Barcelona vs Betis-Match Thread: Pep’s Goodbye to La Liga

Barcelona play their final match of the Liga season. More than the result the match is noteworthy for being Pep’s last La Liga match as manager.

Enjoy the way this brilliant side play. It’s been a treasure to be able to see them grow under Pep.

 

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181 Comments

  1. May 12, 2012

    Sorry for the thread going up late. The site was acting very slow as I was trying to get the new thread up.

    Enjoy!

  2. May 12, 2012

    Good seeing Busi acting aggressively to get to that near post and score using his height.

    As good as he is at what he does Busi needs to expand his game and create more danger.

    • Judas Pissed
      May 12, 2012

      But if it REALLY mattered then Oier would have started…

  3. ciaran
    May 12, 2012

    Not that I like using bad language but
    MASCHERANO IS A FUCKING MONSTER

    It looks like he has already watched this match he is making so many interceptions

  4. May 12, 2012

    Afellay has been great in the offensive phase of the game. Don’t think he has misplaced a pass yet. He has shown he can drop deep, keep width on the left, and even occupy defenders in the middle to create space for Messi. That said I still think he has been dropping deep a bit too often.

    Defensively he has made 2 controlled passes out of the back, but he looks lost on where to position himself most of the time. He has been so deep on defense sometimes that when we win the ball back high he isn’t involved in the play, and he hasn’t been pressuring high at all really.

    That said, he started looking tired after 30 minutes. Still think he has been noticeably better than Pedro.

  5. Judas Pissed
    May 12, 2012

    Betis love the ‘yellow card fingers’ don’t they..?

  6. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Overall, a good first half, but Dani was a disappointment for me.

    • Ryan
      May 12, 2012

      Can Cuenca teach the Brazilian how to cross? Not sure what Dani is attempting with those wayward crosses.

  7. May 12, 2012

    Outstanding half from the team. Really liked what we saw.

    First off- the team is again basically playing with 2 at the back as they did vs Getafe.

    The formation is roughly a 2-3-2-3 type of formation that could conversely look like a 2-3-3-2 or a 2-3-5.

    It’s very interesting that the team is again using this kind of formation to close out the season. Feels like an experiment of sorts.

    Afellay has been terrific. Very impressed for his first start of the season. His combination of pace, touch, technique and directness are outstanding.

    At times Pep this season Pep had to make trade offs in qualities between Tello vs Cuenca depending on tactical needs. Afellay combines key qualities of both those players.

    Also interesting to see how Busi is playing. He’s making more forward runs with Keita acting more as the holding player. Good to see him more involved and more aggressive to goal.

  8. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Also, Xavi looks fresh. The extra rest helps him a lot. His improvement and seeing Bayern defending today make me more hopeful about Spain’s chance of winning the Euro.

  9. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Dear Barca:

    Please buy a fast and tall defender.

    Thanks,
    A cule from the U.S.

  10. Ryan
    May 12, 2012

    Well, there goes Alves after his 2nd yellow. Wasn’t exactly impressing before the send-off either.

  11. Dani_el
    May 12, 2012

    Thanks Euler for this post!

    Like seeing Afellay con the left. Masche is being the boss today. Don’t like Alves, don’t understand why he’s so off today.

    Good save from Valdes.

    Now Alves was sent off. Justly. I don’t what this guy is thinking sometimes. I hope he learns from this.

  12. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Honestly, I think we’ll be fine without Dani on the pitch. He didn’t contribute much when he was on.

  13. May 12, 2012

    Really poor from Alves in Pep’s last Liga match. Really not what you want to see.

    Montoya in for Afellay and barca now playing a 4-3-2.

    • Jim
      May 12, 2012

      Was that Pique supporting Pedro up front?

      • Ryan
        May 12, 2012

        Yep! Busi seemed to have him covered in the back.

        • messifan
          May 12, 2012

          Pedro final pass was disappointing. He did so well in first half. The second half not so much.

  14. Blau-Grenade
    May 12, 2012

    Damn, Barca always play better with 10 people.

  15. Jim
    May 12, 2012

    Not defending Alves at all – really irritated at him – but it isn’t like him. Does he know something we don’t?

    • May 12, 2012

      I would say it is like him:

      @barcastuff
      With 104 yellow cards, Alves equals Frenchman Peter Luccin as foreign player with most Liga yellow cards ever #fcblive [via @pedritonumeros]

      • Jim
        May 13, 2012

        Sorry, what I meant was that he is usually very careful if he is already on a yellow. That was an assault of a tackle.

  16. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Thank goodness this game means nothing.

  17. dean
    May 12, 2012

    Betis looked to score, inevitable, playing like no-one cares about this game

  18. Ryan
    May 12, 2012

    Yikes, what does this goal mean for Valdes’ zamora?

  19. Judas Pissed
    May 12, 2012

    Route one works sometimes. Hope Tito is taking notes…

  20. Dani_el
    May 12, 2012

    With 104 yellow cards, Alves equals Frenchman Peter Luccin as foreign player with most Liga yellow cards ever #fcblive [via @pedritonumeros]

    This is not a good stat for us.

  21. dean
    May 12, 2012

    Valdez flirting with losing his zamorra now

  22. nzm
    May 12, 2012

    There goes VV’s Zamora, I believe – he only had a 2 goal advantage on Casillas.

  23. Jim
    May 12, 2012

    Tello’s not going to change things if the forwards can’t get the ball. Where’s Ini?

  24. Judas Pissed
    May 12, 2012

    Who cares? This is a nothing match. Bring on the Copa del Rey!

    • nzm
      May 12, 2012

      Tell that to VV – he just lost his Zamora, I think.

      • Judas Pissed
        May 12, 2012

        5 time La Liga winning, 3 time Champs League winning, 1 time World Cup winning, 4 time Zamora winning Victor Valdes? Yeah – I bet he’s pissed…

        • Ryan
          May 12, 2012

          VV is incredibly competitive. He is going to be furious if he drops this award on the last game of the season.

        • nzm
          May 12, 2012

          Yup – he will be. It was to be a record 5th win and a record 4th win in a row. They’ve been all over the FCB website talking it up, now they’ll have to eat crow.

  25. Jim
    May 12, 2012

    Could Pep be about to take Messi off in his last match? Nah couldn’t happen . .

  26. Judas Pissed
    May 12, 2012

    & to all the new Cules – listen to the ‘Oles’ the mocking Betis fans are singing. Remember them when our next glories come…

  27. Jim
    May 12, 2012

    Still nice to hear the applause for Iniesta.

  28. Judas Pissed
    May 12, 2012

    Zamora – if VV does not concede any more goals tonight & Casillas doesn’t play tomorrow they share it. If VV does not concede any more goals tonight & Casillas plays tomorrow VV wins it.

    • nzm
      May 12, 2012

      And if Casillas plays tomorrow and conceded no goals, he wins it.

      VV: 30 goals / 36 games = 0.833*

      Casillas: 30 goals / 36 games = 0.833*

      If he plays tomorrow and concedes none:

      Casillas: 30 goals / 37 games = 0.811

      • Ryan
        May 12, 2012

        Was there really a league game that Casillas didn’t play this season? Iker seems to be permanently affixed between the posts for EE.

    • nzm
      May 12, 2012

      Sorry – it appears that Marca’s Zamora Table and VV’s Wikipedia stats may already have been updated. I was calculating by adding 1 game and 2 goals to the figures that I saw there.

      • Judas Pissed
        May 13, 2012

        Yeah me too! VV has won the Zamora.

  29. AJ_10
    May 12, 2012

    We look … disjointed. Was hoping for a manita to send off Pep.
    I would like to see pocession stats. Is this the first game in Guardiola era where we share equal pocession?

  30. Ryan
    May 12, 2012

    And THAT is how a RB is supposed to cross!!!

    • jordi™
      May 12, 2012

      Dani hasn’t put in one like that since the win at the bernabeu I guess.Thank God our South Americans will have the full summer to recharge.

  31. Dani_el
    May 12, 2012

    Thank you Keita. A proper liga goodbye for Guardiola.

  32. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Pep does not look happy with this second half performance.

  33. AJ_10
    May 12, 2012

    The dreaded 2-2 scoreline. Story of our season. Fitting end.

    • messifan
      May 12, 2012

      That’s true, but this is not the end. We have another match and let’s give Athletic a manita 😀

  34. May 12, 2012

    Well at least they avoided a defeat in Pep’s last Liga match. I guess.

    Disappointing. Dani was just so dumb getting sent off needlessly like that in this match. But even afterwards the defense just wasn’t good at the back in the second half.

    The team really has issues that must be settled at the back for next season. We’ve lost solidity there.

  35. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Well, that was an interesting match. The first half was great. Afellay and the rest minus Dani played well. Then we fell apart in the second half.

    I’m going to give Pique a free pass because he just got back from injury. But if he performs like this in the Copa and Euro, we should look for two CBs, instead of one.

    For Dani, I don’t know what to say. On a good day, he’s the best in our system. On a bad day like this, he’s a liability. Can’t have this inconsistency next season, esp. with so much at stake.

    I was hoping to see more youth but I understood that we needed senior players to start getting into rhythm for the CdR final.

    No complaint about Betis fans. They can do whatever they want; it’s their stadium. I thought their fans were outstanding. Very loud and served as a twelfth man. I didn’t hear any racial abuse; so that’s fine.

  36. TITO
    May 12, 2012

    Just sell Alves.
    Thank him for great 4 years in the club and sell him for 40 mill euros.

    • jordi™
      May 12, 2012

      If a player didnt have the best season, they deserve the chance to redeem themselves, especially one that was as crucial to our recent success.Also when will we stop strengthening European rivals?

    • messifan
      May 12, 2012

      Who’s going to buy him? Maybe, his personal life and all this talk of the club putting him up for sales unsettle his game.

      • TITO
        May 12, 2012

        Maybe, but PSG will gladly pay that sum, or something near that.
        And this is a chance to cash on him, why not do it? He hasn’t been his best the entire season with the exception of few games. I know Messi needs him on the flank but he is constantly getting beat and he is already a liability on that side of the defense.
        I dont know will him come good as he was, but as i say, instead of waiting for that to happen, sell him and get good money.

  37. nzm
    May 12, 2012

    Not sure why Afellay was taken off when he was providing width and movement. I would have taken off Pedro instead, brought in Tello and switched him and Afellay over.

    Ah – well – at least we didn’t lose for Pep’s last game.

    If Busquets is to go forward, which I like BYW, they need 4 defenders down the back.

    • May 12, 2012

      Afellay isn’t close to match fit. Down to 10 men work rate needs to go up and there was no way at baseline Afellay would last 90 min.

      Pep had to be careful with his substitutes down to 10 men.

      • nzm
        May 12, 2012

        Yes – there was that, I guess. Maybe should have brought on Iniesta a lot earlier – he would have provided support for Afellay to create something down the left.

        Anyway, it’s over now!

  38. ciaran
    May 12, 2012

    Anzhi are offering crazy money for Alves apparently. I think that he may have had his head turned which you can’t blame him.
    Let’s face it, Yaya Toure, Kun Aguero, David Silva, Javier Pastore and Samuel Eto’o all have had the same happen them.

    IF, and that’s a big if, he or the club decide to sell for the €40million offered then I’d snap up van der Wiel from Ajax as a starting right back and go out and buy Gareth Bale and slightly shift the focus of our attack.

  39. May 12, 2012

    People are reading much too much into a few handful of games at the end of a long season when the league has already been decided..

    via barcastuff:

    Guardiola: “Alves exit rumours? It’s not up to me anymore, but for me’s he’s an irreplaceable player.”

  40. ciaran
    May 12, 2012

    By the by, Valdes has conceded 28 goals in 35 games. 0.8
    Casillas even if he plays and doesn’t concede will have 0.81
    Valdes wins the Zamora

    • nzm
      May 12, 2012

      Nope – those figures for VV don’t take into account tonight’s game. At the moment, he and Iker are level @ .833.

      See above for the equation.

      • ciaran
        May 12, 2012

        Not correct, Pinto has played 3 games in the league this season, Valdes has played 35, conceding 28 including tonight.

      • May 12, 2012

        Pretty sure ciaran is correct. Pinto played 3 league games this season

      • nzm
        May 12, 2012

        Yeah – I was just trying to figure it all out – was going by the figures on VV’s Wikipedia entry and Marca’s Zamora table. I thought that they hadn’t been updated yet, but maybe they have been already.

        Apologies for my error.

  41. Messiah10
    May 12, 2012

    2 goals by headers today??? Whever put $ on that is rich! Odds on that had to have been 100-1. Oh well. 2nd half was disjointed. Defense is achilles heel again. Was dude offside on 2nd goal Betis scored? Looked awfully close from ESPN Deportes angle.

    • Kimcelona
      May 12, 2012

      Yeah the second goal looked offside to me but who am I to talk..the linesman has the best view..*shrugs*

  42. Kimcelona
    May 12, 2012

    I KNEW I would come here to see things like “sell Alves!” and that type of idiocy (imo). What is it with cules? Do some of us have short term memories?
    lots of online cules are ungrateful as well..
    Sigh

    BTW, VV WON his fifth Zamora..so whoever said he didnt was wrong.

    I enjoyed the first half so much. The second half was a disaster especially after Dani’s sending off (very dumb btw). The offside trap was horrible..Pique has gotten slower by the day it seems, Masche has a magnificent match up until those two goals which he and Pique are at fault for. Anyways, I really enjoyed Ibi, Monti (when he came on), Keita and Pedrito had a great first half.Xavi was great, Messi was a little subdues at times but had an okay match. Busi was dwelling on the ball quite alot and gave away a couple breakways but was very impressive all round in this match, in both defense and attack.

    And I may get tomatoes thrown at me but I am NOT convinced with Tello. He needs a lot more work. I wouldnt mind if he got sent off on loan for next season. His decision-making is poor, to say the least. And apart from the little side-step move and pace that he has, I dont see whatelse he offers JUST YET. He has potential but he needs to mature a bit more and come again.

    • ciaran
      May 12, 2012

      I actually agree and disagree with you.
      Tello certainly isn’t ready for the football at this level but he has only been training with the first team for around 2 months.
      Next season on loan would hinder his progress massively in my opinion.

      • Kimcelona
        May 12, 2012

        But I dont get you, are you saying he’d be better off on the bench or barely making the match squad, getting games as a substitute here and there next season than going to another Liga team to develop?

        His desicion making would improve with regular playing, something I dont think he’ll get at Barca next season. He isnt even officially promoted..yet.

        • ciaran
          May 12, 2012

          His decision making would improve by consistently training with the best players in the world, not playing with the likes of Sporting Gijon, or Deportivo.
          In reality, he wouldn’t start week in week out for any of the top teams so training with us would serve him best IMO.

          Look at Iniesta, he could have been loaned out when he was that age but he/the club decided to stay and be patient.

          Our system is so different to every other club that no experience on loan prepares you for our first team.

          In contrast, Cuenca is closer to our decision making and one touch play but he isn’t nearly aggressive enough and doesn’t have killer instinct in front of goal. I believe that fighting weekly with underdogs in the league might toughen him up.

          Both have a lot to do to be at our level but it doesn’t have to happen instantly.

          • Kimcelona
            May 12, 2012

            Sorry but training and playing are two totally different things. We all thought the same with Bojan, that didnt work out, did it? Tello wouldn’t start week in, week out, but he’d start much more than he would if he stayed with us and learn other value things that can’t be learned in just training.

            A loan doesnt mean the end of the world for players…he’d come right back..it served Cuenca well.
            And on the contrary, Iniesta is a totally different player than Tello. Iniesta’s chances were limited by superstars in the first team at that time, especially in midfield yet when he did get the chance we saw his play was beyond his years even back then.

            And, I don’t see any more aggression with Tello than Cuenca. Cuenca may not be as fast but he offers so much more (technique, passing ability) and most importantly: quick-thinking, crucial decision-making. THAT is what is important in our system. Ask Pep..or should I say ask Tito now.

            Tello is good for the thrill when he happens to burst past the first defender with his little shuffle and pace but then what? Usually nothing of substance..
            Dont get me wrong, he is talented and could be the next big thing but I dont think he’s ready to be apart of the first team yet..he’s not at that level yet. Either he should go back to the B team or go on loan.

          • Messiah10
            May 13, 2012

            I think I’ll have to agree w/Kimcelona. I do think your point is valid. Training w/the best players in the world cannot be replaced, however, playing games is totally different to training. The pace, atmosphere, different tactics, etc., would all make Tello a better player then training would. He needs to get the jitters out of his system. I think confidence and nervousness factor into his indecisiveness. If he goes on loan there’s less pressure to perform at the top class FCB require. I think the DNA is already in him. He knows our philosphy. It’s been taught to him from the time he’s been here. He needs games and needs them in bundles to be the finished product.

    • messifan
      May 12, 2012

      Huh? I only found one person suggesting selling Alves. The rest of us are just evaluating his performance in this match and for the entire season.

      • Kimcelona
        May 12, 2012

        I just read through the comments again..You’re right its only about 2 people but its still suggested, thus my point remains.

        He had a decent season to me. His performance in the last couple of matches cant be used to measure a whole season, considering we had already lost the liga.

        He’ll get a break during summer and be back to the best RB in the world next season, me thinks.

        • ciaran
          May 12, 2012

          I only had a suggestion as to what to do in the event that the club or he decides that he needs to move on.

          He has been very indisciplined this season. I’m not going to check if this season he got booked more but he certainly looked frustrated quite a bit and didn’t keep his cool on many occasions.

          I don’t believe that anyone can replace Dani at what he does so if he does move on, we need to reevaluate our tactics… not ideal

        • Messiah10
          May 13, 2012

          Kimcelona,

          It’s alright to feel Alves should stay. It’s also alright to suggest he move on. I have to put my sentiment aside and be objective about it. He’s provided us an amazing 4 years. He was instrumental in 08/09. Same with the following years, but this year his form as dropped off. Is it due to desire? I don’t think so. I think teams have adjusted their tactics to exploit his area. Messi has been left w/out space when he moves so far up and that creates less width and more stagnation. His tendency isn’t to continue downt he flanks or side, but to drift inside. I can’t count how many times I yelled at him this season to get past his marker. Instead, he brought it back to the middle or passed it back where no spaces was and created problems for our midfield. These days a team has to look objectively at a player and ask, “Has he provided everything he can?”, “Is it time to change tactics?”, “Where are our most glaring weaknesses?”, “Have we gotten the most out of him we can?”. I think the club has to be practical and take everything into account. If we still want our RB pushing high up the field to create pressure and chances, but leaving us exposed in the back and down the left side then he will stay. If Tito plans on changing that aspect of our attack to shore up the defense or w/someone who is more defensive minded, then he will go. Now is the time to get the best market value for him. His transfer could fund 1 of the top 10 players at their position in the world, or fund 2 or 3 very good players with the potential to be great. I say sell. Not because of his performances over the last few games, but because of what he provides as a way of a means to an end. We need to be less exposed defenisvely and we need to bring in players who will help provide that. I love Dani and am grateful for all he’s given to our club, but I want whats best for our club. Not for Dani.

  43. simple_barcafan
    May 12, 2012

    yup even barcastuff confirms VV won..

  44. TITO
    May 12, 2012

    Yes, and that person is me.
    And this minute if someone offers me 35 mill or more for him i would sell him. His days are numbered, and not just cause of this game.

  45. Ryan
    May 12, 2012

    From VV’s official Facebook page:

    “Estoy muy feliz de poder conseguir mi quinto Trofeo Zamora. Pero más feliz estoy de haber igualado al que para mi siempre fue un Referente: RAMALLETS. Gracias a mi equipo esto ha sido posible!!! Un abrazo a todos.”

    Looks like he thinks he’s won the Zamora too!

  46. messifan
    May 12, 2012

    Oh…I just remember that Dani got suspended on the last game of last season, and he didn’t play against Villarreal in this season’s opening match.

    Now, he got suspended on the last game of this season. This is weird!

  47. May 12, 2012

    Kimcelona, “idiocy” is a strong word aimed at the opinions of those contrary to yours. I’d go for “misguided.”

    That said, add me to the idiot pile. If a reasonable offer came in for Alves (35+) I’d sell and not look back. If you look at the last batch of matches with Adriano as the starter, the RB (when Montoya has played) has been a more conservative position. Euler and I were noting this after the last match, and wondering about a systems change in light of the persistent Jordi Alba rumors.

    Ramzi suggests that with an altering of the Busquets role, Alba and Alves could be dual swashbucklers. Could be interesting. But those familiar with me know my “three-year Brazilian” rule. Did Alves make me reconsider? A little. But his fourth year has NOT been up to his lofty standard, irrespective of the lies that statistics tell us.

    Sometimes, a club has to make risky moves for a potentially greater payoff. Opening up the left with Alba or his like also opens up the entire pitch, versus our now center/right-center orientation. And I think Montoya is ready. So if somebody came in with 35m for Alves, I’d take it, talk seriously about Thiago Silva or Javi Martinez, solidify an LB and call it a day, as I don’t think we need any additions in the attack.

    –Speaking of statistics, we scored the second-most goals from headers this season in the Liga. How ’bout that?

    • Kimcelona
      May 12, 2012

      My apologies “idiocy” is a little too strong of a word. Misguided is the word I will use from now on..

      With that said, I definately think you’re misguided.

      So you’d just trade one attack-minded, probable liability full back for another? I dont get it..

      If its a change in system that we’d crave..why not just change personnel to suit the system we so desire in the various matches next season? Say we buy Alba..we play Monti on the RB, when we want some conservativity (is this a word?) in the backline..and when we want more attack from the fullbacks we play both Dani and Alba or Dani and Adriano..I think Adriano can be conservative when asked. I am one of those however, who don’t want us to buy Alba..I’d much rather a LB/CB hybrid ala Abidal..maybe someone like Vertonghen. Or just a good, fast CB and a solid LB.

      And on your point of a so-called bad season for Dani, I disagree. He may not have been “best RB in the world” Dani but he was one of our better and most consistent performers this season compared to all those who had seasons to forget (which is quite alot this season), I dont care what stats say. One season not up to par with people’s expectations and we’d sell? Sorry thats completely harsh. So, would you sell Pique, Pedrito, Cesc, even Xavi (who had an off season)if someone came with the right amount?

      • Jim
        May 12, 2012

        Not sure about Xavi’s off season. Apart from anything else, was this not his best goals tally ?

      • ciaran
        May 12, 2012

        It’s human to have preferences for some players over others.
        When I’m thinking about Barcelona, I’ll always put the club over a single player. I dislike some Barca players and love others but that can’t be the only thing to consider.
        It is too easy to blame a single player for a defeat or series of disappointments but it is also too easy defend a player just cause he is a Barca player.
        I used to love Fabio Rochemback, who most of you will hardly remember from his short stint with us. Basically, he was aggressive, in your face and had a rasping shot from distance. The only problem was that he wasn’t very good. Even though he was a player he liked, I was still happy when he went out on loan so we could bring in someone better.
        Anyone who does remember him, may remember one of the main reasons I loved him – a jumping sidekick to Raul in a Classico 🙂

        I do think our system needs to evolve somewhat.
        Defensively – in too many matches teams have exploited the space in behind Dani.
        Offensively, he has been on occasion wasteful but has also been vital to our attack. He could potentially be every bit as effective next season, but with better timing of his runs may be as much so but be better defensively.

        • May 12, 2012

          It’s reasonable to consider offers for all players on the squad.

          But just a point of clarification- teams haven’t really exploited the space behind Alves to significant extent.

          I just point this out as many people keep bringing this up. I think it may have been due to the Chelsea match leg 1 and that counter they scored on.

          But on the whole-that space hasn’t been particularly exploited compared to past rates of problems.

          The area where space was exploited several times was the left flank in the space Abidal should have been playing.

          That was the problem side for Barca.

          I’m not saying this means Alves should or shouldn’t be sold. I’m just commenting on this reason and not doing so related primarily to your comment but just because I’ve seen it in multiple places being mentioned.

  48. KEVINO17
    May 12, 2012

    Funny that Messi, who loves drifting across from the right to the left doesn’t poach more goals at the near post on the left side. Someone like Alba (or even better, Bale) should solve that problem.
    I’m a strong believer that, against a parked bus, Barca must have a tall traditional centre forward to keep the opponents honest. Can Keita be converted into that role? Big, strong, good with his head. He could create a lot of confusion on crosses while the zippy little players around him do their work? Also has the flexibility to drop deeper if needed. Certainly at lot cheaper than spending 20 or 30 million on a top centre forward.

  49. culegirl3
    May 12, 2012

    Pardon me for asking but what exactly has Alves done to put him in people’s sell list?

    Not surprised we drew this one…oh well.

    I’d really like it if Barcelona bought Alba AND Javi Martinez. Martinez seems like a versatile player and his height would be beneficial to us.

    • messifan
      May 12, 2012

      Imo, persistent rumors that have been circulating in the Spanish press and picked up by English reporters make some of us view Dani’s game and attitude differently. We kind of know that MD or certain Spanish papers have access to certain information leaked by the club. So using this logic, I think these rumors have some truth to it because the club wants to let this information out there just to test the water.

      Though he’s not the only under-performer this season, he’s one of the few who seems less attached to the club. Pique, for instance, has strong ties to this club. He’s a Catalan, a soci, and his grandpa is a club official, which make the selling Pique rumors more difficult to accept.

  50. Chiu
    May 12, 2012

    So, who’s the winner of Graham book contest? 🙂

    • Ryan
      May 12, 2012

      Well, the grand total was 114 goals scored in the league, with 1 Barca goal in the recent Clasico.

    • Nik
      May 12, 2012

      A quick look-over of that thread (http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/13728/everyones-winner-aka-sounds-nice/) shows that no one guessed 114 goals. Four individuals guessed 113: pr17, lea_terzi, G60, and Messiah10. Based on the tiebreaker, lea_terzi should win, as she guessed that we’d score 2 in the Clasic, whereas pr17 guessed 4, G60 3, and Messiah10 3.

      So, provided I didn’t goof up while looking through that thread, I think lea_terzi will be announced as the winner.

      • Messiah10
        May 13, 2012

        WOW! I’m CRUSHED! I’ve never won anything in a contest and when I saw my name on the final 4 I freaked. Kept reading and saw I lost! Oh well. Congrats to lea_terzi! Btw. If you don’t get a hold of her I say G60 and I toss a coin or rock, paper, scissors for it. Although, both would be hard to do on here. Coin toss is probably the best bet. Mod tosses and one of us calls it! Great contest by BFB. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book. I’ve been holding off on purchasing to see the results of the contest. Guess I’ll be buying now. 🙁

  51. barca96
    May 12, 2012

    He has been very indisciplined this season. I’m not going to check if this season he got booked more but he certainly looked frustrated quite a bit and didn’t keep his cool on many occasions.

    Compare to his first season. He was much more frustrating to watch getting silly yellow cards and constantly whining.

  52. andrecito
    May 13, 2012

    dani..underperfomed? doesnt he have the most assists for the guy who scored the most goals in history?

  53. Oil_Can
    May 13, 2012

    If we lose Dani, WE ARE DOOMED! LOL not really but he might be harder to replace than most people around here think.

    here are the reasons:

    1. Daniel Alves’s biggest asset, Season Fitness!
    Most people over look this but during our last four seasons Dani has appeared on average between 45-50 games per season in all competition. No other outfield player in our squad (apart from maybe Xavi and Messi) contribute this many appearances per season during the Pep Era. In comparison If we were to compare any RB in Europe, there are numerous players who have similar skill levels but there are very very few who can offer 45+ appereances per season and on top of that provide consistent performance.

    2. Selling Dani forces us to make two signings to replace him.
    Why so? Dani Alves has played so many games for us we hardly ever feel the need to have a back-up RB. In contrast our LB slot has been
    shared between atleast 2-3 players on average over the course of each season under Pep. This is a very big contrast between our left side and right side. If we were to Sell Alves we would need to sign a minimum of 2 players, one LB and one RB, simply promoting Montoya is nowhere near enough. Also If we are thinking of simply forking out 40 mil (from selling Dani) to sign Bale, we still have to take out more money from our budget to sign a RB that can atleast play 30+ games a season. So IMO selling Alves will not truly benefit us financially, unless we were to take a big risk and buy two cheaper alternative signings and hope that they will pay off on the field.

    Summary: Daniel Alves provides the team a very rare asset, What makes him a key player for us is not just the fact that he is a good attacking RB, its also the fact that he performs consistently all season long. While selling Alves for 40 million might sound tempting, keep in mind the majority of that money will go back into trying to replace what we lose from selling Alves. so! will we REALLY benefit financial from selling Alves? IMO simply keeping Alves and buying a promising LB is a cheaper option and is considerably less of a risk football wise and in the end everyone is happy 🙂

    • Dave
      May 13, 2012

      While I’m inclined to agree with you for the most part ,I would propose some points that may be considered by the club.

      Sporting.Alves is not getting any younger. Despite what people say, imo he is not as energetic as 08/09.
      Tactically teams have targeted his side, exploiting the space behind. The challenges on Montero last night were very lazy.

      I believe if he stays he will need more help on the RW.The energy expended over the past seasons will have drained him mentally and physically.

      Financial. Alves has one of the biggest wage packets at the club and his wages would free up money to pay new players.
      I would this minute take 35mil if Anzhi offered.No question. Bring in Van der Wiel etc and rotate with Montoya. I regret that Barca did not sell Ronaldhino earlier.

      Motivational; I’m not sure Alves will respond to Tito like Pep. This is probably more a concern a mine for Tito though.

      Bottom line imo is the team needs refreshing.

      • Dave
        May 13, 2012

        Correction. Van der wiel is probably not the answer. We can’t afford any of our players skipping off to Lil’Wayne gigs. Ever

      • TITO
        May 13, 2012

        I was just going to bring up the Ronnie issue. The season before he started to get lazy he was worth nearly 100 mill euros, and some clubs were willing to pay it. Of course, we never assumed that after that glorious season he will start his downfall. And then, we barely got 20 something from Milan after a season long negotiations. Everybody was thinking like, damn, why we didn’t sell him last year.
        Somehow i don’t feel the same about players who are brought up from our youth and the rest which are bought (exc – Pique and Cesc).
        Dani got a job, performed well, and that’s it, time to move on. Think about what he used to do in Sevilla and why he was primarily bought. Crosses, shots, dribbles, and to a lesser extent, his defensive abilities.
        This season he made probably a total of 10 good crosses and maybe 2-3 good shots from outside as far as i remember. Nowhere near good as he was in the beginning and when he played with Sevilla. Defensively he has gone from average to poor over the seasons.
        Maybe he will come good again, but i have my strong doubts that he will. And now is a time to cash on him. Our team need some refreshment, and i don’t mind starting from him.

      • Oil_Can
        May 13, 2012

        Its easy just to say we can offload Alves and use the money to replace him, but which other RB in the world is capable of replacing Alves? There are not many, Van Der Weil has the potential but is he worth the risk? Alves is a key player in our squad, he is involved in almost every game, there is no doubt we will not benefit football wise if we sell him.

        As for a more conservative RB being an option, who knows, maybe after selling Alves and going for a more conservative RB might encourage our opponents to target our right side of defence more often because we won’t have that attacking threat and our opponents might feel a little more adventurous which we wouldn’t want.

        My argument is that we cannot benefit both football wise and financially in this situation, its either one or the other, because to fill the void Alves leaves behind we’d need to spend around the same amount of money we will get from selling him and we’d still need to buy another LB. How is that any different than just keeping Alves and buying a good LB?

        • Messiah10
          May 13, 2012

          I don’t think we need to replace him like for like. Montoya is a perfect replacement b/c he is more defenisve minded. We need to be more compact at the back. Not keep rotating our DM’s over to cover the space he’s left by pushing so far up. Do we abandon pushing up into space? No, but we need to do it more cautiously and with more precision. Not at abandon. I made some points above to Kimcelona. I left out age which Dave & others pointed out. We won’t get much from him the longer he stays b/c he is getting up there in years. Especially, the way he plays. He has played almost every game for us and I think that’s been huge, but how long can that continue. The body starts to react differently when you get to a certain age. His body will start to feel the strain and then the club will be left w/no alternative then to pay his wages and wait out his contract. He could fund 2 very very good players or 1 great player and we still wouldn’t have dipped into the transfer kitty. Sell him

  54. Judas Pissed
    May 13, 2012

    Doesn’t Tito have £80million to spend whether we sell Dani or not? No need to sell him then. Just buy Alba, Martinez & BALOTELLI!

    • Dani_el
      May 13, 2012

      I hope you were kidding about Balotelli.

    • Messiah10
      May 13, 2012

      From the comments above you did! Congrats!!! There were 4 peeps who guessed 113 goals. The tie breaker was the Clasico. You won since you guess 2 goals scored. I hate u! Just kidding, but I’ve never won ANYTHING!

  55. blitzen
    May 13, 2012

    I missed the game unavoidably. Just downloading it now. Busi scored from a corner? Awesome.

  56. mom4
    May 13, 2012

    EPL is all kinds of fun today. I can’t keep up with my remote.

    • nzm
      May 13, 2012

      We were lucky – we had a Multi-goal program where they switched games as goals were scored.

      Good grief – what a finish! 😀

  57. Jim
    May 13, 2012

    Didn’t learn a lot new from the game, other than confirming what I think has been clear for a large part of the season. What follows is just my opinion – and, yes, it may be a bit harsh but I think it generally holds good.

    In defence, other than a little wobble from VV who has been generally great, we have suffered from three factors. The first was the experimentation with 3 at the back which unsettled everything. I’m sure people will point to good results achieved while using it but to me it was clear that this unsettled a previously decent defence. apart from that i’m not sure either Pique or Puyol are particularly good defenders in such a system given their lack of pace. This brings me to factor two which is Abidal. I was very critical of his performances earlier on in the season citing various errors. If I’d only known the real situation with his illness I’d have been full of admiration that he could even step on the pitch. Whatever, in a 3 man defence his pace would have been vital. The final element to me was the continued preference of Mascherano over Pique. No doubt Pique’s performances dipped around the middle of the season and Mascherano was rightly brought in. However, that brought it’s own problems imo which I have already gone over too often. Bottom line, if he wants to be a CB he needs to work on positioning and realise that you are usually better to stay on your feet. (Just have to look at last night’s game yet again.) To me, Pique and Puyol know each other’s games so well they are indispensable. However, that becomes less valid if Tito sticks with 3 at the back.

    In midfield I don’t think there was enough recognition ( by Pep?) of the value added of having both Xavi and Iniesta in midfield. I can’t begin to think why Pep thought Iniesta on the wing was an experiment worth persevering with. Anyone else in the midfield with Xavi and he ends up playing too deep. With Cesc now into his second season I think this will be one of Tito’s most important decisions.

    Up front, we suffered from the loss of Villa, both in terms of his instinct and his finishing and the loss of form for Pedro. For me, both of the new youngsters have a long way to go before being worthy of a place in a full Barca team. ( I have been impressed by Montoya at the back though.) Cuenca I don’t think will make it ( we need three forwards who can all score goals – Messi will get injured someday !) and Tello needs a bit more versatility and a sounder possession game. Pedro in recent games has for me come back to almost his best. The speed of his stepover last night was a thing to behold and with this confidence will come goals.

    What do we need? Depends who goes but I’d be looking for a better LB, a tall hopefully pacy CB (who could still afford to be a year away from prime time) and a goal scoring forward of some type – but not a tall target man. Sorry for the rant but although I love Pep and what he has done for the club i think he did make mistakes this season. Again, just my opinion. Will now pack trunk for the summer hols and try to keep my thoughts to myself.

    Btw, just watching the last 10 of the Man City game. Now they know how we feel against the bus !

    • Jim
      May 13, 2012

      Unbelievable. Within a minute of me hitting the submit button it was all turned around. What a finish !

    • Laurentiu88
      May 13, 2012

      interesting points. i hope Tito will realize that Xavi and Ini need to be together..

      as the QPR game showed against a parked bus having a tall forward does not help much. this option looks more like a lottery.

  58. messifan
    May 13, 2012

    Oh.My.God. City vs. QPR game is amazing!!! Kun just scored the winnter.

  59. nzm
    May 13, 2012

    Ooof – couldn’t have asked for a better finish in EPL today!

    Those City fans went from joy to despair to desolation and back to pure ecstasy in the space of about 30 minutes.

    I thought that Mancini was going to have a heart attack!

  60. Momo
    May 13, 2012

    Best finish to a season EVER!!! Down to the last minute! Historic stuff! Well done City!

  61. Helge
    May 13, 2012

    Imagine to lose (or win) the title in this manner to your biggest rival!
    Incredible emotions on both sides.

    Wasn’t the most succesful season for us either, but how must the United fans feel now? And somehow I don’t even pity them, they’ve won enough PL titles lately with lots of luck.

    • Ryan
      May 13, 2012

      They lost both matches vs. Citeh, so it’s hard to feel bad for them. Must’ve been gut wrenching to finish a game as champions-in-waiting, only for 2 injury-time goals to change everything though.

      • Helge
        May 13, 2012

        At least, United did not celebrate yet – as Schalke did some years ago, fans storming the pitch to celebrate because they thought the match of Bayern was already over!

  62. barca96
    May 13, 2012

    When I was having a drink at the 1st restaurant,the score was 1-0.

    I left at half-time to get take away food at a 2nd restaurant 1-1.

    Then I went to the 3rd restaurant to get food because the 2nd restaurant ran out of stock, 1-2.

    Then I raced home and it was 3-2.

    What a crazy match!!

    Man City went from being a champion to 2nd and then became a champion again in a space of 3 minutes in injury time.
    This match is crazier than the Liverpool AC Milan CL Final.

    This match reminds me of a season in Formula 1 where Massa thought he was going to be champion until someone, I think Hamilton overtook someone on the 2nd last corner and gathered enough points to overtake Massa. Crazy!!

    I wonder if the Man Utd players and fans were celebrating in the dying seconds on their match.
    Note: There are tv’s in some restaurants in Malaysia.

    • nzm
      May 13, 2012

      No Man U and fans weren’t celebrating. They gathered in the middle of the pitch to wait for the City game to finish then, when the news came through, they walked around the pitch and applauded their fans.

  63. TITO
    May 13, 2012

    What are the odds that CR outscore Messi? The entire team is playing for him.

    • Ryan
      May 13, 2012

      I hope not! He doesn’t have a chance of matching Messi’s all competition goals scored, but it’d still be nice for Messi to grab the pichichi.

    • Laurentiu88
      May 13, 2012

      it does not seem like that to me.

      in the end RM won with the team from the last season; all their transfers were not real additions. compared to us, we lost players … with one extra front man maybe things would stand differently now. still their more direct game brought them great results. maybe we tend to push teams way to much back and we end up with a more static game.

  64. mangut
    May 13, 2012

    How many of you would want Caceres now? I think Alves should be sold. Montoya is ready. We will learn a lot about Alba this summer in the Euros. I have not be too impressed with him but if he starts for Spain it says a lot. Tello or Cuenca need to be sold. Bojan was better than both. Age lay and Keita need to be sold as well. To this day I do not understand why Barca let Aguero and Silva go without real consideration. Javier Martinez is a key buy. I am not sold on Adrian but Atletico need to sell. He is feisty and smart but totally one footed.

    • Dave
      May 13, 2012

      Disagree on Bojan. Good finisher but thats it. Physically and mentally he was found wanting at the highest level. Part of the problem was his addition at such a young age and the expectations.

      He did not have the pace of Tello or the brain of Cuenca.

  65. mega_tajh
    May 13, 2012

    Question: Does Alves red card means he is suspended for the Cup Final? I’m unsure about this.

    • Ryan
      May 13, 2012

      Commentators were saying that it rules him out of the next league game, not the Copa final.

  66. Ryan
    May 13, 2012

    Uh oh, Falcao just scored…are Villarreal going to get relegated?

    • May 13, 2012

      Crap, that means Jnice might go ahead of me in BFB’s Fantasy League (me and him and having an epic fight at the last match day, for the 9th and 10th position). I ahead by 2 points, but Falcao’s points haven’t been added yet – yikes! (I’ve still got some hope on Rayo though)

  67. dean
    May 13, 2012

    Noooo not the yellow subs =( Shitty day, <-intentional

  68. nzm
    May 13, 2012

    Villarreal, Sporting and Racing out of La Liga BBVA.

    Gut-wrenching scenes at Villarreal.

    • May 13, 2012

      Nooooo, just when I’d put Borja Valero in my XI ! And, uh, yeah, they’re getting relegated too, boo!

    • culegirl3
      May 13, 2012

      I still can’t believe Villarreal have been relegated! Sad about Sporting, I’ve always had a soft spot for them.

  69. Dani_el
    May 13, 2012

    A little scouting on van der Wiel thanks to TransferMarkt UK:

    Gregory van der Wiel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFun57oqMZY

    Name in native country: Gregory Kurtley van der Wiel
    Date of birth: 03.02.1988
    Place of birth: Amsterdam
    Age: 24
    Height: 1,81
    Nationality: Netherlands
    Curacao
    Position: Defence – Fullback, right
    Foot: right
    Market value: 8.800.000 £
    10.000.000 €
    Player’s agent: firsteleven ISM

    Contract until:
    30.06.2013

    Last international game: 15.11.2011 for Netherlands under Bert van Marwijk against Germany

    Performance data of current season
    Competition Matches Goals Assists Minutes
    Champions League 6 1 516
    Eredivisie 19 2 4 1573
    Johan-Cruyff-Schaal 1 – 75
    KNVB Beker 1 – – 1
    Total: 27 3 5 2 2165
    Injury history
    Season from to Injury
    11/12 16.01.2012 02.04.2012 groin strain
    11/12 21.11.2011 05.12.2011 groin strain
    07/08 11.11.2007 01.06.2008 Knee Problems

  70. nzm
    May 13, 2012

    You should see the ceremony going on at the Bernabeu right now – it’s like they won the World Cup or something!

    We had to turn it off…the sycophancy was too saccharine for our tastes!

    • Dani_el
      May 13, 2012

      You’re right. Not even Spain with the WC had that kind of homage. But it’s a difference of culture I believe. They have always liked to throw more money down and being so arrogant.

  71. blitzen
    May 13, 2012

    Absolutely gutted about Villarreal. My second favourite team by far. Amazing the difference between last season and this. 😥

    Kudos to Zaragoza and Rayo, though. They both fought back right up to the last second. The fans at Rayo invaded the pitch and it was pretty amazing to watch.

    *sigh*

    Football.

    • blitzen
      May 13, 2012

      maybe we should loan tello out to Villarreal. He can be their new Rossi and help get them back into the Primera.

  72. TITO
    May 13, 2012

    The yellow submarine just reduced to submarine. Don’t know why, just don’t feel so sorry about them.
    And while there, for no reason whatsoever i wouldn’t mind Borja Valero in our team.

  73. dean
    May 13, 2012

    Just when I was enjoying celebrating city’s win, villarel has to go and bow out. Now getting relegated means there second team will get auto relegated no?

  74. jordi™
    May 13, 2012

    For the fans of trends, Lotina has now seen Real Sociedad,Celta, Depor and now Villarreal go down under him in recent seasons.

      • Ryan
        May 13, 2012

        He managed draws vs. us and EE – if only he could’ve made Villarreal show up for the rest of the games!

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