Rayo – Barça Match Comments Post

Today we face Rayo Vallecano. The last time we played was a 4-0 drubbing with Alexis, Messi, and a certain David Villa all finding the net. That was the last match in which Villa scored before he broke his leg. He is not in the starting lineup to find the net again on his return, unfortunately, but Ibrahim Afellay is on the bench! Yay!

Lineups:

Barça: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Keita, Thiago, Messi, Alexis Sánchez, Pedro

Rayo: Cobeño, Tito, Arribas, Pulido, Rober, Movilla, Trashorras, Michu, Lass, Tamudo, Diego Costa

And with that, Pep ruins my plans for Fantasy league domination. Valdes and Cuenca will take no part and Cesc and Tello start on the bench. At least Messi will play…

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

149 Comments

  1. blitzen
    April 29, 2012

    Very happy to see Afellay on the bench! I hope he gets at least 15-20 minutes.

    Pinto is getting some much-needed practice for the CdR final.

    And I have absolutely nothing against Ray Vallecano (in fact I think they are pretty OK), but I really want to see Barça demolish them today. The team needs a morale boost, Messi needs some goals, and I need to see some pretty football.

    • nzm
      April 29, 2012

      Watching them warm up.

      Messi has shaved. That’s always a good sign. 😀

    • Messiah10
      April 29, 2012

      Seeing Affelay on the field warming up made me smile. Very excited to see him hopefully get some minutes. Messi does need a goal or 2 to boost his morale and the teams. I’d also like to see Pedro get on the score sheet. Let’s see what Ray Ray says!

  2. TITO
    April 29, 2012

    I don’t know why, i just want Messi to win this season’s golden boot.

    • dean
      April 29, 2012

      I think Calvin said he’s did not want to do them anymore due to the negativity last time.

      I’m sure many would be happy to volunteer to do them, including me, but hopefully Calvin will be back next week

      • kinukinu
        April 29, 2012

        Firts Pep, now Calvin. Who’s next? Obama?

      • blitzen
        April 29, 2012

        I’m not surprised. I wasn’t in the last liveblog since I was at work, but I can imagine what it was like. There is a certain subset of “fans” that like nothing better than to point out every negative thing about their team when things aren’t going well.

        I’m not saying that everyone has to be all sunshine and butterflies all the time, and it’s perfectly fine to voice an opinion, but some people act like a poor performance from this team is a personal affront. They need to get over themselves and realize that this team is made up of human beings who can’t be perfect all the time. Especially considering how hard they have worked over the last 4 years.

        • zashaw
          April 29, 2012

          Arriving a bit late here, but I just wanted to give blitzen the award for awesome post that I couldn’t possibly improve on. Thus is the awarder himself awarded 😉

          I really couldn’t ask the team for any more than they’ve given — even what they’ve given is already too much to ask for.

          • zashaw
            April 29, 2012

            Oops, sorry, now that I know that “himself” awarded sounds weird. Thanks for being cool about it.

  3. dean
    April 29, 2012

    I would have liked to see more canteranos now that they won against Sevilla but hey Montoya’s getting some time =)

  4. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Pinto getting the nod. I like it.

  5. BarcaOwl
    April 29, 2012

    What does the banner say about Pep?

  6. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Ray just mentioned ruomours that Dani could be otw out??? I don’t like the sound of that

  7. BarcaOwl
    April 29, 2012

    Heh, the kids are in costume. So cute.

  8. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Press and photographers just engulfed Pep!

  9. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Wow Pinto looks shaky with the ball out of the back!

  10. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Pitch looks like a cabbage field! Busquets just escapes a card and penalty

  11. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    C’mon GolTv. Get the technical problems fixed!

    • Messiah10
      April 29, 2012

      Great play by Alexis to find Pedro. Phil likes Pedro on the right side. Ala Villa Messi Pedro days

  12. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    That was a goal worthy of tiki taka!

  13. messifan
    April 29, 2012

    Every corner or free kick near our box is a near heart attack moment for me.

    • Messiah10
      April 29, 2012

      I hear ya. Makes me feel better that Keita is in there to deal with them

  14. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    I love Rayo’s stadium. Ala Wrigley Field. WOuld be sweet to see a game there

  15. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Nice track back and steal from Messi to start it!

  16. Ryan
    April 29, 2012

    Could’ve used this luck in the last few games… but hooray for goals!

    • messifan
      April 29, 2012

      Entertaining match, Mom4!
      Keita just scored with a Messi assist.

  17. K_legit in Oz
    April 29, 2012

    Is a magisterial performance so far

  18. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    3-0 to the ones who are missing it. Playing beautifully! Alexis, Messi, & Pedro clicking on all cylinders!

  19. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    THAT pass is why Messi is the greatest. I mean C’MON. How did he see that opening???

  20. messifan
    April 29, 2012

    People standing on the roof to watch the match. I officially love Rayo stadium 🙂

    • Messiah10
      April 29, 2012

      like Wrigley Field in Chicago! Ha. Lol. Ray just said, “don’t push” to the people on roof of building!

  21. nzm
    April 29, 2012

    Stupid British commentators saying that Puyol might leave for a big $$ contract.

    Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • blitzen
      April 29, 2012

      LOL whut??? Not. Going. To. Happen.

    • Messiah10
      April 29, 2012

      Even Pep left at some point. It could happen if Puyol wants to get 1 last payday to set his family up

    • BarcaOwl
      April 29, 2012

      They must be smoking some really good stuff to come up with that one. 😉

    • Richzorz
      April 29, 2012

      lol yeah he’s still on a big contract for at least another year at Barca…

  22. messifan
    April 29, 2012

    An open first half. Both sides came out attacking. And we scored THREE goals. Rayo fans are fantastic!!!

  23. Laurentiu88
    April 29, 2012

    i wonder what is Pep noting in his book there? some cocktail recipes? some advice for Tito – ‘Thiago to do 100 push-ups for each ball lost’ …

    no matter what they say this team looks amazing! we look very strong! maybe we need some extra.. that a new leader can bring.

    what an assist from messi. the guy knows his job!

    but, very few smiles tonight…

    • nzm
      April 29, 2012

      I’ll second that punishment for Thiago! 😀

  24. April 29, 2012

    Scintillating half from the team. They look so free and fluid out on the pitch. Playing some beautiful stuff.

    Messi has scored a goal to finish off a brilliant team move. He assisted another with a gorgeous pass after a great run. And he created the opportunity for the other goal through his defense and pressing up the pitch.

    The front 3 are playing so well. Rather than having the wingers hug the touchline they are getting the ball, using it to commit defenders and then create attacking thrust towards goal.

      • April 29, 2012

        Yes. Getting healthy bodies in there in place of an injured Xavi and Iniesta helps a great deal.

        • Messiah10
          April 29, 2012

          Euler,

          That being said. Did Pep make a mistake in playing Xavi or did Xavi hurt the team by wanting to play in the Clasico and CL Semi? I know it would’ve been impossible to sit me had I just had a minor knack, but it did hurt the team

      • Messiah10
        April 29, 2012

        Nice point. You can just feel the quickness and lively step back in the midfield

  25. messifan
    April 29, 2012

    Hmm…Adriano out; Dani in. Adriano injured?

  26. Ryan
    April 29, 2012

    Hooray for Ibi!

    Nice open game for him to join too.

  27. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Yeah, we all said Affelay at 4 – 4:01! LOL

  28. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Wouldn’t it be icing on the cake to see him find the back of the net or a nice assist

    • nzm
      April 29, 2012

      Yup – great game for him tonight. Held the ball when needed, defended very well, and tidied up.

  29. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Nice 1,2 from Dani & Pedro and great ball from Dani

  30. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Dani just got pelted. He asked for it

  31. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    That’s why he’s our captain. We don’t need that nonsense after a goal. That’s EE celebration stuff. Ha. Shaquira just called Yoko Ono of Barcelona!

    • culegirl3
      April 29, 2012

      Commentators being a tad harsh calling her that but she has had that yoko Ono effect 😉

      • Messiah10
        April 29, 2012

        Phil & Ray didn’t call her that. They were just mentioning what’s been said in Barcelona this year. Probably by the press. Just want to clarify my comment.

    • Ryan
      April 29, 2012

      I’m going to need a regression analysis before I believe that!

      • messifan
        April 29, 2012

        It probably is statistically insignificant 🙂

        • April 29, 2012

          Not trying to be a jerk and correct you, so don’t take it that way, but this post reminded me of my very stern statistics professor:

          “You may find results that are not significant, but nothing in statistics is insignificant!”

          • messifan
            April 29, 2012

            Ahh… I should rephrase it, “not statistically significant” 🙂

  32. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Nice touch from Pedro to knock it down. Gorgeous

  33. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    2 back from footballing imortatlity!

  34. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Barca were trying to get Messi that goal and that’s why I love them. What a team. I don’t care what’s happened the last 2 weeks. Greatest team on Gods Green Earth as Ray Ray would say. Oh No Hope Masch is ok

  35. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    ttyl ladies & gents. My son wants to go kick the ball about. Can’t say no to that. Great game. What a statement from the team for Pep.

  36. messifan
    April 29, 2012

    Great match to watch. No pressure. Credit to Rayo for attacking us and not parking the bus.

    Pep looked uninterested. Sad sight to see him just sitting there on the bench 🙁

    • K_legit in Oz
      April 29, 2012

      “Pep looked uninterested.”

      wut? He was as active as ever!

      • messifan
        April 29, 2012

        Not in the second half. I saw him talking to Tito a lot but didn’t come out as often.

      • Ryan
        April 29, 2012

        I don’t think he left the bench once during the second half. But it was pretty much over by HT.

      • ciaran
        April 29, 2012

        Not much left to do when we were 5-0 up just after half time.
        Good entertainment to gloss over the week we’ve had

        • Ryan
          April 29, 2012

          That didn’t happen till the 77th minute. And we know Pep often goes ballistic when we’re cruising in order to correct mistakes he sees. This was a very subdued Mister.

          • nzm
            April 29, 2012

            Very subdued in the press conference too.

            But he’s smiling a lot!

        • ciaran
          April 29, 2012

          Sorry, 4-0 just after half time.

          It must feel weird knowing that he has almost handed over the reigns already

  37. nzm
    April 29, 2012

    Apart from a shaky couple of moments at the beginning, I really liked Pinto in the goal tonight.

    He is very strong in areas in which VV needs to works. Good to see a Barca keeper coming out to punch the ball away from a corner.

    He’s also very good in communicating with his back line. VV tries to act too-cool-for-school in that area.

    A couple of great diving saves too.

    • messifan
      April 29, 2012

      Agreed. His only glaring mistake was that pass in the early first half.

      Oddly, I felt more comfortable with Pinto in goal. There was a sequence when he spread the ball to his left defender and immediately positioned himself near the goal line. Just to be safe.

      You never know what you’re gonna get with Pinto 🙂

    • Ryan
      April 29, 2012

      His Zamora wasn’t a fluke, that’s for sure!

  38. nzm
    April 29, 2012

    Busquets had an ok game tonight, but it was interesting to see the dynamics out there without Xavi and Iniesta, and him playing without them.

    Busquets is not a fast player – he’s used to holding up the ball and passing to a decision maker like Xavi. Tonight, he was forced to take the ball up and got pinged nearly every time.

    He was bit out of his comfort zone which is not a bad thing.

    If Tito had a major say in this line-up tonight, I’d say that there will be a few players re-training their games in the pre-season, and adding more arrows to their quiver of skills.

    Exciting stuff.

    (I know that it was against a depleted Rayo, but still, it was a good game for us, after a crap 12 days! 😀 )

  39. elacule
    April 29, 2012

    sweet to watch such a flowing match after last week –
    less pressure in some ways

    i wasn’t so offended by Thiago and Dani dancing – it just seemed like they were happy, which to me, was welcome after the week they’ve had. i understand why Puyol stopped them, but don’t see exactly why it was such a horrible thing for them to do. the way Dani was booed when he came on was pretty obnoxious – maybe he was responding to that.

    • elacule
      April 29, 2012

      hmmmm. apparently Guardiola apologized for the dancing celebration in the press conference after the match – is it because they were so far ahead? because i remember Dani and Abi dancing a couple of times when no one made a thing of it.

      sorry for my ignorance.

      • April 29, 2012

        It just demonstrated a lack of respect for the team the were totally destroying. It’s one to over celebrate a match winning goal, it’s another to do it when it’s already 5-6 to nothing.

        • messifan
          April 29, 2012

          And Rayo fans were fairly respectful to us, with the exception of booing Dani.

        • elacule
          April 29, 2012

          yeah, i figured that might be it. though it really felt/looked to me like it was the spirit of joy/fun, not arrogance.

          Alves apologized: Tw Alves: “I want to apologize to the Rayo fans who felt offended by the dance. Didn’t want to offend at any moment, just have a good time!”

      • Problem
        April 29, 2012

        I’m pretty sure that Dani & Abi were dancing just with each other there, while in this case it probably looked like they were doing it right in the faces of the Rayo fans, which Puyol & Pep found rude… I don’t think too much of a deal should’ve been made over this either, but I think it’s best if we just celebrate with our own fans in a more “traditional” way, no risk of getting unnecessary heat from opposing fans and media that way…

    • Ryan
      April 29, 2012

      It seems standard fare when one of our defenders score (Abi, Alves, Adriano) so I wasn’t offended at all. Glad to see Thiago finally score another header, considering all the chances he makes for himself!

  40. blitzen
    April 29, 2012

    Oooh! Thiago & Dani were bad boys.

    Guardiola: “Thiago-Alves dance celebration? We apologize for it, that’s not the attitude of Barça players. It won’t happen again.”

    via @barcastuff

  41. Kimcelona
    April 29, 2012

    Apparantly Pep is pissed at Dani and Thiago’s dancing. He apologized to Rayo fans and said it will NEVER happen again..

    I honestly didnt see the big deal but it was HILARIOUS to see them dancing and then Puyi’s boss self cam over and told them to cut it out. LMAO!

  42. Problem
    April 29, 2012

    This was the biggest win in the league for an away team this season. Until now it was Madrid’s 0-6 win over someone, can’t remember who…

  43. ciaran
    April 29, 2012

    I’m wondering how many and who we will sell this summer. It is an unusual feeling, one that I haven’t had in a few years.
    You have to question the players that didn’t make a significant difference this season.
    Pedro had a stinker, Pique the same but they are obviously staying.
    Keita had his least productive season, statistically, but he renewed last year.
    Villa’s injury messed up his season but he’s going nowhere.
    I can’t see Afellay staying, unfortunately but what does he really offer that Pedro, Cuenca and Tello can’t.

    On the flip side, Mascherano has been a beast and deserves to be our first choice defender for next season, regardless of the possible arrivals of the Thiago Silva’s of the world.
    Alexis has been brilliant once he has gotten a run in the team.
    I have the feeling that Cesc will have a very good year next year and Thiago has been effective in filling in the Xavi sized shoes that neither Cesc nor Iniesta have done. He isn’t as good as either of the others but passes more than they do and keeps the tempo up. When he matures he will be fantastic.

    • Kimcelona
      April 29, 2012

      “I can’t see Afellay staying, unfortunately but what does he really offer that Pedro, Cuenca and Tello can’t.”

      Lets see:
      -Experience over Tello and Cuenca
      -Pace over Cuenca
      -Long range shooting options over all three
      – Just a totally different dimension than all three in my opinion. Theres a reason WHY we bought him. It wasnt just cause he was cheap.

      If he hadnt gotten injured for the whole season he would have been an important part of the team by now.

      • ciaran
        April 29, 2012

        We’ll still be playing 4-3-3 next season so here are the options IMO:
        3 forwards – Messi, Sanchez, Villa, Pedro, Cuenca & Tello may all be ahead of him
        2 playmakers – Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc & Thiago are all ahead of him.

        He could potentially earn around €7-10million in transfer fee so I’m not sure he’ll stay

        • Kimcelona
          April 29, 2012

          Disagree. Messi, Alexis, Pedrito, Villa, Ibi and Cuenca will be apart of the forward line next season. Tello, as far as I am concerned has not been officially promoted ala Cuenca. Tello may go out on loan or still be apart of the reserve team. How can you say Afellay will be behind Cuenca and Tello? What do you have to go off of? He’s been injured for the whole season HENCE the only reason why we even got a glimpse of Tello in the first place. There were plans for Afellay and now that he’s fit, he will play his part next season.
          And he can still play in midfield..any position, I think.
          We wont sell him.

    • jordi™
      April 29, 2012

      For one he can play as midfielder.Better long shot.Dutch international.But more importantly, the same way kept Larsson after his injury in his first season and Milito afterwards, it would be un Barca like for me if we to just get rid of a player after a long term injury without giving them a chance to prove themselves again.

  44. Kimcelona
    April 29, 2012

    I dont think the Ibi doubters will get their wish. He’s staying. You can quote me on that.

    So glad to see him back in action.
    I dont know if Keita is leaving this summer. I definately don’t want him to. I’m not sure anyone’s leaving, tbh. Maybe Tello may go off on loan and one or two of the B-teamers who will be promoted next season..other than that..

  45. mom4
    April 29, 2012

    Home from work. Gonna sit down and and watch some footy. Not for the points, not for the table position, not for advancing to the next round of something, but just for the sheer joy of beautiful football (and to laugh at Dani and Thiago being all kinds of naughty— bad Brazilians 🙂 ). Cheers!

  46. Gogah
    April 29, 2012

    looks like messi is on course for a 70 goal season

    • Helge
      April 29, 2012

      and, for me even more impressive, on a 35 assists season!

  47. K_legit in Oz
    April 29, 2012

    203 goals and 81 assists for Messi under Pep’s coaching tenure..wowowow

    • culegirl3
      April 29, 2012

      Wow..his Spanish is EXCELLENT for only 1.5 years of practice. Guess Ibi really likes the word “bueno” 😉

      This video totally made my day!

    • blitzen
      April 29, 2012

      Bueno!!! 😀

      This video makes me really happy. Guess he used his down-time well!

    • Ryan
      April 29, 2012

      Bueno!

      And look at Pedro acting all cool and nonchalant: yeah…I’m back to scoring goals…no big deal, ya know?

  48. Helge
    April 29, 2012

    btw, if anyone knows where to get a ‘Pep tribute t-shirt’, let me know!
    I already saw black ones with yellow writing in the stands, but I guess they were home-made.

  49. hansh
    April 29, 2012

    I haven’t watched the match yet, but let me just say:

    IBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

    Praying he doesn’t leave this summer. The guy just makes me happy. And, you know, he can play pretty well. 😀

  50. Messiah10
    April 29, 2012

    Have to agree w/Kimcelona. Ibi going no where. He was just getting games in last year and becoming acquinted w/style and teammates b/4 he was injured. He showed flashes of brilliance last year(the over used Clasico example). He should have the Euro’s to get himself in better condition and I think he’ll add nice depth to our small squad. I guess I can see why the Dani rumours are afloat. He’s at the right age, fully fit, and on form. He’ll probably command the highest price out of anyone we will sell. I don’t want to see him go at all, but if it’s true, we’ll be able to buy a couple really good players with his transfer fee. If it’s true????

  51. barcelunya
    April 29, 2012

    Is it wrong that I was thrilled when Pep confirmed that he won’t be managing at all next season? I had that “if I can’t have him then nobody can” sensation that really made me feel like we were in a relationship.

    • blitzen
      April 29, 2012

      It sounds weird, but I know what you mean. Going straight to another club would be disrespectful to Barça.

      I expect to see Pep coaching again in a year or two, but I have a feeling he might go somewhere he has no prospect of playing against Barcelona. Mexico, maybe, or Qatar, or even China. Or Brazil? Well, he would need a Portuguese translator for that. 😉

      • culegirl3
        April 29, 2012

        I don’t see him coaching a club in the near future. I’ve heard rumblings about being the next coach for England and I can definitely see that happening because its not a day to day stressful type of job.

        Punto Pelota had a special on Friday about Pep’s decision and that was one of the hot topics of the evening.

        • hansh
          April 29, 2012

          I think Pep would go insane managing a national team. It’s true that he isn’t working with the team day-to-day, but I think that would just frustrate him because he likes to control his team in-depth.

          Also, managing England places you under crazy amounts of media scrutiny, and Pep has enough of that here to last a lifetime.

          • culegirl3
            April 29, 2012

            Maybe..but only time will tell what his heart and mind will be set on next. If Pep was able to get through these last two years of crazy then he can get through anything IMO.

        • Messiah10
          April 29, 2012

          Englands not going to happen. The FA in England just interviewed Roy Hodgsen. He looks set to get the nod for the job.

      • barcelunya
        April 29, 2012

        I could see someplace like Mexico, Qatar, or China happening. I think he’d prefer to escape the intensity of European and Spanish media in a lower-profile position.

        I’m absolutely confounded and intrigued by the philosophy behind his decision. Does he really want to go for more (because with Barça he’s already reached a zenith)? I’m not sure.

        The culé in me wants him to take a year off and then return to Barça doing very secretive work in the laboratory where we breed the players from la masia. I guess I can hope.

    • messifan
      April 29, 2012

      During his sabbatical, I want him to write for El Pais. His old articles on that site are fantastic read.

      Zlatan is correct. Pep is a philosopher. Except one whom I can understand 🙂

  52. mom4
    April 29, 2012

    That was fun. Messi looked like he was having a blast. Must be nice not to have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

    Grateful for one more thing. Our win means that Athletic Club won’t have to do a pasillo, right? Would’ve hated to see that.

    • Chiu
      April 29, 2012

      yeah, nice point about the passilo 🙂

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