Spanish Super Cup Leg I Liveblog

Let’s just get down to business shall we?

Starting XI:  Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Alexis, Messi

Bench: Pinto, Puyol, Alba, Sergi Roberto, Cesc, Tello, Villa

EE XI: Casillas Arbeloa Albiol Ramos Coentrao Alonso Khedira Callejon Ozil Ronaldo Benzema

 

The match starts at 22:30 Barcelona time / 4:30 EST. Tune in 7 minutes and 36 seconds before match time for the liveblog

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126 Comments

  1. VermontAve
    August 23, 2012

    Hectored! Comment from the last post:

    Anyone else notice Affelay didn’t make the squad for the second straight game? Definitely being loaned out or sold. Arsenal is the rumor if the Navas deal doesn’t go through.

  2. Jim
    August 23, 2012

    Most worrying thing for me is Puyol’s bench spot. Does it mean he has an ongoing niggle? Oh well, at least it looks like Mou isn’t coming at us.

  3. dean
    August 23, 2012

    Well Song is not on the bench, hope that means he’s a lock for Osasuna.

  4. hansh
    August 23, 2012

    Hmm, is anyone else in the US having issues with ESPN3? It keeps telling me “there was an error loading the event”.

  5. August 23, 2012

    My hands are getting cold. So it’s official, I’m nervous. Ahhhhhh!!!!!!

    I’m a bit surprised to see Callejon in the lineup. I thought Di Maria had a good pre-season, is he injured now?

    For us, I would like to see Adriano not venturing out too high up. Dude has no pace, and I guess our left side is where all attacking aims come to die. It’s almost go time. Visca Barca!

  6. mom4
    August 23, 2012

    Ready to watch at a bar with our penya. It’s happy hour and rail drinks are $4. So I’m feeling really good about the game right now. Who are we playing again?

  7. BarcaOwl
    August 23, 2012

    Sigh. No liveblog for me, looks like. Apparently it doesn’t like iPads. 🙁

    • Jim
      August 23, 2012

      My iPad was fine this time, Barcaowl.

      • BarcaOwl
        August 23, 2012

        Glad to hear it worked for you, Jim. Wonder what’s wrong with mine.

  8. replayed
    August 23, 2012

    Barcelona’s shooting has been woeful, but the level of play by both teams has otherwise been astonishing. The first touches are worth the price of admission alone.

    I’m missing Alba on the left hand side already, but it seems that Barcelona are more interested in being cautious than going all out. The second line is keeping back more than usual.

  9. replayed
    August 23, 2012

    Oh, and I find Gerry Armstrong soooo annoying…

  10. Ben
    August 23, 2012

    I have to say that I am starting to dislike Sanchez. Despite the fact that there was some minimal contact, those dives were embarrassing.

    • Ron Mexico
      August 23, 2012

      Yeah he had a howler and those dives compounded it.

    • nzm
      August 23, 2012

      He really needs to have that diving knocked out of him. As soon as he can’t get the better of his marker, he starts flopping. Just play, damnit.

  11. Judas Pissed
    August 23, 2012

    Far far far far far far far FAR too much p*ssing about for my liking. I know it’s a ‘friendly’ of sorts but can we really be THAT lackadaisical so early in the season?!

  12. August 23, 2012

    Well, we conceded two goals from a CK and a goalie error; not much else for them from open play. And a win is a win 😀

  13. nzm
    August 23, 2012

    That was a complete mind-fart from Valdes. Jeez….

    • August 23, 2012

      Seems like a trend – Gifting them goals through goalie errors or corner kicks.

      • nzm
        August 23, 2012

        I notice that he’s starting to come out more and get aerial, but if it’s at the expense of the connection between his brain and his feet, it isn’t worth it.

        • Jim
          August 23, 2012

          I suspect he is having to come out more at set pieces because of our lack of height.

          • nzm
            August 23, 2012

            Yeah – but the lack of height hasn’t changed since last season, nor the one before it, save for the times when Keita played, and Abi’s been gone for a lot of that time.

            I’m putting it down to the new GK coach – de la Fuente.

            It’s a good tactic that he’s teaching VV, because Pinto has it over VV in the air.

    • KevinO
      August 23, 2012

      Yeah, true that, but looked a bit like Di Maria fouled him tbf… Took way too long though :/

      • nzm
        August 23, 2012

        He still had time to hoof the ball away, but he decided to show off, try to recover the ball and play out. If there was the time to hoof the ball, it was then!

        • Jim
          August 23, 2012

          Can’t reply above, NZM, but I don’t think his coming out is all that new. The big difference for me is that Puyol can hold his own in the air. If all we have is Piqué he will have to take some of the duties. Agreed it was a stupid mistake and avoidable.

          I’ll say again though that Adriano could have helped by playing the ball to vv’ s right so he would have more time. You’re taught that at schoolboy level.

          • nzm
            August 23, 2012

            I can’t be sure without seeing a replay, but if Adriano had played it more to VV’s right, wouldn’t that have run the risk of the ball going into the goal if VV had messed it up?

            Oh, wait…… 😀

          • Roberto Senyera
            August 23, 2012

            Jim, with all due respect, Adriano playing the ball to Exxon’s weaker foot was NOT the problem here. That’s akin to blaming the guy at the pump before the Exxon Valdes left port and ran aground spilling massive liters of petrol along the Alaskan shores.

            Today, Exxon had plenty of time to avoid the disaster.

            One word — perspective.

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 23, 2012

      That Valdes thing was a total brain-fart. People here get Hectored, or Hlebbed, but watch out, you might even get Valdesed.

  14. Roberto Senyera
    August 23, 2012

    Saint Andres Iniesta 🙂

    Exxon Vades MkII — this tie would be effectively over if he didn’t — no you didn’t — yes, he did 🙁

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 23, 2012

      s/b Exxon Valdes MkII (he’s got me absolutely flabbergasted) ❗

    • G6O
      August 23, 2012

      To be fair, Messi was obliged to score that chance that he had 15 second earlier, and had he done that, there would have been no Valdes error

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 23, 2012

        You can’t be serious ❓

  15. mom4
    August 23, 2012

    Duct tape VV to a chair. Sit him alone in a room. Force him to watch EE’s. 3rd goal over and over and over…
    Other than that a satisfying match.

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 23, 2012

      LWB’s 3rd goal? Let’s hope not. My feed only showed a 2nd EE goal today 😉

      • mom4
        August 23, 2012

        OK, 2nd goal. I’m at my first penya clasico. I drank far too much. I’m lucky I can see my droid. 🙂 sorry

        • Roberto Senyera
          August 23, 2012

          Understandable mom4. I’m just giving you a wee bit of a hard time.

          As for alcohol, I’m gonna need more pints of Guinness (the black stuff) to get over Exxon today 😉

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 23, 2012

      Oh wow, that would be brutal torture.

  16. Nav
    August 23, 2012

    I can’t believe we’re playing this well with a new coach, and it’s only his second competitive game! If Tito can secure the trophy in the SB, I mean Mordor, then Tito’s statement would truly be made. Pep V2.

    • August 23, 2012

      I agreed. Only saw the second half, but this team had IT in them. I didn’t think this was our best lineup yet. Can’t wait till Villa and Alba get integrated. Woof!

  17. providence
    August 23, 2012

    dat was silly, how could you let your fans,your team, your new coach down like this?

  18. nzm
    August 23, 2012

    Wow – Adriano played a full game and looks as if he finished uninjured! 🙂

    • August 23, 2012

      Lol…He actually did alright. Didn’t leave our left-side defense unmarked.

      Ozil increased his minutes…from 60 to 79 😛

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 23, 2012

      Adriano played quite well. He gives us dependable cover on both flanks. Most Cules underrate his contribution to the club.

  19. replayed
    August 23, 2012

    Iniesta de mi vida for the Ballon d’or.

  20. BarcaRoja
    August 23, 2012

    That awful awful VV error.. Que horror!! Can’t get it out of my head, sigh…

  21. Roberto Senyera
    August 23, 2012

    Maybe Maradona was right about Valdes? That’s two major f*ckups by this five time Zamora winner against the LWBs in less than a calendar year. Iker doesn’t make those type of colossal brain farts in the massive matches. Maybe that’s one major reason why he’s ESP #1.

    I don’t wanna hear anybody saying that Exxon is a better keeper than Iker henceforth. The people that do simply need a straight jacket. Full stop.

    • Jim
      August 23, 2012

      I don’t think he is better than Casillas but he’s still a great keeper and one mistake, no matter how big, doesn’t change that.

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 23, 2012

        Correction: Two major mistakes against EE in less than one year. Massive brain cramps. Hence, he’ll be known as Exxon to me henceforth.

    • Ryan
      August 23, 2012

      Not exactly a huge game, but Casillas’ huge error vs. Valencia a few days ago cost them the full three points and let us have Albiol instead of Pepe today. I’d take VV over Casillas for Barca’s distribution any day.

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 23, 2012

        Correction: Iker’s mental error in R1 of La Liga v Valencia cost his team 2 points, not 3.

        However, he did us a favour by knocking out that alien looking Pepe 🙂

        • Ryan
          August 23, 2012

          That’s what I meant though – they didn’t get the full three points because of it. Could’ve even been worse had Soldado not been called offside!

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 23, 2012

        I’m amazed by the myopic, tribal bias of so many Cules. Iker is light years superior.

        Smell the coffee people. Simple question: change the two keepers and ask yourself which team is better off 😉

        Simple. It’s not rocket surgery everyone 😉

        • Ryan
          August 23, 2012

          Oh, I’m half Catalan, which means I drink plenty of coffee (cafetitos are appropriate at any time of day!), so smelling the coffee is not the problem!

          Casillas is definitely befitting of being Spain’s and EE’s #1, but do you really think his lack of playing the ball wouldn’t hurt us? We can’t win the aerial balls, so we’d be mostly losing possession any time Casillas decided to clear to the midfield rather than play it from the back like Valdes does.

          It’s not rocket surgery, but it’s also not the case that Casillas outclasses VV in every category either. Especially compared to VV about a year or two ago; he seemed to stop every 1 on 1 back then!

  22. August 23, 2012

    If the game was of higher significance, I would be incredibly upset at Valdes. But this is a pre-season trophy, and we won the first leg, let’s not get too mad Victor.

  23. Roberto Senyera
    August 23, 2012

    Okay. Enough of the negatives. Other than “that play” we kicked their asses today. We did not receive the score line that we deserved.

    Visca Barça!!

  24. Helge
    August 23, 2012

    I’m quite happy with the two kind a gifted goals to EE.

    It leaves room for improvement and tactical discussions for Tito and the team, in particular about ‘How to defend corners’.

    The Valdes goal is indifferent to me because 1. this is only the Supercup 2. he always plays this style, he should not change it. He is the beginning of nearly all passing routes that we are playing. 3. we still won the match and must be able to not lose in the Bernabow against this EE which is not in any good shape yet.

    In the end, play-wise (possession, passing, ball control (I-NIES-TA), movement, one-two’s etc.) we were so superior, I’m positively surprised!
    Very satisfied with Tito so far, the next big hurdle is awaiting his team at the Reyno de Navarra. Hope he makes it 3 out of 3 wins in professional matches 🙂

    • August 23, 2012

      I want the team to improve their control and solidity in midfield. Too many misplaced passes there (albeit at times RM fouled and pressured a lot in that area).

      • Jim
        August 23, 2012

        I didnt really see that until Xavi went off .

        • August 23, 2012

          I only saw the second half. Technically, I had a 45 min view of the game, and about 25 mins of it was kinda chaotic.

          • Jim
            August 23, 2012

            Okay. Our possession was much better first half. Think I saw about 76%

          • Ryan
            August 23, 2012

            From what I remember, the end of the first half had us with something around 78% possession, 9 shots from us, and ZERO shots from the blancos!

    • Jim
      August 23, 2012

      Good analysis. I agree. It’ll be interesting to see the lineup for the return. RM will have to come at us and there’ll be a lot of cross balls. I reckon it’ll be pique/Puyol at CB and I wouldn’t be surprised if Alexis loses his place, at least till he gets a bit more match practice. Adriano may have played his last match for a while if Alba can stay fit.

      Messi can’t have such a quiet time next game and I’d like to see us revert to the weekend’s quicker play on the counter.

  25. nia
    August 23, 2012

    Comfortable game and lead but for VV brain fart. Admitedly, he played a good game, claimed the ball when he needed too, bossed the area on corners but, that last piece of play, DAMN IT!!! On the bright side, Tito won vs ‘THE ONE’.

  26. TITO
    August 23, 2012

    So, so stupid of him, regardless that many times he saved our ass, his mistakes through the years are ridiculous. Messi should have scored that one on one with Casillas, but still, VV mistake was out of this world.
    Anyway, satisfied with the way we played, a little bit more direct play from us, less tiki-taka, but it is obvious that we lack a proper striker, maybe Villa will be that one in the coming season, we’ll see. Iniesta is becoming a master of this game, true heir of Zizou.

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 23, 2012

      In my book, Iniesta is the best midfielder I’ve ever seen. I don’t say that lightly.

  27. Xavi6
    August 23, 2012

    The team played fantastic today . Xavi and Iniesta were a joy to see , Tello was just fine .
    STILL CAN’T GET OVER THE SILLY VALDES MISTAKE .

  28. flyzowee
    August 23, 2012

    Aint it too early in the season for Messi to be in energy-conservation mode?
    Or should we now accept this as a permanent part of his game?

    Also what happened to sanchez dribbling? Its like hes lost that audacity to beat his man.

    Pedro and sanchez just couldnt beat their fullbacks, everytime we got in behind Madrids full backs we created danger.

    Overall 3-2 maybe reflects the run of play coz this was close

    • G6O
      August 23, 2012

      If Messi si going to play 90 minutes every game, then the answer is probably yes.

      The truth is that Sanchez has not been the same player he was in Udinese as far as dribbling goes last year either.

  29. Skipper5
    August 23, 2012

    that CR goal was very reminiscent of Puyol’s winner vs Germany in the WC semi-final,

  30. TITO
    August 23, 2012

    One other thing, what was Arbeloa doing all the time with his antics? He is increasingly becoming the most dis-likable player over there for me. He was in the top 5, but now even Pepe cant come close to him. Of course, the Special Five is untouchable.

  31. providence
    August 23, 2012

    …and sanchez? why? is he not the same person who was dribbling in world cup 2010?

  32. Well, we won the 1st tie. That’s nice. But conceded a goal like that left such a horrible taste, eh? Oh, VV, why?
    Like Tito said, “4-1 was close, it became 3-2, that’s football, it can happen.”

    What’s done is done. On a bright note, Pique got his swag back!
    Masch was awesome as always. Xavi and Iniesta were such a joy to watch. That 3rd goal.
    A draw in Bernabeu will give us trophy, hopefully we’ll celebrate on their ground.

  33. Kimcelona
    August 23, 2012

    VV’s mistake leaves a sour taste in my mouth but overall we played better than I expected. We still arent in form yet but the team play was pretty good. We bossed most of the game.

    Alexis was pretty disappointing in this game. His constant flopping in games is getting annoying. Get up and get on with it!

    Iniesta had moments of brilliance but this was not his best match either, especially the first half. Rushed passes, sloppy passes..
    Messi was not on his game either and Adriano still doesnt give me confidence on the left, but all this is to be expected..its still only the second competitive match.

    On the great side, Pique seems to be back, Pedrito is back, Masche is glorious as usual, Dani has renewed my faith in him, Busi is immortal and Xavi is God. haha.

    • On the great side, Pique seems to be back, Pedrito is back, Masche is glorious as usual, Dani has renewed my faith in him, Busi is immortal and Xavi is God. haha.

      Oh,no! Where’s Don Andres Iniesta? He’s also immortal 😀

      • Kimcelona
        August 23, 2012

        Sorry, didnt think Iniesta had a glorious match..just few brilliant moments. Those few moments of brilliance does not equal great match, for me.

        But in general, he is immortal! 😀

  34. jordi™
    August 23, 2012

    Well the 3-2 lies.Our actual defending was stellar, Alves ,Busi Pique and Mascherano were all immense. Valdes, ever the adrenaline junkie, has to make things ‘interesting’. Before he concussed pique in the Chelsea game, Gerard and Masch had a good balance going on then Puyol had to come in, 2 similar players leads to Ramires escaping and of course not to be outdone VV charges out and Ramires chips him. I guess hes still trying to find the right balance between being too reactive and too laid back. Tough job.

    Overall I guess its good there are still flaws to work out this early.If we were reaching the heights of November 29 2010 in August, there would be nothing to improve towards come May.

    • August 23, 2012

      Its not like he chooses to screw up. Messi missed a PK that game. I don’t recall the same criticism leveled at him.

      He makes mistakes, everyone does. His rarely come at a very crucial time. OTOH, he rises to the occasion come the important ones, the 03/04 away clasico, the 05/06 final, the 08/09 semi (both legs) come to my mind off the top of my head. Nevermind the Zamoras he keeps collecting.

      Tough and thankless job..

      • jordi™
        August 23, 2012

        In this last months they came at crucial times though, but its ok We had Bonano Rutsu and Enke’s depression started here so im not criticising if thats what you think, just pointing out what happened as i saw it.

        • August 23, 2012

          Still don’t think a GK is culpable for conceding in a 1v1 situation.

          Bonano/Rustu/Enke all were mediocre as far as I can recall. But that had more to do with the defense in general. VV stood out..

          • Srini
            August 23, 2012

            Valdes is a terrific goalkeeper and does not compare with some of his mediocre predecessors. Certainly.

            But that was not an one-on-one and it was made into one by Valdes. He could have quickly passed the ball instead of inviting pressure almost deliberately.

            Considering this is his second mistake in an El Clasico within an year that was his own, he is come under legitimate criticism. By his own standards, that is only fair.

          • August 23, 2012

            Ramires was way ahead of the nearest defender (Busi). If Valdes would’ve held his line, he’d easily have got on the Busi’s goal-side, resulting in a very simple 1v1 or even worse, a red and a sending off.

            In either case, there’s not much a GK can do when a player at this level has enough time to choose his spot..

          • August 23, 2012

            *Ramires would’ve easily got Busi’s goal-side (In between the goal and Busi).

            Its late here. Very late..

      • Barcathegreatestever
        August 23, 2012

        Touche! sure Valdes getting tangled up in his box is a highlight for the boner awards but it doesn’t change a thing for me. Barca outplayed Madrid all over the pitch and it was pure delight. So happy for the team, what a joy!
        Watch Madrid use the same tactics next game trying to steal a goal. They were reduced to an average team tonight and that alone is worthy of celebrating.
        Niiice job Tito!

      • Kimcelona
        August 23, 2012

        Doesnt compare for me.
        Messi missing the PEN was down to sheer badluck..if it had been a centimetre lower we’d be legends now.
        VV had ample time to clear out the ball. He could have kicked out, so something..trying to be too fancy there with unrushing EE player. Stupid error.

        Doesnt mean I want him gone though. Just that his stupid mistake made the tie open again.

        • August 23, 2012

          We still are legends.

          Nevertheless, Messi missed from a PK. Again. In the most important match we played last season, in the CL semi where a final was within reach. Not in a pre-season trophy that people were talking about boycotting awhile back. You’re right, their mistakes do not compare..

          • Kimcelona
            August 23, 2012

            I’m not seeing a parallel with an unlucky missed PEN and VV gifting a goal to Real Madrid. Though, I’m sure Messi was criticized too.

            No one’s saying VV is a horrible keeper. He just f*cked up in this game. The end. Its a fact. One that can’t be changed. It was an embarassing and totally preventable error. Hence, why he is criticized.

          • Kimcelona
            August 23, 2012

            And you’re right, we are legends.
            I just meant we’d probably have celebrated a back-to-back CL if we had more luck.

          • August 23, 2012

            Criticized? Scroll up. He’s being crucified.

            Both made mistakes unwittingly. The consequences of Messi’s mistake were far dire. Yet he isn’t subjected to similar criticism.

            VV has proven himself consistently, on much more important circumstances. He’s the best for our system. He made a mistake. Get over it..

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 23, 2012

        I could win Zamoras with our possession …

  35. TITO
    August 23, 2012

    And this is not just a friendly, or just a preseason cup. This is US against THEM, we must win.

  36. AJ_10
    August 23, 2012

    Few thoughts

    -Alexis is built like a tank yet gets out muscled very easily and flops quite a lot. Also seems unable to beat a defender. Disappointing

    -Pedros! first touch for that goal was mind blowing. Both him and Pique are totally back.

    -Messi had a quiet game. I mean, he can dribble anyone at anytime, Got kicked around a lot and had lovely moments of magic, but he still wasn’t involved. And he doesn’t press anymore.
    I’d rather have a 100% Messi for 70% of the matches than a 70% Messi for 100% matches.

    -Busquets and Iniesta were immense. Busquets making many attacking runs as well. Guess they trust sMasche to hold his own at the back. And he does. Xavi was bossing the midfield, as usual.

    -Does EE allow us so much pocession or are we that good at retaining it?Do they plan to play on the counter or do we force them into it? Suprised that a team like EE wouldn’t want more of the ball.

    – I hate the new commentators

    • G6O
      August 23, 2012

      The coaching staff’s idea probably is to have 100% Messi for 20% of the duration of each game and 50% the rest of it, which should be enough to win it.

  37. Jared10
    August 23, 2012

    They controlled the game extremely well I thought. Xavi, INNIESTA motm. Nice to see Pedro and Pique stepping up again. Did anyone one else notice that Inniesta sort of played a Messi role this game? I’m not great at analysing but thats something I noticed throughout. Aj_10, I agree, I like the way Tito is playing Busquets. He was very effective today(minus going down a little easily…) As for Messi, theres no need to panic. He stepped up and scored the penalty, and although it wasn’t his best match, he’s still very much in form. He didn’t get enough of the ball tonight, but a lot of that was to do with the way RM defended him. (Probably why Inniesta had more room to operate with the ball in the second half)Besides a corner kick and a lucky goal (come on VV!)the back four looked promising and managed to contain RM’s counter attacks. Just some thoughts, I’m new here so go easy on me!

    • Messiah10
      August 23, 2012

      Well stated. Messi was whiskers away from a hat trick! As for VV, well, you take the good, the bad, & the ugly!

  38. Oil_Can
    August 23, 2012

    Oh man, Xavi’s goal, oh this is why I love Barca.

    Its good to see that even when Madrid show the slightest sense of pushing forward we instantly take advantage. Also the joy in seeing Mourinho’s confident face in the first half change back to his usual normal self.

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 23, 2012

      Valdes totally Exxoned it today. He deserves a verb for brain farts.

  39. And Alexis really need to cut his antics.
    Those dives and complaints, stop it. He has an athletic body yet fall down so easily. It’s really annoying and embarassing.

  40. Bill
    August 23, 2012

    Valdes cough up was pretty bad, especially when the whole world is watching. Poor guy will continue to be judged by such instances rather than how awesome he is starting moves from the back. To be honest, I hate how Casillas just boots the ball forward especially when playing for Spain. I think that’s a cop out. He puts more pressure on the other players who have to try and recover the balls. I’ll take this Valdes mistake any day. I hope he keeps passing. He just needs to stop being nervous.

    I’m a little worried about how cavalier Pique is while going forward. He does it a little too carelessly and way to much. But what gets me is how he doesn’t bother trying to run back to position.

    Iniesta….wow! If this guy loved to score goals, he’d be a lock as ballon d’or.

    I laughed so hard when we scored that first goal. It was as if we were toying with them.

    Pedro got his confidence back! Great job. Barca needs to get him in behind defenders more. He is our second best finisher in my opinion.

    Messi….hope Kxevin is not doing the review. 🙂

    • Bill
      August 23, 2012

      Kudos to Madrid for keeping the antics at a minimum today. It was nice seeing players hugging it out after a game for a change. So all they wanted was a trophy for them to stop throwing tantrums?

  41. K_legit in Oz
    August 23, 2012

    I am loving the new direct style we employ!

    • Ryan
      August 23, 2012

      Hooray! Would’ve been crazy to think that la Liga would be unavailable at all to US cable viewers.

    • Bill
      August 23, 2012

      That’s really good news! I can now record the games

    • mom4
      August 23, 2012

      Giving Verizon a couple of weeks. Jumping ship back to Comcast if they don’t get it soon.

  42. Roberto Senyera
    August 23, 2012

    Albiol should have been sent off today. This referee was extremely lenient.

  43. August 23, 2012

    Just finished watching the game in full. A few random observations:

    -No, we didn’t play direct. Though, RM mastered the art of tactical fouls to perfection. They body checked everyone near the penalty area. Messi was a victim of that too many times in the first half. Need to make use of free-kicks outside the area, since they seem to foul us so much. Must make them pay next time.

    -Disappointed in Alexis’ play. He couldn’t dribble. But I didn’t think he dove or complained that much.

    -Xavi was man of the match for me. I think he lost some weight b/c I could see his cheekbones more prominently. Or maybe summer tan accentuated that area of the face a bit more. Iniesta had flashes of brilliance. Dani and Pique were men of the second half for me. I love this new striker/midfielder Geri.

    -Not overly concerned with the result. I thought we were fit and executed the game plan as best as we could. Still worry about the lack of striking options.

    -The pitch looked not so well. Maybe because of the humidity and hot temperature (51% humidity and 90F temp at kickoff).

    -RM’s new kit is so basic, which leaves me in the state of meh. Iker’s kit is so red/tomato. My worst dressed player of the night has to go to him. Lordy, Red top with red shorts with red and white stripped socks. On top of that, black Addidas stripes coupled with white typeface on that shirt. Oh, did I mention, magenta and black leather gloves? Eck! I got too distracted to check his boots. Please, don’t try these color combinations and textures at home, especially if you have pale skin.

    -Couldn’t figure out what happened to Ronaldo’s hair. Gel and twist and a string of hair hung over his forehead. Mad Men inspired, maybe?

    -I’m convinced that our new kit has a more fitted shape to it. And that is fine with me 😀

    -Oh, mini clasico this Sunday. Yay, more clasico!!!

    • G6O
      August 23, 2012

      Xavi definitely lost some weight over the summer. Messi did too, BTW – in the end of last season both had that thin but noticeable layer of fat on their neck and cheeks that makes, now it’s gone. I didn’t watch the friendlies, so I only noticed this during the La Liga game on Sunday, but it is quite visible; Xavi also looks much younger this way

  44. andres ito
    August 23, 2012

    +if i am making a team…vv is my first choice..no question…

    +xavi does look super skinny-whats up with that?

    +great to see a “normal” futbol match played today..without all the extra hoopla…

    +im a little confused by the comments about iniesta/xavi giving the ball away too easily..the feed i was watching frequently posted their passing stats..and they seemed to be at about 90% + completion rate…not to mention they were outpassing r.m.’s midfield by 3 to 1…

    +pedro’s goal= world class..his goals always make me so happy..

    +i agree with you bill-sometime pique freaks me out going forward.. but man, the guy’s got skills! you can;t blame him!

  45. Roberto Senyera
    August 23, 2012

    Valdes isn’t far off from becoming a liability. He’s the only position in our best XI that doesn’t have a legitimate shout for world class. Every other position has a reasonable argument. VV is an anchor weighing this great side down. He is a (relative) liability. We’d be better off with a real world class GK than this mug. Another massive Exxon howler today. Jesus Christ!

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 23, 2012

      Pepe Reina never shagged the pooch this badly twice within nine months’ time v a top rival. VV is an anchor — sorry. Truth people. Wake up and smell the caffeine 😉

  46. August 23, 2012

    Some random thoughts:

    Did Piqué shave Tello’s hair when he was sleeping?

    Messi started brightly but really faded in the second half – especially after he had been cynically fouled a couple times. I hope this doesn’t portend a Messi who can be put off his game by cynical fouling.

    Tello and Sergi were on the bench when Afellay on the bench could have played both their positions and allowed for another player on the bench. Having two B team players on the bench ahead of him certainly suggests that his time at the club is coming to an end.

    Speaking of Tello, he is obviously impressing Vilanova and he looks like he is going to have a real break out season.

    Pique and Busquets impressed me most today. Both look to have taken on a lot of responsibility in Vilanovas squad – taking even more diverse responsibilities on the field than before. Pique was all over the pitch. Busquets was phenomenal – dropping deep to fill in for both fullbacks, occasionally dropping behind the center backs to be a sweeper, getting forward more and playing incisive passes, he was excellent out there today. He still sucks at heading though.

    Its been looking to me like Xavi is playing deeper in Vilanovas system and this was true for a lot of the match today – often dictating as the deepest midfielder on the pitch. Good to see he still is willing to get forward and score goals.

  47. Blau-Grenade
    August 24, 2012

    Great game, I just hoped Tito would have opted for a more attacking approach with Tello and Alba after how the team played in the first game against Sociedad.

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