blitzen awards, the colossal comeback edition

That was a fun game, wasn’t it? And by “fun” I mean “I hope we don’t have another game like that anytime soon, my heart couldn’t take it!” I’ve scraped together a few awards for your edification. Read them slowly, they have to last you all week!

Smells Like Team Spirit Award: This was not Barcelona’s best game. Sloppy passing, poor finishing, and shambolic defending enabled Sevilla to go two goals up by the 47th minute. Another team might have dropped their heads, become discouraged in the face of such intense pressure, and fallen apart completely. Not this Barcelona. They never lost their belief in their innate superiority. Tito made some risky subs, and all hands sprang to the pumps to bail themselves out. Even the Best Team In The World ™ isn’t going to play well every time. But a team that can avoid panicking and battle back from a 2-goal deficit when they aren’t playing well is truly impressive.

Blasphemous Rumours Award: The rumours of Villa’s demise as a top-level striker have been greatly exaggerated. No, he’s not quite ready to play a full 90 minutes yet, but his hunger, work-rate, and above all, his clinical finishing in front of goal are all evident. Well, except for that one glaring “Chut de Bol!” moment. ๐Ÿ˜›

The Iceman Melteth Award: I’m sure someone has made a gif of Tito’s reaction to Villa’s goal by now. Tito may have the best poker face in the business, but the pressure he was feeling was evident from that sheer eruption of joy. And I was right there screaming with him. I might not be welcome at that Christian bookstore anymore, by the way.

Tin Ear Award: Our Song was definitely out of tune yesterday. For long periods of time he seemed to forget that he was playing CB instead of DM, or else he was under the impression that he was Pique–charging forward and leaving Mascherano completely exposed at the back. He did make some brilliant tackles and blocks, but for every excellent play there was a corresponding piece of idiocy. He needs to be a lot more aware of what is happening behind him.

Kitchen Sink Award: Tito Vilanova, who damned the torpedoes and threw everything we had up front as the second half proceeded. We ended the game with Messi, Villa, Tello, Pedro, Cesc, Xavi, and Thiago all on the pitch, and it paid off. I’m not much for tactics, but you have to admit that Tito is not afraid to take risks to get a result. Amb dos pebrots!

MOTM Award: Tough one. No one was at their best. Alba had a decent game, as did Busquets, but I think the best of our lot was Xavi, who just kept doing what he does and keeping up the pressure until rabbits started jumping out of hats. Honorable mentions to Villa, whose appearance added a much-needed injection of energy to the team, and Palops, the Sevilla GK who, despite shipping 3 goals, was at fault for none of them and is having one hell of a season so far.

Golden Curl Award: Cesc is like the little girl who had a little curl right in the midfield of his forehead. When he is good he is very very good, and when he is bad he is horrid. He was both in this game. Two goals after such a long drought will do wonders for his confidence, but he also lost the ball numerous times and sent several wayward crosses into empty space. And then there was the whole “Not the face!” escapade.

Zinedine Zidane Memorial Red Card: Was Medel’s sending-off harsh? Yes, it was. Was it justified? Yes, it was. It’s not the call I would have made as a ref, but if you are going to indulge in off-the-ball testosterone-driven aggression, you should be ready to accept the consequences, up to and including a red card. Embarrassed as I am by Cesc’s exaggerated reaction, Medel was in the wrong and it his own fault he had to take a walk.

Rosell-Cruyff Joint Award For Running Your Mouth: Xavi, Busi, oh heck, pretty much our whole team was in the running for this one! It’s been a while since I’ve seen so much mouthing off to the referee. Sevilla made a pretty good run at winning this one as well, and in fact I will have to award it to their manager Michel who got himself sent off in the closing minutes. (You may be interested to know that I have also developed a Rosell-Cruyff-branded pacifier to keep the next generation of Barca big-mouths shut.)

How Do You Spell Relief? Award: P-U-Y-O-L! Our indomitable captain has been declared fit and available for Tuesday’s game against Benfica. Personally I would prefer him not to start that game, maybe just get a few minutes or so, and keep him in reserve for El Clasico. I have much more piece of mind knowing that we can play a Puyol-Masche backline against RM. Phew!

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


  1. Xingxian
    September 30, 2012


  2. September 30, 2012

    Disagree on Song.

    Given the fact that he kept playing as he was, we can only assume that he was doing so under orders, or Vilanova would have said “Hey, dumbass! Knock that stuff off and stay in the box!”

    So I think he’s taking stick for doing something that he’s probably supposed to, that is being interpreted as him NOT doing something that people think he is supposed to, if you catch my drift. Note also that Vilanova made a point of saying that he was playing well, which further underscores the likelihood that he is playing as his coach wants him to. (Anyhow, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

    –My MOTM is Vilanova. Without his changes, nothing happens, and that’s a loss. The biggest change, of course, was making No. 10 an actual 10.

    • swamidigital
      September 30, 2012

      Double standard re: Messi’s behavior in this sentence?

      “Given the fact that he kept playing as he was, we can only assume that he was doing so under orders, or Vilanova would have said…”

      If the way he was playing hurt the team then shouldn’t you feel the same way regardless of ‘orders’ as you do with Messi’s behavior of not running after things? I’m not arguing for Messi in this situation as others have with you (I happen to agree in regards to him needing to press), just pointing out what I saw as an inconsistency and giving you a chance to respond to it.

    • Bill
      September 30, 2012

      Excellent point swam, how do we know Messi doesn’t have team orders not to expend himself too much in defense? Messi would usually track down a player and try to fight for the ball, but for the last year, he consciously stops himself. It could very well be that he needs to conserve his energy and speed, not just for the latter part of the games, but for the season.

    • swamidigital
      October 1, 2012

      We actually do know he (Messi) has team orders. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. (For me, I think it makes sense some of the time, but others just rest him for the whole match or have him press.)

      And for someone who argues this, it seems strange to take the opposite stance in re: Song, which is why I was asking for an explanation.

    • October 1, 2012

      My thing about Messi is that he would press some times, then other times appear to say “Ah, to hell with it,” take a few steps toward the attacker and stop. Erratic and curious. We know that last season he was operating under Guardiola Rules. We don’t know at all about this season.

      And of course, that doesn’t even get into the other stuff, lost balls, etc. Sid Lowe pretty much sums it up from the neutral perspective:

      As for Messi, he had a poor game โ€“ just the two assists and a free kick that Palop pushed away from just under the bar.

      My point about Song is that he couldn’t have taken it upon himself to start playing where he was on the pitch, or it would have been corrected if it was wrong. Might Messi’s tracking back be player’s choice? Good question. A defender’s position on the pitch, however, is NOT player’s choice. People assume that Song is spectacularly dimwitted in being where he was. But what if where he was is where he was supposed to be?

      That’s my sole point and for me, Messi has no part of it.

    • swamidigital
      October 1, 2012

      I don’t know to me it still sounds like you are selectively interpreting player’s motivations and then rating them based on the interpretation rather than the result.

      Regardless of whose decision the positioning was, it still often looked bad. And to me it looked worse on second viewing last night. I do have faith that Tito and the staff are all much smarter than me tactically however, so I’m sure they will figure it out. I actually have more faith in Song (and in all our players, like Cesc and Alexis) than a typical cule, but I do think that his performance was not up to par in the Sevilla match.

    • October 1, 2012

      I’ll trust Vilanova, who said that he had a good match. Song also had many good interventions, won balls, etc, that people lose sight of in their haste to criticize him.

      I can’t ever, short of having them watch a match with me and see what and how I do what I do, have someone understand exactly what goes into a player rating or, absent a rating, my view of how they perform. The problems is that ratings aren’t affirmation. They’re subjectively objective, bloodless evaluations of how I think a player did in the match. Simple as that.

  3. September 30, 2012

    Cicinho too deserves some kinda award for his premature show of emotion around the 80th min. The dude celebrated like he had scored..

    • nia
      September 30, 2012

      Ha Ha, saw that too when he stopped Tello from going to the end line he was like, “YEAHHHH VAMOS”!!!!
      Also for the sending off, the ref didn’t acually make that call. If you notice, there was a Barca player down in the box and the ref was looking away. That was the call of either the fourth ref or the linesman. I don’t think Cesc overreacted at all. I’ve seen players go down holding thier faces and roll all over the place. Medel shouldn’t have put his team in that position to begin with. Remember Pepe in the Bernabeu when Cesc slightly touched his face?

    • simple_barcafan
      September 30, 2012

      He didn’t look like he was celebrating..He seemed pumped up…more like urging his team mates to hold on for 10+ more min…

  4. Kimcelona
    September 30, 2012

    Didnt you guys see Tito’s celebration for the Xavi Granada goal as well? Wasnt as intense but there was movement and shouting, and hugs for the technical staff as well.

    Come on, because we don’t always see the celebrations on TV doesnt mean he doesnt celebrate like the rest of us.

    I quite like his stoneface too, if theres nothing to smile about, don’t. This is serious business LOL

    Great awards as usual! Agree with everything.

    • nzm
      October 1, 2012

      Yeah – Tito’s Granada celebration was intense with the technical staff. That was a real relief for them. With this game, it was more out of a sense of incredulity – that they could actually pick up the win when they would have been happy with just 1 point.

  5. Kimcelona
    September 30, 2012

    And I dunno, did they give Puyi the new brand of speed recovery medicine? Dude’s been out for just 2 and half weeks, yet we were told 4-5..umm..but hey, I’m not mad! YIPEEEEEEEEEE!

    • swamidigital
      September 30, 2012

      I’ve heard regenokine is popular now in european sports and it supposedly reduces recovery time from injury so maybe that was it?

    • nzm
      October 1, 2012

      Might be psycho-play with Madrid too – you can’t count that Puyol will be on the pitch until the team runs out to play.

      But damn, if he does, it does mean some voodoo witchcraft medicine, or Puyi’s developing self-healing powers, or that his injury was over-diagnosed on the first place.

  6. September 30, 2012

    Loling! Love all the awards, but I think Joan Laporta might feel left out with the “Rosell-Cruyff Joint Award For Running Your Mouth.” I’m sure he would like to be a co-eponymous founder of that award too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m excited for Benfica and the Clasico for some odd reasons. I mean no defenders, no worries. Let’s win or lose spectacularly ๐Ÿ˜€

    • swamidigital
      September 30, 2012

      As we speak Laporta is campaigning to replace Rosell on the award name. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • simple_barcafan
      September 30, 2012

      Also It is funny or kinda ironic to me..When Tito took over, we were worried (rather some were) that even though Tito was a good tactician, he doesn’t have the communication and man-handling skills like Pep, and he may be found wanting in the motivating-your-players-to-become-gladiators department…Well, by the way we seem to be making come backs so frequently, I wouldn’t rule out Tito’s hand in this never-say-die attitude..

    • garry
      October 1, 2012

      Yeah, Tito rules! \m/

  7. Bill
    September 30, 2012

    Exciting match. At the 75th minute, a part of me still hoped we could pull it off again, but a part of me kept thinking we couldn’t possibly win another come-from-behind game. I was wrong.

    We can’t keep letting in goals as easy as we are right now. I’m having bad memories of the 07/08 seasons. Song just isn’t a defender. That bump against Negredo for his seeding goal was Marquez levels of defending. But the worst part about him is his lack of desire to huddle. He looks like he is jogging out there. His physique is a lot like Eto’o’s, but I keep waiting for that turn of speed…I’m still waiting.

    If Puyol and Pique don’t come back soon, Tito, may have to go the Spain way, introduce Bartra in defense but play both Busquets and Song in DM to protect him a little. Or play Busquets at the back and push Song forward..

    The best thing about this game were the combination plays. The way the ball was pinging from player to player in the offensive third was a thing of beauty. My Liverpool friend, who was watching the game with me could not believe his eyes at some of those plays. He shook his head and asked, ‘how the hell is a defender supposed to stop that?’ You can’t.

    • Bill
      September 30, 2012

      Damn auto complete! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. nia
    October 1, 2012

    This is disturbing, lol. Morphing of VV and Pinto ie, Victor Pinto

  9. hammeronmessi
    October 1, 2012

    superb point.
    I generally like Kevin review but what i dont like is his ratings.the ratings took the centre stage of the discussion. My version is the ratings are given in such a way to generate discussion. That is why now a days i usually skip the rating part.

    • barca96
      October 1, 2012

      Yeah it always takes away all the hard work he’s put in. But the ratings can be fun. And it can get really tasty when he gives controversial ratings lol.

      Oh and actually, this was the first rating for this season.

    • hammeronmessi
      October 1, 2012

      i do know that its his first rating of the season.
      But after the rating of a player who i think is god i lost my interest.

      The dedication passion and effort Kevin put in to this is mind boggling. kudos to him for that.
      I like his review where there are no rating

    • October 1, 2012

      The ratings distract because people place too much stock in them. “Oh, Lawd, Messi got a 4,” and nobody sees anything else. That’s an easy thing to fix, by reading the entire review, and not fixating on just the ratings, which are only part of the review.

      Consider that Kxevin’s Helpful Hint.

      One person called the ratings “trolling,” while you suggest that “the ratings are given in such a way as to generate discussion.” Both suggestions are about as far from the truth as Chicago is from the Arctic Circle (though in January, it feels pretty damned close).

      Random ratings would certainly save me the bother of watching the match 2-3 times, following players and taking notes, I can tell you that. I should consider that approach as a time saver.

    • swamidigital
      October 1, 2012

      I’m not doubting your effort to be purely unbiased and analytical, I just get the feeling there is a subtle, possibly subconscious bias towards being contrarian vs. conventional wisdom. Hence the trolling comment. Didn’t mean it to be offensive though I see how it could be taken as such. Nothing wrong with it, and I don’t see the point in arguing subjective number assignments when I agree with the analysis, which I do appreciate. It’s the same way I don’t see any point in arguing with trolling, which is why I brought up the comparison.

    • October 1, 2012

      You’re wrong. I have been a journalist for going on 30 years. This has made me a bloodless, cynical bastard. I detest bias in all forms. You aren’t the first person to lay the “you do it subconsciously” thing on me. They were wrong, as well. A journalist will always find accusations of bias offensive. It’s reflex, particularly as we strive in every way NOT to be biased.

      Watch folks like Sid Lowe react to being accused of favoring one big team or the other. Hackles go up because it’s an assault on his credibility. People who know better, know it’s nonsense. But there are enough people who don’t, who might think the wrong thing.

      It absolutely isn’t fair, nor is it right. Not in any way, shape or form.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 1, 2012

      I love your ratings Kxevin. They give me a barometer to compare my judgement of how the players/manager/team did. It is one of the reasons why I like your reviews. Please don’t take that away.

    • AJ_10
      October 1, 2012

      But that is what makes it weird Kxevin. In your reveiw you praise how dangerous he is as an actual 10, how the goals originated from his passes etc, and then you give him a 4??!! Are you implying that the 4 is for everything not covered in the review??

      TBH, I feel you overlook Songs’ errors in the light of doing what the coach ordered, yet blame Messi for not hustling for the ball when ,most probably, it was a decision of the coaching staff (not that I support it). I don’t understand.

      But I guess everyone has their own opinion. And NO ONE is truly unbiased, even if they put a supreme effort to be.
      And we truly appreciate the effort you put into it.

    • hammeronmessi
      October 1, 2012

      its just my opinion that the ratings are given to generate said its not.(actually dont know how far chicago from the acrtic circle).

      why i dont like the rating system of yours.

      “Another substandard match, even as his influence in the three goals was key. At times today you could see him take a few steps after a Sevilla attacker, then just say to hell with it, deciding to stand around and wait for the ball to come back. The few times he did press, he would raise hell with Sevillaโ€™s attack.”

      the above para on messi i agree with you.

      football is not basketball where almost every attack results in a score.its often decided by moments(true these moments are summation of many other factors).so by not being active for the whole 90 minutes messi didnt deserve a good rating(i agree with that),but despite being involved in all the 3 key moments(2 directly),he got less than 50%.thats controversial IMHO.

      look at busi, he got 7 in spite of the body is arguing that,thats fair assessment.if u given him less than 50% because of the mistake then that would be contoversial.

      and IMO everybody has some favorites and also have yours(that does not mean that you are a messi hater,it means to me despite saying messi is a human you still judge him as a super human)like abidal,keita,alexis,song,ibra,henry(your favorite ones).you always tried to be neutral and analytical,while i agree with your analysis i sometimes feel the neutral part is missing from you.

      thats all.

      i may not express myself clearly.
      anyway keep writing these pieces(cause they are awesome)but as usual when he throws out numbers i will skip those parts and give attention on the player analysis

    • swamidigital
      October 1, 2012

      Sorry but I don’t really care that journalists think they are unbiased and consider suggestions of subjectivity to be an attack on their professionalism. As someone who has studied neuroscience, reviewed journal papers in psychology, neuroscience, and machine learning, I can say that it is nearly impossible to be objective in anything not directly measurable. Bias will always exist in some form or another, and the best way to deal with it is to be up front in acknowledging it, and then moving on from there. Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable in your profession, we’ll just have to agree to disagree there.

    • swamidigital
      October 1, 2012

      Note, I’m not suggesting that my particular evaluation of your work as biased in a particular way was correct, but I am strongly disagreeing with your assertion that your process is completely free of bias from ANY angle.

    • October 1, 2012

      Here is where you err, swamidigital: You rely on science to buttress an assertion that everyone has a bias. But to what? Because know this: I could care less about any Barca player, except in as much as he helps the club. I am not a fan of ANY of them. So for bias to exist, there has to be a precipitating influence. I have been accused of loving and hating lots of players, but I love the club. Period. The players are cogs in that wheel.

      Science isn’t as simple as “I have studied this, therefore based on what I know, you have bias.” That’s an impossible statement to make without knowing in fact how I think about the club and its players.

      As soon as I become a fan of any player, I might as well stop writing reviews, because my credibility (personally) is shot. No more point.

      People say I ignored Song’s errors. What precise errors? “Positioning errors” is the sop used to flog an unpopular player. Vilanova said that Song was purchased as a CB and pivote. What if he was functioning as both? Good question that is worth considering.

      Reviews aren’t affirmation. cliveee very effectively sums up how they work, as an old-timer who has seen my explanations. It isn’t as bloodless as the Castrol Formula, but it’s close. To one person, if Messi had a crap match, then scored two goals, one of which was the winner, “He’s a 10, and Kxevin is a biased jackass.” But I’m evaluating performance over the entire match. It’s very different.

      My ratings will NEVER affirm what anyone expects. I think everyone has come to expect that. But nobody likes to be told that they suck at their job, which is what you’re saying to a journalist when you accuse them of bias. When you accuse them of bias without knowing what influences a journalist might or might not have ….

    • swamidigital
      October 2, 2012

      No science isn’t that simple. If you want an extensive list of journal articles to sift through so you can actually understand the pervasive level of bias then I can send you a list. But make sure you spend a couple of years studying the fundamentals also before you start dissecting them. What I am doing is giving a simple level of explanation because neither you or I have time for that, unless you want to come sit in on a class I am teaching.

      A vastly simplified explanation is that our brains, the way they learn, are biased towards pattern recognition and reinforcement. This has been documented from a wide perspective of fields, from evolutionary biology to neuroscience.

      This is (again a simplification but demonstrative) part of the reason why accepted narratives end up forming around a player. Oftentimes this leads to fans ignoring behavior that doesn’t fit in with the narrative, and remembering behavior that does. This is what you believe happens with Messi, and I happen to agree. It happens with almost every high profile player. This is one type of bias. I agree that you do not show this type of bias! I can even agree that you do not show this towards any one player! Sitting down and noting statistics through a match, such as lost possession and missed opportunities can help with this. It would be much easier for people to accept certain ratings if you did share this data, if you are indeed noting it down.

      However, without providing that data, you are essentially opening yourself up for criticism. When someone argues the conventional wisdom line, your counter argument is essentially ‘trust me I’ve watched it more carefully than you have’, which is not going to be persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already agree with your own narrative.

      There are many other possible instances of bias, rather than the simple case I explained. For example, and I am making an assumption that could easily be incorrect here, but it seems you apply a great deal of weight to losing possession and lost balls. There are a great deal of judgement calls made in doing this. For example, in a case of lost possession to whom is the fault assigned? A player may recieve a pass in the incorrect position, or they may have recieved in a correct position but miscontrolled it. They may have dribbled at the opposition but been unable to release the ball before losing it because the correct run by someone else was not made, or they may have held the ball too long and got caught out. Furthermore there is the weight assigned to such a fault. For example, all cases of lost possession might not necessarily be equal. A lost ball that is immediately repossessed is different from a lost ball that leads to a counter attack, or a lost ball that leads to a shot on goal. In each of these cases a judgement call is required. Each judgement call allows for bias.

      Having studied this extensively, it is very unlikely to me that you are free from all biases, as you claim. But there is no reason that this should imply that you suck at anything. It’s simply an acknowledgement that one uses judgement calls where there are not established objective measures, and that we are all human beings! I certainly don’t think you suck at your job, I ENJOY reading your reviews. I just think you need to take a different tack when it comes to explaining yourself.

  10. Cy
    October 1, 2012

    Interesting interview with Messi in El Pais:

    – “It’s nice to be known as a good person, to be thought well of apart from just being someone who scores a lot of goals”

    – “Seems like you’re more concerned than me! Always asking who is better. Xavi or Iniesta? Who knows? I’m lucky to be playing amongst this great players” when asked whether he’s worried about winning Balon D’or

    – “What makes you angry?” “Losing! And in life? Poverty.”

    – “The best thing about this Barca is our ambition & desire to win everything. After winning so much, still makes you ‘hot’ after losing in training”

    – “They are so fast, don’t have to do much to score 3 goals, out of nothing they score against you” when asked about Real Madrid

    -“Rivals increasingly making it tough for us. They attack your weak points and if with luck a good counter attack that Victor fails to stop, they complicate your life with very little. Every time it gets worse, more and more difficult.”

    -“I recently saw kids from our Cantera training. I was surprised to see they play exactly like us! So small and already playing in this manner. You don’t see this in other places, only here. I like it.” When asked “is there anything you like about football recently?”

    • October 1, 2012

      Thanks for the link. To my surprise, this is a very articulate interview. I love his answer on what makes him angry.

      On losing: I’ve seen his face a few times after suffering major losses, so no surprise that he said he hates losing the most. Crying after Argentina was knocked out by Germany in WC’10, CdR loss to RM, Copa America disaster, missing that penalty against Chelsea, lashing out at his teammates after last April league Clasico loss. This guy is extremely competitive, and I admire that competitive and hungry nature.

      On poverty: This answer surprises me a little bit initially because I haven’t seen a lot of examples of him expressing this concern. But it kind of makes sense considering the circumstances surrounding how he got to Barcelona. Not having financial resources to pay his medical bills at a time when Argentina was in the midst of a debt crisis. Moving an ocean away to an unknown place, etc…

      Both answers fit the Messi’s narrative and reality. Sometimes, I find Messi such an interesting person to analyze. A while ago, I read an article by a South American writer published in El Pais (IIRC). The author asked Messi what his impression of Barcelona was? Messi said, the ocean was not as blue as he thought it was. That is quite contemplative.

    • garry
      October 1, 2012

      Thanx for the English link!

    • October 1, 2012

      Second garry’s comment, thank you for sharing.

  11. cliveee
    October 1, 2012


    I can’t begin to say how impressed I am with Tito’s work so far this season. The way he is rotating players, the effective substitutions and the calmness displayed on the touchline…

    The seemingly “risky” substitutions he’d made so far this season indicate his full understanding of the situation/problem. Taking Alves off is a very unusual thing to do for Pep. Tito wasn’t even hesitating when he saw how awful and ineffective Alves was to take him off. Tello came on and raised hell for Cicinho rather than having Alexis going here and there (tho I think Alexis wasn’t all that bad). Villa scored the wining goal with much class. Tito fully utilized his weapon on the bench and got the result. Indeed, he was NOT interested in draws, like Pep.

    Tito is like a cold face doctor. No expression, no emotion, just surgical solutions to your problem. Instant responses to diseases and issues of the body, always analyzing and reassessing the team. Very very impressive. The last coach like this? Pellegrini.

    • Lev
      October 1, 2012

      Well, we were losing 2-1 up until the 89th minute so it’s fairer to say Tito’s not interested in losses :p but I know what you mean.

      Time will tell if his emotionless approach will be good for the team over the course of a whole season. I hope the assistant coach is a bit more fiery / warm / whatever it is that Tito isn’t.

    • Jafri
      October 1, 2012

      Who’s the assistant coach?

  12. lea_terzi
    October 1, 2012

    Two cents from a regular lurker:
    I generally enjoy Kevin’s reviews, numbers included. I even usually get where Messi’s ratings come from. However, the story of this match for me (and many others) was a superbly talented player hell-bent on winning the game, who was put in a tactical position, recieved necessary support and was unselfish enough to do it. He was crucial to this win.
    Kevin’s ratings are based on overall performance and not so much on contribution to final result (like one odd defensive mistake or scoring a tap-in after stinking all game long). It’s difficult to evaluate Messi’s match, because he was a part of everything we did well, but also had spells of ineffectiveness (due to being defended very competently, hence change of position), lost a lot of balls and didn’t bother to get most of them back.
    Kevin gave him a below average rating overall. But what on earth is this average we are talking about? It’s different for each of us, and swamidigital is correct. Unless there is a clear definition of scale and criteria, if rankings are not calculated according to a formula designed to minimise bias, they will remain subjective and Kevin will have to forgive us for saying so ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lev
      October 1, 2012

      Villa should have gotten a 10 rating because far from not playing long enough to be able to judge his performance dude got in and won the game for us after just a few touches. Hard to say what he could have done better. Score 2 goals?

      In the end scoring goals and giving key assists are what wins matches so yeah, Kxevin, your ratings are wack but your reviews are awesome! Thanks for your blood sweat and tears, your AKA’s rock.

    • October 1, 2012

      Nope. Recall the shot that Villa passed on that he should have taken. There were also runs that he could have made, that he didn’t, stranding Xavi with the ball. But again, if you look at the one play, meaning the goal, then yes, he deserved a 10. Look at the totality of his performance, and no. No way. Sorry.

    • October 1, 2012

      Well said! Why lurk? Keep commenting ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. October 1, 2012

    Totalbarca translated this excellent Xavi’s interview for Sport.


    -He’s injury free ๐Ÿ˜€

    -On Messi-Villa “problem”: He said it’s normal.
    Could you imagine if every time Messi makes a mistake, or gets angry, he just lowered his head and said nothing? People would think he doesnโ€™t care. When Leo gets angry itโ€™s because he wants to win, and so does Villa.

    -About training under Tito: Training sessions have not even changed. We have things clear: 4-3-3.

    -On his golazo against Granada: He was lucky it went in and would like the team to take more shots from distance ๐Ÿ˜€

    -On a potential new Camp Nou: It will take years to build which by then he’ll be in the stand ๐Ÿ™

    -A future in coaching: It seems like he doesn’t want to think about it at the moment.

    I always enjoy reading Xavi’s interviews. So smart!

  14. cliveee
    October 1, 2012

    Re: Rating System

    Kxevin strive to be unbiased. People call him biased when they disagree with the rating. I want to ask: Why would a “wrong” rating automatically become a biased rating?

    If you find the number too low because you had a pretty good impression on certain player making certain plays, you are applying your rule to rating – impressions. But Kxevin’s rating is not based on impressions. He has A System. A systematic approach to write down notes, mark key plays and key errors, also including all ball losses, bad control, bad passes, omitting teammates’ good runs, work rate, desire in the span of 90 minutes or 120 minutes.

    I notice that there are times that key plays dictate the actually number given to players, but generally, Kxevin balances things out very evenly and logically. A good play can’t cover 10 bad plays, a bad play also can’t destroy an overall very good performance (Busquets got a 7). You just have to take the full 90 minutes or all the minutes the player has been on the pitch to tell how good or bad was the player’s performance.

    Moreover, everyone is a fan of the team. If writers on this blog are biased toward certain players and give him higher or lower rating, wouldn’t it make the writer look lame and stupid to find satisfaction that way? “Alright, since it’s Xavi, I’m gonna give him good grades even he actually sucked”. Seriously? I could totally imagine myself doing exactly that and feel embarrassed to face myself write anything ever again.

    So, fellow cules, everyone’s standard is different, but difference doesn’t make one biased. Also, everyone’s knowledge on what is key plays and key errors are different as well. But if you watch a match 3 times to write, you usually get a very good picture. Take into account that Kxevin’s work rate is very Pedro. Give him the applause that he deserves. *cheers*

    • October 1, 2012

      Thank you. I assume others get it as well, but it’s nive to see it laid out. Much appreciated.

    • Lev
      October 2, 2012

      Yeah that’s true, we should give Kxevin! an exclamation point also ๐Ÿ™‚

      I understand how you review it, play by play, to come up with the numbers, but it is exactly that approach that skews the final rating.

      To put it into perspective, if every game Messi gives 2 assists and every game Cesc scores 2 goals I would LOVE for them to have a “4” and “6” rating every game.

      But in a game that is decided by very few goals those goals and key plays that (could) lead to goals should carry a more weight towards their final rating.

      But that’s MY point of view. Another point of view of mine is the gratitude I feel towards reading your points of view after every match, so keep rocking them out so that we can keep bitching about the ratings! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. AJ_10
    October 1, 2012

    Good to see the brilliant blitzen awards back. Enjoyed it.

  16. October 1, 2012

    I have a solution: Guest reviewers, starting as soon as someone raises their hand for a match. The best way to understand how something works is to do it yourself. Shoot me a note at, with the match that you are interested in, and we’ll go from there.

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