There Is No Such Uncertainty As A Sure Thing

Put aside your caber-tossing and hammer-throwing and whistle in your sheep dog, for it’s time to hunker down in front of TV screens and computer monitors to watch our team play in Glasgow.  Pour yourself a wee dram, if it helps to calm the nerves.

A 60% chance of rain.  8 degrees Celsius.  Football gods – do you know how much our boys hate the rain and cold?  They’re from Barcelona.  Maybe it’s just a way of evening up the odds.

In his press talks over the past couple of days, Tito Vilanova has stressed the ramifications of this game by stating, “This is possibly the most important game that we have left this year.”

A win means that Barça will secure a knock-out round position – provided that Spartak doesn’t beat Benfica at the Estádio da Luz tonight.

A win means that the remaining 2 matches in the CL group round can, and will, be played with B Team players if Tito has his way.

 

Celtic’s Party
Tonight’s match is a part of the anniversary celebrations for Celtic Football Club’s 125th year.  As such, the stadium mosaic will reflect the club’s proud history, and the stadium will be packed with close to 60,000 Celtic fans.  Only 700 Barça fans have officially travelled to the game.

Rod Stewart and Sean Connery are among the notable Scotsmen who will be in attendance. (Please pause to spare a thought for our fellow culé, Jim, who had to give up his match ticket to instead be present at his school’s parent/teacher reviews. Now that’s professional dedication!)  The club is also taking a massive 360° multi-billion pixel image of the stadium tonight, and is inviting the attending fans to tag themselves in the image once it’s posted on the Celtic website.

The home team has a lot of reasons for wanting to win this one, with perhaps the biggest motivation being more points to possibly seal their progression into the next Champions League round.

 

Blaugrana Past Results at Celtic Park
Barça has played 4 times in the Glasgow stadium.  In 1964, they drew 0-0 in the 2nd round of the UEFA Cup.  In 2004 (UEFA Cup Round 16), Celtic won 1-0 and bundled Barça out of the competition.

In 2005/06, Rijkaard’s team won 1-3 with goals by Deco, Giuly and Larsson in the UEFA Group stage.  In 2007/08, in the knock-out stage, Barça again won a tight affair 2-3 with 2 goals by Messi and 1 by Henry.

 

Tonight’s Barça
Expect Tito to put out the strongest team that he can field.  The midfield is missing Busquets who is serving the second of his 2-game red card suspension.  Tonight could also see the return of Piqué.

Let’s hope that Tito’s words of warning about Celtic’s strengths being set pieces and quick counters have been drummed into the brains of Barça’s defence, and that fast and low shots at goal undo Fraser Forster.

What do I know, but my predicted line-up would be:
VV, Alves, Bartra, Masch, Alba
Xavi, Song, Iniesta
Pedro/Tello/Cesc?, Messi, Villa

Bench:  Pinto, Montoya, Piqué, Song, Sergi, Alexis

Perhaps Cesc won’t be getting a start for the first time this season.

Still on the injured list are:  Puyol, Adriano, Thiago, Cuenca, Muniesa and Abidal.

 

Click here to convert the match time to your timezone:  Celtic vs. FC Barcelona

Streams for the match are usually found here, here and here.

 

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley.
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!    ~ Robert Burns “Ode to a Mouse”

 

Messi will be looking for the opportunity to celebrate Thiago’s arrival by pulling that pacifier out of his sock:


 

 

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333 Comments

  1. November 7, 2012

    My squad would probably be:

    Valdes
    Montoya, Bartra, Mascherano, Alba
    Xavi Song Fabregas
    Pedro Messi Alexis

    Bench: Pinto, Pique, Alves, Sergi, Iniesta, Villa, Tello

    Oier and JDS left out.

    I think Sanchez gets the nod up front if I’m in charge today, simply because of his work rate and ability to defend – two key qualities away in Europe.

    I choose Montoya over Alves as I’m still not convinced that Alba and Alves together is a good choice away from home in Europe, especially with Pique and Puyol still out of the lineup.

    It’s hard to leave Iniesta out, but the way Fabregas is playing I just wouldn’t be able to bench him. Xavi is absolutely mandatory for this match.

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      I’d like to see Ini sit this one too, but I was too chicken to leave him out!

      Cesc definitely plays better without him on the pitch.

      If Alexis plays, it will be for his defence – same as Pedro. The two just have to learn to do the work upfront too. Without Villa, that only really leaves Messi as the scorer and Cesc to back him up unless Pedro and Alexis pull fingers and shoot.

  2. simple_barcafan
    November 7, 2012

    Just wanted to thank you for the excellent previews you have been providing us with, nzm..I have been a reader of this blog for a long time and see it evolve over the period of time..Find this match posts insightful and links useful..

    Cheers!

  3. November 7, 2012

    -great review
    -alexis may start and messi will get a goal
    -song scores a thunderous goal via a fabregas assist or vice versa
    -ben hayward of goal.com reads this blog coz his latest editorial abt alexis goes in line with what “I” said then (remember that “maybe messi is the problem” comment???)
    – a manita is on the cards as they would wanna attack us head on(i wish)
    -messi assists villa and ends all query of messi-villa feud
    -messi gets an hat trick and thiago is born(again)
    -xavi gets injured and roberto gets his chance
    -still no iniesta (tito what d fuck!)

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      You’re seriously wanting Sergi to get his chance through Xavi getting injured? What’s up with that line of thinking?

  4. November 7, 2012

    Unfortunately no liveblog today as I have class (the learning type, not the attend debutant balls type).

    This weekend though, I’ll be liveblogging up a storm.

  5. Gogah
    November 7, 2012

    what does it take for a fully recovered-40Mil-in form player in el guaje to get consecutive starts?

  6. psqd
    November 7, 2012

    (official):
    Valdes
    Alves Bartra Mascherano Alba
    Xavi Song Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Alexis

    fairly predictable…gonna look like 2 at the back quite often.
    keeping my fingers crossed for alexis.

    • mom4
      November 7, 2012

      I love this lineup but I really wanted to see Villa instead of Alexis. That being said, Alexis is better rested and Villa played about 80 minutes last game and we’ve been reminded this past week how slow and deliberate they are taking Villa’s comeback. Kinda wanted Montoya in there too but Dani is well rested having had to only play about a half last game.

      Celtic has been so nice to us and so welcoming I don’t really want to thrash them. A comfortable, heart attack free win will do just fine. Just need to keep our heads and convert our chances. It would be nice if Celtic could join us in the knockout stages.

      • nzm
        November 7, 2012

        Alexis is the better defender and hustler. That’s why he and Pedro are there.

  7. Lev
    November 7, 2012

    Nice preview, as always! I’m really looking forward to this game.

    @gojah el guaje started 2 games in a row last week. Did pretty well, too!

    I hope Lexus gets himself on the scorecard!

  8. November 7, 2012

    Alexis is starting?! But but Jim was sure he wouldn’t start! How could you Tito? How could you go against ‘popular’ opinion and start Alexis?

  9. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    Hey NZM. Thanks for a wonderful preview.

    The atmosphere in Celtic park is amazing, from what I see on TV. They have scarves that are half Celtic, and half Barcelona. I only have one word to express my feelings for Glasgow and Celtic Park, and Celtic FC – Love.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 7, 2012

      I can hear the fans chanting. Just Wow!!!

  10. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    The Celtic mosaic looks absolutely Fantastic!!! Hats off to the fans of Celtic. I wish I could be there. Just out of respect for Celtic, we should allow them to score the first goal. I think the roof is going to blow up if that happens. …

  11. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    Just back in.

    Everyone, once in their life, should go to a European night at Parkhead as a Celtic fan and just enjoy singing Walk On 🙂

    Unbelievable.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 7, 2012

      Hey Jim, Thanks for the recommendation. I have goosebumps listening to the fans chant. I will definitely add that to my to do list.

  12. simple_barcafan
    November 7, 2012

    is there a link to listen to audio commentary..I am at work hence can’t watch.. [:P]

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      go to the FCB website and click on Barca radio – it’s on the front page

    • replayed
      November 7, 2012

      The call was a bit harsh. The two players had been tussling for a while before Song held on to him a bit too long.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 7, 2012

      Have to agree. He could have just tracked the player between the goal and the player.

  13. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Wanyama is being immense right now. It will be tough to break through Celtic via the middle. I predict a late winner when Villa comes in.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 7, 2012

      Alba seems to have some time and space. Goal will likely come from his involvement in the game.

  14. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Song is lucky. This *was* a stone cold yellow card.

    • mom4
      November 7, 2012

      and there you have it!

      Well, there’s that inevitable goal (this year) out of the way.

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      I swear that VV needs his eyes checked. I’m serious about this.

  15. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    It had to be Wanyama. Thanks for nothing, Dani.

    • mom4
      November 7, 2012

      Because a precedent had been set? So many times this year? 🙂
      🙁

  16. nia
    November 7, 2012

    It’s unbearable listening to the British commentators when an english team is involved.

  17. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    The joint is rocking now 🙂 this could be a great game.

    • mom4
      November 7, 2012

      I was thinking the same thing, but I think it’s just a really bad turtleneck.

    • Ryan
      November 7, 2012

      If the ban has been lifted, that would DEFINITELY explain Bojan’s recent resurgence at Milan!

  18. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    Xavi just gave the ball away. What’s up with that?

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      Not used to playing on the left? 🙂

      It’s all too small-small play right now.

  19. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    As I watch this I’m actually pretty proud of Scottish football. However, last ten minutes of the half – time to get to work and get hat goal back.

  20. nia
    November 7, 2012

    over the bar, not pretty from Xavi:(

  21. nzm
    November 7, 2012

    Something needs to change, because all that Celtic is having to do is move left and right across their lines.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 7, 2012

      Cesc and Tello come to mind.

      • Jim
        November 7, 2012

        Villa for me. We’re gonna have to play short passes in their box to get through.

        • psqd
          November 7, 2012

          agree game better suited to villa. expect to seem him at some point if nothing changes.

          cesc for song?
          don’t trust song to finish the game w/o another yellow and seems the odd man out right now.

    • replayed
      November 7, 2012

      Alexis had a good idea (the first time I really noticed him this match), but Alba played the cutback blind. Pity.

  22. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    We need to watch. They can be lethal on the counter.

  23. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Bar, and now post. This is feeling increasingly familiar.

  24. nzm
    November 7, 2012

    Where’s the yellow for the foul on Pedro?

  25. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Villa would have buried it, but Alexis tried to pass. Sigh.

  26. nia
    November 7, 2012

    it might be too early to say but, i think a draw we get at Celtic park.

  27. nzm
    November 7, 2012

    Iniesta’s first touch is suspect tonight.

  28. HisR0yalFlyness
    November 7, 2012

    Here we are again, just passing the ball from side to side in front of the box, hoping for an opening, wasting possession. This never works against sides defending deep. When are we gonna learn?

  29. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    I’m feeling the need for some Villa and Cesc right now. Hate to say it, but I’d bring in someone for Song. He looks like he’s afraid of touching the ball for fear of another card.

    @ Jim. Is this the team you support when you’re not supporting Barca?

    • Jim
      November 7, 2012

      No, mom4. I support a small town team from Perth called St Johnstone. However, of the big two, Celtic and Rangers I have a soft spot for Celtic. Their support are solidly working class and rooted in charities and appreciation of good football. The atmosphere at Celtic Park is absolutely incredible and I have been to a couple of European nights to support them.

  30. TITO
    November 7, 2012

    It could be worse, at least it wasn’t an own goal.

  31. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    Thoughts on first half.

    I really can’t fault anybody for their performance in the first half except for Song. Useless yellow card, and a bad give away in the middle of the pitch that almost resulted in a goal.

    The Bar and Post have been kissed. Hopefully with a substitution that can cause their defense to destabilize barca can unlock Celtic.

    I am looking at Cesc who runs between the lines, and Tello, who has the pace and moves to run in from the wing.

    I would recommend bringing Pique to do the Defensive Midfielder role for Song. We might be looking at a potential red for Song.

    • mom4
      November 7, 2012

      I would recommend bringing Pique to do the Defensive Midfielder role for Song.

      In theory you could bring him in for Sang and then he could play CB and then, maybe Masche could, you know, play his natural position? 🙂

      This just in…Messi uses Head and Shoulders shampoo! No dandruff for our little flea. Just thought you ought to know.

      • Blau-Grenade
        November 7, 2012

        Pique likes to go forward. He can more than play the defensive midfielder role, and create havoc in the offensive half.

        • mom4
          November 7, 2012

          Just teasing B-G. I wouldn’t mind that move at all.

    • replayed
      November 7, 2012

      Barcelona technically had no shots on goal. (Though the refs missed the keeper’s touch on Messi’s shot that ended up against the bar.)

      Me, I’m thinking an actual striker might come in handy just now.

      • mom4
        November 7, 2012

        Me, I’m thinking an actual striker might come in handy just now.

        What is this striker of which you speak? Confused! 😉

  32. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    Messi came back to defend (and other signs of the endtimes)!

  33. swamidigital
    November 7, 2012

    We’re offering consistent and coherent threat at least, even if we’re not quite brilliant. A goal for us will come.

  34. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Song to the rescue again. I for one think he’s having a pretty decent game.

    Hey, a shot on goal finally.

    • swamidigital
      November 7, 2012

      Yeah he did a very good job there crushing the threat.

  35. nia
    November 7, 2012

    feels like Celtic are gonna score again.

  36. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    I highly suspect that nzm is fixing my typos. Luvs her!

  37. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Almost 60 minutes and no signs of activity from the bench.

    Meanwhile, Alexis makes another back pass.

  38. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    Ok, long enough Tito. Villa on now. Alexis ain’t scoring.

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      Cesc on for Iniesta and Tello for Messi, then move Villa to the middle.

  39. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    I’m looking on the bright side here. At least the jibes about the SPL will have to stop 🙂

  40. Dave
    November 7, 2012

    Why can’t we counter at pace?Instead we show mercy and wait until they have the entire bus back.

    Cesc in Xavi out
    Villa in Sanchez out
    Alves out Tello in

  41. TITO
    November 7, 2012

    I can’t get it, why is everybody is having a go at Alexis???? What the f.ck did Pedro do until now???

    • Jim
      November 7, 2012

      It’s more about likelihood of scoring for me. Alexis will never score many goals. He takes too long to shoot and he’s not a great striker of the ball. Pedro at least has a proven goalscoring record.

  42. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    And that my friends is how easily Masch is skinned….

  43. Dave
    November 7, 2012

    Play is so predictable and turgid. Needs Cesc

  44. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    Lord, can Tito please bring Pique for Song.

  45. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    Song played the ball this time. It wasn’t even a foul, let alone a yellow.

    • Jim
      November 7, 2012

      It was a sending off every day of the week for me I’m afraid.

  46. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Forster plays the game of his life against us. Twice!

  47. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Get off the field already. Celtic’s time wasting is bush league

  48. replayed
    November 7, 2012

    I thought it was a good save, not a great one. Forster was watching Messi all the way, and the ball wasn’t that far away from him.

  49. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    I dont understand Tito’s obcession with holding on to subs. Pique and Cesc should have happened 15 minutes ago.

    • Messiah10
      November 7, 2012

      C’mon. Pep would’ve held them till the 89th minute. Cesc should have started!

    • replayed
      November 7, 2012

      I don’t know. Aside from the Madrid match at the Camp Nou, he’s been prompt and aggressive with his subs. More so than Pep, that’s for sure.

  50. Dave
    November 7, 2012

    Easy to play in a parked bus, but their lb has been terrific

  51. Dave
    November 7, 2012

    Messi back to rw, just like old times

  52. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Pretty sad when Samaras is getting the ball near our box! The announcers constantly saying Celtic are brave and determined is rubbish. Anyone can park 10 men in our box.

  53. nzm
    November 7, 2012

    Not sure why Ini is still on the pitch, to be honest.

    • Jim
      November 7, 2012

      Never count Ini out. He’s one of our few game changers.

      • nzm
        November 7, 2012

        He had a shocker tonight – lost balls, bad touches and missed passes. I saw two good recoveries from him. Not his best night.

  54. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    Benfica is doing us a huge favor right now. 2-0.

  55. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    I”d point out that Celtic almost beat us last time, are beating us this time and not many teams have don’t that.

  56. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    10 minutes to find an equalizer

  57. samarth-culé
    November 7, 2012

    Dear football Gods,

    Iniestazo… please!

    Sincerely.

  58. Dave
    November 7, 2012

    Chelsea all over again but against worse opposition. Passing is too slow. On the upside at least a few English pundits will start writing Barca off

    • Jim
      November 7, 2012

      Interested why you think it’s worse opposition.

      • Dave
        November 7, 2012

        Don’t get me wrong I’m a Celtic fan but Chelsea’s mercenaries cost far more than Celtic. Celtic are better than Chelsea?

        • nzm
          November 7, 2012

          They’ve played Barca better than Chelsea, I think.

  59. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Geez. Our passes are getting really sloppy.

  60. November 7, 2012

    There goes my manita prediction, iniesta needs to somehow get into this match. And how come sanchez gets mentions and pedro n iniesta dont?

  61. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    What a difference Pique has made to the match.

  62. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    Bad tackle. Should’ve been yellow.

  63. samarth-culé
    November 7, 2012

    Are the Celtic players having football-magnets in their boots tonight?! They have been intercepting passes and deflecting through balls so well.

  64. Dave
    November 7, 2012

    Like to see Villa take fk……oh fuck they’re dreadful

  65. nia
    November 7, 2012

    i told u all we were gonna lose this one

      • nia
        November 7, 2012

        i made another comment later on that i thought Celtic were gonna score again

  66. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    I could handle this better if we had anything vaguely resembling impartial announcers.

  67. nia
    November 7, 2012

    to be fair, Barca were horrible and Celtic did play well

  68. samarth-culé
    November 7, 2012

    Celts are going to celebrate their 125th b’day so well… :/

  69. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Celtic’s night. We haven’t done enough in the 2nd half to break the bus and it’s their 125 anniversary

  70. Judas Pissed
    November 7, 2012

    Finally Barca get the kick up the arse they deserve. Tito – your team has been pretty poor for weeks. Sleepwalking through matches, lacking drive & ideas, making mistakes that weren’t always punished like they should have been. We’ve won matches we shouldn’t have – but not tonight.

    • samarth-culé
      November 7, 2012

      We need more of team merit than individual brilliances.

  71. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    Lol. Chants of Wembe – Ley from the Celtic fans.

  72. TITO
    November 7, 2012

    Oh wait, it’s Alexis’s and Song’s fault again…no wait, they are not playing at all now.
    We should be talking about Iniesta, and Dani and Pedro and Xavi and… instead of the usual scapegoats.
    Anyway, good that we got it tonight, and not when i really matters, like Mallorca for that matter.

  73. nia
    November 7, 2012

    oh well, better a lose now than in the liga.

  74. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    What is the point of bring Villa in if he plays as a winger, and not a striker.

  75. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    We can’t even get out of the way of our own players shot!

  76. nia
    November 7, 2012

    isn’t our day, even hitting our shots v our own players

  77. samarth-culé
    November 7, 2012

    I don’t know what those people, who called last week’s 3-1 win against Celta Vigo our worst performance, are gonna say now?!

  78. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    What a save from Forster but Messi cleans up! Lovely one two three!

  79. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    One more to go! Lets do it Barca.

  80. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    Mascherano has been skinned by this kid three ones in a row.

  81. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Give a fucking yellow already. Time wasting punks.

    • Jim
      November 7, 2012

      Sorry. Not really seeing time wasting.

    • samarth-culé
      November 7, 2012

      That was Barcagasm… those 91-93 minutes, even if we couldn’t score.
      Best moment of the match for me.

  82. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    If Iniesta controls that ball in the box with a good touch we score and it’s 2-2. He hasn’t had the best of games.

  83. nia
    November 7, 2012

    those commentators are doing my head in. Oh well back to the drawing board and we’re still on top.

  84. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    What a finish. Sorry, fellow Barca fans but I’m so proud of Celtic on this night.

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      You should be, Jim. Celtic played a better defensive game than any other team that I’ve seen against Barca. No horrid fouling, just a straight match.

  85. nzm
    November 7, 2012

    Well-deserved win by Celtic.

    Barca only has themselves to blame for that performance.

    • swamidigital
      November 7, 2012

      They played well, defended well. But I never think a bus parking team ever deserves to win. So not well deserved, but well played to Celtic.

      • nzm
        November 7, 2012

        They played the tactics that work against Barca, swami – it’s up to Barca to figure out how to counter the play.

        When the only movement that you see on the park is Barca players running around in circles, and the Celtic defence just having to slide left and right, holding their defensive lines, then something has to change – and you can bet that it won’t be the opposition changing what works!

        Once again, allowing a defensive side to score first was the biggest error for Barca. After that, they dug the trenches even deeper.

        • swamidigital
          November 7, 2012

          I did say they played well. But this kind of play is just about taking the least amount of risk possible. It doesn’t take anything special to create this game plan and execute it. I can clap for a team that beats us trying to play us, and say they deserve it. I can’t do so for a team that does not do this.

          It’s a competitive game, and I am not saying teams don’t have every right to play this way. I can certainly understand why Celtic would want to play this way. It makes sense for them. But I can’t have any respect or admiration for it, nor can I understand those who do.

          • nzm
            November 7, 2012

            It’s not so much having respect for their play, but respect for them beating Barca in a clean match.

            But if we all felt the same way, it would be too boring!

          • Messiah10
            November 7, 2012

            Completely agree swamidigital. Well said.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 7, 2012

      Barca should have definitely lost that game.

      Song could have easily seen red by half time. It was only because of the leniency of the Ref was Song on the pitch after more than his share of mistakes. Tito should have substituted for him at half time.

  86. swamidigital
    November 7, 2012

    Ah well, better this match than in Liga.

  87. Messiah10
    November 7, 2012

    Good for the Scot’s. They certainly aren’t going to win the CL anytime soon, so this is their CL Final! lol.

    • nzm
      November 7, 2012

      No need to belittle them. They played like lions tonight and beat one of the best teams in the world.

      • swamidigital
        November 7, 2012

        I think you are being overly complementary. They played a good defensive game, but they are not the first to do so. Actual courage means taking risks. They were pragmatic, and executed their game plan well, but there is not much to admire in doing so. They played well, just not admirably or courageously like some are saying.

        • nzm
          November 7, 2012

          I don’t think that I am. I’m complimenting Celtic for their game and tactics. They took the best from Chelsea and made it their own – without the dirty fouling and the diving theatrics. Forster was dynamic in front of goal, and the team played the spaces between the Barca players and not the players. They done well!

          • swamidigital
            November 7, 2012

            I agree that they did well. In fact, I don’t think we played terribly, we did pretty good. I hate it when cules criticize our team after a match like this, as if we just gave the game away and the other team doesn’t exist. They just played very disciplined, didn’t take any risks, and profited from our mistakes. If they hadn’t been as disciplined or quick to pounce on our weakness, we would have won.

  88. Blau-Grenade
    November 7, 2012

    Happy 125th Birthday Celtic!

    Next time substitute sooner Tito!

    Wanyama, Fraser and Foster are men of the match for me.

    If I had to pick one player, it would be Fraser’s effort to stop Dani from getting into the game, and for all his blocks and last ditch tackles, he gets MOTM.

  89. HisR0yalFlyness
    November 7, 2012

    Deserved loss. Friggin Celtic? Steups

  90. November 7, 2012

    Messi scores and thiago is born…yay! We can all move on nw

  91. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    Thank you to Benfica for helping us out tonight.
    Group G
    Barca -9 points
    Celtic- 7 points
    Benfica- 4 points
    Spartak- 3 points

  92. Judas Pissed
    November 7, 2012

    Need a tad more than sideways pass sideways pass sideways pass give it to Messi. Pep realised opposition teams had figured this out & f*cked off. What’s your plan Tito..?

    • HisR0yalFlyness
      November 7, 2012

      Did it in the 1st game. We did it again in this game. nobody willing to to run at the defenders. Middle clogged and yet we still do the same crap. At some point somebody needs to realize this approach DOES NOT WORK against parked buses and try something different. Till then were in for more of the same. Sometimes we will get lucky and at crucial times as in the past, we wont.

    • samarth-culé
      November 7, 2012

      And that has become a trend, more of a signature- pass the ball to Leo on the right wing, he drifts and drifts and drifts sideways till he reaches the left post and then tries to shoot with his left leg through a gap between the opposition defence.

      It has become so predictable! The defenders start clogging him as soon as they see him drift sideways and mostly, the ball is cleared.

    • G6O
      November 7, 2012

      What are your suggestions?

      They play 10 men behind the ball, two banks of 5 or three banks of 4,4 and 2. and that’s with the game compressed not just into their half but into their third.

      There is no space at all to do anything and we do not shoot from distance and cross the ball because if we do, we run the risk of conceding possession and allowing them to organize a dangerous counter (which we have struggled mightily with this season with our crippled defense)

      So we only have the option of patiently probing and waiting for someone to be dragged out of position.

      We almost did it – we hit the post twice, and with a little more sharpness, we could have created a few more chances and eventually scored more than one goal.

      But playing against that kind of parked bus will always be difficult, that’s just how it is.

  93. nia
    November 7, 2012

    i’m not too upset about this result, very strange. Celtic deserved their victory, Barca played like crap as well. If there was one team i’m happy to see beat Barca is Celtic. They do not use dirty tactics like others do to stop Barca and the atmosphere was awesome.
    Zubizaretta said Barca found it difficult against them and he wasn’t lying.

  94. Jim
    November 7, 2012

    The thing is with that atmosphere at Celtic park they can beat anyone on the night. Its the same with the Scotland team at Hampden. Scots respond really well to being underdogs. its in our psyche. It’s away we struggle.

    • barca96
      November 7, 2012

      But if it’s because of atmosphere alone they should be winning every match don’t they? Or is it only like this on the big nights?

      I thought you had work at school? How did you catch the match?

      • Dave
        November 7, 2012

        Nothing comes near Parkhead and Anfield for atmosphere on a Euro nite

      • Jim
        November 7, 2012

        Parent evening was 5pm till 7.30 so I dashed home . Just missed first five minutes but had it taped.

        I’m not saying they will win every match at home but if the crowd get fired up trust me they can become invincible.

  95. samarth-culé
    November 7, 2012

    I hope Tito & boys got the lesson for tonight.
    Wasn’t a much imp. match due to our previous results, so okay.

    Better bounce back against Mallorca, I want a win for my b’day present this Sunday! 😀

  96. mom4
    November 7, 2012

    Oh well, C’est la vie, c’est la guerre.

    Congrats to Celtic.

  97. psqd
    November 7, 2012

    Agree with those saying celtic deserved the win. the model to beat barca remains the same for now i guess. certainly a parked bus always requires a bit of luck, which celtic got. However, the organization and discipline was outstanding. you could argue they were more effective in the second half. watt was destroying mascherano, every ball forward for them became dangerous.

  98. Xavi6
    November 7, 2012

    A little less possession , a little more penetration please .

    Not buying Thiago Silva is our biggest mistake in the transfer window .

    • Dave
      November 7, 2012

      Yep true, not buying any world class cb

  99. samarth-culé
    November 7, 2012

    Questions arising from tonight:
    – How do you manage an opposition who man-marks us so well with great discipline as well?
    – How the f___ do you utilize Alexis’ best trait- “the explosive run” effectively if he has not much space of his own to operate with Alves lingering behind his back managing the right flank as well?

    • barca96
      November 7, 2012

      Do you mean Alba? Because Alexis was on the LW all night long.

      • samarth-culé
        November 8, 2012

        Oh, ya… My bad, should be Alba and the left flank.

  100. barca96
    November 7, 2012

    I liked Tito’s move to put Messi on the right wing.

  101. BA
    November 7, 2012

    any question now as to whether we need to buy some defenders who can actually defend?

  102. barca96
    November 7, 2012

    -I don’t understand how Celta deserved to win. We were a much better side. It was again goals conceded and their goalkeeper making worldwide class saves like in the first leg and Cech.

    How may chances did they had? We created heaps of chances like in the first leg and against Chelsea last season. It’s just that we couldn’t finish the chances off.

    -I think that since last season we made progress against parked busses. Before Chelsea we couldn’t even get into the box.

    -I still can’t understand how Xavi and Iniesta still can’t shoot.. There both around 30 now and yet can’t find the target or don’t have enough power.

    -We were lucky twice. Song and sMasch both should’ve been sent off.

    -Alexis had his best match of the season imo. I didn’t feel that he deserved to go off. And Villa just didn’t suit to play Celtic. He’s too static and doesn’t have enough energy and strength.

    -Pedro is a very skilful player now. One of the best in tight spaces.

    -Hopefully now we can see more of Messi on the RW and Villa or Alexis or Cesc in the middle.

  103. TITO
    November 7, 2012

    My thoughts.

    We didn’t had a bad game, just one of those million games the past 3-4 years already, somebody is parking a bus and you have to figure it out how to deal with it. The funny thing is that they come in different colors, tonight it was a green bus.
    As someone already mentioned, i don’t admire that football, but is up to them how they chose to play, and up to you to win the game.
    The thing is that we knew what is expecting us, and strange enough, we still are blaming this one or that one when things don’t go our way. My father used to tell me, when you play these “smaller” teams, and you play in a hostile atmosphere, you always have to aim to score first and quickly, so you calm them, and then is easier. The goal wont let them get into the game. We have the quality, just sometimes, some players dont have the right “balls” to take matters into their own hands, but rather play it sideways.
    Song had a descent game for me, with few mistakes, but overall i liked it. This game was screaming for Tello and his directness. To bad he didn’t get the chance.

    Now up for Mallorca.

  104. BarcaRoja
    November 7, 2012

    Ouch. Just one of them days… Congratulations Celtic!

  105. November 7, 2012

    This was a replay of the Chelsea tie, frankly. We are just as vulnerable (as is pretty much any side in the world, it must be added) to an early goal, defense in depth by an opponent working like dogs that also got some very good breaks. That Xavi miskick was huge, and match-changing. It was like he was passing to the Celtic player.

    It also required some off performances. The corner that led to the goal, for my money, didn’t need to be given up. But better marking on the set piece means that the guy isn’t just running around free to bash in that header.

    Long and short of it is they played their hearts out, we didn’t. They were the better team on the night, and deserved the win. That’s that. People expecting this club to win every time it steps onto the pitch are misguided in the extreme. And blaming players isn’t the answer, either. Yes, some people were below par, but I’m not sure if people being ON par would have changed anything. It was just one of those nights.

    This was the match for other players to step up, as Celtic wasn’t going to allow Messi to be decisive. He could have helped the cause, however, by not sending that excellent early chance into orbit. Forster was also excellent on the day. That one-handed save of his was tops.

    We will still advance out of the group, and this moment of humanity by players that people expect to be automatons will be forgotten.

    • November 8, 2012

      Hello friend,
      the problem is that we can expect almost all teams – except the likes of ManUnited/Bayern/Dortmund – to play similarly. It is already there from some time in the last season, but Celtic managing this victory will definitely be a big boost to most teams.

      We only had three players who can successfully do risky things it seems, Messi Iniesta and now Alba. Inspite of having this enormous posession these were the only three who were trying risky passes. Two passes by Messi – in the 40th and 59th minutes – were out of this world. Similarly Iniesta receiving a ball from Messi and sending it back to him – the Messi shot which hit the bar, was another great try to penetrate. Alba tried few as well. But all others are too much afraid to take such risks. Xavi is becoming very badly predictable. With all his 100+ passes, he hardly made a couple of good penetrative ones.
      In such games, I sincerely wish, if we are not able to score one by half time, Cesc, Thiago come in for Xavi in the second half. I have only respects for Xavi for being the controller of our game, but controlling without having a goal is useless. I still do not want to accuse Xavi for that mistake. We have seen our other players make such mistakes too.

      Like wise, I dont think even if Messi had found the target from that early opportunity, it would have gone in . Forster would have stopped that too, as this was his day. There was a very similar situation in the second half too, when he made an excellent save from Messi. And Xavi and Villa too skied from such situations. But really, I dont want to pin on any player. If Celtic hadnt scored we would have been feeling ok about the players today, they did try hard. Like in the Chelsea match, we werent lucky yesterday.

      I am worried for Alves though. Like Xavi, he is getting very predictable. He is still lacking his speed of movement and thought. Of empteen chances, he made only 1/2 good crosses.

      One good factor though was Alexis improvement. Much better game and he suited the game better than Villa. Villa found it very difficult to adapt to the short passing in the tense situation.

      I am not sad about the result, but I am worried about us. We are going to face more and more of such bus and our intelligents’ department seems to be bankrupt of ideas.

  106. nzm
    November 7, 2012

    Whodda thunk that at this stage, Malaga – a team that had to qualify for CL in play-offs – is the only team so far assured of progressing into the next round? 😀

  107. Barcathegreatestever
    November 7, 2012

    Masch needs a center back behind him..

  108. Ahmad
    November 7, 2012

    Big deal, they’ll reach the next round and get knocked out by one of the bigger clubs.
    Once a small team, always a small team.

  109. ooga aga
    November 7, 2012

    congrats, celtic. it wasnt pretty, but they did it.

    its easy for me to be magnanimous when it doesnt involve our crashing out of the competition. 🙂

    like tito said a week or two ago, we were getting ever statistically closer to losing than we were to continuing our winning streak. 🙂

  110. mangut
    November 7, 2012

    This was a replay of the Chelsea defeats and I do not blame any team with lesser talent to use the same game plan against Barca. Pack your defense back, have your keeper play a steller game, wait for corners, send long balls over Barca’s high back line and watch Barcelona be wasteful of the few opportunties it can create. I can’t say Celtic played the better game or played harder than Barca. Not having Busquets certainly took from the midfield. Ball movement and the urgency to get behind Celtic when they were not packed in was lacking. Alba should not have marking duties on corner kicks besides standing by a post. I liked the idea of putting Sanchez and then Villa in the center. Getting Messi on the right and letting him drag across was also an attempt to try something different. Yet it becomes predictable if you continue to go it again and again. Or if you insist on trying to go through the middle. Alves and his crossing deserve to be criticized. As the game went on and the rain seemed to come down harder it seemed like perfect rehersal for what will come later on. Vilanova tried some different things and seemed to not be lacking ideas like last April/May against Chelsea. Happy to see Pique return.

  111. nia
    November 7, 2012

    Guilleme Ballague: Tito’s team create less chances than Peps + they lost what we call automatisms.More individual than collective work now which makes it worse.
    Not sure if i agree fully with his analysis but tonight, that seemed to be the case. Besides, Barca for some reason always have trouble v ‘buses’.

    While i like Ballague most of the times, he annoys me when Barca loses. He always has a ‘i told you so’ comment waiting in the wings. I wouldn’t say he’s a barca hater but, he enjoys it more when Barca fails than when EE does, which is weired coz he’s a catalan.
    Barca haven’t been firing on all cylinders yet and the defence has really let us dowm. Spartak are gonna be another tough match, wouldn’t be suprised if we need to beat Benfica again to qualify in 1st.

    • November 7, 2012

      Tito’s team create less chances than Peps + they lost what we call automatisms.

      Oh goodness. This is just flat dumb. Guilleme is just talking out of his behind again.

      Yes this team based on growing up together in La Masia and playing so many games together is losing their automatisme.

      They wound up playing remarkably similar to how they did vs Chelsea but they’ve lost their automatisms.

      • Dave
        November 7, 2012

        Balague is a utter knob. Shamelessly self publisher. He is really bitter towards Barca. He tries to act as everything is his exclusive, pompous ass. He seems to have a sneaky agenda, whether its backing the indefensible actions of Mourinho or being a spokesman for Rafa Benitez. He’s a troll masquerading as a journalist imo.

        Take him with a pinch of salt. The guys you should follow are Imo
        Graham Hunter (above all a top bloke and an excellent author/communicator),
        Sid Lowe( a brilliant writer in general and such a wide knowledge of the game in Spain) and
        Tim Stannard( who’s the funniest writer on the game imo)

        On his allegiance. He is an Espanyol fan and that carries its own inferiority complex, but also he writes for AS- a paper known for altering football footage to suit EE. Plus his co workers include such morons as Roncero and Hermel.

        • November 8, 2012

          Agree on Ballague. The smuggery, it burns!

          (He also searches his own name on twitter and blocks people who say bad things about him, even when they have never addressed him directly. Ask me how I know.)

          Will I be buying his book on Pep Guardiola? No I will not. But I will be interested to hear what others think of it.

  112. November 7, 2012

    After the start Barca got off to in La Liga and the CL it was inevitable that the team would eventually lose. That game – the game where they just were off and couldn’t dig it out at the end – was coming. I’d much rather prefer that poor game to come in the group stage of the CL than in La Liga.

    So what’s done is done. The team was poor. Just move on.

    What’s interesting about that first goal Barca conceded was that their system of zonal marking on corners worked extremely well. It did pretty much exactly what it was supposed to do. But Alba & Alves were simply overwhelmed physically. That goal in ways was reminiscent of the corner kick goal Barca conceded in the Clasico at Camp Nou last season. Scored by Khedira in the scrum but set up by Pepe towering over Adriano on the corner.

    The team has simply become so small that they are going to concede on set pieces. Even if they do everything perfectly in terms of their system they are still going to concede on a non-trivial number of set pieces.

    Finally – a recurrent refrain this season has been that Barca is playing too direct. There’s not enough focus on retention and possession.

    Well today was the least direct Barca has been all season and the most possession focused. And it was also the worst the team has played.

    Like it or not the team needs to evolve. Pep saw that last season and it’s fortunate that Tito is pushing them further forward in that direction.

    • Dave
      November 7, 2012

      Good observations Euler. Main thing for me in an attacking sense is for the team to become much more direct with quicker transitions and optimising counter attacking opportunities. This means Cesc and Villa and possibly tello.

      • November 7, 2012

        Also that corner off which they scored was needlessly given. One attacker was off, the other two were covered and the man delivering the pass wasn’t exactly mega-skilled in that regard. Sanchez is to be lauded for his effort, but he’d have been better off just covering the attacker and letting the defense deal with it.

    • olbucky
      November 8, 2012

      Hey Euler, can you do some reviews? Even if they are abbreviated one so they dont take you so long, at least we get something. Your public is longing…

  113. simple_barcafan
    November 7, 2012

    Spare a moment for the Celtic fans…they didn’t win the Champions league, nor played what will go down as one of the great games in the history of football..All the did is win the game against us..Yet they are delirious with joy..

    It kinda makes me pity the Cules. We have been used to winning so frequently that we some where along the line have forgotten the joy of winning, instead quibbling even when the team wins or losing a odd game..well, for once I want to be a fan of a lesser club and see how wonderful it is to have your dream come true…

    • Lev
      November 7, 2012

      prefer to be cule and have our dream come true, AGAIN hahaha

    • November 7, 2012

      It kinda makes me pity the Cules. We have been used to winning so frequently that we some where along the line have forgotten the joy of winning, instead quibbling even when the team wins or losing a odd game.

      So true ….

    • November 8, 2012

      I could not agree more.

      I have friends who are Celtic fans and they are absolutely thrilled with this win. As they should be.

      I would like to take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate the welcome Celtic fans and the club itself gave to our players and the travelling fans. Truly remarkable.

  114. Lev
    November 7, 2012

    “Big deal, they’ll reach the next round and get knocked out by one of the bigger clubs. Once a small team, always a small team.”

    Ahmad, Celtic is a beautiful club with a huge history. There’s no need to disrespect our opponent, brother, especially not one whose fans have received ours with open arms. I even saw Celtic fans waving the senyera in the stadium.

    • November 7, 2012

      THIS ^^^^

      I was just thinking the exact same thing. Thanks for saying it, Lev. Grace in victory, more grace in defeat.

    • swamidigital
      November 8, 2012

      Yeah actually I hope they give some bigger clubs hell in the next round!

  115. nia
    November 7, 2012

    OH NO!! people are throwing out a lot of possibilities out there for who is going to win the CL and Barca have been thrown under the bus(see what i did there 😉 ) after that perfomance. That will teach me to stray away from Barca websites when we lose :s.
    Mind you They forget Barca have lost in the group stage before and gone on to win the CL.
    just like every team can have their theories on why their team will win it, i have a few too but, as we always see year in year out, not all the expected teams win at the end. Hey, even RM lost to the mighty Alcocorn and have since bounced back and won 3 title since then.
    Also found a comment on guardian that said “this Barca is like Man U of 2011”. Ha ha, i was like oh no you didn’t.
    Either way, a lot of teams hate Barca, are happy when we lose. I guess i just have to deal with it.

  116. indiancule
    November 7, 2012

    yes we lost but just look at the other side of the defeat.

    Most of teams by now know that only chance to win against us is by parking the bus. Celtic is not the first team to park the bus this season. Look at the number of matches we have won this season even after the teams defend deep. Even in today’s loss we created good amount of chances to win the game.(2 woodwork and 10+ shots).

    The goals whatever we have let in today is not mistake from CBs. First goal partially yes.Its just celtic’s day but not taking away credit from them for their disciplined defense and good goal keeping. We lost quite a few matches like this in previous seasons and hopefully this defeat won’t affect our qualification to the next round.

    Personally I feel the way we play now is the best possible way to break the parked bus. I don’t know how a 6 feet tall CF is going to be fit into our tika taka.

    On a brighter side alexis had a good game. Messi created quite a few chances and scored a goal.Hopefully we will win this weekend’s tricky trip to mallorca and will maintain the 8 pt gap with EE.

  117. ooga aga
    November 8, 2012

    good post. we are creating chances and we are slightly unlucky not to score more. we could do better. but credit to celtic they were magnificent, and lots bigger than us.

  118. November 8, 2012

    There is a distinct lack of Sturm und Drang in here. All you all sure you are real cules? 😛

    • nzm
      November 8, 2012

      Shh…take a chill pill and join us in the rational recovery room. 😀

  119. nzm
    November 8, 2012

    Johan Cruyff has resigned after 3 years as coach of the Catalunya National Team.

    Guess he couldn’t stomach that the next game was to be played at Cornellà-El Prat. 🙂

  120. November 8, 2012

    News of the day is that Cesc Fabregas is the next victim of the Barça Baby Boom. His girlfriend Daniella is (reportedly) pregnant with a girl and is due sometime this spring.

    • mom4
      November 8, 2012

      So I blame any problems we are having as a team on sex in general and parenthood in particular. This is quite baby boom we have going on here!

      @ nzm. There seems to be something in the water in Barcelona. I’m only gonna be drinking bottled water when I come there. Maybe I’ll play it safe and only drink the cava. 🙂

      • November 8, 2012

        Sigh …. when you let talented sprites discover girls, this is what happens.

          • mom4
            November 8, 2012

            Just stop it now, Blitzen! You know that the quality of Cesc’s performances on the field are inversely proportionate to his appearance1 What are you wishing upon us? Ee gads!

          • ooga aga
            November 8, 2012

            you didnt notice he was clean shaven when he came on as a sub! thats the problem see!

        • nzm
          November 8, 2012

          Kevin – I think that it’s the other way around.

          The girls are insuring their futures by having sprogs with the talented sprites. Should things go astray in the future, those alimony and childcare payments will keep rolling in!

          • nzm
            November 8, 2012

            Why not?

            But – please note – I didn’t call them that!

            If I had to label them, it would be to classify them as opportunists.

          • November 8, 2012

            Because I am sick and tired of the assumption that all “WAGS” (hate that term) are just “in it for what they can get” or looking to “tie their men down” by having babies. It’s widespread and it is unfair and misogynist and demeaning. I see that kind of thing all over the internet, and I would just rather not deal with it here. (Check Cesc and Daniella’s twitter mentions for some lovely examples.)

            Also, in the case of our players, it doesn’t particularly apply:

            Villa & Patricia — been together since they were teens and he was just another kid with dreams
            Pedro & his gf — been together since he was 17 and he was nobody.
            Pique & Shakira — she doesn’t need anybody else’s money
            Valdes & Yolanda — she is a very successful model & doesn’t need the money either.
            Pinto & his wife — been together for ages and he’s not going to be on this team much longer. If she’s digging for gold, she should be moving on.

            That leaves Daniella and Antonella. If you think they are just having babies to ensure their future cash-flow…well, you can join the 16-yr old girls who like to abuse them on twitter.

            Nothing personal, Michele. I know it was just an off-hand comment. I’m just tired of the misogynism that surrounds women in the football world.

            • nzm
              November 8, 2012

              Well – I can see that it certainly rocks your boat. So glad that I’m not using twitter.

      • nzm
        November 8, 2012

        mom4: we never drink the tap water here, anyway. It’s desalinated and over-chlorified.

        I’d be looking to those drink bottles on the Barca pitch – too much testosterone is being shared! 😀

  121. providence
    November 8, 2012

    is it true there was Messi-Villa Fight yesterday after d game?

    • barca96
      November 8, 2012

      Source please?

      I didn’t see anything while they were on the field that could’ve led to a fight.

  122. barca96
    November 8, 2012

    Over 180 minutes of football, Celtic have
    led Barcelona for 95 of them.
    Barcelona have led Celtic for about 5
    seconds.

    What more is there to say?

  123. November 8, 2012

    Here is something else: Celtic is the EXACT kind of team that will always give us fits. Particularly now that they have improved, as they are in effect the only team in the Scottish League. They are fast, direct, big, physical and excellent on the counter. And they defend like fiends. Relax.

    • jclemmons
      November 8, 2012

      That’s why I think this is an upset on paper (in “talent” — at least how we loosely base it; on coefficients; on payroll…etc) but hardly anything to really go into hysterics about, in terms of both paranoia about what lies ahead and the absurd plaudits by the (mostly) British media.

      Celtic play in a league that constantly reinforces a style that works against us. Their players are tall, thick, and they frequently dominate that league because of two other factors: they are quick and organized. Against Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern…they could never play this way. (I mean, they could, but it would murder them.) For me, this says much more about Barcelona than Celtic.

  124. mom4
    November 8, 2012

    So we here at the mom4 household got Comcast back today. Our area only has the Spanish beIn channel(so we all get to practice our Spanish). Apparently the Time Warner/ Fios thing is only a California thing. According to hubby, when he called to cancel Fios the rep told him that he gets several cancellations a day because of beIn and the rep couldn’t understand why management wasn’t catching on to this. So anyway, it’s done now and my DVR will be set to record the Mallorca game. What we don’t do for this team!

    • November 8, 2012

      You can also change your DVR settings to activate the SAP, which BeIN~ has for all of its matches. Go to menu/setup/audio options. From there, change the default language setting to English, and off you go.

    • swamidigital
      November 8, 2012

      Are you getting it in HD? I have fox soccer in HD, but not BeIN unfortunately. Quite annoying.

    • November 8, 2012

      Meh. I get the whole “injustice to football” meme, but I find this piece a bit mean-spirited considering that Barça has been nothing but gracious in defeat to Celtic. Brooks has a habit of overworking a joke until it becomes not funny anymore.

    • Lev
      November 8, 2012

      even more hilarious is the amount of people commenting on that article that didn’t realize it was a joke lol

      • swamidigital
        November 8, 2012

        I think that happens on every dirty tackle article. The most hilarious was his article on Pobre Tristiano getting left by the team plane at the Euro’s. This article was picked up by media around the world, even when a simple google search revealed pictures of him arriving back in Portugal. No one bothered to fact check a comedy blog post!

  125. nzm
    November 8, 2012

    Jeez – Bilbao are doing it hard against Lyon. Losing 0-2 going into halftime, with so many missed ops at the other end.

    • November 8, 2012

      Just as well if they are out of Europe. They need to concentrate on not getting relegated.

    • nzm
      November 8, 2012

      I’ll let this post lie but please note that the BFB Site Policy states that we reserve the right to delete or edit comments that:
      ~ are solicitations and/or advertising for personal blogs and websites (please include a link in your name rather than in the comment itself, though some exceptions will be made).

      From now on, the link in your name should suffice, and we welcome your relevant comments on our posts. Thanks.

      (Good reading at your blog, BTW – all the best with it!)

  126. Clouseau
    November 8, 2012

    Loosing two important Players due to Injuries and still manage to win? There can’t be a better Gift for 125th Jubilee 😉

    Not the best Week for the spanish Teams in Europe. Still they’re topping Uefa’s Country rankings and are on the verge to snatch the first Place.

    @Provedence and Barca96
    Meh, a very desperate attempt to create a Controversy. Here is the Video on the said spat :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=n5irVWiPl3g

    • Jim
      November 9, 2012

      Am I missing something or is this very old news?

    • Lev
      November 8, 2012

      imagine if Barça had a game in which we score 1 goal for every 47 seconds of possession 😀

      • barca96
        November 9, 2012

        That means they’re very effective with it 🙂

  127. BA
    November 9, 2012

    seems as though ZM broadly agrees with my earlier sentiments, not just for this game but for the season: that Alex Song isn’t good enough and that our inaction in the transfer market to address our crippling dearth of real defensive players has and will continue to cost us games.

    “He [Song] was clearly Barcelona’s weak link, and it’s difficult to imagine that Miku would have done so well against Sergio Busquets, who remains vastly superior in the holding midfield role. (Song also hampered Barcelona’s midfield play”

    “Barcelona weren’t terrible, but unquestionably missed strong, reliable players in defensive areas. A defensive ‘triangle’ of Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Sergio Busquets wouldn’t have allowed Celtic to break so dangerously, and would have made Barcelona less vulnerable at set-pieces. It’s another game when their refusal to sign a standard centre-back looks dodgy, with Song still yet to convince.”

    • KEVINO17
      November 9, 2012

      If you substitute the words “”Xavi” for “Song” I think those comments would be right. Song was excellent. Miku did almost zilch and Song wasn’t responsible for either goal. Yet, of course that won’t stop the scapegoating because apparently, it’s Songs fault Barca didn’t buy a CB. He represents a misallocation of resources.
      No mention by the Villistas of his contribution, which was pretty dire.

      • November 9, 2012

        I agree with you. Song is made a scapegoat. he was not bad, except for a couple of poor passes. He worked hard. This is a new system in which , even Cesc with all his past is taking his time to adapt. Why do we expect Song to adapt with a few games.
        It is just routine of British media to find fault with every player who moved to Barca from EPL. In the beginning they talked the same way about Mascherrano and Cesc too.
        Anyways, I would not say XAvi was our weak link.
        But its worrying that Xavi is quite not good, when we face bus.

    • nzm
      November 9, 2012

      Perhaps ZM should be reminded of the Chelsea games last season.

      I’d like to see them lay the onus on Song for those games. 🙂

      It’s pretty simple: when the team plays the high defensive line, the team must score first to break the bus.

      Tito said before the game that Barca was aware that Celtic’s danger would come from set pieces and fast counters which is exactly how their 2 goals were scored.

      The defence may be copping the flak, but the Barca attack’s lack of success contributed way more to the team’s loss. Huge possession stats in favour of Barca, but nothing to show for it.

    • ooga aga
      November 9, 2012

      “… Alex Song isn’t good enough …our crippling dearth of real defensive players has and will continue to cost us games.”

      cost us which games? the losses vs celtic or RM? or the one tie we’ve had all year? our record is better now than at the same time last year. is the writer suggesting we would have won all our competitive matches without song?

      • ooga aga
        November 9, 2012

        i will say we are letting in too many goals, but neither is that songs fault.

        not saying i am decided on how long he will or should be with barca, but i agree song is un “chivo expiatorio”

  128. KEVINO17
    November 9, 2012

    In fact, could someone explain to me how the holding midfielder (93 percent pass completion) is to blame when Barca can’t break down a parked bus. When has Busquets ever had a major role in doing that. He always patrols the periphery.

  129. KEVINO17
    November 9, 2012

    In the last 15 minutes, why didn’t Tito move Piqué to centre forward? Pique’s played that role before in similar situations. Very frustrating seeing our tallest player on the periphery at that point.

    • Lev
      November 9, 2012

      Maybe because we have proved repeatedly this season that we can come back staying true to our style.

      • KEVINO17
        November 9, 2012

        Overall, Barca were pretty damn good on the night, considering the opponent, the ground, etc, etc. But often, in football, the result is an imposter.
        Further, I thought Alexis was excellent. Saw no signs he lacks confidence. Just needs a bit of luck.

        • Lev
          November 9, 2012

          Yeah, Alexis had a good game from what I saw, although I missed the first 30 minutes due to a blackout. I don’t think we played that well, but we didn’t play badly either. It’s just one of those games, I guess…

    • Ron Mexico
      November 9, 2012

      It was extremely hard to not quote some of of the piece, but then, what to include? The whole thing is so comprehensive it has to be taken as a whole.

  130. Messiah10
    November 9, 2012

    OT: M’vila banned from France National team until June 2014 for an unexcused night out on the town with other players during a U21 qualifying game. Big loss if France qualify for Brazil 2014 WC. I’m very high on him, but seems he needs to adjust his attitude. He was suspended 1 game for refusing to shake Laurent Blanc’s hand after being substituted during a game. I admire France for drawing a line in the sand. Their team has had to much player chaos in the last few years.
    Here’s more on the story from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20259676

  131. November 9, 2012

    Watched the match again, read through all the comments here, and quick and dirty:

    –There were deficiencies in Alex Song’s game, but that wasn’t why Celtic scored two goals.

    –The goals, as usual, didn’t really come from not having “defenders who can defend,” as someone put it above. They came from a bit of slack marking that still would have been gotten away with, were Jordi Alba a normal-sized humanoid.

    –Their second goal was, like Torres’ goal at the Camp last year, a consequence of blind-ass luck. The ball just bounced the exact right way, with the entire team pressed WAY up the pitch. It happens.

    –Puyol trained with the group today. You know that that means.

    –Mallorca is going to be tough. For realz.

    –Celtic is class. So were our players.

    –Montoya was called up for the Spain friendly next week. Very cool.

    –Dani Alves did the presser today, and man, was he ON. Here are some choice bon mots:

    Alves: “Competition with Montoya? When Barça signed me, they never promised me I’d always start. I can only work hard every day.”

    “Ronaldo thinking he’s behind Messi because of his bad image? Everyone is behind Messi, because of Leo’s talent.”

    “If Ballon d’Or is for best player, the formula doesnt make sense as long as Messi is around. They should give a trophy per position”

    “Barcelona needs a plan B against defensive teams? We don’t need a plan B, but to stick to our philosophy and improve the plan A.

    “I’m not happy with my performances so far this season. The main thing is to get back at my best physically, the rest will follow.”

    “Team attacks more via left wing this season? Because I’m not as good! When I’m again in my best form, things will be more balanced.”

    “Plan B with tall striker? Tried that, but it didn’t work. Our idea is that players ‘arrive’ at the area, not that they ‘are’ there.”

    • November 9, 2012

      –Puyol trained with the group today. You know that that means.

      That he’ll get injured again during his first game back?

      Bite my tongue!!! Bad blitzen!!! 😈

    • barca96
      November 9, 2012

      “Ronaldo thinking he’s behind Messi
      because of his bad image?
      Everyone is
      behind Messi, because of Leo’s talent.”

      Whoa. I seriously didn’t expect him to actually believe that he is on par with Messi.

      I agree with Alves. It is not a popularity contest or to see who’s the nicest person . It’s supposed to be the best player award. Best footballer. At least that’s how I see it. I never try to bring humility or personality when judging a player.

      “If Ballon d’Or is for best player, the
      formula doesnt make sense as long as Messi
      is around. They should give a trophy per
      position”

      He’s kinda right. How do you choose a Ballon d’Or? Best footballer? Most trophies?

      Imagine Messi plays for Espanyol. Would you still choose him as the Ballon d’Or? I would definitely still think that he is the best player.

      But then he wouldn’t go in any competition and wouldn’t win any trophy.

      I still would vote for him as the Ballon d’Or if he competed in all competitions till the end. Say like Arsenal.

      • Lev
        November 9, 2012

        Yeah, but if the gave a trophy per position it would devalue the trophy a lot. I do think they should have a separate trophy for keepers, though.

    • psqd
      November 9, 2012

      Reactions are going to be what they are going to be given the success tito and the team have had thus far overall and specifically in coming back from a deficit.
      This series against celtic has been fantastically illuminating for a number of reasons.

      As kxevin mentioned earlier, celtic represent a terribly tough match up for barca big, physical, direct, disciplined, strong, and fit. Further, everybody knew how celtic was going to play in both legs and they came out and did it very successfully. However, they were in both legs, led both legs, and won one of them. They were also not dirty or foul fests. They were terribly well organized, well defended, ridiculously efficient, and a bit lucky. It could be argued that the difference in the result of the two games came down to that luck, in the form of hitting the post and the crossbar. However, i think that the way celtic were in both games refutes that. It just shows how tough it is to be barca even when you have the personnel to complete the formula to do so. Luck is a necessary ingredient, along with the others including great games by the keeper. I was most impressed by the stamina and discipline of celtic’s players, both were remarkable.

      The biggest take home from these two games was that the most obvious formula to give your team the best change to beat barca remains the same. Again, i argue that this is the case because of the performance over both legs. The biggest take home is that it hasn’t been systematically or emphatically corrected this season, at least not yet or at least not with the personnel available for these fixtures. Whether it is fair to expect that that hole had been closed or not is another argument, it wasn’t.

      The goals celtic scored weren’t flukes anymore than the goals barca scored. Celtic intentionally exploited barca’s defensive weaknesses on set pieces and counters. Case and point the first goal. Alba was there and straight beaten. That advantage is knowable, predictable, and exploitable. It is also not likely something that could be corrected by buying a CB over the summer. Does one player fix all the mismatches on corners? What about if both puyol and pique were playing? Gives a much better chance, but it remains a exploitable weakness. Also, celtic’s second goal. Can celtic predict that xavi is going to flail ineffectively at a ball that falls fortuitously? no. However, did they commit a strong pacey player to being close on sMasche? Have goals been scored at similar times in similar situations? Did they actually make an offensive substitution to ensure that would be the case? So even though the specific case was fortunate, the possibility was predictable. celtic maximized that possibility. that isn’t luck, or if it is then it’s at least making your own luck. and come on it’s celtic at home. you have to bet on some luck for them right 😉

      So obviously barca are still vulnerable to a team like celtic. Hasn’t anything been done? What can be done? What about an f’ing plan B?
      Really hate the “plan b” term. Because, how many different formations and attacks have we seen from barca? How many in this match? how many different ways does barca have of trying to make room for messi? if we call plan A the “standard” 4-3-3, then does moving sanchez into a nominal 9 in front of messi constitute a plan b? what about swinging messi to the right as an inverted winger, plan c? bringing the all time leading scorer for spain off the bench, plan d? how about cesc as false whatever, plan e? tello, plan f? so the point of plan b is a tall guy to toss crosses to right? what about pique as #9? Been tried before, the option is available, fits the “plan b” mold. Never been terribly effective as far as i can remember. in fact i think the team has come back more times this season with multivariate plan a than pique as #9 has ever produced. also, how many of dani’s crosses was anybody going to get to that somebody didn’t?

      what could be improved given what barca’s got at the moment?

      most obviously, busquets for song. These matches were another advert for how important busquets is and how replaceable he isn’t. Did song overtly cause either goal? no. but he almost cost a couple goals and was ridiculously lucky not to be tossed. Also, needing to sub song forced tito’s hand and forced xavi into the spot were the error for the second goal started. I also wonder if tito doesn’t start cesc if busquets is playing, or at least sub xavi for cesc sooner.

      obviously one or both of puyol and pique help shore up the defense in general, and on corners specifically.

      i think that if tito weren’t being so measured about villa’s recovery he would have started or at least come in sooner. on current form and later in the season villa starts. i think he is more dangerous in these type of games where space is tight and short passing and getting off tight shots is necessary.

      if thiago comes back and is able to play like himself he’ll be dangerous. his slashing style would’ve been a a useful tool to have, in addition to his ability and willingness to shoot.

      at least on current form, and i’d argue in general. this was not going to be a game for dani. if adriano was available i think he’d have gotten the nod. given more options at the back i think we might have seen a different formation if not from the start then at some point when chasing the game. i just don’t think tito was going to do anything with bartra starting an away CL match, especially on this fround, but put him in his most comfortable formation.

      i could type more i think, but this is crazy long already, sorry.

      • Lev
        November 9, 2012

        ” what about pique as #9? Been tried before, the option is available, fits the “plan b” mold. Never been terribly effective as far as i can remember. !

        Thank you, I thought I was the only person who does not like it when we resort to playing Pique up front!

  132. barca96
    November 9, 2012

    8 Barcelona players called up for
    Panama v Spain friendly: Valdes,
    Montoya, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta,
    Cesc, Villa, and Pedro

    How come Xavi was omitted? Not that I’m complaining cause he can make do with a rest but with him in, it would’ve been 9 players! Can nearly make up the whole team.

    And imagine with Pique and Puyol in. That would be incredible. Can Make up the whole team!!

    I’m glad Montoya is called up again. Hopefully this time he can keep Arbeloa out.

    I’m not too confident that Bartra can sit Pique or Ramos though.

  133. mei
    November 9, 2012

    The only name that makes sense in there is Montoya actually.
    It’s a freaking friendly.
    In Panama.
    Playing against panama.
    It’s about time Del Bosque experimented with some of the Spanish abundance of talent it’s right in front of him to pick, integrating youth, evolving B plans and planning in case of injuries.

    But no he had to drag the WC and Euro holders half way around the globe while they played the whole summer for their colours , won the tournament and have a pretty stiff schedule in front of them to play a friendly and win. Against Panama *sigh

  134. Blau-Grenade
    November 9, 2012

    Barca the real winners. Nice article.
    *http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/espnfcunited/id/1561?cc=5901

    • Ryan
      November 9, 2012

      You’re being sarcastic right? Because that article was dripping in so much sarcasm that I don’t think I’ll be able to wash it off for days!

      His slagging off Barcelona’s possession-based game seems a bit late though, since Tito has gladly swapped possession for more attacking plays, in the league at least.

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