Barcelona – Real Sociedad Liveblog

La Liga action is finally back! Despite how incompetent the RFEF is, it seems to have started without a hitch. We can only hope the same happens for the liveblog today, as I’ll be using a new platform and that usually means anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The liveblog window won’t show up here until I’m about to open it, so don’t fret. I’ll try to start 1o to 15 minutes before the match, but I have to go kick some ass  in my own game first. Enough technical stuff.

Starting XI: Valdes Alves Puyol Mascherano Alba Xavi Busquets Cesc Pedro Messi Tello



The match starts at 21:00 Barcelona time / 3:00 PM EST / Happy hour somewhere


    1. you scooped me! gah!

      no iniesta! no pique! no alexis! will Tito keep us guessing as Pep did? i am sure the upcoming thursday match is a factor.

    2. Strange to have Tello in the first XI without promoting him.
      My understanding id that if he plays 10 games for the first team in a season he can’t play for the B team so Tito must not be planning to give him to the B team often. I’m still concerned about Villa’s fitness.

    3. Well, Villa wasn’t really supposed to be ready before September anyhow, but Afellay is the only surprise for me. Montoya and Bartra will come in eventually, JDS is gone, only a question of when/where and I think Fontas will go somewhere on loan, but a legit loan, where we will see him again.

      But Afellay is a stunner …. I didn’t see that one coming at all.

  1. Real Sociedad are playing like a champions league side. Lovely open and attacking end to end game. What a joy to see Barca play.

    1. Love the left side of the pitch, Alba and Tello are combining very well!!! Alves, inspite of all his dynamism, is looking like an island compared to Alba and Tello combo.

  2. Tried to sign in with first ipad then Macbook pro. Neither seem to be working. Is this platform wars? 🙂

  3. Wow, what the hell has happened to Tello!? Non-stop crosses and cutbacks, with not a single shot attempt!!

    He’s like a completely different player. Perhaps the prospect of being sent back to B finally scared him into listening to what everyone had been telling him to no avail. It’s like the light bulb came on for him.

    I used to say that I didn’t see the point of him, since he was so stubborn. I have to take that back now.

    1. Absolutely this. Last season, he shoots instead of calmly lofting that ball to Pedro. Kinda makes you wonder less about the Afellay exclusion. Cuenca etched in stone, Tello playing his way in, Song kills Afellay midfield opportunities, particularly once Thiago returns …. and we haven’t even accounted for Villa, Pedro and Sanchez. Hard to see where Afellay would get ANY time.

  4. Tello was the most influential player of the first half with the three goals from open play all coming from his play…

  5. HT! I’m soooo happy!

    We look so sharp. Our finishing is impeccable.

    Hope we always play like this

  6. Wow. What a 1st half. Fantastic movement. Messi’s 1st goal was so sick! I jumped up out Of my seat at a quiet bar. Everyone else turned and looked at me and I said 2 a family eating that “He’s the best ever!”. “watch this!”. They did and loved it, though I think they were annoyed with me talking to the TV throughout the match. The only downside to watching at this bar is they wouldn’t turn on Ray & Phil for me so I have to listen to COUNTRY sometimes! 🙁

  7. We are at the 74 min. when I’m writing this. This is the time 2 take Messi out. Yes he could get a hat trick, but he could also pick up an injury. Nope. pedro coming off. Looks like Tito bows to Messi as wepp

  8. We will learn much more about this club on Thursday, but some things worth noting:

    –Tello! His speed of play today epitomized “Hurry, but don’t rush.” Excellent passes, no stupid shots, maintained tactical discipline out on left wing.

    –Alba. Faster than I thought. Still some lax moments, but man, looking like a good buy. Suddenly the left side is open for business.

    –Messi. Rested and ready. So sharp, so early.

    –Speed of transitions. There are two ways to get at a team’s box directly: a traditional forward, or fast transitions. We haven’t gotten to the other end that fast since the days of Eto’o and Henry.

    –Speed of ball movement. One-touch made Xavi’s life so much easier today.

    Thursday will be a real test, but one that I am looking forward to, so that we know how ready this club is to kick some tail this season.

    1. Tello did have one stupid shot in the 57th minute. The fact that I noticed is actually proof of how well he played otherwise.

      Alves had kind of an off day by his standards. He got rolled a few times and was out of position for the RS goal. All a sudden, the attack doesn’t revolve on the right side anymore. He’ll get used to it.

      I love all the width. Will make it so much harder for the bus parkers.

      I do wish Tito had taken Messi off just to make the point. Maybe that’s a battle for another day.

      Pedro(!!) showing signs of life.

      David Villa.

    2. Yes! Distribution was spaced much more evenly across pitch through multiple outlets rather than getting focused/concentrated centrally through Xavi & Busi. We avoided “bottle necking” play

  9. Villa!!!

    Also, I’m as happy with the attack as I am concerned about the defense. Not to nit-pick in a 5-1 victory, but there were times in the second half where the Sociedad forwards were running rings around the boys at the back.

    But on the other hand, excellent form going into the Clasico, great way to kick off the season, and Villa’s return with that picture showing his wife and daughters “Impossible without you guys” awww 🙂

  10. Breathtaking match for the team – especially for the first match of the season. We’ve struggled to open the season & reintegrate into play in the past.

    Just think back to how physically limited in terms of fitness the team looked at the start of last season.

    Not going on a international tour and having a true pre-season likely helped a great deal. I also wonder if Tito altered the periodization to enhance early season play. Given how tight La Liga will be dropping early points isn’t as viable a risk anymore.

    Tactically-this was just a scintillating match. The speed of the transition play was startling. This is exactly what the team desperately needed. It added dynamism & directness into the template.

    The key was the way we organized multiple outlets to cycle through the build up phase of attack. Just remarkable stuff.

    This match was the next logical step forward from where the team was headed at the end of last season – the 2nd match vs Getafe in particular.

    1. I was just thinking that this game looked so different than the start of last season. Everyone seems comfortable playing with each other, passing was crisp, and they seemed to be mostly in tune with each other. It was so good to watch.
      Also, I second: Villa.

    2. What about the 5-0 opener vs. Villarreal last year? As I recall, we had substantial analysis into why that game was so great. We were just as stunning at home last year – it’s the away games where we struggled offensively!

    3. The Villareal manita was the first match of 2011-but it took place later than today’s first 2012 match. That first league match last season took place on August 29th.

      The more comparable matches time was last season to this one were the Super Cup matches vs RM 8/14 & 8/17. Those matches the club really struggled physically with their fitness/endurance (yet still won!).

      Thought the club was significantly sharper & in better fitness levels than this time last season.

      That said-completely agree with your point on needing to improve on our away form. That will be a key part of the test for this season.

    4. That’s true, good point about the timing of the Supercopa and first league match. In comparing last year’s Supercopa matches and this one, there’s definitely a sharper and more balanced start this year. Although Messi still managed to score twice despite the lack of conditioning (I saw him do that live; he was just a goal-scoring blur regardless of fitness levels!)

  11. Only three thoughts.

    1. What an absolute joy it is to witness Barca back in action!

    2. Don’t think I have ever seen 3 goals in the opening 10 minutes or 4 in a quarter hour.

    3. Villa is back. And how. Broken left tibia? no problem. Goal!

  12. I couldn’t get into this liveblog either. It accepted my username, but my comments never showed up. I’m using Firefox if that makes any difference.

    1. Any other firefox users have this problem (or more importantly, not have this problem)?

      The people who run this are surprisingly good with emails, so I’ll see if I can get to the bottom of it.

    2. Have a look below, Calvin. Safari was a no go but I did get in with Firefox. Thrown out as soon as Villa scored though. Maybe you had an inkling I was gonna have a go at Sadster over his Villa comment and took preventative action ?


    3. Blitz, I tried both on iPad and Macbook (Safari) to get on but had the problem you describe. However, when I moved to Firefox it started to work. There was a suggestion above that flash might be the problem. Might be an idea to install the latest version.

  13. That was so exciting! Great build up plays, great transitions and everyone played good. Still only Sociedad but I’m just glad to see Barca playing so well again!

    MrChip on twitter must be an EE supporter..his/her “facts” are always curiously presented. Way to dampen the party with “None of the 2 previous Barcelona coaches that scored 5 goals in their first La Liga match won the title that season.” Sigh.

  14. Zubi just confirmed that they are working on the exits of a few players. Hope Afellay isn’t listed. I really want to see him wit us for an entire season.

    1. I’m pretty sure it includes JDS and maybe Fontas.
      Earlier, one of the Barca board members, I think it was Zubi himself, said that Afellay would not be leaving this summer. I have no reason to believe he lied.

    1. With the way we played today-his role really changed significantly. He was at the cross roads of where we’re most vulnerable playing the set up we did today.

      It’ll be an adjustment for him. But he’ll “get it”

  15. noted that griezmann caused us less problems than i remember him doing in the past, except for a couple moves in the first half. then again i had a blurry stream.

    so maybe that was a point in favor of our defensive showing.

  16. What an awesome way to start the season. I thought Tello started to raise his sale price, but maybe that’s just being cynical. One thing’s for sure, even though he played really well, if one of our forwards/wide players has to be sold, I’d rather it be him than Afellay.

    Hope the team keeps humming on Thursday.

  17. Hadn’t realised how much I’d missed the team until tonight. So many good performances and a clear change to quicker ball movement to the forwards. Both wings now functioning but we’ll need to adjust so both FBs don’t get caught up raiding too often. With the pace of both FBs we should never again be caught light at the back . Wasn’t happening tonight but it will.

    I have a feeling that at some point Tito will sub Messi ( but not often). I suppose it can’t be while he is on a hat trick though.

    To those wanting to see Affellay stay I fear tonight was a confirmation that his days are numbered at Barca, both in his exclusion and Tello’s form. Ibi ( and I think he’s a great kid) has never performed like that for Barca.

    I hope tonight will also signal an end to the Pique doubters. Apart from three or four wobbly games in the middle of the season he had a season broken up by injury and, towards the end Guardiola’s reluctance to play him. He has been back in great form for some time now and will be the rock of our defence for the next six years or so, imo.

    Finally, doesn’t Iniesta look as if he’s finally realised what most of us have known for a while – that he is the second best player on the planet?

    1. “Ibi has never performed like that for Barca”

      Well, he was aces against RM in the semi of the CL two seasons ago when his inclusion directly lead to the first goal by Messi (and the skinning of Marcelo to boot), no?

      Plus he also hasn’t had many chances because of his injury. We have a lot of important games this week, so it could be tactical reasons as well. Think it’s too early to come to any conclusions. Remember, Pique and Iniesta weren’t in the starting eleven but that doesn’t mean they won’t be starters in the future. 😀

      That said, it was surprising to see him not even make the bench…

    2. I think way too much has been made of that one incident in the Clasico. Ibi, imo, did nothing special other than make a determined bid to go for the byeline. If you watch closely the reason Marcello didn’t stay with him is that he slipped at the vital moment of turning. Don’t remember anything else he did that game.

      However, I’m not saying about his leaving with any sense of glee. He seems a nice kid but to play for Barcelona you need to have at least one world class skill. It’s why the likes of GDS, Bojan, JDS, Caceres, and many others are no longer with us and why I fear Ibi, Fontas and possibly Cuenca (maybe even Tello) will have a hard time making it.

      Pique and Iniesta were obviously rested after their travels. Still, maybe Ibi will also play on Thursday. I’m just not sure what he does that’s special.

  18. Kxevin has alteady mentioned key takeaways. For me the pointers were from players who weren’t on the pitch. Fontas and Afellay seem to be on their way out.
    I am still not a great Tello fan. I think his dribbling needs to improve. Arbeloa had him in his pocket in the clasico.

    If players remain injury free, then we have excellent back up for all positions except messi. We were short on forward position last year.

  19. I’m pretty sure Afellay’s exclusion was because of the Eid ul Fitr.
    Happy Eid Mubarak for all the muslims in this blog!

    I missed the game, will check the highlights soon.. But so happy with the manita and Villa! Great start! 😀

  20. So. Tito wins his first Liga game game 5-1. Pep lost his first Liga game 0-1.

    Tito > Pep?


    *backs away slowly*


  21. My first experience trying to download a game.

    At this transfer rate, I’ll be able to watch the first half at about the time Messi’s son is playing for us. 🙁

    Using pakman’s—any suggestions?

    1. Use his mediafire links to download, even though it means multiple downloads per file. Great bandwidth, no waiting between downloads.

  22. SO, are the conspiracy theories going to start again? Soldado denied a goal from a dubious offside call. I’ll remember those 2 points at the end of the season! 🙂 Interesting that Benzema and Khedira didn’t start for EE. Wonder if Mou was thinking about Thur. too. Most likely. Iker & Pepe had vicious clash of heads. Pepe may not be ready Thur. as mentioned above. Iker was definitely dazed afterward.

    I am so happy with the way we played. It was a complete team effort. Alves was out of position for the goal conceded, but he had a pretty good game. Everyone else was fantastic. Pique came on and contributed some very nice tackles. He seemed assured and measured. Iniesta came on and I thought he was hesitant at first, but worked his way into the game with a nice shot on target and a very lovely assist. Villa, what more can we say? Absolute inspiring performance! That was a clinical left footed shot. His 1-2’s were nice even if they didn’t materialize because it showed his movement and reaction time were there. Visca Barca!

    1. “Soldado denied a goal from a dubious offside call.”

      On the other hand, Madrid earned a pretty obvious penalty that the ref didn’t call.

      I’m not ready to call the refereeing suspect this year. Yet.

  23. Amazing game, but we were just as amazing at home last year. I really, really hope we can transfer this dominance into our away games!

  24. Oh, the liveblog disappeared. So what happened in the liveblog, truly stayed in the liveblog.

    I enjoyed this game a lot more than the 5-0 opener against Villarreal last season. I felt La Real actually came to play until the very end; didn’t get that feeling with the yellow submarines last year.

    Though we were playing more direct and fast, I noticed when the team made those moves, they bypassed the midfield of Xavi and Busi more often. I like what Cesc can do. Now I’m thinking maybe Song-Cesc-Thiago can be our plan b, a more vertical and higher tempo midfield.

    1. Even though the score was reflective of our dominance, I agree that Real Soci were putting in the effort. I was impressed with some of their play out of the back. Most teams would’ve just hoofed it out of the back, but they kept the ball on the ground and got out of some tricky situations from close, controlled, passing.

      I saw Jonas scored versus EE. Graham Hunter is big on him. He has a blog on EspnFC that highlights several young players to watch. Very good read.

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