Mallorca – Barcelona Liveblog

I’m running late (I was born late and I never caught up), so let’s get straight to business:

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas, Tello, Messi, Villa

Bench: Pinto, Montoya, Bartra, Song, Iniesta, Alexis, Pedro


Starting in 3…2…1…


  1. Echo Michele’s Yay on the love blog!!!

    Thoughts on the first half.

    Mallorca were not sitting back, but actively pressuring, and were not hesitating going forward.

    First goal was a result of the Xavi brilliance, but Cesc’s contribution to get the free kick should not go unnoticed.

    Second goal, Messi was being messy.

    Third goal, Tello, yup – made and manufactured by Tello!!!!

    The stand out tactical change in this match compared to the last couple of games is Tello. He is causing all sorts of problem operating from the left wing.

    Xavi and Fab have a tough job working in the centre of the pitch where the Mallorca midfielders don’t want Barca to operate out of.

    Villa has been non-existant in the match. All the others have had significant contribution so far.

    1. Final thoughts on the game:

      Villa who was not involved win the game was the first to be replaced by Alexis. Alexis came in and was involved in the game from get go. He has a good connection with Messi. Provided a great assist for Messi’s goal. Tello was involved in the buildup of this goal as well.

      Nice to see Bartra and Montoya get some minutes as well.

      We went to their house and won. Great performance by Barca, and fantastic energy and game by Mallorca. They made Barca work for their bread.

      Villa looked absolutely dejected when he was substituted. I don’t think it is good for either the player or club to be carrying on like this. My theory is that he may be transferred end of this season, probably in favor of Neymar.

      MOTM: Tello had a fantastic game on the left wing, and so did Pique in the back, and Busi in the middle. Hard to pick one of the three for my MOTM. I will give the MOTM to Tello because of his influence on the game, his goal, his crosses, and for just being there on the left wing, providing the width for the Barca attack. This width, that stretches defenses, in itself is a fantastic thing, and is overlooked a lot of times in how much it helps in providing space for forwards and midfielders in the middle of the pitch to to operate on.

      Messi!! You sir, have beaten Pele’s record of most goals scored for club and country in a year. And if you can come up with 2 fantastic goals and destabilize defenses at will with a son in the house that is less than a week old, I can only imagine what you can do when you are fully rested.

      Bartra!!! Nice to see this dude get some minutes. Glad to see all the Barca players go up to him and give him hugs.

      Here is hoping to see both Bartra and Gio starting the next match when we play the return leg at Camp Nou. Visca El Barca.

  2. Great performance by our team to show some grit and get the win in a tough stadium. Mallorca’s 1st goal was inexcusable! Alba and Masch totally screwed the pooch on that and it seems we have 1 or 2 of those a game! The long balls over the top and balls bouncing always give Masch, Alba, etc. problems. Has to get fixed.

    1. I would not say it was the fault of Alba or Masch. The player came in from the right side of the pitch to meet the cross, the area where Dani operates. But these types of goals are expected when a defense plays a high line like the Barca defense, so there is space to run into towards the goal keeper. These type of counter attacking goals are common against Barca, and are its Achilles heel, as we saw against Celtic.

  3. I log into the Liveblog, we concede twice. I log out, we score.

    No doubt about it, the Liveblog is broken πŸ˜›

  4. My hometown team, St Johnstone, just drew with Celtic today. Does that make us better than Barcelona ? πŸ™‚

    1. absolutely it does. go saint johnny!

      great pragmatic victory from barca today. never really kicked it into high gear. getting the first goal, so important.

  5. As much as I hate to admit it and add further weight to an annoying rumour, I suspect Villa will be sold this summer, when the club can still get some substantial cash.

    1. Not for me unless someone else starts weighing in with a serious number of goals. We’ve seen in the short time he’s been back that he is our second best goal scorer. Poor tonight but not sure why he wasn’t played on the left. I’m sure Tello would have been decent down the right as well.

    2. I too was mystified why Tito put Villa on the right. I suppose Tito is entitled to examine all his options, but part of me can’t help wonder if Tito was sending a bit of a message to Villa. Maybe something to the effect that unlike Tito’s other non-Messi attacking options, who can be played on either side of the attack, Villa doesn’t tend to do well on the right, good as his left foot is.

    3. I can’t remember ever seeing Villa play on the right for barcelona. Indeed, I’ve sometimes wondered if some of the other wingers might be a bit annoyed that Villa gets to hog the left wing. I certainly can’t see him scoring many goals from the right wing.
      So what is Tito up to? Is he telling Villa to remember he is a winger, and not a striker, and to play accordingly? Anyone got any theories?

  6. Tello has to be earning a few more starts on the left wing. As it is currently, Tello on the left and Pedro on the right is our strongest forward line. Villa is doing well on his recovery but I prefer that he comes on in the second half. Alexis is an adequate substitute for Pedro on the right but i don’t like Alexis and Pedro starting together for some reason.
    I think we are not direct enough with Alexis and Pedro on the pitch as they both like to cut in and pass too much. Alexis doesn’t shoot often enough and even though Tello often telegraphs what he is going to do, it is still hard enough to stop. Tello also is beginning to work well with Alba, it was Alba’s off the ball run that freed the space up for Tello to shoot.

    1. Liked Tellos performance but Alba made several runs and was completeley ignored most of the time. Villas link to Alba has proven its productiveness in the past.

    1. I have to say, that was one hell of an entertaining match. It reminded me of the old joke: Last night at the fights, a football match broke out.

    2. Angel di MarΓ­a kept getting tackled by puddles.

      Best sentence in a great article. πŸ˜€

      Yeah – it got very heated. I wouldn’t like Ballesteros in my face, for sure!

      Madrid certainly had their chances to win which they should have done without the ref’s help. But some strange calls here and there, for sure.

      The referee situation is just getting more dire. Watching most of the (televised) games on the weekend saw some really inconsistent refereeing. They’re all pretty card-happy at the moment – on the pitch as well as on the sidelines with at least one sideline eviction that I saw.

      If Pepe did as Sid reported, the guy should be banned for a long, long time. He’s simply a lowlife thug.

    3. The problem is Pepe WON’T be banned! The RFEF are so incompetent and afraid to do anything to upset the power structure that is the big 2. The decision to waive the bans for Mou and Tito said it all. Cowardly is a strong word, but one that adequately describes the RFEF. Ballesteros has no business going into the visitor’s locker room. He should receive a 3 game ban for that. Pepe deserves at least a 2 game ban for inciting violence. Great article by Sid Lowe. Have to agree with your vote for best line in article! Fantastic!

    4. Depends on if Ballesteros went in, as he did, to ask after Cristiano, or if he went in looking for trouble.

      As Levante’s captain, it’s a leadership action. Thing is, the teams have security at the dressing room doors – especially Madrid and Barca. Ballesteros would not have got in if he hadn’t been cleared first.

      But we’ll probably never know what happened, because the merengues will come out lily-white, as always. Funny how they always seem to be the innocent common denominator in these situations.

    5. Real Madrid already have an official statement up on their site to the effect that their players’ behaviour was exemplary at all times and anyone saying otherwise is a big fat liar, neener neener neener.

    6. The most fascinating thing is what they’re going to do about Juanlu. Surely the football authorities can’t let him get away with what he said about the ref. But I bet they’d also love to sweep it all under the carpet. Stay tuned.

    1. There’s this great little hole-in-the-wall place on Carrer Petritxol with fantastic ensaimadas and the best suizos. Can’t remember the name but the four of us should hunt it down in January.

  7. Some people thinking that Villa’s time may be due at the end of this season, or maybe Sanchez gets the boot if he doesn’t improve, but for me the player who makes the most sense to sell this summer is Dani Alves.

    1. Am I the only one who remembers Alves setting La Liga afire in his first season and just thinks his last two seasons have been less spectacular? Granted, he is still one of the best right backs in the world, but he just doesn’t seem to dominate games like he used to. Perhaps it’s tactical….

    2. With the wide forwards constantly offering tactical width and Messi playing in the middle, there just isn’t as much room for Alves to run into. The team has changed tactically since Alves joined fairly dramatically, and the current tactics seem to attenuate his ability to be the energizer bunny down the flanks.

    3. Meanwhile… on the left flank there is a young Alba. And boy, he has slotted into the team better than any signing we have made since… Alves?

    4. Don’t forget Montoya – the young lad who could be in for his first Spain cap has been playing well and looks to be a good option for the future. If he had scored instead of hitting the post in El Clasico we would already be demanding he play ahead of Alves.

    5. Wages. Alves is on massive wages. Massive. He is in the top bracket (Messi defies brackets). Shedding those wages would be great for the finances, and you know how Rosell loves his finances.

    6. Cash. With rumors of Neymar and an actual true need for a centerback, spending next summer is inevitable. If he can be sold to a team like PSG (who has vd Wiel and Jallet playing right back – they are in desperate need of an upgrade) we can reinvest those funds to areas of the team in greater need.

    1. The club came out and said that Alexis is not for sale after Juventus enquired, but these things can change. I’m not a fan for Alexis leaving anyway. He’s becoming a Yaya for Messi – protection and assists.

      Selling Alves is the better option. Am getting frustrated at Alves’ crosses to nowhere. It’s almost petulant behaviour from him, because he shouldn’t get them that wrong at his level.

      There’s something bugging him that’s caused his game to go off. The light’s gone from his eyes. Don’t know whether it’s his personal life or his playing life that’s causing it.

      But the game has also changed. I think that it was Kevin who wrote that teams now know how to play Alves, so he’s lost his advantage. With Cuenca and Pedro playing RW, Alves is superfluous up front, but still hasn’t realised that he needs to be down the back.

      However, he’s still the most experienced RB that we have – arguably the best in the world, or at least up there with the best, at the moment.

      We have Montoya to come up, and keeping Adriano means that we have a utility back who can play LB, RB and now CB, it seems. If Abi comes back, then Adriano can sub the right side with Montoya.

      PSG will most likely be the only mainstream team that can afford to splash the cash, unless Alves disappears into the abysses of Russian and Chinese football leagues.

    2. I had to hazard a guess what’s gone wrong with Alves, it’s that he’s just had a big divorce which probably cost him a lot of moola and he’d like to go to a club with a sugar-daddy oil sheik in charge to replenish his coffers. Anyway, his dereliction of duty on the first goal was terrible.

    3. Totally agree on all counts, but I’d like to get a tall, defensive minded player – playing Abidal’s role on the right to compliment Alba on the left.

    1. OMG, that was crazy. What the hell was that cop thinking pointing his gun like that and the look on Messi’s face says it all. o-O. Not funny at all.

  8. Apparentley, Villa didn’t congradulate Messi for the goal he scored at 0-2 and ofcourse Marca has the video for that.

    So what if they are not friends anymore? RM has a locker room divided, the Portuguese v Spaniards and the internal war between all of them yet, they are worried about Villa and Messi.

    Just like CR has differnces with Iker and Ramos, they don’t see anyone else go on and on about it. Players come and go and they don’t necessarily have to like each other all the time, geez, give it a break already.

    1. The big issue for Villa is not Messi. It’s the fact that Villa’s only real position on the team is left wing. Tito tried him on the right against Mallorca and he was anonymous.
      However, it’s clear that: (a) he’s not really a winger, he’s a striker; doesn’t have the pace and trickery to be a winger; and (b) Tello is very, very good and Tito seems to like playing him on the left wing.
      That doesn’t leave many options for Villa. That’s why, for his sake, I really do think he should move somewhere he can be the focus of the attack.

    2. Well, he is already 30 if i’m not mistaken. There are not many clubs out there which will splash the cash on him and his wages at this age and where he can win titles. The glory that he will get will us is the only reason probably for him to remain with the club even if that means warming the bench sometimes.
      Where will he go? Juve? City? PSG? Not many teams can “promise” him titles.

    3. I suspect he would prefer goals and playing time to titles (particularly if he’s not starting). But who knows what dwells in his heart. Interesting that he doesn’t congratulate Messi on his goal (I haven’t seen that) on the one day he is stuck out on the right wing. Does he blame Messi for having a hand in that? If so, his position may not be tenable, because what Messi wants (expressly or implicitly), Messi gets.
      Certainly, I suspect Messi isn’t very happy about the fact that when he is driving from the right across the top of the penalty area in his favourite move, Villa isn’t doing much to widen the pitch and create a bit of space for him to shoot or pass.

    4. You neglect to mention that he is actually very good in the centre or on the left. Look at his scoring even just on his return. We can’t afford not to utilise that.

      If Messi were to get injured Villa is our best bet for goals.

    5. I don’t doubt his quality, and maybe Barca will keep him for that reason: to play central striker if Messi gets injured. But even then, I suspect Tito would play Cesc as centre-forward.

    6. The one that must give it a break is you actually.
      Marca is a paper, they need to create controversy since they want to sell no matter what and are in favor of our biggest rivals. What’s your excuse to quote this kind of garbage?

  9. On the Messi-Villa thing, just because Marca said it, doesn’t make it untrue. Anyway we’ll never know what’s going on behind the scenes, whether it’s true or not. Villa’s body language coming off on Sunday wasn’t great but I put that down more to being on the right wing and having a crappy game.

    I do think the team will undergo a slight transition in the summer. Number one, Puyol will be a year older, and if we go another summer without buying a frontline CB, I will lose it. Number two, I think Alves will be sold to PSG or City or anyone who pays at least 20 million Euros. And number three, I think Villa will be sold as well, with more of an emphasis on wide players with skills such as Cuenca, Tello, Alexis, and gulp, Neymar signalling a more “direct” style that we have all identified under Tito.

    1. I think you are right on both Alves and Villa leaving and I thought it should’ve been done last summer. A year older and any drop in form or injury could cost Barca millions. Neymar would then be bought without adding to much debt to the club and his salary would equal that of Villa’s or Alves. Cuenca, man it’s been so long. I can’t wait for him to get back. Any news on his recovery?

  10. No way Alexis or Cuenca would replace Villa in the next season or so for me. Where are the goals going to come from if we have a misfiring front line and Messi isn’t scoring a ridiculous amount of goals? Cuenca will never be more than single figures in terms of goals and from what I’ve seen so far Alexis will not be good for more than about 10.

    Neymar is a possible answer and he may yet retire Villa but its a bit premature to write Villa off at the moment.

  11. If Tito wants to use Villa as a goal scorer, he has to play central striker, and Tito doesn’t want to do that. Villa is a finisher rather than a creator. So unless he’s given the role of finisher all he does is slow things down and narrow the pitch. I strongly suspect that Tello for one will score a lot more goals that Villa. So surely you can’t bench Tello and play Villa on the left wing.

    1. Villa scores plenty for Spain playing on the left, and many times it has been playing alongside a Torres who was killing attacks constantly. A fit Villa will score goals and give defenders something to worry about, which will make Messi all the more dangerous. Just go look at the 2010-11 season where we were just a marginally offside Pedro goal from winning everything again!

  12. So a game in which Villa didnt perform well, and now we’re definately gonna sell him in the summer?

    I know its hard for people here to compliment one player without bringing down the other but jeez.

    And nevermiod the fact that Villa was in discussion with Dani who wasnt in the group hug either, oh and Masche ) about something. He did clap for the goal.

    For me, Villa wont definately be sold in the summer. As the comms were saying yesterday, he offers something different and valuable to the team: Scoring goals. Not only goals but his ambition to actually look to score goals instead of overplaying by passing or looking for Messi.

  13. Agree with Kimcelona, are we really going to have this conversation every single time Villa doesn’t score? I hope not, because that would mean even if he did score 20+ goals this season as his track record would suggest (excepting last year of course), in a 60-game season we still will have to hash through this 20-something times. Please, let’s not.

    By the way, this was Villa playing on the right for FCB in 2010:

    He’s played on the right a number of times that I remember noting at the time, even if I do not remember the specific matches now. And played well, and scored goals. Not to mention the frequent times where he started on the left and then somewhere along the way he ended on the right, switching with Pedro.

    We need to not overthink this. Villa’s off matches, Alexis’ off matches, those are going to happen. They are both working very hard for the team, and that puts them good in my book. I want to enjoy the gift that this team is, and I have faith…

    1. Agree with you and Kimcelona. It seems that after every match there’s always a goat to pick on. I like reading insightful and critical comments here, but what I love even more is reading lol stuff. Can we have some fluffy comments to balance the seriousness of the discussions?

      And on that note, what did Tito wear yesterday? I forgot to check πŸ˜›

    2. idk how much we could sell Villa for the next summer but I will see him as the perfect Henrik Larsson should he stay

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