Drumroll, please ….

So. Everyone recalls the ongoing season contest, kicked off in this post here.

Well. We scored 115 goals in La Liga this season, a number that nobody accurately predicted. Four readers (in chronological order of entry) guessed 113 goals: pr17, lea_terzi, G60 and Messiah10. None of those readers got the Clasic goal total right, guessing, respectively, 4, 2, 3 and 3. As so many of us painfully recall, we scored one measly goal (yeah, yeah, I know).

So the tiebreaker of tiebreakers becomes who went least over. lea_terzi is the winner of the signed copy of the Graham Hunter Barca book. Yup. Congratulations, and please fire your mailing address to kevvwill@yahoo.com, and I will take care of the rest.

Thanks to all.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

60 Comments

  1. Messiah10
    May 13, 2012

    ARGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! I was robbed. Goal line technology please. I think lea-terzi gets a oscar or palm d’ore for diving in the box! j/k Congrats on your signed copy! That’s really cool. Now my small pockets just got smaller b/c I have to buy 1! Unless you want to share the award. Co-Winners?

    • lea_terzi
      May 13, 2012

      Sorry mate, I’ve been waiting to get my hands on that book for ages 🙂 Need to relive all those years of success after a somewhat disappointing season.

  2. lea_terzi
    May 13, 2012

    Wow. I mean WOW. It kinda sucks to be winning because I made the lowest prediction for the Classico, and I hope we score 7 on them next year. A great feeling otherwise, and it brings me a little closer to the club I love 🙂
    Thanks for the great contest and your support, everyone!

  3. providence
    May 13, 2012

    off topic: Kxevin said in the previous post that Montoya is ready shd we sell alves,but i beg to differ, sell alves and thong boy will rip Montoya apart in classic, guess you saw montoyas tactical errors in yesterdays game, he is not that, RB had always be a problem, i remember the times of Oleguer,Belleti,Zambrota and even puyol, Alves came to fill the void, why are people now calling for his sale,thank God Zubi denied his exit rumours.

    • May 13, 2012

      I’m not the only one who thinks that in a revised system, Montoya is ready. Note that the season-crushing goals all came on the left, where Abidal used to be.

      Did Montoya make tactical errors? Sure. So did Alves and everyone else on the team. We have this belief that things don’t need change, that change isn’t good. But if you look at this season, it wasn’t just the crap pre-season that caused things to be messy. There was a blase quality about too many matches, a belief that “Oh, more chances will come.” Players weren’t playing their absolute best, Alves and Pique among them.

      But it’s hard to play your best every match for four seasons. A letdown was bound to happen. We have had a very successful system that some teams are beginning to figure out. When that happens, you change the template. One of those changes might include selling Alves. Our new coach deserves the benefit of the doubt in whatever actions he chooses to make his squad better.

      My point in the last thread was not that we should sell Alves, but that it would be a possibility, if the right offer came in and Vilanova was considering the sort of system changes we have been seeing the last few matches.

      As for ZubiZa’s denials today, I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. What ELSE is he going to say, when asked about transfers before the transfer window opens? I believe that we have a list of players, and things have been set in motion as regards the transfer(s) of those players. The press can do all of its nonsense, and we fans can speculate about who might or might not be sold, who might or might not be the perfect puzzle piece. But I believe that the club already knows what it wants to do.

      As for selling Alves, recall that selling Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto’o were supposed to be disasters as well, right? Clubs adapt to new systems and new personnel. It’s part of the change that keeps wins coming.

      • nia
        May 14, 2012

        I agree with what you said but i still think Alves can give us at least one more good year, although this season he has been horrible. He offered little or nothing in attack nor in defence and has been less disciplined than usual. Granted he also broke up with his wife and probably was affected by that, so i will cut him some slack.
        Am i the only one that noticed Xavi has been poor as well. It seems when he plays, the ball doesn’t go foward as fast as it should but, sideways and backwards. Compared to when he doesn’t play, the team is a lot faster and more direct. Yes, he’s been carrying an injury but, so many times i’ve seen him not make the splitting pass but instead pass it back. He’s very good at controlling the game when we need to but sometimes when we need to move fast, he’s been holding up play. Hell, even the geriatrics of Milan looked faster than us during those games. This yrs Barca was like watching tiki taka in slow motion.
        I think Barcs needs to freshen up the squad. Not necessarily sell players but, to get in more quality players and have a little competion for places especially for VV’s position. He seems to have got worse this yr. Maybe it was the change in the gk coach or complacency but, something needs to be done. Infact, most of the team has been piss poor bar Messi, Masch and Busi. Fatigue and injuries have played a big part in our season but i’m sure Tito will whip em back to shape. Somehow i thing Tito will be a lot harsher and non forgiving to the players than Pep.

        • Oil_Can
          May 14, 2012

          We’ll have to see what decisions Tito will make, Hes decision will be purely based on footballing aspects, making profit from squad players is not our priority.

          Montoya has definitely impressed this season, he will surely be promoted. He has performed very well when we’ve played him, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Montoya has been played sparingly and whether he is ready for a starters position is unknown. I don’t expect him to be a significant starter next season. If he is pushed into a starters role there is that risk of him being held back from the pressure which we don’t want.

          • Laurentiu88
            May 14, 2012

            if we keep saying alves has been horrible this season than we must name everybody who has been: Pique, Pedro, Villa (pre-injury) Cesc (post Villa injury) then too, Xavi and VV, even Iniesta (maybe due to tactical decision and injury) and maybe Sanchez for the later reasons (missed many games)

            So who was a real performer this season for us? Messi Busi Abidal?

            Then again if we look only to our last key games then we have the feeling that maybe no player has risen to our expectations?

            For the majority of the season Alves has been great. I still love his combinations with Messi. Maybe there has been some tactical change there too? Maybe he was afected by the defense of 3 system change? Too many things are unknown for us here.

  4. KEVINO17
    May 13, 2012

    If Barca are looking for a big tall CF who will probably only be used against parked buses, I hope they are looking at Demba Ba. According to a newspaper story, because of his rickety knee his release clause is only 7 million pounds and his wage isn’t much either. Surely Barca could nurse him along and only play him as a penalty area-to-penalty box striker. It could be in his contract that he never has to leave the penalty area. He could be perfect.

  5. May 13, 2012

    When Americans say football is boring, somebody should make a DVD of today’s action and smack them upside the head with it. Between that Citeh match, teams going down, last-minute goals and my boys in Montpellier winning Ligue 1 with a eke-out win vs Lille, this has been an absolutely bonkers day. Bonkers, I tell ya!

    • mom4
      May 13, 2012

      Insane in the EPL today. I thought my remote control was gonna catch fire.

    • nia
      May 14, 2012

      I know, that was insane. For the longest, it looked like Barca v Chelsea when City were proding and crossing and no one was in the box to get to the end of the crosses. When QPR scored their 2nd, anyone else notice Mancini say F you, F you , F you to all his defenders? that was just classic. But, the difference maker today was that City had 2 tall players to bring in during crunch time and one scored a header. Granted, we were very unlucky v Chelsea coz on a different day, we would have scred 4 or 5. That’s how i imagimed Barca winning the liga this year after clawing back to 4 points. I thought we really would be able to do it. Oh wel, congrats to Citeh.

    • Tarik
      May 14, 2012

      As someone who has only been following the EPL for 5 years or so now (and footie as a whole for even longer), I can confidently say that today was the craziest day for a league I have ever witnessed. Seriously, that ish was insane and an absolute pleasure to watch. Completely overshadowed Madrid hitting the 100 pt. mark with all the madness…I even sort of forgot they were playing. I think a lot of La Liga fans have big love for Aguero. Unbelievable pressure to convert that final opportunity and he stayed calm and intelligent to slot it in.

      Also, here in Istanbul, Galatasaray won the league. Hell yea! Props to us because we kick ass. Pretty sure Fatih Terim says he knows how to shut down Barcelona. Although I would be conflicted, I would like to see us put 4 or 5 past GS just to make him eat those words.

    • Clouseau
      May 14, 2012

      Didn’t watch the City Game prefered the Arsenalmatch though it was funny reading on Socialnetworks the “Schadenfreude” on Citys choking and then the rapid change to ”Selfpity and Anger” towards City.
      Football is simply madness it can manipulate your Emotion on a whole other Level.I freakin love it 🙂

      Funnily City have to thank Joey Barton for his red Card.Nor did he only help them by reducing his Team on 10 Players but his whole chipchap added City 5 min Extratime which they benefited from :))

      I don’t feel pity for Man Utd like i felt for Shalke since they are used to win in that Way and now tasted their own Medicine..
      But i feel happy for Yaya and the ex-LaLiga Guys for winning their deserved Title.

  6. Gogah
    May 14, 2012

    Congrats lea_terzi and congrats to city.
    so money can buy titles after all…history and tradition can go to hell, it seems, in the modern game. City, fully deserved the title, it must be said and they’ve also played the best football in England.
    As for you Lea, enjoy the book. I’ve just finished reading it and if it’s ok here, I’d like to share my initial review of the book.

    Make no mistake, it is an excellent and objective chronicle of the pep era and the history that led to it. For a neutral and a non-Barca fan, the book is worth its weight in gold for the sheer amount of information that the reader is exposed to. I can imagine that reading the book would surely make a neutral really marvel at the club and how it has developed. For a cule, however it is different. For those who have followed the club for so many years, the Book presents some of the behind the scenes incidents and conversations that are a real treasure to some of us, who value any info that we can get our hands on about our beloved club. But they are few and stretched. The real gems are few and scattered among the laborious documentation of events that transpired every step of the way leading to this glorious era. Don’t get me wrong, I love the book but it gave me a kiss on the cheek when i was expecting one on the mouth.

  7. Clouseau
    May 14, 2012

    Congratulation lea_terzi hope you enjoy reading it 🙂

  8. Jafri
    May 14, 2012

    Congratulations lea_terzi! My own prediction of 105 goals was well off the mark (And I’m happy about that too – most of those extra 9 goals were Messi’s :p)

  9. barca96
    May 14, 2012

    I prefer to have a CB/LB hybrid too but there is noone that I can think of besides Abidal & Maldini.

    Was Abidal a CB before he joined us? I didn’t follow the Ligue Un (Lyon) but for the French NT, Abidal used to play CB.

    If Abidal was a CB converted to a LB, then I think we should find someone similar, a talk, pacey CB who we can convert into a LB.

    • Clouseau
      May 14, 2012

      I’m not sure either he may have been converted at his time at Lille to a LB..The way he plays is more like CB anyway.

      I think Verthongen or Chiellini fit’s the bill but the latter is not on markt.But’s not an easy task anyway to change as CB to Lb than reverse.
      But Jan is financially and sportivly the best Option imo.His versatility and pacyness could be usefull for Barça.

      • Dave
        May 14, 2012

        I have been thinking this for a long time. That we should try to find someone that mirrors Abidal’s attributes. I like the look of Sakho but think hes had a bad season

          • James08771
            May 14, 2012

            You know, I think he may be out of contract this year. He signed a 3-year contract in June 2009 and I don’t think there’s been any news of a renewal. If we can’t get Javi Martinez this year then I think it would be a good idea to raid Valencia for both Alba and Mathieu. They have amazing chemistry, as we discovered in the away La Liga fixture early in the year. Adding these two will definitely add a new left-sided dimension to our attack. I’m sure that Mathieu can perform as a pacey ball-playing centre-back. He would be a great foil to both Piqué and Mascherano, whoever he would be paired with. I just hope he can accept not being a guaranteed starter at the beginning. As well, we could still have room for Adriano as cover for right-back. But eventually for certain matches, I can picture a back four of Montoya, Piqué/Masche, Mathieu, Alba.

          • barca96
            May 14, 2012

            My wish is to have someone like Abidal, someone who is both great at CB & LB but none of the names suggested above fit the bill.

    • barca96
      May 14, 2012

      Did you see what happened after the missed header from the Villareal, Ruben I think after some good work from Nilmar.

      Two players instantly fell to the ground in a synchronized way.

      But man… That was some crazy stuff. They were literally 10mm away from being safe. Cruel cruel way.

      • blitzen
        May 14, 2012

        I know. Story of Villarreal’s season. How many goals have they given up in the last 5 minutes this year? Absolutely gut-wrenching. 🙁

        I think I’ll have to buy one of their shirts next season. They could use the money.

    • messifan
      May 14, 2012

      Sad to see well managed clubs go down, but I think and hope that Villareal and Sporting will come back next season.

  10. Laurentiu88
    May 14, 2012

    I cannot imagine how it must feel to be relegated by a ref error!! poor yellow submarine 🙁

    How do you think Kiko has been adapting to our team? I think we bought him last year for like 4 Kilos 🙂 and actually i liked him in the few games i have seen him play for the first team. I dont know how he has been doing at the second team thou’.

    I am curious what new players might emerge this season. I think both Tello and Cuenca bring something new to the team, even thou’ they might not be world class just yet. They both had a great season and maybe can help again through another long season.. I guess their place depends a lot on what alternatives are there and if they can be included in some exchange.

    Besides Athtletico’s games I haven’t watch other teams too closely so I can’t say what other players might be good for us. I mostly hope we can have our regular players back in top form. We need a serious competition between them next season. And this means the acceptance of the fact that we might be willing to give up on the under-performing ones. I guess this can be the downside of a closed united team that grew together = some players think it might be impossible to let them go. Maybe Pedro Villa and to a lesser extent Sanchez can raise their game now and seriously compete. Bringing one more top class striker in this must serve as an example!

    When it comes to a possible striker I have little insight of whom i might prefer: I dont know which one will fit in our system of play and tactics? Another player in front of Messi but more mobile than Ibra? So again concentrate everything through the middle? And get Messi further from the goal? Maybe we need a better wing attacker so that we dont have to isolate Iniesta there? Another Villa?

    I dont know exactly what our problem has been this season. It has not been the bus-defense Chelsea – that was one game where we created so many chances. We have suffered in away games where teams have been more physical while we were generally tired and managed to mark Messi all too well. So then we do need a partner for Messi up front but also ways in controlling better these sort of games. Even with our amazing midfield we might need some player that can help there and bring an extra dimension, maybe a more physical one too. I am sorry that Affelay has not played I was curious how he could impact our team.

    random thoughts…

    • Hajar12
      May 14, 2012

      I have a feeling that Villa will be back stronger next year and Sanchez will be better acquainted with the Barca system, my only concern is with Pedro since he’s been very inconsistent lately. I know a large part of this was caused by his injuries but there’s something else, he seems different somehow. I did see some improvements in his game recently but whether he’ll be back to Pedro! next season remains to be seen.
      One thing for sure though, I can NOT wait until next season begins, I don’t even know what to expect, it’s kinda scary 😛 But I trust Tito completely.

      • Laurentiu88
        May 14, 2012

        i dont have any anxiety over his appointment, i kinda’ like his character how he is always calm and shy with the media. maybe it is too early to say but i guess he has something from Bielsa’s style – concentrate on football and ignore everything else.

        on the other hand it is important that he has the leadership qualities for a club like ours and more imp for a locker room like ours. my guess that here is the most important risk! he has to win and convince the players to follow him – which is never easy but i guess it will help as we have a strong and united group of players.

        i hope our players come rested for the new season. and i hope our managing team has learned from this season’s many injuries (like players coming off whenever they feel any discomfort)

        • Hajar12
          May 14, 2012

          One thing I like about him is that he doesn’t sugarcoat his words, he tells it like it is. He’s very similar to Guardiola in that sense.
          As for the players, I don’t think he’ll have a hard time covincing them to follow him since he’s been around them for a long time. It all depends on what he intends to change, whether he’ll be able to convey his ideas and visions to the players. Guardiola said that the hardest thing a coach has to do is how to communicate with his players, to make them see things as he does.
          With that said, I’m sure Tito will prevail, he has a strong character.
          I just hope we have injury free season for once, God knows we’ve had more than our fair share these last two seasons.

  11. messifan
    May 14, 2012

    Hi mods,
    Are you guys thinking of posting an end-of-the-season epic review or Blitzen awards? Just wondering 🙂

  12. barca96
    May 14, 2012

    -I just saw what Joey Barton did last night. It has cost Man U the title.
    It was because of him that there were 5minutes of time added on and Man City fully capitalize on that.

    – It was really cool to see Cisse not just congratulating Nasri but celebrating with Nasri after the final whistle.
    I was wondering which City player would exchange jerseys and then only I realized that it is Cisse 😆

  13. May 14, 2012

    Congrats lea_terzi!

    God I’m willing to do anything to get away from the impending ‘silly’ season. Even work.

    Finally got around to look at the groups in the Euro. Group B obviously is a trainwreck in itself, but Spain’s group isn’t a stroll in the park either. Its gonna be fun that I can tell ya..

    • messifan
      May 14, 2012

      Netherlands vs. Portugal. Diving, yellow and red cards galore. Bless the Ref 🙂

      • May 14, 2012

        All worth it if Thong Boy is given an early flight home. Which isn’t an unreasonable prediction given Germany and Netherlands have superb rosters and Denmark spanked Portugal in the group stages..

        • barca96
          May 14, 2012

          Even though I am from Holland, I have to disagree with lots and lots of people saying that we are one of the favorites. I don’t think we are.

          Name me one player besides Robben, Sneijder & RvP who is world class. And Sneijder hasn’t had a spectacular season since the 2009/10 CL & World Cup run.

          Besides Robben, Sneijder & RvP there is no one that else that can step up. None of these are the best in their position in a fantasy team.

          Strong favorites to me are Germany & Spain. That’s it. But this being a Cup Finals, the best team don’t always win.

          • May 14, 2012

            Your squad has Stekelenburg, Boulahrouz, van der Wiel, VdV, de Jong, Huntelaar, 3M, Kuyt along with RvP, Robben and Sneijder. They almost had a perfect record in qualifying, being beaten in a dead rubber at the end.

            If you still don’t think that isn’t a ‘superb’ squad, I think you’re being a teensy bit pessimistic, kinda like our fans when the team isn’t performing that well..

          • messifan
            May 14, 2012

            Dutch defense isn’t all that great. That’s why Bert likes double pivot with Van Bommel and De Jong. Plus Stekelenburg is not having a good season at Roma, albeit Roma’s weak defense plays a huge part.

            Can’t wait for that match up. Pepe vs. Van Bommel. CR vs. Robben. Van Persie and Co. vs. Nani and Co. It’s going to be explosive. Hope it will live up to my expectation 😀

  14. Lev
    May 14, 2012

    Exactly. Everybody is telling me the same thing but for me we are far from favorites. The only world class team we beat during the last World Cup was Brazil, and in hindsight Brazil did not even have a world class team.

    Germany are favorites to me, followed by Spain.

  15. Dave
    May 14, 2012

    Problem for Holland is they haven’t had a decent cb since Stam and the leaders like Van Bommel and Van Bronckhurst are nearly finished

    • Dave
      May 14, 2012

      Spain are tired and Xavi is a major part of their game. Germany’s year I think

      • Ryan
        May 14, 2012

        I’d bet on Casillas over Neuer though, plus Spain has some good talent that aren’t from Barca that will provide energy, like Silva, Mata, and Cazorla. But the loss of Puyol definitely hurts Spain’s chances.

        • ciaran
          May 14, 2012

          except in the champions league semi final shootout you mean 🙂

          • Ryan
            May 14, 2012

            Let’s just say that la Roja are definitely not going to have Teh Ramos taking a shot. 😉

        • Nik
          May 14, 2012

          Silva and Mata both have looked drained towards the latter part of the season. Hopefully, they can recharge their batteries enough before the Euros start, because you’re right. Spain will need them.

    • nzm
      May 14, 2012

      Ooof – seriously! They need to kill the cards for ball-to-hand fouls and also all the excessive going to ground that the players do. Play on, just like they do in the other leagues. It sorts the men from the boys!

  16. barcastyle0
    May 15, 2012

    Barcelona will never do this, but I believe one of the best signings would be an American. Clint Dempsey is better than Pedro, Affelay, and he is a better goal scorer than anyone on barcelona except for may be villa. He plays an attacking style and would easily be barcelona’s 2nd leading scorer. Also, for the chance to play at barcelona, they would get him at a good price.

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