blitzen awards, the clasico hangover edition.

It’s over? We got through the Clasico and everyone is still alive? Fantastic! And a good result too. A draw against Real Madrid is quite respectable considering our current defensive deficiencies. To celebrate, let’s hand out some awards!

Nothing New Under The Sun Award: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Once again La Primera is a two-horse race with Barcelona and Madrid tied on points at the top of the league table, with the rest of the pack dropping back. Oh when will La Liga become more competitive like the EPL? … wait, what? What’s that you say? It’s Atletico Madrid tied with Barça, not Real Madrid? Really? Oh. Never mind.

El Puto Amo Award: Tito Vilanova, ladies and gentlemen. Still unbeaten in the league and CL. Taking risks and not breaking a sweat. Telling it like it is in press conferences. Like a boss.

What I Did On My European Vacation Award: I know it won’t happen, but wouldn’t it be funny if Real Madrid finished the season in a Europa League position? Where’s your Decima now, eh? 😈

Factotum Award: Adriano has now successfully played these positions for Barça: RB, LB, CB, attacking midfielder, & winger. Next week Tito plans to try him out in goal. Swiss Army Knife? Bah! More like a Leatherman ™!

MOTMOTMOI Award: Busquets was absolutely tremendous in this game. Even more so than usual. Magisterial, to borrow a Ray-Ray-ism. In fact, he is the MOTM so often that I am considering inaugurating a MOTMOTMOIOB award. Honourary mentions go to Pedro! and Alba.

Golden Tricycle Award: Cristiano Ronaldo demonstrates that he is not ready to take off the training wheels just yet by launching a laughable attempt at a bicycle kick. Unfortunately he landed awkwardly on his shoulder and was in some pain for the rest of the match. It’s OK, Cris, I’m sure you’ll graduate to a big-boy bike soon!

Dog Whisperer Award: Sit, Dani, sit! Good boy. Not that I am at ALL happy that Dani Alves is injured again, but at least he will have a chance to sit down for a few weeks and think about what he has done. I’m not sure what is going on with our Brazilian Bandito, but he needs a little break to get his head together and find his mojo. He will, don’t doubt that. I think the thought of an ascendant Montoya might be just the stimulant he needs.

Caught In The Rat Race Award: The beautiful HD download I watched yesterday allowed me to see the racing stripes that both Benzema & Ronaldo had shaved into the left side of their heads. Wikipedia defines “rat race” as “an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit”. No matter how hard they run after Barça, they’re never going to catch up.

If It Walks Like A Duck Award: Mascherano has been playing as a CB for over two years now. At what point do the commentators stop referring to him as an “emergency option” or a “backup”?

Rene Levesque Memorial Ashtray: To the supporters who chanted for Catalan Independence at 17:14. It was a moment the father of modern Quebec would have been proud of. (Oh, look him up.) Although it is pretty ironic that a large percentage of the crowd who participated in creating the giant Senyera was made up of dirty foreigners.

Gloria Mundi Award: Lionel Messi. Free Kick. Did you hear the angels sing? Or was that just San Iker crying?

Rearview Mirror Award: Speaking of that FK, Messi was cracking me up, because every time the referee turned his back he moved the ball. At least 4 times, until it was over a metre, even a metre-and-a-half, away from where it was supposed to be. Interestingly, he moved it away from the goal instead of closer, which tells me that he must have practised a free kick from close to that exact spot. Sneaky little flea. Maybe refs should be equipped with a headpiece mirror so they can see behind them?

HOTM (Hleb Of The Match) Award: The Barcelona “fan” who took the opportunity to show off his fancy laser pointer, targeting the referee and RM players. According to EMD, he was identified by Camp Nou security people during the game and handed over to police. Hope he gets jail time for assault with a weapon instead of just a fine.

Unbearable Lightness Of Being Iniesta Award: Graham Hunter said it best on twitter a while back: Whenever Iniesta gets tackled he gets this look of utter disgust on his face as if to say, “Here I am on the floor again.” It’s his own fault, of course. Since he is so gifted at getting the ball out of tight situations the only way to shut him down is to knock him down. Repeatedly.

Making A Molehill Out Of A Mountain Award: Eric Abidal, who is continuing his quest to regain his fitness and rejoin his beloved Barcelona by climbing a freaking mountain! I dare you to watch this video without tearing up or bursting into song:

Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every highway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live.

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Written by:

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

155 Comments

  1. barca96
    October 9, 2012

    Damn. Just a suggestion. Maybe you guys should put up a note saying that a new post will be up in an hour so that it will stop us from posting there only for a new post to be up.

    • October 9, 2012

      As we have frequently mentioned, topics are still open for comment after a new one goes up. That’s why we changed to a format where the last several posts show up on the home screen. That way discussions can remain under the appropriate topics. We are all busy people and don’t always know how long it will take to get a new topic up.

  2. barca96
    October 9, 2012

    El Clasico facts
    http://twitter.com/Footy_Jokes/status/255359619365490688/photo/1

    Ronaldo was trying to tell the world this with his gesture after he scored the goals;

    I am the 2nd best in the world
    http://twitter.com/Footy_Jokes/status/255335765473644545/photo/1/large

    3 matches on Sunday where it ended 2-2 with each scorer scoring a brace each. #AmazingCoincidence

    http://twitter.com/Footy_Jokes/status/255280484031021056/photo/1

    Wenger’s reaction after Messi confirmed that news of baby is false.
    http://twitter.com/Footy_Jokes/status/254262743882932224/photo/1

    Not a nice joke but quite funny
    wonder if xavi and iniesta assisted messi in conceiving the kid

  3. barca96
    October 9, 2012

    Sorry for going OT but what is up with the British media.
    Suarez gets stomped and it didn’t made the headlines but Suarez dived (a horrible one, really ugly, like a Shaq FT) and became all the rage.

    Diving is bad but why is it classified as the worst thing in football?
    There are many other forms of cheating. Lying to the ref (tackle, throw in), tugging on shirts especially during corners, professional fouls (like Busi on Ronaldo, it was a tackle from the back, and that is a red for me).

  4. mom4
    October 9, 2012

    Quick, Blitzen, make an award for UEFA:

    barcastuff‏
    Uefa have suspended Sergio Busquets for 2 games for his red card against Benfica last week. He will miss the two games against Celtic. [md]

    Dang!

    • mom4
      October 9, 2012

      Can we still protest? After all the fouls Benfica threw at us late in that game,Busi’s card was upheld AND he gets a 2 game ban not one? Really!?

    • nia
      October 9, 2012

      I’m sure if they can forgive Terry for his foul on Alexis and reduce it to one game, they can do the same for Busi. Unless they want to make a statement and show that they are not Uefalona, lol 😉

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 9, 2012

      Benfica were so aggressive it seemed they were out to maim.

      To be honest, we don’t need Busi against Celtic the next two UCL matches. Home, away, or in another galaxy. I say this as a Celtic supporter (second team, of course) 😉

  5. ooga aga
    October 9, 2012

    hey great one blitzen, loved the “golden trike”

    and i also noticed messi move the ball slightly away from the wall. he didnt like the the wall creeping up on him, and he knew he needed the angle just so…

    true genius.

  6. October 9, 2012

    El Puto Amo Award indeed.
    I too quite like how Tito has been handling the questions. Says it like it is, unlike the self righteous high road style of Pep. Both has its merits.
    I imagine too, that it must be easier in a way for the players to be working under the calmness of Vilanova after 4 intense years under the craziness of Guardiola.
    Bloody hate intl breaks.

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 9, 2012

      Abidal
      knows
      the
      UCL Final
      is
      in
      Wembley.

      He needs to hoist the big eared trophy again!

      Visca Barça.

  7. October 9, 2012

    Yes its absolutely sensational, inspiring, heart warming and what not to see the king training again, but how many people here actually believe that

    1. Abidal will play a competitive game this year?

    2. Abidal will be back to his best or atleast 85% of his best?

    3. Abidal can contribute positively for more than a year?

    • Irrespective of whether or not he ever takes to the pitch again, it is fantastic news about a person we admire and care about and so do the players. Even if want to consider simply the effect of this on the pitch, consider it a great morale booster.

      I’m sure having a desire to come back to football has significantly aided his recovery and gave him a goal to keep pushing forward. Absolutely fantastic.

      • October 9, 2012

        Agree with Triplo Volanti. There is no statistical data that says liver transplant patients can’t return to their “normal” lives, assuming a successful, complication-free recovery from the procedure.

        He was playing impaired his last season, we can only assume. So I don’t see any reason he can’t eventually be better than that. As for one more season, that’s all that we would have been expecting anyhow, even if he’d stayed perfectly healthy. He’s getting up there in years.

    • October 9, 2012

      Instead of trying to score some brownie points, if you want to reply to a question, it’d make more sense if you just did.
      The questions are only an attempt to get a realistic opinion on football matters from fans/readers and not meant to suggest a lack of respect for the enormous human effort put by a great person.

      • October 9, 2012

        He replied to the question by essentially stsating that the answer was immaterial. Triplo Volanti, rest assured, is wholly unconcerned with “brownie points.”

        As for your rsponse to him, mind your tone. We discuss things here in a reasonable, collegial manner. Respect the space and the people, please.

          • Infact I see your point, it may seem like I’m trying to score brownie points so I’ll give you a more direct answer:

            All three of your questions are completely valid when considering a player returning from serious injury however due to the exceptional nature of Abidal’s “injury” it is extremely difficult to say anything at all and any pitch time he gets would be down to superhuman effort and loads of luck.

            So the only realistic effect on the team we can expect is his friends and fans getting motivated from his recovery. Which is how I answered you in my first paragraph.

            Now if you will, explain why you’re linking to the boixos website and your opinion on them.

          • October 10, 2012

            Yes, that was being discussed among the mods, Triplo Volanti …. the departure resolved the issue, but rest assured that we’ll be rolling our little cursors over linked screen names more often. I can’t imagine you were the only one who noticed.

  8. pr17
    October 9, 2012

    great to see abi training back.
    Abi + Masche is the best pairing for getting ball out of back though may not be the right combo because sometimes they overplay.

  9. I reconsidered my post after seeing many BFBers disagree with me and I left out alot of the positives from that match and as a whole, to myself. However the two main areas of disappointment for me were that this makeshift defense not only cost us 3 points (and could have easily been more) but gave indications that it could seriously hurt our chances of winning a trophy this year and secondly for the first time Tito took over it seemed he was more afraid to lose than eager to win. Throughout the 90 minutes I kept feeling that we weren’t playing to win.

    After mulling over it, I realised that the latter point was quite justified given the risk/reward as well as due to the first point.

    So all my discontent, which now pales infront of the positives, comes from a point already discussed in depth here, so I’ll let it be. All I’d like to say is that perhaps some cules don’t truly grasp how rare this time is for us, it is absolutely once in a lifetime opportunity to get as many trophies as we can. Wasting an entire year due to not looking after an obvious weak point is a heinous crime. I hope we don’t come to regret this.

    Coming back to positives Busquets remains my acid test for judging someones opinion on football. If someone can’t appreciate his ability then their opinion on football is immaterial to me. Of equal importance as Xavi/Iniesta for me.

    Also in hindsight the Adriano experiment was genius, tactically atleast if not strategically. But from now on Bartra must get minutes and hopefully Montoya really proves himself. His movement seemed quite good.

    And finally if the defense does improve, our attack won’t have to be so constrained, riskier subs Tello/Villa, no booting the ball and hopefully not conceding as much. Lots of potential to improve!

    • October 9, 2012

      I don’t think that the makeshift defense cost us 3 points, though. That second goal, assuming the same circumstances, would have happened no matter who was at CB. It’s not like Pique/Puyol have rocket packs strapped to them, and that was an absurdly perfect pass from Ozil.

      The first goal came mostly as a consequence of Dani Alves chasing the ball instead of staying home on the second most dangerous attacker on the pitch. And Alves is part of the regular back line. Math whizzes will say “If Song is worth 18, surely Javi Martinez would have been worth 40.” Dunno. 40m for a CB just makes my mind scream “Nooooo!”

      Also don’t forget that if Valdes plays the ball out normally, rather than hoofing it up to near Iniesta, who is going to lose pretty much ANY physical battle for a ball in the air, or if Sanchez had been a little more accurate with his flick at the ball, that second goal doesn’t happen, either. That’s life.

      So I just wouldn’t say that the makeshift back line cost us 3 points, even as I agree that this isn’t a state in which the best club on the planet should find itself. But the injury luck has been appalling. Even without Puyol, who’d figure that Pique AND Alves would get hurt at the same time?

      I think that’s the point that people were trying to make. Hope that makes sense.

      • Roberto Senyera
        October 9, 2012

        “Also don’t forget that if Valdes plays the ball out normally, rather than hoofing it up to near Iniesta, who is going to lose pretty much ANY physical battle for a ball in the air, or if Sanchez had been a little more accurate with his flick at the ball, that second goal doesn’t happen, either. That’s life.”

        Just how far back do you want to take the origin of the second goal conceded on Sunday? To the Big Bang maybe?

        And if VV tries to play the ball out normally against the LWBs we could have conceded extremely easily as was the case in the first Clasico last season and in the first leg of of the Super Copa this season.

        • Messiah10
          October 10, 2012

          How about the foul not called on Iniesta? The 2nd goal shouldn’t have even materialized for EE. We would have resumed possession as normal and it would’ve been an even more intense match for Cules to watch!

    • swamidigital
      October 9, 2012

      If you’re going to talk about the backline leading to the goals, you also have to talk about the uncharacteristic but poor play from the midfield during the 15-20 minutes that RM created chance upon chance. They were passing the ball well, and even stalwarts like Busi and Xavi were misplacing passes. I agree with you on one point though, lots of potential to improve. We controlled most of the game against RM, and it’s hard to see how we don’t get much better with players returning from injury.

      • Roberto Senyera
        October 9, 2012

        Better and more plausible argument.

    • cliveee
      October 11, 2012

      Tito is very attacking in this clasico. Regardless of how you think Song has been performing, the fact that he didn’t play him alongside Busquets to strengthen the midfield tells us he was playing for a traditional midfield control type of football we always see. He had absolutely no fear toward Madrid and their game, and this XaviniestaBusquets and Mascheriano CB call shows 100% confidence to his players. Make no mistake, Tito is fearless, he plays for the win, and the lineup reflects it. But the match might not, coz in general, all clasicos are unpredictable due to the morbo dosage. I am becoming more and more impressed by this cold-face-surgical-doctor-like coach. If Tello wasn’t injured or discomfort, he would make the bench if not started (Pedro dipped a little in scoring form of late by the way), so that will complete his full weapon list. However, Villa didn’t start, but mostly due to how the match progressed.

  10. October 9, 2012

    It may be months since I last commented here. But I’ve been following the posts and the comments and I miss you all.

    I’m writing a piece in the School paper about Messi vs. Cr Career Stats. Can anyone help me with a good stats site ?

    • October 9, 2012

      Diego! I can’t, but I do believe in the excellence of OptaJose on Twitter. ESPN SoccerNet is also (shudder!) pretty good. Now don’t be a stranger.

  11. Dave
    October 9, 2012

    Absolutely brilliant just to see Abidal touching a football again. He is a super athlete and severely underrated imo/.

    Has anyone got a link to download revista? Cheers in advance

  12. Dave
    October 9, 2012

    Aran Valley looks a spectacular place for a run

  13. TITO
    October 9, 2012

    It will be something great, to see our best back line again, let’s say after the new year. It will mean a lot for the rest of the team as well, cause it will surely bring stability in, sometimes chaotic and uncharacteristic state of our players as a team on the pitch.

  14. Josep
    October 9, 2012

    “Rearview Mirror Award: Speaking of that FK, Messi was cracking me up, because every time the referee turned his back he moved the ball. At least 4 times, until it was over a metre, even a metre-and-a-half, away from where it was supposed to be. Interestingly, he moved it away from the goal instead of closer, which tells me that he must have practised a free kick from close to that exact spot. Sneaky little flea. Maybe refs should be equipped with a headpiece mirror so they can see behind them?”

    As I mentioned on twitter, if the wall moves forward, he moves the ball back. The distance between ball and wall is vital, I doubt it had much to do with spots practiced at.

    “HOTM (Hleb Of The Match) Award: The Barcelona “fan” who took the opportunity to show off his fancy laser pointer, targeting the referee and RM players. According to EMD, he was identified by Camp Nou security people during the game and handed over to police. Hope he gets jail time for assault with a weapon instead of just a fine.”

    Haha

    • October 9, 2012

      I don’t know, I watched that set-up at least half a dozen times, and he seemed pretty specific about where he wanted the ball to be. And this was while the referee was facing the wall and making sure the players weren’t moving forwards. YMMV. It amused me.

      • Jim
        October 9, 2012

        I think it’s fairly common, Blitz. He needed space to get the ball up and down. Can’t do that if the wall’s less than 10 yards. As it was it just made it. Brilliant spin on the ball and yet managed to keep the pace of it up. Not easy.

        • Roberto Senyera
          October 9, 2012

          Agreed. If the spot kick is within shooting distance the most important aspect is the full ten yards. UEFA needs to adopt the MLS’s white spray can technique as markers for both the spot and ten yard wall spots.

        • October 9, 2012

          Its got very little to do with the wall, who were an appropriate distance out for the ball to go up. Trick is to get it down. Becomes increasingly harder to get it down as the position gets near the D. Messi can’t choose what position he wishes to score take the FK from. Ref should’ve stopped the FK from being taken..

          • barca96
            October 9, 2012

            Its got very little to do with the wall, who
            were an appropriate distance out for the
            ball to go up. Trick is to get it down.

            The wall does have a lot to do with it. If Messi didn’t move the ball back, he would’ve hit Higuain I think or whoever it was he got it above or the ball didn’t have enough space to dip which will mean that it will hit the bar or go over.

            You should go out and try it out to see the difference.

            I always prefer to be further away from goal. Easier to get it over and under. Not that I’m successful. I always practiced bending the ball and never took the wall into account so never became good in freekicks. Just practice hitting the bar or top corner.

          • October 10, 2012

            By appropriate distance, I meant 10 yards. Should’ve been more clear about it, but I thought people would get it anyway.

            The wall does have a lot to do with it. If Messi didn’t move the ball back, he would’ve hit Higuain I think or whoever it was …

            Watch the goal again. It would’ve hit the wall nevertheless had the guy bothered to jump. You can see the ball going past the head of one of the players who jumped. If the other guy jumped at the same level as he was, it would’ve been deflected.

            … or the ball didn’t have enough space to dip
            It wont if you solely rely on gravity. Given that length from the wall to the point at which the free kick is taken is constant – 10 yards, you can easily get the ball to go over up. But at the same time, it shouldn’t go up so much that it goes over. So how to the great FK takers get past that? Technique.

            The idea is to put the bend in such a way that it helps the ball come down faster, you can find out how here. In some cases the ‘Magnus’ force and other forces explained in that article take the ball down in such a manner that the GK is left with no chance which certainly explains how Juninho was able to dip the ball so much when he scored from a FK against us in ’09.

            Drogba’s technique was similar. The ball hardly swerved to the side but had furious pace and dipped violently which made it hit the target. Its all about the technique and not about the wall which was at a proper (10 yards) distance in Messi’s case. With Juninho, the wall never really mattered.

            I always prefer to be further away from goal. Easier to get it over and under

            Everyone does. That doesn’t mean one is justified in taking the ball back from the point on the field where the foul was committed, that’s partly what I was saying.
            The ref should’ve noticed that Messi had taken the ball so far back. He should’ve told Messi to take the ball to where the foul had taken place and then repositioned the wall 10 yards out from that spot. Oh, and he should’ve given Xabi the 2nd yellow for the tackle which led to the foul but I digress..

          • TheFullMontoya
            October 10, 2012

            Vj, no disrespect, but you’re talking about lawyerball, not football.

          • TheFullMontoya
            October 10, 2012

            Lawyerball is what happens when you pay so much attention to small technical details of the rules that you lose appreciation for the beauty of football.

            Example: trying to count the exact inches Messi moved the ball instead of marveling at that free kick.

            Example 2: Mourinho’s coaching style

          • October 10, 2012

            Lawyerball – “The practice of finding and abusing loopholes in written and spoken contracts. Used mainly by lawyers, in court and in everyday life”

            Say, wouldn’t that be something like moving the ball back from where the foul actually happened behind the refs back?

            Or like Busi committing a ‘professional’ foul when EE were on a break?

            Or like Cesc making a meal out of Medel’s ‘challenge’ to get him sent off?

            You get what I’m trying to say don’t you? Or do I have to spell it out? :roll:

            Example: trying to count the exact inches Messi moved the ball instead of marveling at that free kick.

            😯 Who didn’t marvel at Messi’s FK? Keep your assumptions under check please 🙂

  15. Roberto Senyera
    October 9, 2012

    I’ve gotta say that I’m disappointed by the amount of pessimism amongst many on this site regarding our first team squad. All the way from pre-season predictions to pre first Liga classico.

    I feel a wee bit disappointed that we did not win on the weekend on our home ground — despite our injuries.

    I suppose I believe in this team and am an optimist.

  16. Roberto Senyera
    October 9, 2012

    As a devout atheist might I say, ” God bless Abidal!”

    Abidal, we need you in the new year. I don’t want to see Adriano playing CB ever again. Buy a CB in the transfer market? Who us? You can’t be serious 🙁

      • Bill
        October 9, 2012

        I know. When I watch him I can’t help but be sad about what could have been with Ronaldo.

    • Messiah10
      October 11, 2012

      Thanks for sharing that Bill. He was emotional because his father had died 3 days earlier. It made me emotional just seeing how much that goal affected him. What a special moment for him. His teammates were fantastic too. Tim Vickery always says he holds on to hope that Dino will turn it around and rediscover his passion and love for the game. He’s done well at Atletico Mineiro and I hope he continues to. He holds a special place in my heart. He was my sons first football hero!

  17. Gogah
    October 9, 2012

    alves – pique – puyol – abidal
    montoya – pique – puyol – alba
    alves – masch – abidal – adriano
    montoya – masch – pique – alba
    alves – puyol – masch – adriano
    montoya – pique – abidal – alba
    adriano – masch – puyol – abidal

    Cannot wait for Tito to have all these options
    + Bartra

  18. Josep
    October 9, 2012

    Just noticed this from last review and thought it’s worth bringing up’ “No mention in the comments to speak of, though I’m going to suggest that if Alex Song had the match that Adriano had, people would be buying plane tickets to Barcelona, to give Song a sac shot.

    Did the selection mean that Song was, in fact, as crappy as everyone says? Or that Vilanova figured “Hell, neither one of ‘em is a CB, so I might as well put the fastest guy out there.” Dunno. What I do know is that Adriano got a lot better, as did our entire back line, when the rest of the sprites came back to help, and press, when the possession numbers began to eke their way toward FCB normalcy, because when we play our game, the back line never sees the ball, really.”

    Really? This was almost as silly as your constant references to Henry. Your assumptions are extreme, kev. Adriano was chosen for obvious reasons (speed, transition from counters are two that stand out) where as Song would’ve ventured too far forward as he typically has for us at CB.

    You go leaps and bounds out of your way to defend Song which I don’t understand. Especially when he didn’t even play.

    • October 9, 2012

      Aha! Irrespective of who the player is, fairness will be the issue. Whether that involves Song, Henry, Messi or Ibrahimovic. Don’t care about players, care about fairness.

      Is using an illustrative example as an example “silly?” No more or less than anything else folks squabble about here. But give this a go:

      If you disagree with something, present a counter-argument that is something more than “Ain’t neither. You’re stupid.” It’s disrespectful of the tone of the soace, nor does it actually spark meaningful discussion. Will it bring out the “Kxevin loves ….” crowd? Sure. But is that duscussion, or like minds gathering in affirmation?

      • Josep
        October 9, 2012

        But it’s impossible to bring up a counter argument because your argument is based on assumption of something that never happened. The basis of your statement was assuming that somehow, everyone has it out for Alex Song (at CB) when as you noted, no one had quite said anything to that likeness.

        So where did that sentiment even come from, then?

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 9, 2012

      I’ve gotta say that playing Adriano as a CB under the circumstances is a huge indictment on Song. Full stop.

      We got Song because he was a cheap alternative as a guy that could play as a CB. And in the biggest game of the year, so far, we opt to play Adriano (another Smurf) as a CB instead of Song. Adriano has never played CB to my memory. Song has.

      Indictment on Song. Indictment on the board. Full stop.

      Vertongen would have been far more usual to us at half the price of Song. Vertongen is a natural CB, has proven himself as a more than reliable LB cover if need be, looks to have more pace than Song (watch Tott v MUFC), and is a player of substantial character (Ajax captain last season).

      I think we screwed the verbial pooch signing Song before Vertongen.

      But that’s just me 😉

      • Roberto Senyera
        October 9, 2012

        And Vertongen is a natural lefty. That’s added value by itself alone.

        Obama is a natural dodgy lefty from politically dubious Chicago too (I hope you’re not left footed Kx). Try some Pepto Bismol after that disappointing debate performance would be my prescription.

        Facts people. Nothing beats rhetoric better than facts.

        • October 9, 2012

          We strive very hard to keep politics-especially electoral politics- out of this space because there are few things which create as many divisions and difficulties on the internet as those subjects. It quickly becomes impossible to keep things cordial in a discussion section.

          Football has political dimensions e.g. Catalan Independence in the Clasico. But the focus here is on football not general politics.

          There are plenty of places to discuss politics on other sites.

          Thanks.

          • Roberto Senyera
            October 9, 2012

            If you are a Barça fan you cannot separate football from politics. It’s like separating mathematics from logic Mr. Euler. Nice try.

        • October 9, 2012

          Would like to underscore what Euler said. Without knowing me (and the fact that I am avowedly apolitical), you make presumptions. Or are the facts that I am black and from Chicago automatic grounds for presuming that I would be for Obama?

          I care as little for politics as I do for individual FCB players, and care even less for them in this space. The U.S. is riven by red vs blue chasms. We have more than enough to discuss here without going there, so to speak.

          As far as Song vs Vertongen, the name was out there, the club decided on Song. Must be a reason, and I’m assuming they know a lot more about football and evaluating talent than I do, which is why I am here, sticking my neck out to be chopped rather than in Barcelona, discussing tactics and personnel with Vilanova.

          • Roberto Senyera
            October 9, 2012

            As for selecting players all the best clubs on the planet now and before have screwed the pooch.
            Visca Barça!!!

          • ooga aga
            October 10, 2012

            dude, roberto, just drop it. pretty sure you have done this before, going on and on pushing buttons and creating bad vibes in the space. if you want to have that convo with kxevin, ask for his email and do it privately. dont want to read your drivel.

            last time you did it, and i apologize if it is someone else i am remembering, you even remarked that you had been drinking.

  19. swamidigital
    October 9, 2012

    “Unbearable Lightness Of Being Iniesta Award”

    My favorite Blitzen award title! This should be a real award presented to him every year. 😛

    • October 9, 2012

      I would be happy to present it to him in person! 😀 Now we just need a design for it–something better than that ugly torso thing UEFA foisted him with, please! Suggestions?

      • Roberto Senyera
        October 9, 2012

        But it was shiny … just like Casper on the pitch 😉

  20. October 9, 2012

    There’s been a great deal of discussion around Song and the use of Adriano at CB since the Clasico.

    To me – Tito being forced to resort to that kind of move speaks very poorly – but of the Board and it’s transfer process much more than it does of Song.

    It is and indictment in a certain way, but it has much less to do with the player than it does with the context he’s been interjected into.

    That’s the primary issue at hand and the part that speaks poorly about needing to use Adriano.

    It is completely unreasonable to expect Song to be a fully functioning CB for FCB at this time. It’s 10 matches into the season. He didn’t even have the pre-season with the team.

    We’ve seen one player after another struggle to simply adapt to the FCB system. Villa and Cesc are striking examples of this. Before they arrived there was a great deal of discussion about how both would seamlessly fit into the template. That didn’t happen.

    So not only does Song have to learn the base system he simultaneously has to learn a new position and do both without a pre-season. That’s not feasible. And Tito’s decision making with Adriano speaks to how infeasible those expectations are.

    The Song situation is just so odd. In terms of this individual play and skill set he’s done wonderfully so far this season in many ways. His passing, touch, circulation, and tackling at the individual level have all been excellent. In many respects he’s adapted very well and very quickly to the system.

    Where he’s struggled is being thrown into a largely new position inside of a new template.

    Tito deciding to resort to Adriano speaks to that reality. The unreasonable requirements being thrust on Song – especially against what is one of the 3 best teams in the world.

    Needing to use Adriano was much more an indictment of Rosell, the Board and Zubi than of Song IMO.

    It’s unclear of what Tito’s exact role in the transfer process was but my sense is that he was likely told that it wasn’t “feasible” to get one of the top choices at CB so let’s go to “plan B.”

    Tito probably “signed off” on that plan B but he made it clear over the summer he wanted a CB. He reiterated again that he wanted a CB just last week or so. And it’s also very clear now that he sees this as a development year for Bartra as a 5th CB. Given that it is very unlikely that he was counting on Bartra for real functional depth.

    This situation is a failure of management much more than it is a failure on the part of the player.

    • October 9, 2012

      The post-match comments from ZubiZa were interesting, in that they sounded like the choice came down to tenure, and the things that FCB teaches you to do with the automatically and that Song hadn’t adapted yet. Adriano, having been with the club for 2 seasons now, was much more automatic with those things.

      I do think that nobody expected yet another year of back line injury plagues, which seems to be what is happening yet again. I still think 40m for Martinez was, is and always will be absurd. That Bayern paid it makes the number no less absurd. But relying on the same thing not happening twice would seem to be a recipe for something decidedly not good. Luckily Montoya was ready to step up for Alves, or things could have been really messy.

      • October 9, 2012

        …the things that FCB teaches you to do with the automatically and that Song hadn’t adapted yet. Adriano, having been with the club for 2 seasons now, was much more automatic with those things.

        Yes, exactly. Song is a work in progress. No matter how talented he may be, he has played CB for us exactly twice and is still not tapped into that no-look-pass telepathic connection our players seem to have. Throwing him into the deep end of a Clasico would have been a very nerve-wracking proposition, both for him and for us. Adriano may have been playing a new position, but after 2+ years with the club he doesn’t have to think about what his teammates will expect him to do, he just knows.

        I have to hand it to Tito, I didn’t see this coming, but playing Adriano at CB was the best choice he could have made in the circumstances. And big props to Adriano for doing as well as he did. I shall be referring to him as “Factotum” from now on. 🙂

      • TITO
        October 10, 2012

        We did pay 35 or so for Alves if i recall, that’s 5 less than for Martinez. I know, Alves was at that time the best you can get for a fullback, but still…the difference is only 5 million.

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 9, 2012

      “It is completely unreasonable to expect Song to be a fully functioning CB for FCB at this time. It’s 10 matches into the season. He didn’t even have the pre-season with the team.”

      Ok then. What’s a better solution under the circumstances? Use a natural LB that’s never played CB against the next best conceivable side on the planet?

      Bad planning on the board first. Bad coaching on Tito second (when he has Song and Bartra at his disposal). And a massive indictment on Song in the biggest match of the year so far.

      Even so, I still expected to win at home and after all the injuries. Didn’t Graham Hunter recently write a book about this squad being the greatest ever which you all bought? And many of you, especially the moderators here, predict that we won’t win the league let alone this match?

      Shame on those people. I expected a victory even under the circumstances.

      I’m starting to get tired if the pessism here. We all know the sources.

      Visca Barça.

      • Helge
        October 10, 2012

        Even so, I still expected to win at home and after all the injuries. Didn’t Graham Hunter recently write a book about this squad being the greatest ever which you all bought? And many of you, especially the moderators here, predict that we won’t win the league let alone this match?

        Well, according to your logic, greatness would then be defined by winning titles. That is almost as narrow-minded as denoting the greatness of a player by his goals only.
        The brilliance of Messi is not his statistics in goals and assists. And, just like the above mentioned Graham Hunter and many more said, what makes Barça the greatest team ever is the way how they won their titles. Admittedly, this requites to win titles at all. Nonetheless, for many football enthusiasts, the titles matter less than the style; it’s simply a welcomed bonus which makes the not so football crazy folks recognize at first glance what a feat this is.The sheer numbers are a lot easier to decipher than all the small, beautiful and sophisticated details within the match. In my opinion, it is those details that define the greatness of Barca, not the titles.

        • Messiah10
          October 10, 2012

          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS! It’s those details that make me smile and mumble to myself how great this team is! The Busi foot skill to avoid a challenge and shrug off tacklers. The Messi burst that draws 3 defenders out and he’s able to slide a cool pass to Cesc. Xavi being a metronome up and down the field. Picking out the best pass and putting it in the best position possible for said player to receive. Iniesta ghosting around the goal line and making fools out of the defense. All those little moments make me spill over with unbridled joy. Silverware is an added bonus. Not the other way around.

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 9, 2012

      Euler (Mr. Mathematics) lets cut to the chase because you’re very verbose. But I’d like to thank you for supporting this club.

      We shortly debated a number of months ago about CBs/Song/Vertongen/etc.

      Vertongen is better than Song as a CB and a LB. Vertongen was half the price of Song.

      • Roberto Senyera
        October 9, 2012

        …. we didn’t need another midfielder.

    • K_legit in Oz
      October 9, 2012

      How is it feasible to sign someone more expensive when someone who fit the requirements was available at a lesser price?
      Barça (and by that I would mean the people running the joint) is obsessed with making a midfielder XI..

      Also, I remember one moment from the game, Pedro sends this inch perfect cross from the right, smack dab in the corridor of uncertainty for their defense and all of our ‘forwards’ are at the edge of the box for a cut back.. Crash the fucking box! We, watching the game, lost our shit at that! Four of those watching the game were professional football coaches.

      • Messiah10
        October 10, 2012

        I remember that moment as well. It’s been an achilles heel of mine with the team for over a year. We have to start crashing the lanes in order to beat the parked bus defenses put up against us. It may only be successful 2 or 3/10 times but those are goals we could use. I does mean conceding possession when it doesn’t work out. It also means being more susceptive to a counter attack. That may be the hesitancy by Tito to implement it.

  21. bhed
    October 9, 2012

    Sorry if off topic, but I’m watching the Classico for the second time, and Cesc has actually been looking great. Lots of recovered balls.

    • barca96
      October 9, 2012

      Yeah true. That was the only reason I could’ve think of why Tito played him in midfield instead of in Iniesta’s position.

      But he also made too many loose passes.

      • Kimcelona
        October 9, 2012

        I re-watched the match and Cesc was the one who kept on giving away balls, through sloppy passing, that led to 2 chances which EE had.

        His speed of thought sucks too but he has improved from the second half of last season. I just don’t think he fits in the starting eleven when Iniesta is fit.

        • bhed
          October 9, 2012

          Some of his longer balls were a bit hopeful, but worth a shot. It just seemed like most of his touches resulted in something positive.

        • Bill
          October 9, 2012

          Yeah, this has always been my worry with Cesc. He it’s too nonchalant with the ball, passes very carelessly and sometimes looks like he doesn’t know what’s happening around him. They say England made him a great player, but he picked up some bad habits there.

          • Nik
            October 9, 2012

            It’s why I get a little nervous when he slots in the midfield as opposed to the forward line. Bad things happen to us when our midfield gives away balls carelessly. Hopefully, he can improve on the ball retention. That more than anything else will decide if he has a future in our midfield.

  22. barca96
    October 9, 2012

    Yes of course it is the management is to blame but how did that get into the Song vs. Adriano argument?

    Fact is that Song isn’t up to par “yet”. He looked so lost until Tito think it’s safer to play Adriano who has had 0 experience at CB compared to Song who had experience playing there at Arsenal. It’s ok to come to that conclusion. There’s no need to go back and shift the blame to Rosell & co.

    And didn’t Tito say that he was bought to play CB?

    I don’t think Martinez is a major improvement of Song but why not T. Silva?

    • lea_terzi
      October 11, 2012

      Problem with both of those was unwillingness to slot into the Barca wage structure. T.Silva wanted to be the second highest earner on the team after Messi. Martinez, I think, also wasn’t happy about a wage at the “utility player” level (which Mascherano, Alexis and Alba took (Cesc also took a paycut), making their transfers a good bit of business).
      http://www.fcbfans.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Barcelonas-salary-scales.jpg

  23. TheFullMontoya
    October 9, 2012

    Vertonghen would have been the perfect signing for the club as a CB who is competent at LB and can also play as DM in a pinch. He is the closest thing to a future Abidal in the game today. And we had an ex-Barcelona star basically begging to sell him to us! What a mistake not signing him is turning out to be.

    But we can’t blame Song for the club making this mistake. He has performed admirably when he is played in his position of DM. But to ask him to play CB asks too much, especially if you plan to play him alongside another converted DM. A converted DM who plays the position well but still has magnets in his shoes that draw him to the ball and a faulty alarm to danger behind him. Playing Song alongside him would double that danger, why do that?

    The club made a huge mistake in not signing Vertonghen. But now that Song is here we shouldnt blame him for the mistake.

  24. Bill
    October 9, 2012

    Roberto, I never even realized how clueless you are until you started talking politics. Keep politics out of here, if it doesn’t relate to the team.

    But if you must talk about it, Atleast make sense. ‘Chicago politics’ and Obama is from Chicago therefore Obama is Chicago politics is the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a while. Everything else you said were just name throwing accusations, baseless allegations and as Stephen Colbert Says, full of ‘truthiness’ masquerading as facts.

    As for liking Abidal, let me just quote my pastor who warned us that, ‘I used to think if I just befriended one black person, it gave me authority and unquestionable right to be an expert on judging that community’. So, try and learn about….well, anything before you come here to talk nonsense.

  25. htMillBay
    October 10, 2012

    Did FCB try to sign Verto….? Cules assume that Barca gets any player they want. Perhaps, Zubi spoke to him and he said no. Perfectly understandable. Fans have a habit of throwing around names as if it’s a video game.

    • TheFullMontoya
      October 10, 2012

      In early May Frank de Boer admitted Vertonghen was too big for Ajax, a young man still being forced to eat at the kids table during Thanksgiving dinner. Frankie, being an up-and-coming coach who had put in almost 150 shifts for Ajax said this:

      ‘I hope he will leave for Barcelona. Of course, Tottenham is a great club for Jan, but I think he will fit perfect at Barca.’

      Now Tottenham had been texting Jan late into the night for a while already, seducing him with their talk of their project, telling him he was special and they had eyes only for him. But despite this they couldn’t seal the deal for another 2 months, a frustratingly long time for a young lad like Jan.

      Meanwhile, Barcelona was busy flirting with people who were out of its league. And the club even admitted it! It’s like when your buddy says: “The only way it will work with this woman is if I make X, Y, and Z sacrifices. I am not willing to make those sacrifices, under any circumstances. But I’m still going to spend all my time trying to make it work.” You can’t blame him for hoping, just for ignoring reality.

      The club had two months to tell Jan he was special and could be important to the team, but they couldn’t even see this. And what a wingman to have – the lads coach already telling him these things! But the club only had eyes for the trophy signing.

      • TheFullMontoya
        October 10, 2012

        ahem. ” almost 150 shifts for Barcelona”

        • October 10, 2012

          I also wonder (which we aren’t considering in this) if an ambitious young player such as Vertongen saw the club, its talent, its bench and figured that he would be better off starting for Tottenham than doing Copa duty for us. Because like us and the club, he couldn’t have known the injury problems that would strike.

          I think, because we love the club so, we often assume that everyone wants to play for us. And this might be true, “play” being the operative word there.

        • lea_terzi
          October 11, 2012

          I don’t think Vertonghen ever openly stated he would like to sign for Barca. I thought he was the right player for our needs, at the right price, so I was watching for any sign of interest from both sides. But it seemed his heart was set on Tottenham all along.
          Maybe Kxevin is right. Or maybe the club should’ve tried harder. We’ll never know.

  26. October 10, 2012

    Good to see the “opinions turn truths” are not just bluegrana/blanco shaded. It’s an epidemic! Run for your life! (But not to Chicago, obviously. Or else be deemed a follower of “you-know-who” 😉 )

    Insightful as always, Blitzen. Although I’m not particularly sure about the representation of Ronaldo’s recent hair cut. But then again, I heard it was the letter V. As in V for [s]Vendetta[/s] Valdes. But whatever fits the narrative.

    • October 10, 2012

      Blah! My strike out didn’t work. I can now relate to soccermomof4 XD

    • October 10, 2012

      My awards, my narrative. 😉

      I haven’t checked out your blog lately. What is the general feeling over there on how the Clasico turned out?

      • October 10, 2012

        General reaction from the moderate fans is:

        A win would have been better (Duh!) but a draw away at the camp nou is still a good result. 8 points right now means little unless Barca go on unbeaten this season. And if they do, then they deserve to win the league. 30 something more games to go. Still a long way out. We dropped 6 points last season in 4 games, so anything can happen.

        Team went in lacking a lot of confidence and seeming jaded, and had they been more efficient in finishing, could have been 3-0 up by the 30th minute.

  27. October 10, 2012

    Everyone please read

    U.S. politics have NO PLACE ON THIS BLOG!!!!

    There are many other places where people can indulge in their red state/blue state divisions all they like. Not here. We have plenty to discuss, without getting into things that have no place here.

    Roberto Senyera, the mod hammer has come down. Your comments have been edited/deleted where necessary, as have others. My sincerest apologies for the editing. I hate doing it. From a mod perspective, a bad thread is like a virus. One comments, then another comments, and before we know it, this space is just as divided and bile-drenched as so much discourse that I have to witness/cover as part of my day job.

    Mr. Senyera, if you cannot abide by the rules of comportment necessary to co-exist peacefully in this space, I’m sure there are other spaces in which you will be happy. I would rather have 12 readers who understand and are respectful, than 12,000 who aren’t.

    And to all, again, sincerest apologies for the moderation. It’s been a very long time since I have had to do it, and it doesn’t sit well with me, mostly because it means that for whatever reason, things have come off the rails. Some of that is my doing, in that I should have just edited out the initial political comment, rather than making my views clear in the hopes of derailing something that got started anyway. So yes, I screwed up too. Now all we can do is fix it, and come out the other end a wee bit more informed.

    Thanks, everyone.

    • October 10, 2012

      Looks like I missed the political discussion, which can only be a good thing. I agree with Kxevin. The odd political quip is OK if done in passing & good humour, but otherwise politics should only be brought into the discussion here as they affect FCB (ie. Talking about the Catalan independence movement or FCB’s relationship with Qatar is fine, talking about the Tea Party movement or Obama’s relationship with China is not.). And as always, any discussion at all on any topic should be respectful.

      Now can we get back to important topics, like my brilliant awards? 😛

      • barca96
        October 10, 2012

        I’m sorry but I noticed that you (Kxevin) said that you are apolitical. How does the people there perceive a person who doesnt vote? I myself am apolitical because I really don’t know which scum to vote for but a lot of people in my country calls people who don’t vote as people who don’t care for their country.

        I really don’t know. I’ll rather not vote. There are other reasons why I don’t want to vote but I don’t want to delve into there.

        I just would like to know how it is in US. If you feel that it will open a can of worms, then never mind. Otherwise I would really appreciate it. Thanks

        • October 10, 2012

          No, we don’t need to get into that. I know you are genuinely just curious, but I think that’s a question that is beyond the scope of this blog. Feel free to contact me on twitter if you want my personal view.

    • swamidigital
      October 10, 2012

      I don’t think you need to apologize for the moderation. It was a good idea, political discussions in non-appropriate forums tend to create a lot of bad feelings. I know I was thinking of an ill-advised reply to said post, and I am glad it’s not there for me to make the mistake of replying to!

  28. mangut
    October 10, 2012

    At one point I would also think that paying 40m for a center back was absurd. But if considered as a long term investment I think its better spending than overcrowding your midfield or buying midfielders to play out of position. Could DaSilva been purchased several summers ago for a more reasonable price than what PSG paid? If the team is not going to develop a cb or trust the ones that they are developing it would have been a smart purchase. A quality cb fortifies the spine of your team and organizes the back line. A quality cb is key to assisting your gk. I have not been surprised that VV has had some howling moments without Puyol’s consistent presence.
    Dani Alves…
    Listening to the broadcast this is the series of events that I cannot figure out. During the first half, Benzema is left unmarked at misses his shot. The field reporter informs that Mascherano, Valdes and Vilanova were chewing out Alves for leaving his man. Minutes later Ronaldo scores, unmarked, and the field reporter informs that Vilanova was livid and Montoya was up to warm up. Minutes later Alves lays down at midfield with an injury. Did he go into the game injured? Was he going to get pulled regardless? Did the reporter relay the correct information?
    Alves has contributed very little offensively and defensively so far this season. He has been out of position far too many times and he does not have the wheels he once did to return. Much less with make-shift cb’s manning the back. Everytime the has been pulled to insert another attacker, Alves’ presence is not missed.

    • barca96
      October 10, 2012

      I guess Guillem Ballague was right then that the Alves sub was a tactical one and not due to his injury. Been cursing Ballague for days now 🙂

      But one thing just doesn’t make sense. If he really wasn’t injured which he really was, he wouldn’t have just hopped back after losing the ball in Madrid’s half and lied on the ground.

      Or maybe, injured or not, he was going to come off. But if Montoya really was warming up, the producer would’ve definitely shown it on tv as it is very unusual for a player to start warming up that early in a match unless there is an injured player.

      • replayed
        October 10, 2012

        It’s conceivable he got injured after the decision to take him off was made.

        I remember having an exchange with someone on the live chat when Alves started limping where I wondered if this “injury” might not just be a cover for his embarrassment. The other person suggested that he’d probably be fine to play with Brazil, and I agreed immediately.

        So I was a bit surprised to hear his injury would keep him out 3 weeks.

        (This turned out to be different from the Ronaldo shoulder owie which many of us on the chat predicted wouldn’t get in the way of his Portugal call-up.)

    • Bill
      October 10, 2012

      Montoya did not warm up at all before he came on. He said that himself.

      And how can Mascherano criticize anyone when he was also a culprit? Madrid’s first goal, the way he went after the ball before Benzema spun the opposite way, forced Alves to try and cover both players. Alves could have atleast tried to make Ronaldo uncomfortable, but not much else because he had been left exposed by Mascherano.

      Ditto for the second goal. he line broke down because of Adriano, but Mascherano should have been aware where the danger was coming from. He saw the ball, and went in for it without thinking.

      • barca96
        October 10, 2012

        And how can Mascherano criticize anyone when he was also a culprit? Madrid’s first goal, the way he went after the ball before Benzema spun the opposite way, forced Alves to try and cover both players.

        Good point but nonetheless, I feel that sMasch would’ve done enough to stop Benzema and Alves was just too far off Ronaldo in the first place before the play became dangerous.

        • October 10, 2012

          Boy, that background stuff is interesting. I think everybody pointed out that Alves left his man (Wrongaldo) but that conceded goal was a team effort. Yes, if Alves marks him, the goal almost certainly doesn’t happen, but “garbage in, garbage out,” as they say in computer land.

  29. October 10, 2012

    Anyone know when the last time Espanyol got relegated was? With only 2 points from 7 games, this could be their year.

    • TheFullMontoya
      October 10, 2012

      We are already 8 points ahead of Real Mordor! We shouldn’t push our luck!

      • October 10, 2012

        I don’t actually particularly want Espanyol to be relegated, I was just curious. Wikipedia says the last time Espanyol played in the Segunda was 93/94.

    • Ryan
      October 10, 2012

      I don’t think they ever found the goals after Osvaldo left. Don’t they have a new stadium to pay back?

  30. Srini
    October 10, 2012

    Too late to comment about this, I guess. But still.

    What worries me about Barca’s relatively unstructured play this season unlike in the past (and yet effective victories), is that the forwardline looks a bit unbalanced. I suppose teams have found out the way to tackle the False-9 situation much better than before.

    The way RM did it this time was crowd out Messi and to disallow him from making those forward passes.

    I think it will be soon be inevitable for Barca to either use Messi as a 10 or to revert him to the Right wing position. Or best buy/ get a good No. 9 to complement Messi.

      • October 10, 2012

        Villa, indeed. A fully-fit Villa in front of Messi, functioning as a 10, will be a delight. Kinda worked in Sevilla, eh?

        • K_legit in Oz
          October 10, 2012

          He’s the best striker in the world on current form!

        • swamidigital
          October 10, 2012

          Falcao’s workrate fits in, but I think he would be better served with a more direct team. At least that’s the impression I’ve gotten from the dozen or so matches I’ve watched with him.

          • nzm
            October 11, 2012

            Yes – ATM is certainly a more direct team, and Simeone is building them to play that way. It’s exciting to watch when they’re all in tune.

            Falcao is the hitman to whom the others play to, and Falcao’s positioning on the pitch makes it easy for them to find him. He has this incredible ability to find the exact space to be in at the right time, and his running onto the ball to play the crosses is sublime.

            Even though the team looks to support their hitman Falcao, the others aren’t afraid to shoot for goal themselves which makes the team even more dangerous because their goals come from anyone. Their M.O. is to get the ball to whoever is the best positioned – which makes sense, but we often see Barca not doing this.

            Bringing back Diego Costa from loan at Rayo has paid dividends, and together with Adrian, ATM have a formidable attack, supported by some very solid midfielders.

            Even with Falcao out with an abductor injury at the moment, ATM have still put in some excellent matches. Simeone is the ideal coach for them, and he’s getting the absolute best out of his players.

          • October 11, 2012

            The thing about ATM is we won’t know anything until they face one of the big two. Then we’ll know how serious they are. That club has flattered to deceive before.

          • swamidigital
            October 11, 2012

            “his running onto the ball to play the crosses is sublime.”

            Yeah he did a great job of that against Malaga in the last match for example.

          • nzm
            October 11, 2012

            Kevin – did you watch them in the UEFA Super Cup vs. Chelsea? Impressive performance.

    • bhed
      October 10, 2012

      No more forwards or midfielders (assuming Thiago doesn’t make a habit out of getting injured)! We need defenders clear across the back line. One injury prone backup for both wingbacks (I like Adriano, but…), a work in progress (Bartra), and Puyol good for for a few runs at best (I’m not worthy to tie his shoes, but he’s not going to be a reliable first choice)…we’re dancing with the Devil.

      This is why Vertongen MIGHT have been a good choice – rather than a DM who could fill in at CB, he’s a natural centerback who’s also a damn good wingback. Who else is out there? who was that French (African?) guy Kevin was mentioning?

      • Messiah10
        October 10, 2012

        I made the same comment about not needing forwards or midfielders, however, if Falcao wanted to come to Barca, you do the deal. You can’t pass on a talent like that. Messi could also use the help to ease the burden of scoring he has. It’s been better this year but not by much. I just don’t see who’s available and able to slot into our backline. There’s no great CB’s out there. I would rather take a VERY promising youngster than a big name CB. We do need to do something though. Maybe sign a big name over the summer for a year or 2 until we can groom someone else for the long term.

        • barca96
          October 11, 2012

          Falcao or Ronaldo is what we need, a consistent goal scorer. However both of them will definitely not come to Barca.
          Ronaldo for obvious reasons and Falcao is a Madrista.

          And Falcao will demand high wages as he has been in Spain for 2 years now. Say we sign him next summer, he will only have 2 years before he will be exempted by the high tax.

          Besides these 2, I just don’t see anyone who can be our striker who we can consistently rely on for goals. We only have Pedro and Messi now. Sanchez is not really a threat. Villa will likely be gone.

          • Blau-Grenade
            October 11, 2012

            Sign Eto’o and Henry. And while you’re is at it sign Ronaldinho.

      • October 11, 2012

        @bhed: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Plays for Montpellier at present. I wasn’t as much tracking him, as commenting on his abilities as EMD said we were looking at him. He’s the business, though I don’t think he’s ready to roll right into our back line. Fast, strong, physical, good in the air, very good ball skills and capable of playing forward and back. Think his price would be right, too.

        • bhed
          October 11, 2012

          Thanks for the reply Kev. If he’s a quick study, sounds like he might be the ticket. The board’s strategy for defensive backup is a riddle wrapped in an enigma – hello…Botia?

  31. October 10, 2012

    Guillem Balague, who says something interesting about as often as you can see freakin’ Halley’s Comet, says that the team is now influenced by a coach, rather than a philosopher.

    I like this thought a lot, because it ties into my notion of Vilanova being the exact right coach, at the exact right time for this club. When Guardiola came on board, the club needed a mental refresh as much as a talent recharge. It had 80% of the nucleus needed to excel, but it didn’t have a winning mentality. Guardiola took over, and made it all happen in a way that involved the mind. Meanwhile, Vilanova was sitting there, filling in the technical parts of that mental approach to excelling.

    Now, it’s time for the coach, the guy who knows the players, who has the fully-realized Death Star and the keys to the ignition. These players are past the point of needing (obviously, they still need a coach, pep talks, etc) that philosopher kind of guy. Now they need the “You. Over here. Here’s exactly why.”

    Cool.

    • Kimcelona
      October 10, 2012

      Watched Revista and thought this guy (Guillem) knows nothing. He probably doesnt but now that I think about it, he is right in that sense. Tito does seem to be more practical, while Pep was more Philosophical and I agree that it is what we need now. However, the other stuff he was saying is his usual bull about ending of an era. Its too early to be making assumptions about team style drastically changing when Tito hasnt had a full, healthy starting eleven once so far this season.

      Guillem’s talk about not pressing, and VV kicking out from back, and not patiently building up play may seem true in certain matches and at certain pooints of matches but there other issues to consider:
      – A depleted backline
      – Many other injuries to some key players, as ell as some just returning from injuries.
      – Early in the season
      – Still trying to find a role for Cesc Fabregas
      – Tito maybe wanting just to win the first few matches before addressing full these issue
      – Fitness of the team: when are they scheduled to peak, etc

  32. cliveee
    October 11, 2012

    How about an “8 Different Lineups in 8 Matches Bravery” Award for Vilanova, Blitzen?

    Tito has become more and more amazing to me. The way he makes calls, particularly tough calls, shows he is a complete boss who knows his job and position.

    “Song? no, get me the fastest guy to train as CB.” Order got out, people went to work, match played and he explained it well. The reasoning and preparation behind those calls are very systematic and organizational. He let it kept secret among the team and fully trust the players won’t leak it. Train Adriano for a week and play him like he promised. This part is really amazing to me when I sit down and think for a second.

    A good coach transfer ideas to players and build the understanding and consent between the coach and players. Everything has been communicated, team got the idea, when they work hard together to see it being executed, the team’s spirit got lifted up. Undertand, trust and spirit. This defense makeshift call actually has something to gain rather just to suffer the risk and bad result.

    And we pulled off a draw! So, why not give some credits to this surgical-doctor-like coach?

  33. lea_terzi
    October 11, 2012

    Blitzen, you get my Big Game Player award 🙂 You played this Classico like a boss. This post is just the right doze of calm and humour we needed after the storm.

  34. October 11, 2012

    In the “grain of salt” category, Catalan media is saying that Vilanova met with the brain trust, and said “Buy me a center back” this winter. We’ll see how true that is, but let the sweepstakes begin.

    The only guy I see out there who could fit the budget (two, actually) both play in Ligue 1: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (mentioned above) and Etienne Capoue. The former is a true CB, while the latter is a DM who can easily shift back and forth, like Song. Both are faster than Song, and ready for that next level, Capoue for me significantly more than Mbiwa.

    • barca96
      October 11, 2012

      I’ve never been a fan of January transfers. They don’t have time to get used to the system. But let’s hope for the best. I really can’t recall any January transfers turning successful. The only at the top of my head is Vidic.

      • barca96
        October 11, 2012

        I see that you have given Capoue the nod over Mbiwa but just a few months ago when I last asked you, you said that Capoue might not be the deal because we have been tracking him for 2 years now. And how come no other big club has gone for him. He must’ve stagnated his growth (talent).

        • Messiah10
          October 11, 2012

          He’s been linked with a number of PL teams. So has Mbiwa. I’m afraid Spain’s higher taxes will have an impact on players signing for Liga teams. It used to be a better tax system to lure players to Spain. I can’ t really blame Espana. I mean, how do you justify the tax breaks to super rich footballers earning more in a week than you will in a year and your stuck paying higher taxes than them. However, it will definitely have a detrimental effect on players coming to Spain. 🙁

          • Ryan
            October 11, 2012

            Spain still has the benefit of better weather and food though!

        • October 11, 2012

          There are any number of things that go into a transfer, including player willingness. Capoue wants out of Toulouse. He was being watched by a ton of Prem clubs. Have no idea why nothing happened over the summer. Thought for sure Arsenal would grab him. He’s ready now. Mbiwa might have a bigger up side, though.

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