At Least We Know What to Drink: Xerez – Barça

TV details updated!
Liga Preview: Xerez – Barça, Wednesday 4pmEST, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (check your local time)

sherry_bottlesOff to Andalusia we role, the land of Moorish influence, of packed beaches, and brilliant sun. I hope Don Andres remembers his sunscreen. And yeah, I know it’s a night game, but come on, he’s called Ghostface for multiple reasons. The city of Jerez de la Frontera (pop 205,000+) is situated just northeast of Cadiz, close to the coast, but not on it. It is apparently known for its sherry (jerez in Spanish), but I know it more as the home of the team I used to play in FIFA06, back when you couldn’t just choose what team you wanted to manage in Season mode. I took little Xerez CD from the basement of the Segunda to the thrilling heights of the Champions League trophy in just 3 short seasons and snobby FC Barcelona still wouldn’t hire me. So I quit that stupid game.*

The name Xerez comes from the Arabic name for Jerez; Wikipedia is incomplete on the history of the city, so I can only surmise that it was the Moors who founded the city, which later added “de la Frontera” to its name when it came under Christian/Castilian control before the Reconquista made it not near a frontier. For whatever reason, Jerez CD became known as Xerez CD in the 1960s and the name has stuck.

Their stadium is the Chapín, a 20,300 seat stadium with a track around its field. The field itself is smaller than that of the Camp Nou at 112×64 yards (as compared to 115×74) so spacing discipline will have to be at a premium. I’m not sure what their lineup will be like, but let’s just say that they have a player named Sidi Yaya Keita. I am not fucking kidding. I am so scared to face him no matter what anyone says about skill level or overall team brilliance, his name is Yaya Keita. How can he not be awesome to the Ultra Extreme?

They also have this kid named Victor Sanchez, but I don’t believe he’s played in a while and might be injured. I’d love to see him play against us, much as I enjoyed watching Henrique and Botia play; I’d love to see him do well, in fact, but I don’t want him to get any ideas about beating us, just keep it on the “VicSan had a nice game” level and we’ll all be happy.

Our squad list: Valdés, Pinto, Abidal, Alves, Maxwell, Puyol, Chygtronic, Márquez, The Yaya, Xavi, Don Andres, Bojan, Pedro!, Jeffren, JDS, Henry, Keiteeeee, Messi, Ibra.

There is no Pique, Milito, or the suspended Busi, so I expect the following lineup:

Valdés, Alves, Márquez, Chygnasty, Maxwell, The Yaya, Xavi, Keita, Pedro!, Henry, Messi.

This is a clearly weakened lineup, but let’s look at why:

Xerez: 1W-4D-7L (4GF, 21GA)
Barça: 9W-3D-0L (30GF, 8GA)

Home/Away Stats:
Xerez: 1W-2D-3L (3GF, 8GA)
Barça: 3W-3D-0L (10GF, 3GA)

The overall stats point to a total thrashing (like 4-0 or 5-0 kind of asskicking), but the home vs away stats point to a draw, oddly enough. The thing is, Xerez are in last place and I don’t see us missing out on thrashing the last placed team in the league. We have a tough game at Depor on Saturday followed by a trip to Dynamo Kiev a week from tomorrow, so resting some of our stars is imperative. For that reason, I hope we can get Xavi off the field early and put JDS out there.

These three points, though, are where you win and lose championships, so making sure we get all of them is much more crucial than some might think. Because we’re the only teams playing, we’ll have a game in hand until we head off to the UAE to play in the World Cup of Clubs. Putting extra pressure on Madrid to keep up with us is definitely the way I’d like to go, since any slip of theirs after we have already won will widen the gap between us all the more. It’s still early days, of course, but every point we pick up now is a point we can avoid having to make up later.

Official Prediction: 0-2, goals by Pedro! and The Yaya, just to bring the house down. Well, my house anyway.

Let’s do it!

Game time: 10pm local/Jerez, 4pm EST/NYC (check your local time)
TV: Appears to be unavailable in the US, but might preempt “Jorge Ramos y Su Banda” on ESPN Deportes. Looks like live streams for us Americans. UPDATE! It will be shown live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes; it will be on ESPN2HD, but doesn’t appear to actually be in HD.
Weather: 59F (15C), 20% chance of rain with some fair to heavy cloud cover.

*For those of you interested in such things, the detail I remember from all those seasons was that in the very first one, my poor budget couldn’t purchase Ronaldinho, who instead of going from PSG to Barça went to, get this, Ipswich Town. He stayed there for all three of those seasons, toiling away in the Championship or whatever it was called and just wouldn’t accept a transfer away from them, no matter how much money was thrown at him. Hilarious.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. December 1, 2009

    This BETTER just be a match of no stress eye-candy. But because it SHOULD be so easy, I feel like we’ll have some trouble getting the first goal, just because Barca likes making its fans nervous this year.

    I’m going with 0-3, goals by Keita, Alves, and Bojan as a sub (PLEASE!)

    +100 for you, Isaiah if you predict that Yaya goal correctly.

  2. December 1, 2009

    I can see the reasons behind that offense selection. Yet, its also true that Ibra may need some match fitness before serious business, and Henry need a game to break the curse. So we may see Messi-Ibra-Henry starting the game. Then we do some subs. I cant say I favour any of the two options over the other.

    If it happened and we started the mentioned offense, then the crazy monkey inside me want to see Iniesta+JDS in the midfield. With Yaya behind them.

    • December 2, 2009

      I can totally get behind that idea, but Guardiola seems to me someone who will sacrifice the “match fitness” for the 3 points and will instead assume that Ibra has quality to regain his fitness against Depor.

      Still, isn’t the point that no one knows with Guardiola? I had like a 90% success rate with Rijkaard and now I have a 40% success rate with Guardiola.

  3. December 1, 2009

    thank you for hectoring me with this preview. i’m also hoping for a nice and easy, throttle stuck on cruise match with no injuries!

  4. Ethan
    December 1, 2009





    I feel this is the lineup we should start to get the midfield and forwards in the groove for our upcoming weeks. This should be our lineup(of course without the defense) from now on. But unfortunately we wont see that happening, Henry just isnt doing it anymore and Pedro! deserves a chance to start regularly now. And i wish we had the Yaya in as our DM for this month inbetween Iniesta and Xavi, let Busi watch from the sidelines this month and play him in january, throw him on as a sub here and there, but he has a lot to learn from the Yaya. IPWT. Visça El Barca!!!!

  5. Ethan
    December 1, 2009


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    • Ethan
      December 1, 2009

      Damn, it looked so much cooler when everything lined up.

      • Maximus
        December 1, 2009

        I hate when that happens…would need a preview button *hint*.

  6. Alexinho
    December 1, 2009

    Ah, those wonderfully unrealistic FIFA transfers…

  7. stowe
    December 1, 2009

    i hate it that on some games you can’t change player’s squad number. I bought a player for about 124 mil (he was a 99) and his number ended up being that. He’s jersey was ridiculous looking. this was in fifa 09. i remember i could change numbers on an older game.
    and @ ethan: we need to let messi-ibra-henry play together to let them get in the groove together

    • Eduard
      December 1, 2009

      You should definately be able to edit shirt number, I always put myself in the game and if I could my shirt number would be 69.

  8. Jose48
    December 1, 2009

    Isaiah in FIFA 06 you had to buy (with accomplishment points earned in the game) the ability to manage the 5-start teams. Only once you buy that in the FIFA shop will Barca, Arsenal, AC Milan, etc. try to hire you…

      • December 2, 2009

        jaja, don’t worry. I spent three seasons with Serie B’s Catania, transferred to a Sevilla for a few seasons and won absolutely everything and STILL Barca wouldn’t give me the time o’ day. Then I found this tidbit buried in the FIFA shop, and was effin’ OUTRAGED.

        Jajaja, by the time I came to manage Barca (seven seasons in), the team was almost unrecognizable! I think it had only Valdes, Xavi and Oleguer left… OLEGUER.

  9. PM
    December 1, 2009

    Messi thinks every barca player deserved this ballon d’or. So true.
    Reminds me of someone who thought he was the no 1,2, and 3 player in the world *big laugh* 😀


    • Helge
      December 2, 2009

      LOL 😀

      I think we should seriously be thankful for that we’ve got Crynaldo, because it is sooo much fun to ridicule him and his arrogant comments, to read about his amorous adventures and so on. It’s great to have players you can love and admire, but it’s even better when there’s a narcissistic Thong Boy with a big mouth who in the end has to pay for his behaviour^^
      Maybe, if he wasn’t such a dork, luck (or skill…) would have been on his side as he faced Valdes in a crucial one-on-one 😉

      Or remember Dani Alves’ quote of the month:
      “Cristiano Ronaldo fell slightly short of his promised 10 or 20 goals”

  10. jnelson
    December 1, 2009

    The game might be on ESPN2 at the last minute like what has happened a few times during this year and last year for Wed. Liga games.

  11. Kxevin
    December 1, 2009

    Well, I was off the grid for a while, but am back. A few things:

    1. How the hell does Thong Boy finish ahead of Xavi and Iniesta in the Golden Ball balloting? Or Eto’o, for that matter?

    2. Busquets is this season’s lighting rod. For good reason. You can watch him live and really appreciate what he does. But when The Yaya came on, shit was just different. They’re different kinds of players, as many have pointed out, but if I’m going to war, I’d rather do it with a Yaya. I know that Guardiola is preparing for the ACN, and giving Busquets time. But he’d better quash that Yaya shit right now.

    3. Lay off Henry. I just watched the match, and would have given him a 4, based on the video. Live, I would have given him a 7. Yes, being in the stadium makes things that different. It kinda calls into question the whole reviewing and grading thing in some respects.

    4. Iniesta was much better against Inter than the EE.

    5. That Ibrahimovic goal was staggering. On TV, it looked kinda ordinary. But think about what it took: Alves had to make the cross, Ibra had to turn his body just so, and make the decision to volley the ball, rather than controlling and then shooting, because yes, Casillas is that good. Now think about how many volleys you see carom crazily off the player’s foot. And don’t forget the Alves angle of the pass, which just increased the difficulty.

    Let’s all thank the heavens that we have players who can make crazy-ass goals such as that one look rather ordinary.

    6. The Yaya needs to shut up. Much love for the man, but you talk to the coach about that shit. We can dismiss the natterings of his agent as the bleatings from a dick, but this is something different. I know that all players do that press whining bullshit, but I’m against it. Fully and completely.

    The Yaya needs to realize that he is valued. If he doesn’t want to be part of a championship side, he can find somewhere that does want him. Yes, I said it. No player is bigger than the team.

    7. I’m calling bullshit on the Ibra/Messi not speaking crap. Or they were putting on a show for the BarcaTV cameras, which showed them at practice, working out together and goofing around. Messi knows he’s the man. Ibrahimovic knows that it’s Messi’s team. Everything else is nonsense.

    8. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We were some clinical EE finishing away from getting our asses handed to us in that Clasico. They created more chances, and missed them all. Thank the Blaugrana gods for that one.

    • cliveee
      December 1, 2009

      u know what, i tried to imagine seeing that crazy volley goal live and couldn’t sleep for a night… i still feel like crying when i watch the replay again and again. that was one hell of a volley…

      Yaya must stay!

    • Liza
      December 2, 2009

      I know this is a selfish thing to ask… but do you think you could give us a review of the Clasico? Maybe a bit more of the live perspective? Since the Xerez game apparently isn’t available, maybe this instead of that? It seems I won’t be able to go to one live for a while…

      I never thought I’d ask this, but I want to see your player ratings! I’m curious how different things were live vs TV. I want to know who impressed you the most, who was the most different from TV, who lived up to expectations, etc. You don’t have to do this– I understand you are probably busy. I’m just desperately curious.

      Also, you had me worried for a second with the Messi/Ibra thing. Because I was unaware there were even rumors about them not getting on! Last I heard, Ibra said that he ate with Dani, Messi, and their crew during lunch. But I’m glad they get along.

      • Kxevin
        December 2, 2009

        Unfortunately, they would just be impressions. I didn’t take notes or anything. But trip posts are imminent. Anybody who friended a brotha on FB got almost daily updates.

        • Liza
          December 2, 2009

          Thanks! All I really want is the impressions that you got from the team!! I am so jealous that you got to see El Clasico live. How amazing.

          Sadly, as part of my university resolutions, I have cut myself off from FB. So none of that for me…

    • Blow-Granite
      December 2, 2009

      I always give Henry very high points. It is hard to see the work a centre forward puts in on TV. Henry is beyond words and Barca are luckey to have him.

  12. December 2, 2009

    Welcome back, Kevin. Now it’s your job, once again, to do the reviews. Yay me, yay Kevin.

    Also, I just crushed, absolutely annihilated Jnice in a game of FIFA10. It was something like 7-0 Barca vs Barca. And by me beating Jnce I mean him beating me. Ferociously. With no mercy. And to think, it was the fifth game I’d ever played of FIFA10. J-Jerk, more like it!!!

    • Jnice
      December 2, 2009

      Haha. It was close…r than expected. 😀

  13. Corrine
    December 2, 2009

    whaaaat we have a league gammmmme? and then depor again? good thing it’s only xerez

  14. Kxevin
    December 2, 2009

    And it looks like the next round of the Copa, v Sevilla, is looking like the final, but in the 5th round. The winner of that tie is clearly the tournament favorite.

    That will be us, of course.

    By the by, with no TV for Xerez, that means no review, since I will be busy digging out from under the mountain of work that built up while I was frolicking in Catalunya.

  15. Kxevin
    December 2, 2009

    And to anyone hoping to follow my crazy-ass live Tweets, blame the Camp Nou/Barcelona cellular infrastructure. As bad as it was for the CL tie, it was even worse for the Clasico. After 5 minutes, my phone just said “Dude. Ain’t gonna happen.”

    • December 2, 2009

      How the hell did cellular phone signal get ‘worse’ when you were in the same place, the Camp Nou?

      Obviously this means that Real Madrid produce a nefarious signal static anywhere the go. The Evil Empire that it is.

    • Ethan
      December 2, 2009

      Ya i hate that shit, my phone neeeever works in the camp. Seeing the boys live is unbelievable. I fortunately made it to 2 matches this year in september and year after year there is no other feeling like being in that arena. I always smoke incredible hash i get from friends when i come out, and when i go to a game, i never smoke beforehand bc thats how crazy of a natural high it is being there with that kind of energy. Super jealous u made it to the clasico, ive been attending matches for 4 seasons now and i have yet to find a way to a match, bloody things are sold out instantly…Ill have to convince my sister to go to the stadium next time and wait out a ticket for me…lol, in my dreams. Glad to have you back, though i must say Isaiah did a wonderful job. VISCA EL BARCA!!!!

      • ElShowDeJason
        December 2, 2009

        Man, i can’t wait til the day i have the pleasure to watch them live at the Camp Nou.

        I saw them live at the RoseBowl, and even though that is way better than TV, it sounds like it doesn’t hold a candle to watching it in the Camp Nou.

        (besides, my two favorite players didn’t play in the Rose Bowl match vs Galaxy San Andres, and Zlatan)

  16. Jnice
    December 2, 2009

    Watching Revista de La Liga now and Balague says that Botia is the “New Pique.”

    • Jnice
      December 2, 2009

      Oh and listening to a podcast, Ray Hudson says that Pedro will be as good as David Villa even though they are different players.

    • Aeneas
      December 2, 2009

      right. just like how Agüero was coined the “New Messi” last year. Can’t we wait AT LEAST half a “soccer generation” before we start passing torches?

      • ElShowDeJason
        December 2, 2009

        Anderson was supposed to be the new Ronaldinho. They don’t even technically play the same position…

        Which reminds me… we should buy Anderson. He should bridge the gap between Xavi and JDS. Maybe an very long loan?

  17. BA
    December 2, 2009

    this game is on ESPN360 tomorrow at 3:55 EST, for those that want to catch it.

  18. December 2, 2009

    Welcome back Kevin.

    Aeneas, comparing Aguero to Messi sounds less crazy than claiming that Rubben is better than Messi. In fact, if you follow Aguero football career from start till now, where he started, how many goals he scored, and all the media hype around him, You will be surprised that its Identical to that’s of…our “own” Saviola. The one who was called once “Argentina New prophet”, and the player Maradona followed to the park so he can take a photo with him.

    Media hype makes the most destructive impact on football understanding.

  19. Boat Forever
    December 2, 2009

    Zlat’s goal was so fuckin awesome 🙂
    I’ve been away from this “world” for the past week and so don’t know shit about any news off late… Saw Ibra’s goal only on youtube just now

    Did Alves really say “Crynaldo just fell short of 10-20 goals that he promised!?” LOL Dani, that was rude 😀

    Messi-Ibra not speaking to each other!? I can believe that!! I’ve read some epic biography on Ibra

    Botia = New Pique? Hopefully 🙂 A LOT of very good reviews on the kid these days 🙂 Pedro = New Villa 😀

  20. Eklavya
    December 2, 2009


    • SoccerMom
      December 2, 2009

      Victor Victor
      Victor Victor Valdes
      Victor Victor Valdes Victor
      Valdes Valdes Valdes Victor

      GOOOO Eklavya!

  21. Eklavya
    December 2, 2009

    About the banner comp.:
    We have Wednesday AND Thursday or Thursday is when the ballots are collected, meaning that wednesday is actually the last day….? Er, wait which time zone? Arrrgh fihsefpihwlfh
    oh what the hell just submit them now, eklavya

  22. Kxevin
    December 2, 2009

    Stay tuned, we now have a TBA on Deportes and ESPN2 from 2:55-5p. Could be coincidence, could not be. I’m setting the DVR at any rate.

    And hey, France isn’t seeded in the World Cup. Coincidence or punishment? Or just desserts for just crawling out of a weak-ass group.

  23. Kxevin
    December 2, 2009

    And now, the Ballon d’Or second guessing commences. One editorial wonders why Xavi isn’t recognized as the best player in the world. Aragones says (mind you, we know wby) that Xavi deserved it over Messi.

    What say ye? I say that a player like Xavi, though brilliant and an absolute jot to watch, is also the kind of player who rarely wins major individual accolades. Hell, I know how good Xavi is, and it was aatounding to watch him live.

    But he isn’t flashy, and he doesn’t score goals, so many might wonder how you quantify his brilliance? Good question, and I know this: Provincialism aside, Aragones might be right.

    • Helge
      December 2, 2009

      I’ve just read the article:

      I think it’s one of the few brilliant editorials over at
      I think the article gives some ways to quantify Xavi’s brilliance.
      The Ballon d’Or is voted by journalists, and I know you are also a journalist, but let me assume that the journalists usually vote for the most entertaining player, the one who scored amazing goals and driblles around 4 players (or more).
      FIFA World Player of the Year will be voted by the national coaches, right? So I would give Xavi better chances there, because the coaches actually have to see that there is and has never been a player like Xavi (while there have been quite some players similar to Messi). I fully support the article – I’m also happy that Messi won, but Xavi deserved it more. And it’s indeed a shame that he will with a probability of 99% never get the appreciation.
      On the one hand, I think if you make a vote among the greatest “connaisseurs de foot”, Xavi would win. But still, I doubt that FIFA WPotY goes to Xavi… maybe the national coaches simply don’t dare to vote for him.

      By the way, what about making a poll on this website? With only three players to choose from: Messi, Xavi, Iniesta.

  24. JeffP
    December 2, 2009

    My listings have the game on ESPN deportes.

  25. December 2, 2009

    I have updated the post to reflect the updated TV schedule:

    This game will be on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes!

    • Eduard
      December 2, 2009

      I don’t have it showing on my guide menu :/ …I will recorded the mexican talkshow anyways. Thanks for the heads up Isaiah!!

      • Miguel
        December 2, 2009

        shit!!! i could’ve tivo’d this!!! aaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Hector
    December 2, 2009

    BTW, did you guys see all the photos the Madrid press is putting up of Laporta Gone Wild while celebrating the Clasico victory? There are many things to dislike about our Politician President but IMHO this is A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Its his last Clasico as president so why not go out in style? The dude was drenching the crowd with a bottle of Crystal and smoking a cigar with his tie around his neck. You have to admit that there is a certain awesomeness to that scene. The RM papers present it as a guy flaunting his wealth but shit, come ON, FLORENTINO…they CANNOT play THAT card. If I presided over my last Clasico after 7 years as president, I cant say I wouldnt do the same.

    Check out the front page of Marca (\

  27. December 2, 2009

    all I’m sayin is, if I just won el clasico in Barcelona for the last time as president of FC Barcelona, and we just defeated the most expensive team in the history of football, and we have won five trophies in one year….

    Yeah I’m going to get wasted and spend some money!

    In the words of Kanye: “Let the champagne splash, let the man get cash”

    • tyler
      December 2, 2009

      also, I always fly into the Jerez airport when I go to Spain. It’s a very scary/creepy/frustrating airport to say the least. One of the worst I’ve ever been in haha. I can’t imagine the Barcelona players flying in and out of there haha.

  28. Kari
    December 2, 2009

    Watching this video of Messi vs EE : * It’s unreal how LITERALLY every time he gets the ball, he’s surrounded by 3-4 players.

    Oh, and Lass should have been sent off way earlier. Seriously, he got away with so much! And just so some Madridista’s don’t come trolling here, Keita probably should have been carded too, for persistant fouling.

    • Kari
      December 2, 2009

      Compare that to this *–iFdq7Rk Thank God we have Messi!

      You could argue that TB hadn’t played in what? 2-3 months, but Messi was injured just last week or so, and was probably just still injured but wanted to play.

      Delusional? Probably 🙂 But that’s what being a fan is for.

      • Liza
        December 2, 2009

        I am so biased towards all our players. I could never give player ratings like Kxevin, because I’d eventually work it out so everybody got about the same score.

        Everybody was fussing that Messi missed that goal, but watching the video, I am impressed all over again by his performance! *bias*

        Re: fouling. My only real problem with refereeing is the incredible inconsistency with which they call out fouls. I know Messi’s good and all, but if it’s a foul on any other player, then it’s a foul on him as well. I guess there will never be a solution though. I remember this interview with TB where he moaned about the refs in the EPL, saying how they didn’t protect the players like La Liga refs. Someone should have told him that the higher your profile, the lower the number of fouls called against you. Obviously I’m being too sensitive, but I always worry that some of our guys are just a bad tackle away from missing a chunk of the season.

  29. December 2, 2009

    Just about to set off for the match now. Guardiola had better play Messi, Xavi and Iniesta or I’ll be asking for my 55 euros back!

    Can see it being a rout.

    • December 2, 2009

      Yeah that’d be disappointing for you if he didn’t play anyone you wanted to see. Enjoy the match and at the very least enjoy being today’s object of my jealousy.

    • Helge
      December 2, 2009

      55 euros? What the hell… how much do you pay for a ticket against a “normal” opponent?

      In the German Bundesliga, the most expensive ticket was about 35€ and 40€ if against the likes of Bayern Munich. Is La Liga so expensive or is Barcelona twice as expensive as, let’s say Malaga? 🙂

  30. December 3, 2009

    55 euros AND i’m a season ticket holder!! Fricking unbelievable. God knows how much those without season tickets paid. Hundreds! Speaking of money, some guy won half a million euros at half time after scroing from the halfway line. Least he could have done is shared the wealth, and given us our money back.

    A couple of observations from the match…

    Ibrahimovic and Yaya are MASSIVE. I mean ridiculously big.
    Iniesta pulled out some tricks in the warm up that were worth the money alone.

    Congrats on the 3 points. Job well done.

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