never do that. It was the same case wit Liverpool last time. They always lose points vs. the smaller teams but when they play the big 4 especially Chelsea, all of a sudden they are unbeatable.

    Same applies to Chelsea and Arsenal. They lose focus vs the small teams but are very strong against the strong teams.

    • swamidigital
      April 12, 2012

      Chelsea has looked bad even when they won this year though, so it’s not just about the losses. I’ve seen them seven or eight times this year and they never looked good.

  33. Laurentiu88
    April 12, 2012

    Let’s not be to harsh on Atletico or regret our hopes for the game. In truth they did put in a fight and dominated some sections of the game. First goal came totally against the run of play and if second goal would have came later a bit maybe Atleti could have scored. At 1-1 the game was very much in the balance. The penalty? I guess correct, but Higuain looked for it and the defender was unwise to offer it: what was the danger in Hig. going to the sidelines there?… I guess they beg for a penalty for so long :))

  34. Peterj
    April 12, 2012

    Are u dortmund fan? they could not even beat arsenal,poor marseille…Fact is they re a poor team,but they ve just been consistent in the bundesliga

    • nzm
      April 12, 2012

      Dortmund is a talented team full of young players, much like Bilbao only with less international experience.

      For most of the squad, this season’s CL experience was the first so I didn’t expect much from them.

      If Klopp stays, and if they manage to retain their key squad members (without them being sold for profit or lured away by other clubs), they will develop into a great team.

      They have the talent: they just need the continuity of winning results and more understanding of each other on the pitch as a unit.

      Last night in the dying minutes, they put themselves under pressure by continually giving Bayern back the ball from long kicks, instead of taking it to midfield and passing it around.

      As they mature, both in age and as players, that type of play will decrease and I think that they will be an awesome team in the future.

      The biggest problem as I see it, is that Borussia Dortmund is a publically traded company on the stockmarket which means that there are a lot of shareholders to satisfy. Hopefully, the majority of them are invested into the club as a passion, and not for quick profits.

      • Clouseau
        April 12, 2012

        i read your comment from yesterday, nzm ^^
        sympathisizing with schalke and bvb is pretty uniqué combination! very cool:-)

        as far as i know those stockmarket shareholders do not interfere in all sportive decisions thanks to the 50+1 rule which makes Dortmund the main shareholder. keeping most of their players will be tough but as long as they continue their scoutingrecord and their youth policy they won’t suffer much.
        it’s amazing how r.rauball and h.j.watzke improved their financial positions in short time.
        bvb reminds me of sevilla fc’s past with the only exception that they have gathered more fans uproad and a higher revenuesrate.

        • nzm
          April 12, 2012

          Clouseau: thanks for your comments.

          Yes – Schalke and Dortmund is an interesting mix, considering their rivalry – we like to live dangerously! 😀

          That’s really good to know about the BVB share distribution.

          I love Klopp as a coach (also followed him at Mainz) and what he’s doing at BVB.

          Thanks again for the info.

          • Clouseau
            April 12, 2012

            you’re welcome :))

            defo an interesting combo. hehe,can’t wait to hear your opinion about their game on saturday 😉

            following him since his mainz tenure? it keeps getting better and better 😀
            i like klopp too! very lovly intelligent and passionate modern coach! he has chosen his reference wisly..
            i’m very happy for his successes in Dortmund since he was often ridiculed for his time in the”karnevalsverein” and his extroverted behavior/openly mind. now he get’s the recognition he deserved.

          • nzm
            April 13, 2012

            Clouseau: Saturday’s match is going to be a humdinger! 😀

            The experience of Schalke vs. the youthfulness of Dortmund! The Dortmund defence will have to keep their wits about them around Raul and Huntelaar. I have a hunch that Schalke may edge Dortmund – given the latter’s big mid-week game vs. Bayern AND that Schalke have the huge advantage of a very vocal and passionate homecrowd. But if Dortmund gets the win, I’d safely say that the season’s Bundesliga Trophy is theirs.

            Yes – as one half of my household is German (thus, I have German in-laws!) and I lived in Berlin for a year, I grew to love Kloppy’s passion and demonstrations on the sidelines at Mainz. So much better than the stiffness of all the other German coaches! Kind of like Pep, Klopp lives and breathes what he does – although I think that he has more fun doing it than Pep who is under so much more pressure to perform well at mythical FCB.

            Messiah10: let’s hope that Dortmund can find a way to keep everything together so that we can share the excitement in the coming years! 🙂

        • Messiah10
          April 12, 2012

          Clouseau,

          Thanks for that info. I’m a big fan of Dortmund. I really like Klopp as a coach and rate him well. Like I said way above, if Pep ever left I wouldn’t mind seeing him at FCB.
          -NZM,
          Couldn’t have said it better. They are SO young. Great analogy to Bilbao. IF they stay together I like their odds in the CL over the next few seasons. That’s a big if. So many young talented players with so much potential. Hard to imagine they won’t sell 1 or 2 of them. Makes me wish for old school days when teams stayed together, but then I wouldn’t no a thing about Dortmund b/c they wouldn’t be televised in the states. The globalization of football has some definte down points but more positives from my point of view.

          • nzm
            April 13, 2012

            Messiah10: let’s hope that Dortmund can find a way to keep everything together so that we can share the excitement in the coming years! 🙂

  35. lyd
    April 12, 2012

    Damn Atletico. But at least they kept hopes alive for over an hour. That was beyond my expectations. Way beyond expectations was a 4 point deficit before the clasico, after osasuna game. Glad we’re on our way to that. No room for errors (as usual) vs Levante!

    Say we win the clasico, get to CL final. My question is, would the “end of cycle”, “three year rule” narratives be dead by then, irrespective of whatever happens after the CL 2nd leg vs medieval empire? Or is it over already for most BFBers?

    Cheers to Blitzen awards. Enjoyable as always!
    To add more to SOS:

    I had this comforting dream (or im probably making this up), which went like-

    Its dejavu at Stamford Bridge. Yesss!!! An iniestazo!! I throw a deadly air punch and kill billion air molecules instantly. Got no details of how the goal actually happened. I wait for the replay while Ray Ray screams something like, “Magistraterrestrial!!”

    Meanwhile The pale knight rides to the corner, thumb out of the amber scabbard, in usual action. He does not dedicate goal to Valeria this time, but to the baby boom that just exploded.
    Xavi being closest to Iniesta when the goal happened, leads and the rest follows in pursuit of a group huddle. Suddenly they all stop. Crowd gasps in shock! How on earth??!!!

    A bear! Yes that bear (from the ad) crashes into the field!!! and gives Iniesta a hug! The rest then hugs the bear. Alvez jumps onto the bear but he doesn’t mind. Almost in tears i say, “AWwwwwww” but then the stupid ref sends off the bear. I wake up….

  36. Chiu
    April 12, 2012

    Couple things:

    – The gap with the top spot back to 4 points with 6 games remaining. EE restored the comfy cushion heading into classico next week. I think EE would visit Camp Nou with 4 points advantage given the tiny dot of hope we could place on Sporting Gijon to seize points in Bernabeu.

    – The win in Levante is a precondition for a meaningful classico. We must keep the gap stay 4 points before classico kick off. If we drop points, the significance of 21st April match would diminish considerably.

    – Perhaps now is a bit premature, but allow me to comment about the classico because I’m in classico fever already. With the predicted point difference (4 points), the game plan for Barca would be an easy guess i.e. play to win with our usual style (attack and possession) because there’s simply no other choice either. We must win the classico to increase our probability to triumph in liga. The objective is to slash the gap to a mere single point. With EE having the 4 points lead, they basically can afford a draw. The pragmatic way to achieve that; is by playing defensive, perhaps ultra defensive. I’m sure Mou wouldn’t play open game as long as they don’t require to. Leaving the Camp Nou without losing any points advantage is a huge step closer to end their liga drought. My biased prediction and my objective calculation speak the same; we win the classico!

    – So EE hypothetically would continue the liga race with only 1 point lead. Their very next games would be Sevilla (at home) and away to San Mames. It’s a “silent consensus” among Cules that we put a huge hope Bilbao would take some points off from EE. And then we unseat them from the top in that respective jornada. The capability of current Bilbao and the antagonism of the venue shore up the relevance of this notion. Besides, I’m echoing Cruffy statement; Bilbao need to ensure the qualification for EL next season. They would be eligible if they finish the liga in 5th/6th rank or they win the domestic cup (CDR) or they win this season Europa League. One of the easiest ways as a guarantee is “helping” Barcelona win the liga. So if they lose the CDR final against us, they will still participate in EL next season, regardless the result of this season EL and their final position in liga. By helping Barcelona win the liga, Bilbao will tangentially smooth their passage. And they have opportunity to profoundly influence their own fate by winning or held EE a draw. This would be a win win situation for Barcelona and Bilbao if that scenario materialized.

    – If EE finally win at San Mames and they still lead the table by 1 point, perhaps the only thing we could do is waiting for a miracle. Realistically speaking, hard for me to imagine EE would let the title slip off with only two matches remaining. Though at least we could take this competition alive until the very final minutes, which is the situation we wouldn’t dream could happen when we were 10 points behind. Keep hope Cules! It’s still miles away from over.

    Visca BARCA!

    • Messiah10
      April 12, 2012

      Regardless of the point difference heading into the Clasico, it diminishes nothing for me. We still need to get by Levante which is no easy task. If we do drop points with a draw or god forbid a loss I will say well done EE. You won the league. However, we are still going to give you a beat down because we are better then you. Are players are better footballers. Not only better footballers but better human beings. WE are a family. Are philosphy is superior to yours. We don’t need to buy every big name on the market in hopes of beating you. Our players are genetically instilled w/Barca DNA and no matter if you win the Liga, you will not win the battle for best team on the planet. So let your coach whine and cry and prep the officials before the game. Let your players dive and kick us w/out retribution. That’s the point. WE play OUR football and you CAN”T stop us. Go to sleep thinking of us and have your nighmares.

  37. Gogah
    April 12, 2012

    why is it that Espanyol consistently gives us a better fight than Atletico gives EE?
    Strange…

    • Clouseau
      April 12, 2012

      nothing strange about that it’s still a (true) derby afterall! péricos are both mentally and tactically better prepared always eager to get a result at the end of day they give all they got to get a result or at least to upset barça. they always play their best game against barça

      constrastly to atléti who always get bettered loosíng their hopes from the first minute..

    • April 12, 2012

      It’s that weird, elusive, difficult-to-define thing called morbo. ATM vs EE just doesn’t have it, while us vs Espanyol has it in bucketloads. Iniesta’s Dani Jarque gesture didn’t do all that much to ameliorate the hatred. They just hate Iniesta a lot less.

    • Srini
      April 12, 2012

      Vis-a-vis this game, Atletico actually gave a pretty decent fight in the first half, before being outdone by some Cristiano individual brilliance in the second.

      Espanyol is more fiercer against Barcelona than Atleti against EE because there is an angst among the Pericos that Barcelona has monopolised Catalanism for itself despite Espanyol’s presence in the Barcelona metropolis.

      For years, Espanyol represented those who were comfortable with the integrationist idea as opposed to the Catalan nationalism espoused by Barca. Ideology wise, this is a more conflictual relationship than that exists between Atleti and EE.

      Atleti and EE are differentiated more by their respective managements than by “ideological outlooks” (even in the case of Espanyol vs Barca, it is now overrated). Atleti has forever been the club of the lumpen proletariat in Madrid in some sense and whose ownership has been a symbol of corrupt populism. Although such generalisations are too easy in one sense as well. EE on the other hand is seen to represent the business and professional elite of Madrid with ties with the centralist polity. The “morbo” therefore is not quite there here as compared to the more ideological differences between Espanyol and Barca.

    • Gogah
      April 12, 2012

      I understand.
      Thanks kevin and srini.

  38. hammeronmessi
    April 12, 2012

    a lot of people thinking different situations where they might loose point apart from the classic .

    dont bother if we win the remaining 6 games we will be the champions.

    The question is can we do it?very much an impossibility. But this team can do it and i know it.

    Thong boy those goals are rockets.

  39. Salia
    April 12, 2012

    it never fails to surprise me how full of shit BS.com actually are. They change their opinion so easily and quickly its not even funny anyomore.

    After the 3-1 clasico when we beat EE in the bernabeu, they were the first ones to come out and say that Ronaldo is a no show in the big games and showed his record to everyone against us so why now is the same writer saying that Ronaldo is deadly in the big games like the Derbies when not even 6 months ago they were saying that he is a Big game flop

  40. Salia
    April 12, 2012

    So happy about Afellay returning now, we have almost got a fully fit squad , apart from villa who is nearly fit and poor old fontas. Im really looking forward to his directness. Would love to see him a twenty minute run out against Levante , not ready for a start yet methinks. Once he is fully integrated can you imagine the pace and explosiveness of our front line when fully fit
    Lexus Messi Afellay

    Never forget that cross against EE
    Here it is again from Total Barca

    http://www.totalbarca.com/2012/multimedia/video-of-the-day-afellays-best-moment/

  41. Laurentiu88
    April 12, 2012

    i thought that the ball has to cross 100% the goal line in order to be a valid goal, not just 75%…

    so, 5 games left for EE… what hope is left there? let’s see the sporting game, even if is not likely to see them slip it still does not look like a simple walk.

    if we do win the classic my hope is that the result itself would add to their stress! more than ever we need a convincing win!! and i think our players are willing to show who’s still the best!!

    • Salia
      April 12, 2012

      Yeah I read that somewher but not on BS.com. Probably still crying about how we battered Santos in the Club World Cup or he has probably stopped taking his medicine like Pele. Old age you see or like Pele he’s probably jealous and then have the nerve to criticise our Youth system because we lost to some Brazillian team. How would the Youth ever learn if they have never tasted defeat. Thats why people like Pele and this lad are filling up the kids heads and making them arrogant (Neymar) before theyve even achieved anything. Atleast our youth arent finished at 28 like all Brazillians and then return to Brazil

      Oh and how I would love it if Messi won the world cup in Brazil and Pele has to hand him the trophy to lift since he’s captain nowadays

    • G6O
      April 12, 2012

      Wow…

      The team has been very successful for the last 2 decades, Messi, Xavi & Iniesta are just the latest products of the system. We won 2 CL trophies, one when they were kids and one with other people leading the team, plus one Cup Winners’ Cup in that period and we won more La Liga titles than Madrid between 1991 and 2008. That’s not successful?

  42. Salia
    April 12, 2012

    For the first time as a Barcelona Supporter In am backing Javier Clemente. Doubt that sporting will get anything from the game though, but you just never know EE could rest players for their CL game against Bayern and Sporting were the team last season that ended Mourinho’s record of home consecutive wins and EE tend to lose against teams that you never would expect them to.

    That said though we shouldnt rely on other teams, we should do our own job first. This is the biggest hope I can give Sporting but I fully expect EE’s lead to be 7 points by the time we kick off against Levante.

    I give Sporting a 10% chance to get anything from this game

    • Ryan
      April 12, 2012

      Alonso is suspended after his yellow card vs. Patetico, so there’s a tiny glimmer of hope…

    • blitzen
      April 12, 2012

      10% is generous. Sporting is awful right now. I would give them a 5% chance of a draw and 1% chance of a win.

    • nzm
      April 12, 2012

      Clemente is feeling the pressure right now from the Gijon homecrowd. The last home game showed large banners in the stands wanting Preciado back. He’ll be wanting something extraordinary to win the backing of the fans.

    • G6O
      April 12, 2012

      We have no choice but to rely on other teams, we are 4 points down

  43. nzm
    April 12, 2012

    FYI for those interested:

    Anseves is a YouTube poster who puts up interviews from Spain’s Canal+’s Informe Robinson programme. Hosted by Michael Robinson (a former Rep. of Ireland International rep), each monthly episode interviews footballers.

    There are some interesting ones about some of the Barca team.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2nqhhyygSw&feature=relmfu

    All in Castellano but, even if you don’t understand the commentary, the pics are interesting enough.

    • Chiu
      April 12, 2012

      awesome video analysis. love the innovative thinking from Pep.

  44. ooga aga
    April 12, 2012

    just watched the highlights from the madrid “derby” . watching TB’s celebrations…what an utter D.B… such an unlikable, arrogant figure. how anybody can support a team with him as their star and leader…scratching my head.

  45. Clouseau
    April 12, 2012

    well written piece, blitzen!wholeheartly enjoyed it esspecially the sos award :-))

    loads of good news were released yesterday! glad to hear ibi has been declared fit! must have been tough for him but yeah now he can do what he loves to do…
    wonder if the club consider him as keita’s short term successor? i’m curious to see him start as a b2b centralmidfielder.

    seems that pep’s stubborness comes to fruition since the club decided that next preseason taking place at europe.
    wise decision! would have loved to see rosell’s annoyed face^^
    so in order to fullfill the contract agreement for alexis i guess udinese calcio is a sureshot.
    all after all it is a very beneficial decision for the team since there is a lot of work waiting for pep.

  46. Salia
    April 13, 2012

    You gotta love Maradona. Just makes ripping Pele look too easy.

    This time he’s said that, “My God what a stupid thing to say. Maybe Neymar is the best in the world because Messi is from another planet.”

    Too Funny

  47. Salia
    April 13, 2012

    Puyol Celebrates his 34th Birthday today. Happy Birthday Capita. tryly the heart and soul of FC Barcelona

    • mega_tajh
      April 13, 2012

      Wow look how time flies. When I started supporting Barca he was 28 now he’s 34….

  48. Gogah
    April 13, 2012

    Got Hunter’s Barca book a couple of days back.
    I have designed and applied my own cover on top of it.
    on page 135 now and prolonging the reading as much as possible.

    on another note, happy birthday to Puyol, one of my top 2 favorite players in Barca! May you stay forever young!

    • April 13, 2012

      Can we have a picture of said cover? 🙂

      I agree, the cover could have been a lot better.

    • Gogah
      April 14, 2012

      sure.
      will upload some pictures for y’all to see soon.

  49. sd
    April 13, 2012

    Poor De Rossi. What a horrible year he has had. First, he almost joined Barcelona but that did not happen. Then the start Villareal had was just disastrous. Then he tore a ligament in his knee and needed surgery. Started training again and now he tore his ACL (same one or another I am not sure) and is out again for another 6 months. Poor guy. I hope he can continue to play afterwards but 2 knee surgeries will slow a person down. No way can he come back to the same level.

    • mega_tajh
      April 13, 2012

      Was confused at first when you said De Rossi and almost joining Barca in the same sentence, only to read on about about Rossi.

      Such a shame, was hitting his peak also from what I saw of him last season. Would’ve been a hit at the Euros this year, hope he comes back, stronger but 2 ACL tears on the same knee can leave a player mentally scared.

      • barca96
        April 13, 2012

        Man….. And I was on his camp last summer.
        What a poor guy.
        Reminds me a bit of Ronaldo last time.
        Just came back from an injury and bammm another one, the same one!
        Out another year.

        Anims…

      • sd
        April 13, 2012

        Ah yes. My bad. I am not too great with names. Dale Carnegie would be disappointed with me.

  50. VermontAve
    April 13, 2012

    In other news, Giuseppi Rossi tore his ACL AGAIN, in training right as he was about to come back. Completely terrible for the player, but I have to say we dodged a bullet in choosing Alexis over him.

    • Ryan
      April 13, 2012

      Man, he really can’t catch a break. A shame too because he looked so good last year, both for club and country. From scoring goals for fun and being close to joining Barcelona, to not playing any soccer for a full year… that must be rough.

      Still wish he would have chosen USA over Italy though. Shoot, I’d take him, hobbled legs and all, over the forwards we have now!

  51. barca96
    April 13, 2012

    Courtesy of Barcastuff

    Barcelona want to sign a top player this summer. Bale, Van Persie, Javi Martinez and Muniain are the main names on the list

    &

    Barcelona representatives have met a second time with the representative of Atletico forward Adrian (24), who was offered by his agent.

    Is Adrian better than Muniain? Haven’t seen much of Adrian but from what I’ve seen of Muniain since last season, he is on top of my list to replace Villa.

    I haven’t seen much of Thiago Silva either but people keep on saying that he is young but he is already 27 for goodness sake! He is no spring chicken!

    I wouldn’t mind having Javi Martinez playing CB for us and especially since his natural position is DM. He can always switch with Busi.

    So I would love to raid Athletic Bilbao this season. If we don’t buy them, EE will. So why should we have sympathy?! We need to improve our squad. Let EE take Llorente.

    CB – 1)Javi Martinez 2)Thiago Silva
    LB – Jordi Alba
    Attacker – Muniain

    That’s all in my wish list.

    – Barca girl Indo, you alright over there? Where are you? Jakarta? Any tremors there?

  52. barca96
    April 13, 2012

    I don’t understand how EE fans are trying to justify CR7’s goal celebration that it’s an inside joke. If it’s an inside joke, why show it to the world?
    And twice in a week? Twice in a succesion? Twice after scoring goals from distance? Too much of a coincidence.

    It looks more like he is trying to show to the world how he got that much power, from his unproportionate thighs 😆 Right thigh bigger than the left.

    People get booked for pulling up a shirt to show a message in the under shirt but why is it okay to pull up shorts to show skin?
    “Feliz cumpleano Mummy vs thighs”

    • April 13, 2012

      Well, he’s arrogant, everyone (incl. him) knows that. Sure, his celebrations are over the top “ME ME ME”, but who really cares. That’s who he is, and if he scores golazos (which those goals were), he has every right to celebrate in any manner he chooses.

      I mean if he scored a golazo, and then went about celebrating politely, I’d be more surprised.

      • April 13, 2012

        Players who celebrate goals do them in all sorts of ways that would be considered asshatish to opposing fans, or neutrals. Messi mugged for the camera after scoring against Getafe. Alves does a samba. He and Abidal have a little choreographed dance. It’s all part of the game. Do players care how it looks? Nope. Should they? Another story. Is it better that they all just stand there and glower, like someone just spit tobacco on their puppy, a la Balotelli? Nope. That’s bullshit as well.

        More offensive to me isn’t the leg showing, but the face made after the goal, the “Of COURSE I’m that good, beeyotches,” look that makes people admit that he’s a fantastic player, but also a giant douche.

        • Jnice
          April 13, 2012

          The thing I like about our team is that, even when players wanted to do an individual celebration (Alves dance or Messi pointing to the camera). they do it AFTER a gigantic group hug.

          As for celebrations, players can do what they want, but the one thing that bothers me (I’ve mentioned this before), is when someone does all the work for the goal & the goalscorer basically taps it in, but instead of going to give credit to the person that gave them the ball, they go run off on their own or whatever. Can’t stand that. Ronaldinho always used to give credit to those who assisted him & that’s part of the reason I loved him so much.

          • blitzen
            April 13, 2012

            ^ What he said.

            The first, first, thing most of our boys do after scoring a goal is turn around and point at the guy who set it up for him. I love that.

            Then a big group hug, and then there can be silliness like Pique’s 2-2 thing or Abidal running backwards. (One of my favourite goal celebrations from last season was Pedro’s moustache gesture in honour of Manuel Preciado!)

            I remember when David Villa scored his first couple of goals for the club–he did his slide into the corner and pointing to his own number. Maybe someone had a word with him or maybe he just noticed it wasn’t really the done thing at Barça, because it wasn’t long before he made his celebrations more about the team than himself.

            Anyway, I really don’t care if CRonaldo wants to show off his pretty legs. He’s entitled. But it makes me feel a warm glow when I think that the last time Messi pointed to his legs to celebrate a goal, it was in honour of a disabled child. <3

          • kinukinu
            April 14, 2012

            “But it makes me feel a warm glow when I think that the last time Messi pointed to his legs to celebrate a goal, it was in honour of a disabled child. <3"

            ^^^^THIS x1000!

            It's so redundant when TB's celebrations say "look at me" when everyone's already looking at him. His antics make me forget the goal and get dizzy from rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

    • jordi™
      April 13, 2012

      Its not the leg thing, its him imaginary wanking to his own goals.I mean how crass is that, yet a message under a shirt is a card.

    • Jnice
      April 13, 2012

      Downloaded that a few months ago. Pretty interesting.

    • Huckleberry
      April 13, 2012

      Messi would outclass both 😉

    • nzm
      April 13, 2012

      I really enjoyed that – never thought that I would say that about watching Cristiano! 😀

      His power is amazing and the freekick balls are superlative.

      I would still say that he’s missing a mental edge for the big games – no matter what the commentators said about that. He gets psyched out too easily, and it’s all very much in his head. He has ability and skills in abundance to do the job.

      Had to have a wee chuckle about the comments re his running style – I’ve always thought that he runs like a duck. 😀

      • providence
        April 13, 2012

        stop saying good things aba thong boy, we r catalans!

        • nzm
          April 13, 2012

          Credit where credit is due: that’s how I roll.

          I may live in Catalunya but I’ll always be fair. 😀

          • Momo
            April 13, 2012

            Totally agree. Barca fan or not you gotta admit TB will go down as one of the finest pure athletes this game has seen.

          • providence
            April 13, 2012

            jux kiddn… i was jux try to say messi rules

            marca will nt say messi is the best though

            and if its fairness i dun think karanka wud say tb is the best and pele wud say neymar better past messi.

            but still jux kiddnvit makes the blog fun

  53. providence
    April 13, 2012

    where can i get english website of el mundo deportivo or EE’s Marca

    • blitzen
      April 13, 2012

      You can’t. Google Translate is your friend. 😛

  54. sd
    April 13, 2012

    Wenger (stolen from Barcastuff): “The defense is Barca’s weak point. Chelsea’s direct play, free-kicks and corners can cause them problems”

    I am tired of people saying Barcelona’s defense is weak. Sure it isn’t as great as the attack but by no means is it weak. Comparing it to one of the best attacks the world of football has ever seen is completely invalid. No one says Madrid’s defense (which is very good) is weak even though Barca has conceded less goals in them. Apparently having a defense and keeper that have won the Zamora three years in a row and looking strong to get a fourth in a row with having allowed less than 0.8 goals/game (guesstimate since Barca hasn’t allowed more than a goal under Guardiola and allowed more than 0.5) is weak. Apparently you win two Champions League in three years while losing in the semis one year with a weak defense. Apparently being able to play with 3 defenders and outclass most teams is having a weak defense. This is only true when you say the defense is the defenders only but that is completely nonsense. Defense comes from the team. Sure in a conventional defensive sense Barca might not be the best but its not as if everytime Barca concede a corner or free kick its a goal. Even if you look at it from defenders being the defense then having the best RB, two of the best CB, two of the best DMs, and one of the best LBs (when he was able to play) is by no means a weak defense. Equating defense to height and being able to play physically is complete nonsense. Positional awareness, timing and situational control and awareness are far more important. Just like tiki-taka is not the only way to play attacking football (I know! I know! Blasphemy) being able to absorb pressure while conceding space and possession is not the only way to defend. Barca’s defense is rooted in their posession of the ball. Even with very direct teams its not as if Barca are poor. In fact I would wager that were Barca’s defenders asked to play in a conventional defensive system they would be just as successful. Saying Barca’s defense is weak the equivalent to saying that Dani Alves is not good defensively. Its completely bogus.

    My rant for the day. Thank you. Have a good day.

    • nzm
      April 13, 2012

      Maybe so…but I still get butterflies when the opposition gets the ball past half-way, and I have always have to peep at the TV through my fingers as corner kicks are taken against Barca.

      It’s the unpredictability that gets to me. If Alves or Pique aren’t at the top of their game, or Busquets gets his head on the ball to send it any which way except away from the goal, my heart is jumping out of my chest. 😀

      • sd
        April 13, 2012

        I know what you mean. But the rate Barca conceded goals at are probably the same as the other top defensive teams if not lower. Plus I like to think Barca gift those goals to make the games more interesting.:D

        • barca96
          April 14, 2012

          I also think that our defence is pretty weak. Just think about it, the goals conceded rate is pretty high if you take the number of times we are being attacked.

          In a lot of the matches, the opposition score from less than 5 shots.

          • Srini
            April 14, 2012

            “pretty weak”!!

            If the number of times you are being attacked is low, you are doing a fantastic job at defense. Note that possession stats include touches by defenders and their involvement in the scheme of things. It is not as if Puyol, Alves, Pique, Masche, Abidal, Adriano were standing idle when the midfield and the forwardline was controlling the ball.

          • Umm the whole point of a good defense is not allowing shots to happen. The best goalkeeping performances against us may have been when we pepper the goal with shots but they go on forcefield mode, sure, but the great defensive teams don’t allow shots and shots on goal to happen. Chelsea kept us to maybe a couple shots and a single shot on goal at Stamford Bridge, that was an incredible defensive performance. Inter kept us to just a handful of shots, that’s an incredible defensive performance. Blocking and stealing the ball and tackling and positional sense to cut out an attack and all the things that count as defending pretty much, aside from last ditch blocks or clearing off the line, is about not allowing shots to fly towards the goal. Once a shot is released then if it’s accurate it’s up to the goalkeeper, not the defender, mostly.

          • sd
            April 14, 2012

            I think Srini and Outer are making my point than I am. The whole point of the defense is to avoid goal scoring chances.

            I will asume by 5 shots you mean 5 goal scoring opportunities. If Barca are facing 5 good goal scoring opportunities then Barca’s defensive system is not working. This means that the forwards are not pressing well, the midfielders are not holding possession and the defenders are out of position to defend properly. This means that the other team is getting very high quality chances on which they are expected to score on. Even when Barcelona are attacked its not as if they don’t know what to do. Even if it is free-kicks and corners. They get it right just as much as the best defensive teams. Yes I get nervous at corners and free-kicks but thats more because of being a fan. I think if one were to put Puyol, Abidal, Mache, Pique, Busquets in any team their defense would be improved.

            As for Chelsea picking out our defense that may be so but I think Barca will pick theirs out much more easily. I haven’t seen them too much in the last couple weeks but this is what I think will happen. Luiz and Cahill even if they play deep will make it too easy for Barca’s midfield runners to get into the box. With Messi dropping deep and Alexis dragging their defenders their defense which is usually already all over the place (not a straight line, often a slanted line) will be even more spread. With Messi, Xavi, Fabregas, Iniesta the chances for one of them to pick out the other with passes will be high. Unless Chelsea’s midfield drops back to help and crowd the area to take out the angles Chelsea will find it very difficult which is why keeping players wide (the theme this season) will be important for Barca. Pushing their midfield back will also greatly reduce their direct play as long as Masche is sweeping and Busquets is having a good game. I think thats what will happen but what the hell do I know. Either way in Pep I trust and I am sure he will come up with something.

  55. mega_tajh
    April 13, 2012

    Madrid will drop some points 2moro!! I dreamed it and I don’t usually dream about football!!!

  56. TITO
    April 14, 2012

    Interesting stat from EMD:
    RM have gone 12 months, i.e. 36 league games in a row without having a penalty awarded against them!!!!

    • Ryan
      April 14, 2012

      Right, even just a filler one for the Levante match would be nice. I’m looking forward to see how we deal with them, considering they’re still doing well at 5th place. Ballesteros the man mountain vs. Alexis in fine form should be a fun match up!

  57. Edit: Link removed for content.

    Another footballer died on football field… RIP Piermario Morosini 🙁

    • messifan
      April 14, 2012

      Oh no! 🙁

      Is this link showing the incident? If so, can someone remove it from here? I don’t want to watch it.

  58. hansh
    April 14, 2012

    Hey, hey, guys, I can’t watch the game live today. You know why? I’m going to support my local MLS team instead! So excited 😀

    Also ESPN decided to show this Barca game when they haven’t shown one in forever, so I can watch it recorded! Today is a good day!

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