El Clasico Liveblog

I’m calm. Win, lose, or draw I love this team.

Starting XI: Valdes Alves Mascherano Puyol Adriano Xavi Busquets Thiago Tello Messi Iniesta

Bench: Pinto, Pique, Montoya, Keita, Fabregas, Pedro, Sanchez

Evil XI Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria, Benzema


Match starts at 2:00 PM EST. BYOCrazy

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    • hansh
      April 21, 2012

      Oh Kari, I come to the comments section all sad after finishing the game on DVR, and you’ve posted this great gif and it makes me want to laugh, but Barca just lost el clásico and likely the league, and, ugh, stop toying with my emotions like this!

  1. footballfan
    April 21, 2012

    It’s surprising that Cuenca is not even in the squad. Is he injured or something?

  2. April 21, 2012

    Nice La Liga, congratulations to EE for the title.

    Onto Tuesday..

  3. Xingxian
    April 21, 2012

    Çok yaşa Barça kaybetsen dahi…

  4. Judas Pissed
    April 21, 2012

    End of an era maybe? If we get past Chelsea & face EE in the final they are simply stronger, faster & better than us at the mo…

    • Nonsense. Real Madrid weren’t any better. This is what happens when we starts with only one guy who can score goals or atleast get into the box. Pedro shud have started in place of Alves. Till the time Alexis came, could see anyone other than Messi scoring tonight. That was the problem.

      • jordi™
        April 21, 2012

        Your’e right,Their defensive pairing really didnt have anything to do.As soon as alexis came on he occupied them.

        • April 21, 2012

          I disagree, both Ramos and Pepe had fantastic games. Pepe charged out of defence a lot and put Barca’s attackers into pressure even before they could get anywhere near the goal. And Ramos did a fantastic job on Messi. You have to give the defensive pairing credit. They didn’t have to make a lot of spectacular headline-grabbing tackles but they put in a lot of good work.

    • April 21, 2012

      Nonsense. Give us that three week break that we’ll get if we make it past Chelsea and their squad size advantage will disappear. We’ll see the rested, dominant Barca that we saw at Wembley.

      We just have to get it done with Chelsea, which will be no small task.

    • Messiah10
      April 21, 2012

      We WERE out muscled today. Period. EE closed down on us hard and made us make poor passes. That being said we did maintain majority possession. This is the 2nd game in a row that we make a mess out of a corner. VV is the SOLE blame for this 1. Absolute shocker of misjudgement of flight of ball. You can’t gift EE goals. Then, as mentioned, no FINSIHING!!! I could scream my lungs out at this. Genius from Messi and Xavi chokes. Tello too young and inexperienced for a game of this magnitude. I will have to say that Pep got it all WRONG today. Why didn’t Alexis start? Why didn’t Pedro start over Tello and or Cuenca who didn’t make the bench? Lastly for Pep . . . you have to have height against Chelski and EE. Pique should’ve started both games. Maybe he would’ve cleared those corners? WHo knows. But we don’t have a chance of getting the header if our guys are 6 inches shorter than everyone else. I sick to my stomach. I was really P.O’d on the 2nd goal b/c Tello was fouled up the field and it wasn’t called. Ray Ray mentioned it. Ray made excuse that it was on wrong side of ref but no way! Right in front of him. Give away resulted in goal. 1 gift goal and 1 goal from ref mistake in my humble opinion. I think we’ll come out full of fire and anger for Chelski and advance. And as mentioned above, with rest, take out EE in the CL Final.

  5. culegirl3
    April 21, 2012

    I don’t care that we lost..I care that we lost against EE(very childish thinking but I’m sure some feel the same way) 🙁

  6. Ryan
    April 21, 2012

    We looked pretty gassed out there. Hopefully these last few weeks will convince Pep to get an actual goal scorer over the summer, and not another 3 or 4 midfielders.

  7. HisR0yalFlyness
    April 21, 2012

    Sorry but that was painful to watch. Don’t know what that was but it wasn’t my Barca. With what was at stake with this game the desire should have been there and it wasn’t.

    Congrats to Madrid. Deserved winners.

  8. blitzen
    April 21, 2012

    Before all the doom & gloom sets in:

    Congratulations to Real Madrid. They actually came out to play football instead of rugby, for a change. They played well and took their chances. The first goal should not have happened but that’s on us. I don’t expect them to drop any more points, so: Well Done, Liga Champions.

    Contrary to what people were saying in the LiveBlog, Barça did not play terribly. We mostly played very well, but a handful of mistakes cost us dearly. No one to blame but ourselves.

    We still have two trophies to play for. I do believe we can beat Chelsea next week to make the CL final. I honestly think the CDR final against Athletic Bilbao will be more difficult than the Chelsea game because Bilbao wants it so desperately. I am looking forward to it!

    We all say “Visca Barça”, but remember what it means. Barça Forever. Even when they lose. <3

    • April 21, 2012

      I don’t post here that often anymore, but have to agree and congratulate Real Madrid. They were the better team in the league over the year, and they deserved the win today over us.

      • blitzen
        April 21, 2012

        Nice to see you again, Jose. 🙂 Are you on twitter? I’m @blitzen13 if you feel like following.

        • April 21, 2012

          Unfortunately no 😛 I had an account once but I never wrote on it. Is it frowned upon to just follow others and never write?

          • blitzen
            April 21, 2012

            I’m not an expert on twittiquette. But I know that I personally have plenty of followers who never tweet, so you wouldn’t be the only one.

    • Blitzen,
      In terms of controlling the match mostly we played well. But here is the problem – the team which actually needed to win this was us not them. Did we create anything close to be called as enough in such circumstances. The biggest problem with us in big matches this season is that when Messi plays in the middle he is constantly surrounded by three players. He will not be effective unless some guy makes a run into the box or give an alternative route. That was missing tonight. Either one of Pedro, cesc or Sanchez should have started tonight. I wud have gone with Pedro as Sanchez was injured and Cesc was poor against Chelsea. Had we had one more person who was ready to get into the box, we would have murdered them. I never thought they played solidly. They did what they had to do and we made it so easy to them.

      But then no complaints there. This team has given us a lot and I think we don’t have any right to demand more from them. Having said that losing the League could be a good thing – players would be motivated (for the rest of the season and next season)and also Pep could extend his contract. What I really don’t want to see now is an exit from UCL. I would go crazy then.

  9. TITO
    April 21, 2012

    Absolutely gutted the way we approached the game. And before somebody says that this is only a post game reaction, well, i will feel the same tomorrow.
    PEP absolutely lost it for this game. Firstly the line up, where half of our squad had not idea where to position themselves and what to play and secondly, he didn’t prepared them the way he knows how to. Clearly thinking about Chelsea.
    Credit to RM, they outplayed, outperformed and outsmarted us and deservedly will be crowned champions.
    Good that i didnt wanted to write some stuff during the game because i was so pissed off, but atrocious performance from Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago…and some others, they had together the worst game of the season probably. So many unforced wrong passes, we were like f.king Stoke.

    • Ryan
      April 21, 2012

      Wouldn’t EE be the team that is Stoke here, considering the long balls they did all game? Stoke wins games too sometimes, ya know!

      • Robert
        April 21, 2012

        The better example is Wigan the last three weeks.

    • G6O
      April 21, 2012

      I am pretty sure Pep chose the best lineup possible. You think he would have done anything else? We don’t know what the actual condition of the players is, so there is no point accusing the coaching staff of not playing player X.

  10. ciaran
    April 21, 2012

    It’s not about our quality the problem is our efficiency or lack of it.
    Pedro, Alexis, Fabregas, Iniesta and Xavi are all inefficient in front of goal.
    We have missed David Villa terribly and our squad is much much weaker than Madrids.

    • Lou
      April 21, 2012

      I think exhaustion is a large part of the problem. Xavi, Fabregas and Alexis were fine earlier in the season.

      That said it is very clear that Villa is missed. Injuries and illness have definitely taken their toll this year. The past few years Barca has been very lucky with injuries, this year they weren’t.

    • It was not efficieny which we missed. We missed goals scorers. A traditionally goal scoring player(Cesc, Alexis, pedro) would get more into the box and that was what we were missing. RM had to crowd Messi and we never had any outlet.

  11. April 21, 2012

    Very proud of the team and how we made a fight of La Liga in the last few months. Congrats to Madrid, who fully deserved to win the match today with a strong, clean performance. Congrats to them for La Liga as well. They’ve had a tremendous season.

    Our own failures and the fact that we were outplayed lost the game for us today. No need to dwell on it. We have Chelsea to face on Tuesday, the Champions League and Copa to play for.

    It’s been a heartbreaking and beautiful season so far and it isn’t over yet.

  12. April 21, 2012

    I’m proud of the guys for competing but eventually they were too much, both on the night and over the course of the season. Congrats to them, they deserved it. We are still very much in the CL and we will be back next year in La Liga. Visca Barca.

  13. TITO
    April 21, 2012

    They played football, we didn’t, at least no the way we now how to play football. This was not at all how this group of players cam move, circle the ball and outplay the opponent.
    I mean, Xavi was playing a forward for the half of the first half. What a hell was that?
    Puyol Masch and Adriano as our back 3 against RM? Really??
    So many flaws in our game tonight, i don’t have the nerves to think about it anymore.

    • messifan
      April 21, 2012

      What more do you want from Pep or this team? Abidal and Villa injured. Pedro and Pique not match fit all season. Cuenca and Afellay are not going to make that much of an impact either. Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta and Messi are exhausted. Alexis picked an injury on Tuesday, so Pep tried to manage his time. Given our available resources, I can’t fault Pep for using this lineup.

      Like others have said, we are still in two other competitions. All we, fans, can do right now is encouraging the team to keep on fighting.

  14. Oil_Can
    April 21, 2012

    Congrats to Madrid, they deserved it I guess.

    Well, we can’t always win every game and play perfectly all the time. I thought from the start we just didn’t have the belief to win this game, we just sort of went for broke and sort of played chaotic, we weren’t focused enough on our game.

    End of an Era? I don’t know, can an Era end from one match?

    TBH I feared that a loss like this will feel bad, but I gotta say Im not that upset. We lost a game, atleast it gives us space to regroup and start again next season. This team has been amazing non-stop for almost 4 years, losing one game doesn’t measure up to that.

    • Ryan
      April 21, 2012

      Yeah, I felt worse with the Osasuna, Getafa, and Villarreal games to be honest. Those were games we should’ve won, but here it was pretty obvious that the team was running on empty.

  15. Lou
    April 21, 2012

    Congrats to Madrid. They played really well both in this game and all season. I thought Oezil in particular was superb in this game. Barca played their hearts out, with clearly an understrength line up and many exhausted players but in the end they just couldn’t do it.

    You can’t win them all, and hopefully losing the Liga this year will give them all the more motivation for next year. No team can win every trophy.

    On the bright side this will give Pep the opportunity to rest key players (especially important if the team manages to get through against Chelsea) and try out some of the youngsters. Hopefully we’ll see Montoya, Muniesa maybe even Bartra getting some games.

    Still proud of this team!


    • Messiah10
      April 21, 2012

      Great point about bleeding in the youngsters. I’d like to see Montoya get some games. We do need the rest. Especially, Messi. My god. He’s played nearly every games for 3 7/8 seasons and World Cup and what’s it called, South American Cup? (Uruguay won). Brain Fart. Oh well. He needs a rest. Who cares if he gets mad. That’s what coaches do. Although, I do want him to break 67. However, if he doesn’t get a game off, he might not from exhaustion. Remember what the suspended game did for him? He came out guns blazing.

      • Lou
        April 21, 2012

        I suspect if Barca gets through against Chelsea Pep will tell Messi to go away for 5 days or so. Staying on the bench clearly drives Messi crazy, and clearly Pep feels that Messi plays better when he is happy.

  16. Huckleberry
    April 21, 2012

    Transition year. No clear game plan. To much experimentation. Perhaps next year…

  17. Víctor
    April 21, 2012

    We had our mistakes, but they also had their good decisions… congrats to them… they came out with a win when everyone thought that they’d lose the game (even their fans)…

    We still have the CL and the CDR to move on.

  18. Dave
    April 21, 2012

    Awful selection from Pep.No height no physicality, no energy and no ideas. We could not control the mf.Poor passing etc
    Messi gets it runs into defenders or across the goal.
    Xavi’s achilles is critical. He should do a scholes and hang up the international boots after the Euros
    Tello stayed wide and overran again and again.
    Alves is not a Rf,this happened before against Pelligrini’s Real and Pep changed it then. Aswell as this he owned CR before.
    Puyol while solid does not put attackers on the back foot.
    Why did Keita not play, he was fresh and would of added strength at set pieces.
    If Pique is fit he must play. Hes dominated Ronaldo before. Politics should not get in the way.
    AWWWWWW Rant over. Not negativity but criticism.

  19. rohitv16
    April 21, 2012

    Proud of this team. The fact this is the first game they lost since August 2010 goes to be a testament of their greatness. Here’s hoping we finish off Chelsea on Tuesday. But the team does not have any points to prove. They deserve that respect for what they have done, have been doing and will do in the future.

    Visca Barca!

  20. Jnice
    April 21, 2012

    League is over, congrats to Madrid.

    Thought we were EXTREMELY disappointing in the first half. We should have never conceded that goal and our passing was deplorable and that chance Xavi missed… wow. Second half, I thought we did fairly well, once again we missed a good chance (the Tello one), but after Alexis scored I thought we’d push on from there. Nice pass and goal by RM and boom, we’re deflated. Great timing for them.

    Can’t win them all, but I just thought we’d come out with so much fire and intensity knowing we could cut the deficit to 1 point in from of 99,000. Fatigue and some of the injuries/selection by Pep played a part, I guess. I don’t know.

    Hopefully we come out with some sort of energy against Chelsea and take our chances early because it’s going to be extremely difficult to progress I feel.

  21. daratboya
    April 21, 2012

    you win some, you lose some..well, off to CL then..lose to minnows taste bad, lose against EE, taste like sh*t

  22. just listenin
    April 21, 2012

    Madrid earned their crown, Congrats. Not over, but over. We were simply outplayed, give credit where credit is due. I was glad to see a clean game for a change (with the exception of the time wasting) you guys over there should stick with it, looks good on you, shows some real class, and you actually play better that way. Looking forward for once to the next encounter. Congratulations again.

    On the Barca side, let’s hope we get though to the CL final, and now I’m pulling for RM v Bayern, so if we can win and we can rest our thin squad, get there rested and ready, and have another good go at them. Too many injuries this year, hope we buy a little more depth in some key areas while we continue developing then next generation of the up and comers over the off season… Because they aren’t quite prime time ready yet.

    Win, lose, draw, Visca Barca.

  23. G6O
    April 21, 2012

    The worst thing about his loss is that we saw what life without Xavi is going to be like. Yes, he played but it was very clear he has physical problems that prevent him from playing on his usual level – there were so many balls he miscontrolled by failing to stretch his leg on time and I don’t think I remember him having such low pass completion percentage since they started to show these stats. And each misplaced pass is a turnover and matters a lot against Madrid.

    It is also clear we will have to buy some serious reinforcements over the summer if we are to compete with Madrid next year. You can not start a 20-year old kid who has only had a couple of starts for the club in his whole career in this kind of game and expect to win it comfortably – a lot of people will blame Tello for the misses, and hopefully that does not destroy his confidence, but those were precisely the kind of misses that characterize unexperienced players; especially that Thiago through ball that he sent into the sky – he had more than enough time to control it instead of shooting it directly, but he probably got scared and we saw the result. Otherwise he did a good job in terms of getting in position to score, but we were still basically without a goal threat, and Madrid weren’t too scared of his dribbling either. We need a player that can both dribble and score from the wing

    It was going to end at some point, there is a reason no team had dominated for more then three years in the modern era

  24. Kimcelona
    April 21, 2012

    Disappointed, sad and gutted but surprisingly I am at peace. I am VERY proud of this team. Thinking back on this season..its been a nightmare, injury and healthwise..the fact that we still cut the points down to 4 points was amazing in itself. We just need to regroup and come again next season.

    Chelsea on Tuesday, and the players are knackered. I dont EXPECT a win but I’m hoping we can pull it off in our home and go through. We still have a lot to play for.

    Finally, congrats to EE. They were the more healthy squad over the whole season.

  25. barca96
    April 21, 2012

    CongRAts Real Madrid (deserves to be called by their name) for the win and possibly the La Liga. It aint over until its methamatically over but lets not kid ourselves.

    On to Chelsea. I said itbefore, the team should’ve gone all out last week when we had an extra day rest. Now we played all the key players last week and el Clasico and you dont think they would be mentally and physically exhausted?

    Couldnt score vs. Chelsea, could only score 1 and will definitely concede 1 vs. Chelsea which means that we need to score at least 3 which I just dont see it happening.

    Pep should’ve rested Messi at least 1 half in the week before the Chelsea to keep him fresh and hungry but NO!!! We must keep Messi happy and o ly him. Must treat him like a spoiled child.

    • Víctor
      April 21, 2012

      OK, I get that perhaps Pep made mistakes… which I don’t really agree with. However, he’s the coach that is taking most of the right decisions that made this Barcelona a very very powerful team… so perhaps he made a mistake (or two) today… but come on…

      I definitely think that Barça can (and will) score 3 goals against Chelsea.

      • barca96
        April 21, 2012

        Ive never blamed Pep for any losses. Its my ongoing beef with him for playing Messi 90mins for every single match.

        And for what? To keep him happy??

        But he wont be happy once he is burned out and too tired to score. Dont thin he is happy now is he?

        So pissed at Pep for not managing Messi better knowing that he is our difference maker and consistent goal scorer.

    • jordi™
      April 21, 2012

      When was this chance? Not against Levante when were losing to them at half time.

  26. garry
    April 21, 2012

    1.) Well done, Real. You guys deserved it.

    2.) Still proud of my team for working hard and competing, not only in this game but throughout the season. For keeping hope alive when, at 10 points down, there was no reason to hope.
    3) For me, Pep still is the best coach in the world. One game doesn’t make him a coaching disaster. And no matter what team he picked, ppl would have found a fault with it.

  27. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2012

    That’s it. Pep took a gamble in the 2 last games and in both cases it did not pay off.

    It was astonishing that we could go that far after everything that happened but unlike last year we could not pull it off in the important games. But there is always still a next season

    Visca Barca

  28. Blau-Grenade
    April 21, 2012

    I miss the classic strikers in Barcelona like Eto’o, Henry. Barca needs a finisher in the front. Messi, or Xavi or Iniesta can make a killer pass from the midfield but a lot of those passes were not converted because the team did not have a good finisher.

    I hope Barca is able to invest in a Striker.

  29. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
    April 21, 2012

    Too bad, we lost today and bye bye La Liga, now to the CL, we move on

    P.S: i didnt think we were terrible, i was responding to Vj who said, it was 07/08 all over again so i said we were terrible in 07/08 some people picked only the we were terrible part and there you go, i actually thought we were good, but unfortunately not good enough.

    two losses in the space of three days hurts a lot, hopefully we will overcome this soon, also i really want us to face EE in the final of the UCL, lets see what happens then (ofcourse both teams have to make it there 1st)

  30. jordi™
    April 21, 2012

    The measure of champions is how they bounce back from defeat.If Pep can convince the players that we need just the one final push on Tuesday then we can do it.

    In a way, it would have been better if this game was weeks ago, at least then we would be able to rest players knowing the league was gone for certain then have a fresh team on Tuesday.

    Still, if this team could bounce back from a heavy copa del rey final where they were kicked out of the game, to then beat the same opponents just days later at their own stadium, we have to trust that they can pull something out of the bag on Tuesday.And if they don’t, well at least they tried.

    The worse part is annoyingly there’s still the Euros to come and that will exhaust our core players even more but on the bright side our South Americans will have a full rest and pre season for he first time in ages.

    The saddest thing is we haven’t been able to generate a single chance for Leo inside the box in the last two games.Maybe we’ll need to push up Andres and Cesc right behind him or something but we’ve morphed into to the same issue that Argentina have: him generating chances for players that he should be on the end of only to see them miss.

  31. April 21, 2012

    Gotta say, the Ronaldo celebration was bad-ass. Absolutely kills me to acknowledge it but it is what it is. If one of our players did that in their stadium under those circumstances, we’d be playing gifs and videos of it till we slept.

  32. messifan
    April 21, 2012

    I’m sad 🙁

    Is this the end of Xavi that we know? I hope he doesn’t go to the Euros. He needs a rest and a light summer exercise if he wants to extend his career.

  33. providence
    April 21, 2012

    who saw the foul given to pepe when alexis pushed him? compare it busquets’s own against ac milan and u’ll see barca r really real cheaters

  34. providence
    April 21, 2012

    i dun know why but i was sad after the chelsea loss but it seems the sadness is gone after this loss

  35. Pep got selection wrong today but don’t blame him for not playing Piqué or Sanchez.. He understand his players’ fitness better.. Piqué hasnt played for weeks, maybe he’s not fit enough, and Sanchez was hurt, so Pep didn’t start him..

    Our team depleted and exhausted.. I’m sad and disappointed, but surprisingly calm and not angry to any player or the manager.. 4 points before El Clasico is more than I expected.. Still proud of our team.. I love this club..

    And congrats to RM, they won it and deserved be proud about it, no complaints from me about violance or thuggery..

    Next is Chelsea.. Let’s just see if we can get through the final..

  36. mangut
    April 21, 2012

    Pep and the team are entirely out of ideas. They will be hard pressed to score one goal on Tuesday. Valdes has become a liability in games with such a small margin for error. I am proud of all they have accomplished this season considering everything the team has been through. The group looks tired, disorganized and completely out of focus. How do Pedro and Pique not startthis game? Time to regroup and make a strong return next season. Bayern will show that Madrid are not that good and a direct approach combined with possession exposes Madrid every time.

  37. barca96
    April 21, 2012

    Oh and who still doesnt want to admit thay our defense does suck?

    I cNt say that its the weak link because our offence is but I have to agree with the non Barca fans with that defense indeed is our weakness.

    The conversion ratio is high (chance converted into goal).(

    • Messiah10
      April 21, 2012

      Gonna have to disagree. Our defense rely’s on our offensive players pressing like hell. You could see the exhaustion today and the lack of commitment to pressing EE. That’s why we were hung out to dry on the 2nd goal. Still, foul should’ve been called on Tello at other end and that break for 2nd goal is not there.

  38. Oil_Can
    April 21, 2012

    Pep believe the league was already over before kick-off, Pep experimented and we lacked intent all game, but we still only lost by a small margin. Its not like we lost 0-5, Mourinho was forgiven after the manita last season. I don’t see why Guardiola shouldn’t be forgiven.

    But again, today we weren’t our true selves. We almost always believe and never give up and make no excuses.

  39. BarcaRoja
    April 21, 2012

    In shock but proud for all that we have achieved. I just can’t stand my husband for all his gloating and merrymaking – he’s ecstatic for this season but is terrified for the next, as he knows that this year is just our off/experimental year.

    It’s timely that I’m reading Graham Hunter’s book. It gives me perspective to what thia club has achieved and accomplished. What each player had to go through to play how they play and keep us happy. It is a fitting reminder that we do not have to prove anything, we’ve already reached so far. We have to appreciate that, and in a few years, others will see what this team and this club has done.

    La Liga may be lost but there are still trophies to play for. All is not lost. I love this team, this club, and a defeat will not change that. Stand proud culés! Visça Barça!

  40. April 21, 2012

    Real Madrid fan here. Wondering what you Cules think about Guardiola’s team selection. Obviously the Chelsea game is just 3 days away, but do you think he should’ve started Cesc? Or Alexis, despite his injury worries?

    • Lou
      April 21, 2012

      No. Alexis was just coming back from an injury. He has been very injury prone this year and having him start would have risked an injury that could have ruled him long term.

      Cesc is a bit of a tougher call, but he had been struggling with form lately while Thiago was playing very well. (I actually thought Thiago was quite good today).

      Congrats on the victory, it was a very good game. Hopefully we’ll see a rematch in a few weeks time!

    • Brosep
      April 21, 2012

      As the league couldn’t be guaranteed even with a win, resting Alexis was a smart idea. Messi/Iniesta/Xavi/Busquets are indispensable, so the question marks are over Thiago and Tello.

      I was delighted to see Thiago start, because he has an array of awesome skills: he has good ball control, speed, vision, and his defense is excellent. Thought he had a decent game.

      Tello, on the other hand, struck me as an odd decision – unlike Thiago, I don’t think he brings much more than pace and finishing. Perhaps Guardiola expected Arbeloa to be drawn out by Iniesta, or for Tello to beat Arbeloa one on one. But as you’ve seen, the consensus in the comments is that we needed more goal scoring threat. Pedro off form, Cesc has not been finishing, and Cuenca plays too wide to score much. That leaves only Tello, and his inclusion requires a team like Madrid to keep their right flank well defended. Arbeloa did well.

  41. Messiah10
    April 21, 2012

    Also Cules, think about this. While EE has bought their way to La Liga this year, we have continued to develop our youngsters. EE will expire over time. We will continue our growth and excellence. Maybe not the way we’ve become accustomed to in the last 3 years, but NO DOUBT we will have a next generation ready to take the mantle once our guys hang it up in 7 or 8 years. What seed has EE planted? Financial fair play rules come in soon. They won’t be able to compete in CL if they continue this policy of buying buying buying. Bigger picture at stake. That’s why I hope Pep remains for years to come. Visca Barca!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • April 21, 2012

      I don’t know what EE stands for but it’s obviously something stupid. Hilarious that you talk about Madrid buying their way to La Liga, when the whole world knows how Barca have done so well in the Champions League in recent years. Why can’t you just be gracious in defeat? No doubt you have a great team, but this season we have La Liga and you should give us credit for it instead of talking like a small child. You lost, we won. Get over it.

      Financial fair play? Wow you must be really stupid. Real Madrid has a great youth system, it’s just that they don’t take advantage of their young talents like Mata. But FFP will force Real Madrid to do so. It’s not going to weaken them. We have some world-class young talents coming up like Sarabia, Morata, Joselu and in a few years time Enzo Zidane. So maybe you need to do a little bit of research before making stupid comments.

      And finally, most Cules here seem to be gracious in defeat, why can’t you be the same? By making your stupid comment you’re making all Barca fans look bad.

      • hansh
        April 21, 2012

        I guess someone should tell you that EE stands for Evil Empire, although I personally have lost track of why or who started it.

        Anyways, I think you’ll notice that almost all comments here are congratulating RM for the game and (perhaps) the league, so please respond in kind with politeness and avoid personal insults. Thanks!

        • April 22, 2012

          If you read all my comments above and below, you’ll find that I’ve only responded with politeness and I haven’t made any personal insults.

      • Messiah10
        April 21, 2012

        Why feel the need to come on a Barca blog and talk Shat? I’m simply stating facts. I hate your team and especially your coach. You are a bunch of thugs and we’ve owned you the last few years. Yes you won. Most likely liga as well. Congrats. There you go. However, your players aren’t a team. A bunch of mercenaries bought to win Liga back. You succeeded. Congrats again. I’m so glad I don’t support EE. I couldn’t watch any matches looking at who’s on that team and who their coached by. Visca Barca.

        • April 22, 2012

          I’m not “talking shat”. I came here because I was interested in what Cules thought about Barca’s team selection, tactics, etc. And everyone has been polite and gracious except for you. I’m not going to respond to your childish insults about my team. You have every right to hate my team. I don’t hate your team, I only love mine.

    • April 21, 2012

      FYI: Ozil is 23, Khedira is 23, Di Maria is 24, Benzema and Higuain are both 24, Granero is 24, Varane is 18, Marcelo is 23, Coentrao is 24. So don’t worry about us, I think we’ll be just fine with these youngsters in addition to the canteranos I named above. What “seed” have you planted lately? Tello? Hahaha!

      I don’t mean to taunt, this isn’t directed at all Barca fans as I respect most of them. But clearly you are a sole loser and you deserve to be put into place

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2012

        That you think your team will integrate those canteros shows that you are a relatively new RM fan.

        RM are not famous for integration youth players lately. Today you had more portugese players in your line up than canteros

        • April 21, 2012

          I’ve been a Real Madrid fan for 15 years, thank you very much. And obviously you didn’t read my comment. I’m very well aware being a Madridista for 15 years that we don’t use our canteranos well, and this is something that annoys all Madridistas. What I’m saying is that the FFP rules will FORCE us to do so, and it won’t weaken our team.

      • blitzen
        April 21, 2012

        You talk about cules being gracious in defeat (and I have been). Why are you not gracious in victory?

        You mention a handful of your canteranos…frankly I doubt RM will give any of them a chance in the 1st team except for young Zidane.

        As for Barça, we have tons of young talent coming through. Montoya, Muniesa, Bartra, JDS, Sergi Roberto, Deulofeu, Rafinha, and in a couple more years, Dongou. Among others.

        • April 21, 2012

          I am gracious in victory, my taunting comments were only directed to that one guy who was making insulting comments towards my team, and I’m obliged to defend against it. You would do the same in my position.

          Again, the FFP rules will force us to give some of them chances. Granero has been given a lot of chances this season even if he is not a starter. There’s no doubt Sarabia will be given chances in the coming years. Morata has played a few games and looks the part. Only reason he isn’t in the first team squad now is because Real Madrid Castilla are trying to get promoted to the Segunda division so the canteranos are focused on that. After a season there, Morata will be brought into the first team squad.

          As for your youth system, there’s no doubt that those players will come up.

          • blitzen
            April 21, 2012

            Morata does look the business. I hope he gets the chance he deserves. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see more RM canteranos make it to the first team. It can only be a good thing for the Spanish league as a whole.

            I am just skeptical because the current RM management/coaching team doesn’t seem to put much faith in their youth. Mourinho would rather bring in players of his choice.

          • Messiah10
            April 21, 2012

            Go back to the rock you crawled out from under TROLL. No one wants you on here. This isn’t a blog where we go back and forth and fight w/Trolls. We talk Barca and respect each others opinion. Maybe I wash harsh before but sorry for being sick to my stomach after 2 losses in a row. Now I know how you’ve felt for the last 3 years. I pray we meet you in the CL Final. I pray we are healthy. No go back to your own blog and stop causing problems.

          • blitzen
            April 22, 2012

            Messiah10: That is uncalled for. rahul_madrid has been pretty respectful and you should be too.

  42. April 21, 2012

    This is a random question, but does anyone know how I can change the settings on this blog so that recent comments show up on top instead of older ones??

  43. April 21, 2012

    Just wanted to make a point about Cesc. I`ve seen a few tweets talking about how we shouldn’t have bought him and maybe that money was better spent on a striker.

    Now I think that’s a wasted argument. When Cesc came in and started scoring almost at will, didn’t we all agree that his integration and results were excellent? The lack of goals doesn’t come from having an additional midfielder, or even from playing the midfielder as a forward. It comes from a lack of forwards. And at that time no one could have predicted that BOTH Villa and Afellay would be out for a long time (remember that Villa, because he was carrying an injury even before December, was not at full fitness for a while). Sanchez has also been on-off. So even though I was never in favor of buying Cesc, I don’t think blaming that decision makes any sense.

    I’ve also seen some conversation on how possesion does not equal success.

    To that, I say – where were you in 2007 and 2008? This argument is SO old. For this team, possession is the way they succeed, but of course possession doesn’t score goals or make saves. It just makes doing those things easier. And again, the possession was immaterial to the game – it’s the finishing,both today and on Wednesday, that made the difference.

    By the way,in all this emotion people seem to be forgetting that Barca can still (although on this form,unlikely) progress to and win the Champions League, potentially with another,even bigger,Clasico. And the CdR of course.

    • April 21, 2012

      Good arguments, I don’t think Cesc was a bad buy as he is young and will be at Barca for many years to come. But I still think you guys should have bought a good striker. Without Villa your season would be looking very different right now, even though as you say you still have the CL and CDR to fight for, but still. It’s a question of over-reliance on a few players.

  44. K_legit in Oz
    April 21, 2012

    Naiveté cost us..naiveté after scoring and going gung-ho immediately instead of calming down..Its a cliché but you are most vulnerable when you have just scored.

    • April 21, 2012

      Well I guess you were trying to take advantage of the momentum and rattle Real Madrid after the Alexis goal. Against a slick counter-attacking team like Madrid it’s always a risk I suppose. Maybe Barca should have focused on keeping possession for some minutes after the Alexis goal to frustrate Real Madrid, before going all-out for a 2nd goal.

    • jordi™
      April 21, 2012

      Its true but you cant blame them, Its easy to get swept up in emotion in a derbi .We made a similar risk against osasuna and went down 3-1 instead.Its what desperation does.

      • April 21, 2012

        I agree. Also remember in the past, this approach has brought Barca success like when you beat us 5-0, there was no decrease in tempo whenever Barca scored a goal, they straightaway went looking for the next one. It’s one of those things that can work in your favour or against. I don’t think that can be blamed for the defeat tonight. Madrid’s players did extremely well to keep Alves and more importantly Messi completely anonymous, when was the last time a team managed to completely nullify Messi like this? He had the one great pass for Xavi but other than that he was almost never a threat.

        And you guys need a new goalkeeper. Yes Valdes has improved a lot in recent years, going from a crappy goalkeeper to a pretty world-class one. But if you want to remain the best team in the world, you’ll need a better goalkeeper than him. He fumbled Pepe’s header on the first goal, and his positioning on the 2nd goal was very poor considering it was very obvious what Ronaldo was to do. He scored almost the exact same goal against Barca earlier this season and Valdes should’ve known better.

        • kinukinu
          April 21, 2012

          “And you guys need a new goalkeeper. Yes Valdes has improved a lot in recent years, going from a crappy goalkeeper to a pretty world-class one. But if you want to remain the best team in the world, you’ll need a better goalkeeper than him.”

          Funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks for that–really cheered me up 🙂

        • dean
          April 21, 2012

          So who should we replace valdes with? A goaly of casillas stature, a neuer perhaps? so what he would save marginally more shots, but at the end of the day the loss in fluidity from the back would cost us far more. I I like my goalies fluent on the ball and Valdes delivers there.
          Let Real Madrid keep their immaculate shotstopper, we’ll manage with our subpar keeper =)

  45. mom4
    April 21, 2012

    Congrats to Madrid.

    Two short days of rest until Chelsea. 3 season defining games in 7 days were too much for a hurt and tired squad (RM had an extra day of rest before this game and will have an extra day before their CL return but who’s counting—I guess I am 😉 )

    Sooooo, right after the game hubby and I drive off to the store to get some nacho chips. First song on his playlist comes up randomly. In my lowest, most dangerous sounding voice (you remember that scary one that your mom may have used) I said, “Get that Spanish guitar off. Nothing Spanish allowed tonight. Find some metal” On the ride home he was searching for some metal for me and the Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem (yes, we are that eclectic) starts playing. We left that on; death Mass music matched my mood.

    • Messiah10
      April 21, 2012

      Thanks for that Mom4. Cheered me up and made me laugh.

  46. kinukinu
    April 21, 2012

    As Pep said recently, “If we reach the Champions League final we will have played every possible match in three of the four seasons.” Let that sink in for a minute.

    The body can only do so much, and even a lion has predators.

    When you consider what he had vs. what he needed to bring to the next few games, Pep had no choice but to hedge his bets. In a less-than-optimal situation, (which this was, given the injuries and fatigue) every decision is going to involve gambling and risk, which will never pay off every time.

    Under the circumstances, being out of the Liga greatly increases Barca’s chances of taking the remaining two titles. I think there simply wouldn’t have been enough steam to go full force for all three, and trying to do so could have cost them everything.

    The odds of a successful season ending have actually just gotten better, because now what they have and what they need are more in line.

    That’s something to be optimistic about.

    • April 21, 2012

      That’s an interesting quote from Pep, but doesn’t that reinforce the need for a bigger squad? He made a conscious decision to have a small squad and maybe it’s taking its toll now.

  47. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2012

    what is strange than in the last 3 season at the end of the season, crunch time, we always did come out strong and did what had to be done.
    This season we had 3 crunch games and have lost 2, it is just not the same team

    • April 21, 2012

      In my opinion it’s because of your small squad. Heaven forbid Messi were to get injured, what would Barca do? There’s no one else who can score a goal seeing as how Villa is injured. Yes Real Madrid get a lot of goals from Ronaldo but when Ronaldo doesn’t play Real Madrid don’t look any worse a team at all, it just forces them to play differently but they’ll still get the goals.

      After so many seasons of going deep into every single competition, fatigue – mental and physical – is bound to take a toll. And in my opinion this is one blight on Guardiola’s coaching record, his squad planning hasn’t been good. Selling Eto’o and parting with a bunch of money for Ibra was a terrible decision, as was the decision to begin this season with a small squad.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2012

        must agree, it is bitter that you can sub in a 63 mio. Kaka and we have to play with 2 canteros.

        Lack of squad depth was a main problem this season, hope we strengthen next season that you have a serious competitior again, which was not the case this season

        • April 21, 2012

          The problem with relying so much on canteranos is that for every Xavi, Iniesta and Pique you get an Oleguer, Tello and Valdes. Promoting canteranos is great but someone like Tello, well there’s no way he’s ready for this level yet, maybe in the future. And that’s why you need to buy a couple of more established players.

          • April 21, 2012

            I would in no way have Valdes in that list. He is a top top goal keeper.

            Tello is too early to judge, as he is still very inexperienced. But yes, you can’t always rely on getting Messi’s out of the Cantera.

          • blitzen
            April 21, 2012

            Thank you Bassam. Valdes is brilliant. VDB may not choose him over San Iker, but he is surely ahead of Pepe Reina in the Seleccion now.

          • April 21, 2012

            Come on Bassam, I know Valdes is a world-class goalkeeper but how many errors has he made that have gifted Real Madrid goals? Whether it’s passing the ball straight to Di Maria, fumbling Pepe’s header today and not positioning himself at all for Ronaldo’s goal. He’s a top goalkeeper but in my opinion he makes too many mistakes to be good enough for Barca.

      • jordi™
        April 21, 2012

        The irony is this is the ‘most complete’ template we had in his time.Last year Villa was dead tired at this time of the year and the only replacements were bojan and jefrren.This year providing he didnt break his leg, we would have been able to interchange our forward lineup with Alexis Villa and Pedro.Instead Alexis suffered injuries, Pedro had injuries and the worse form of his career and so instead of using Cesc every other game like at the start of the season, we had to use him in every game till he burnt also out.I think the only mistake we made was not signing a defender despite knowing Abi could still require a transplant.Mentally and Emotionally this season must have been very draining for the players so its a credit they have managed to give your team a run for their money.

    • April 21, 2012

      of course it’s not the same team. three out of our top 5 attacking players (Villa/Afellay/Sanchez v Messi/Pedro) have been out for most of the year, and Pique has been out too. Abidal is gone. It’s not an apples to apples comparison.

  48. htMillBay
    April 21, 2012

    Great game.
    Congratulations to RealM. No complaints as they came to play football today.
    The one extra day of rest made a difference as it was obvious Barcelona was more tired.
    Pep rolled the dice on Tello instead of Pedro. This shows how impressed Pep is with the youngster and he is a star for the future. Sure, his inexperience showed today but he is already being exposed to the pressure.
    The Liga was not lost today. It was lost over the season.
    Having a great protagonist like RM can only make FCB greater.
    So I actually applaud Pep for rolling the dice.
    Perhaps he knew that if we lost today the players will learn that the league title is something you must fight for over the entire season not in just one game.
    The Villa injury really cost Barcelona the title. He is one of the best strikers in the world although curiously some people in this blog do not recognize it.
    On to Chelski in 3 days. Hopefully we meet RM again in the CL Final for the mother of all clasicos.
    Pedro to start. A rested Cesc will play better. Alexis will also be rested. A 3 man backline since Chelsea will obviously park the bus.
    VV, Masch, Pique, Puyol, Busi, Xaviniesta, Cesc, Pedro, Messi, Alexis. 3-5-2.

  49. nia
    April 21, 2012

    What EE did to us is exactly what happened to them in the 08/09 season when we went to the Benarbeu and won the liga in their house. IT HURTS YO’ALL. No doubt EE have been more consistant than us and their front three reminds me of Eto’o, Messi, Henry, scoring at will. The thing i hope they wont replicate is them going on to win the CL, surely they have all the momentum. I’m not gonna lie, this defeat hurts a lot and the fact of losing to a Mou EE is the worst. I think i’d have dealt better with a draw. No use pointing fingers now, gotta keep going. They would heve beat us sooner of later in the liga anyways.

          • Srinivas
            April 21, 2012

            Yeah its just as ironic as calling all Barca players divers and Uefalona.

            On another note,even though you sugarcoat it,you are a troll.Well you are not someone like that other RM fan who visits us to take part in discussion even when things aren’t going RM way.Then why not reserve your comments for RM blogs where Barca bashing is considered invaluable.(Forgive me if i sound little harsh! )

          • April 22, 2012

            Srinivas, I’m not trolling. I never subscribed to the UEFAlona thing. My personal opinion is that every team has refereeing decisions go in their favour sometimes, it’s just that with Barca they’ve had the quality to take advantage of the decisions by also playing well and scoring goals. In recent seasons, we’ve had reffing decisions go in our favour sometimes but we haven’t been able to take advantage with our play to win titles.

            As for Barca players being divers, I think we saw today that both teams have plenty of divers, as do most teams in general. I didn’t come here to bash Barca, if you read my comments you’ll see that.

            As for why I never came here when things were going Barca’s way, it’s because there wouldn’t be much new to learn. Barca not winning is a rare event, so I was interested what you folks thought about matters of tactics, team selection, etc.

  50. jordi™
    April 21, 2012

    I guess its now sinking in because I’m actually starting to feel distraught :'(

  51. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2012

    This Thomas Roncero is really disgusting. Does he hate and disrespect Barca players also that much when they wear La Roja? did he think Iniesta was not good enough when he scored the winning goal in WC finale? how come, that when all FCB players are so mediocre, the most players in the team playing the WC finale come from FCB?

    • culegirl3
      April 21, 2012

      I’m guessing you’ve either read his blog or watched Punto Pelota today. That’s not such a good idea Humphrey Bogart..trust me, you’re blood pressure will rise from listening to that repulsive swine stand up on his soap box and subject all listeners/readers to his idiocy.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2012

        it is just so unblievable. Xavi and iniesta have given everything for La Roja, Xavi even played injured in the WC and they do not get the slightest bit respect in their home country; they would be heros in Germany but are smeared and belitteled in their own country

        • Ryan
          April 21, 2012

          I would consider the adoration Iniesta receives everywhere he goes as more proof than the ramblings of some biased commentator.

  52. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2012

    team might have a new look next year: we need a LB for sure, maybe even a CB ( I mean Puyi is 34, Pique?) and a striker. Excited to see what will happen in transfer season

  53. Huckleberry
    April 21, 2012

    Why everybody talk about fatigue? RM plays the same squad every game with little change. Barça has more rotation than RM. What Barça has to adress is the frequent injuries and the bad finishing. It is as if after a while all our players stop scoring and constantly pass to or wait for Messi.
    I’m not too confident for the Chelski match.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2012

      xavi, iniesta, puyol have played nearly 4 season every possible game: Euro, confed, WC, then they had long runs in CL and CdR every season, Messi played in CdR, it is not about that season alone but accumulation of games

      • Huckleberry
        April 21, 2012

        Barça is not the only team with such a schedule. It is no excuse. Abidal and Villa could not be replaced adaequatedly. Pep had to convert Xavi to a striker – that’s the problem.

        • Humphrey Bogart
          April 21, 2012

          sorry but Barca is the only team with such a schedule: how many players from RM are on internatinal duty for Spain in the last years and how many from FCB?

          • April 21, 2012

            I don’t think the international call-ups are as big an issue as all the club games Barca players have to play in the last few seasons.

  54. messifan
    April 21, 2012

    I don’t find our small squad to be the problem tbh. My main issue is the constant experimentation done over the course of the season. Sure, injuries and opponents looking for ways to beat Barca have forced Pep to evolve the style, but there should be an end point. And that end point should have been a month or so ago.

    IIRC, we’ve many different lineups over the course of the season. The front players have not played together consistently. One week, we have Pedro, then we have Cuenca, then Tello, or Alexis or Iniesta or Thiago or Cesc or some combinations of these players but never a true starting eleven. I’ve conceded the league title a while ago and thought then that we could test our lineups and find a starting eleven. Thus far, we haven’t found that yet. Injuries and fatigue is a problem, but if we have a template, it’d be easier to use substitutes. Right now, we have no template. 3-4-3, 4-3-3, 3-3-4, or something else? You tell me. Sure the team can interchange position in association with others, but in order to do that they need to play together consistently. Play one role well then move on to the next. To go back to comments a while ago about a communist system of having people able to do everything in theory, the reality is that it will lead to inefficiencies. Let have one role and do it well, then learn another trade.

    Anyway, the team needs to rest and regroup. On Monday, practice how to get into the box and score goals. On Tuesday, let’s win and advance 🙂

  55. April 21, 2012

    Lovely to see most of the comments here. Just reinstates why this is one of the first websites i open when i go online.

    Tough luck for the game today. Sanchez was a huge miss. Luckily, when RM went flat exhausted, so did Barcelona. It was also a clean game, which hasn’t been the case for a long time. Made me wonder why we hadn’t approached the previous games this way. One could argue this is the game that RM had the least pressure. Even if we lost, we would have been on top with 4 games to go. Still, makes you wonder.

    Tello is really fast. Gives me the feeling that he is playing for the wrong squad. He is very direct, which makes me feel like he fits in the RM set up a lot. He’s been criticized a lot, but i think that’s a tad harsh. He is very inexperienced. Needs to work on varying his tricks.

    In any case, good game. Perhaps the game that showed most that Barca needed an actual striker ala Eto in the squad. Will be interesting to see how things go in the transfer market. IF rumors of Neymar joining you guys are true, then i doubt you will have the money to spend on a Cavani like striker. But we shall see.

    Hope we meet again in Germany! Cheers!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2012

      do not know what to feel. many people already talking about the end of a cycle, is it that, like J. Wilson said that you can only be 3 years at the top?

      But if we must build a new team for a new cycle will pep still be there? What will happen with Xavi? His decline in last weeks is downright alarming

      • April 21, 2012

        Will those people that said that be saying the same thing if you go on to win the CL? I would bet my very small bank account on it not being the case.

        Cycles don’t die in one season. You might lose some band-wagoners, but that’s about all that you’re losing.

        As for J. Wilson, RM and Barca all took turns in winning La Liga five seasons in a row some 30 years ago. RM won the CL 5 years in a row. Still to early to determine if a cycle has ended or not.

    • providence
      April 21, 2012

      basam did u see the foul given to Pepe when alexis pushed him during the corner? how is that different from the busquets – milan penalty.
      and khedira goal how is that different from the goal ribery scored in munich which u were complaining? u see now its not aba refrees wen it comes to barca

      • April 21, 2012

        Hmmm, i never complained about the Ribery goal. Or at least i don’t remember complaining about it. As for in terms of how they were different, they were different in many ways. Not gonna talk about the ref though (I try to avoid that). I thought he was decent. Plus he seems to be our good luck charm 😀

        I also didn’t complain about the Busi call. I actually thought it was a foul. The only logical debate i would put against it was that Puyol was also grabbing Nesta, but still, a foul.

      • April 21, 2012

        Busquets got a penalty for a “foul” that occurred when the ball wasn’t even in the field of play. Khedira’s goal and Ribery’s goal were completely different. After Pepe headed the ball, Valdes handled it and only then did Khedira touch it. That negates the offside because Khedira wasn’t “involved” in the play when Pepe headed it. Once Valdes touched it, the offside call was negated. On Ribery’s goal however Luiz Gustavo was in an offside position and standing right in front of Iker, obstructing his view and thereby involved in the play. Either way, I don’t think the Ribery goal was that problematic, I didn’t find it to be that bad a call. It’s one of those calls that can go for or against you, there was no big refereeing blunder there.

  56. April 21, 2012

    Congratulations to Madrid for a well played match, one that was fortunately free from violence.

    Thought Madrid’s first 45 minutes were very good. Mourinho finally made the RM defensive block more compact. Which has been a long standing issue for them. But today their block was much denser and that made a difference.

    I’m proud of Barca and Pep. Today just shows how remarkable winning so relentlessly for so long is.

    Today’s result wasn’t about tactics. Pep’s decisions weren’t perfect-no managers are.

    But overall he was just very constrained by the availability and fitness of players.

    He just didn’t have the tools needed to make the obvious adjustments that were needed.

    Regarding the starting line up – Pep has repeatedly spoken to how important Sanchez is to the team. If here was any way Pep could safely have him in the line up he would have.

    This was particularly unfortunate as Sanchez was exactly the player needed to stretch the field vertically with what RM were trying to do. Pep made the right choice in playing Tello especially given that system of defense.

    That was a move that worked well tactically – Tello got behind the defense several times. But he’s just so young the moment got to him at times – most notably that shot he ballooned. There wasn’t a great deal to do about it.

    Pep could have used Pedro – but Pedro has struggled in the past vs. physical defenders like Arbeloa and hasn’t been on good form. Tello’s pace was a useful way of trying to beat RM’s backline, especially given how compact they were the first half while playing their block in the middle of the pitch.

    Xavi is clearly hurt. He’s not moving well. Not sharp. That had a major impact on this match, just as it did vs Chelsea.

    Dani-he’s a wonderful footballer. But RW clearly isn’t his optimal position. He’s better coming from deeper with more space to run into.

    Barca has also tested the limits of how short a team can be. Without Pique and Abidal they just don’t have enough height. Given how long it’s been since Pique’s played using him this match was obviously a real risk and he still in fact may not be fully match fit.

    On that corner much is being made of Puyol’s clearance and VV coming off his line. Both problems obviously. But the play broke down before that.

    It was difficult to watch Pepe tower over Adriano on that corner to head down that ball. That’s exactly what the zone defense was designed to stop on corner. And the defensive player was positioned correctly. he was just too short & not strong enough.

    Under earlier circumstances – it would have been Abidal playing where Adriano was – and that goal would have never scored.

    Again all of these things are just obvious. There was no mystery here. I’m sure Pep anticipated their possibility and saw them in the match.

    He just didn’t have the tools to create answers.

    • just listenin
      April 21, 2012

      And there you have it… In a proverbial nutshell
      Thanks Euler

    • Huckleberry
      April 21, 2012

      But why did Pep not ask for some tools in defence? There was no unpredictable absense in the defense.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2012

        I would say what happened to Abi might not have been so predictable, also the many small injuries to Pique and his overall lack of form could not be foreseen

        • Huckleberry
          April 21, 2012

          we did not know, but Pep knew. the more astonishing it is, that Pep sold Maxwell…

    • Srinivas
      April 21, 2012

      Hi Euler,as a long time lurker of this blog,i want to thank you for all your great works. My only complaint is that you should me doing more posts! Pardon my ignorance but didn’t Sanchez was making lateral runs in the away clasico to occupy their CB’s laterally? How his today’s role differ from that? Also what do you think of thiago’s performance? I think he had a stellar second half making lot of dribble,and a great pass to Tello.Thanks

    • Messiah10
      April 21, 2012

      What he said. Pefect. Tello’s youth showed. Height is an issue. No 2 ways about it. It was difficult to watch the 1st leg vs. Chelski. Almost every corner we didn’t get a head on the ball.

  57. providence
    April 21, 2012

    In victory and in defeat. Barça have given us Culés so much that all we can really feel is gratitude. There are highs and lows, they are part of the beautiful game. The defeats make the victories all the sweeter. ♥ 🙂 we love u Barca!!! mes que un club!!!

  58. Flippy
    April 21, 2012

    If I were Pep in the next few league games, I would start without Messi, just to show the team that they have to be able to win games and score goals without Messi saving our asses. Sometimes I feel like this team is getting complacent and relies too much on our little flea to create magic. Where are the days where we had players like Henry and Eto’o combining with Messi to create the most unstoppable trident there is? We have no wide threat. Alves never got a good cross in from the right (and even if he did sometimes, no one would be there, because we have no striker), nor was he able to beat Coentrao. Tello lost the ball everytime he took Arbeloa on, and the chances he did have he squandered with poor finishing and a lack of a left foot. If we had more threatening forwards, we would also have more control over the game, as Madrid’s defense would have to be more concerned on dealing with the threat of the attacking players than on stifling the play on the midfielders. The reason why we lost this game is that we could not attack, and that cost us.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2012

      I hardly believe that was what pep wanted, but the injuries to Villa, Alexis and pedro did reduce his options to a large degree

  59. Ryan
    April 21, 2012

    Interesting how the knives are immediately out for Valdes as soon as we don’t win the league. The guy has been absolutely massive for the team over the last 4 years and I hope he stays with us for years to come! (and he’s likely to get the Zamora this year anyway)

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2012

      no knives from me, but he surely did not cover himself in glory in this game and against Chelsea

    • nia
      April 21, 2012

      I don’t blame VV, although he has been playing poorly for the past few weeks. In fact, i don’t blame anyone but fatigue and throw in a bit of bad luck. We’ve hit the cross bars, posts and missed sitters and it can happen to the best of them and missing our best players for most of the season through injury, it was a miracle that we were still in all 3 competitions and then throw in the Fifa factor, our guys are tired.
      Would it be wrong to wish Spain gets knocked out early of the Euro’s so our guys can get a rest? Actually, that might not matter now since RM are world beaters, Del Bosque will probably pick more RM players form now on. (I know, Iknow, i’m being a sore loser)

      • Ryan
        April 21, 2012

        He can’t choose from half the team though, unless he starts coaching the other Iberian NT. 😛

    • Messiah10
      April 21, 2012

      VV can play the ball out of the back better and with more confidence than any keeper in the world. Did he make a mistake? Yes. So what. Every keeper does. That’s why their keepers and not positional players. I’ll take VV any day of the week and any big game.

      • April 22, 2012

        You’re right.. as someone else pointed out to me, sure Barca could get a Neuer or someone who might be a better shot-stopper but isn’t as good at passing and the possession game. It’s a point that rings true. I’m curious about the young goalkeepers in La Masia, is there any keeper coming up that looks like first-team material for the future?

  60. Huckleberry
    April 21, 2012

    it just starts to get normal. Philosphies as Barça’s are not meant to win anything…

  61. Wind170
    April 21, 2012

    1. Lose the 1st half though, not quite sure what happens there.
    2. But the results and the stats pinpoints a few important area to be noted.
    3. You can play with ‘2 cpu’ in the advanced midfield, like the Italy under the manager who seems to be unemployed at the moment. However, if Xavi is one of them. An advantage of this measure is you increase the distributive power. However, it is better for some fresher legs to run that role, 1 with more speed and if better a more attacking mind & goal scoring ability. Coz, when in defend, the ‘2cpu’/1 of them can track back in time. If you see how the in-form Pirlo plays(AC Milan), you know that the role of Xavi has to change(instead of playing him like a forward), he doesn’t have the legs to run this role. Else it would put greater burden in defense.
    5. WF are extremely important for how Barca plays nowadays. It is questionable to put an attacking midfielder there all the time. They also have to able to put a cross(not necess a high one), or a splitting pass from there, not only from the middle of the pitch.
    No doubt, with the fluid formation or ‘formation-less’ formation they adopt, with the emphasis in transition time.
    And that is THE KEY to allow optimal expression of freedom ESP. in offensive style of play & transit from defense and offense.
    Huge demand are required from defenders. Puyol, Masch, even Pique are NOT fast enough defenders for high level opponents. Exp,tech,height for defenders is essential but also speed. Without that, you cannot optimal the advantage of this formation. You may say time is brutal, if you like .

    Defenders have to be invested in. That’s why it’s so vulnerable in opposition’s counter-attack. That’s why if you have some player from the midfield to transit to defense,e.g. Xavi. The problem exists,e.g. when he is on the wide right. Problems are not corrected when ‘disasters’ occur. If you can anticipate it, correct them before they occur.[~ with the Rjkard defense, Van Brt[/Zamb]]. Not indicating the slow defenders have to be all gone. But investment in new defenders and blood in some youngsters are important.

    If the 3 CBs are slow[e.g.Abidal, Puyol and Pique], problems may occur, e.g. Pato’s goal vs AC Milan.[Forgive me if the defenders are not them], but they are just for illustration.

    7. That’s one of the reasons why the conversion ratio of opponents are high if they are clinical in front of goals[e.g. insert today’s one]. True, you may say RM play a good match, but MORE to say, it’s Barca LOSE the match by THEMSELVES majority. That hurts (for some of you), I apologize. Both Barca & RM produce the SAME number of goal attempts. And the on target by Barca was even LOWER. YET they have 70%+ possession. It’s better to trade a little % off for the goal-attempt. It’s simple(clinche), If you don’t shoot, you don’t score.
    Even it don’t go in, at LEAST you try.

    8. Certain players in the current team have the ability to dribble or speed past defenders. They are seldomly seen. AFRAID to HURT the possession statistics?!!. Get more into box, long range shooting is less useful. You can be dispossesed sometimes(coz), but once inside the box, attackers have the advantage…That generates goal scoring opport / attract fouls. One cannot say it is cheating, no one tell defenders to kick at the legs. That’s why yellow/RED cards occur. That’s why butchers esp the one Starts with ‘P’ should be handed heavy suspensions previously. Don’t want to use that word, but it is fact. Winning is important, but win with grace. They are wicked, but are not intelligent in the long run. But are this the reason for not to dribble? injury can happens weirdly(considering Villa’s injury)

    8. Sure, it is a must-win match. But prompt X = to rush. It’s ridiculous to see Barca players put in so many long balls in the last 20+ min starting from the mid or back(often rush the play also).
    Considering the height of the players/or their ‘DNA’, hardly there will be benefits. They are too PANIC, no composure as someone said.

    9. Not sure if he want to rest players despite indicating the importance of this match(Thiago instead of forward). There are too many midfielders but too few forwards. But when you see RM, their basic attacking tools are there. Only KaKa is left out, which is often the case.

    10. Astonishing to see ppl insulting players by calling f-word to some players when they did not a have a glaring performance.
    e.g. Fabregas’s play not good last match, sure. This match he is benched. Now some ppl wants him back. What is the rationale behind this?!!. Sure, he needs to link up more with others,track more if he is on the wing/ or being played there & have extra shooting practice(a NECESS), perhaps more dribbing practice as well. But you can’t deny that there is sthg special when he plays with Messi(partly due to their partnership in the youth ranks as sbody mentioned). He offers sthg that no other players can give because he has played in a different league before. That’s why Marcelo wants to ‘butcher’ him in THAT match. Directless X mean necess playing long balls. It’s just playing the ball faster(x rush)& closer to goal instead of circulating it madly X the end prdt. That’s why Sanchez, Affellay, Fabregas are useful in these circumstance.

    That’s the idea of fluid formation.
    To maximize the offense/defense ability but at the same time you have to have & USE the players to do it.
    You add a spice/ [any special flavor] into the soup, that’s totally different. It’s X-dimension. [3,4 or even more], Barca are good to have a strength in skillful [ftbal/sr], but the extra ‘spice’ will give the edge. It makes team difficult to defend/offend.
    That’s the counter to esp highly disciplined team/physical team.

    If you have it, you don’t use it. You cannot blame the others.
    You may say it is an ideological conflicts(in sports or even in the way you think & act in life). Don’t stick to the past. For most of the things expt1: gone is gone. One often see them did not use both wings effectively. One can get away with it sometimes, but not in top level matches. The evolving or metaphorphesis process has to continue. Xavi’s comment is partly true, the philosophy of the club has not changed. Attacking, but strictly speaking. It has changed. This season’s formation & even the tactics has changed. Cirumstances partly force it, True, injuries. But it is for the good. I am not cursing it. They force the ‘evolution’. Not sure whether his mentality affects the play sometimes Barca play when the play are extremely concentrated in the middle when the middle is already packed. hope not. The changes of’evolution’ will be beneficial one day. One will see. hopefully.

    10. The Barca manager is a rare one. One cannot see any managers in history willing to make changes as required for so many times in the past. Usually managers stick to their preferred formation even putting players out of their natural position(despite they cannot play the new postion well) because they are afraid to take the consequences in case of failures. Nowadays, managers are the one to be blamed & fired instantly in case of failures without even investigating the reasons clearly. That’s a depressing trend.
    That’s why he hasn’t signed the DOCUMENT yet. One has to note, DIGNITY is a very essential to human. You can’t blame him.

    11. However, it’s hard to find another daring one like him again. That’s why Alex Fergurson(Man Utd’s manager) want him to succeed his job. It’s an honorable compliment/praise considering the track records of A.F. It’s hard to find someone who are willing to spend more time studying formations & try/modify & app them nowadays. Even in other fields, these ppl are top class. ~ good girls or boys are waiting for good partners(They do not have to worry for it). But for them, it will be a major blow & his modern day sports.

    Because it takes time to build a great team & build on a purest form of philosophy, and to have the most pure playing style, learn, modify, apply & change, repeat the whole process again… You can enjoy it as an ‘Art’ if you like. But the basis is the scientific principles, that is more subtle and take more effort than usual. That’s when innovations take place. It’s good to have such thing coz nowadays in many fields/industries, in many places, ‘fast results’ are the ultimate aim, things can turn pretty ugly(no typo,chk).

    The clash of concepts app will continue, let’s hope the purest form prevail. But 1st they have to evolve(not dwelling/sticking to the past). Good to see Xavi’s facial expression when being subbed. He just need to be calm & sit down for clear,deep thoughts. Classy player but still need to change.The house or triangles can be shifted around not only in the middle. However, playing with more mobile ‘rivers’ together with forwards more early on may be necess considering the circumstances which are ~ in the next big & possibly season-deciding one. Considering the risks, yep there are considering the defenders they have atm. They have to cover for one another more quickly.Hope they will be fired up. If they want to qualify, they should always in composed mode/Not panic/[Use obj mind to control your subj mind]. Attack well(score!) & defend well as a unit. Conflict with JM’s or some other ppl’s ideas app will continue. But Barca esp Messi really have sthg to prove. haven’t seen that kind of fire in them recently. Hope the fire reignites & glow, not spark.

    [note: It’s just my thoughts, you can ignore them if you like or feel offended]

    • Ryan
      April 21, 2012

      I’m not following when you say that Abidal is a slow defender. He’s probably the fastest player on the team besides Tello!

  62. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2012

    Did see an interesting article on Tweeter focusing on Barca’s problem with squad depth. One fact was frightening: Messi has played in the last 4 seasons more than 50 matches a season, the last 5 more than 40; there is a real danger he will be burned out sooner than later, he already looked very off the boil lately. I do not care if he wants to play, the club must take measures to protect it’s most valuable asset

  63. messifan
    April 21, 2012

    Well, words around twitter/Spain is that Pep was not happy with the lineup leak to radio Marca a few hours before the match.

    What’s going on at Barcelona? First, the footage Xavi’s off the record comment to the club channel after the clasico CdR and now this leak too.

  64. mega_tajh
    April 21, 2012

    Well now that we lost I’m really interested in any articles focusing on improving Barca than those detailing on how to stop us. If anyone has any please link them. One thing for sure is that we need new players next season, LB, CB and maybe a forward don’t have to be big names but capable players who can add to the team.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing Jordi Alba but this guy named Fuchis from Schalke has really impressed me whenever I watched his games. CB is up in the air but maybe Muniesa will have a bigger impact on the team than we may know, him with Montoya should be promoted. Hopefully Villa comes back stronger and with the Euros we should get him back in full fitness and ready to go. Villa-Messi-Alexis frontline would’ve been enough goals to get us through this season.

  65. April 21, 2012

    Firstly – congratulations to Madrid. Nice, clean game and a deserved victory. That Ozil pass was sweet. The CR celebration was kinda badass too as much as I dislike to say it… If a Barca player did it, I’d replay it a couple of times.

    Secondly – congrats to Barca for pushing RM this far. Couldn’t be more proud. I love how the first thing Pep and the players do is congratulate RM for their victory. Humble in both victory and defeat. Couldn’t be better as fans.

    Thank you to all cules here for their graciousness in defeat as well! Visca BFB!

    I echo Euler’s sentiment that today wasn’t about tactics. It was about execution.

    Seeing Xavi playing through pain and being so ineffective was difficult to watch. Injuries, surgeries, fatigue, new additions and formations… The core of the squad has been playing non-stop for years.

    Add bad preseason, playing almost all possible games three out of four years and something’s gotta give.

    The squad was the most balanced we’ve had in Pep’s reign. Cesc, Alexis, Afellay, Thiago IN – Bojan, Jeffren OUT. You can’t play knowing Villa’s broken leg would happen (he played through a cracked shinbone towards the end of last season though) or Afellay’s ACL or the recurrent hamstring injuries…

    But Barca adapted, as all great team should. Saying it’s an ‘end of of an era’ because we’re not dominating as much is short sighted. It’s to be expected we wouldn’t do as well with a depleted and tiring squad. Was it the end of the era, after we lost to Inter? Was it the end of an era when we lost the CdR.

    I think it’s good for both players and fans to realize that losing is natural. You literally can’t win them all.

    The first half of the season – we had no forwards. The second half of the season – basically no defenders. Pep’s been making adjustments + changes based on these injuries (i.e. necessity).

    The dominate Barca from Wembley came after we sealed the Liga and had time to rest. We don’t have that luxury this season.

    I’ve always seen this season as the ‘transitional’ season. When Alexis, Cesc, Thiago have a season under their belts, we get our long term injuried players back, and while the Euros will prevent much of our squad from adequately resting, our preseaon stays in Europe this time.

    The soul searching is inevitable but just relax a bit. It was a good game and even if we won it, we’d still be a point behind.

    We have another final against Chelsea; I don’t know if we’ll score the goals we need to win, but the max effort will be there.

    Good enough for me.

  66. lyd
    April 21, 2012

    Just hope Abidal’s doctors prevented him from watching this.

    Its not mathematically over yet, but goodbye la liga for now. It was an honor to possess you for 3 years straight. Hopefully Ramos wont break the trophy this time! Kudos to a starved Real Madrid side for being consistent and lets see if they can keep it up next season. They actually tried to play football tonight, i felt, instead of the usual rugby under Jose.

    We lost, twice in a week, but we lost with style, staying true to the philosophy. As a fan, i would rather see this Barca team lose with grace than win by being defensive and counter attacking .

    Visca Barca! Now lets entertain Chelsea!

  67. Anonymous_69
    April 21, 2012

    People talk about end of an era stuff as if it’s this insurmountable and inevitable force that will somehow take away our quality, and there’s nothing we can do about it… That’s bull crap.

    Pep obviously has some work to do this summer, but with the right signings and preparation, the high level of our play will be retained – nay, improved!

    We have 50M for transfers this summer. Plus money from the Ibra sale, Caceres going to Juventus, Riverola sale, Keirrison and Henrique sales, I think it will be about 60M (if we’re lucky). In order to make the transfers necessary to get this team ready, I think we need a bit more than that.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t anyone else we can sell. Unless Villa and Afellay have fantastic individual campaigns at the Euros, we won’t get much money for them. We might be able to get some for Keita however.

    Really, what we need is a LB, CB, and, obviously, a striker. At LB, the obvious choice is Alba. There are also some other talented LBs out there for cheaper (Alba will be around 15M). A better option, in my opinion, would be to move Afellay to LB. Afellay doesn’t have a place in the squad otherwise, and really all we need is a sub for Adriano. Afellay and Adriano can exchange the LB spot for a few years (they way Marcelo and Coentrao do) until a better option arises (or maybe Afellay will become a great LB, who knows?).

    Saving money on a LB, we have to spend our money on a good CB and Striker. Rumours that we are negotiating for Thiago Silva are not true, but if we could get him for less than 35M, he would be fantastic. Javi Martinez is also fantastic, but he might be even more than 35M. Don’t really know of any other CBs that would be good for Barcelona. Hummels and Subotic aren’t realistic options for me. Pep isn’t interested in Botia. Muniesa will be promoted, but we need a world class CB to go along with that… Anyways, does anyone know what happened to Coates at Liverpool? He was supposed to be something special, but I don’t think he’s played much.

    As for Strikers, I think are options are Llorente, Cavani, Van Persie, and surprisingly, Leandro Damiao (we’ve been linked with him a bit). We shouldn’t be looking for another winger, second striker, attacking midfielder, ANYTHING LIKE THAT! We need a 9. Preferably one big and strong enough to lead the line. Damiao isn’t quite good enough yet. Either Cavani and Llorente would be brilliant transfers. Llorente is older, but Cavani is more expensive. They’re different players, each of them would offer something different.

    Based purely on what they would add currently, and forgetting age and price, I’d take Llorente. He would have an easier time adapting, and I think overall we require his skill set a bit more. And I still question Cavani’s build-up play…

    Van Persie is a different type of striker. He is more adapted to be a second striker, even a winger. He’s not as physically imposing and direct as Cavani and Llorente. Although he has played as a 9 this season, and in Spain he would be more than physically strong enough to lead our line. But still for those mentioned reasons, he’s my least favourite option. His skill set is the least required. He also has a crappy personality, is older, and is super injury prone (not this season though). However, he might be the only affordable option, and overall you have to say he is probably the most talented and highest quality out of the said options.

    So, my perfect scenario, if our transfer budget is around 60M: move Afellay to LB to sub for Adriano. Free. Buy Llorente. 40M. Sell Keita (even though he is awesome and extremely underrated). 10-12M. That would leave just about 30M left. I would bid that, along with a player from the B team, for Thiago Silva. Probably Jonathan Dos Santos. I know that doesn’t sound great, but Milan could really use a player like JDS and he would do well there. And although I like him a lot as a player, I don’t think he will be given his fair chance at Barca. If we succeed in getting another Striker, Cesc will be permanently moved to midfield. And although JDS is arguably a more talented CM than Cesc, Fabregas will surely be given all of next season to adapt to any midfield role is good for him. Besides, with Busquets slowly taking over the role of distribution and circulation to go along with his DM duties, a deep-lying CM like JDS might become redundant. And you can tell Pep already prefers to use Sergi Roberto’s qualities.

    60M to start with. Sell Keita for 10M. 70M. 40M for Llorente/Cavani. 30M + JDS for Thiago Silva (or another world class CB that might be available, although I don’t know any).

    Valdes (Pinto/Oier)
    Alves (Montoya) – Pique/Masch – Silva/Puyol (Muniesa) – Adriano/Afellay (Muniesa)
    Xavi/Thiago – Busquets (Muniesa, Masch, Thiago) – Iniesta (Cesc)
    Messi (Cuenca)
    Sanchez (Pedro) – Llorente/Villa

    I list Messi behind the two strikers because that’s what I assume the formation will be, with Messi more of a number 10 behind two striker (not wingers). I list Cuenca as his sub because I assume that when Messi isn’t playing, we’ll go back to a flat 3 attack in a 4-3-3. If we get an offer of over 25M for Villa, sell him and promote Tello. If not, keep Tello another year in the B team.

      • Anonymous_69
        April 21, 2012

        Afellay really doesn’t have any other chance of becoming an important player in this squad. He’s not a great winger, but he can become a good fullback. Besides having the physical qualities (very fast like Tello, pretty tall for a Barca player, doesn’t get knocked around easily), he is also double-footed (will help him adapt to left role), has always been solid defensively, and has the creativity (good vision and good crossing) to play as a fullback. Also, I feel as if playing as a wingback would help get the best out of his qualities. He can play as a winger in a counter attacking team because he has lots of space. He struggles in really closed space. As a fullback, he would have a lot of that space to run into, and he can facilitate counter attacks. Also, when given space, he is actually a very good dribbler. Once he adapts to the tactics of the role, I can see him battling, and very well winning, the LB role over Adriano.

        Another option is Tello, although I feel he is too talented an attacker to play as a fullback.

        • April 22, 2012

          Interesting. I haven’t seen a lot of Afellay, didn’t know that he was double-footed and a defensively solid player. Agree about Tello, he’s still very raw and his inexperience showed today, but he has the core qualities of an attacker and would be wasted at fullback.

    • mega_tajh
      April 21, 2012

      Afellay I see sadly leaving us this summer. Keita will stay we need quality depth not unexperienced youth players just to fill numbers. JDS I see coming in to play a part, Villa is here to stay at least 2 more seasons.

      A LB and CB are a must along with whatever affordable striker we can grab. Rvp will be the cheapest since I believe he has 1 year on his contract but if we are seriously interested in Neymar then no attacking player will come in till 2013.

    • messifan
      April 21, 2012

      Great post!

      Re. LB: I only saw David Alaba played once against RM on Tuesday, and he really did well. He’s 19 years old but he has the height, pace, strength and composure. Not sure if Bayern wants to sell him or what his asking price is?
      Also, I watched a friendly between Germany and France a few months ago, and it seemed that France has some good local players in the NT. I’m wondering if there are any good defenders in France. A few French players seem to do really well in the EPL. Maybe Barca scouts can look there.

      Re. Coates: Tim Vickery, BBC SA Correspondence, said Liverpool bought him for the future.

      I think we have enough midfielders and for me, this season has confirmed that a team of midfielders does not work. We need some specialists. But I don’t know if Llorente is the type of player we need. I’ve never been impressed with him (watch him mostly with Spain). And then, there’s Neymar. Rosell seems so adamant on getting him and most likely, he’ll be at Barca in a few years. Should Pep take that into consideration when planning the team next year? AND will Pep stay?

      If Villa has a good Euros i.e. scoring a few goals, then we should keep him. I think he still has much to contribute. And dressing room dynamic is almost as important as on-field performance. It really pains me to say this, but do we need Pedro?

      • Anonymous_69
        April 21, 2012

        I like Alaba, but Bayern Munich won’t sell. France always seems to be producing good left backs, don’t they? :). I’m a fan of Alba, but I don’t think we should shell out the 15-20M for him. Afellay and Adriano, with Muniesa filling in sometimes, is enough cover for LB.

        However, with Abidal, we are used to having a defensive LB, who forms a back three with two CBs when Alves bombs forward, and Busquets cover as DM. That doesn’t look like it will happen again, as I can’t find any LBs in the world with Abidal’s qualities. So we’ll have to play with two wingbacks.

        Usually when teams do this, they play a double pivot, so that one DM drops to CB, and the other DM covers. We won’t do that, so we have to be careful, and Busquets has to become even better than he already is. Good thing is, there is no better player in the world when it comes to knowing how to switch between CB and DM. He seems to play both positions at the same time.

        However, when he does drop to CB, it forces Xavi to drop to cover. And, as everyone has noted, Xavi is really struggling with injuries and exhaustion. Not to mention he isn’t young, and can’t constantly be covering as a DM, then sprinting up the field during a counter. Thiago can do this though. Thiago already plays very similarly to Busquets (which is why he can play DM), and he and Busquets can form a very dynamic duo, switching between AM and DM seamlessly during matches (shout out to Ramzi who told me about this idea – follow him @footballmood).

        At this point in time, Neymar is really not needed. He’s certainly talented, but his career might still go up or down. There’s no need to risk spending 45M on a player who might turn into Robinho, when we already have his position covered. I agree that Villa still has a lot to offer (if used correctly, as a second striker IN FRONT of Messi, beside the CF). But as much as people don’t like to admit it, not only do we have to buy responsibly, we have to sell responsibly. A 25M offer for Villa might be too good to resist, especially if Tello makes the next step during the summer and improves his end product.

        I agree that Llorente has never really starred for Spain. Although to be fair, he doesn’t get many decent chances. I think he surely must be a starter at the Euros, as in my opinion, he is right up there with Zlatan and Van Persie as the best striker in the world. He plays brilliantly for Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao, which player a style similar to Barcelona’s (yes, it’s more direct, but that’s because Barcelona is WAY too indirect).

        I’ve also thought about selling Pedro, but I don’t think it’ll happen. Although if we were to sell him, now would be as good a time as any. People outside of Spain still have this image of him as a 20 goals a season forward who is a brilliant finisher and never stops running. Nobody has really taken a look at his form, and with luck, we can get quite a bit of money for him. Although unless Tello is promoted, we can keep him.

  68. Chiu
    April 21, 2012

    Congratulations for Real Madrid FC. It’s highly possibly just a matter of time before they’re crowned La Liga champion. A deserved winner with stellar performance and consistency throughout the season. Once again, Congratulations!

    Will comment about Barca later. Meantime, Visca BARCA!

    PS: All bandwagoners can jump off to white car now.

    • BarcaOwl
      April 21, 2012

      Heh, Chiu, I can see that happening like the scene where the little car stops and clowns spill out when you open the door.

  69. andrecito
    April 21, 2012

    awesome comments everyone…so, am i just over-exaggerating this in my mind, or was iniesta’s pass on the lead-up to the goal the greatest pass of all time, or what?

    • hansh
      April 21, 2012

      That pass was absolute art. No idea how it worked!

  70. mom4
    April 21, 2012

    Does anyone else feel just a hint of relief? Am I a bad cule for feeling that now I can enjoy the team/club and not have to obsess over success? Deep breath and now onto the CL semi and CdR final. No need to hold back for those competitions anymore. There’s disappointment but so much pressure is gone. I’ll run away and hide now.

    • mom4
      April 21, 2012

      Not that I’m happy we lost but a silver lining in the dark cloud thing.

      • Anonymous_69
        April 21, 2012

        Feel the same way. It’s like a weight’s been lifted. Also, there are some positives: We didn’t lose La Liga because of any single, tiny mistake. Madrid deservedly won it, comprehensibly so. This forces us (Pep Guardiola) to address some long-standing problems in the team, force us to make changes in the system that should have been made long ago, but no one ever thought necessary, because we were winning. “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” How about, “Why wait until it’s broken to fix it?” Hopefully we’ll finally get a striker.

  71. Megster
    April 21, 2012

    I really feel sad but that’s life. You can’t always get what you want.

    Now on to CL and CdR. Viscaaa!!!

  72. Skipper5
    April 21, 2012

    idk if i agree that Pep made selection mistakes, after chelsea (and milan) we clamoured for width and now in Tello he gave us width and we still are’nt satisfied. Pep made the ryt decision to play Tello who, as Pep thought, got into excellent goalscoring positions but what Pep didnt see is Tello misfiring like that.That said, RM were very good value for the win.

  73. Dave
    April 22, 2012

    Excellent posts from Anonymous ETC

    I think Pep has gone too far to alter the style. In 08-09, the style might have been similar but the personal was different. We had the option to go direct with Eto and Henry.

    Also the physicality and athleticism has been reduced- note the departure of the above 2 and Yaya.


    As mentioned above, we need a similar lb to Abidal-tall, fast,and solid in defence, who can also sweep if required.

    A world class cb. Silva etc

    A combative Mf- e.g Capoue

    A no 9. Tall, energetic and a finisher.

    Messi back to the rw for some games should also be an option.

    It is correct to note that poor away form and injuries have cost us but what we saw yesterday was a breakdown in tactics and positioning.

    There has been too much freedom given in attack, for example Messi dropping deep and no one to play the ball to up front.

    lb similar to abidal

    cb Silva.

    CM similar to Keita

    CF- proven goalscorer


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