Champions League Comments Post

Forget about the league for a moment: winning tonight will ensure that we sleep gently atop a 5 point lead with 3 matches left to play. By no means will qualification be assured, of course, but the trips to Scotland and Russia will become less foreboding. Especially if Spartak and Benfica can manage a draw (for our sake, of course–it’s 2-1 in Russia at the time of writing this).

It’s no easy task to defeat a rampant Celtic side, however. They’re coming off a 5-0 victory on Saturday against St. Mirren and they think they’re underdogs. They top the SPL table and it seems no one believes they can take a point off of Barcelona, much less nab all 3. Yes, they’ve just grabbed the SPL lead and will not relinquish it again, but there’s no Busquets (suspended), no Pique (injured), and no Puyol (injured). Who starts at DM? Who starts at CB? Song and Adriano, one imagines, but we’ll have to see if Bartra and Montoya get the nods.

This is a home match and, as such, it is virtually must-win. This is a match against a good opponent and, as such, it requires full concentration. Any lapses will be dealt with more severely than they were by Depor. The opposing defense will not rupture like a leaky dam. This is going to be tight, this is going to be tough. Celtic is here to play.

We could scream all day about history, about the last time Celtic and Barça met, about the ghost of Henrik Larsson (“I’m not dead yet!” he crows), but really, these are different teams than those. This is today and the historical anecdotes are just that: anecdotes. Play to the whistle, chicos.

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

223 Comments

  1. October 23, 2012

    FWIW, my preferred line-up would be:

    Valdes
    Montoya Mascherano Adriano Alba
    Xavi Song Cesc
    Alexis Villa Pedro

    Messi, Iniesta & Bartra as supersubs.

    Yeah, that’s right. I’d bench Messi. There is a rumour going around the twitterverse that he is suffering from a cold, so I would keep him in reserve for if we needed an impact sub. I also feel that after Cesc’s excellent game on Saturday he deserves another start, but I would like Xavi there as well for stability, especially since our first-choice DM, Busquets, can’t play.

    I think if we can stave off any silliness at the back and avoid giving up too many corners & FKs, we shouldn’t have much trouble. I think Valdes will be in a mood to vindicate himself, so I expect him to have a good game.

  2. Blau-Grenade
    October 23, 2012

    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Adriano Bartra Mascherano Alba – Xavi Song Iniesta – Pedro Messi Alexis #fcblive

    Bartra finally gets a start!!!

  3. Bill
    October 23, 2012

    With us leading our biggest opponents, shaktar and benfica by 3 points with a game at hand, and 3 more games to play in the round, this was the game to rest Messi and Iniesta. We have a lot to lose if those two get injured.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 23, 2012

      Injuries can happen any time.

      If there was a right time to rest Messi, it was probably the last game, when he came back tired from the Internationals, with jet lag. With any manager or club in the world, if Messi is fit, Messi starts.

      Iniesta seemed fine to me in the last match with no signs of fatigue, why did you want Iniesta to rest?

      • chop
        October 23, 2012

        I sense a torn ACL for either Messi or Iniesta in this match. Book it.

      • Bill
        October 23, 2012

        We needed Messi and Iniesta in the last game because we are vulnerable immediately after internationals and we need to keep up the pace in la Liga. Like you said, Messi was tired. Probably still is. It was a risk to play him and it worked, but he still needs to rest after that two Weeks of hectic travel.
        Iniesta has a history of muscle problems. We should try and limit him to important games at this stage of the season and give him as much rest as possible. This was one of those games.

  4. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    Can we get any smaller? Wouldn’t like to see many Alba vs Samoras duels.

    Unlucky for Cesc missing out but I’m liking the twins in midfield. Big game for Alexis. I’m sensing he’s working his way down the pecking order.

  5. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    And that’s the problem with him….

  6. chop
    October 23, 2012

    Messi hasn’t made a single tackle yet. Incredibly lazy.

  7. Richzorz
    October 23, 2012

    lol, another own goal to add to the collection…?

  8. Judas Pissed
    October 23, 2012

    Does Valdes EVER save a shot on target these days..?

    • swamidigital
      October 23, 2012

      That was deflected off a defender you know…

    • Jim
      October 23, 2012

      Oh right. Definite mistake from Valdes . Nothing like a good bandwagon…

    • Richzorz
      October 23, 2012

      Given the way things have gone defensively this season Valdes should really have anticipated that!!

  9. chop
    October 23, 2012

    The defense lives up to expectations.

    • Jim
      October 23, 2012

      You know it’s going to be like that all night. Get used to it. Can’t expect a defence of that height to deal with cross balls.

  10. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    I told my daughter that was gonna happen, sadly. *sigh*

  11. swamidigital
    October 23, 2012

    Messi almost curls it in, just a bit too high.

  12. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    You know, Alexis makes Maxwell look like an attacking full back.

    • pr17
      October 23, 2012

      Well said. Sanchez is so predictable. Where are the folks who said alexis is best bet against tight defences and against high line defences. Only alba is happy to penetrate and risk losing penetration. Take some risks fellas.

      • swamidigital
        October 23, 2012

        Celtic are dropping deep, not playing a high line. Not much space behind them.

  13. chop
    October 23, 2012

    Barca are terrible so far. Hardly look like scoring,.

    • mom4
      October 23, 2012

      You watching the same game I am? Except for the goal of course I think we’ve been pretty good. Buses aren’t easy to break down.

  14. Momo
    October 23, 2012

    Watching alexis on the wing is depressing… The guy needs to be more central to be effective. As a winger he’s not nearly barca level.

  15. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    This is the sort of game Iniesta can help us by taking on responsibility for running at them.

  16. Richzorz
    October 23, 2012

    Alexis has done alright so far, given Alba some nice passes into dangerous positions, set up a half-chance for Xavi, made a great run in behind (albeit missing the target)

    Was about to criticise Celtic for almost Chelsea-esque levels of timewasting but it looks like Samaras might have an actual injury (then again that replay looked like he might have actually been offside for the goal!!)

    • Jim
      October 23, 2012

      Not for me. These are all obvious passes made possible by Alba’s great running. He carries no real threat.

      • pr17
        October 23, 2012

        yeah. Alba should be designated left winger and alexis relegated to left back. Alexis is displaying creativity of a gorilla given a brush and canvas to paint. I am talking of his performance so far and not him in general.
        Time for villa. atleast celtic will mark him where as they have been ignoring sanchez so far.
        Adriano isnt going outside at all. Dont understand his fascination with using his left foot so much.

  17. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    Not an improvement for us if Forrest comes on. He’s great on the counter.

  18. Blau-Grenade
    October 23, 2012

    They play fantasy football. What a team goal.

    • chop
      October 23, 2012

      Well, I have to admit that was a great goal but if that’s what it takes to break a bunker than we should be seriously worried.

      Also Messi still lazy and not pressing nearly enough.

      • Jim
        October 23, 2012

        Do you happen to know a chap called Sadster by any chance ?

        🙂

        • chop
          October 23, 2012

          Do we not have liveblogs any longer?

          • Jim
            October 23, 2012

            Not sure but I think they started charging money for using the software or limiting the numbers in the free version ?

  19. Xingxian
    October 23, 2012

    I’d love to have Iniesta join any of the pickup soccer groups I play in.
    Just for 1 day.

  20. swamidigital
    October 23, 2012

    My stream died before the goal. >.<

  21. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    So we rest a little, hear the haltime Tito talk, rehydrate, and then unlease hell in the second half. Messi hasn’t had a hat rick in almost 4 days. He’s due.

  22. lea_terzi
    October 23, 2012

    I was just going to write that Alexis or Iniesta should be asked to make runs through the middle or pulled for Cesc – they spent a lot of time hanging out on the wing with Alba, as did Adriano and Pedro on the other side, with no one in the area to pass to (except for quadruple-marked Messi).
    And then we scored 🙂

    • chop
      October 23, 2012

      82% possession is just obscene and should be an auto win.

  23. Blau-Grenade
    October 23, 2012

    Thoughts on first half.

    What a team goal and come back.

    The Barca play is mostly going through the middle. The wide players, Alexis and Pedro are not taking on the wings. Only person providing width and runs is Jordi Alba on the left hand side.

    Bartra – what a calming presence in the back. Seriously Tito, you need to start that guy more often.

    Man of the first half – Jordi Alba – for the runs on the left, and Marc Bartra for the calming presence in the back.

    Changes in my mind the second half – Montoya for Adriano(to provide width on the right(, Tello for Alexis(for pace and taking on defenders), Cesc for Pedro – for more direct play to support Messi and Tello..

    • Momo
      October 23, 2012

      To be fair its a little too early to call Bartra a “calming presence” when Barca have had 82% posession

    • mom4
      October 23, 2012

      I like your subs, my head agrees with them, but my heart wants Villa.

      • Jim
        October 23, 2012

        Yup, every time. Villa for Alexis but I’d take off a defender for Cesc.

    • lea_terzi
      October 23, 2012

      Seriously hope this match will propel Bartra above Song in CB pecking order. Of course, as a new signing, Song needs minutes and time to adjust, but hopefully not at the back alongside Mascherano. I actually like him in midfield, he gives us a new dimension there.

  24. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    WHY are we giving away FKs in dangerous areas?

  25. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    SO EXPOSED THERE. Lucky no goal from yet another set piece

  26. Dave
    October 23, 2012

    Sanchez is going the route of Afellay, hes being way too cautious. He needs to be more direct and aggressive with his dribbling and start shooting more. The problem for him is that there are far cheaper options in terms of wages for our wing. He needs to start showing why he is worth those wages soon.

  27. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    About 5 minutes ago Song attempted to step up and make a tackle while Celtic were on the counter. Totally missed the dude and left the back completely exposed. Those kind of attempts are not needed. Stay home and track back!

  28. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    Finally a shot from outside the box. Nice Adriano

  29. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    How tall is Forster? 7’0″? He’s behemoth!

    • Richzorz
      October 23, 2012

      Big enough to make a massive save!!

  30. swamidigital
    October 23, 2012

    There’s space in front of the defense for Villa’s shot, I feel like he would be a good sub because he’s lethal cutting in and shooting.

  31. swamidigital
    October 23, 2012

    Beautiful move, but their GK had a nice save.

  32. Blau-Grenade
    October 23, 2012

    What a move, what a save by Foster to deny Messi.

  33. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    It’s time for Alexis to come off. Love the kid, but…

  34. Judas Pissed
    October 23, 2012

    Pretty poor tonite Barca…

  35. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    Villa in for Alexis. Or Tello. Alexis is tracking back fantastically

    • swamidigital
      October 23, 2012

      He’s the one keeping them in the game.

    • Richzorz
      October 23, 2012

      I suppose really Barca should sell Valdes and buy Forster… 😉

  36. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    Forster has made all the correct sacrifices to the footy gods.

  37. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    Tello we want and Tito obliges. Pedrito off. Played well defensively and made a few good runs to end line, but lacking that quality in the final third for me.

  38. Richzorz
    October 23, 2012

    Liking the way referees are “favouring” Barcelona again by booking their players for a first tackle (or nothing!) yet allowing time-wasting, constant “little” fouls, bodychecks, shirtpulls,etc go unpunished…

  39. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    To be fair Celtic haven’t been doing much of any of that.

  40. nia
    October 23, 2012

    bloody hell, we’re not ment to win this one

  41. Momo
    October 23, 2012

    Oh Villa!

    Play him in a central position tito, pleeeease!

  42. Blau-Grenade
    October 23, 2012

    Jordi Alba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • htMillBay
      October 23, 2012

      Jordi has been MOTM since the start of the match and deservedly gets the game ball. I think he was determined to atone for the own goal in the last game.
      Song was as solid a Barca DM as anyone could have been. He always seemed to be at the right place at the right time. We now have incredible depth at DM.
      Tito always makes subs at the appropriate time but it seemed Villa could have been on earlier. What’s wrong with Alexis? Jet lag?

  44. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    This TEAM! This TEAM! NEVER QUIT!

  45. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    OK, prayer works! And I’m exhausted.

  46. K_legit in Oz
    October 23, 2012

    Don’t you love this game?!!!

  47. Xingxian
    October 23, 2012

    I was saying to myself how I was happy with the game, happy with the draw.
    Not really listening to the voice that said ‘but wouldn’t it show what a Champions Heart we have if we kill it? At the death?’
    And then ADRIANO AND THEN JORDI ALBA DHSGJFKCDSGJFHKDSBGHJFKSDGJHFKSDGJHFSDGHFSYDUFWYEFHUIHWEHFKNWEGFHJKWEFJH

  48. Srini
    October 23, 2012

    Barca is the only team in the world which will score a goal in the final minute with the Right Full Back assisting the Left Full back.

    Total effing Football!

    What a win.

  49. simple_barcafan
    October 23, 2012

    WTF! WTF is this team!! I mean, how many times can a team comeback…this is crazy..not normal!..It has become like a habit.hahaha..when did Barca become known for comebacks? I have been following Barca since Romario’s time..never have I seen so many comebacks in one season in so few matches played…I don’t even get tense now days, knowing that this team will come back at the end…Ha!

    • simple_barcafan
      October 23, 2012

      What have you done Tito..What have you done!

  50. Blau-Grenade
    October 23, 2012

    Final thoughts on the match:

    The game continued in the same vein as the first half…. bunched up in the middle, with neither Pedro nor Alexis taking on the wings, till Tello was introduced.

    After Tello was introduced, the wings of Celtic started to get under pressure from his runs. In the last play of the match, Tello was on the right, and the Celtic defense became lopsided. A couple of defenders were marking Villa in the middle. Jordi Alba was free to run into space and tap the ball into the goal from the Adriano cross.

    A final note on Bartra, this guy made quite a few interventions, on the counters, as the last man in the back. For me he was just outstanding, and very calming in the back.

    My MOTM – Jordi Alba, for the effort, and the overlap play provided on the left wing. He ran up and down all night, and finally for the goal, for not giving up, for the attitude.

    • Jim
      October 23, 2012

      Not sure Tello had a lot to do with hat effort although it was a decent sub. However, Villla’s run took the CBs away. Great perseverance from Alba.

    • pr17
      October 23, 2012

      yeah. Tello put in a cross as soon as he arrived. that itself makes other team take you serious and sometimes you are double defended, freeing space in center. Cuenca is masterful at that.

      Villa – he should start everytime. between pedro and tello for other spot.

      • Blau-Grenade
        October 23, 2012

        Yes, I would like to see that as well, Villa should start as a pure striker in the middle every time.

    • swamidigital
      October 23, 2012

      I disagree about Tello, he didn’t really do much different from Alexis or Pedro.

  51. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    Anyone living in Barcelona should head off to the Placa Catalunya for the Celtic celebrations. Yes I do mean celebrations ! They party win or lose.

  52. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    So, I was thinking. Maybe there’s some super-secret sponsorship deal. A sponsorship deal with a pharmaceutical company. A pharmaceutical company that manufactures heart meds. That’s my explanation and I’m sticking to it.

  53. pr17
    October 23, 2012

    what a match. Celtic have to be applauded because we were flat and they defended well. On top of that they werent dirty. Kudos to celtic.

    Messi was marked out of the game. Alba was outstanding.
    Alexis – What should i say. He is overrated and seems to be decision made on watching youtube videos. As somebody nicely put it he is going afellay way. Cmon take some risks. run directly. He didnt even attempt one dribble for a former winger. He has talent but needs to use it.

    • htMillBay
      October 23, 2012

      I agree that Alexis is dangerously going the way of Affelay. Both very talented but it seems they are overawed by the superstars playing around them and trying too hard to be accepted into the group.

      Bartra played very well and it seems the fans were right. Give the kid playing time!

    • swamidigital
      October 23, 2012

      Yeah, you have to applaud Celtic for defending well and playing clean. There were some really gutsy but clean last ditch tackles in the penalty box.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 23, 2012

      Yes, after seeing today’s match, I feel that way about Alexis as well.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 23, 2012

      I did not see a single step over from Alexis, or Pedro in the whole match. Not once did Pedro or Alexis attempt to take their defenders on the wings. That is disgraceful.

  54. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    I don’t think that Alexis is overrated. He just needs to get out of his own head. Forwards are streaky. That said, until he does, maybe Villa or Tello should get some starts.

  55. TITO
    October 23, 2012

    Was the goal officially given to Samaras or to Masch?

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 23, 2012

      On the Barca website it says Samaras. It also says Samaras on Goal.com. It says Samaras on UEFA.com. The replay’s suggest a Masch own goal though.

    • Messiah10
      October 23, 2012

      It was originally given as an own goal by the official stat keeper and then he/she changed it to Samaras. The only reason I can think of is that they decided Samaras’s effort was on target.

  56. Jim
    October 23, 2012

    Hoping to get a ticket for the return . Could be a cracker especially if we don’t have our CBs back. European nights at Celtic Park are something else.

  57. Lev
    October 23, 2012

    “So, I was thinking. Maybe there’s some super-secret sponsorship deal. A sponsorship deal with a pharmaceutical company. A pharmaceutical company that manufactures heart meds. That’s my explanation and I’m sticking to it.”

    LOL!! @mom4

    Good game by Barça. Unlucky not to break the bus earlier. And Masche was unlucky to score that own goal. It is impossible to anticipate heading a ball that the player 2 inches in front of you looks like heading. He is however with two own goals quite possibly the only player ever for Barça to have a negative 2 goal count, having yet to score in the right net!

    • Jim
      October 23, 2012

      Yeah I don’t blame him for the goal. Samaras is huge and he was never beating him in the air. Both he and Song’ s attempts to mark him on that set piece were poor though.

    • mom4
      October 23, 2012

      Soccernet credited Samaris with the goal. Is the OG official?

      • Richzorz
        October 23, 2012

        I think maybe when the shot is on target it can be claimed by the striker even if it takes a huge ‘deflection’

        • Messiah10
          October 23, 2012

          That’s correct. The official scorer decided it was on target and changed his decision from O.G. to Samaras

  58. endico
    October 23, 2012

    Two Observations from this game:

    One – We didn’t move the ball fast enough maybe they are tired.
    Two – We need creative forwards. When playing against a packing-bus team our forwards need to be able to beat their man in other to creates spaces for others. It seems only Messi and sometimes Iniesta takes risk.

    • swamidigital
      October 23, 2012

      The ball was moving fairly quickly. The problem was off the ball movement got a bit static at times. When a team keeps shape well, you have to try to drag them around. Otherwise you end up spending a lot of time playing in front of them looking for one killer ball through. Think about Iniesta’s goal, not only did the ball move so fast but players moved too.

      Also in matches like this it would be nice to see Messi drift wide at times instead of deep.

  59. mom4
    October 23, 2012

    Oh, and hooray for our Valencian brethren. Also we are avenged by Shakhtar. Is it OK to post this as this isn’t a LB?

  60. Dave
    October 23, 2012

    I wish Alexis just started taking on players like a winger stepovers and other tricks. He seems to either have poor decision making or lacking hugely in confidence which is paramount for wingers and flair players. I think last year Guardiola’s system drummed the spontaneity and invention out of his play. Additionally getting told off by Messi can’t have helped his esteem

    Hes not even stretching the play as well as Tello, he checks back, stops up. Its extremely frustrating as a fan as he seems to have the raw materials to be top class.

    Nxt season he might have Delofeu and perhaps Neymar to compete with (plus Cuenca). Does not look good for him or Dani Alves given the wages they take home

    • Lev
      October 23, 2012

      Agreed. He seems to have regressed. If he doesn’t step up this season might be his last, especially if Neymar comes.

    • mangut
      October 23, 2012

      He is lacking confidence but the more I watch him play with Chile the more I am convinced that he is not a winger/striker. He belongs in the middle of the pitch going at teams but that is where Messi, Iniesta, Fabregas ply their trade. Sure he loses the ball but he attacks which is more than can be said about his tentative play right now. He assisted plenty at Udinese from similar positioning. He is contributing very little on the wings. At some point he should either be played in his true position or Barca must admit they made a poor purchase.

      • barca96
        October 23, 2012

        He played extremely well for Chile last week. And the week before against Madrid.

        In fact, I thought his performance vs. Madrid was his best in ages. Kept on taking on his man and actually win it. I don’t understand why he lost that confidence again.

  61. G6O
    October 23, 2012

    Apparently Xavi made 177 passes today – record in the history of the Champions League

    And as team we had about 950, which must also be a record

    • bhed
      October 23, 2012

      He was sublime today, almost perfect.

    • bhed
      October 23, 2012

      I’ve been loving Alba for a few weeks now. He is the real deal. Now we could use a more defensive right back – kind of like Abidal when Dani was more of a threat, but on the other side.

      • bhed
        October 23, 2012

        Whoops, should be new comment thread. Sorry mods, can you fix?

  62. October 23, 2012

    Terrific performance by the team. Real testament to how much composure and heart they are playing with this season.

    They literally never give up on a match. The confidence and self belief of the group is tremendous.

    This felt like it was going to be “one of those matches” but the team kept at it until the very last second and it paid off.

    It’s been said over and over – but this was a match that they’d likely wouldn’t have gotten this result in last season.

    • pr17
      October 24, 2012

      hey man. I know you are busy but how about a post on defensive side of things with this patchwork defence of ours.
      An analysis of defensive errors with root cause analysis of how the breaks happened and how the players fared, would help immensely.
      Also some light on our defending on set pieces. Nobody seems to jump and there is nobody like a puyol who is actively seeking to head the ball out rather than re actively head it. Set pieces are damn difficult to defend, and mastery over them is a tough as mastering tiki taka but there ought to be something we should do better.

  63. Messiah10
    October 23, 2012

    Around the 88th minute I was still telling myself, “we can win this. Just keep at it.” Sure enough, GOAL! I never had that feeling last year. It feels so good knowing we can plug away and find an answer. We were a 3 great saves away from winning 5-1. That said, credit to Celtic’s defense and their keeper. The saves he made were very good. They weren’t spectacular, but he made them and that’s what counts. I was beginning to feel frustrated by our lack of creativity breaking down the bus. It felt like last season when we didn’t have an answer and kept trying to play through the middle even though it wasn’t working. Again, Tito made the right subs at the right time! Tello brought width and pace that Celtic had to respect. Villa made intelligent runs that Celtic had to follow and close down his space, thus creating space behind him. Messi seemed frustrated and looking for calls when most of their tackles were clean. He was whiskers away from 2 brilliant free kicks though. Or as RayRay would say, “Denied by a layer of paint!”

  64. barca96
    October 23, 2012

    Of course I’m delighted with the win but this trend of continuously falling a goal down isn’t good. Tito really needs to sort out the defense.

  65. Ryan
    October 23, 2012

    I’m still really not sure what to make of this, but hooray for yet another come-from-behind win! Villa looked good out there; it’s a shame that his shot didn’t go in.

    • Barcaleya
      October 23, 2012

      Yes, Villa looked good. Wish his shot went in but I’m just glad that he’s playing so well.

      A lot of people here are being very harsh on our players. All I remember seeing over and over is the team REALLY trying to get goals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen us try that much. Non-stop.

      Hopefully we don’t have to keep coming back from behind. It is not very good for the heart (see Mom4 comment :D) But part of the reason why team has not given up this season even up to the last minute is also the many number of games where they’ve snatched victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat. Essentially, the team knows they can. That if they keep trying, they will be rewarded with the goal.

      So…I’m going to be contrarian to all the sour notes and complaints and criticisms I’ve seen in this thread. I shall declare that all the players played well (and I honestly think they did) and I shall continue celebrating til I fall asleep.

      What a win! Visca el Barca!!!

      • Ryan
        October 24, 2012

        Yeah, I didn’t come away with negative feelings from the game – mostly exhaustion from so many close games being decided right at the end. Imagine how the players must feel!

        The game did feel a bit more like our away form, despite being played at the Camp Nou, but Celtic are no slouches and our back 4+ DM was pretty experimental.

  66. October 23, 2012

    A few quick notes after a late night:

    –Lots of negativity. The team is still undefeated this season. Winning is winning, pretty or ugly, early or late.

    –The “lazy Messi” jokes …. really? Sighhh …

    –Looks like Sanchez is now the punching bag of the moment. He missed some gilt-edged chances, yes. But good work rate, and he’s almost clicking. He deserves the same time that others have been given. Yes, the sub for him came a bit late for my tastes, and it’s doubtful it would have been made had Celtic been trying to attack. Ditto for Pedro. Villa and Tello are attackers, but aren’t at their best when it comes to defense and tracking back.

    –While folks are lining up to spank people, Messi and Iniesta weren’t at their best. If the Messi illness rumor was true, it would make sense. Hard to get air and be your best as an athlete when you can’t breathe.

    –Valdes was playing it out of the back again, possibly having something to do with the fact that every Celtic player was in front of their goal, so he had no pressure. Whatever. It was nice to see.

    –I didn’t know when, but I knew the team would score. You could see Celtic getting tired, and sitting deeper and deeper. And we kept making the runs. Only a matter of time, though I didn’t expect it would be so late. Hats off. For those clamoring for a Plan B against a parked bus, this is it. Runs. Constant runs and being smart with the ball. We did the same against Chelsea. The shots just didn’t go in. It happens.

    –We’ll know more about Bartra when he plays against a team that is interested in attacking. But he looked good the few times he had to put in some work. Adriano also had a very good match.

    –The Tuesday matchday is good. Should be enough rest for the weekend effort, which hopefully won’t require the team being pushed to the limit in yet another match. We’ll see.

    • Barcaleya
      October 24, 2012

      Agree. Kev, you just said most of what I wanted to say.

      I didn’t want to stress myself by having to disagree in detail with most here but you just did it so I will just agree with you 😀

      I love Iniesta, he’s my most favorite player, and even if he got a goal today, I actually agree that he wasn’t at his best. Same with Messi. That’s because we know what they’re both capable of. And for Messi it probably is caused by his colds. In any case, he is far, far from being lazy. It’s really irritating for people to say this when you watch the whole game and see everything he does.

      Alexis did pretty well.

      If I have any complaint about him, it is that he isn’t Messi or Ini or Xavi when it comes to first touches, bringing ball down, deadening it with his feet, etc – which is really unfair to him. He gets the ball in tight spaces and I expect him to be able to position the ball the way Messi, Ini or Xavi would. But he isn’t any of them so it’s probably unfair to expect that. When he receives ball and it strays two feet away from him thus allowing defender to get ball back or taking him one extra second to get off a shot, I get annoyed. But it was a difficult ball to receive. I just expect so much because I’ve seen M, I and X do crazy things with it. But he isnt any of them.

      And yes, Valdes was playing ball from the back again and no, the goal conceded was not his fault. To suggest that he should be replaced is foolish.

    • October 24, 2012

      When we face BUS’s like this, we need more and more runs, and the only players who do that or tries for some risky penetrating passes are Messi and Iniesta. When Cesc is there he too tries it. Though our possession is thanks to Xavi, he seems to play it safe mostly. It is good too, as we are looking at danger when the goal is in our half – sighh.
      I was wishing Cesc to come in for Xavi in the last 15 minutes or so. But it was nice to see even Xavi decided to try more, at the very end, than just passing side words. And our luck came back just in the last minute. I was afraid it will go the Chelsea way – the first leg – when the ball decided it will never go whatever we did.

      But cant agree really with Alexis comment. I am glad he should get all his time, but playing him in the wings may not be the best. In games like y’day when Messi was more deeper, Alexis could be ahead of him, more centrally. He was incredible for Chile in the last match.

    • swamidigital
      October 24, 2012

      I thought Iniesta was worse against (suddenly Super) Deportivo than he was last night, though no one commented on it either match. People were railing at Alexis for not dribbling past his man, but both Iniesta and Messi were not successful dribbling through a swarming Celtic defense all match. When a team is pressing us hard those individual dribbling skills are more important because beating a player or two gives you a lot of space, but against packed in teams it’s all about very fast ball and player movement and those signature Barca goals. I don’t think Alexis had a good match, but I don’t know anyone would have been more successful dribbling, considering the amount of space and the fact that two of the greatest magicians with the ball were having a tough time of it.

    • psqd
      October 24, 2012

      I was very confident they would score to “steal” the points at the end. That is until Villa hit the post. I thought that was the end of it. I have a crazy amount of respect for the work that alba puts in sprinting up and down through 95 minutes. Outrageous!

      Sanchez is getting a little too much stick. Early on it was obvious that it wasn’t gonna be his day. Still, he works very hard, and possibly too hard in this game. Thinking he might be trying to hard and not letting the shots happen naturally, too much effort, too much thought and then trying to make up for it on the defensive end and making a bad choice or two.

      Re Sanchez I thought he could have been subbed for Villa much sooner. This was the first time I have thought Tito was on a Pep substitution schedule. I was surprised to see Tello come on before Villa. He brought a little something different, but this wasn’t going to be a game tailored to his strengths. I thought Villa’s movement was better than any of the other wide forwards that played. I wonder if Cuenca was available if he would have been preferred to Tello. Tello especially at the end wasn’t moving very well to draw defenders away from the interpaly on the left. He was standing a little too much for my liking.

      Adriano was great. He recovered well defensively. Some of his long shots weren’t great, but I do appreciate him taking them. Another way to create space is to force the defenders to respect/defend shots from outside. This guy is coming up huge wherever he is asked to play.

      It did seem at times that both iniesta’s and messi’s touch was a bit from it’s otherworldly best we’ve come to expect. Possibly credit due to Celtic’s defending, but it seemed the ball was just a little more rebellious than usual for them.

      Did anyone not cringe when the FK was given to Celtic? I knew they were scoring from that play somehow. Regarding sMasche’s play and own goals? The own goals, are for me, bad luck, and disproportionate at the moment. Aside from that Javier did put himself in some bad positions, including missed tackles. Is he missing tackles that he made cleanly last year? Was he better covered last year? Is he tired? Is he confused by being paired with a different player every other game? Any and all are arguable and most would be fair. I just hope that P&P can hurry back to health and some normality and rotation can be reestablished.

      Barta, there is a clamor to anoint him as the next coming based upon this game. I have thought that he was always better suited than Fontas, but he is still a first year first team kid. they will not sacrifice his future by forcing him into games that could damage that and his confidence. Watching the way Pep has handled kids coming in, and assuming Tito was on board, it’s always systematic. Tito had this game earmarked for bartra for a while. Why? Cause it was a home game that the team could expect overwhelming possession. I am sure he’d have liked to toss bartra onto a game or two that was already in hand, but injuries and circumstances haven’t allowed it. That said the kid did well, he was composed, confident, etc.

      However, did Bartra being on the field keep Tito from going to 3 at the back towards the end when he was chasing a win as he has been wont to do this season?

      The true test will be if he rolls bartra out this weekend away to Rayo. It’s a tough away game, and under any other circumstances I’d not expect to see bartra. However, if sMasche’s ban is upheld the apparent CB choices are Song, Busquets, Adriano, and Bartra, with one of Song or busquets, most likely busquets, expected at DM.

      Otherwise, I think Tito has shown his anti-bus plan is gonna depend mainly on width. Thankfully, using natural forwards/wingers to supply it, not iniesta or alves or alba. There were always players hugging both touchlines to pull the fb’s wide and stretch barca’s favorite channels between the fb’s and the cb’s as much as possible. Requiring the wide forwards to provide tactical width so consistently will limit their contribution as we have seen. However, we have also seen what it does to facilitate others play. This includes allowing the fb’s to be running into the space they open at speed, which is where especially alves and alba are their most dangerous.

      Anyway, this is another case where the squad has captured full points when they might have dropped them last year. That is what it takes to win silverware. I hope that this extraordinary effort will pay dividends in confidence and rest later, like maybe being able to take a B squad to russia.

      • alpinegroove
        October 24, 2012

        Masch hasn’t been rested in way too long, and he has traveled back and forth between Spain and South America twice. Even Messi was rested after one of those trips.
        Luckily he got a red card…

    • Doug
      October 24, 2012

      Long time lurker, first time poster. Love this site.

      I am an unabashed Andres Iniesta fan, and felt the need to comment.

      I actually thought this was Iniesta’s best game to date this season. He had the nice ball early that Sanchez pulled wide. He had the beautiful one touch in the air to Bartra in front of the goal, and he had the nice looped pass to Messi that forced a beautiful save from Forster. In addition to his nice goal, he could/should have had 1-3 assists.

      I think there are obviously some that have higher expectations for some players compared to others. I actually thought Andres hasn’t played well since coming back from injury, at least until this match.

      • psqd
        October 24, 2012

        Agree that this was his best match sinCe coming back. I also loved the scoop pass to messi. Think he did well over all. Tackled back a few times, etc. there were just a few touches that are normally glued to his foot that went awry, same for messi. Thought it was interesting. Possibly fatigue? Cause it wasn’t conditions.

    • October 25, 2012

      But we lost 2-1 against RM in the 2nd leg of the Supercopa. Surely, that doesn’t means we aren’t “undefeated” still.

      • Messiah10
        October 25, 2012

        The SuperCopa isn’t an official match or matches. It’s usually played before the season starts. This season was different. So, yes, we are still undefeated in all competitions.

  67. stefan2k
    October 24, 2012

    Seeing Alba rushing up and down the field reminds of a Hammy on Coke (Over The Hedge) … great investment.

    Can’t believe Masche has to take the blame … Bartra and Song both were just standing behind Samaras whereas Masche, although unlucky, at least was between Samaras and the goal.

    Song did well to replace Busi and his interplay with Xavi worked just fine but it seemed to slow down the game a little and lacked the usual genius. He was there when needed but couldn’t add a creative element to the game like Busquets does.

    Exciting game nevertheless and respects to Celtic

    • Yup isn’t it? Song being a Premier League player was expecetd to be quick. But whenever I saw him play, he appears a tad slow. But still did well. Alba just keeps on running like Forest. Run Alba Run…

  68. October 24, 2012

    I’m wondering if Alba has a third lung hidden somewhere in his tiny frame. He never stops!

  69. Momo
    October 24, 2012

    Afellay with the goal and assist today against arsenal. Very happy for him.

    • Ryan
      October 24, 2012

      Oh man, I think every game today went the way I wanted it to! 😀

      • mom4
        October 24, 2012

        Happy for 3M, sad for Arsenal and Santi.

        • Ryan
          October 24, 2012

          What must be going through Cazorla’s mind, seeing Malaga do so well? They just keep winning! They’ll make a new record for a debut CL team if they win their next game. 🙂

  70. nzm
    October 24, 2012

    Oh Dortmund, how I love thee!

    They took the game to Madrid and then some. Despite some dubious calls against them from the ref, they kept their cool and gave Madrid a hard running, aerial game.

    2-1 and they top their table. Awesome result!

    Looks like Khedira did his left hammy.

    • mom4
      October 24, 2012

      Son #1 says to me, “So now do you want me to record the game so you can gloat?” He knows I wasn’t able to bear watching it live.

      • nzm
        October 24, 2012

        Very exciting game.

        3 or 4 brilliant Iker saves kept Dortmund from scoring more. Iker owns the 5 yard box.

        Pepe had a howler.

  71. mom4
    October 24, 2012

    My second favorite team in the world right now is Dortmund! 🙂
    Sad about Arsenal, though. 🙁

    • October 24, 2012

      I love it when Arsenal lose. Hope Wenger is still giggling away like he did when France equalized. W*nkers..

  72. nia
    October 24, 2012

    CR did his calm down celebration again, lol. Who was calm at the end huh??? 🙂

    • nzm
      October 24, 2012

      Well – his shooting/scoring stat on goal was 100% – something to be proud about. 😀

    • October 25, 2012

      And people wonder why we rag on him for his goal celebrations. Pure ego. :roll:

  73. October 24, 2012

    Ajax certainly deserve a Europa spot (if they knock out EE, thats fine by me too 😛 ) for their focus on youth. To assemble a team after only spending 4.4 mil euros and then beating Citeh has to be a achievement of some kind. Hope they get a better draw next time #JajaxNoMore

    • Helge
      October 24, 2012

      And all that after losing another of their 2 best players – van der Wiel and Vertonghen.

      City’s display in the CL is simply abysmal, though. Mancini really has a hand for disappointing CL seasons 🙂

      • Messiah10
        October 25, 2012

        Citeh’s form all season has been extremely poor. They’ve won games late due to Dzeko’s heroics. They way managers are fired nowadays I’d think Mancini’s time is limited if they bounce out of CL at group stages again and fail to win the PL. Signing him to a 5 year extension was a ridiculous move. They only won the league on goal difference.

  74. Richzorz
    October 24, 2012

    Not bad for the first time I watch a Dortmund match in about 15 years!!

    • Helge
      October 24, 2012

      Well, then you have missed a lot of even much better matches than this over the last ~2 years!

      • nzm
        October 25, 2012

        Agreed – the Pokal Cup Final was a beauty if you can find a recording of that to watch. 5-2 against Bayern.

        They’re a little inconsistent with their Bundesliga results this season, but they’re still a work in progress. Young guys, awesome coach (I love Klopp) and oodles of talent.

        Mourinho’s comments after the match were hilarious – unlucky to win, Madrid was the better team. Fact was they were outplayed a lot of the time by a team who used the best of Barcelona and Madrid styles – they tika takka’d at tremendous pace and pretty much won the aerial contest. Madrid defence was hugely unsettled because of the constant pressure. If it hadn’t been for Iker’s huge saves, they would have won by more.

  75. alpinegroove
    October 24, 2012

    Dortmund: sometimes it looked like tiki-taka in fast forward, or the direct version of it. So much directness in that match, from both teams. Almost no build-ups. It was sure fun to watch.
    Plus, Dortmund players looked like they were having fun.
    Alonso’s tackle in the box was a clear penalty. He got none of the ball, and all of the man.
    Whenever Pepe is too far behind an attacker, he simply pushes him from behind. He tried to do it when the first goal was scored, but he simply couldn’t reach…:)

  76. ciaran
    October 24, 2012

    the champions league is throwing up some very interesting results.
    Malaga winning every game, Porto on form, Milan and Man City getting detroyed.
    Dortmund have been playing very well and Hummels is looking very impressive. I have to say, as much as i like our youth team i would like a world class centre back to start next to Pique, and i think Mascherano could do with a more experienced partner for when Pique isn’t there.
    Hummels ball playing is right up there and he is more mobile than other options. I know it’s too early in the season to be talking about next summer but hey…

    • Messiah10
      October 25, 2012

      Hummels isn’t coming to FCB. He bleeds yellow and black. He just signed a 5 year extension. No chance.

  77. mom4
    October 24, 2012

    Anybody else getting this message when opening this site?

    “Internet Explorer blocked this website from displaying content with security certificate errors.”

    I got a similar message when using my droid, too.

      • barca96
        October 25, 2012

        Why you gotta embarrass Mom like that Helge? ROFL. I bet Mom uses stock browser on her phone too!

      • Messiah10
        October 25, 2012

        Haha. lol. Google Chrome is where it’s at!

    • October 25, 2012

      That being said, I did receive a similar message when opening this site with an iPad.

    • October 25, 2012

      Oh, I guess I was the only not seeing the message and I was using my droid last night to check this site.

  78. I think if you look at Celtic and Deportivo match, I am not that confident with the David Villa situation. Why do you think Villa has a much bigger impact coming in as a substitute that a starter. The simple answer is when he comes in as a substitute, he goes and occupy the center of the pitch. But when he is in starting eleven, he starts on the left and stays there. If you are going to use him, he has to be used in the center.

    • nzm
      October 25, 2012

      I’d say that about Alexis too. Alexis is tons better when he’s playing inside right, (from memory, just about all of his goals have come from here), but we all know who occupies that space. 🙂

  79. aussierivaldo
    October 25, 2012

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve been a silent lisetener here for a couple of years now. Love the site. Delighted to have found it. I give all of my wholehearted thanks to all of you who contribute here. What you have created is quite special and it keeps me checking in every day.

    Some background on me. I am Australian from Melbourne but happened to live in Barcelaon from 1999 – 2003. Yes those years, aren’t you happy I left?

    I am writing because after watching the Celtic game I think we need to open up a long conversaton on how to beat the bus. I know it has been described here before. In pieces. But now every single team plays this way against us. And it seems out management team has not cracked it. It also seems that our season hinges on this. So what is the answer? Assuming they ready this :), what do we want to tell them?

    Btw, I would have put Cesc on in the Celtic game. I am aligned with all the criticism of him from here, but his chaos seems to be one angle to break the bus….But I await the expert opinions….

    Cheers,

    Scott.

    • October 25, 2012

      Welcome!

      Dang, do you usually stay up late to watch every game? If so, that would be total dedication 😀

      As for how to break the bus, my solution: HULK SMASH!!! 😎

      …just kidding, I don’t know. I’m sure other BFBers have more tactical knowledge on this matter than me.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 25, 2012

      Hey Scott, Welcome.

      Regarding breaking the bus there are many scenario’s. This is possibly a very exhaustive discussion. But here are some scenarios that come to mind.

      Scenario 1: Messi!

      Messi! He can break any bus in the world, any day.

      Scenario 2: Wide are play

      Carry the ball to the by line in wide areas taking defenders with you to make the defense lopsided to open up space in the middle. In case of Barca, they have amazing midfielders – Xavi Iniesta Fabregas, and forwards Messi/Villa all of who have an amazing shot on goal and can score from the middle of the pitch.

      The main problem is the players who play wide for Barca, even as forwards, simply refuse to take on their defenders. This category includes Alexis, Pedro and Villa. The players who do take on players, in the wide area, and spread the play are Tello and Cuenca. And it is Tello in particular, who has caused Barca to remain alive so far this season. His name does not show up in the goals tally mostly because he is doing all the hard work on the side of the pitch.

      Scenario 3: The false 9 scenario.

      This is what Barca excel’s at. There is a carousel of players that go to the forward positions, and drop back, and if a defender decides to go with the person who just dropped back, it creates a hole in the defense which one of the other players in the Barca system exploits to score a goal. The best combination play I have seen to take advantage of this sort of play is Cesc/Messi. Xavi, does not go forward as often as Cesc. As a result Barca keep doing TikiTaka, but without scoring goals. Iniesta is the wild card. On a good day, he will have runs and score a goal, and on a bad day, he may not have any goals.

      People confuse Cesc’s passing ability from the back, the direct play aspect, with his runs forward, and willingness to stay forward, and assist/score. Neither Xavi nor Iniesta has the completeness, when it comes to passing ability and a knack of finishing as compared to Cesc. This can be seen from the Deportivo match. When he was on the field, there were goals galore, and he had shots on goal that the goalkeeper saved.

      Scenario 4: Freekicks from outside the area.

      Free Kicks: Messi/Xavi – enough said.

      Scenario 5: Crosses into the middle.

      Crosses from wide areas to the middle. We play with mighty mites, this option is exhausted. Until we start playing with bigger players this option is not very viable. Puyol was a monster at this – scoring goals with his head on crosses into the box. After his arm injury I doubt if he will do it again.

      Scenario 6: Corners

      Corners, Barca usually don’t score much from corners, as they don’t have very good headers of ball.

      Scenario 7: The Counter attack

      This art seems to have died since Eto’o and Henry have departed.

      Final thoughts.

      There are many many ways….but Barca seem to have become two dimensional, with Scenario 1 and 2 prevailing currently, and no other option being viable.

      • October 25, 2012

        Welcome, Scott. For me, the answer is a simple one: Movement.

        People clamor for a Plan B every time we face a parked bus, and say “Oh, Lawd, if only we had X or Y, to deal with those goal-denying colossi that bar our way to greatness.”

        As if Llorente would be any more effective than anyone else. It just means one big guy trying to head a ball, against three other big guys.

        The Celtic and Chelsea matches to me, the two most recent visits of a parked bus, were defeated by movement. With Chelsea, people forget that we created chance, after chance, after wonderful chance. Pedro hit the post. Busquets shot over an open net. Fabregas and Messi shot directly at Cech. More of the same at home. The bus was broken. Poor finishing was the issue.

        Against Celtic, with a bus well and truly parked, came two goals: the first was simply a rondo in the box, with a shot at the end. The second was the classic far post cross/putaway. Movement was at the core of both of them.

        If we play our game, move and attack, there is no parked bus that can stop us. Note how many little ones were in/around the box on that last sequence. It must have felt like a game of Whack-A-Mole to Celtic. And finally, bango. Winning goal.

        So. Movement. Voila.

        • October 25, 2012

          Regarding Llorente, Tito was quoted just the other day as saying that he wouldn’t think someone like that would be content with the 4 games or so he would be getting. NOT a knock against Llorente, btw, he just meant that there would be very few times we would need a player like that.

        • Blau-Grenade
          October 25, 2012

          Absolutely Kxevin, movement is the key, but movement in the wide areas combined with movement in the middle would be more effective at breaking buses than just movement in the middle. For me, the current team is perfect. I would only like to see the forwards who play wide start to take their defenders on.

          I am not a fan of Llorente, and cannot envision Barca with a front player, with limited work rate and mobility, who cannot facilitate tiki taka. It would be a mistake to repeat Ibra. We do not need any more players who can play in the middle of the park, both in the midfield and front areas. Barca has enough.

          Barca needs players who can play effectively, in wide areas. And Barca has them, Jordi Alba, Tello, Cuenca, Montoya, Dani. I am somehow more excited about Montoya on the right than Dani Alves as of now. Tito/Barca has all the pieces of the puzzle and he has used them with his substitutions, to win matches.

          It is just that in the match against Celtic, Alexis and Pedro did what they do best, stay wide, get the ball, and pass it back. But, you see the problem here. Villa and Pedro are much better playing as forwards rather than wide players. They are finishers. Alexis is much better at playing Messi’s position than as a wide player as seen from the recent Chile international against Argentina. Pedro has scored some amazing goals of recent in the Spanish national team, but that area is occupied by Messi/Cesc in our team.

        • swamidigital
          October 25, 2012

          I agree! Actually our system of fast ball and player movement is perfect against teams that drop too many back into the box. Sometimes it is not always executed perfectly, but the system is set up for it perfectly.

      • Blau-Grenade
        October 25, 2012

        I have to make a honorable mention of some of the defender based break the bus scenarios, and these are very defender specific. All the same, in a potential match against Real Madrid, these options would be very limited, simply because these defenders would be more concerned about defending rather than attacking.

        Scenario Jordi Alba!!! Very excited by this young man. He seems to have scored both for the club and country from his wide runs.

        Scenario Pique: Sometimes he takes the ball from the defense on a forward run causing chaos in the opposing half. He also stays in the opposition box for a few moments while Busi is covering the back, supporting the attack. The goal Pique scored in the classico rout of the white house during the 6 2 win comes to mind.

        Scenario sMash: He has the ability to make a pass all the way from the back, to a space between the defenders of the opposition. Pedro has got one or two goals out of this scenario.

        Scenario Marc Bartra: It was Bartra, in the game against Celtic, that caused 4 defenders to surround him in the middle of the penalty box, causing Alba to be free for his goal. In the same match, he met a header which he directed wide of the post. He could have easily scored on that one. He has that knack of going forward, that something extra. Very excited by this young prospect.

    • October 26, 2012

      I think you are very lucky to have lived in Barcelona. I have really started thinking about the possibility to move to Barca for at least one year, before the end of the Messi – Iniesta – Xavi trio.

      My thoughts on breking the bus.
      A great interplay of three players – Messi – Iniesta and Fabregas. These three together can make fast short passes in tiny bits of spaces. One other player who can do that is Thiago. With adequate support from players like Alves, Pedro and Alba, from the sides and Xavi and Busquests from the back, we could break any defence.
      Alba, especially, will be very important in the future for piercing any bus.
      Making Messi and Iniesta to have their tricky runs around the 30 yard region to earn free kicks. Now Messi kicks are looking dangerous each time.
      To have Pique to advance forward, all the way from the back, if possible even upto the opposition box, and make an excellent pass. His running will definitely take the markers out of Messi and even create space for Iniesta.

      In a worst case, Messi should play in the wings. There is no other player who can attract more than 2 defenders to the sidelines, creating space for others in the centre.

      Finally, if there is a bus, and we are unable to do anything, it is better to substitute Xavi with somebody like Thiago or Cesc, especially towards the last 20 or 25 minutes. We need to be really fast and direct at these moments and Cesc and Thiago suit that better than Xavi.

  80. October 25, 2012

    We haven’t forgotten about the Celtic match. I have received a response to my guest reviewer offer, so some thoughts will be coming later on today. Yep.

    • Messiah10
      October 25, 2012

      Good. I’ve been craving it since the game ended. Keep checking site constantly and disappointed it’s still not up. I know everyone’s busy so not complaining. 🙂 Just letting you know how much I love reviews. Especially yours Kxevin, because then I get to see you defend yourself from onslaughts of “rainbow munchers”

      • October 25, 2012

        Ha! Well I will tell you that it was really nice to come home, get dressed, do my ride, come home, get food and chat with wifey, then nibble at the Celtic match the following day. As a consequence of not staying up until ungodly o’clock banging out a review, I was FLYING on the bike Wednesday and today.

        Proper rest is crucial to us Masters (aka old fart) riders.

        But I can’t help but feel I’m letting down the side …. (sighhhhh).

  81. October 25, 2012

    This might be probably OT – I know a lot of Cules have a chronic problem where the part of the brain responsible for looking at the bright side shuts down completely, so I’ve rounded up a couple or so positives to help ease their suffering:

    1. We’re winning – We are! So what if we aren’t exercising our divine right of scoring manita after manita. Its still 3 points. Better two games by a slim margin, than say hammer a hapless team and then drop points to one with a plan. That too with a makeshift defense!

    2. We’re scoring – Lots and lots! As opposed to certain parts in the bygone era where we couldn’t buy a goal. People not named Messi are consistently finding the back of the net too! Its a good sign people..

    3. We are coming from behind with ease – Remuntadas. Remuntadas everywhere! Even Cules aren’t being overly negative when we concede. Good times! Adjectives like resilience, determination and the age old cliche ‘never-say-die-attitude’ are being bandied around by Journos. This bodes well for the future!

    4. We haven’t hit our peak yet – Thank you Captain Obvious! But imagine the possibilities!

    5. We have exceeded all expectations results-wise – Ironic isn’t it? And its only Tito’s first year as Jefe. Who woulda thunk it?

    6. We’re dangerous from FKs again – Defenders are thinking twice before taking Messi and co. down in dangerous areas.

    7. We haven’t yet given Refs a chance to influence the result – as compared to last year.

    If that part of your brain is still unaffected, I’d highly recommend you to SELL IT!

    • Momo
      October 25, 2012

      Number 6 is such a joy for me. Its been a while since free kicks have meant any danger for us (all through the Pep era). Now though Messi seems to have brought that other worldly consistency that is all around his game to free kicks.

      This could be a difference maker IMO, especially against buses where we’re constantly hacked down outside the box.

  82. Gogah
    October 26, 2012

    Dude, Kxevin, is it me or do you and thuram actually look exactly alike?

    • mei
      October 26, 2012

      It’s Thuram in the photo yet kxevin has confirmed they do look similar.
      In other news it seems we have confirmation on the deal to buy neymar for 40 m in a year or two since the annual financial report states that we have paid 10 m this year for long term commitment to buy for 40million by barcastuff.

      Or that could be a loan to have a certain pool of money to buy several players for that much(since our budget is roughly that sum) and we just paid an installment

          • October 26, 2012

            Okay. In all seriousness, that line item could be for the Neymar purchase. It could also be for a host of other things, though only a fool, given the rumors of a pre-arranged deal with Santos for the Peacock (nickname claimed!), would think that it was anything but.

            So. 40m, eh? So Santos gets an offer of 60m from PSG or Citeh, says yes, kicks us back our piddlin’ 10, and off ya go. So who knows. As I always say about transfers, it isn’t until the player is dancing the mambo on the Camp Nou pitch that I will believe it is going to happen.

            If it does, look for some crazy stuff to transpire this summer:

            –To my view, this is Villa’s last season with the club.
            –Sanchez could be on a surprise transfer list, though the price would be highhighhighhigh. You might also see one of Tello/Cuenca/Deulofeu packing their bags as well.

            So now, we wait.

    • October 26, 2012

      Gogah, you should have seen the dude at the El Prat passport control, the last time I was there on vacation.

      Officer: “It’s …. it’s …. you’re famous!”
      Me: No, I am just here on vacation.
      Officer: “No! You’re famous! I know you!”
      Me: “Here’s my passport (American, with my smirking mug).
      Officer: “Oh. Okay (winks). Gotcha!”

      My wife was bent over, she was laughing so hard. Then there was the year we were there for the Gamper match, and she and I were taking a walk around town. I was wearing blue shorts with a claret polo, and after about a half-hour, finally said to her, “You’d think people in Barcelona had never seen black people before!”

      Then back at the hotel we’re watching pre-match, and she says “Holy crap, you’re on TV.” T’was Thuram and NOT me, obviously, but it was rather funny.

      I could resemble someone less cool, for sure. The things he is doing as a retired player are pretty awesome. I’m not a fan of any current players, but am defo a fan of an ex-player.

        • October 26, 2012

          Nope. His spirit is admirable, and his battle gives us all joy as he takes step after step toward a normal life. But as a player? Nope.

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