Fearless predictions post, aka “This season and you … sorta”

When looking at a new season, it’s always best to begin with what we know:

–New coach in Tito Vilanova
–We have the best player alive
–We have among the best players in the world
–We’re the best club in the world

All the rest is up for grabs.

Last year, we were visited by everything short of a plague of locusts; injuries, concentration lapses at key times and opponents that played the matches of their lives against us. And the best club in the world came away with no major silver.

What will this year bring? Sit down, strap in and read on as the BFB team breaks it all down.


The Cule in me says we are going win. Everything. Then go to another league and win their stuff. Because we’re the best, and that’s how the best roll.

The footy pragmatist in me says that this is going to be a complex season. Meddling president, “new” coach, players coming back from long-term injuries, there is a lot to be concerned about. I’ll break it down competition by competition, beginning with an overall notion: Barca will need a LOT of luck to accomplish things this season. There is insufficient squad depth and far too many uncertainties, particularly as regards the back line. Yes, we were amazingly unlucky with injuries last season, even as I believe that injuries are a function of things other than luck — preparation, for one. It’s happy news that the pre-season is European-only. This will be huge in preventing the fatigue that comes from jetting about. But the club can expect to play more than 60 matches this season. That’s a lot, on legs that have done friendlies, Olympic qualifiers, Euros, etc, etc. Vilanova will have an immense task on his hands in getting everyone to jel. I don’t see us making any more transfers, which means old folks and kids will make up our squad, something I am not at all comfortable with, particularly given that I think Afellay will move in the winter window. So, here are the predictions:

Spanish SuperCopa: We lose to That Other Spanish Team in a closely fought, semi-violent two legged affair that sees their depth making the difference. The aggregate score will be close.

Noteworthy event: The team will lose Jordi Alba. “How am I supposed to keep track of something that small,” will say Puyol. “You gotta put it on a leash, or something!”

Copa del Reig: Out in the semi-finals, after a clunky first leg that will see fatigue from multiple competitions coming home to roost. We will fall just short in the return leg, and our opponent will act as though they had just won the entire tournament.

Noteworthy event: Tito Vilanova will look something other than bewildered/annoyed.

Champions League: Out in the semi-finals again this season, as poor finishing once again rears its head, as well as a key player struggling to regain fitness after a long injury layoff. It will again come down to one goal.

Noteworthy event: Carles Puyol will bite Gerard Pique during the match and scream, “Focus!”

La Liga: 2nd place (again) to That Other Spanish Team as another season comes down to a few unfortunate draws, and a Clasic home-home split.

Noteworthy event: Xavi will make some passes to himself, saying after the match, “To ask why would be like asking the tide why it comes in. Just know that it does.”

Other predictions: A key attacking player will suffer a significant injury. The odds are on Messi, who has spectacular fitness but takes an incredible amount of abuse. This season, it will begin to tell. Vilanova will have to watch out for the long knives, particularly in the club’s own boardroom. He will start the following season as coach, but on a verrrry short leash.


These days, I like to take deep breaths before I begin to write about Barça. It’s been a while since I was happy to delve into a world of expectation and entitlement. For a couple of years now it hasn’t been a question of watching games, but rather of waiting to win and, if that failed to happen, finding whose fault it was. That’s a weary and, frankly, rather boring way to approach sport. I found it increasingly difficult to enjoy the wonders that existed throughout Pep Guardiola’s time on the bench simply because there was always another blog post to write whenever something wasn’t a manita or there was another intense (if also usually intelligent) discussion about politics to become embroiled in.

If a positive can come from Guardiola leaving (yes, these are some thin straws I’m grasping at now, but please, let me at least try to find a silver lining), it’s that we can reset our expectations. We have a chance, right here and right now, to take a deep breath and let it all go. Every time we find the words “should” and “win” coming out of our mouths in the same sentence, we should sing the entire Cant as a form of penance. It has become a question of how many trophies we’ll win rather than whether or not we can play beautifully and while that is a natural outgrowth of so much success, it brings nothing but pain to a sports fan such as myself, who watches for love of the moment rather than for success. Don’t get me wrong, I love winning, but it hardly feels like there was a celebration of the Copa del Rey. It came off like a “meh, okay, it’s the Copa, great,” which is about as Yankees fan as you can get. Admittedly I was traveling during the game to my sister-in-law’s wedding (a far more important event than a Copa del Rey final, at least in my life), so perhaps that throws my perspective off a bit, but as I got Scorecenter updates and celebratory texts from an elated friend while wending my way through Brooklyn and Queens on the A train, I felt that sense of “meh” with a half shoulder shrug thrown in. It’s just the Copa del Rey, after all.

Contrast that to my feelings prior to the 2009-10 season:

The dawn spreads its wispy fingers over the roofs of the neighboring buildings, sliding casually down Atlantic, splaying sideways at Flatbush. It dims the street light that shines through my window at that perfect angle where any attempt to block it from my eyes causes me to lose the air circulation in my room. I shift and try to sleep more, longer, anything to get rid of this feeling in my stomach. For once it’s not last night’s rounds with the boys that is causing me this insomnia. I look at my watch: 5 more hours to go. I roll over, pressing my face into the pillow. I roll over again, pulling the sheet over my legs then flipping it off moments later. I look at my watch: 4 hours, 59 minutes to go. I roll over, exhale….I can’t explain it to [my then girlfriend, now wife], she’ll never understand. It’s August 30 and I’m waiting as patiently as I can. I think she knows, intuitively, without having been reminded, that it’s Jornada 1, it’s el primer dia de la primera. It’s kickoff, it’s the beginning of another obsession. It’s gameday. No wonder I can’t sleep.

I want that back and with Tito, there’s an artificial chance to get it back. To think of blossoming rather than wilting. This team, this wonderful team, this collection of superstars who were once runts is simply too fascinating not to enjoy watching, but maybe this time I can sit back and breath in the happiness that it can bring me to see the Blaugrana, win, draw or lose.

One of the final lines of the preview I just quoted is this: “I am anticipating what will happen, rather than dreading what we might not accomplish with such a talented squad.…I’m like a schoolgirl the day before prom: excited, nervous, happy, and, above all, I can’t wait to show off my pretty dress to all my friends.” We are not so far removed from this at all, are we? Tito is an unknown despite being well known. Eric Abidal’s absence will be mourned, but Jordi Alba’s presence will be a fun inclusion. We’re healthy again and there are limitless possibilities to the fun we can have. Trophies? No, we won’t win any of those, but that’s okay because it will be well worth the journey even without silverware.

Spanish SuperCopa: A terrible way to start the year, at least from an intensity point-of-view. We’ll lose this one 4-2 on aggregate after a 2-0 mugging in the Bernabeu.

Copa del Rey: We’ll make the final to this one, but Real Madrid will come away with the trophy. Maybe Tito will poke Mourinho in the eye?

Champions League: A rough exit from quarterfinal at the hands of some team we all agree didn’t deserve to beat us, but, well, we spazzed at the wrong moments and missed our opportunities.

La Liga: 2nd because this is a two-horse race, of course. A 7 point gap, but a Pichichi for our little Argie man.

Other predictions: Messi will get 52 goals, 36 of them in La Liga. Xavi will face a lengthy spell on the bench with his Achilles problem (thank you, Euros). Also: Neymar!


So it’s almost that time again. A new season is almost upon us. Are you excited? I am! We have a shiny new left back in our toolbox, an almost fully healthy team, and a new manager that is really an old manager who will take old ideas and renew them. Or something. Anyway, it’s going to be fun! It’s hard to make predictions about the upcoming season before we even know what our final team will look like. We still may sign another player, most likely a centre back. It seems pretty certain that Bartra will not be loaned out or sold, especially now that Muniesa is out. And with Keita gone, it seems likely that JDS will stay as well unless he really messes up in the remaining preseason games.


Spanish SuperCopa: Who are we playing again? Oh, yeah, them. I would never have thought I could get tired of Clasicos, but I’m really not looking forward to these games. All that good national team feeling from the Euros may well go up in smoke. I think the team will be extra motivated to win this cup to give Tito his first silverware as the sole man in charge. We will have a full complement for a change, and be fit and ready. I predict a narrow win at home and a tie at the Bernabeu to take the cup.

Copa del Rey: My crystal ball is telling me that something unexpected will happen this year. I predict that both Barça and Real Madrid get knocked out in the quarterfinals. The sports papers are caught between crowing over their rival’s defeat and rubbishing the CdR as a second-rate competition, and spontaneously combust from the force of the dilemma. Eventual winners: Athletic Bilbao.

La Liga: Regaining the league title will be Tito’s top priority, and I think we will do it. It’s going to be a very long and hard battle, though, and it may even come down to the last couple of games. I predict a lot of moaning about the referees, hopefully not from us, and at least one major kickoff from Mourinho. Oh, and a bunch of incompetent faffing about from the RFEF.

Champions League: PSG will win, obviously, now they have Zlatan.
No, seriously, I can’t make a prediction for this. Too many good teams and a lot depends on the draw. Barring any major upset we should make it to at least the semifinals, but it will all depend on how many fit players we have and who the opponents are. The only absolute certainty is that neither Milan nor Malaga will get very far. I would like to beat Chelsea at some point just to remove the bitter taste of last year.


For the first time since Guardiola’s appointment in 2008, Barca head into a season with far more questions than answers. Continuity may be the key talking point being sprouted by everyone involved with the club, but Pep and Tito are very different people, playing different roles, and that will be reflected in visible changes in the way Barca behaves as an institution, even if the basic playing philosophy remains the same.

Let me unpack that last sentence.

I don’t think we’ll see too many changes in the way Barca play. The template has been laid down for generations, and while each manager adds his own variations on the basic theme, all the noises being made by Barca technical staff tell us that Tito isn’t likely tear down Guardiola’s additions. To stretch the building metaphor to breaking point, he’s more likely to renovate or make additions of his own.

Add the above to the fact that the squad hasn’t undergone a significant overhaul, and it seems like a recipe for a steady, evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) transition. Tito will have under his command one of the finest first XIs in world football, a fairly small squad, and a few very promising young players who are – we hope – ready for the big time. How the new graduates adjust will be even more important than usual, given the gaps in the squad, particularly at the back.

And now for the uncertainties. First of all, we know very little about Tito Vilanova, in terms of how he might behave under the spotlight cast by the Barca entorno, how his people management skills are, and how proactive he is in match-day situations. The early indications point to a less intense approach compared to his predecessor. For what it’s worth, I think his approach to the media and the environment will be closer to Rijkaard’s than Guardiola’s. Which is no bad thing. He needs to do what suits him. Tactically, I trust him to know what to do, using a system he’s been bought up in. Man management is a big question mark. We’ll have to see about that one.

One thing we can be almost entirely sure he won’t do is get involved with broader club issues the way Pep did. Which is fine – frankly, those concerns aren’t part of the manager’s job, and I’ve always argued that Pep had too much to do because higher management at the club shirked their duties. More than ever, this season we’ll see how Rosell and co handle themselves in reacting to controversies, without the man who was so good at directing the discourse.

I don’t really do predications. (Pauses to duck thrown objects. Yes, I know this is a predictions post.) This is the closest thing I can manage. I’ll leave you all with some crucial questions – questions we can’t answer at this point – that will determine the course of the season:

How many games can Xavi play at something close to peak fitness?

What effect will an actual vacation have on Messi?

Can Bartra cut it as a first team defender? (By which I mean: reach the kind of level where you’d happily play him against Valencia or Madrid.)

Can Fully Fit Villa be just as good as Shiny, Newly Bought Villa was?

Is Fabregas’ reprogramming into a Barca Midfielder (TM) complete?

Will the real Gerard Pique please stand up?

(Kidding about that last one. Mostly.)


A couple years ago a mentor gave me a piece of advice: “under-promise, and then over-deliver.” Pep did this to great effect four years ago with his famous “fasten your seatbelts” press conference where he said he didn’t know if his Barcelona would win trophies, but they would work as hard as they could. And boy did he over-deliver.

Unfortunately Mr. Vilanova doesn’t have the luxury of under-promising. Pep has set the bar too high, Vilanova will be living in his shadow – pick your cliche of choice, but the fact is that expectations are high going into this season because of the success over the last four years. I worry that anything less than repeating Pep’s first season treble will be seen as a disappointment in the eyes of many.

I also think we will end the season without a single piece of silver.

Some random predictions:

The Spanish Super Cup will have a couple very acrimonious moments, setting up some very unpleasant Clasicos down the road.

Bartra will cement his place ahead of Fontas early in the season.

Valdes will not win the Zamora trophy as he will be under more pressure from less possession and more defensive mistakes.

The teams average ball possession stat in each match will be less than it was the last couple seasons (I’m thinking around 5% per match).

Messi will for the first time since Guardiola took over fail to score more goals than the season before.

Sanchez will score more than Villa.

The team will suffer more for lack of a player like Keita – a ball winning midfielder – than for lack of another centerback.

There will be several (more) high profile PR mishaps from the board.

We will get knocked out of the Copa after a serious howler from Pinto.

Vilanova will be forced to endure at least one very difficult month where he is lambasted in the press. Rosell will not go out of his way to protect him.


My predictions are fairly simple and to the point since I don’t have a ton of time to lay them out.

As has been the case with FC Barcelona since the introduction of Pep Guardiola as manager, the team will be playing a grueling schedule likely consisting of 80+ matches, not including friendlies, with a smallish squad during the course of the 2012-2013 season. This will mean the team must stay free from injuries (or at least long absences), must get solid play from the little depth it has, and use Barca B members at key points. But enough of this, on to the predictions:

Spanish Super Cup: A tale of sound and fury signifying nothing, I think. This will be blown up as another Clasico, and in theory it is, but in practice it will likely be an extremely chippy foul-fest (for both sides) decided by a 1-goal margin over the aggregate. I’m thinking 3-2 Madrid because while some of the team looks well rested, who knows about the Euro boys?

Copa del Rey: Out in semifinals, Valencia win it. Both Barca and Madrid finally decide these games aren’t really worth it compared to the Liga and Champions League. Delofeu, Bartra, and other B boys makes some memories but can’t get it done all the way.

Champions League: Champions. I mince no words about believing the UCL is much more important for growing the brand internationally and in terms of actual competition, because let’s all be honest, La Liga is two teams and a bunch of also-rans until some white knight investors come save other teams or the league’s TV structure gets reworked appropriately. Anyway, the team is currently constructed for UCL runs more so than any other competition. Less games mean the smaller squad can aim for wins here. I see a showdown with PSG at some point, which would be great fun.

La Liga: Runners-up. If the team beats Madrid twice, it still has to save a small squad and not lose to upstart small teams, which was the downfall last year. Madrid is more prepared for this competition from a team make-up and will win. The difference between Barcelona and third-place will be greater than between third-place and relegation.

Others: Messi scores 54 goals (13 UCL, 38 Liga), Xavi misses significant time due to lingering injuries and age leading to Thiago and Cesc getting a lot more time in the MF and more chances to grow as players. Alexis Sanchez scores 20 and Villa is crucial for depth. Busquets continues to be the second best player on the team and the most important to player and ball movement. Puyol misses more time but Pique finds his old form (that he showed some of in the Euros). Finally, Valdes wins another Zamora and Deulofeu gets more action than many are predicting.



Themes to Look for in the Upcoming Season: This season will be one marked by transitions for Barca. Tito assuming the role of manager is the clearest. This will be a transition that will be both large scale change, due to the scope of Pep’s accomplishments, and familiar, due to Tito’s contributions to past success and his familiarity with the squad and the club.

Tactically last season many felt that the continued experimentation (much of which was forced by injury) was a detriment to the team, that moving away from the well proven 4-3-3 was a mistake. This interpretation in my opinion is one that is far too narrow.

This season I think we’ll see Tito continue to push the team in new directions, with increasing levels of fluidity. Shifting between multiple formation within matches-something Pep experimented with more and more last season-will be implemented on a more regular basis. One definitive tactical transition that we’ll see if the team will utilize two attacking full backs with decreased height at the back. This will require adjustments to be made the defensive template involving the team as a unit. We will see other areas of tactical evolution as well. For example, new approaches to how the team defends between the lines in midfield may be necessary, particularly if a new central axis defensive player (CB or DM) can be added.

For years the central axis of the Barca system has run through Puyol and Xavi as key pillars. Last season we saw Puyol return from injury, regain outstanding form and then be compromised by injury again. Puyol is still capable of playing world class football – but at this age greater modulation of his minutes, efforts and stress would be beneficial. Given the lack of depth at the back – this may not be possible. But it’s something that will likely be needed if the team is to have Puyol available for critical fixtures. Xavi has played enormous minutes over the past 5 seasons and the wear is starting to show. He was brilliant again for the majority of last season but at the end the campaign he was clearly trying to play through some kind of injury and doing so at the time when the team needed him most. Barca would do well to try to lessen the burden on Xavi proactively to ensure that he’s in better fitness for key stages of the season.

One of the biggest transitions the team will need to make on the pitch is the need to have younger players assume more of the responsibility for team’s success both in terms of performance and leadership. Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas and Thiago will need to use their experiences from last season as platforms to assume greater responsibility this season. This will be critical to the team’s success. These players have room to grow into the system and they contain much of the team’s upside potential for improvement, particularly given that no major additions are likely to be made to the attack this summer through transfers.

Villa, Pique and Pedro. All had difficult seasons due to a combination of injury and poor form. It’s difficult to understate how important Villa’s return will be to the team. But this too will require an important transition. Villa will have to again work on balancing how to fit into the system off the left flank while still maintaining his aggressiveness and individual goal scoring. Marred by lost form and injury, Pedro seemed like a ghost presence for much of the season. Fortunately, by the very end of the season he looked to be returning to form and then followed that up with an excellent Euro 2012. The team must diversify its scoring base so that Messi doesn’t have to carry such an inordinate load. Villa and Pedro are central to how the team will be able to accomplish this objective. But doing so will require a process of transition where both players are reincorporated back into the template on a full time basis and are able to play alongside not only Messi but Sanchez, a player both have only played limited minutes with, also.

For most of his career, Pique has been able to rely on his partner CB for leadership and consistency. That time is over. Pique was simply awful for a significant portion of last season. He only started returning to form after being benched for a run of matches. Pique needs to not only transition back to being one of the best CBs in the world – he also needs to transition to being a consistent leader on the team rather than the younger, “ball playing” half of FCB’s CB pair.

The final transition I’d like to touch on is injuries. Last season much was made of the club being unlucky with respect to the injuries incurred. And there’s little doubt injuries took their toll. But many of those injuries weren’t simply the product of luck. Stress fractures and recurrent hamstring injuries are a function of workload and cumulative fatigue. And part of why the injuries Barca had last season seemed so acute was that in the years prior the club had relatively few injuries. One can just as readily say that the club was “lucky” prior. In all likelihood, the team will again have to deal with injuries. There are a number of advantages to a small squad. But injuries an their impact are part of the downside risk.

Predictions for Competitions

Spanish Super Cup: The late arrival of Spanish internationals to training will create early season challenges, ones that will augment the slow start Barca often gets off to. These issues will also influence Madrid but differently due to the distribution of roles their Spanish internationals play. It will be a close contest but over the two legs Madrid will likely come out ahead.

Copa Del Rey: In Tito’s first season the Copa will be the contest that the team may not be able to optimize their performance for. The club won’t defend the cup.

La Liga: 2nd place. Madrid’s larger squad and ability to rely on athleticism to win on off performances will provide it with advantage to edge out the Liga trophy.

Champions League: Barca will take the trophy. I think the squad will have enough reserves to see out a difficult season while still taking the Champions League title. The return of Villa and Pedro along with the continued improvement of Sanchez will allow them to diversify the attack enough to get through the Champions League competition.


OK – hate predictions, but will put down a few general thoughts about how I think this season will be.

We’re all gonna die. (I can predict that with absolute surety!)

The team goes into this season with more newly-promoted B-team members than before. From last season’s promotions it has Fontas who received very little game-time even before his injury, plus Thiago and Cuenca who have yet to find consistent rhythm within the team. So, we have three players from last year who are still not fully integrated, plus incoming Montoya, Dos Santos and Bartra. Time will tell if they develop to be First Team material, and I have my doubts that all will succeed. This is nothing new – those who have followed what I write will know that I’ve always thought this way.

Where once the team had the luxury of time to develop the talents of the likes of Puyol, Xavi et al, this time no longer exists for FC Barcelona – nor for any of the top clubs in the world. The environment has changed – it’s all about the money and the marketing now. The club HAS to win – it virtually has to win every game if it is serious about competing for every trophy in an equal fashion. This means that the strongest team, with the best available players, is put on the pitch every time. The alternative is that the team has to win group play and the first legs (of CL and CdR matches) so decisively that the second-string First Teamers will then get playing time in any games where the result is moot. Another alternative is that the club decides which trophies are less important, and not must-win situations at the cost of burning out the key team players.

There’s no doubt that the newly-promoted (from last and this season) players are talented and have great footballing skills. If they didn’t, they would not have even been considered for promotion, and they wouldn’t have even made it into the B team. My doubts lie around whether these guys actually have the world-class skills and the mentality to succeed in an environment that is far different from what they have known. Can they play against the likes of Ronaldo and Rooney et al, and compete against that level of play and experience? They may have been promoted within the club, but the step from the B-team to the FC Barcelona First Team is a chasm, in terms of how they will need to now perform (daily, weekly, monthly) in every game. Time to put on the long trousers. However, don’t be surprised to see some of these guys either sold or sent out on loan. Loaning players has the advantage of giving them more experience at other clubs, and at a high level, while not being a burden on the First Team. If they turn out to be world-class, they’ll come back.

Supporting lesser-experienced team members is also going to put extra pressure on the tried and tested “old guard”. Puyol, Xavi, Messi, Busquets, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Iniesta and Valdes have to show the way – the onus is on them to lead the team on the pitch. Alexis, Villa, Afellay, Adriano, Pedro and Cesc will have to find form and positioning on the pitch where they can create value. Alba, already showing promising signs, needs to produce consistent high-quality performances, and not go totally AWOL, as I did see him do in some games when playing for Valencia. (Especially when opposition teams tend to exploit Barca’s left.)

All of the players need to know that they can score goals. The ball doesn’t have to be given to Messi, and if Messi gives you an assist on a gold platter, make sure that it goes into the net. And please stop with the unnecessary backwards passing when you have the opposition defenders out of position – it only gives them time to regroup and stop the attack.

So, to summarise the team:

~ 1 x player on long-term medical leave: Abidal.

~ 6 x B-teamers with less than 2 years of experience in a top-flight football team playing at the highest possible level: Bartra, Montoya, Fontas, Thiago, Dos Santos and Cuenca. (Muniesa now won’t be registered until January, depending on his recovery.)

~ 5 x experienced players who still have to figure out their roles on the pitch, as they integrate into the team: Villa, Afellay, Alexis, Cesc and Alba. (Out of these, Alba will most likely be the first to succeed.)

~ 5 x experienced players who will need to really step up this season to help the team to succeed: Pinto, Pedro, Adriano, Pique and Mascherano. (I included Masch here because, although he’s excellent and I love him, if he remains playing at CB, the finer points of being a back-line defender will need to be learned this season – i.e. the offside play, in particular. Pique also needs to lift his game, and mature, this season – he can’t repeat last season’s often dismal performances again.)

~ 7 x players who are fully integrated into Barca and could play with their eyes shut: Puyol, Valdes, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Alves and Busquets.

Out of 24 players, 16 (counting Cesc, Pedro and Alba) are from La Masia. This season will be the time for proving the success of the cantera project. If the next 2 seasons are not successful with La Masia players, then I think that we’ll see a shift in how much La Masia contributes to the First team, and possibly a change in the buying strategies of the club.

Within the club and off the pitch, I believe that Rosell (or whichever board member he sends out to do his dirty work), will do more posturing than he did when Pep was there. Pep had the respect of the fans and the socis – he carried a lot of power. For Rosell to have disagreed with any of Pep’s wishes would have sounded the death knell for him. With Pep now out of the way, I envisage the stamp of authority being wielded more from the top. Just please don’t put Rosell in front of the press – he makes an ass out of himself when it comes to general chitchat.

Tito, if given this season as an year of consolidation, will play it safe. The tinkering of the 3-man backline will not be rigorously pursued, although it does leave questions about our attack if Pep felt the need to add an extra man up front, in order to be more effective. I often thought that there were times when Tito did not fully agree with all that Pep tried to do, so this season will be the time to see “Tito’s way”, if there is such a thing. Certainly, if the game against Rayo (from last season and the one where Tito called the shots) was any indication, we can expect to see faster, more direct play. I would like to see some of that. I also predict that we will see more long-range shots being attempted – with Alba, Afellay and possibly Busquets being groomed for this. The ball doesn’t have to be walked into the net.

My wish is for the club to be successful, for the players to remain healthy, for the fans to have fun, and if we win some silverware that will be the bonus!

Finally …. yes, there is a name missing: SoMa. Life happened, as it does to all of us. So she’s decided to take a step back from the mod ranks, but we’ve made it clear that she is more than welcome to contribute any time she sees fit.

And that’s that. Yes, it’s long. Shut it. Like the Wu-Tang Clan when it could actually BE complete, you don’t question. Just revel in it. Yup.

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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.


  1. August 17, 2012

    I also predict the return of the blitzen awards to a blog near you sometime soon. 🙂

  2. August 17, 2012

    Wow lot of -reasonable- pessimism there…

    It is extremely impossible for me to make any assumptions based on any kind of logic already. Yesterday I made it clear that (My opinion) without getting a striker, Barca’s chance to win any title will decline significantly. BUT we put all that aside, and I’d like to talk about what usually interests me even more than titles counter: Season’s strategy, signs and expectations. (Things that will decide Barca’s chances positively/negatively to win titles).

    Noting that, while it seems SONG is very close to Barcelona (if we read too much in Wenger’s last interview), we should only talk about players already available.

    1) Tactical framework: Alba/Alves combo is a very tricky change for Barcelona. It is true that Adriano played a lot last season, but it is also true that the defensive impact wasnt pleasant. Keep in mind that in many games Pep used that crazy 3-4-3 as well.

    AlbAlves will add more responsibilities on Busquets shoulders. I can see how he’ll play -tactically- much better though may get less recognition.

    Tito showed some interest in using Messi as a 10 behind two players. While this has been a demand for a while now, if you look at the narrow structure of the midfield, this can add even more defensive challenges on the flanks. I’d like to see Tito playing an inverse umbrella. That is to pull the two forwards narrow in attack but open them wide in defense. This can serve offense (more diagonal runs) and defense (delaying attacks on flanks and support fullbacks). Is this the same 4-3-3? No. Big difference as the two forwards will have to make forward runs demanding vertical passes (in 4- rhombus-2) while in current 4-3-3 they are playing more and more behind the ball.

    One of the main reasons for defense problems last season (beside playing 3-4-3 to fit Cesc in), was the thin offense Barca had. I wrote a post once (two years ago or so) indicating how far in high defense system, offense fatigue, leading to work rate decline, damage quality press and cause more troubles to defense than defenders form. It increase attacks on Barca’s defense and generate more mistakes. How far the current players capable to perform quality press in defensive phase for 60 matches or so, is yet to be seen.

    Tito’s initial tactical structure and game approach will be clear after four or five matches, and then we know better.

    2) Courage: This one is simple. Liga round five. A match against Granada. At Home. If Bartra doesnt play, dont be shocked if Barca’s defense depth get shattered by March 2013. I still don’t agree there is a need to buy a CB. There is a need for some extremely reasonable courage. Obviously, when you are running a big club, after a very successful coach, and in a very demanding environment, rarely a coach take such reasonable risks. Most need the (theoretically) most secured option. Offense, I have Messi. Get me defense. If Mascherano-Bartra is not good enough to play against Granada and 30% of Liga clubs around that level, then dooms day is approaching very fast.

    Same goes in midfield and offense. How will Tito manage resources available? That will basically decides it all.

    3) The Independence season, and Romario:

    Messi is great and everything. But it is time for the rest of the team to take responsibilities. Forwards we have are more obsessed in getting Messi’s bless than making their own names. We talked about Messi co-pilots enough so I won’t ramble further.

    Romario? I meant Alexis. He is far from being Romario yet, but he can get there in terms of offense productivity and directness. You can see great understanding between him and Messi. One setback during preseason matches: He got Iniestalized toward Messi. Remember that old Iniesta who used to dribble everyone and the keeper, then stand on the goal line waiting to pass the ball to a goal scorer? Alexis is showing some overdosed interest in feeding Messi than going for it himself. Little signs here and there in two matches. Hope understanding grows, without letting the big star swallowing the smaller one.

    It goes without saying that the uncertain form of many players cast lot of shadows on the whole view. From Cesc, to Villa and Pedro (Especially that there is absolutely no roam to maneuver when it come to the offense available alternatives) . And of course, injuries.

    4) Opponent:

    I don’t think the local rival will be much better this season than last season. Will they have the same hunger? Will “The main mission to match the enemy” unite them again after actually winning it? Will some key players like Xabi perform as needed? And i don’t think Barcelona will be worse than last season (not that the team was that bad).

    So if I go for a pure guessing game, I would consider the chances equal at this point to win the Liga (I think RM will be the main competitor, you?). I have more doubts concerning CL. When it comes to CDR, it depends how far Tito will feel its important. At the moment, he doesnt know. I believe he will wait to see how it will go for him in the other competitions till January and decide. After all, winning something (anything) is better than none. And if he does as good as Pep did in the previous season, no one can seek a replacement.

    I almost forgot, we need to see what kind of help UNICEF will offer.

    • August 17, 2012

      This was a 930 word “comment” that didn’t particularly respond to any of the points made in the original post.

      That’s not a comment-it’s a separate blog post.

      The comment section is for the entire community to be able to share their thoughts together. This doesn’t help spur discussion in this space.

      • August 17, 2012

        it is exactly what the post is all about: expectations of the coming season. It turned to be too long and detailed without notice. Agreed. Apologizes. Delete it from your blog.

        • August 17, 2012

          No actually it’s not what the post is all about. Not at all.

          • August 17, 2012

            Look, I understand the reasons behind your frustration. I gave you whats yours and pointed out what is not. Apologised and suggested deleting it. What you have beyond that you need to help yourself with. I rested my case.

      • mom4
        August 17, 2012

        Why is there a problem with this post?
        Did I miss something?
        This is no longer than some of the posts we’ve all made.
        And it is about predictions/ expectations.
        The comment section is for the entire community and despite having his own blog Ramzi is part of it. Right?

  3. Josep
    August 17, 2012

    Whoa what the hell is going on? Ramzi writes a reply, with what he thinks is how the season will play it (exactly how all the admins did theirs) and its inappropriate and out of place?

    There’s a limit on how long our replies can be now? You guys are singling him out for no reason, at all.

    • mom4
      August 17, 2012

      Gotta agree with you, Josep. Makes me hesitant to post a comment.

      I must have missed something.

      • Lev
        August 17, 2012

        The only problem I see with Ramzi’s post is that he compares Alexis to Romario :s 😉

      • August 17, 2012

        What twigged the post for me (feel free to disagree, Josep 😀 ) is that Ramzi has a blog, and the comment would have, I thought, made an excellent post at his blog. I know that there are a few commenters here who also have blogs, and for me it’s a form question. When I comment on other sites, I am mindful of not seeming as though I am promoting BFB when I post a comment there, and try to set up my comments so that my screen name at that site will link to my e-mail, rather than BFB. But that’s me.

        For me and my editor’s eye, there’s a difference between a comment and a blog post. A comment reacts to the precipitating post, a blog post ignores the instigating subject and does what it wants. Ramzi’s comment would almost certainly have been more effective had it reacted to the piece to which it was attached, which is what comments usually do, unless they take the form of an aside, as in my Song/Wenger/Arsenal comment below.

        I don’t think that anyone minds long comments, and I think (though I can’t speak for anyone else) and if somebody feels hesitant to post a comment, that is their right, even as I don’t believe that it is in any way an accurate sentiment or reaction (again, from my perspective).

          • mom4
            August 17, 2012

            So it’s blog politics? I’ll let you guys deal with that. I still don’t get it, but there’s a lot of things I don’t get.

          • Blau-Grenade
            August 17, 2012

            I agree with Kxevin and Euler.

        • Josep
          August 17, 2012

          Ramzi wrote his expectations and thoughts on the coming season, exactly like all you writers did. There is nothing wrong with this. Nowhere did he promote his blog (which I’m sure a lot of commentors don’t even know exists)

          You’re just telling him that his post isn’t welcome here, in this community of Barca fans, simply because it would be better suited for his own personal space? What kind of message does this send to posters? If you want to debate or discuss things, don’t post here. If you want to add nothing to the topic, feel free?

          So all Off Topic comments will now be ignored? You’ll have to delete a lot of posts now. This wasn’t even on topic, it was actually more in depth than any of the other posters above. IT DID REACT TO THE PIECE.

          “Fearless prediction piece?” More like, post something we didn’t cover exactly how you like it, and be verbally assaulted. This is utter bullshit.

          • Lev
            August 17, 2012

            Yeah, I kinda feel the same way as mom4 and Josep (although I agree more with how mom4 expresses herself, lol)…

            Guys, BfB is my, and possibly most of ours, favorite website. This blog entry in particular I thoroughly enjoyed and as a matter of fact I thanked you for it (and by extension for all the work you have been doing actually, both writing the blog and making us feel welcome by responding to our comments)

            I also enjoyed Ramzi’s comment. I know that he has a blog, but never because he mentioned it(not saying he hasn’t, idk) and anyway I don’t check his blog (sorry, Ramzi), but I always respect his opinions when he is here (just don’t. compare. Romario. to Alexis. lol)… It seems to me that the only thing that you are achieving with this “quarrel” about a comment of which Ramzi was the first to apologize and offered for you to delete is attracting attention to the fact that he has his own blog, something that is unknown to many and is irrelevant to me as I always thought of him as a “member of the BfB community”, if there is such a thing…

            Anyway, those are my 200 cents on the matter. Apologies if I speak out of turn. I’m kinda good at that 😉

          • August 17, 2012

            If you click on Ramzi’s name, as any but the newbiest of newbies know, it links to his blog space. It’s common in spaces such as these to the point of omnipresence.

            If you wish to interpret that we are telling him that his comment “isn’t welcome here,” that’s entirely your interpretation. But my point has been quite clearly explained above, as well as the further point that you make about digressions.

            If the space and its policies exorcise you so, there is nothing compelling your visits here. It’s a free Internet. There are certain spaces that I don’t visit, because all they do is raise my blood pressure. It happens.

            But I have very calmly explained my view in its entirety. React to the entire explanation, rather than taking the parts that support your point and reacting only to those.

            For example: Ramzi says, “Kxevin says we won’t win silver. He’s full of crap, and here’s why. My view hews more to Michele’s in that there are lots of questions to be answered, etc, etc,” You say the exact same things, but in reaction to the post.

            Hopefully the example makes my above point more clear.

          • Josep
            August 17, 2012

            “If you click on Ramzi’s name, as any but the newbiest of newbies know, it links to his blog space. It’s common in spaces such as these to the point of omnipresence.”

            Nowhere does it say this (I only found out about this in recent months so I guess i’m the newbiest of newbies) Now looking back, I’ve seen someone’s name links to unicef. Can we have them remove that? we shouldn’t sponsor external links as it brings us away from what we’re all supposed to be here for.

            “If you wish to interpret that we are telling him that his comment “isn’t welcome here,” that’s entirely your interpretation. But my point has been quite clearly explained above, as well as the further point that you make about digressions.”

            I’ve read, and re-read what you wrote and I still have no clue what you’re saying (and from the looks of it no one besides Euler seems to be sure). So you’re suggesting he should’ve saved that specific post, about his expectations for the season (in a blog post about the season’s predictions, as according to the admins) for his blog? correct me if I’m wrong, because I’m not 100% sure.

            “If the space and its policies exorcise you so, there is nothing compelling your visits here. It’s a free Internet. There are certain spaces that I don’t visit, because all they do is raise my blood pressure. It happens.”

            I enjoy the quality writing on the blogs and am always up for a good discussion. I’ve been coming here for quite some time, and will continue to. Cool, keep your blood pressure low, its best for your health.

            “But I have very calmly explained my view in its entirety. React to the entire explanation, rather than taking the parts that support your point and reacting only to those.”

            But you didn’t EXPLAIN anything. There’s still very much confusion as to what you’re even on about. I thought I responded to all of your post that required responding to, but I guess this is a better way to do that then.

            “For example: Ramzi says, “Kxevin says we won’t win silver. He’s full of crap, and here’s why. My view hews more to Michele’s in that there are lots of questions to be answered, etc, etc,” You say the exact same things, but in reaction to the post.”

            So we have to summarize what you’ve said about the post, and then give our agreeing or disagreeing point? I guess I’m starting to understand the fact, that Ramzi gave HIS opinion without mentioning the opinions mentioned above at all? I think that’s it now, right?

            I expect other commentators who don’t offer this sort of response to be sent packing as well, then. If you don’t paraphrase the writer’s thoughts properly you have no place here.

            If you are off topic you have no place here.

            If you give your personal opinion you damn well better compare it against someone else’s opinion. You MUST mention the OP in your post, or else risk your post being deleted.

            Or, we could take comments as they are, as someone has read the original post and disagrees or agrees accordingly. We don’t need direct quotes, we should be able to trust the posters enough that their comment is in relation to the OP and is their take on the issue without having to directly compare and contrast them.

            Or is the problem you don’t even remember what you said so you want someone to recap it for you?

            Hopefully the example makes my above point more clear.

          • genesfut
            August 17, 2012

            There is censorship up in here these days? I don’t agree with any father predictions from the bfb team yet I have asked all of you to piss off! Leave him be, or post in his blog as revenge.

          • Roberto Senyera
            August 18, 2012

            Count me in the mom4, Josep, and Lev camp on this topic. I can’t believe Ramzi was called out on this one. Rather petty, and disappointing, in my humble opinion.

            After all, there’s football to talk about 😉

        • August 17, 2012

          No, just one of the manifestations that a blog might have run the course of its useful life. It happens.

        • mom4
          August 17, 2012

          Speaking of cookbooks, where is that recipe for The Manita, second edition?

          • August 17, 2012

            You think I have nothing better to do than sit around mixing up Barça-themed drinks for your edification? 🙄




            It involves Pama pomegranate liqueur and blue curaçao. This time the curaçao goes on the bottom. Tastes amazing. But the Pama is very dark so it doesn’t look right.

          • mom4
            August 17, 2012

            Pama pomegranate liquor? Never heard of it. Must try it. And now I’m thinking not only of trying your new manita, but also of concocting a new Cosmo-like martini recipe.

          • August 17, 2012

            It’s hard to find, but it’s delicious–very tart just like pomegranate juice. If I could just find a way of lightening the colour.

      • August 17, 2012

        Just so it’s clear, I’ll go on record that I don’t see anything wrong with, and don’t have any problem with Ramzi’s comment.

        But that’s probably because 80% of my comments here have nothing to do with the original article.

        • Jim
          August 17, 2012

          Not wishing to add to, or prolong, this line of discussion which seems to have come out of nowhere but unless Ramzi is shamelessly peddling his blog ( which he doesn’t seem to be and which I have never visited) I see no problem with his post. I enjoyed reading it, although I didn’t agree with everything, found it relevant for the most part in that it was reacting to the ( quite surprising for me ) pessimism of the original views but even if it wasn’t completely on topic when have we ever bothered about that before? I’ ve had as many disagreements with Ramzi as most but his views and his quaint grasp of English (sorry, Ramzi 🙂 ) have lways made his posts readable as indeed have the views of all the mod team.

          Did we really need an issue made of this rather than maybe a one liner about brevity or relevance?

  4. Xavi6
    August 17, 2012

    Just read an article on goal.com where 8 of their 9 experts predicted that EE will claim La Liga , thought they were pessmistic and then I read this post on the blog 🙁

    I think with the addition of Song that with proper and intelligent management we can have it all again . We will have two players at each position except for the ever-problematic CB position.
    If Tito can choose his line up well , and direct Pedro and Sanchez to shoot more on goal , and make the mids try more shooting at goal from distance instead of over-passing .
    I hope Messi trusts his mates more infront of goal , I noticed that he became somehow selfish infront of goals . I remember a moment in the Dinamo match where he had an open team mate infront of the goal to his left but he preferred to dribble then shoot , I wish this was only an one-off behavior .

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 18, 2012

      Agreed regarding most of the mods’ pessimism about Barça’s outlook for the season. Is this a Barcelona blog or a LWB’s blog?

      Come on people! The season is just around the corner. Have a little bit of optimism folks! Don’t we have the best player on the planet (soon to be four years running) and a team thought by many to be the best side ever (even Graham Hunter wrote a book about such lofty acclaim just recently)?

      I’m quite surprised and very disappointed with the majority of moderators’ pessimism.

      Grow a pair people 😉

  5. August 17, 2012

    Wenger says that Arsenal is stacked at midfield, and lists the players. He also says that Song has “picked up a slight knock,” and won’t be playing vs Sunderland. I’d say that deal is all but done.

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      I’d give my thoughts but it’d probably be suggested to start my own blog and write them there.

    • August 17, 2012

      Via the Twitters, PedrithoFCB (usually reliable) reporting that Song didn’t train with Arsenal today, and is collecting his things from the club and training grounds.

      No, the addition of Song doesn’t change any of my predictions, though I do think it’s a nice roster move.

    • hansh
      August 17, 2012

      Wait, so did Wenger leave out Song from his list of midfield players?

      Also, assuming we do get Song: a middie with a “slight knock” is exactly what this team needs!

      • Messiah10
        August 17, 2012

        I doubt the “knock” is real. It’s just an excuse not to play him because they don’t want a “real” knock happening and scuppering the deal. I’m with Kevin. I think it’s a good addition because we need depth in defense. However, I’ve been patroling Arsenal sites lately and a lot of supporters are claiming he isn’t defensive minded at all. He gives the ball a way a lot, out of position, and gives away cheap fouls around the box. I haven’t seen a lot of him to know if these thoughts have any legs to stand on. I like him because he’s athletic, tall(for our team), a DM who likes to move forward, and does have some passing ability. We can mold the rest of him into FCB quality. I trust Tito(yes, without him coaching a single league or cup game) enough, that if he sees something in Song, than I support the move.

  6. BA
    August 17, 2012

    i want to see Tito play a 3-1-3-3, as we did in the first game of last season against Villarreal. it would certainly play to the strengths in our squad depth (namely, having a ton of midfielders) and help keep the (still too small) team fresh over the course of the season. something like:

    Iniesta-Xavi-Jordi Alba

    lots of player permutations with those remaining on the bench as well. tactically i recognize that it was a one-off last season to counter Villarreal’s lopsided formation, but i think it showed real potential and seemed to fit our larger systems (both offensively and defensively) splendidly.

  7. August 17, 2012

    Can we ramp down the hostility level, please? Josep, why don’t you take some of that energy and tell us what your predictions are for this season?

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      If you want to tell anyone not to be hostile maybe you should look to fellow admins Kxevin and Euler for their hostile attitude towards Ramzi’s comments?

      If I’m being hostile its a reaction towards the hostility expressed by those two towards he.

      And we all know if I tell you my season predictions I’ll just be shooed away and told to write them in my own blog post. If you’d have read all the other comments you would’ve picked up on that.

      • August 17, 2012

        I meant for everyone to chill out, not just you. And if you want to continue being passive-aggressive that’s your call, but don’t ever pretend that I didn’t ask you for your opinion.

        Peace out.

        • Josep
          August 17, 2012

          I misread your original post (thought my name was after the comma and before the question mark).

          I still stand by the sentiment that other’s opinions on season predictions isn’t welcome here.

      • Jim
        August 17, 2012

        Josep, we have a bit of a disagreement going on in our family at the moment over this. We can either fan those flames or do our bit to dowse them. can we keep the tone a little less confrontational and maybe inject a little light hearted ness into it. I could be wrong but when I read your post I get the impression you are delighted that quite a few posters a taking an opposing view to Kxevin’s and taking the chance to twist the knife. FWIW, Kevin and Isaiah here have created the only blog where I have felt comfortable commenting regularly and I for one don’t want to lose it. I enjoy reading their views and respect them. That’s the way I’d like us to talk to each other.

    • Messiah10
      August 17, 2012

      I’m not sure this comment helps when it seemed the matter was put to bed or at least over with on “comments”

  8. mom4
    August 17, 2012

    OK, my predictions for this year.

    We win ALL the silver. We have the quality to do it, so why not?

    Reality check—We live in an imperfect world, where injuries can plaque us and defensive brain farts and flubbed chances-on-a-silver-platter can happen at the most inconvenient times. I think we’ll drop the copa and CL, but take back the league. I also think that we will win the supercup, drawing at the Camp Nou, and winning at the ‘beu. We are more ready for the supercup than last year, certainly!

    Other crystal ball predictions:
    1. The medical staff learned their lesson with Villa. Just see how they are treating Thiago. Players won’t play partially fit.
    2. Messi was subbed in some of the friendlies. This might mean Tito has a more measured approach to Messi’s playing time than Pep. The flea may get rested.
    3. Puyi plays his 100th cup for the NT and then sensibly announces his retirement from the NT to spend quality club time with his remaining limbs.
    4. Xavi rests every chance he gets and only plays the most important NT games—wait is this my wish list or prediction?
    5. Masche goal will happen and it will be HUGE!
    6. Song gets signed and enjoys his time on our rather comfy beach. Really, it’s gonna take a long time to get integrated.
    7. Sergi Roberto and Bartra are this season’s revelations.
    8. Messi scores less than last year but picks up more assists. Forwards actually finish the chances he gives them.
    9. Arsenal will hate us more than ever.
    10. TV announcer predictions; 1. All but Phil and Ray will mention Busi’s dive against Inter at every game, 2. The FSC announcers will still mispronounce every name, 3. The FSC announcers will still dis VV, 4. Ray, if I ever get to hear him again on TV, will still come up with some great ones.

    • August 17, 2012

      Agree wholeheartedly on 6 and 7.

      As for #2… we will see. Over the last four years I’ve gotten the impression that Messi wields a lot of power at the club – whether he does so overtly or not. It is one of the potential dangers of essentially building a team around a player. As much as I’d love to believe Messi will listen to Vilanova and accept that he plays better when he sits out the last 20 minutes of games we are winning 4-0, I still worry he will (for lack of a better description) throw a hissy fit if he is taken off the field too often.

    • Jim
      August 17, 2012

      Agree with everything, mom4 but would add that we actually have a great defence ( I’m talking Pique / Puyol here in a back 4) and now that the three in the back has hopefully been consigned to the dustbin of failed tinkering I actually don’t see us losing many goals. My hope is that Masch has learned the CB trade from those two and can step in when required without us losing our positional sense in which case he could be a terrific asset.

      Reports of Puyol and Xavi’s demise are much exaggerated but there will be more opportunity to rest them as I see the others as only getting weaker leaving the big 2 with more games they can win without a full team.

      Up front I expect Villa to resume his first season form – or les he’ll find himself benched for Pedro. Messi won’t score as much and will be injured more but if Alexis is the player several people here think he is he should be able to step up.

      Lastly, I agree that Tito will want the ball moved forward a little quicker this year but that doesn’t diminish Xavi’s influence. He is still (along with Iniesta) one of most incisive forward passers in the world.

      Luck can always play a part but we are the best team in the world by a margin when we can play our best team. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

      • mom4
        August 17, 2012

        Jim, I love our defense. But the few times they screw up, you have to admit, they screw up rather spectacularly. But overall, I wouldn’t trade them for any other defense. I love to see them play it out of the back rather than blast it out to touch. Each time they play it out of the back I’m like “ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh what are you thinking” and then,”ooooh, that was nicely done, that’s my Barca” all in the matter of a few heartbeats.

        • Ryan
          August 17, 2012

          It was only a few seasons ago that we had both the lowest goals conceded in Europe and the least conceded from corner kicks in Spain! Granted, we’re missing Abidal and Puyol is a few years older, but the foundations are hopefully still there.

    • chaospheory
      August 17, 2012

      With regards to point #2: I wonder if Messi’s forthcoming new baby will inspire him take it a little easier during the season?
      Also, I find the season predictions in the blog post comfortingly characteristic of the diehard Barca fan.

  9. mei
    August 17, 2012

    You are taking it out on Ramzi, when there’s no reason for it.
    This post is much longer than it should be.
    You should have joined some of the authors expectations and it would have made an easier to read post, with opinions such as ramzi’s easily accomodated in the comment section.
    Allegations for promoting his own blog are nonsense.

  10. tutomate
    August 17, 2012

    While I appreciate the post and the hard work behind it my day just took a sour turn cause of it, everyone is so pessimistic. I guess you are all just being cules.

    Also the dig at Ramzi was unnecessary and totally counterproductive to what you are trying to accomplish here (spur grounded discussion). Save those type of comments for the trolls not for someone laying out their views and what will think will happen or may have and impact in the season. Specially when they do so in a respectful.

    • August 17, 2012

      I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily pessimistic. I am however worried about the weight of the Guardiola legacy. I generally look at Guardiola’s time as somewhat of an anomaly. It is hard to think of a period in our history (except potentially the Cruijff years) when we have had such a concentrated amount of success. Succeeding in the wake of that success is going to be difficult because, fairly or not, consciously or not, many people are going to be comparing this season to the last four seasons.

      Of course, I think we will make the semifinals of the Champions League, and I think La Liga will be an extremely close race. I also think even if that happens (and the season is a relative success) there will be many people who are left disappointed because of their expectations.

      Of course, I hope I’m wrong and the departure of Pep leaves the team hungry, motivated, and possibly feeling a bit more free – and we have an excellent season.

      On a different note, I also think the departure of Pep is going to leave the club with a gaping hole when it comes to philosophical direction. Rosell is, for all his strengths and weaknesses, a technocrat (unlike Laporta). He and his board see numbers and projections and statistics. They aren’t driven by an underlying philosophy and belief in what the club should be about and stand for. Pep took almost that entire burden on himself, something I don’t see Vilanova wanting to or being comfortable taking on. This leaves us with somewhat of a lack of philosophical direction. I’m hoping it won’t manifest itself to much and interfere with the first team, but I’m afraid it will.

      • tutomate
        August 17, 2012

        It’s not that I think you are wrong and pessimistic. Its that I think you are right you just happen to have reminded me of it.

        Being pessimistic is idiosyncratic of being a cule.

        Any way enjoyed the read, well sorta.

  11. Lev
    August 17, 2012

    While I am also leaning towards the possibility of NOT winning the league I find the thought of M*drid and M*rinho winning it again too horrific to contemplate.

    The shame of La Liga’s erosion of talent and finances is not so much that the league is between two clubs (it is usually so), but that nearly every game for us and them is a must win game, which sometimes leads to more stress than joy (as Isaiah noted earlier)…

    • tutomate
      August 17, 2012

      That exactly how I feel.(your first point).

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      I always find it interesting that in Spain (all messed up TV deals aside) the big two buying up Spanish talent from other clubs is seen as monopolizing, and poor and eliminating competition.

      In other leagues, French league specifically, when the bigger clubs buy good young players from other French clubs its seen as positive, and a good distribution of wealth.

      Well, how can this be?

  12. elcapitan
    August 17, 2012

    Loan euler to AS ROMA to keep CT company, sell kxevin to montpellier, as for ramzi…well,we will see about that…lol….
    That is that, please let’s maintain the decorum this blog has always been known for …reasonable comments are always welcomed…Visca el barca! We are going for the sextuple once again!!!

  13. August 17, 2012

    Holy Blaugrana Hell Batman!

    People think confrontation of this sort is conducive to discussion?

  14. Bill
    August 17, 2012

    Hahaha. I’m I the only one who found this episode funny? I’ve never read anything testy from Euler! Lol. I think rambling Ramzi finally got on peoples nerves. It was quite an unexpected turn of events.

    I can understand the feeling that he appears to try and hijack the blog via comment section, but I don’t think that’s Ramzi’s intention. I think he is either long winded, our he feels he has to explain his point by covering all angles, which ends up being a blog post in itself.

      • Bill
        August 17, 2012

        Yes, he does tend to Ramble. How do I know? Because I do too. 🙂 , But i’m not as tactically as knowledgeable as he is

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      Hopefully you just called him rambling Ramzi as you thought alliteration would be fun as there was nothing rambly about his well thought out and now overlooked for content post.

      • Bill
        August 17, 2012

        I didn’t man that in a put down sort of way. Yes, maybe I was too cute for the mood here today.

    • Bill
      August 17, 2012

      Btw, Mom4, I really like the way you come to peoples defense. Like when you pointed out how Josep seems decidedly hostile towards Kxevin, and now this.

      Ramzi, shorten your posts and respect others opinions.

      Kxevin & Euler, it must be frustrating to write very well thought out pieces only to see it hijacked. Don’t worry, the rest of us read them and appreciate them even if we don’t comment. Just ignore the hijackers because if you try to monitor it, you find out the blogging world is like an infestation of sharks that attack indiscriminately, you might end up being the target. Besides, you can choose to either be protective of your space (which is within your right and understandable) or go the McIntosh path and open it up. The later choice will bring more fans and better feedback. Even if Ramzi links his website, he doesn’t have a team like BfB, and that’s your competitive advantage. So we will keep coming back. We always have.

      • Josep
        August 17, 2012

        This hostility towards Kevin nonsense is a joke.

        Hijackers? You seem to only mention two of the SEVERAL people who wrote the thread..so did you even bother to read it all?

        • Josep
          August 17, 2012

          A joke not meaning its comical, meaning its a joke that people actually think this.

        • Bill
          August 17, 2012

          I wasn’t accusing specific people for hijacking. I just mentioned it as a general rule. And i’m not attacking Ramzi at all, I just pointed out that it may seem like that was his intention but its probably not. Read it again. And instead of calling opinions names like” a joke, or nonsense,” why don’t you just explain what you believe or don’t? We can get somewhere that way.

      • Jnice
        August 17, 2012

        Ramzi, shorten your posts and respect others opinions.

        But why are you talking to him like you’re his father?

        Even if Ramzi links his website, he doesn’t have a team like BfB, and that’s your competitive advantage.

        What a ridiculous and unnecessary sentence. Why are you rubbing their backs and tucking them into bed? There is no need for any of this.

        • Bill
          August 17, 2012

          Jnice, try something different for a change, try explaining why you don’t agree with what is said, or what you believe? “acting like you are his father” or “tucking them in bed” doesn’t contribute to anything. I said what I felt was the problem, why don’t you try to do the same?

          • Jnice
            August 17, 2012

            I’m asking you questions. “?” Is a question mark. I could care less what you think it contributes.

          • Bill
            August 17, 2012

            Then take your immaturity somewhere else buddy

  15. August 17, 2012

    Hey everyone, I’m going to post this as a comment so that it’s within the greater thread rather than as a separate post. I also wrote it about 20 comments ago, so hopefully it’s not completely out of date.

    There has been a recent discussion/whatever you want to call it on this site regarding some of the comments that have been posted recently. Most, if not all, of that discussion is in the thread above this if you care to re-read it or read it for the first time.

    Barcelona Football Blog was founded to be a place that fostered discussion between fans of the club that both Kevin and I love very much. As the site has grown, there has been a wide range of knowledge and perspectives available to everyone through the comments section. Intelligent, erudite people make BFB a daily stop on their tour of the Internet and this site would be very, very little without these passersby taking the time to post their thoughts, feelings, and analysis about the game. I believe I speak for everyone who writes at BFB when I say that we welcome outside perspectives, new perspectives, and new “members” of this community. I also think it is fair to say that we wish to promote discussion and involvement from the BFB community.

    There have been times when commenters here have expressed themselves rudely, disrespectfully, and crassly. Those have been extremely minor exceptions. This is not one of those times. We are not talking about people insulting others or picking asinine fights. We are not talking about personal attacks. What is going on right now relates to the idea of what a discussion is and what the appropriate scope of a discussion should be.

    We should not be passive aggressive here and as such, I will “name names” but not in accusation or in an attempt to make others “choose sides” or in any way insult anyone. If anyone is insulted, I apologize completely. I have read and re-read this comment before posting it and it is as fair and even-handed as I am capable of being. I hope that suffices.

    This is how I see this discussion playing out: Ramzi has been posting a lot lately and some members of the thread think he is dominating the discussion through sheer verbosity rather than encouraging it. That is, Kevin and Euler specifically are against him repeating his thoughts ad nauseum whenever someone makes a point he disagrees with. Under no circumstances should Ramzi feel he cannot post his opinions about something. He is often intelligent in his analysis and I, for one, often find myself agreeing with him. I also often find his casual asides funny (“I almost forgot, we need to see what kind of help UNICEF will offer”). Yet there is a palpable sense that if you say that the team needs to sign a defender or midfielder, the response will be a 900-word comment detailing why that is not his shared opinion. That, I think, is the issue at hand.

    I also think there is a sense of frustration at Josep’s responses to these statements. That frustration may be unfairly aimed at Ramzi who in turn probably feels a sense of frustration of his own that his points are being met with some sort of disdain akin to “oh, great, another Ramzi post about buying an attacker.” At some level, I think I feel that way, which is a shame because I like several of the points being made even if I disagree with some of them. But will I respond with a comment? No, unlikely that I will.

    None of this is a question of word count. None of this is a question of snark. I enjoy sarcasm and jokes as much, if not more than, the next guy. But comments that are designed entirely to get a rise out of someone detract from the conversation and have no place here. I do not wish to single you out as the only person who has ever done this, or to vilify you in anyway, but Josep, you appear to be fighting some strange war I know nothing about that seems to involve quibbling with everyone here over minor differences of opinion. I don’t get the point and it makes for a strange atmosphere. I don’t doubt that others are at fault for their behaviors, but you are antagonizing for the purpose of, well, I don’t know. Please stop. Your knowledge of the game (which is substantial) is welcome here, but your aggression is not. I think the same goes for anyone else who wishes to engage in tit-for-tat nonsense.

    • August 17, 2012

      I think a large part of it has to do with how long we’ve been without any orgasmic Barcelona football to watch (preseason is just a tease).

      It’s like going too long without se… ice cream!

      • Messiah10
        August 17, 2012

        THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^

        Spot on Calvin. I’m so excited for the season to start! The Euro’s were a nice appetizer and the Olympics were fine to watch, but nothing, nothing, compares to watching Barca(your said club) battle it out for a season, cup competition, etc. The anticipation, excitement, moments of glory, moments of madness, make supporting Barca worth every fiber of my being.

    • Bill
      August 17, 2012

      I know this South African girl. Sweetest girl you could meet. But her comments are often short, direct and honest to a fault with no hint of political correctness. She comes across as being rude to many when that was not her intention. Sometimes I wonder if Josep might be like that. Its hard to know when you just read something without knowing the person or background.

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      Really what it boils down to is they seemed to not welcome Ramzi’s post because of longevity, or something of the sort to selling his blog?

      If not for reading the comments section and such great comments in the past from the likes of Euler, Blitzen, Kari, or others, we’d never know them to be admins and make their own posts, correct? So to discourage Ramzi, simply because he should keep his opinion to his own blog is very, very disheartening.

      It’s basically an unfounded attack that really, really bothered me (as well as others), that I was willing to discuss while everyone wants it brushed under the carpet.

  16. Gogah
    August 17, 2012

    I’ve tried to ignore it for a while now, starting from NZM’s and the community’s squabbles with some capitan and now..quite frankly a lot of ppl including some mods have become extremely touchy and all this bickering and bitching is really of very poor taste. just chill out and lets stop ruining what i think is the finest fan blog around.

    as for the post itself, it was disappointing reading most of the mods’ opinion for next season pointing to the very familiar problems, small squad (i thought this was supposed to be a good thing?), 60+ games, fatigue, etc and madrid’s athleticism winning them everything. As for my own prediction, We will finish the season with the liga victory. CL and copa, i don’t want to predict just now.
    cheers everyone and stay cool.

    • August 17, 2012

      To respond to your second point, I would love nothing more than to be wrong about not winning any titles, but I think my point is that it doesn’t matter to me, really. I want to win the trophies, but if we don’t, the point is the journey. I love this team and watching them week-in week-out is pleasurable in and of itself.

      • August 17, 2012

        If someone could guarantee that we weren’t going to have any key injuries to key players (with a squad as ours, every player is a key player), I’d be all over making Treble predictions. As it stands, we don’t have the depth to compete for every last trophy. But we will. Which means that ultimately, at the beginning of the season we will still be rounding into shape and by the end, we’ll be tired.

        But again, I’d love to be wrong.

        P.S. No, the Song acquisition doesn’t change my predictions, though it will certainly help in the loooong season grind.

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      Their pessimism in their opinion was disappointing to you?

      Aim low, always. 😀

    • DumbOx
      August 17, 2012

      You said it well. And I hope the mods are wrong about their predictions.
      OT: On DirectTV, 620 (formerly GolTV) is now BeiN Sports channel. GolTV moved to Channel 27, which means a lotta lotta football in America. Cheers, everyone!

      • nzm
        August 17, 2012

        We hope that we’re wrong, as well. At the very least, it will prove that there’s no psychic on the team. 🙂

        And hey – it will give y’all a lot of ammo to fire back at us. We’re fanning the flames. 😀

  17. August 17, 2012

    And give that the thing has been lost in all of the above stuff, I’ll just say that SoMa will be missed. As with all of us, time is brutal. And real life happens. All the time. So our numbers have been reduced by one.

    Thanks for everything, SoMa, and as noted above and via e-mail, anytime you want to offer something up, we’re more than happy to have you.

    • August 17, 2012

      4-5 FT. Hattrick from Deulofeu. Good thing we lost so that it doesn’t go to his head 🙄

        • jordi™
          August 17, 2012

          They were bad and then it went down to ten men but lets say Oier also did his part. Collectively it was nightmarish.

  18. TITO
    August 17, 2012

    Personally i don’t like long admin blogs or comments as replies with that size, i just get bored by the middle of reading.
    Everybody is entitled to his/her opinion and as such it should be respected. If you don’t want to read it until the end, then dont, it’s that easy. Confrontations like these point out that something is just not functioning here, and it’s a shame, cause i enjoy reading most of the comments.
    As for predictions, we will win what really matters – La Liga and CL.

  19. Salia
    August 17, 2012

    Come on Cules! A Bit Pessimistic? I believe that we have a much better chance of winning some silver than everyone is making out. We are Barca and winning is what we do. I just cant wait to see Barca play live in a proper match. Its been so long.

    Cheer up. Atleast we’ve got him, and it looks like he has started the new season in good form.


  20. Salia
    August 17, 2012

    I made a fantasy team yesterday and it was really hard to make because your overall budget that you start off with is 90 million and messi costs 48 million himself so I had to get very cheap defense and GK that I had never heard of before.

    Also you cant get both Xavi and Iniesta so I chose Iniesta, simply because I thought that he would play more games this season. I chose him in a 4 man midfield in a 3-4-3 formation next to Di Maria on who is on right. Next to Iniesta is Ander Herrera and Marchena who is my DM because he was cheap.

    In strike I have J. Arizmendi who plays for Mallorca (never heard of him neither) but I only got him so I could afford Messi. And Messi is in the centre next to Paco Alcacer who is a good young player that was cheap

    GK R Martinez (Ray)
    Defence A.Botia (Sevilla) A.Pinter (Zaragoza) D Navarro (Lev)
    Midfield A.Di Maria (Real Mad) A.Iniesta (Barcelona) Ander (Athl Bilbao) C.Marchena (Deportivo)
    Attack J.Arizmendi (Mallorca L.Messi (Barcelona) P.Alcacer (Valencia)

    Who else has got one?

      • Salia
        August 17, 2012

        LOL yeah I saw but I didnt know that it was you.

  21. jordi™
    August 17, 2012

    :3 Well I guess its safe to say there’s not been this much tension since the old Samu Ibra swap. Eto’o optoligist :’). Those were the days.

    • August 17, 2012

      Idk, was Tom Johnson more recent than the Eto’o – Ibra swap? There was a lot of tension there if I remember…

      • Nik
        August 17, 2012

        Yeah, that was during the ’10-’11 season.

    • Ryan
      August 17, 2012

      And the thing with Greece Barca was pretty tense too!

  22. August 17, 2012

    First the excuse was “Off topic” then “too long” then “link to another site” till Isaiah (who is the one who kept his credibility and class) tells us this is something that they discussed beforehand.

    Last to first:

    1) Isaiah is the man of stat. he can make a report about the frequency of my comments in last month so we know how repetitive I am. Then anyone can compare it to that’s of any administrator posts. Now if there are two administrators who feel threatened, unsettle, or uncertain for any reason, or if those who agree with me don’t comment more and those who disagree don’t feel like commenting as well, and if the comments counter is that significant, no problem. But they know my email, and my twitter account. They could’ve passed that to me and I’ll have absolutely no problem to clear a space.

    But not all what we know we say…

    2) When the comment system changed, we were asked to fill a profile to have log in rights. the fields to fill included: Name, Password, and WEBSITE.

    we filled it there and that was it. I’ve been commenting using that profile since then. Never thought about it actually. To use that excuse now and try to demonize me…well you just need to look at a mirror – if that may help.

    The website “I am promoting” is basically inactive. If you go there, Beside a recent post this month that is just a translation from spanish, I guess last posts there were published last season and most written by guest writers. I experiences and passed on this blogging experience a while ago. In fact I am appologising for ads proposals on monthly bases because I have no lans t activate the blog (I can forward this month’s ad proposal for anyone interested. Why didnt I put a link to my twitter then where I’m more active?

    Oh and Someone preached he never post links to his website in comments, though I remember the “come and visit us on…” on a blog called fcbtransfers some years ago… meh…

    If I was that obsessed with taking spotlight out of this blog toward my stuff I would’ve complained more when some of my tweets were copied by someone who originally objected it but then published it few weeks later as his own. But neither I am his only source nor it happened just once. I dont care, silly…

    3) Weather the comment was off topic or not, its up there for everyone to read.

    I’d like to thank most contributors for the time shared. You are the best and I know how classy you are. I dont misjudge that often. When it come to you, I dont consider any contribution I made (to give, not to take) a waste of effort or time. Don’t believe all what you read. As i mentioned already, not everything you know you say. You shouldnt go down that far when the level get that low.

    Out for good. Cheers!

    • tutomate
      August 17, 2012

      You will be missed, luckily I follow you on twitter.

      It is just sad to think that this is precisely what some wanted to happen. SAD INDEED.

      • hammeronmessi
        August 17, 2012

        roger that.
        He will be missed no doubt

      • August 17, 2012

        tutomate, nobody ever wants to see a commenter leave a space, particularly someone with something to offer. And Ramzi has a lot to offer. Isaiah’s comment is eloquent, and worth a re-read.

        Nobody has any personal issue with Ramzi, off-topic comments, etc, etc, etc. But as with everything Internet-related, distance and keyboards exacerbate differences, and things blow up. I tell a writer at the office that he writes too long, and it’s a discussion about journalistic effectiveness. In this space, it’s something else entirely, because Ramzi isn’t one of my direct reports. Rather, he’s someone who comes here of his own free will to comment and contribute. If he decides to discontinue that, it will be a loss to the space. But in this as with every contentious situation, there is a middle ground somewhere.

        The size of this conflagration is precisely what I mean by my previous comment about signs of blogs coming to the end of their effective life cycles. People get tired of each other, the space, the format, and simple things become explosions. It’s part of the Internet life cycle.

        If Ramzi wants to take his ball and go home, nobody can control that except for him. But there is nobody who has taken more abuse in this space than me, and I’m still here. The times where I was called out, I have learned from. You have to. And no, I don’t have to be here. Isaiah, Euler, Linda, Luke, Calvin, blitzen and Michele are more than capable of making everyone say “Kxevin who?” in about 10 seconds.

        Nobody has to be here. But everyone who is here is appreciated. When criticism comes, that’s part of the deal, as well.

        • Josep
          August 17, 2012

          Since I’ve been told I have to respond to entire posts now (even though those responses get ignored) I’ll have to do it here.

          “tutomate, nobody ever wants to see a commenter leave a space, particularly someone with something to offer. And Ramzi has a lot to offer. Isaiah’s comment is eloquent, and worth a re-read.”


          “Nobody has any personal issue with Ramzi, off-topic comments, etc, etc, etc.”

          Doesn’t seem to be what Isaiah said.

          “But as with everything Internet-related, distance and keyboards exacerbate differences, and things blow up.”

          Not everything.

          “I tell a writer at the office that he writes too long, and it’s a discussion about journalistic effectiveness.”

          This is no more relevant than what Ramzi originally posted. 🙂

          “In this space, it’s something else entirely, because Ramzi isn’t one of my direct reports.”

          I can’t comment on this

          “Rather, he’s someone who comes here of his own free will to comment and contribute.”

          We all are.

          “If he decides to discontinue that, it will be a loss to the space. But in this as with every contentious situation, there is a middle ground somewhere.”

          It will be, and is a huge loss. It’s discussion like his type that kept this place thriving not posts about nothing, essentially.

          “The size of this conflagration is precisely what I mean by my previous comment about signs of blogs coming to the end of their effective life cycles. People get tired of each other, the space, the format, and simple things become explosions. It’s part of the Internet life cycle.”

          No one is tired of anyone, at least not on the commentators part it seems. The blog isn’t coming to an end of it’s effective life cycle, unless commentors continue to be treated as Ramzi was.

          “If Ramzi wants to take his ball and go home, nobody can control that except for him.”

          Not an apt analogy here. More like if Ramzi wants to come to the pitch, no one agrees with his direction of who should play where and he gets ridiculed for his suggestions, he can go home. The ball, however, can stay.

          “But there is nobody who has taken more abuse in this space than me, and I’m still here.”

          Apparently, I abuse you. I hope you don’t take it as such, but you as well as others seems to think I have some sort of hatred for you. I almost never agree with you and maybe express my opinion too aggressively but people act as if I am waiting on you to post so I can respond. It’s not the case. In fact, I don’t remember the last post that you didn’t write or co-write, anyways.

          “The times where I was called out, I have learned from.”
          When was this?

          “You have to. And no, I don’t have to be here. Isaiah, Euler, Linda, Luke, Calvin, blitzen and Michele are more than capable of making everyone say “Kxevin who?” in about 10 seconds.”

          They don’t have to be here either, as you’ve mentioned this is all done voluntarily on their own time.

          “Nobody has to be here. But everyone who is here is appreciated. When criticism comes, that’s part of the deal, as well.”

          I disagree vehemently with the first comment. It’s clearly been shown that certain commentors are not welcome, Ramzi being essentially bullied out today. To disagree with this is to not look at it openly.

          You seem to be one of the ones to not be willing to accept criticism, though. Didn’t you stop or threaten to stop writing, when people basically disagreed with you on the Mono incident? Everytime someone criticized your player scores, you threatened to stop doing them altogether always reminding others it was volunteer work.

          Anyways, at the end of the day we all truly know the only way to fix this blog is to bring in Thierry Henry to hold it up; good old-fashioned back to goal style.

          • August 17, 2012

            As for specific incidents of my being called out, don’t have them. Sorry. But being called a biased idiot after each and every review makes a man look at what he does and how he does it. Or it should. And did.

            And because that man is human, yes, being called a biased idiot after each and every review makes him wonder why he’s doing that, instead of spending time hanging with his wife. Can’t help that. That also got resolved (hence my continued presence here), and I learned stuff from all that. As I should. If I couldn’t take criticism, I wouldn’t be here. Simple as that.

            And Ramzi is as welcome as anyone. I have said nothing to Ramzi except “This post would have been better suited for your blog, and some very simple changes would have made it work better as a comment,” then elaborated on those comments. I nor anyone else has said “Get lost,” “You aren’t welcome here,” or anything else. Neither has Euler. Because it isn’t true. Everybody is welcome here.

            Henry is too old to fix this, and he likes life in New York.

          • Josep
            August 17, 2012

            “And Ramzi is as welcome as anyone. I have said nothing to Ramzi except “This post would have been better suited for your blog, and some very simple changes would have made it work better as a comment,” then elaborated on those comments. I nor anyone else has said “Get lost,” “You aren’t welcome here,” or anything else. Neither has Euler. Because it isn’t true. Everybody is welcome here. ”

            That “simple statement” is still, essentially saying that comment isn’t going to work here.

            Euler’s was much more biting but it seemed you had opened the can of worms with that. Whether you meant it or not, apparently it stems from prior issues with the “repititiveness” of his comments, or the wordy nature.

            I don’t know why, and the excuse for why it was regarded as such has changed a few times throughout these comments, yo.

            Whatever, everyone have a good Friday.

        • tutomate
          August 17, 2012

          The issue , as I see it, is that you, and Euler to an extent, insulted him if you will more than likely not on purpose and instead of doing the adult thing and apologizing you stood your right to say what you will.

          #wow talk about a run-on sentence.

          To use your analogy, It is not that Ramzi took his ball and left but rather that you told him to take his ball and go play in his own court. And now he has.

          • tutomate
            August 17, 2012

            Oh my it also did not make any sense (it did in my head).

            I think the issue is that you and to an extent Euler, devalued his comment and instead of apologizing you stood your ground.

        • tutomate
          August 17, 2012

          It is true Kxevin that you taken a lot of abuse over time, both here and at the offside. But rarely has anyone told you (that i can remember) to take your comment/s elsewhere. And when they do and they have, they are told by mostly everyone to “chill” and that everyone’s comments are welcome. it seems to me you did not welcome Ramzi’s comment today.

          • August 17, 2012

            See above reply to Josep. It wasn’t the comment that wasn’t welcome. That’s the complexity and misunderstanding in all of this.

    • mega_tajh
      August 17, 2012

      Sad to see you leaving. Even though I don’t have a twitter account I always periodically google FootballMood on Twiiter just to see your tweets.

  23. mega_tajh
    August 17, 2012

    We will win it all.

    Short and sweet comment for these guys.

  24. hammeronmessi
    August 17, 2012

    the administrators did not handle RAMZIS comment in a matured way imo.to me ramzis opinion is quite fair and to the point. There Was no shame less plug from him for his website and if some body thinks its too long a comment then he may ignore that comment.

    That Was simply uncalled for from euler and kxevin.if you guys have a problem then u should deal with him in a classy way in a public forum. Which u did not.

    Good bye ramzi and dont know whether u read this or not i also believe that a forward should be our top priority.

    Be well and if somebody knows his twitter account can u guys provide me the account. It must be fun to read his tweets

    • August 17, 2012

      He is @footballmood on Twitter.

      As to the rest of your comment, that is your view, to which you are more than entitled.

      • tutomate
        August 17, 2012

        As is yours, the main difference is that you actually carry weight around here. Sometimes for the better and like now some times for the worse.

        • August 17, 2012

          The vehemence of the dissent regarding Euler and I should give you some sense of the weight that I carry. And that is, frankly, refreshing. No “Yes men” in this space.

          And the only difference between you and I in MY mind is that I can create posts. What either of us bring to the space has, or should have, the same weight. Otherwise, what’s the point, right?

          • Josep
            August 17, 2012

            Come on you must be joking with the no “yes men” in this space comment.

            The fact that I’m only known here because I disagree with you almost essentially proves there’s yes men.

          • tutomate
            August 17, 2012

            No I do think you carry more weight here and you should since you have been here longer and are a more regular commentator. That and you actually have writing skills.

            But the point is that the weight you carry as a: regular/mod/poster/commentator can lead some one like Ramzi to leave the space if they feel unwelcome by you, where as they might not care if some one like me unwelcome’s there comments.

          • August 17, 2012

            Well, now that I don’t have real access to Liga matches, I’ll be more scarce in these parts (which bums me out, but that’s another matter).

            Writing skills ain’t everything, trust me. Euler and Ramzi have forgotten more about tactics than I’ll ever know. I learn from them via this space and Twitter all the time.

            @Josep: I think that you’re known here for the quality of your disagreement with me, rather than the fact that you disagree with me. Many, many people do: hammeronmessi, Bill, Jim, tutomate, the list goes on.

          • Josep
            August 17, 2012

            Kevin use streams. I know you have before because I’ve seen your comments on players like Bojan, Forlan, Henry, Drogba, Kanoute, Song, Capoue, et al about how they won’t or will make it at Barca or have the cut of cloth to, and they typically aren’t on television, besides Song.

      • hammeronmessi
        August 17, 2012

        of course its my view and yes i m entitled to do that.

        Thanks for the help though.

  25. August 17, 2012

    Very surprising turn of events here, and a bit disappointing to be honest.

    Not sure why the length and detail of a comment might bother some people. If I recall correctly Tom_Johnson posted a lot of very long comments as well, and many people disagreed with his as well, but he was made part of the mod team (and then later kicked out).

    Anyway, I’m not here to restart another round of debate, since some people seem edgy. But this blog was always a very “open-to-anything(-reasonable)” type…

    • August 17, 2012

      Eklavya (or anyone else, for that matter) my e-mail is kevvwill@yahoo.com. Shoot me a note if you’re interested, and I’d be happy to explain what went down, outside of the present super-heated environment, where things need time to chill.

      • tutomate
        August 17, 2012

        I just wanted to say that I don’t think you wanted Ramzi gone, but rather that your comment to him was a bit rude and may have made him feel unwelcome, it would have made me feel that way. That is all. I do think there are some commentators here (not mods) that seem to be happy he may leave.

  26. Kimcelona
    August 17, 2012

    Guess I got into the blog at the wrong time 🙁 I’m always late to the party then end up getting in at the part where everyone’s drunk and the place is a wreck..

    This is a pretty pessimistic post. Like someone said earlier its not that I necessarily don’t agree with everything, its just that seeing it all written out by the contributors leave a bitter taste..
    I didnt expect a fanatic post where you all predict Barca winning evertyhing under the sun but I didnt expect predictions of Messi getting injured this season, and losing multiple cups to EE. Geesh man.

    In fear that my post doesnt turn into a perceived epistle, I’ll give my own predictions, briefly:

    – Messi will score less but it wont be too terrible as I think we’ll have 2 or more 20 plus goalscorers this season. Just a hunch.

    – We may win atleast two trophies this season. Just not sure which two yet.

    – Bartra and Montoya will change ALOT of people’s minds this season.

    – The Song deal will fall through (Okay, maybe not a prediction but a wish!)

    – Lastly, Tito will surprise many in his handlings of situations to come this season.

    They arent as detailed but I’m not big on predictions, I’m more of a hope and faith girl!

    At the end of the day I just want to enjoy Barca matches.

    • Josep
      August 17, 2012

      Bartra and Montoya will change ALOT of people’s minds this season.

      Hmm, how do you mean? Because that depends on who you’re talking to.
      If you don’t rate Bartra, it means he’ll do well. What about those that do rate Bartra. He’ll fail?

      I HOPE Messi scores less, hah.

  27. Josep
    August 17, 2012

    It must be said, who the hell is Colin, anyways?

      • Josep
        August 17, 2012


        I think they’re called Love Blobs though.

        • Josep
          August 17, 2012

          argh my fake tag of /required disagreement to prove others’ points got taken out haha.

  28. August 17, 2012

    The comments section of this blog is it’s heart. We’ve long said that and feel it very deeply.

    It’s no easy thing to keep that going. It’s really not. The vast majority of blogs are filled with people fighting just for the sake of fighting and not respecting others. That’s something we worry about a lot. How do we make sure that doesn’t happen here? We try to be vigilant about that.

    That this has happened here today saddens me greatly. And I apologize for not having communicated my concerns more effectively.

    There was no goal to chase anyone away. I’ve appreciated Ramzi comments here and he’s made valuable contributions to this space I hope he continues to.

    Blogs have a culture. I’ve said that often and believe that. We’ve tried very hard to enact a culture of respect & openness. One in which many voices would have the opportunity to participate and do so equally. One in which there’s mutual respect and shared responsibility for keeping this endeavor healthy and ongoing.

    Have we always done this optimally? No. Has that been our intention-absolutey. And the points of concern that we’ve raised in substance were made very much with those intentions in mind.

    • tutomate
      August 17, 2012

      Great post Euler all very true. That is the right thing to do. Sometimes we say things in the most candid and way and with the best of intentions. But because of the type of blog this is it is better to apologize having intended no wrong that to lose someone and stand your ground.

    • August 17, 2012

      I have already said as much above, but will second what Euler said. The printed word is craptastic at conveying nuance. Apologies here, as well. I’ve already noted, in the “every snowflake is special” worldview, that we don’t want anyone to leave the space, or feel unwelcome in the space.

      Sometimes people whose specialty is communication, aren’t all that adept at it.

  29. Lev
    August 17, 2012

    Just wanna say it is a shame Ramzi is leaving the space. I never felt that it was his intention to dominate discussion or to plug his own blog, as I feel has been implied.

    Having said that, from what I read of Kxevin and other mods and commentators’ later comments it seems pretty much nobody wants Ramzi to not comment here anymore, so if he is leaving that is his own decision.

    Take care Ramzi, I always appreciated your comments and I was just looking forward to calling you RR from now on (Rambling Ramzi) 🙂

    • August 17, 2012

      I’m not sure where this issue has arisen about Ramzi “plugging his blog” came from but that’s the exact opposite of how we feel.

      In no way has Ramzi tried to do that here in any inappropriate fashion. Not in any way. Nor was that any of the concern.

      I hope everyone who writes about Barca does so successfully and attracts a large following. There are more than enough FCB supporters to go around! And if anything, further developing a vibrant on line community across many social media sites only works to expand the FCB community at large.

      • August 18, 2012

        I think the issue of Ramzi “plugging his blog” came from people’s interpretation of what Kevin wrote:

        “When I comment on other sites, I am mindful of not seeming as though I am promoting BFB when I post a comment there, and try to set up my comments so that my screen name at that site will link to my e-mail, rather than BFB.”

        I doubt this was written to slight Ramzi but it’s understandable how it can be perceived as an implied accusation.

  30. August 17, 2012

    Hi mods,

    So what are the guidelines for comments now?

    -Long and unrelated posts to the original article are not allowed?
    -OT comments are not allowed?
    -Comments should be relevant to what is written in the original article and must be kept short?
    -Having link to the username if it’s not related to BFB is prohibited?
    -Can’t submit links from other sites in the comments section?
    -Light-hearted jokes should not be posted?

    I’m being genuine with these questions because I don’t want to feel like I’m walking on eggshells after submitting a comment.

    • August 17, 2012

      Here are our stated policies:

      Site Policies
      Barcelona Football Blog (BFB) post-moderates its comments on all posts; we never censor comments based on personal or team preferences (“political views” in sports parlance). We only delete or edit those comments that include:
      -abusive or excessively foul language.
      -contain racist, sexist, homophobic and other slurs against anyone (be they a member of the forum, a player, or otherwise).
      -are solicitations and/or advertising for personal blogs and websites (please include a link in your name rather than in the comment itself, though some exceptions will be made).
      -thread spamming.
      -explicit intention of provoking other commenters or the writers of BFB.
      content that may infringe the copyright or intellectual property rights of others or other applicable laws or regulations (just cite your sources, please!).

      Please be aware that not everything you write will be interpreted perfectly and that sometimes misunderstandings can arise from benign intentions. BFB reserves the right to moderate comments in violation of guidelines and common sense.

      • August 17, 2012

        Thanks. So based on these guidelines, most comments are fine, including Ramzi’s original comment. He didn’t say anything abusive, didn’t solicit people to visit his blog (link in his username is within the rule), certainly no thread spamming, didn’t seem to provoke the commenters or writers, and certainly didn’t infringe any IP stuff.

    • hansh
      August 17, 2012

      By the way, I love where your username links too 😀

  31. August 17, 2012

    I miss Jose.

    Not the eye-gouging kind, but a member of the blog, a member of our family. He sadly doesn’t comment here these days, but when he did, oh boy did he rock! From once twisting Mou’s words to once quoting LotR (I think) in response to a troll. Epic.

    He also said this when someone argued that this blog was too discourteous to say the least – “El blog et torna el que li dónes” – The blog gives you back whatever you give it – aka the blog’s ‘motto’. Which is kind of the problem here. I’ve observed that the comments lately have have been more and more confrontational in nature. Even I’m guilty of it I’ve realized. I apologize. I will tone it down if not able to stop it completely.

    This outcome would’ve been avoided if people would’ve said ‘Fine. lets leave it at that and move on.’ Backing out of a shouting match doesn’t make you arguments any less valid.

    I know many of you would like to disregard what I’ve wrote but I implore you to atleast give it a thought. But what can I say, losing members like Jose and Ramzi hurts me more than I thought it would..

    • August 17, 2012

      No argument here.

      I’ve observed that the comments lately have have been more and more confrontational in nature.

      Been commenting on that for a while. Whether it’s familial familiarity or what, dunno. Maybe big silver will bring the joy back. I dunno.

    • Barcaleya
      August 18, 2012

      VJ, where did Jose go? I agree, I’ve always looked forward to his comments.

      I have been busy lately so I haven’t really been dropping by as consistently. Only when you mentioned him did I realize I haven’t seen him here in a while.

  32. ciaran
    August 17, 2012


    Can’t we all just get along?

    I have to say that I can’t see us not winning anything like some have suggested. I am very worried about David Villa and the lack of clarification as to how serious his injury problems have been. Puyol also has been doing too much solo training for my liking.
    Still our squad is definitely good enough to go far in the CL.
    You also have to expect that EE won’t get the points total they did last year which was an absolute freak.

    Cheer up everybody…

  33. August 17, 2012

    Anyway, my predictions:

    -Barca will win the super copa because we have a well rested Messi and a new coach. Mou doesn’t know what will poke him.

    -Barca will win the Champions League because the final is played at Wembley this season. And we always win at Wembley 😀

    -Barca will win the League because we want revenge.

    -Barca will not win the CdR because Valenica with their new (and hotter) coach will lead a hungry team to take the crown.

    -Messi will not break another goal scoring record but he will stay fit for the entire campaign with the help our awesome physios.

    -Alexis will score 30+ goals and have 1 minor injury. Pedro regains his form and Villa will score 28 goals.

    -Pique will start assuming leadership role on the pitch.

    -Cesc will have a breakout year! He will play as the number 10 or B2B midfielder with Messi and Alexis in front of him.

    -No more three at the back. But we’ll see more variations in the existing model. Not sure how direct the team will play with a midfield of Xavi-Busi-Iniesta. I don’t think these three players are trained to play direct.

    -Finally, I’m looking forward to watching this team play again. I want to see them having fun playing on the pitch above all else.

    I’m like a schoolgirl the day before prom: excited, nervous, happy, and, above all, I can’t wait to show off my pretty dress to all my friends.

    Isaiah — Speaking from experience, only the second part of that statement is true 😀

    • August 17, 2012

      I want this belief! The rested Messi part is particularly encouraging. David Villa might make me eat my pessimistic words. If he has a normal season for him (20+ goald) and Pedro returns to form, I will happily call myself a dumbass after yet another trophy celebration.

      • Messiah10
        August 17, 2012

        I would like to see Pedro get a lot of minutes early this season. I know it will be tough, but he needs to build on his finish last season. If he’s in form, we are a completely different team.

  34. August 17, 2012

    Jiminy Cricket! 25m for Song??!! The number coming from more than one source now, is 16m+4m in variables (in Pounds). Which is, essentially, 25m in Euros. So Arsenal got their price. What we have actually gotten, aside from a haircut that instantly makes anything that Fabregas and Villa seem perfectly lovely for perpetuity, is …. I dunno.

    At any rate, announcement probably by or on Monday, with a desire to roll him out for the Gamper.

    People wonder why Arsenal always sell to us, it’s because they always get their price. Who wouldn’t want to deal with the local moneybags? The tradition began with Marc Overmars, and continues unabated. Assuming, of course, that the numbers are real.

    • Messiah10
      August 17, 2012

      If that’s true, it’s an absurd price for Song. What is M’Vila’s market value? Rosell gives us this whole song and dance(pun!) about keeping expenditures down and blah blah blah and we overpay for a DM. I think Modric is going for that amount? Wow!

    • aaron88
      August 17, 2012

      Agreed Kxevin. Its a crazy amount for a player that becomes our 2nd or 3rd choice (behind Masche?) for DM. I can’t see him playing any other position in MF…4th or 5th choice for CB?

      Who knows what the coaches see in him. And how he can integrate with the team.

      For the record, I dig his hair.

  35. August 17, 2012

    Asked a smart Gunner about Song, and here goes:

    Oh god, what do you want first the good, the bad or the ugly?

    Good: He can execute a lofted assist quite well, he’s physical, decent passer of the ball. He can also play CB as well.

    Bad: he has a tendency to wander, his heading isn’t the best, high amount of fouls/tackles ratio, loses the ball often and is probably the slowest player in the squad now that Cesc has left.

    Ugly: His hair, self importance and makes your heart drop on multiple occasions throughout the game, just because he refuses to maintain his focus throughout the game.

    This one wasn’t to hard as we have a perfect replace more him. So enjoy Songoldhio

    There has to be something about the likes of M’Vila and Capoue that we aren’t seeing. Perhaps the club is looking for a more attacking notion from the DM type, as well as CB versatility.

    • Messiah10
      August 17, 2012

      That summary is exactly what I’ve been reading on other blogs and articles lately. It concerns me because positional awareness and defensive responsibility are key to our system. I think the wandering can be negated because he won’t have a lot of space to wander with Xavi, Iniesta, and Alba moving forward. The cheap fouls and lack of pace are probably my biggest concern because both equate to cards.

  36. Messiah10
    August 17, 2012

    So, I don’t even remember which mod predicted 2nd in Liga, but win CL b/c we are built for CL, but I agree with that assessment. I think we’ll have some injuries, again, this year. We’ve been fortunate in the past. After watching the documentary on Laporta’s 1st year in charge and the revolution he was building, it seemed clear that the small team size was mainly down to money and nothing else. Fewer players means smaller wage bill. I think it’s time to rethink that strategy. I value the league immensely and I would love to wrestle it away from EE this year. I just don’t see it. They have so much depth and quality of depth. We are counting on B teamers who’ve been promoted. I think Bartra is the real deal, but the jury’s out on the others.

    • August 17, 2012

      For me, Bartra and Montoya are ready for Copa and group stage Champions League duty. Not sure where Song will fit in yet. Sid Lowe, in his Liga preview for World Soccer, says as some have here as well, that the biggest problem for Vilanova is Guardiola, and the success expectations attendant to our incredible high-wire act of the past few years. People have already forgotten that we didn’t win any major silver last season, and are expecting a continuation of the great things from Vilanova. Brutal.

      I suspect we won’t see the best Vilanova until the season after this one.

    • Ryan
      August 17, 2012

      Well, many of us still believe that we have the best 11 players of any team. So it makes sense that we would put our bets on this club when it comes to knockout football. Especially in the 2 legged ties, where the Camp Nou is a real fortress (usually) and can make up for lackluster away games. But the league is such a marathon and punishes away draws, reflected by everyone’s pessimism.

      In any case, as long as we can prevent EE from getting la Decima, the season won’t be a total failure. 🙂

  37. Momo
    August 17, 2012

    You will be missed Ramzi… Such a shame…

  38. K_legit in Oz
    August 17, 2012

    Boy, that escalated quickly!

  39. Srini
    August 17, 2012

    Hey guys. I haven’t been commenting much on this site for sometime, but I felt compelled to do so now.

    I was surprised at Euler’s reaction (not so much Kxevin’s, as I shall explain below) to Ramzi’s post. While there is some legitimacy to the fact that the comment space can’t be made into a blog space of its own, such a concern should be expressed uniformly. I feel that there have been others who have commented long comments and brought in even more extraneous issues than what Ramzi has come up with his insightful, if long comments.

    I am no one to suggest anything, but Ramzi has had his disagreements and has come up with his own insights in a blog like manner. If anything, he should have been yet another of those people in this illustrious blog who has the ability to write posts as one of the moderators. Instead for some reason, he has been made to feel slighted and has had to exit this space, which is unfortunate.

    Euler is a terrific writer, and comes across as a level headed individual who is worth emulation and makes us want to be better. I am glad that he has apologised for the miscommunication/misunderstanding over his misgivings with Ramzi’s post and I hope Ramzi pays heed and gets back to posting his views on this blog.

    Kxevin, I hope you take this as constructive critique. Unlike Euler’s more measured response to Ramzi’s post, yours did not come across too well as constructive. By unnecessarily pointing out to the fact Ramzi had a blog space on his own, you implicitly made it seem as if he has plugging that here. I see that as the primary reason for his exit.

    And I am sure Ramzi is not the first person here to be put off by some of your comments and reactions. You, too, are a great writer, but you would be better off if you looked kindly upon dissent and difference in both form and substance. That would make you come across more effective and more true as a moderator here than what you have made yourself to be. Thats my tuppence. Thanks.

    As for the predictions by the moderators for the season, I find some of them unduly pessimistic. But again, by setting such a tone, I think there is little reason for over-reaction when injuries and refereeing errors compound an expected drop in efficacy of this legendary team.

    I personally think that Barca still is a couple of pieces short of a strong squad that will compete to the hilt in the Liga with all of the variables – strain, gaps in performance, schedule, inexperience of some members in play. And taking cue from Ramzi, I do feel that there has to be some variation in its forwardline – a direct, physical No 9, I don’t know – but all this great build up to only Messi as an avail does not go for complete encouragement. Song will be half the puzzle’s solution, and I hope as the season progresses, there is the other half sorted out.

    Barca will win a trophy among the important three again this season – the Champions, Liga, and the CDR – and although they will hedge vis-a-vis the last, I am sure they will give it all for the first two.

  40. Dani_el
    August 17, 2012

    Sad to hear about Ramzi. I actually enjoyed his discussions with Kxevin in twitter, and comments with Euler, Isaiah, NZM, Blitzen, Joseph, and so on.
    I don’t feel this right because I have always felt this blog was always open to good arguments and were respectful of others opinions. I really don’t understand what actually happened here, but it doesn’t feel right at all. Still this is the best blog I’ve read about Barça, and will keep reading it. Hopefully nobody else will leave or be forced-out.

  41. Reaper
    August 17, 2012

    On the Tito/Pep concern, I wonder sometimes myself too –

    I have worked on many large (60-100 member teams) successful projects with a lady who assists me extremely well. To give you a little context, she is immensely creative in our project designs, her attention to detail is second to none and her work ethic is incredible but she lecks in her ability to motivate people. I, on the other hand, lack in the first two respects to a degree but I think I make up for it in the ways I motivate my team, my ability to sense an issue very early on.

    Our 360 degree feedback model, gave me a lot of insight into how my team members felt and performed when the both of us were at the helm of a project and it was very very positive. The moment I left these projects and the lady took charge of them for a period of time, I would get requests from my old team members to meet me about how they are unable to perform despite having a highly skilled and tactically gifted project manager. More specifically, it seemed like no matter how good the project tactics were, no one on the team could rise to the levels they were at earlier.

    Now I’m not suggesting I have Pep’s class here but I believe there is something here that I can relate to the club of my dreams. I HOPE that this bunch of guys who have played together for so so long can find the heart and soul to reach the heights they reached under Guardiola. I have my doubts though…

    Ps. I think Neymar would be an immense catalyst! 🙂

  42. providence
    August 18, 2012

    To all the mods….think positive and positiv things will happen….Barca is going for all the 4 trophies this seaaon…

    who said we dun hv depth?

    goalkeeping: Valdes,Pinto

    midfield: Thiago,iniesta,xavi,fab,busquets,masch,

    attack: messi,villa,alexis,cuenca,tello,pedro,fab,


    where in the world will this Barca team go trophyless?… if you think so come and lets Bet….starting with the Supa-copa

  43. Barcaleya
    August 18, 2012

    Whoa! What’s going on here?

    I’m traveling so I’m online sporadically.

    I just want to say that I enjoy BFB because of the knowledgeable posts and lively discussion in the comments section. I like that many people contribute all sorts of information and thoughts which force me to look at things in a different angle even if I may have originally disagreed with them.

    It’s nice that many people follow the issue thread and comment intelligently or funnily and it’s nice to read off-topic comments as well that may be interesting. What makes me feel at home in here is the thought that I can write my thoughts about anything Barcelona-related and believe that the BFB community will understand or better yet, share my thoughts. Whether it’s something as silly as swooning over their handsome faces or truly admiring the team strategy, the beauty of a well-constructed goal or the determination of a last-ditch tackle. Furthermore, the members of the community are mostly polite and civil. There are days when we are more aggressive or curt or over-the-top, in the throes of excitement or disappointment (after matches) and I am guilty of that as well because I did not take deep breaths before I commented, but mostly, this has been a welcoming place. And fun. Fun, because it is not an academic site of pure tactics and statistics. (Though I’m very proud of our mods who have been giving us this). It is fun because you see the excitement coursing through the commenters who write all sorts of things sometimes. And that’s what makes this blog alive for me and fun to visit. I didn’t think I had to be on-topic all the time, or that my comments had to conform to a certain length, etc.

    We are all very busy and to even come and read posts already takes a lot of time. So much more to comment. So, I appreciate every one (except trolls) who come in here and contribute to my knowledge of the game and who make it fun for me to be a fan.

    That’s why I am very disappointed with the handling of Ramzi’s comment. I like reading his comments even when I disagree. And when they’re too long and I have no time, I just skip it. No big deal. I have the same thoughts as some people here who already commented on the topic so I won’t rehash. I just want to put on record my disappointment with the implied accusation of advertising one own’s site and objection with length, content, etc.

    I have seen the apologies made on Twitter though and I commend Kxevin and Euler for their sincere efforts. I hope Ramzi will accept and come back here soon.

    FINALLY, my predictions:

    Barca to win the Supercopa, lose the CDR to Bilbao, win the Liga and the CL.

    Positive thinking for me. Always. Haha

  44. Richzorz
    August 18, 2012

    Not sure about silverware – I’m somewhere in between the winning everything/nothing camps – but I think I’m most looking forward to seeing how the team plays and evolves under Tito, whether certain players can step it up, and hoping for an injury-free season!

    I’m sure the away form will still be an issue (firmly believe the vast, VAST majority of opposition teams will sabotage their own playing surfaces in order to sabotage Barca’s ability to pass the ball smoothly – not sure why this isn’t seen as more of an issue with sponsors/TV companies presumably wanting a more attractive game to encourage viewership or perhaps even the governing bodies wanting matches to be played on decent surfaces at the very top level??)

    Also pretty confident that weak refereeing will again gift Madrid more points than Barca!

    Finally, I’d like to see Messi get 29 goals and 73 assists! 🙂

  45. August 18, 2012

    In all the brouhaha I forgot to give my predictions for the season. Here they are:

    1. We will continue to play beautiful football

    2. The rest don’t matter

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 18, 2012

      Absolutely, that is the only reason I watch Barca.

      • Messiah10
        August 18, 2012

        Agreed. It’s the sole reason I began to support Barca in my footballing infancy. Barca oozed creativity and style. They seemed to be playing a style no one else was prepared to implement. I was fascinated at in the beginning. That transformed to admiration, then support, now love.

  46. Barcathegreatestever
    August 18, 2012

    Barca have the players to win any and every competition.
    I Think that Thiago will have a break out season. Alexis and Villa will have their best seasons for Barca yet if Alba plays at the level of the Euros. Pique grows permanently out of last years funk. Tito shows he’s more aggressive in attack and more conservative in defense. Barca are more balanced and devastating. Win the Supercopa and the mods will all wish they were a little more optimistic in their predictions.

  47. Barca99
    August 18, 2012

    My predictions:

    Supercopa: EE will win it; too early for our team. The start of the saison isn’t our strenght…but I can handle with that.

    Copa del Rey: ‘La Liga’ is more and more comparable with the (earlier) Scotish-League. Every year two teams are fighting for the title and there is no space for surprise. So, I hope the Copa wins Atletic, Valencia, whoever. A change, in particulary, with the tv-rigths is obviously to allow the other teams to compete with the ‘two big teams’.

    La Liga: One year without the La Liga-Trophy is enough. We will win it! There are several reasons why I think it will be our turn. One of the most important points is that Real Madrid is fixated to win ‘La Décima’ and will be not so focused in ‘La Liga’ as last year. And there will be no experiments – in the defence – as last year with the 3-4-3! Tito will play with four defenders. Alba will give us a new (defending and) attacking reverence. The contrahents cann’t only focus on the Dani-(attacking)-Side; so it’s more complicate for them to handle that…

    Champions League: There are too many factors to predict it! We will see it…

    P.S.: If not done, euler and Kxevin should (must) apologise to ramzi!

    • Jim
      August 18, 2012

      Done, above, although on re- reading this has all been blown up a bit and I wouldn’t have put it as strongly as “must”. Difficult call modding a blog like this where we have higher standards than most. Nice that they did say something though. Be good if, in the same spirit Ramzi came back.

      • August 18, 2012

        Jim hits the nail on the head. It is complex moderating a blog such as this. I have also moderated message boards, and they are a lot easier.

        Had this conversation happened in person, in a bar, there would have been some shouting, a bit of gesticulation, then we would have all gone back to having our beers. But it didn’t happen there. So that’s that.

        Euler and I have reached out to Ramzi to apologize for the miscommunication. And miscommunication is what it was. Even now, people don’t fully understand what the issue was, which is why I extended the offer of a full explanation to anyone who wanted to e-mail me. Only one person has.

        I don’t believe (and again, my opinion) that people understand the challenge of modding a space such as this. It’s safe to say that Isaiah and I didn’t anticipate this when we decided to leave Offside/Barca, or we’d probably still be there, honestly. Back in the days when we had 3 or 4 commenters, everybody got along. As a family gets larger, that becomes less likely.

        But decisions have to be taken and things have to be said that aren’t going to make the mods who say them very popular. I’m used to being unpopular. It’s a new thing for Euler. 😀 As with my day job, I console myself with the knowledge that if everybody loves you, you’re doing something wrong.

  48. mega_tajh
    August 18, 2012

    Word coming out: Alex Song has signed with Barcelona for £19m

    • August 18, 2012

      Yep. He didn’t play for Arsenal. The only question is the money. I have seen 19m, I have also seen 16+4. But the deal is done.

  49. providence
    August 18, 2012

    Alves: “Mourinho wants to be called ‘The Only One’? Then
    Pep should be ‘The Anti-Only One’, or whatever you call
    the one who’s better…”

  50. Jim
    August 18, 2012

    Weird ! I clicked by mistake on the cloudy ball at the top and was whisked away to a much quieter place 🙂

  51. Roberto Senyera
    August 18, 2012

    After reading all the comments I’m still quite shocked that Ramzi was accused of being long winded by the likes of Kxevin and Euler. Pot/kettle comes to mind 🙄

  52. August 18, 2012

    Here is some unadulterated nonsense to cheer you guys up (or conversely make you all so angry you’ll rage in happiness. Wait, wha-?)

    FCB board discuss Alex Song Transfer

    [14:10 GMT, Barcelona board room – Secret Location – Barcelona — Spain]

    Josep Bartomeu: Alright, so we need to get around to finalizing the transfer of player X-10924323.

    Antoni Zubizarreta: [calmly nods] Yes, yes, of course.

    Sandro Rosell: [thinking] Oh God I have no idea what they’re talking about what do I do what do I do [nods confidently] Yes, yes, of course.

    Bartomeu: Okay, so I need you [turns to Rosell and hands him papers] to sign these. Then, I’ll fly over to London…

    Rosell: [takes papers] Gotcha. [thinking] Now I’ll just casually find out who the heck they’re talking about while cooly examining the papers I am a genius [reads first page]

    PL X-10924323: Alexandre “Alex” Dimitri Song Billong

    Age: 24

    Club: La Masia – London Branch

    Position: Unnecessary. Other: DM/CB

    Preferred Foot: ?

    Hair Level: SSJ3

    Power Level: 0.123 Raditz / -10,322 Mascherano

    Skill Le

    [Rosell stops reading]

    Bartomeu: …so hopefully I won’t be stoned by angry Arsenal fans, though, to be fair, it’s been a crappy couple of days for them. RVP apparently moved to…

    Rosell: [interrupts] Oi! What the hell is this?

    [Bartomeu and Zubi turn to face Rosell]

    Bartomeu: Is there something wrong?

    Rosell: Yes! This profile!

    Zubi: [confused] What’s wrong with it? I wrote it myself, after consulting some scouts…

    Bartomeu: [nods in agreement] Yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with it, really.

    Rosell: [stares] There’s clearly a problem with this.

    Zubi: And that is…?

    Rosell: We’re going after a player named Alexandre “Alex” Dimitri Song Billong.

    Zubi: Well, yeah. I thought you knew…?

    Rosell: [falters slightly] O-of course I d-do. Did? [recovers] Anyway, the point is: What kind of name is that?

    Bartomeu: An awesome one?

    Rosell: [slams hands on desk] I will not allow it!

    Zubi: Why? We spent so much of our Tapping Up quota to get to this point—

    Bartomeu: …though we really aren’t tapping anyone up just so we’re clear…

    Rosell: Because we’ll become the laughing stock of Europe with a player with a name like that! Do you know how many puns— how many utterly terrible ones — people will make? I can just see them now: “Barca on Song as They Destroy Real Madrid 5-0” or “Barca’s Song still out of tune”. No! This cannot go on!

    Zubi: [considers for a moment] I see your point… but just so we’re clear: you didn’t find anything wrong with the profile itself, did you?

    Rosell: Oh, no. It was tight. Good job.

    Zubi: Alright!

    Bartomeu: But we’re too far gone in this transfer to just say no, though…

    Rosell: Then we’ll protract this transfer as long as possible so they get offended and pull out! [thinks] I’m a genius I’m a super genius the greatest genius to have geniused since Genius himself!

    Bartomeu and Zubi: Alright. That sounds like a plan.


    And there you have it. If Song signs, it’s because Arsenal weren’t offended. If he doesn’t, it’s because they were.

    Please, be offended, Arsenal!

    • Barcaleya
      August 18, 2012

      Kari, you’re a genius!!! Super genius. Hahaha

      We missed you. This post made me laugh 😀

        • August 18, 2012

          Now see, if you were still a mod, you could have made a new post, ya slacker! Hope you’re well, and it’s good to “hear” you again.

    • August 18, 2012

      Hair Level: SSJ3

      😆 So what hair level is Cesc? And Dani’s flesh-eating disease beard?

      Well done, Kari!

      • August 18, 2012

        As noted before, the Song signing (though I almost typed “singing”) is genius. Now Fabregas and Villa have carte blanche with their hair. Ditto for Alves and Pinto. Cornrows with bangles? No problem. At least it’s not a blonde mohawk.

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