Match Comments Post: Rayo Vallecano vs. FC Barcelona

 

Back to the awesome little Madrid stadium that is Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas  – the one with the wall behind one goal, apartment balconies crammed with fans and, hopefully, with a full set of operating floodlights.

Extra security measures have been taken, as well as lots of extra testing, to ensure that the illumination doesn’t fail tonight.

The last time that Barça played here was the first game after Pep had announced his resignation.  I believe that the faster flowing game in the rain which we saw that night, had Tito hallmarks all over it, even though he and Pep had their bums glued to the bench for most of the game – visibly annoyed by all the extra attention from the press photographers who wanted to record every sip of water that Pep took during the game.

Rayo has gone through some changes since last season.  They kicked out their outspoken manager Sandoval – even after he had brought Rayo back into the First Division in 2010/11, but the narrow relegation avoidance in 2011/12 was enough for the flakey Vallecano management to bid him adios.  Sandoval is now at the helm of Sporting de Gijón.

Managing the team is former Rayo player Paco (a.k.a. Francisco Jémez Martín) who played for Spain for a few years (1998-2001 including Euro 2000) and won a couple of trophies each with Depor and Zaragoza.  His management career has been peripatetic – a new club almost every season.

Two danger men have also left the team.  Hitman Michu was snapped up by Michael Laudrup and is now firing in goals from all directions for Swansea City in the EPL.  On-loan striker, Diego Costa, returned to Atlético de Madrid where he is showing great form and support on the left wing.

Notable newcomers for the Franjirrojos include GK Rubén (on loan from Málaga and now Rayo’s #1 over David Cobeño), Jordi Amat (on loan from RCD Espanyol), and La Masia graduate Rodri who has returned to Spain after a season at Spartak Moscow.

Argentinian “Chori” is also at the club after an interesting last season.  Not wanted by Valencia, he returned home to play on-loan for relegated River Plate and was received as a long-lost son by the fans.  However, Plate’s management would not negotiate his permanent transfer, so he returned to Spain where Rayo offered him an attractive deal.  Part of the attraction was that Rayo’s kit is similar to that worn by River Plate!

Young 20yo Brazilian Léo Baptistão has been promoted from Vallecano B to play for the senior team, so look out for him.  In his 7 appearances, he’s potted 4 goals.

 

What about our boys?

After exciting games vs. Depor and Celtic, could we please have a little less excitement tonight?  Thanks.  My heart would appreciate it.  However, I do have to say that I am really loving the season so far, with all its unpredictability and last-gasp wins.

Barça is looking to keep its no-loss record intact, and for the 5th away win for the season – a big improvement on how last season was going at the same time, even though the team has conceded as many goals as it took until January 2012 to give away.

Still on the injury list are Puyol, Piqué, Thiago, Cuenca, Abidal and Muniesa.

Red-carded out of this game is Mascherano, and sitting on 4 Yellows is Busquets.

Team line-up:  Valdés, Montoya, Song, Adriano, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Cesc, Pedro, Messi, Villa.

Reserves:  Pinto, Alves, Bartra, Dos Santos, Iniesta and Alexis.

 

No little celebratory sambas tonight, ok?


Streams can be found here, here and here.


REMINDER!
 
Europe Daylight Saving Time ends tonight, and our clocks go back 1 hour.  Germany celebrated with its first snowfalls for the season and the first appearance of the little red football.

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137 Comments

  1. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    I’m liking the start for Villa. Not so sure about leaving out Ini.

  2. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Looks like the long layoff hasn’t helped Villa’s propensity for being offside, the one persistent blot on his Barcelona record.

    • yana
      October 27, 2012

      well, really would be *lifelong* record, and as much stick as he gets for it, the day that he’s not trying not to be offside is the day that he’s not trying to score goals, so…

      In other matters, why have Rayo had three CKs in the first ten? Ay.

      • October 27, 2012

        the day that he’s not trying not to be offside is the day that he’s not trying to score goals

        Exactly.

  3. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Those who don’t think Villa defends enough should take note of that tackle in the 10th minute at the top of the penalty box.

    • Jim
      October 27, 2012

      Agreed.

      Bit quiet in here tonight 🙂

    • October 27, 2012

      Yeah, I saw that. Cesc got lucky for that challenge near the box. Song was ball watching for that sequence of plays.

  4. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    That was just about as tight a call as you can get. It’s where the forwards should be, imo.

  5. October 27, 2012

    Great atmosphere at the Vallecas. Wonder if there are any rooftop audience this time 😛

  6. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Not impressed by Song or the start. Xavi will have his work cut out to establish control with neither Busi nor Iniesta in the middle.

  7. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    This is one of those refs who’s determined not to whistle anything. This game is going to be super intense, with a good possibility of injury.

  8. dean
    October 27, 2012

    anyone got the customary bein english stream?

  9. Richzorz
    October 27, 2012

    Not sure what the Rayo defender was doing there, could’ve easily been a penalty for blatantly running into Cesc.. :s

      • October 27, 2012

        Ok, that’s what i’m seeing too. So we’re playing three at the back?

        • Jim
          October 27, 2012

          Not quite. Looks like Busi has moved back with Adriano.

  10. Blau-Grenade
    October 27, 2012

    Oh yeah baby! Cesc and Villa!!!

  11. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    I remember noticing earlier today the high number of assists Cesc had made for Villa even in the relatively short amount of time they got to play together.

    There appears to be some genuine chemistry there.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      Cesc is a fantastic attacking midfielder. His first time passes are just a wonder to behold. He would be any striker’s dream partner in crime.

  12. yana
    October 27, 2012

    Wooo!

    Of course, thanks to last week, I may not even feel safe with a 3-0 lead. Just kidding. I hope.

  13. October 27, 2012

    Tito’s Fashion Report: It looks like he’s wearing a black winter coat. Can’t see what’s underneath 😛

  14. Richzorz
    October 27, 2012

    1) Nice goal Villa!

    2) Is Tito dressed for Halloween??

    3) First time in a while I remember seeing an opposition player getting booked for breaking up a Barca counter-attack!!

  15. October 27, 2012

    Alba is fast! The crowd is amazing. No idea what they’re singing.
    And again, Cesc can’t buy a goal. Damn you Ruben!

  16. Doug
    October 27, 2012

    Great buildup. Cesc needs to finish that.

  17. October 27, 2012

    Rayo coach kinda looks like Pep with that vest, bald head and all 😛

    Omygosh, this defense. Yikes!

    Where’s everyone? It’s quiet here. Time to de-lurk, people 😀

    Ray Ray just called Pigue, “The Great Gerard Pique” @_@

    • Richzorz
      October 27, 2012

      Lol, I guess Pique’s reputation is growing in his absence!! :p

      Thought the very same about their coach, and he’s getting Rayo to press pretty high up the pitch (far “braver” than Celtic IMO) – looks like someone’s got a poster of Pep on his bedroom wall… 😉

  18. October 27, 2012

    HT – Ok match. Too many disruptive play, no smooth tiki-taka. Cesc looks impressive.

  19. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Possession stats can’t be great with Xavi ploughing lone furrow there. Anyone hear them?

    • Jim
      October 27, 2012

      45% – 55%. Poorest for a while I would think.

    • replayed
      October 27, 2012

      Barcelona 56% – Rayo 44%

      Yup, not a good day for tiki-taka.

  20. Blau-Grenade
    October 27, 2012

    Thoughts on the first half…

    Rayo is playing like this game like a cup final. To their credit Rayo are not sitting back but moving the ball well and attacking Barca. It would be a mistake to keep this score line till the end. The boys need to get another couple of goals.

    Nobody stood out in particular in Barca for the first half. One play of brilliance by Cesc combined with the silky finishing of Villa separates the two teams.

  21. simple_barcafan
    October 27, 2012

    The importance of Busi in defense is that it gives Valdes a passing outlet. I am beginning to think Valdes used to kick the ball out since he does not have enough confidence in Song/Mascherano..Once he has Busi/Pique/Puyol you will see him again start passing to the defenders…

    • Jim
      October 27, 2012

      Certainly an element of that I would think. Also, they don’t make the angle for him as quickly as Puyol/ piqué.

      Not sure I like us in games this open. I’d like Iniesta on to make them do more chasing the ball. When it’s end to end and even possession we throw away our best weapon imo.

      However, not sure who I’d take off.

  22. chop
    October 27, 2012

    Barcelona playing very sloppy. The defense is a joke. Pathetic how Busquets let their striker get an easy shot near the end.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      Credit has to be given to Rayo. They are pressing the Barca backline relentlessly causing them to make uncharacteristic mistakes. I would say it is more a virtue of Rayo that they are able to shake the Barca backline.

      • chop
        October 27, 2012

        I’d say it’s more cause of Barca’s awful backline, LOL.

      • Jim
        October 27, 2012

        They’ve got too much of the ball which also allows them to do it. With our shaky defence that’s not a good plan on our part. We should be wearing them out.

  23. chop
    October 27, 2012

    How in god’s name is Bartra not able to displace either Busquets or Adriano as CB?

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      You are not the only one with this question. Twitter was overflowing with this sentiment when the Barca lineup was announced. At one point I though twitter might explode.

      • chop
        October 27, 2012

        Does barcelona really still expect him to be the CB of the future? Obviously, something is wrong with him. If he can’t get in the game in a match like this then what is the point of having him on the roster?

  24. Dave
    October 27, 2012

    Brilliant assist by Cesc and he should of had a penalty.
    Great finish from Villa.

    Sub par in possession stakes but with them pressing us we can counter. Rather a team presses than parks the bus. Tello in the 2nd half at some stage will force them to sit deeper.

    Song’s movement and availability for passes needs to improve but its early days yet.

  25. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Agreed on Song. He far too casual in making himself available quickly enough. He never seems to sprint.

  26. Blau-Grenade
    October 27, 2012

    The full monty!!! And Messi!!!!

  27. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Great pass from Montoya. That’s what head up does.

  28. chop
    October 27, 2012

    Well, Messi is such an accurate finisher from that spot. Rayo stupid for letting him wide open.

  29. nzm
    October 27, 2012

    Not often that we see Messi so unmarked. Fast Barca play was the key here, as the defence scrambled back to cover all the threats presented by a lot of advancing Barca players.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      Lovely counter attacking goal. What a pleasure to see it happen. The counter attack has been a lost cause since Eto’o and Henry departed.

  30. Blau-Grenade
    October 27, 2012

    Stunning midfield play from Cesc. Minute 50:20..

  31. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Villa definitely has his mojo back. He just set up Messi for a one-two that Messi misdirected.

  32. chop
    October 27, 2012

    Messi terrible pass. What was that?

  33. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    We just don’t have control of this game. We need Iniesta.

    • chop
      October 27, 2012

      Barcelona can’t even pass the ball out of the back anymore. Right now possibly the worst Barca team on the field in 3 years.

      • October 27, 2012

        Wow! What a statement. Curious, have you watched every Barca game over the past three years to make this conclusion?

  34. Dave
    October 27, 2012

    Brilliant determination from Cesc. Loving his attitude

  35. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Ack. Alexis coming in for Villa, I suppose, for “defensive” purposes. Meh.

  36. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Can’t believe that sub. We don’t have enough of the ball. Simples !

  37. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Pedro has definitely gone off the boil since his Spain hat trick…

    • chop
      October 27, 2012

      Both Pedro and Villa so mediocre now. Xavi and Messi sluggish as usual when they’re not rested a ton. No idea what Song is doing. Fabregas all over the place as usual (not in good way). Backline is hilarious.

  38. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Never thought I’d describe this Barca team’s play as scrappy but that’s what it is.

    • October 27, 2012

      I think the pitch is too compressed; too many bodies and not enough space for movements. I don’t think we play that badly.

      • Jim
        October 27, 2012

        Sorry but for me our possession is awful and this is the worst I’ve seen us play. This is actually a pretty even game against a team who should be struggling to get the ball from us. It’s exciting only in that we are waiting to see if they can get one at which point Iniesta will be sent on. Why not do it now and give our pulses a rest?

  39. yana
    October 27, 2012

    We are pressing well — and needing to because WE KEEP GIVING THE BALL AWAY. My husband was laughing because I kept screaming ¡Que es eso! repeatedly over a two-minute pass-giveaway-pass-giveaway sequence. VENGA.

  40. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    How bad is alexis. 3 attacks died a death at his feet

  41. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Why the hell did the referee blow the whistle when Barca had a clear advantage!?

    Also, Alexis is getting in good positions, but his key passes are off.

  42. October 27, 2012

    Damn you Ruben!!! How did you get so good? He saved a messi’s freekick for those wondering and not watching.

  43. Dave
    October 27, 2012

    I think last year we became a parody of ourselves. Possession was taken too far, with not enough pentration.

    Now and again I think Barca can allow teams to dominate possession to give them a glimmer of hope, otherwise we’ll have teams that continually park the bus. If they think they can have a go and press forward, our players will have space to counter into.

    Montoya needs to play and Alves needs to sit for a while.

    • pr17
      October 27, 2012

      Yeah. Taking risks had been drummed out of us. Don’t know whether it was pep’s instructions or del bosque’s influence.

  44. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    Also a superb ref. the best in the league. Never fell for any dives and controlled game superbly. We need more of such refs.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      Absolutely, loved this ref. Did not fall for any of the dives, including Villa’s dive.

  45. October 27, 2012

    Valdes is playing with confidence. I guess fan curse last weekend did him good 😀

  46. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    I realize Messi doesn’t trust his right foot, but that was a good opportunity for him to play a simple first-time cross to the back post. Alexis would have probably fluffed it anyway, but at least he would have been onside.

  47. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    Monty has been outstanding. Even Adriano has been very good. Alves should be kept out for a couple of games to get his hunger back. Again alexis is offside. His confidence must be terribly low.

  48. October 27, 2012

    Uh Oh, Paco (Rayo Coach) is sent off. Hmmmm…officials on sent-off crack!

  49. October 27, 2012

    Rayo can’t buy a goal today. Too many shots, and got nothing as of min. 77.

    Goal Xavi!!!

  50. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    I want Alba and Montoya to mate and give birth to the perfect center back.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      Hahahaha!!! Thats too funny!

  51. October 27, 2012

    Maybe too early to say, but *whisper* we might keep a clean sheet 😀

    GOALLLLLLL CESC!!!! FINALLY!!!!!

  52. Blau-Grenade
    October 27, 2012

    Great match!!! Both full backs have provided assists, and the current MOTM has got a goal. Yay for Cesc.

  53. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Sure enough, Bartra gets some late minutes in a laugher.

  54. Dave
    October 27, 2012

    Alba has been a superb signing. Where does he get the energy?

  55. yana
    October 27, 2012

    Maybe we can have a manita? I mean, we had one last week but maybe this week without the four goals scored against?

  56. nia
    October 27, 2012

    JDS is coming on. Patience does pay off

  57. Jim
    October 27, 2012

    Xavi wincing. Hope there’s nothing wrong.

    Jds?

  58. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    That must be the lowest xavi stat in history. 33/47

  59. October 27, 2012

    Good game Xavi! Dos Santos in @_@ min. 83.

    Ray Ray did an ode to Xavi. That was funny!

  60. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    Rayo have been brave. Not Celtic. All running and outstanding fans. It is easy to be magnanimous in victory but still

    • Jim
      October 27, 2012

      They’ve been suicidally brave but a point well made. Luckily their finishing has been awful while ours has been hearteningly good in the last 20 mins or so.

      • Ryan
        October 28, 2012

        Give credit to VV too, because he was pretty solid!

  61. replayed
    October 27, 2012

    Alexis is going hungry in the midst of a feast. Poor kid.

  62. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    Oh alexis. He should visit a shaman or performs one hoodoo. He is in a funk.

  63. yana
    October 27, 2012

    Poor Alexis, can’t buy a goal right now…

  64. yana
    October 27, 2012

    Is this the most corners anyone has had against us in a while?

  65. October 27, 2012

    FT- good game. Manita! Valdes and Cesc played well. And more importantly, no cule suffered a heart attack 😀

  66. Blau-Grenade
    October 27, 2012

    Final thoughts:

    Barca tore them apart. Barca kicked it up a notch in the second half.

    Barca have the best full backs in the world. Both Jordi Alba and Montya have provided assists in this game. Dani has got to be very very worried watching this match.

    Great to see Bartra get more minutes.

    MOTM: Cesc – 2 assists and a goal. For his defensive work, and amazing midfield play, for his unrelenting energy, for being the box to box midfielder.

    • pr17
      October 27, 2012

      Cesc yay. Motm. I had been one of his critics of his play in tight spaces. But he gives more than he loses by control.

      • Blau-Grenade
        October 27, 2012

        With his assists today Cesc Fabregas is currently the top assist provider in Europe.

  67. yana
    October 27, 2012

    There were riot police — helmets, shields — escorting the refs off the pitch…

  68. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    Marcelino is quite eloquent on sky. Good pundit.

    • Dave
      October 27, 2012

      Agreed very intuitive and doesn’t come across as a self-obsessed knob like Balague

  69. pr17
    October 27, 2012

    I tear my hair out in frustration at this Ashley cole is world’s best full back crap from commentators. Jordi alba is undoubtably the holder of that title.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 27, 2012

      Jordi Alba and Montoya are the best full backs in the world. If that shot by Montoya had not come off the wood work against the white house at Camp Nou, he would have alread been crowned that by the media.

  70. simple_barcafan
    October 27, 2012

    I know we Cules are pessimistic…But this chop guy is taking it to the next level..

    • nzm
      October 27, 2012

      I think that he is sadster’s (from the Live Blog) brother. 😀

  71. TITO
    October 27, 2012

    That’s just a RM fan in disguise.

  72. Jared10
    October 27, 2012

    Can’t believe people can watch the whole game and still be negative, seriously “chop”, do you even cheer for Barca?? On another note, great game today. It was like watching another team though, not sure if in a good way or a bad way. They got the job done with the direct approach, but gave the ball away way too easily. Did anyone else notice that of all people, Messi was slightly wasteful? Not getting on his case or anything though, its hard to be annoyed with some one who scores twice in the game! But it was definately uncharacteristic. What a game by Fabregas, and imagine how high the scoreline would have been if everyones passing was up to par. I think that this team can do great things this year despite being quote “the worst Barca team on the field in 3 years” (please…they just won 5 nil)

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