Match Comments Post: Barcelona – Spartak

Bring on the Champions League, everyone! It is time to get this tournament going and light up the Internet with lots of WE ARE SPARTA(K) jokes!

Check out the lineups:

Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Pedro, Messi, Tello

Spartak: Dykan, K. Kombarov, Insaurralde, Suchy, D. Kombarov, Källstrom, Rafael Carioca, McGeady, Romulo, Ari, Emenike

Some more Barca photos on Crocura here – http://crocura.com/messi_official

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

266 Comments

  1. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Spartak have the ball. What’s up with that?

    • simple_barcafan
      September 19, 2012

      Barca won the toss and decided which goal to attack, so Spartak has to start. Correct me if I am wrong…

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        No, I was being sarcastic, as in the ball belongs to us alone, why are we allowing the other team to touch it. Spartak kept the ball longer than we usual allow at the start of the game. Oh, if only we had a sarcasm font. 🙂

        • simple_barcafan
          September 19, 2012

          huh! I should have known lol..that was dumb of me.. 🙂

  2. BarcaOwl
    September 19, 2012

    Why are they having the ball? We should be keeping it.

  3. Ryan
    September 19, 2012

    They got some strong ones in Moscow, eh? Alves just bounced off their #9. Now it’s time to get our ball back!

  4. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Pique asking to come off. This is not good.

  5. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Song’s baptism by fire as a CB or does Busi cover it?

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        Driven hard into the right side of goal. So, yes, he did his typical open his body shoot for far post thing, but this time it went in.

      • Messiah10
        September 19, 2012

        Of course! It curved in right side of net right into the corner! The ball was probably a foot over and curved in! Sick goal. So Jim or Bill, whichever one was saying he needed to stop that, Eat it! 😉 j/k I agree he needs more shots to select from, but when you can do that. . .!

        • Jim
          September 19, 2012

          A little bit of research before posting wouldn’t go amiss. I think you’ll find that I was saying he was a better bet than Cuenca because he operated at pace and “this guy can finish” !!

          • Messiah10
            September 19, 2012

            exactly y i said jim or bill. duh

        • G6O
          September 19, 2012

          In this situation this was precisely the thing to do. What we were discussing is that he should not do it all the time, especially in situations in which he as plenty of other options

        • Jim
          September 19, 2012

          Not sure about the speed of ball movement. I think we’re doing okay there. That’s one of the reasons the ball is coming off us it’s being hit so hard. I’m still comfortable we’ll get another couple.

          Any word on Pique? I missed the start.

    • Ryan
      September 19, 2012

      The kid seems made for the CL. 🙂

  6. Jafri
    September 19, 2012

    I like that Tello. Great goal.

    Btw is Song playing CB? Can’t tell – crappy stream.

  7. ciaran
    September 19, 2012

    Not bad for a one trick pony. 🙂
    Just kidding, What a goal though

  8. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Better suit this time. Tito. Nice.

  9. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Geez, sell that Messi kid. Should’ve scored there.

    • Dave
      September 19, 2012

      Ref would want to start reaching for the cards

    • elacule
      September 19, 2012

      i felt sorry for him, but i also laughed a little, just from the way Dani and VV both rolled back on the ground in the same way, and knowing that he must have been so mad.

      i’m not worried – they’ll be fine.

    • nzm
      September 19, 2012

      First he does his best to get a yellow by climbing all over the back of a Russian player and then he scores an OG!

  10. nzm
    September 19, 2012

    Does Dani want to play in Russia? 🙂

  11. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    The way things are going Barca won’t have a Cb left. Defense is shambolic

  12. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    Zubi sign a cb for the love of god.

  13. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    WTHell is Song doing going for the man instead of the ball, I am sure he could have got the ball if he went for it.

  14. BarcaOwl
    September 19, 2012

    Come on, team! Don’t you want to go to Wembley?

  15. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    WTF with the slowing down on counters

  16. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    Love Tello’s pace. Wow. Just kicks the ball in front of the defender and out runs the defender. He has some of the right ingredients for greatness. Just hope he is hardworking.

  17. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    That, my dear friends,is why Busi starts.

  18. AJ_10
    September 19, 2012

    Messifans benefit:

    Fab had a decent header saved from a Xavi pass
    Barca trying for the second goal but Spartak very physical
    Their 9 just shrugged off 3 of our players

  19. nzm
    September 19, 2012

    Is that ball over-inflated? None of them can stop it tonight. Touches are super-heavy.

  20. nzm
    September 19, 2012

    At the rate that this is going, we’ll be lucky if we have an 11 to field against Granada later this week.

  21. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Anybody else want to see Montoya right now?

  22. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    Why is everyone getting frustrated? They are parking an 11 man bus. What do you expect? That’s not easy to break down!

    • nzm
      September 19, 2012

      The frustration comes from the fact that Barca is allowing that 11 man bus to be effective. If you’re going to play kick-around, play slowly so that the bus has enough time to park again, and not create movement, the bus will always be there.

    • mom4
      September 19, 2012

      We look sloppy in the back. And we’re not moving the ball fast enough to break down the bus. We get a break, and we slow down play, allowing their defense to set up again.

      • September 19, 2012

        Maybe it’s a good idea to put Thiago? He can dribble and break the defensive lines.

  23. Momo
    September 19, 2012

    Why is alves constantly drifting into the center. Stay out wide damn it!

  24. K_legit in Oz
    September 19, 2012

    the hell happened to Pique? Our defense was shambolic on the counter where they scored! First Mascherano got skinned, then Song did some dance routine and Alves with a beautiful side foot finish unfortunately in our own net..
    Meh

    Plus, sleepwalking Messi is not good Messi

  25. TITO
    September 19, 2012

    The ball is moving too slow, we can’t open spaces, Messi is trying something, i can’t figure it out what…we’ll be lucky if we score a goal in the second half. Something must be changed, maybe Villa for Pedro, or Thiago for Cesc…

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      Alba for Adriano. Villa for Tello.

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        Alba’s not available.

        Villa in for sure. Monti for Alba- dude’s getting on my nerves today.

  26. AJ_10
    September 19, 2012

    Spartak constantly hacking at our players
    Should take advantage of the free kicks

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      We’re fine. Our wingers, hence, Tello and Pedro need to get to the end line. I saw Pedro do it once and put a dangerous ball in the box. Needs to happen more frequently. Instead, their just turning back to midfield and passing. Spartak are playing a little rough and we haven’t gotten calls. Cesc had legitimate penalty called ignored. We’ll be fine. Everyone needs to chillz.

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        Everyone needs to chillz.

        Calm, confident cules? Oxymoron!

        • Messiah10
          September 19, 2012

          Hilarious mom4! I know, I know. Just trying to be a calming force in this typhoon of panic! 😮 My panic switch almost got flipped on! lol

    • Momo
      September 19, 2012

      No we’re actually playing quite well. Should be a matter of time before we score.

      Unfortunately Messi is taking it a little too easy though, no pressuring, very little movement,, and overall well below his standards.

      Alves is constantly drifting into central positions. Not sure if this is tactical or just a habit now. Either way he is being missed on the right.

  27. Jim
    September 19, 2012

    I wouldn’t say so. It’s one of those occasions when we need a little patience. I’m more worried about the Classico if Pique is out. Any word on the injury?

    • mom4
      September 19, 2012

      barcastuff‏@barcastuff

      Official: Pique has injured his left foot, he will undergo further test to know for how long he will be out #fcblive

      So, no news is…um…no news. 🙁

    • simple_barcafan
      September 19, 2012

      Official: Pique has injured his left foot, he will undergo further test to know for how long he will be out

      via @barcastuff

  28. Judas Pissed
    September 19, 2012

    Why not bring Bartra on for Pique? He was our centre back ‘signing’ in the summer wasn’t he?

  29. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    Club needed to sign a cb last summer. Puyol can play a max of 30 games a season

  30. September 19, 2012

    Puyol & Pique out.
    Yet another CB crisis. this is vexing.

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      Especially with an 8 pt lead in the table. I don’t want us to lose a 8 point lead due to injuries!

    • Blau-Grenade
      September 19, 2012

      That was a very close call.

      • Messiah10
        September 19, 2012

        That was millimeters wasn’t it?

    • nzm
      September 19, 2012

      These Spartak guys have to get tired sometime soon, don’t they? 😀

  31. AJ_10
    September 19, 2012

    Disallowed Dani goal for offside (correct side this time)

  32. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    Wow, what a bummer that was. Messi misses on one side, and they score on the counter.

  33. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    Murdered on the counter. Super cup all over again

  34. AJ_10
    September 19, 2012

    Cross from near half line. Messi receives, controls volleys. Keeper saves . Immediate counter. Spartak score off the right

  35. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Well, if THEY can come from behind, so can we.

    • simple_barcafan
      September 19, 2012

      WE sure can mom4!! we sure can..

  36. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    Uh, is this reminding anyone of the CL Semi’s?

    • Richzorz
      September 19, 2012

      Very much so! Or the super cup first leg (Casillas save followed by counter + goal)

  37. Judas Pissed
    September 19, 2012

    Why ON EARTH does one of the best teams in the world have 2 midfielders at centre half?!? This is desperately poor decision making by all involved at the Nou Camp…

  38. Jim
    September 19, 2012

    Pretty poor. Although to be honest we’ playing with a defence with no natural defenders.

  39. nzm
    September 19, 2012

    Villa needs to come on for Tello to get some movement going.

  40. K_legit in Oz
    September 19, 2012

    This ‘defense’ is a fucking joke

  41. Jim
    September 19, 2012

    Rather see Villa than Alexis but the game’s not over yet.

    • swamidigital
      September 19, 2012

      Wonder how we are lining up now.

  42. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    This is a gamble. Taking Dani off for Alexis

    • Dave
      September 19, 2012

      So far tonight leaving ALves on the field has been a gamble

  43. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    I like this Sub. Tito saying F it and going all out!

  44. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    Zubi needs the road for not signing a cb of quality

  45. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Look at all those red shirts blocking their goal.

  46. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    THANK YOU GOOD AND GRACIOUS GOD!!!!!!!

  47. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    Messsiiiiiiii!!! I love Telloooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

  48. AJ_10
    September 19, 2012

    Messi goal
    Woder ful wing play from Tello

  49. nia
    September 19, 2012

    and we are always yelling at Tello

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        Silva didn’t listen to you yesterday 🙁 .

        • nzm
          September 19, 2012

          He never does, but then neither does Del Bosque when I yell at him to leave Silva out!

          I think you jinxed my negativity by telling him to score in your comment below mine! 😆

    • swamidigital
      September 19, 2012

      He had a great match to prove his doubters wrong.

  50. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    Imagine that. Tello gets to the end line and something happens!

  51. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    Nani missed a dreadful pen for Man u.

  52. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    Standing Ovation for Tello!!! Boy is my MOTM so far.

  53. ciaran
    September 19, 2012

    Our only effective player substituted???

  54. AJ_10
    September 19, 2012

    Free kick at the edge of the box…

  55. swamidigital
    September 19, 2012

    Should have been a goal!!!

  56. Blau-Grenade
    September 19, 2012

    Villa, should have lifted the ball. But I can see the goal coming.

    • swamidigital
      September 19, 2012

      Yeah because it was him, I just expected that to be a goal. Would have beaten the keeper I think, but the defender did well to stretch.

  57. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    Villa could’ve passed that ball to Cesc for a wide open slot in

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      That said, I know it’d be hard for Villa to do that with his strikers instinct. His mouth was watering!

  58. nzm
    September 19, 2012

    Someone’s taught Alexis how to dive better!

  59. nia
    September 19, 2012

    Alexis is showing his thighs like CR7

  60. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    MESSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

  62. swamidigital
    September 19, 2012

    Oh man, it was like pinball back and forth.

  63. Ryan
    September 19, 2012

    Hey look, it’s our “big” number 9 scoring a header!

  64. nzm
    September 19, 2012

    Nice cross from Alexis – Pedro (and Tello) take note! Looked for his man and pinged it.

  65. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    And Messi couldn’t score a header without a top hat pfffffff!

  66. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    ooooh, silky seductive Spanish passing.

  67. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    The 1st pass by Villa across the box was pure class! Led to everything!

  68. Jim
    September 19, 2012

    Now, shoot any of our defenders you see crossing the halfway line.

  69. swamidigital
    September 19, 2012

    Beautiful drawing the defenders and pass from Alexis there.

  70. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    We have to win.Makes for a better “date” night with hubby when he gets home and we rewatch the game.

  71. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    Xavi’s been amazing this game! Running everything from deep. No one can get the ball off him. He and Tello are my MOTM. Messi a close 2nd since he’s scored the crucial goals.

    • swamidigital
      September 19, 2012

      Xavi just makes everyone better with what he does. Notice how much better Cesc looks in midfield when playing with Xavi.

      • nzm
        September 19, 2012

        And without Iniesta, Cesc actually has some room in which to play. This isn’t being negative about Iniesta, it’s just that the midfield is less clogged.

  72. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    Emery always looks so animated. Admire his passion

  73. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    Our game is so pretty when we’re not being stupid.

    and pass the darn ball, Messi!

  74. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    XAVI! Just alleviated all Cule’s FEARS!

  75. Messiah10
    September 19, 2012

    PLease no! Don’t be this cruel

    • Blau-Grenade
      September 19, 2012

      The game in Moscow is going to be Bad-Ass. Not looking forward to that one based on today’s performance.

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        So we clinch first in the group before that and play the B team. Nobody gets frostbite hurt.

  76. Ryan
    September 19, 2012

    Scary stuff there, but we were looking good at the end. Tello’s getting better with his decision making, which is great considering we’re pretty limited in speedy players.

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      Agree. Tello was brilliant. However, he can’t make the pass Villa made to lead to the 3rd goal yet. He’ll get there. I’m happy for him. Having a great CL game has to be a huge boost to his confidence.

  77. September 19, 2012

    Thank goodness! I’m exhausted from just following cules’ emotions.

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      Haha! Hilarious messifan. I feel the same way! 😮 Panic in the streets of London. Panic in the streets of Dublin. I wonder to myself. Could life ever by sane again!

    • nzm
      September 19, 2012

      Liveblog’s worse – trying to read all the comments as they flash up faster than I can read, and trying to watch the game at the same time – my eyeballs go in different directions!

  78. mom4
    September 19, 2012

    I need this stress in my life. Because 4 kids don’t cause enough stress.

      • mom4
        September 19, 2012

        He got canned instead of dry doggy food yesterday, and a new stuffed dog we named Andres because he loved it so much. We made a cake (not chocolate, oc) and gave him and his Irish setter sister, Trudie, a tiny bite.

        • BarcaOwl
          September 19, 2012

          Happy birthday to little Xavi. So, he’s best buddies with Andres? Not surprised at all. 😀

          What was the replacement for the Ramos? I keep forgetting.

          • mom4
            September 19, 2012

            The replacement was a stuffed pig we named Figo.

            Teh Ramos (stuffed bull) is still around. It has no ears, no tail, no horns, no facial features left and has been re-sown far too many times. It was still his favorite until the recent addition of Andres.

          • nzm
            September 19, 2012

            what happened to the skunk – Pepe?

          • BarcaOwl
            September 19, 2012

            Ah, yes. The infamous Figo. How’s it faring?

          • mom4
            September 19, 2012

            Pepe is somewhere. Dunno quite where. He never was a favorite toy. Xavi’s kinda picky. He also loves a rubber chicken named Funky (see, not all the toys have soccer names 🙂 )

          • mom4
            September 19, 2012

            Figo’s fine. Xavi uses it more as a cuddle toy than a fetching toy (it’s kid of big, and Xavi only weighs 12 lbs.)

            Y’all know we’re kinda trolling the rest with doggy toy talk!?

            Back to soccer- Just watching a bit of Valencia. They’re sporting a Senyera kit!

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      Good lord! 4! I have a hard enough time with 1! I feel your pain. 😉

  79. K_legit in Oz
    September 19, 2012

    Good win in the end but it doesn’t take away the fact that we have serious defensive issues..
    Song is clearly not adjusted yet to play CB

    Granada at home is next followed by a trip to Seville..

    We need Pique to be not hurt seriously big time!!!

  80. K_legit in Oz
    September 19, 2012

    And Pique’s gonna be a dad!

    • nzm
      September 19, 2012

      That’s Pique, Messi, Villa and Pinto.

    • mom4
      September 19, 2012

      Well he can put his feet up and learn to knit a few baby booties because he’s out for a little bit.

      barcastuff‏@barcastuff

      Official: Pique has a foot injury and will be out between 2 and 3 weeks #fcblive

  81. September 19, 2012

    2-3 weeks out for Pique. And suddenly, Fontas is stepping up his training regimen. Song needs a metric shit ton of work if he is going to be an effective CB for us. For realz. Adriano’s headless chicken dance didn’t help on that goal, either. And ohhhh, Alves …. really?

    Vilanova’s subs were huge. To look down the bench and be able to bring in Sanchez and Villa must just make him all woozy with delight. Both of them were very instrumental in the result, and Tello is feeling a lot like MOTM for me. One golazo and one brilliant individual play to set Messi up for the tap-in.

    Many concerning things about this match, however. Yikes!

    • nzm
      September 19, 2012

      I think that Bartra will get the nod over Fontas.

      Yeah, lots to be concerned about!

      • September 19, 2012

        Hey, reports were that the whole Camp was singing in favor of Catalan independence. Any word on that from ground zero?

        • nzm
          September 19, 2012

          Most likely – we were reduced to watching on pitiful streams like all y’all because we don’t have pay TV. 🙂

          Tomorrow is the big meeting between Artur Mas (Cat Pres) and Rajoy (Spain Pres) when the region will be asking for more control over how their money is spent. I can’t imagine that the answer from Madrid will be straightforward, and it certainly won’t happen in a hurry!

          Something interesting that I heard last night on TV. Santiago Carrillo, one of the last great Western communists, died in Madrid yesterday. When they were reviewing his life, there were clips showing protests marches where there were chants and one of them sounded very familiar in cadence.

          I couldn’t make out the words, but it was the same rhythm as “Madrid, cabron, saluda al campeon”, but different words except for the Madrid bit.

          So this chant has its origins in either anti-communist or anti-fascist protests – couldn’t work out which in the short time that it flickered on TV. Am going to ask our neighbours about it the next time I talk to them!

    • swamidigital
      September 19, 2012

      Yeah, after the high of a come from behind win, and the resulting beautiful play after we woke up down 2-1, the first thing I think about is how in trouble our backline is right now. We were worried about Pique’s cards for the Liga matches, but now he’s injured, so even worse.

  82. September 19, 2012

    And another thing: Pique has been the only new Barca CB who didn’t stink at first. Song needs time. In the situation on the goal, Spartak were on a jailbreak. Even experienced CBs would have gotten caught out on that one. Adriano had the best chance to stop the goal, once the break broke, so to speak.

    Time and patience will be key.

    • Messiah10
      September 19, 2012

      What about playing Montoya at CB? I know he’s a natural fullback, but he should be capable of playing CB. Maybe they’ve been working with him in training on it. I’m sure Tito’s been focusing on a core set of players capable of stepping up at CB in training. At least I hope. My only concern is dropping 5-6 points because of injury. We can’t allow EE to capitalize on our injuries. It’d be a shame anyway. Agree’s with Tello MOTM, but I’d give it a 2 way tie. Xavi brought that calm and steady flow that we lost at one point. The tackle at the end of the game was crucial. My Cule heart skipped a beat.

      • September 19, 2012

        I also think that when we’re playing our game, CBs aren’t as crucial as they are with other clubs. They’re more sweepers than full-on defenders.

        • Jim
          September 19, 2012

          I agree up to a point, Kxevin but we can’t keep shipping goals like the two tonight. tonight. For the first Masch was completely found wanting in terms of positioning and pace, good analysis on Sky by Souness and Gullit of his limitations as CB. If Puyol isn’t going to be able to play 30 plus games we are in bother. For the second Masch had an impossible decision to make regarding marking because there was no cover and Adriano showed again why he’ll never be a defender at the top level.
          Don’t think Montoya could hack it at CB. I like him as a FB but positioning isn’t as vital there.

          • September 19, 2012

            Sorry I missed the Sky feed. I think the summer window involved some wishing and hoping. You’re spot on about Adriano, and the Alves OG was pure panic.

            Agree on Montoya at CB. Would rather see Bartra get more blooding, even Fontas, who might be feeling pretty lucky right now.

          • ciaran
            September 19, 2012

            Montoya is well and truly needed at right back at the minute with Dani’s play. Not bitching about the goal which he could have prevented but his attacking play has disappeared too so Montoya is looking a safe bet.
            Bartra should be started against Rayo at the weekend to fully test him

  83. simple_barcafan
    September 19, 2012

    well..Song was bought precisely for such a situation..We have deal with it and hope it works out like Mascherano..

    • ciaran
      September 19, 2012

      in my opinion Song is well suited to being a DM in our system but not a centreback. Once he got the silly yellow card by the halfway line tonight he left himself in a no win situation for the rest of the game in what was always going to be counter attack defending

      • September 19, 2012

        But people said that about Mascherano as well, ciaran, and he has proved to be an excellent stopgap CB. I would always prefer a healthy Puyol (duh, right?), but Mascherano isn’t a disaster waiting to happen. While it might sound like damning with faint praise, we can hope the same for Song.

        • ciaran
          September 19, 2012

          Not exactly the same thing with Masch. He skillset is suited to defending counterattacking… great last ditch tackles etc

    • September 19, 2012

      Not saying I’m at Paul the Octopus level, but I did say this in the Getafe comment match thread:

      September 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      It’s time for Bartra to step up or we can try the grand experiment with Song and Masch as our CBs

  84. Jim
    September 19, 2012

    Sourness was quite hard on Masch but the gist of his point was that he doesn’t have the instincts of a CB for where the danger is and positions himself accordingly. I’ve always felt he was too intent on winning balls himself rather than his place in the defence. However he is going to get a lot of playing time over the next while so we need to get behind him and hope he can keep learning. Im hopeful about Alba’ pace and defending. Funny that Piqué maybe now becomes one of the most important players for us after taking abuse last season.

    • September 19, 2012

      Yeah. Luckily signs of the old Pique are back. He’s looked very good this season. Alba is a keeper, for sure. I assume he’s the starter, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Montoya over there from time to time.

  85. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    I would not pay too much heed to Souness usually (he said before the 2009 Cl Final that ‘Man U would do a number on’ Barca and that Ronaldo was a superior player to Messi) but he’s right about our cbs. Against Real in the Super Cup second leg, you could of drove a bus through our central defence there was so much space.

    On Pique, for me he is less of a loss than Puyol. Funny thing about Puyol is he makes Pique look great. In addition to being slow I think Pique is not domineering like Puyol. At times he seems too passive. A cb with the mentality of a Puyol, Vidic, Chellini or Lucio is what the club needs. The jury is still out on Pique for me.

    Abidal is an enormous loss for the simple ability to cover up other defenders mistakes through sweeping up.

    Agreed on Alves comments above. It seems the sonic the hedgehog Alves is a thing of the past. He seems less energetic and less effective in link up.

    This team needs Puyol no doubt.

    • Dave
      September 19, 2012

      And on Alves , I believe hes on borrowed time because there is discrepancy between his performances and his wages.

  86. Dave
    September 19, 2012

    On a positive note Tello Alexis and Xavi all stood out. Tito needs to let Alexis off the leash and become more selfish.

    • ciaran
      September 19, 2012

      Tito having to pick a frontline from Messi, Tello, Villa, Pedro & Alexis is quite the headache.
      Messi obviously starts centrally and even if Tito wants, he can play Cesc there like the weekend.
      On the left wing Tello is staking a claim for a starting spot regularly and Villa is coming back to form.
      On the right Pedro and Alexis are both looking good at different times.

      The only negative I see is that if we do sign Neymar that doesn’t leave a lot of room for Deulofeu

      • Dave
        September 19, 2012

        Tello and Pedro are there to provide width. Others usually like to cut in (Villa) and with Cesc and Messi it gets too congested suiting the defenders. Alves for some reason is not providing the effective width he used to.

        Tonight Spartak defended narrow with four around Messi and surrendered the wings.Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid have done this before. This left alot of room for Tello. The main thing is that Tello and Pedro are able to take advantage of these occasions and are not afraid or barracked by Messi and co for doing so.

        Additionally I like how they switched wings to keep the defenders guessing.

        On the selection headache, yes its a pain, but if the defence is anything to go by it will be task to keep them all fit. It also gives us the opportunity to take things up a level if required in a game. Sanchez brings pace and width while Villa can cut in on his right and shoot.
        Anyway competition is a good thing and something that is lacking in the defense in my opinion.

        Don’t forget Cuenca

        On Delofeu I hear he’s decent but I think when the times right he’ll edge one of the following out depending on form? Tello or Cuenca and perhaps age? Villa.

        Neymar is a different issue. No 1 he a marketing tool. Secondly though he gives Barca the ability to beat his markers and destabilize the opposition. There’s no doubting his individual ability, its his team work that’s in question. Personally I believe he should get the chance to prove himself. I really miss the old Ronaldhino magic and I think he could do something similar. Of course he’ll have to develop though.

  87. Kimcelona
    September 19, 2012

    I don’t understand how the club always talk about missing CBs not being a problem because we have the youth who can fill in, when we don’t even use “the youth.” We use 2 DMs. Okay, Masche has proven to be a great CB for us but I dont see Song as making that transition. We are doomed. We NEED another CB, if we dont trust Bartra enough to start games. Why?
    Madrid had an 18 year old starting against Man City, while we (the ones who need to get Bartra involved because of multiple injuries) are the ones using 2 DMs over natural CBs like Bartra and even Fontas.
    Okay, I could understand Tito not wanting to throw Bartra into the match today but I EXPECT to see him start in the match against Granada and maybe the matches following until Pique is fit again.
    Also, I really hope Pique gets fit before the Clasico.

    • simple_barcafan
      September 19, 2012

      We are not doomed..A bit of patience..Thats all we need…

  88. Boy! we have to start Bartra against Granada. This guy needs to be brought in quickly. If Pique is out for 2-3 weeks, will he miss Clasico?

    Going by the way defense is picking injuries left, right and center, we need to make sure Bartra and maybe to an extend Fontas is ready when called upon. Granada is the perfect opponent to see whether Bartra can handle the pressure.

  89. If the three weeks lay-off of Pique is true, then we will be without Puyol and Pique against Sevilla away from home and Madrid at home. I think we should see this as an opportunity and throw in Bartra in for the next matches.

  90. September 20, 2012

    Was watching Bayern yesterday. Damn, Javi Martinez looked good. I know, I know …. nobody was ever going to countenance spending 40m for a CB. But whew! Would have fit right in.

    And now …. it’s Bartra time, who has looked extremely good, and this next match is a perfect time to blood him for real.

    • ooga aga
      September 20, 2012

      agree bartra needs minutes but pretty sure he will not play in the big matches, tito will go for experience even if it means a novel or experimental lineup say with busi or song in CB

  91. September 20, 2012

    So Fox Soccer didn’t show the replay until 1:30AM, and obviously I chose beauty sleep over watching Barca.

    I just saw highlights of this game, but based on this and the other six games, we only kept clean sheet once (against Valencia).

    Stats:

    FCB vs. RS (5-1)
    FCB vs. RM (3-2)
    OS vs. FCB (1-2)
    RM vs. FCB (2-1)
    FCB vs. Val (1-0)
    Get vs. FCB (1-4)
    FCB vs. Spartak (3-2)

    I’ve noticed the team is not pressing well up front (or maybe doesn’t have time to press). Opponents expose our flanks and tend to by pass the midfield completely through aerial passes. Not sure what the solutions are since we play a high line.

    • Bill
      September 20, 2012

      I recorded that game and watched it this morning before work, funny you mentioned pressing because I noticed the same thing. They are not hounding teams like they used to. Only one or two guys might do it once in a while.

      • September 20, 2012

        I’ve mentioned this in the past. And it makes sense for attackers to press hard, because that can do the most good. Long balls are one answer to combat that strategy, but we definitely aren’t pressing like we used to. Only part of it is that defenses have figured it out.

  92. September 20, 2012

    RM is officially being all pissy with Alfons Godall because of comments made after the Citeh match, He called Mou Mou a “psychopath,” and said that he was celebrating like a player because he wasn’t that good of a player when he played. Craziness.

    • elacule
      September 20, 2012

      apparently Moumou is getting litigious:

      http://sports.yahoo.com/news/madrids-mourinho-sues-spanish-daily-222555554–sow.html

      here’s the text:
      MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is taking legal action against one of Marca’s journalists over an article published this week, the Spanish newspaper said Thursday.

      The Spanish champions then announced they were studying their own legal case against a former Barcelona vice president who tweeted Mourinho was a ”psychopath.”

      Marca published part of a letter it received from Mourinho’s law firm stating that journalist Roberto Palomar ”referred to our client as ‘the type of person who would flee after knocking someone down.”’

      The letter adds ”this is degrading and was used in a manner which was completely unnecessary in the critique.”

      Mourinho’s relationship with the Spanish media has always been touchy since his arrival in 2010, but it has worsened during a current run of poor results.

      Madrid said it was studying legal means against Alfons Godall, who made the comment after seeing the Portuguese coach slide to his knees to celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo’s 90th-minute winner in Wednesday’s 3-2 Champions League victory over Manchester City.

      ”A shame the psychopath celebrates his goals as if he was a player. It would be something to make up for the frustration of having been a very bad player,” Godall wrote. ”The psychopath’s team has saved three points.”

      Mourinho is seeking $19,600 from the Marca journalist in damages, which his firm says the coach would donate to his son’s local football team.

  93. Jafri
    September 20, 2012

    So it seems Messi is going to be renewing his contract. I thought the new contracts that will be signed now will have a lot more tax on them; isn’t that what the Cristiano being upset thing was partly speculated to be about? And why would they want to renew it when it already runs till 2016?

    • nzm
      September 20, 2012

      Messi has Spanish citizenship. The taxation hike comes after 4 years for foreign players in Spain – hence the Keita problem and the resolved Abidal problem.

      The Messi contract renewal is basically so that they can hike up his salary ASAP, most likely significantly increase his buy-out clause, and keep him at the club until he wants to return to Argentina to play a few years before he retires, as he’s indicated.

    • September 20, 2012

      The tax issue is a bit unclear to me. I tried looking for some data but couldn’t find much. As far as I know, the Basque country is the only region with a special mandate to collect its taxes and send a percentage of that collection to the central government. The other regions including Catalunya don’t have that authority. The central government collects taxes and send certain percentages back to those regions.

      What I want to know is the actual percentage of tax collected in Catalunya in comparisons to other other regions; and how much, in percentage term, do they get back in comparisons to other regions? Anyone has these data?

      Also from what I understand, Catalunya is no longer the wealthiest region in Spain (GDP/capita). That title belongs to either the Basque Country or Community of Madrid.

      Lastly, this independence movement is in part a response to the growing centralization effort by the Spanish government.

      A Guardian comment from a pro-independence supporter said it best:

      Marendins (13 September 2012 11:27PM):

      It’s not just about money.

      Over the last 15 years, Catalonia has been systematically given bad press by the Popular Party and the right-wing media groups based in Madrid. This has contributed to create to a climate of suspicion and even hostility towards all things Catalan in sections of the Spanish society. A quick look at the comments section of any news article about Catalonia in the Spanish press will suffice to see that.

      Besides, the Popular Party government led by Mariano Rajoy has launched a re-centralization process which clashes with the local laws in Catalonia and other regions. The original purpose of these laws was not only to bring services closer to the citizens by granting regions control over health and education systems, but also to allow regions to rule on sensitive issues such as minority languages and local traditions.

      The re-centralization campaign has already reduced or threatens to reduce the status of minority languages like Catalan in Catalonia and in other regions. For instance, the variant of Catalan spoken in part of the Aragonese region neighboring with Catalonia was recently denied its denomination as Catalan and rebranded as “Western Aragonese”.

      So put together an unfriendly atmosphere in what’s supposed to be your own country with a major political threat to your own language and culture. On top of it add a unjust if not downright abusive tax regime. No wonder Catalans want out of Spain.

      • SoccerMom
        September 20, 2012

        Oh blah blah blah.

        This “summit” was financial.

        Spain’s economy is still on the fritz. They’re sitting on the bench at half-time with the you-know-whos … Portugal. Italy. Greece. (Remember Greece?)

        So in comes Rajoy with his “recortes”. It’s the only way the cool kids at the EU lunch table are gonna keep the peninsula afloat. Now you’ve got people — a whole lotta ’em unemployed. Maybe 25% of them? Oh, sorry, that’s the percentage of unemployed in Spain, period — marching in the streets. Again.

        This isn’t good. This isn’t “us”. We’re not like those people. No, not the Greeks. Not even the Irish. We mean *those* people. In, like, Andalusia. Extremadura. What is up with those people, anyway? Why don’t they all just go get a job?

        It isn’t fair. Everyone knows that we’re the hardest-working region. We’re the ones carrying the rest of ’em. And they’re infiltrating *us*! Don’t you know for years the way to joke about a Barcelona low-class accent is to talk like a sevillano? Here they come, with their dropped “s”s and their bullfighting and their demands for more this and that. Oh, and they’re taking all of our hard-earned money away in taxes, too!

        Don’t they know that we’re different? Us, with our history? I mean, what kind of history does Granada have, anyway? Maybe if they hadn’t gotten them selves all conquista’ed they wouldn’t have had to go and re-conquista themselves. What kind of impact did Extremadura ever have on the world? I mean, besides the New World? Remember, Isabella dumped Alfonso for Fernando. Alfonso wound up with Portugal. Fernando got Italy for a generation or two! Isabella got California, Mexico and Peru … for centuries.

        But what about our culture? I mean, we have a different language and everything. Catalan is its own, independent, fully-formed Latin derivative, just like Castilian. And Gallego-Portuguese. Asturo-Leonese. Valenciano. Basque, you say? Gosh, that language isn’t even vaguely related to *any other language structure in Indo-European linguistics*! What, does that make them special or something?

        And we have suffered. We have been oppressed. I mean, it’s not like in a civil war, the whole country suffers. It’s not as if some famous southern poet is dumped in an anonymous grave somewhere. It’s not as if a major work of Western art depicts another little pueblo in another little region getting the crap bombed out of it by Nazis. Or if an old commie just kicked the bucket after 9 decades, 4 of them in exile and 1 afternoon standing up, alone, in the parliamentary hall as the military barged in shooting at the ceiling. Or if any Iberian you meet on the street has a story about this or that grandparent getting shot or going missing or dying in prison from pneumonia. Oh, no, everyone was living it up with cava and fresh jamon serrano while we were sucking it up in Catalonia.

        Well, what does it matter to me. I’m currently living in a country that maintains concentration torture camps while two candidates right out of “South Park”‘s school election episode robo-call my house at dinner time. Go ahead, Catalonia. Fly your also-ketchup-and-mustard flag. Have fun watching your A-team duke it out against Gerona. Pull up a chair next to Lichtenstein at the next EuroSummit and see if that blondie Angela has anything to say to you.

        Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich. Which is which?

        • simple_barcafan
          September 20, 2012

          wow…Controversy awaits this intriguing piece…But well..I hate to mix drinks..especially sport and politics..

        • September 20, 2012

          All I know is that this might well be the greatest comment that I have ever read. Anywhere. Alfons Godall isn’t going to like you very much. If he called Mou Mou a psychopath, think of what choice monikers await ….

        • September 20, 2012

          Isabella dumped Alfonso for Fernando
          Wut??? How did I not know that? I thought Isabella and Fernando were the original OTP. So there was another man before Fernando came into the picture 😯

          Insightful and fun read, SoMa. For the record, I don’t really have a clear opinion on this independence movement. Just an outsider observing it. And I now have the urge to watch a South-Park election episode 😛

        • mom4
          September 20, 2012

          Feeling a bit cynical today?

          All I go with is that the worst about politics are the politicians. Otherwise, I’m like Simple_barcafan; don’t like to mix politics with football. Come to think of it, I don’t want to mix politics with any part of my life.

          • mom4
            September 20, 2012

            Gonna go against the grain here and say that I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to belittle the Catalans’ sentiment. They’re entitled to it.

          • September 20, 2012

            Don’t mix politics with football? Think its a bit late now, what with FCB being whose army and such.

            I could sing high praises about SoMa’s words though, but it simply wont do them justice. I hope someone compiles a book out of her posts. Not only would I pay top dollar to buy it, I’d also recommend it to be a part of our school syllabus – she’s that good!

        • September 20, 2012

          If there ever were an apt usage of the term, it’d be

          • September 20, 2012

            I don’t think that SoMa is necessarily belittling the Catalan sentiment, as much as calling it for what it is: about the money. It has only been recently that independencia has acquired traction in more-urbane Barcelona, vs the provinces and smaller towns, which were whole hog for it because hey, why not, right? Catalan small towners are as blissfully contrarian as any European small-town residents.

            But now that the Spanish economy is in the toilet, “Hey, this might not be such a bad idea after all.”

            I support the cause, for a few reasons: Why not? Anyone has the right to an impossible quest. Catalunya used to be a kingdom, then they guessed wrong in a war, and that was that. Welcome to Spain. What makes Catalunya different from Ireland, Wales or Scotland? I’m sure someone has an answer but I don’t see one.

            As for not mixing sport and politics, that’s easy to do, even if RoSELL is making that extrication more complex by completing his “more Catalan than thou” endeavors by bringing himself and, as its president, the club into matters. The Senyera shirts next season, if such things come to pass, would further put the money in the pot, so to speak.

            Is some of it a brazen, crass bit of electioneering against Laporta, bright and early? You betcha.

            Again, however, the question is complex. Mes que un what, right? FCB used to be much more deeply ingrained in Catalan culture and struggle than it is now, as a giant multinational that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. If you were to poll socis worldwide, you’d be hard-pressed to find a significant percentage who even knew what independencia was about, much less having an opinion on the matter.

            And so it goes.

          • mom4
            September 20, 2012

            I know it is much more complicated than this, but self determination is kind of a basic right.

            What I would not agree with is if politicians are preying upon the economic fears of their constituents to sway the “mob” to protest for said politicians agenda (but that rarely happens, right? *heavy-handed use of hypothetical sarcasm font*) Politics! Ugh!

            Visca Barca, Visca Catalunya, & hoping it stays peaceful

          • simple_barcafan
            September 20, 2012

            I am not sure if the comment belittle’s the independence movement or not..English is a funny language..It can be twisted into what you want it to be…But personally I feel, there is little need for such a controversial comment here..And bringing Nazis and their atrocities here doesn’t make sense..Sarcasm is fine..But those events in history are too painful to some…Whats the point of comparing/or even remotely hinting those here?

            Independence movements will always be misused…Money, power all come into play here..No movement is “pure”..I understand what SoMa is trying to say..I agree on some, disagree on others..yes FCB is more than a club..We stand for values which go beyond football. And we all have the freedom of speech to discuss them. But is this the right place or are those the right words? Highly questionable..

          • mom4
            September 21, 2012

            Thank you Simplw_barcafan for stating what I was too cowardly to do myself. But when soccermom writes, worship follows and I’m not the type to rock the boat. But that statement about the concentration camps was at best unfortunate hyperbole and at worst extrodinarily disrespectful of millions who died in real concentration camps and has rankled since I read it.

            Now me and my head cold are going to try to go back to sleep at this ungodly hour(and I’ll probably regret writing anything in my sleep-deprived stupor). Not much hope in it though. Can’t breathe=can’t sleep.

          • September 21, 2012

            I think SoMa’s comment about the war is a counterpoint to the popular belief (maybe not among BFB readers but from what we often hear elsewhere) that Catalans are victims throughout the Civil War and onward, but not everyone else (in reality, that’s not a complete interpretation).

            The mention of Nazis is in reference to the bombing of Guernica, north of Spain. Or the death of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca during the time. This is to drive home the point that everyone suffered during the war.

            There are parts of her comment that I disagree, like the language component. Many languages derive from Indo-European root, but language helps form an identity. From that original comment I posted, I feel their language is being threatened. Not to mention, we shouldn’t overlook the current political climate in Spain. Eg: Notice during Euro ’12 celebration, Catalan players were a bit timid to wear the Senyera; only Xavi had it. Assuming some didn’t want to face a backlash. And some of them did receive abuse by just posting with the flag and trophy.

            Sure money is the catalyst in this movement, but like that poster from the Guardian wrote, it’s not just about the money.

            Her comment about torture camps is in reference to U.S. foreign policies, and I don’t want to comment on that.

            Anyway, this is a sport-related space. Sorry for bringing politics to the mix.

  94. Messiah10
    September 20, 2012

    Rosell stated that Messi is going to get a new and improved deal even though the current one runs through 2016. I’m all for this. Rosell stated that the club owes it to Messi to secure his future. May be a bit of politicing going on here, but happy anyway. To lazy to post link, but on Sky Sports Football web site if anyone wants to read it.

  95. nzm
    September 20, 2012

    Watching Europa League is like watching a whole lot of teams from another planet that I didn’t know existed before.

  96. K_legit in Oz
    September 20, 2012

    Putting my two cents in the Catalan cry for Independence:

    1. The poll figures quoted are misleading. They say 51% voted for independence and this leaves a figure of 49% in the mind of the reader supposedly against the motion. This is not the case. From figures, 51.1% vote for independence, 21.1% against, 21.1% abstained, 1.0% other, 4.7% do not know, 1.1% no reply from a total of 77.4% turnout. Essentially if converted to a yes or no format, about 70% of the people who voted, voted in favour of an independent Catalan state.

    2. The basic reasons why they want independence is four-fold,
    a. The lack of respect for the Catalan culture and a newly aggressive smear campaign against the language by the PP and its leader Rajoy.
    b. Spain’s point blank refusal to accept its ‘pluri-nationality’
    c. Reduce the powers of the Catalan self-government and a forced re-centralisation.
    d. The fact that Catalunya’s fiscal contribution for services to the rest of Spain (a figure ranging from 6.4-8.7% of its GDP ie an amount of $13-$18 billion) is excessive and indefensible.

    3. In addition to everything else is that the urge for independence has now taken an essentially economic agenda as opposed to the ideological ones of years ago. So, now there are young Catalans who feel that the independence is required just to secure their economic integrity and future.

    4. Traditional Catalan nationalists politics would have negotiation with the central authority. However, now the Spanish government is refusing to even listen to the new fiscal policy (like they have in Navarra/Basque country) and so now, a large part of the Catalan population is extremely tired of these negotiations and has given up all hope of an agreement and have concluded that the only solution is independence.

    Visca Catalunya i bona sort!

    • nzm
      September 21, 2012

      Great summary and understanding, K_legit.

      The call for independence is nothing new and was mostly taken up by the older population (who lived during Franco times), the unemployable (because they had nothing better to do and why not blame the government) and the rabble-rousers.

      What’s new is that there are many more people taking up the call including the young professionals and the educated “middle-class”, because what’s happening in Spain is starting to bite them too. Unemployment is hitting hard. Before, they were content with the status quo because they were comfortable and making a good living. It’s no longer the case for all of them. A good indication of this is the “brain drain” as young professionals are leaving Spain to get work elsewhere and, on a personal level, in our apartment complex of about 230 apartments, 2-3 on average are being put up for sale each month as people either move away, move back to their own countries because the work has dried up or simply can’t afford the mortgages because their financial circumstances have changed for the worse.

      Even though the Basques have greater control over their money, the region’s people still regularly call for independence. The regions not doing so are the ones who depend on Madrid, (as well as the wealthier regions like Catalunya and Basque country), for hand-outs and subsidies.

      But it’s easy to get confused about what are the nationalistic issues (for the independence calls) and what are the social issues. All across Spain there are protests against the Spanish government and its austerity plans – there was a huge march in Madrid on Sept 15th. A lot of the issues intersect.

      What’s killing this country is the amount of bureaucracy. Spain has the highest number of bureaucrats, government officials and politicians (per head of population) than any other country in the world. It’s madness. Trying to get anything done with Spanish authorities is a long-winded affair. By comparison, a visit to a Catalunyan government department is fairly straightforward, done in good time and always with a smile.

  97. rileypowell
    May 30, 2013

    Diablo 3 : Literacy: Blue strange, elite strange and rare and strange

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