Liga Liveblog: Athletic – Barça

Welcome to the liveblog, folks. Have at it:

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


    1. I’m no longer inNYC, hahahaha. Wish I could have come up to watch it with you but somebody needs a ride early tomorrow morning.

  1. Wat a bunch of fuckin cowards. The whole stoppage time, Bilbao was content to lie on the ground and waste as much time as possible. I thought we gained possession when Dani was injured?? Still, WTF is so hard about passing? Busi and Maxwell couldnt complete their passes and often Iniesta and Messi wouldnt attempt their passes. How many times did we turn over possession from a Valdez kick because no one tried to gain it? This match fuckin blows. Niceeee cameo from Titi

  2. That was a bummer, but I guess we have our mind on other things, such as the 2 hyooge matches this week?

    1. Its not the result that pisses me off, because considering the circumstances a draw is a good result. What infuriates me is that we COULD have won this game quite easily if our players took their damn chances. Messi and Xavi both should have scored. Then we go and concede a stupid, stupid goal. Thats what gets me; that even though we are missing key players, that we are away from home at a very tough ground, that they had 2 weeks to prepare while we had a few days…..all of that and we still play well enough to win, create chances that should be scored and we end up drawing.

      How we miss Ibra. There was no focal point up front today and it showed. I really, really hope we have him back on Tuesday for Inter.

      Another thing, was it just me or did the ref let Athletic get away with hacking our players all damn game. I cant even remember a yellow card that he gave. There probably should have been a red for the high foot against Messi. When you look at the replay it is clear as day that he strikes the ball pretty low and lets his leg go very high, straight into Messi’s face. I think there was clear intent.

      I hate saying we are getting unlucky, cos I like to believe we are good enough to overcome bad luck, BUT with the injuries that keep piling up, swine flu, bad calls and the post from hell I just cant help but feel the Gods of football dont want us to win this season. Not to mention RM getting ludicrous decisions in their favour like they did today. Did you guys see the offside call on Depors goal? Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

    2. you can’t talk about that one call and not talk about the penalty that should been given when the racing player took benzema down in the penalty box or benzema’s disallowed goal
      Typical cule you dropping pts has nothing to do with madrid hermano 🙂

    3. Ethan I’ve been watching this game for longer than your existence so I know the rules , thanx for your concern though 🙂 , benzema was in fact Onside check the replays again
      And what about the penalty , lemme guess that wasn’t a pK either huh ?

      According to you cules madrid is the reason there is global warming , war in iraq , or that bush couldn’t give a proper speech

      Learn to lose is all ( I say lost because this result seems to most of you like a lost )

  3. Messi is not ok, nor Iniesta.
    The only one who played well in the defence was Piquenbauer.
    It is amazing how Pedro! has adapted to the first team.
    What really annoys me is that the EE can play the most boring football on earth, and yet they are now on top.
    Ahhh! C’est la vie!
    Now it is time to recover, and prepare properly the next two matches. And let’s hope we can face them with Ibra and Messi (who had some ice on the knee after being substituted).

  4. Its confirmed. Messi will definitely miss Inter and probably RM. Dont know what the deal is with Ibra but last I read he was a doubt for Inter. Add to that Yaya and Abidal and a stuttering Henry and we are not looking good. I hate to say this guys but I am starting to think we are gona get dumped out of the CL 🙁

  5. All the bad news in the world hits us in 1 week. First the A-flu for Yaya and Bilal, Ibra’s non-recuperation, then Marquez, and now Messi’s injury. According to Catalunya Radio, he is more or less definitely out against both Inter and Madrid. We will go into Inter game with 7 players out and against Madrid with at least 6. All the luck we had last season is coming back at us at once.

    1. Although i have this black cloud feeling around us.I believe we will bounce back even stronger…IN PEP WE WOULD ALWAYS TRUST..But its like we expect the team to win games easily.

    2. ITs not the way the team is playing or the dedication or anything Pep can control that is really going to fuck us IMO. Its just plain old bad freakin luck. The way things are playing out; the timing of the injuries, swine flu and now Messi. The way we lost at home to Rubin and drew away. The way the post has stopped us scoring so many times. The way we dont get penalty calls. All these things make me think that luck, or a lack of it, is going to prevent us from progressing in the CL.

      The league is long and there are many, many games left so even losing to RM wouldnt be the end of the world. I would be very upset but our luck will turn eventually and we will hit our form at some point. The CL is diff and I really think we are screwed now, I pray i am wrong, but i’ve just got that feeling.

    3. We can win without Messi. Ibra, Henry, and Pedro can do it. I think Ibra was rested for Inter match. He will be fine by Tuesday.
      These are the times when team needs to show its true character and as fans we should keep our belief strong. We will come out winner in both games.

      In Pep We Trust.

  6. Well i just have 1 Question for everyone here.Do yall even pray for the team anymore?? Me being a very religious guy just asking..

    1. I do pray for this team…But its more than that to me…We definitely need Iniesta back in the midfield.

    2. Good and yes Iniesta needs to return but that means we sacrifice Keita playing minutes. Its a give or take situation but I more blame this game on injuries..

      A bit cranky from this game that’s all…left a bad taste and feeling in my mouth.

  7. Wow… everyone here is already writing off our chances for the next two games. sadness…

    I think if we make up a line-up of the Available players, it would probably look like this:


    I think it’s pretty much a no-brainer for Pep considering we have what? 12 players available. the only realy question is Pedro! or Bojan, and I think Pedro! gets the start.

    Other than those 11, on the bench we have Pinto, Bojan, Txigi (league only), so expect Jeffren, JDS, Fontas, and probably Gai to be called up.

    I’m optomistic though… it’s not impossible… remember that that line-up has Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Pique, and Henry in it!

    1. I am expecting Ibra to be fit by Tuesday. Or is he already out? Anyway like you said we still have the strongest midfield in the world (here’s hoping xavi iniesta don’t get that h1n1 shit) and pretty good attack in Henry and Pedro. We have a very good chance of winning.

  8. Guys remember what patched up lineup we beat man united with.And iniesta and thierry were basically walking around on 1 leg in that game. We still have iniesta and xavi. If Ibra can miraculously recover for the inter game, our chances will be better.

    1. Well after starting to think a bit more of our options for the inter match since Messi is injured I believe Pedro would be the perfect replacement.Inter would have a hard time keeping up with his youthful freshness and unpredictability….

      Only think is he needs to be more observant and pass the BALL!!-Iniesta was wide open!!!!!!!!!!!

      *Save Messi for EE…As he seems to always have a good game against their defense..

    2. Well Best Line Up for Inter now is

      I know Yaya and Ibra will recover in time.Its just hard to believe our luck is that bad at the moment.

    3. If both Yaya and Ibra recovers we should be good. I still don’t see Inter being much interested in winning the match. They are a bunch of cowards.

  9. Well if both Messi and Ibra are out, we’re fucked. But if only Messi is out, then I think we can still win (or draw) against Inter. Remember, they will be without Sneijder too, probably their best player this season. I think we need four points from the two remaining CL games to basically guarantee us going through (btw, there was a really nice breakdown on the official Barca site a while back on the permutations and probabilities of going through, anyone have a link for that?).

    I definitely think it will be tough for sure, but our team is more than Leo this year. However, as I said, if Ibra is out too, we might as well stay home.

    1. lol true.I hope u predict good for these 2 upcoming games…and if it makes any1 feel better EE has to deal with Valencia a game after El Clasico.can possibly go 5 points up on them if things go our way in the next league games.

  10. Thanks M. Good on you.

    It’s crazy if you think about it this way: we’re still undefeated in La Liga, have lost ONCE in the CL, and our season is already at a potential turning point. Crazy huh?

  11. Did anyone see if the Real Madrid-Racing match should have actually ended 1-0 or 1-1 like the newspapers are saying? The replays show the Racing player was well on, but then again, Benzema looked like he was hauled to the ground in the box by Racing–a PK that would have made it 2-0.

    About our match: blech. Fuck. gross. blech. Did I mention blech? Messi has to start putting one-on-ones away. WHAT IS HIS PROBLEM?

    Review happening tomorrow at some point.

  12. Why the hell is Iniesta starting as a LW still!? That completely screws us up. I kind of wish Keita had sucked early, that way Pep would only use one of them on the field at a time. Seriously, Iniesta drifted to CM all game long. WHY!? I though Txignasty was awesome today. Those were HIS great passes, not Pique’s.

    1. didn’t watch it but last time i checked the results we were leading! what a disappointing score to come home to. i’m also missing the clasico due to job training next weekend, i think this is all my fault

  13. Messi isn’t putting away 1-on-1s because he’s fucking exhausted, mentally and physically. he’s been run too hard with no backup and suffers a serious injury as a result. Pep deserves credit for getting his fitness regime in place that keeps him healthy during a normal schedule, but blame for playing him constantly when it’s clear to everyone he needs rest or a reduced role; or for not purchasing someone who can pick up some his slack (Pedro is a great prospect, but still not a starter).

  14. Well I for one am very optimistic for both Inter and EE

    We should have won the Bilbao match, no question about it, but shit happens, and if we had put away one of those first half chances we would have won quite easily.

    With lot’s of starters missing and others being way off their norm, we were still the much better team at a ground everyone else fears.

    It will be very important to win against Inter, but I’d even settle for a draw, I cannot see Inter score against us with Pique in excellent form as well as Puyol fully fit. Hence I expect a very closed down match from their side, so if we hit the target just once, I am pretty sure we will come out winners.

    And EE win against us on our ground? Come on everyone! No way in hell, I just hope they open up the game a bit so we can smack their asses back to Madrid! I am positive that we can EASILY beat Madrid even with a weak(er) lineup. I have watched a lot of their matches lately and I cannot see them as a match for us. Yes they are top of the league, but so what, had a few calls gone against them they would be third!

    1. This is how we should feel. Players get injured, bad luck strikes, shit happens… but at the end we need to believe in our teams capabilities.
      We are going to see a different strong team in the next two matches. I always believe there is an extra gear only for this kind of big matches.

      Fares, I am also as optimistic as you.

    2. I’m also with fares on this one..

      This is still BARCELONA FC we’re talking about! Even with some of our starters missing we are one of the best teams in the world and neither Inter nor RM are teams that require THE best squad in the world to beat or draw.. A team just like what we have available should be able to pull that off without much problems. It might be harder to achieve glory, but it’ll only make the glory more glorious..

      We’re spoiled as fans of barça, it’s not becausewe don’t have our best lineup available that the one we have is a bad one.. I think a lot of coaches still would kill for our current squad to take on Inter or RM.

  15. Ibrahimovic has historically had trouble with his right knee. Messi with his left thigh, and Henry with his lower back.

    This isn’t normally a problem unless you only have 4 first team strikers and have a competitive match every 3-4 days.

    i think now it is VERY clear that signing a Left Forward has to be a priority in the winter transfer window. Not a prospect, and not a project, but a real established, Left Forward. and Preferably one that can play center striker from time to time.

    Sorry Bojan, you are one for the future, If you don’t get that start against Athletic Bilbao, that means you are not 2nd in the Pecking order for a Position that we only have two players for.

    And Messi as a “false 9” only works when your two wingers can finish or take shots from outside. Not really effective if P! and Iniesta are the wingers.

  16. Word from this part of the planet is at least 15 days, most likely more. Adductor pulls have the suck. A tear would mean 8 weeks, a la Abidal last season.

    The season is long. It’s important to get everyone healthy. Not shuttling off for international duty will help. What we’re seeing are simple overuse injuries. Tired muscles lose their elasticity, and you start getting hamstring pulls, etc.

    We can win without Messi. But Henry is going to have to step up. Huge. Simply put, we have two must-win matches. I’d rather not go to Dynamo having to win, and I would rather have the EE chasing us, than the reverse.

    We’ll see this week.

  17. Most probably our squad against Inter would be VV, Pinto, Alves, Puyi, Pique, Maxwell, Fontas(?) Yaya, Busi, Xavi, Keita, Iniesta, JDS, Gai, Pedro, Henry, Bojan, Jeffren & J. Soriano. Probably one of JDS & Gai gonna be left out finally.

    VV, Alves, Pique, Puyi, Maxwell, Yaya, Xavi, Keita, Iniesta, Pedro, Henry gonna be our main squad… And I hate it when Iniesta plays on wing these days, he leaves that wing and seems to play through the MF thereby losing width on our left side. But hopefully Maxwell can help out there! I’m still kinda hopeful we can make it with this team because anyway Pep doesn’t make any substitutions unless either the match is completely in our hands or out of our hands, so doesn’t make much difference if the bench is strong or not!! I only hope Ibra is not forced to play this match risking a serious injury, after all such a blow to our most costliest transfer is not what we need right now!!

    But part of me hopes we don’t win this match. Before you guys come on to me with all your guns blazing let me explain my reasons. I don’t see us buying players during Jan window anyway & with our current squad we will only burn ourselves out if we compete in CL, Liga & CDR. I don’t want that to happen especially with our stars playing the most prestigious trophy in the summer, with Spain having realistic chances of winning this time around(And also this could be the last WC for Xavi & Puyi when in prime!!) With that Pele, the witch, cursing Spain I definitely don’t want them to take any more risks 😀
    So we’d better skip CL & try our luck in Europa League to have fair chances to win League again. After all it’d be quite a slap in the face for Madrid and their spending if they are not able to win the league boasting off their strongest squad in Europe & strongest bench in Europe!! And also how sweet would it be for us to win the inaugural Europa League!?! Even Fifa 09 expects you to win UEFA cup after you win your first CL in manager mode 😀

    Having said that I’d be the most happiest if we won this match 🙂

  18. Stats so far this season, in the order of La Liga, Champions League, CDR, Super Copa & Uefa Super Cup

    Goals :

    Messi_____ 7,1,1,2,0 = 11
    Pedro_____ 3,1,3,1,1 = 9
    Ibra______ 7,1,0,0,0 = 8
    Keita_____ 6,0,0,0,0 = 6
    Bojan_____ 1,0,2,1,0 = 4
    Xavi______ 0,0,1,1,0 = 2
    Alves_____ 2,0,0,0,0 = 2
    Pique_____ 2,0,0,0,0 = 2
    Henry_____ 1,0,0,0,0 = 1

    Assists :

    Ibra______ 5,1,0,1,0 = 7
    Xavi______ 1,1,0,1,0 = 6
    Messi_____ 4,0,0,0,1 = 5
    Alves_____ 3,0,0,1,0 = 4
    Busquets__ 3,0,0,0,0 = 3
    Iniesta___ 2,0,1,0,0 = 3
    Pedro_____ 0,0,1,1,0 = 2
    Keita_____ 2,0,0,0,0 = 2
    Jeffren___ 0,0,2,0,0 = 2
    Bojan_____ 0,0,1,0,0 = 1
    Maxwell___ 1,0,0,0,0 = 1
    Puyi______ 1,0,0,0,0 = 1
    JDS_______ 0,0,1,0,0 = 1

  19. wow…I went to see a movie instead of watching the match for once and…..
    Messi out of inter possibly for EE, we are no longer 1st,
    Half the squad getting infected….

  20. Still rather be us than Inter. Still rather have our squad over the season than EE’s.

    However, we must play Xavi and Iniesta in the middle or I fear for us. With those two in the middle we have the control for both offense and the possesion to make defense easier. We seem to have entered a phase where we aren’t keeping the ball as well. Keita doesn’t have the skills, busi is still losing too many and the defense ( including Pique) are trying to make too many hopeful balls. Fascinating that even when Xavi and Iniesta get a hospital ball played to them we still seldom lose possession.

    I also think Henry should be playing CF. It was so frustrating yesterday seeing moves break down as there was nothing in the middle up front and when we did virtually no movement diagonally.

    Tajh, I hate to say it but right now I might settle for two draws. When we lose the ball unexpectedly quick breaks become easier. We don’t lose too many by teams breaking us down. All we have to do is make sure that we play with our heads screwed on ( yes, Alves, Pique, Maxwell, I’m looking at you.) I don’t want to see a 3 on 2 against us at the back again.

    Must go now and worry about the week ahead 🙁

  21. I can see some bad omens in here!
    We will be missing 6-7 great players. But, if we cannot win Inter and EE with our football, let’s do it with our hearts. If there is one thing that distinguishes Barça is that it is made of many players from the youth ranks. They will sweat the unsweatable unlike others. And 100.000 people will back them…
    Henry gets bigger against EE. Ibra might be playing. Bojan is there waiting to make an impact in a big match against a big team.
    Iniesta, Xavi and Keita will play.
    Puyol, Pique, Alves as well.
    Please, let’s get rid of these negative feelings and let’s get ready for an amazing week of football!

  22. Actually, Sport, MD and Barca’s official website are now saying that Messi might be available even for the Inter game. Apparently, the injury is not as bad as it seemed at first. I’m sure that no one will expect him to run for 90 minutes, but, if necessary, he might play as a substitute. 🙂

  23. HOLY FUCK! Messi might be fit for Inter game!! Little fellow scared the hell out of me!! Though I’d still be not much optimistic about the result, seeing as how our main players waill have to play just coming back from the injury… At least we’ll be having the full squad. I was so afraid we’ll have to rely on JDS, Gai & Soriano

    1. The Yaya, Marquez & Abidal definitely out of Inter match… Ibra & Messi still hopeful to get fit by then. So if we were lucky they can come on as subs if required

  24. According to Sport Messi’s injury is not as bad as was first feared and he is has NOT been ruled out for the Inter game. They want to see how he progresses over the next 48 hours but he could still play. Ibra is in the same situation. So, we could end up with both of them or neither of them. It is nervous times…

    1. Both of them, either of them or neither of them… LOL. Hope it’s the first one(Of course without forcing themselves into it. Don’t want them aggravating their injuries)

    2. Yeah i was gona add that actually, dont want either of them aggrevating their injuries. We need them both in tip top shape this season. Its still early and there is a long way to go, I always said the league was more important than the CL this year and as much as i hate to say it I would rather go out of the CL now and have Ibra/Messi fit than get through and have either of them pick up longer term injuries.

    3. Me too!! We’d still have Europa to try our luck & it won’t be any small achievement to win that with talented sides like Pool, Roma & Valencia competing for it!! Add to that it’s the inaugural one!! Even my first priority has always been the league this season, but wanted a Spanish or Italian side to win the CL

    4. I wonder if it makes sense to send one or even both of them on the pitch as long as they are not 90% fit…

      Damn, I really can’t wait for the next two matches, it’ll be a hard time until Wednesday evening and then until Sunday evening 😀

  25. guys don’t forget that we can play Iniesta at RW, which is better than playing him at LW, because Alves still provides width.

  26. Excellent news! I’m on my wi-fi hookup, so T-Mobile and their data roaming rates can suck it.

    I want my Messi/Ibra/Henry front line for the Clasico.

    Meanwhile, it’s in the upper 60s here, so I am a happy boy. The Messi news is just icing on the cake. The apartment is fab, in a great neighborhood, and the weather will be lovely. Now let’s kick some ass, with or without our little talisman.

  27. By the by, Spencer is scaring me. Recall that during the liveblog, he said he was here from the future, and that we would score in the 54th minute. Or am I misremembering?

  28. Watching La Sexta now. Racing got hosed. Benzema was clearly off, and the Racing attacker was on by a mile. The penalty wasn’t, really.

    Oh, and people can cut out that Europa league bullshit. If we get bounced this time out, I say we turn up our noses and say we’re too good for Europa. 😀

    1. You speak Spanish/Catalan Kxevin? 😛 Cool.

      By the way, do a lot of people in Barcelona speak English? I’ve always wondered because when Cesc and Pique speak English, it’s really good.

    2. cesc and pique had to live in england for a few years to become fluent though, cesc was awful when he first arrived in london haha

    3. I speak a growing bit of Catalan. Should’ve seen the waiter’s face as I properly asked for my p’amb tomaquet. Too funny.

      Barcelona is as I left it last year, only warmer. It’s only been one day so far, so it’s going fine. The high-speed train is gorgeous, and it’s a kick to be in ground transport that is going 350 kph.

    4. So you are now in BCN Kevin?
      I recommend you Cerveseria Catalana in Mallorca at Rambla de Catalunya. Gorgeous tapas! You might already know it! 🙂

  29. I really would not want anyone playing if they’re even close to not being fully fit — ESPECIALLY Messi. If you take out last season, he has suffered a major injury to his thighs and/or hamstrings every season as a senior player. He needs to be cotton-wooled. Ibra is more of a beast, so he could conceivably play at 85% fitness.

    Messi can come on as a super-sub or something in 70th minute or something. Remember kids, it’s a long season.

    1. I thought the match against Inter is Wednesday, but it’s already Tuesday… not good for neither Messi nor Ibra 🙁

      Kxevin, you have to give your very best to cheer for Barca! Sometimes I feel that the 60.000 – 80.000 people that usually spectate at the matches in Camp Nou don’t know how to make some encouraging noise for the team they love. Maybe they’ll need a motivator and you can do the job, at least for the block you’re in 😉

  30. SoccerMama busy nursing Barca boys back to health by telepathy therapy: (key ‘Billion Dollar Man’ theme) whomp-whomp-whomp-whomp-whomp …

  31. official site
    for inter game

    messi may be available
    ibra may be available
    yaya almost certainly OUT
    marquez does not have H1N1

  32. The quality and quantity of Barca coverage here is staggering. I would be shocked if Ibra didn’t play this week. They showed some his private workouts, including one-legged kicks atop a box, leaping from said box, sprints and other drills. Dude looked good.

    Watching show now calles.”Hat Trick Barca.” Crazy. From Eto’o getting love at the airport to five dudes yelling at each other about Messi. They’re predicting an Henrt/Ibra/Pedro to start, with a possible Messi sighting if needed.

    And having now seen the match highlights, they should have been up a LEAST 3-0 by the half.

    Messi’s minutes last year at this time, 1138. This year, 1420, not even counting the.Cup duty. Wow.

    1. Damn. Am so jealous Kxevin! I want me some staggering coverage of Barca dammit. All i get here is Mark Bolton chatting out of his ass and Balague contradicting himself from one week to the next.

    2. Be happy with what you get.. I’ll take that in a heartbeat.. I’ll have to watch the Clasico on the net.. 😡

    3. Thay just broke down the Bilbao goal, and debated whether it was Txiggy’s or Alves’ fault.

      Here’s what we didn’t see: they showed video of Pique gerting on Txiggy for not keeping his man off him, to make it easier to play the ball. He was also getting on Alves for not getting back.

      Two things happened on the goal: Txignasy wasn’t keeping his man at arm’s length, and Alves was trotting back, out of position.

      The ensuing shouting held Txignasty and Alves equally culpable for the goal.

    4. Eh, in my review I noted that Alves was at fault more than anyone else because he was, as you said, just trotting back. Get goalsid or stop being called a defender.

      Chygrynskiy was in an awkward spot because of where he was relative to Pique and the goal, but he had to be there to cover his man, really, who put a good body on him, causing the ball to bounce awkwardly to Toquero. However, I also mentioned that he does have to get a more solid head on the ball.

    5. Trust me, despite being a big fan you might end up tired of it.
      And even worse, there is more amount of news coming from the EE due to the Madrid based TV stations. So when Barça is not doing well and the white egos are ok….then you have plenty of c**p tp put up with 🙂

    6. Wow! Can you watch all this stuff on Spanish free tv or does your appartment have pay tv?

      Great news from Ibra, I think he’ll be crucial in both matches because if he doesn’t play, we actually only have got midgets in attack, with the exception of Henry but I don’t see Henry as a central forward at all. So actually, Ibra will be more important than Messi who can almost be replaced by the likes of Pedro or a Bojan on fire.

  33. They show a free match on Saturdays, at least once a month you get Barça in La Liga. Otherwise you must have pay per view.
    Champions League matches and Copa del Rey ones are usually broadcast on the public TV. Not too bad!
    However, it is quite tough to get some Barça in London!! I rely on streaming or I need to go and beg the publord to show it 🙂

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