Barcelona Friendlies Wednesday August 8. Match Comments Post.

Today we have two friendly matches on the agenda. The first is FC Barcelona vs Manchester United, being played in Göteborg, Sweden at 20:00 (2 pm EDT). The game is being shown in Spain on TV3 and GolTV. Someone else will have to check if any TV channel in the US will be showing it.

Tito has called up the entire squad available to him, including Jordi Alba who is back from his mini-vacation. Villa and Fontas both have the medical green light and may even see some action. Adriano has also recovered from his ankle injury. Jonathan Dos Santos is still suffering from a sprain and did not travel with the team. Four Barçelona B players have also been called up: Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Tello, and Ilie.

Speaking of Barça B, they will play the first of their two games scheduled in England this evening (20.45h, 2:45 pm EDT), when they take on Huddersfield Town, who are newly promoted to the Championship League. It’s not quite Stoke, but a wet night in West Yorkshire might be a good substitute. Barça B will be missing a few of its key players who are with the first team, and there are several new players who have been brought in and not had much chance to train, so I wouldn’t expect this to be a brilliant match. Good experience for the youngsters, though. It also seems that forward Rodri has not been called up for this friendly. You may draw your own conclusions from that.

Our mods are experimenting with new liveblog formats and hope to have something worked out by match time, but in the meantime don’t be surprised if you see new posts appear and disappear again.

UPDATE! Official Barcelona starting lineup: Valdes – Alves Puyol Mascherano Adriano – Sergi Roberto Busquets Iniesta – Alexis Messi Tello

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Written by:

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. elcapitan
    August 8, 2012

    Now let’s drop some statement of intent!

  2. elcapitan
    August 8, 2012

    Wow!! Am just so much impressed by the stand
    everyone has taken in condemning, 10 people can’t
    be wrong! I take full responsibility for the attack, am
    a cule through and through who bleeds blaugrana
    and shares his feeling,in this case,i think i’ve gone
    overboard,but am happy to know everyone is in a
    safe hands if anybody tries to pull an ‘elcapitan’,
    (don’t add that into the bfb dictionary,am
    pleading..”Lol) maximum respect to euler kxevin
    and others who responded, loads of apologies to
    NZM/MICHELLE.sincerely sorry
    P.S–am happy K-legit in oz is also jealous……
    lol,anyway shout-out to everyone on this blog….long
    live BFB! Long live FCB! Long live BFB’ers

    • August 8, 2012

      This is a duplicate comment from the last thread. I will let it stand, but I do NOT want this thread to be turned into another controversy. This ends here.

      Cheers. Happy commenting.

  3. barca96
    August 8, 2012

    I’ve been following Brazil really closely during these Olympics including the friendlies prior to this. The reason is to follow Neymar, Oscar, T. Silva, Ganso, Hulk (in this order)

    – I am really impressed with Oscar. How on earth did he only cost 20mill? Chelsea usually has to pay a premium for players because the selling clubs always bump up the price. But not this time.

    Lucas Moura who Man U is interested in, costs much more and he can’t even get playing time. Not too say that he is good but he is still too raw imo. Explosive too! But certainly shouldn’t cost more than 20mill.

    Oscar is slightly behind Neymar imo. I find Oscar to be more intelligent but he tends to disappear during stretches. Ok, Iniesta is guilty of that too.

    How I wished we would’ve bought Oscar. Too bad our midfield is stacked for years to come. Neymar is needed next season. Oscar can come but he will only be a bench warmer.

    I rate Oscar as highly as Thiago offensively. Better dribbling, loses less possession. Defensively Thiago is much better. Better work rate too. So in the end, it evens up.

    – Neymar will be big. No other LW as good as him at the moment. And he is not as lazy as I thought he was. Compare his work rate with Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho, Robinho. This kid really means business. And he is not selfish at all.

    Heck, his work rate (tracking back) so far is better than Messi last season.

    – Don’t see the deal with the other players that I kept an eye on; Hulk, T. Silva. Ganso and Lucas don’t even get playing time.

    One other player that caught my eye is Bruno, a CB. He looks promising. Strong lad. I hope he gets more playing time so that I can assess his pace.

    • Josep
      August 8, 2012

      20m is a sizable fee for someone not proven outside of their continent, really.

      I thought Moura was off to PSG?

      Oscar and Neymar are two different players. Two different styles, and if we broke footballers into Goalkeepers-Defenders-Midfielders-Strikers, not even in the same strata.

      I don’t think we were ever in for Oscar for several obvious reasons, one of which you stated. Again, comparing Oscar (who you’ve seen at U-20 level and U-23 level, I presume) to Thiago (who you’ve seen play against the best in the world, at club level is a bit strange. Thiago has faced superior players that Oscar hasn’t even come close to playing. Agree about defense and work rate (two vital aspects of the Barcelona system that Oscar doesn’t have currently).

      Neymar is a bit selfish, tho. Hulk is an overrated physical player, Ganso hasn’t been the same since his injury, haven’t seen much of Lucas.

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2012

      I rate Oscar as highly as Thiago offensively. Better dribbling, loses less possession. Defensively Thiago is much better. Better work rate too. So in the end, it evens up.

      I don’t mind you saying Oscar is close to Thiago’s level, but better dribbling? I disagree. Oscar is more of a vertical dribbler…. he runs with the ball w/o doing much a lot of the time. Thiago is better in tight spaces and has more variety….


      I like Oscar and he is very talented, but I don’t think I can fully judge him until I see him against the teams Thiago has went up against.

      • Richzorz
        August 9, 2012

        Oscar is with the ball at his feet from the games I’ve seen but he wouldn’t get the amount of space and time at Barca (or against top quality opposition) so it’s hard to tell – playing in the Premier League should provide a good test of his true ability!

  4. Josep
    August 8, 2012

    Can we take names away from the posting and make them anonymous, maybe? Less piggy backing of opinion of the more popular few, but I guess abuse would be up

    Could always make the option of logging in still necessary, just that voices be seen as anyone possible, so no previous engagements change anyones current statements.

  5. Alex
    August 8, 2012

    If yopu guys want a good, dedeicated streaming option, the catalan channel TV3 will be streaming the game here:

    just choose the TV3 option in the top left corner once it is game time.

    Also, I am headed to barcelona come August 29, gonna be there for one month with wife and child. I am fortunate enough to have family living there (aunts, uncles, cousins, my mom is from there). I am planning on going to at least 2 games. Would love to meet up with some fellow bloggers of possible…..nzm…. i believe there are a few others living in Barna. So we dont clutter up the thread, feel free to email me if you want:

  6. August 8, 2012

    Andreu Fontàs and David Villa have been dropped from the team for tonight’s match against Manchester United.

    No change for Fonti, then. Was hoping he might get a few minutes. Starting as he means to go on.

  7. August 8, 2012

    Lineup for Manchester United: De Gea, Evra, Vidic, Rio, Valencia, Young, Anderson, Scholes, Nani, Welbeck, Rooney.

    Wow. They are bringing their A-team. This is going to be fun. Wish I could watch it live!

  8. Larm
    August 8, 2012

    the game for me is on fox soccer channel. thats in seattle wa, usa.

    • Kimcelona
      August 8, 2012

      It doesnt work for me..I’ve been submitting comments for about 3 mins and nothing comes up..

      • August 8, 2012

        Ok… have you tried changing user name? These are the types of issues I’m interested in…

        • Kimcelona
          August 8, 2012

          Ok it works now..maybe it took longer to start up or something..there is however an annoying pics beside the comments lol

  9. Kimcelona
    August 8, 2012

    I can’t stand FSC commentators. They talk alot of rubbish..can’t they get better people, who actually know stuff about the teams? Sigh.

  10. August 8, 2012

    Still in the first half. We’ve done well. Iniesta and Messi are running the offense. Tello on the left is not doing much, United defenders are not fooled by him…and Tito wearing a dark suit 😀

    • nzm
      August 8, 2012

      I despair for our left flank. Take the ball up, pass back – that’s all they do – Maxwell, Afellay, Tello. Iniesta is too slow when he’s played there, and gets dispossessed. Pedro kind of disappears.

      Only one who creates something when he plays out there is Adriano, but it’s not consistent. Alexis has shown to be good there, but not his normal position.

      Alves was good in the CWC Santos game when he switched over for a while – now there’s a thought – Alves on the left and Adriano on the right – mix it up! 😀

  11. August 8, 2012

    Mascherano is doing great. He’s done a few last ditch tackles near our area. Adriano and Tello are not contributing much on the left :/

    Paul Scholes and his infamous tackle on Busi 🙁

    Rooney’s hair looks different from the Euros. And I could hear little kids screaming “barca, barca, barca” through my stream 😛

  12. August 8, 2012

    Wooooot…Valdes saved a penalty! Tello committed an unnecessary challenge. I thought we did alright but the flank was useless. Messi completed a lot of dribbles and Alexis was a bit quiet on the right flank.

  13. Helge
    August 8, 2012

    That was a super stupid penalty caused by Tello. He looks a bit like a player who is too obsessed with joining the senior team.
    Maybe a loan would not be such a bad option as I first thought.

    • Helge
      August 8, 2012

      And, it was a penalty. Not a dive as @barcastuff tweets…

      Nani was certainly over-reacting and thus deserves the whistles which are so far aimed at Busquets – who really had to take a hard tackle by Scholes.

    • Josep
      August 8, 2012

      No, it’s a dive, but a clumsy “challenge”.
      taps the ball one way and just goes down

  14. hansh
    August 8, 2012

    Hey all! This is the first game I’ve been able to see this preseason, and it makes me so happy :D. Here are my (not very insightful) thoughts so far:

    -As someone at an intermediate level of Spanish, listening to a stream in Catalan sounds disorienting, like it’s Spanish but the ends of the words are cut off. Weird. Supporting this team is teaching me a surprising amount of Catalan.

    -The kits. They are ugly. Their saving graces are that they are: 1) at least the right colors, more or less, and, 2) not the away kits.

    -I love Paul Scholes!

    -Holy crap, penalty kick! It looks like Tello mostly missed Nani, but that’s callable. This gives me my best opportunity so far to see VV, and he looks… ridiculous. On the plus side, he can save penalties.

    -Whoever posts pics of Tito in the suit gets internet brownies from me 😀

      • hansh
        August 8, 2012

        I don’t love him for that, but I just love him in general.

  15. Kimcelona
    August 8, 2012

    I dunno but Tello is frustrating to watch. I know its a preseason but he just makes the dumbest decisions at times. A loan deal is imminent, as I’ve advocated before.

    Messi and Iniesta alone were carrying the offense. Alexis was falling over and when he wasnt falling over he wasnt around or giving away balls haha.

    The left side is still where attacks go to die. Adriano is either absent in offense or absent in defense..then I have to ask where the heck is he? lol

    Masche is a GOD as usual.

    Apart from those observations, pretty decent play.

  16. August 8, 2012

    One of Barca’s tactical challenges this season is to develop more outlets to increase the speed of transitions.

    They did this very well in the first half vs PSG.

    Today they are doing the exact opposite. Barca is having the kinds of problems in attacks that teams that play a 4-3-1-2 type formation often have. Everything flows through the 10, who is responsible for creating. The attack is getting “bottle necked” in midfield.

    • nzm
      August 8, 2012

      Tendependencia? Try saying that 3 times. 🙂

  17. bhed
    August 8, 2012

    Sanchez playing as badly as I’ve ever seen.

  18. Xavi6
    August 8, 2012

    Adriano is a waste . and what happened to Alexis?? , he has become too passive , we need penetration from him.
    On the plus side , Pique is back to form 🙂

  19. August 8, 2012

    Alba is fast, so much better than Adriano. Nani and Busi should get along well 😉

    Sort of frustrating to watch. A lot of possession but we barely looked threatening. Xavi and Pique were men of the second half for me.

  20. August 8, 2012

    Pinto won us this match 😀

    Really annoyed with the lack of flank buildup. I would like to see more crosses next time. And Shinji is soooo cute.

  21. August 8, 2012

    Random thoughts:

    –Vilanova looked like A) a gangster or B) a Flock of Seagulls fan.
    –Proper pre-season so far. Give the stars some time, much time for the kids to make the keep/dump decisions easier.
    –Rafinha looking so composed and all grown up. Awwww!
    –I really like what I saw from Alba. Not sure how Fabregas screwed the pooch on that perfect pass, but he did.
    –A Messi substitution is so rare that everyone thought it was because of an injury. Hilarious.
    –Tello had an absolute stinker of a match. He didn’t get a first-team number because he isn’t ready for the first team.
    –Afellay went a long way toward cementing his spot with a quality display against first-class opposition.
    –I want to kick Ashley Young every time I see him. Hard.
    –It’s hard to draw any conclusions from these matches, other than that we have one hell of a youth program. I don’t see Rafinha staying, but I do see Bartra staying up.
    –The home kits might be ugly, but at least they don’t look like Rocket Pops running around.

    • bhed
      August 8, 2012

      – I vote for A. Hadn’t considered B, but you never know with those continentals what’s on their playlists.
      – Agree on Tello. Disappointing today. He was one of the only guys who would take it to the touch line last year. I want to see more of that, if nothing else, for the destabilizing effect on the defense. Euler convinced me last season – we have to utilize the flanks more.
      – My only disagreement is with Afellay. LOVED him when we signed him, but I was worried that he’d never fully come back after that injury – at least not to the level required of this club. Now granted, I missed his great pre-Euro matches with Holland, but from what I’ve seen from the Euros and Barca preseason, he’s looked tentative, has given away the ball a bit too cheaply, and generally seems to be lacking that killer instinct. I hope I’m proven wrong. I’d love to see him contribute meaningfully to this club.
      – Do you see Rafinha leaving for more playing time? Extra cash?
      – How was Lollapalooza? Saw it in ’95 with Sonic Youth. Epic!

      • August 8, 2012

        Re: Rafinha, I mean staying with the A team. He’s defo staying with the club. We’d be crazy to let him go.

        –Sucktastic. 5 good sets for me the entire weekend.

          • August 8, 2012

            Probably what the head of BeIN meant when he said that “Some people are going to have to change programming providers.” I refuse. I have Comcast and love it, for its reliability and Web service, not to mention On Demand programming. If I have to switch to DirecTV for Barca matches, that ain’t gonna happen.

            But it’s defo good news for folks who have DirecTV. They are stupid if they don’t sign up Comcast also, but what do I know?

        • James08771
          August 8, 2012

          I’m not so sure about Tello. Since I first watched him last season, the first thought that came to my head was “Jeffren 2.0”, but without the injuries. I can totally see why Barça would want to invest time in him. His explosiveness can become quite useful to the first team as we lack that left-sided outlet we desperately need. I would love to see him stay in the B Team for another season and see how his game matures. I can’t understand the desire to loan him out. He needs to develop within the framework of Barçs’s philosophy. Getting playing time with an Atletico Madrid or a Sevilla hinders him from becoming what we need from him. I think that if the first team coaching staff doesn’t see marked improvement after this term, they should definitely sell him (with a buy-back clause) because it’s not like he’s 18, he’ll be 22 by the end of the season, around the age when Alexis joined us and Pedro!! (miss that guy) started to blossom.

          P.S. bhed: Sonic Youth in 1995? Colour me jealous!

  22. Kimcelona
    August 8, 2012

    Few things:

    -I preferred the possession play in the second looked more calm..there just wasnt much penetration.

    -Alexis is either off-form or saving himself for the season.

    -Pinto. That is all.

    -I really cannot stand seeing Nani and Ashley Young on my screen. Someone please make them dissappear. Ugh.

    -Bartra and Monti were solid, Pique seems focused and Alba was great in the time he got..I cannot wait to see him start in the season 😀

    -Sergi Roberto and Rafinha impressed me again. Me likey.

    -Ibi did well..but could have went for goal more, I think.

    -Lastly, crappy commentary from FSC.

    • August 8, 2012

      What did Ashley Young do? I thought he was fine, didn’t do anything obnoxious.

      Agreed, I didn’t want to see Nani’s face too much — so b*tchy, but United fans were probably annoyed with Busi too.

      • Kimcelona
        August 8, 2012

        Oh, Ashley Young didnt do anything particularly obnoxious in this match but in general I can’t stand his guts lol

        I couldnt understand the boos for Busi though. They started boo-ing him after he was hacked down by Scholes..dumb fans..

  23. Roberto Senyera
    August 8, 2012

    Howdy folks.

    I couldn’t catch the match live but would like to do so later today. Does anyone know a few good websites that have the match in its entirety?

    Thanks in advance.

  24. providence
    August 8, 2012

    Mourinho: I was wrong(a fool) to stick
    my finger into Vilanova’s eye

  25. Few thoughts :

    – Tello, kid, I think you’re trying too hard to impress.

    – Our attacks were frustating to watch.

    – Tito in a suit, really looked like a gangster 8)

    – VV and Pinto!!! My non-cule friends were praising them on my TL and that doesn’t happen very often.

    – Ah, finally, Jordi Alba!

    – Our home jersey, it’s not as horrible as I thought before, in my opinion. Still ugly, but at least it doesn’t look a table napkin (MU jersey) or a Giant Tequila Sunrise (our away jersey) 😀

    • August 8, 2012

      Gangster with Doctor Evil look 😛
      I like United Away kit though. It reminds me of a traditional Chinese top.

      • Their away kit is okay. Their home kit, not so much. I’ve seen it on store and it’s horrible imo. :S

  26. mom4
    August 8, 2012

    My take on the game:
    1. I really like this new home kit. I like the jersey part of the away kit but the yellow shorts and socks are awful.
    2. Shave Dani! Please!
    3. I’m surprised how much I’m liking Sergi Roberto and Bartra already. Rafinha’s looking pretty good. I hope he gets a few call-ups this year.
    4. I’m not feeling the confidence in Afellay I thought I would. It’s making me sad.
    5. Sanchez is allowed one bad game. At least he’s gone 4 games without getting injured.
    6. Tito sat Messi! Did he promise him a trip to Lego Land?
    7. Fox commentators. One called S. Roberto Dos Santos at one point. A few minutes later he said there’s Sergi Roberto, the brother of Thiago! The other guy butchered the language with phrases like “them players” (I kid you not!).
    8. The left side—maybe ’twill be different when we can play Villa or Pedro there?
    9. There are not many things in this world more beautiful than one of Mascherano’s tackles.
    10. PK stopping—our specialty!

    • 4. I’m not feeling the confidence in Afellay I thought I would. It’s making me sad.

      Same here. I really want him to succeed at Barcelona 🙁

    • mom4
      August 8, 2012

      The other guy butchered the language with phrases like “them players” (I kid you not!).

      …and then, I notice my missing comma and mispelled word…sigh… :roll:

    • Kimcelona
      August 8, 2012


      I think we’re the only people that like the home jerseys! It is definately not ugly to me.

      And Dani is channelling his inner Rick Ross or something..gross! He needs to shave before the new season..

      • August 9, 2012

        Oh, I like the home jersey too! Gradient…it’s actually not that bad. It could have been worse really. 🙂

  27. August 8, 2012

    So how did Jordi Alba do? He hasn’t even trained with the first team yet, although obviously he knows the style & has played with several of the players before.

    • August 8, 2012

      He was super fast! Since we played such a high line, his pace helped us attack and defend. Offensively, I think we managed to stayed near the goal-line on the leftside and cut the ball across to the box only once, and that was through Alba. United defenders packed the box most of the time. He didn’t connect too well with Afellay, esp if compared with Iniesta in the Euros.

      Defensively, I liked that when United got away on the left wing, Alba was there to cover unlike Adriano (who’s not fast). In the second half, I thought United double loaded Nani and Valencia on the left wing, and Alba got both of them covered.

    • mom4
      August 8, 2012

      Did fine. They never had him in with any of these players but it isn’t hard to imagine that Alba and Iniesta working the left with a fully functional front line (Messi + Villa, Pedro, Alexis(pick any two)) is going to be a treat! He almost seems to take a Busi-like delight in making a nuisance of himself around the opposition’s offense. We’ll just have to wait and see how how does against a full strength opposition with full strength teammates.

      • August 9, 2012

        That flawless pass that Alba dropped in for Fabregas told me a lot. That, and his always being around the ball.

  28. Why are we not including Villa some playing time? Is he still injured? We need Villa. I am a bit worried with Alexis. In the first half of last season, he played mostly on the left wing giving us width and a lot of purpose. But after the success in the first liga clasico at Bernebeu, he is playing more centrally. I don’t think it’s a good thing. His first touch is a mess. I mean he always take the ball too close to the body with his first touch(even though usually it’s the other way with other players). In the latter part of the last season we saw many examples of it. I think he will be better moving into the flanks most and occasionally into the box.

    Why I am, getting the feeling that Messi is dropping too deep for majority of the matches, at least in the pre-season?

    • August 9, 2012

      Be careful not to read too much into pre-season matches. The club has said that Villa will be brought along slowly, to maje sure he is 100%. Though he is fit medically, match fit is another questiion altogether.

      With Sanchez, again no worries here. Quality of pass has a lot to do with control. Xavi is amazing as much because of how his passes hit the feet as anything else.

      I like the way everyine looks.

  29. Gogah
    August 9, 2012

    I haven’t watched any of the pre season games.

    How are we playing? Is anybody able to derive some sort of pattern on how we might play and what change there might be from Pep’s system and way of approaching games?
    Maybe it’s just me, and its too early to tell, but does anyone else feel that Barca does not give the perception of having the same aura or the fear factor / ruthlessness that they did with Pep in the sidelines?

    • August 9, 2012

      But if you haven’t seen any of the matches, can you really speak to fear factor or lack thereof?

      This has been a proper pre-season of the kind we haven’t had for some time: give the veterans some playing time, get a great look at the youth players. Match results are imnaterial. I like that a lot.

      It strikes me that we’re seeing a more dynamic, vertical club so far. Whether that is a Vilanova tactical decision or simply the effect of rambunctious youth, remains to be seen.

      Pressing is back in full effect. I have noticed this during pre-season. Even United were vexed and harrued constantly in possession.

      But we really won’t know anything until about the 4th or 5th match of the season.

    • Oil_Can
      August 9, 2012

      The first team players who have started their preseason from the first day like Alves, Messi, Pinto etc. have looked pretty impressive. The latecomers will take time before they get back to their level.

      I’m also with Kxevin on the team being a little more vertical, but not sure if its just the added youth players changing things.

      I’m not sure teams don’t fear us anymore, I mean Man utd. still had trouble containing Messi, Alexis had a bad game yet Tello was given so much space up front and could of scored on a couple of occasional. Yet Man utd were still considered to have defended well against us, but tbh De Gea should get most of the credit.

      • barca96
        August 9, 2012

        It strikes me that we’re seeing a more dynamic, vertical club so far. Whether that is a Vilanova tactical decision or simply the effect of rambunctious youth, remains to be seen.

        That is usually the case when there is a combination of having more youngsters in midfield like Thiago and no Xavi to hold the ball.

  30. barca96
    August 9, 2012

    How come I hardly hear Pedro’s name being mentioned these days? Does he even play the friendlies or is he injured?

  31. August 9, 2012

    Canadian women’s football team wins bronze, defeats France 1-0.

    I feel better now. 😀

  32. August 9, 2012

    I just downloaded the Barcelona fixtures to iCal from the official site and it hit me: we have 10 days until the first Liga match. Now whether that match will be played or not is a completely different story.

    I honestly hope that Barcelona and Real Madrid will ultimately come to their senses and realize that revenue sharing from TV deals is ultimately in their best interest – a strong Liga benefits them with better preparation for Champions League matches and will over a long period of time help secure additional television revenue (not to mention it will be a disaster for both the big two clubs if La Liga clubs start going defunct left and right). To be fair, there is also a need for better organization than the RFEF could ever dream of providing – but this has also been addressed as an issue by the Liga clubs threatening to rebel.

    Short term… I wouldn’t be mad if the first round or two of the Liga was postponed. Our first two weeks are absolutely packed with the Gamper trophy the day after our first league game and then first leg of the Super Cup three days later. Whoever decided to not play the Gamper Cup during the preseason made a big mistake. The 20 year reunion of the European Cup final deserves more than a full B-team playing.

  33. August 9, 2012

    Vilanova says Sergi Roberto is “untouchable,” which might also have something to do with why he also has the most minutes this season.

    • August 9, 2012

      I don’t think Tito actually said that, it’s just the headline from the MD article. But he obviously rates Sergi Roberto very highly as he has started him in every friendly so far. I expect he will have plenty of first-team call-ups this year, maybe even play the entire CDR campaign.

      I’m very happy about this, I think Sergi Roberto is definitely good enough for the first team, just needs a bit more seasoning and experience. As I mentioned before, he always seems to step up his game when given time with the first team. If he can stay consistent, he will be a keeper.

    • Josep
      August 9, 2012

      Where’d he say this?

      I think Roberto’s minutes have most to do with the fact that…did he go anywhere this summer? With most of the squad at the Euros and some at the Olympics, he’s been at home training from day one.

  34. Josep
    August 9, 2012

    What changed in 3-4 days that you decided Afellay won’t be sold in January (post or two ago) but is cementing a place? An average game against United in a friendly?

    Guys, Tello had one bad game and you’re killing him. However, I never thought he was good enough for Pep’s Barca. If Tito can get him to calm down, and we play more matches on the break, he’s a good outlet on the left wing with his speed and pace. His stepovers are very, very predictable.

    • August 9, 2012

      I can’t remember who, but someone likened him to Jeffren and that is an excellent comparison. Tello is fast and can destabilize a defense with his pace, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of other weapons in his arsenal. In fact, I’d say that while he is significantly less injury prone than Jeffren, he also isn’t as proficient at crossing the ball.

      Tello is in my opinion very similar and also very dissimilar from Cuenca. They have very different skillsets – Cuenca is the best crosser on the team (except maybe Alba? we will see), while Tello can use his pace to get in behind a defense and cause trouble that way. They are similar in that they are both fairly one dimensional and therefore role players – to be used when we need their specific skill sets, but not truly dynamic players like say Sanchez is.

      • Josep
        August 9, 2012

        I don’t see any similarities besides positions they play; Cuenca isn’t so one dimensional unless you want to call everyone who can’t play more than 2 positions one dimensional.

        Tello is also nothing like Jeffren, just in the sense that people are now claiming he won’t make it. Nothing like him.

        • August 9, 2012

          Guess I’ll have to respectfully disagree.

          Cuenca certainly became less one dimensional as the season wore on, but I still believe his main contribution is to spread play, get end line, and fire in great crosses. I could count on one hand the times he dribbled past a player to get into the box, or made a defense splitting pass, or made a cross field run to get behind the defense, or…

          And Tello might have better control of his body and be better at controlling his speed, but that doesn’t change the fact that both Jeffren and Tello were useful to the first team because of their pace and ability to get behind the defense.

          • Lev
            August 9, 2012

            Well, I would argue that Tello uses his pace and ability to get behind the defense to score goals. Jeffren uses his pace and abilitiy to get behind the defense to do nothing :p

          • August 9, 2012

            That’s not entirely fair Lev. Jeffren used his pace and ability to get behind the defense to pull muscles…

          • Josep
            August 9, 2012

            Cuenca’s game may “seem” one dimensional, but it’s the perfect dimension this team plays.

            Because he doesn’t offer something other than what we already have is he one dimensional? Because he’s off the conveyor belt of similar players? Seems like the system is at work to me.

            He doesn’t dribble past players often because our wingers aren’t asked to, too often. Think Ajax 95, spread the play wide and maintain possession.

          • August 9, 2012

            Maybe I’m not being entirely clear. I’m not trying to use one dimensional as a way to question his ability or his importance to the team. In fact it’s entirely because he offers something different that he is so important to the team.

            Watching replays of him last year it is very easy to tell what he is going to do when he gets the ball – he is either going to pass it backwards to an open man or he is going to try to get endline and put in a nice cross (occasionally he makes an early cross – but it’s still a cross). That’s why I refer to him as one dimensional.

            However, he is also the best crosser on the team and he brings a skillset to the team that is desperately needed.

            I’m not putting him down or saying he isn’t an important player. Just that at the moment he is more of a one trick pony than a player with a bunch of different tricks up his sleeve. I think it’s likely he will develop more tricks as time goes on, but for now there is nothing wrong with being a one trick pony if you’re exceptionally good at that one trick – and that trick is something the team desperately needs.

      • Jnice
        August 9, 2012

        What I noticed & liked about Cuenca’s game since day one is the fact that he’s great at combing & exchanging passes with players. I guess you’re calling him one-dimensional because he puts in a lot of crosses, but for me, the ability to combine and play one-twos is kind of a “trick” so to speak. He has a great football IQ and thinks before he does something. He has attributes of a central midfielder and I really value those things, which is why I think Cuenca offers more than just crossing. He can also dribble and has a good touch, but he usually stuck to the wing and tried to carry out the task Pep gave him & that was often just to keep the pitch wide and get balls in.

    • August 9, 2012

      Oh, I still think that Afellay will move in January. But he has a spot until then, for sure. But ultimately, he answers questions that we already have answers to.

      Agree with you on Tello. He is developing. He’s screaming for a loan. Cuenca, on the other hand, is better off staying home and developing. The biggest thing Tello needs is to learn to hold the ball with his back to the defense, as Henry used to do. He becomes the bust-out player who either goes in to score, or takes and holds for the rest of the attack. His development is crucial. The other thing to keep in mind is Deulofeu, who will be playing in that Tello area, right?

      Tello isn’t like Jeffren at all. Better body and ball control, and he can go get a soda without pulling a muscle.

      • Josep
        August 9, 2012

        What makes you so sure Afellay is leaving in January, is what I’m getting at.

        If Tello learns to play with his back to goal, or hold the ball up, he’d have to change his whole style of play for that, and its something our team doesn’t seem to be asking for. Tello loan probably isn’t gonna happen, when was the last time we loaned a player still in the first team, with an idea that we’ll actually bring him back to play for us one day?

        • Ryan
          August 9, 2012

          We’ll have exactly that happening next year, right? (i.e., The Return of Bojangles)

        • August 9, 2012

          Because in January, Cuenca and Thiago will both be back to full fitness. That means that the midfield will be full, assuming Sergi Roberto hangs around. But even if he doesn’t, you have Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago, Busquets, and on the wing, Villa, Sanchez, Pedro, Cuenca. It’s tough to see how Afellay is going to get much of a shout, and if someone offers 8-10m, it would be pretty difficult for the club to resist.

          I don’t think Krkic will ever play for this club again. He just doesn’t have it. Didn’t have it for us except in spurts, doesn’t have it at Roma. So we’ll find the right price that will move him, and that will be that.

      • James08771
        August 9, 2012

        I’m not so sure a loan is what Tello needs. I agree that his explosiveness is definitely something Barça needs, especially on the left flank. As far as I can see, that is the only reason he’s spending time with the first team. But this player’s decision making needs heavy developing, as you say. I think at his age, he could use another season with the B team, working on his abilities against Segunda defenses, including a fair share of first-team call-ups. Depending on the first-team’s available attack options in January, a decision can be made. If he’s ready for Liga defenses, and there is no room for him on the first team, a loan is probably the best option.

        I mentioned earlier on this thread that I felt he was Jeffren 2.0. I can see why people would disagree, as Jeffren has unfortunately been attributed to constant injuries. However, a healthy Jeffren was exactly what we’ve lauded Tello for – being a wide explosive threat. Thankfully Tello has had better luck and is therefore devoid of the hesitancy and clumsiness that plagued Jeffren during his final run-outs for Barça.

  35. Josep
    August 9, 2012

    can we make an official USA Women’s Soccer appreciation post? 🙂

    • August 9, 2012

      Would we be allowed to mention the penalty that wasn’t given to the Japanese? Or would you go “Oh shut the f*** up” again?

      • Josep
        August 9, 2012

        I thought referrees make mistakes and are human and prone to error? But when it’s against a certain team its a conspiracy?

        If that’s your idea you sure are supporting to the wrong Spanish club team, try another.

        • August 9, 2012

          When have I said, implied or otherwise that it was a conspiracy? Whatever gave you that idea?

          Just wanted to make sure that when I put across my view, I wouldn’t be sworn at or in your case, you ‘speaking your mind’.

          For the record, I don’t support any Spanish ‘club team’ or club for that matter. Is that the best you could come up with? Try harder..

          • August 9, 2012

            Now, now …. play nice. The USWNT played two excellent matches that have the taint of calls incorrectly given (or not). That’s inescapable, and it’s simple as that. No conspiracies implied to suggest that the hand ball call was blown, and that it was a lot more nailed-down than the one against Canada. Refs miss that stuff. They’re human. Which doesn’t make it any less of a blown call.

            Japan had scoring chances that they didn’t take, as well. So that’s that.

    • Ryan
      August 9, 2012

      Could only follow at work via liveblog, but it sounded lively! I like to think of Miyama as the female Japanese Xavi (or maybe Xabi, since she’s great at long balls)

    • Ryan
      August 9, 2012

      Was he enjoying his honeymoon on a beach somewhere? 🙂

    • bhed
      August 9, 2012

      I know! I had more trouble picking him out on the pitch this time without his luminescence.

  36. TITO
    August 9, 2012

    What a like about a player, especially these youngsters coming from the academy is the arrogance. A player without a little bit of arrogance is not a player for me, Thiago has it, and his brother as well. They also have the footballing brain to make it.
    You see, the issue with Tello and Cuenca is that they both lack one of these, Tello doesn’t have the brain and Cuenca lacks the arrogance, which makes them vulnerable and not really promising for our starting line up in the future.

    • ooga aga
      August 10, 2012

      well, it sort of goes without saying that a professional athlete needs confidence in his or her abilities.

      now, arrogance is another thing…and i daresay it leads young thiago to give the ball away too often.

      xavi is a cocky little bugger, but he has earned it.

  37. Lev
    August 10, 2012

    It’s great for players to be arrogant…but they should work hard on keeping that arrogance deep inside of them as much as possible!

    I find it such a shame that Afellay is not living up to his potential. It is rare to see a player of such talent play so meakly in too many games… especially if you take strikers out of that equation. One could at least expect him to be as good in Barça friendlies as he is in the Dutch ones!

    Also you guys touched upon the return of Bojan…Would anybody care to explain to me what our deal is with Roma? From what I understand we will be forced to buy him back for more money than Roma paid us last summer, basically paying Roma for taking him on loan for two seasons…Is that right? Now that he is a bust at Roma also we would be lucky to get 5 million. No regrets though, since he did have a whole lot of potential.
    I still believe he should have gone to Ajax, where Frank de Boer apparently has all the makings of a future Barça coach. What really grates me about the kid is that he insinuated he didn’t get any fair chances during the three years, while Pep basically carried him for most of his time at Camp Nou.

    And last but not least…have you guys checked the google home page today? 🙂

    • August 10, 2012

      I saved 19 before I let one in. Not bad, but I’m no Hope Solo. 😛

      • barca96
        August 10, 2012

        Then I guess I’m Casillas, I mean Pinto as I saved 23 shots in total before letting in the 24th.

      • mom4
        August 10, 2012

        but I’m no Hope Solo.
        Good! That girl irritates the heck outta me!

        BTW, Congrats on the bronze. I have to say that while I’m happy to have gotten the gold, I felt like we were the lucky Chelsea to Japan’s Barca yesterday. I hope the Japanese girls get to fly first class on the way home instead of the guys!

        • August 10, 2012

          Thanks! The French had us on the ropes for long stretches, but our defense came up big! And congrats to your ladies as well. I was cheering for Japan, but either way it was a great game of football and a very positive thing for the sport.

    • Josep
      August 10, 2012

      “I find it such a shame that Afellay is not living up to his potential.”

      This argument is getting painful. Next time you have an 8 month layoff, I’m going to come by and ask why you’re not working already.

      • August 10, 2012

        It’s another reason he’s safe until January. He’s still coming back from a blown knee. A lot of what people are seeing is confidence. It takes a while to fully trust it. The run/shot that he unleashed against United was a good sign.

        For me, Afellay’s only problem is that he’s an excellent player at positions where we have excellent/brilliant players that are also home-grown. No shame in that, but if it comes down to Cuenca or Afellay, assuming both are equal, home cooking will always out.

        • James08771
          August 10, 2012

          Kevin, I believe you wrote an article along the lines of “Get good or get gone”. Afellay’s situation revists this case, as it’s always a constant challenge for foreign players to maintain their peak form with the fear of being overtaken by La Masia’s latest gem. Let’s see if Afellay’s path will follow those of Keita and Abidal.

    • Oil_Can
      August 10, 2012

      give the players some time to adjust and prepare for the season, Tito already has Afellay in his plans for as long as he stays at Barca. Now its just a matter of time till Afellay adjusts to what Tito wants him to do.

      Afellay may not have been impressive in our pre-season campaign so far, but the performance doesn’t matter, its more important in what Afellay takes out of the pre-season games.

  38. August 10, 2012

    Del Bosque has called up Valdés, Piqué, Busquets, Iniesta, Cesc & Pedro for the ESP friendly with Costa Rica. No Xavi, Puyol, Alba, or Villa.

    I’m happy enough with this. Iniesta and Busquets could have used some more rest, but at least he had the good sense to leave the other four out.

    • August 10, 2012

      Del Bosque: “Xavi is very important, more so than the coach. In preparation for the season, we think it’s better if he stays with the club.”

      Del Bosque: “With Puyol, we thought it’ll be convenient if he continues to prepare with the club. It’s a special case and we want him to comply with the club’s deadlines.”

  39. mom4
    August 10, 2012

    Tomorrow’s game is on ESPN3 for US viewers at 1:15 EST but not ESPN Deportes.

  40. August 10, 2012

    Drop everything you were doing. Ray Hudson is on twitter people!

    • mom4
      August 10, 2012

      I saw that! That was just about the most fun I’ve had following barcastuff! Very unbarcastuff-like, but somebody had to say it.

      • August 10, 2012

        The new team is all kinds of fun. One of the questions they had was what TV series Cesc hadn’t watched yet. The famous FCB TrollDNA is strong in them.

        Love the hate they are getting for that. Not one decent argument against what they’ve said. They usually get hate for every story someone doesn’t like, now they are getting that in bulk, and apparently blocking the haters in bulk. Nice strategy..

      • August 10, 2012

        BTW mom4, are you still lurking on twitter or have you made an account yet?

        • mom4
          August 10, 2012

          I don’t tweet. I don’t twit. Can’t imagine keeping my responses that short. I check out barcastuff a couple times a day, my penya every once in a while, FCB_live, and the offside twitter occassionally and other than that I’m still a FB person. Maybe one day y’all will drag me kicking and screaming into the present decade.

          • August 11, 2012

            It’s worth joining just to follow the players’ accounts. Today we have an epic discussion on proper Catalan vocabulary and grammar between Puyol and Pique. Dani Alves has been trolling himself by retweeting his followers comments on his beard situation. And the Barça B boys are just generally adorable. 😀

  41. Salia
    August 11, 2012

    I really want Barca to sign Nuri Sahin. I was thinking about it yesterday and it got me really excited , although it probably wouldnt happen but he is better than Alex Song and cheaper too. Real are asking for 10 million which is well within our reach.

    I thought I was the only one and thats why Im relieved to see this:

    What do you guys think? Would it be a good move or not??

    • August 11, 2012

      I think in the realm of things that could possibly happen this summer, this falls right behind me going on a date with Emma Watson (a long time dream of mine).

      • August 11, 2012

        I think it goes like this:

        Chances of us signing Song >> Chances of La Liga having sorted out its organizational issues >> Chances of a fair TV deal >> Chances of Calvin landing a date >> Chances of us signing Sahin

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 11, 2012

      This falls right behind me going on a date with Scarlett Johansson.

  42. August 11, 2012

    Forget Neymar, Barca would do much better to sign Leandro Damiao

  43. Ryan
    August 11, 2012

    Mexico are olympic champs! Their keeper was pretty solid and Neymar fluffed a few chances.

  44. replayed
    August 11, 2012

    Josep: “Hulk is an overrated physical player”

    I’d say he was more than that in today’s gold medal match.

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