CWC Liveblog: Barça – Atlante

It’s on, folks, launching immediately. Peanut jokes welcome.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. GO P! You want a record? I’ll give you a record!

    Great assists by Yaya, Ibra and Iniesta. Great goals. I wish I could’ve watched it live but I’ll catch a dl and rewatch.

  2. Probably the same thigh. He was pretty terrible today, but not as bad as Krkic. Jesus. Was popping in from time to time, but it didn’t look like we were firing on all cylinders. Still, this is supposed to be like a friendly for us, really.

    Abidal’s efforts on the offensive end are impressing me more and more. He runs into that space and is always wide open, and he will cause damage until teams start covering him, which then opens up space for the other folks. Not a bad thing.

    1. Bojan was terrible finishing wise, but he created 3 golden opportunities for Barca. First ball to Ibra, 2nd to Pedro, and 3rd to Messi. All of them should have been goals and that one pass to Messi was amazing.

    2. I’m fed up with your attack on Bojan. It’s disgrace. I’m not a big Bojan fan but he created chances several times today.

    3. I have to defend Kevin here because Bojan had 3 good plays and like 20 horrendous ones. But wait till Kevin watches the full match and gives his insights from there before judging what he has to say.

      He qualified his answer, after all, with a “I popped in from time-to-time” and merely reported on what he saw. If he didn’t see those good passes, what he would have seen were horrendous touches and terrible movement.

    4. Bojan was terrible again, we call it like we see it. Not attacking the kid, he’s just not cut out to play with us right now. And he’s unfortunately showing that each time he comes out onto the pitch.

    5. I think he’s better than people we’re looking at, particularly Suarez. Bojan just needs more minutes.

    6. I want Bojan out already. He has the minutes to prove his worth but he did not capitalize. He is supposed to do what Pedro is doing, but obviously Pedro is doing his job. He should be included in any Arsenal deal or any deal.

    7. Iniesta was terrible?
      quiet? not 100%? sure… but i don’t think anyone was terrible today.

      Plus that Assist was re-F’ing-diculous. The run leadng to it was good to.

      Poor Bojan. What happened to him. That injury in the first week completely derailed his season… He was looking promising as a wide play creator, and since comming back, can’t put a foot right… I really hope he can find some kind of rhythm.

  3. I wanna know what andres spoke in pedro!’s ear after the goal 🙁 p! started to laugh

    best game by busi so far I think

  4. Ibra was fantastic today, making little holdup plays and distributions to free up teammates in the final third. Great work for the assist to Messi as well.

    Bojan was atrocious yet again. Difficult to watch.

    Agreed on Abidal. His crossing is still sub par, but he has improved the instinct and timing of his runs down the left and is making it dangerous for team who drag too far over to cover the M-A-X triangle on the right.

    Fun to watch Messi play as a true midfielder for a bit.

    Easier to watch and appreciate Busquets when Yaya is behind him to clean up mistakes.

  5. All true, Cam. I think that Busquets feels the same way. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that he played so well with The Yaya having his back.

    And I know what people are going to say: He’s young, He’s La Masia, Let’s be patient, etc.

    But Krkic is regressing. And it ain’t pretty.

    1. Nope! I still believe in Bojan and I definitely want him to stay (not that he’d leave so easily, c’mon La Masia talent and Catalan!) because I really believe he has what it takes to succeed at Barca. I don’t have as much knowledge as Hector or Ramzi, but I’ll try to defend him and back up what I say as best I can.

      I know he’s been given chances and he hasn’t necessarily taken them, but he’ll definitely bounce back. Every player has a bad patch and I think Pep put him in so that he could gain a little confidence.

      With all that bad that we saw from Bojan, there was some good. True, he made hashes of two good chances, but it’s also true that his movement and timing (and, of course, good service) made those chances legitimate threats. He also made about three (that I can remember) good passes for chances: 1) To P! for a penalty appeal (but someone, either Bojan or P!, was offside) 2) To Ibra for the header that was off target 3) The sidefoot flick to Messi for a 1 v 1 against Vijar that was stopped.

      Busi has The Stank and he’s been rightfully getting stick for it. Bojan also has The Stank and is also rightfully getting stick for it. The only difference is that Busi keeps playing and will play out of the Stank (because we really need him in January with Yaya gone) and doesn’t have as much competition for playing (though with Yaya as his rival that doesn’t have much value).

      The problem that Bojan has is who is he gonna displace? I think next season will be a big season for Bojan with Henry leaving. Granted P! is still there as he deserves. Anyway, good players aren’t build in a season and I think Bojan will improve. You saw that pass he made to Messi, he’s already learning from Ibra!

      Though I agree with everyone that this wasn’t one of his better matches and he definitely has the Stank. Tor the purpose of stimulating a discussion, I think this is a reasonably fair defense of the Kid.

    2. PS. Bojan + 20 million for Cesc = NO WAY, NO HOW. N.E.V.E.R! We don’t need Cesc, because we have Xavi (who is Cesc x 20 Yayas! Yeah, that’s how highly I rate Xavi~!) Arsenal really do need him. Though, I’m resigned to the fact we’ll sign him, I don’t want to pay more the 20 million for him. No disrespect to Cesc (he is worth 20-40 million) but he left us.

      What message is that sending to the youngsters? Leave and we’ll buy you back? Please! They should look at Iniesta and how patient he was for his chance! He wasn’t even a regular until 2006 when Xavi was injured! Pedro! (22 years, same as Messi) who has now scored in 6 different comp. (having only scored his FIRST goal for us ever in August) also bided his time, waiting in the wings (no pun intended) to get a chance, where in another team/league, he’d have been a star already!

    3. I didn’t see the full match, so I will refrain from full comments about Krkic’s performance in specific. I did see the chance that I still have no idea how he missed. But I will say this:

      I just don’t see why Krkic should have a different standard than any other player. I don’t care that he’s young, is La Masia or Catalan. And I think that most of the reason he wasn’t completly invisible is because the Atalante players approached his scale-model size.

      For the record, I have nothing against Krkic. But I keep getting the feeling, whenever he comes in, that we’re wasting a roster spot. Do we need a player who specializes in competitions in which we don’t want to play the grownups? Really?

      What would people be saying if Ibrahimovic or Henry played the way Krkic did today? Respectively, “Waste of 60 million,” and “He’s washed up. Hope this is his last season.”

      Here’s what Krkic isn’t going to do: Grow. Which means that his problems aren’t going to go away. If Krkic were 5’10” or so, we wouldn’t be having any of these discussions. He has the instincts, he has the talent. He knows where to be and how to get there. He just doesn’t have the size to make it happen. And that is something that I don’t think people are considering.

      Ibrahimovic is Ibrahimovic in part because of talent, but also because he’s big, flexible and strong as hell. The combo is pretty difficult to argue with.

      Can Krkic be trained to be a winger? Maybe. But he still gets stood up by a bigger defender, like Iniesta. Midfielder? Sure, but we’re well stocked in that department, with the likes of JDS and Assulin. So now what?

      I don’t think that the young’uns have any issues about opportunities for advancement. Between P!, Jeffren and Busquets, it’s clear that the chance is there. You wonder, frankly, if some of the other kids aren’t saying “If any of us moved up and played that poorly, we’d be back down with the B side.” And they probably would be. But there’s no turning back for Krkic. I’d bet that folks are wrestling with what to do with him.

    4. great way to put it kxevin, and i totally agree. he might be a great player in a 442 system, though

  6. I cursed Bojan several times today, but come on guys, at least give him credit for the assists he should have had.

  7. Oh and I know Ibra enjoys it when we are up at the end of the game and he has more time to hold the ball and do little tricks and flicks. I love that stuff, too lol. Wish he has scored on that one shot.

  8. Oh, (one more time) like Kxevin I thought that last year Busquets played his best when he had Yaya behind him and today was no different.

  9. I’m happy for Pedro and Bojan. Pedro didn’t play well but he scored at least. Bojan also played well today.

  10. Classic

    Rafa Marquez – 6: Slow off his mark at times but otherwise fine.

    Puyol – 5: Shaky in the opening stages and partially at fault for the first goal, too.

  11. Didn’t see the game, but I’m glad to hear that Busquets played well with Yaya behind him.

    It might just be me, but I think Busquets has the potential to be extremely versatile. He should be taught to play as a DM, A box-to-box mid, and as a sub for Xavi.

  12. Iniesta might miss the final, according to So we’ll most-likely see some more Busquets and Yaya, and some Henry on the wing! 🙂

  13. @Kxevin

    I see your point and I understand what you’re getting at. From what you’ve seen, that’s a reasonable opinion. Everyone here has their own opionion about Bojan, that’s what makes us fans, and I also think everyone here really does want him to succeed — it’s just that Bojan just isn’t proving himself enough.

    Normally, size wouldn’t matter when playing for Barca, but since Bojan wants to play up front, he either has to ‘bulk up’ a la Messi or expand his repitore a la Iniesta.

    I’ll put myself out there and say that I think Bojan CAN and has the ability to succeed at CF/FW for Barca. Like I said, size matters to play at CF, but it’s not the most important IN MY OPINION. What Bojan has is the talent, the skill, and the instict of a great, great CF. What I believe he lacks, and this goes for every young player, is two things. Confidence and experience.

    Take Pedro!. Pedro! is actually the same height as Bojan– 5’7 (in fact, if you trust Wikipedia, he’s actually shorter–1.69 to 1.70 m ) and I think Bojan is actually bulkier than P!. But why is Pedro! scoring and starting more than Bojan?

    1) Experience: Pedro! played an extra season for Barca B – 54 app. from 2007-09 scoring 16 goals. He’s already played under Pep and he was an essential player for the B team’s promotion and title 2 years ago. He’s had the time to improve and DEVELOP in the lower leagues. Pedro! knows what to do when he’s in front of goal; he knows he doesn’t need to panic and that everything will come naturally. He’s more experienced. Contrast to Bojan, who has played 22 games scoring 10 goals. Bojan actually has a higher scoring ratio.

    2) Confidence: Pedro! has more confidence. WAY more confidence. This confidence comes in part from the fact that he knows the coach wants him. Pep promoted him himself. Pedro! knows that he’s ready, the coach has confidence and that he’ll play. I’m sure that if Rijkaard were still in charge, we’d see 2007 wonderkid Bojan again – only better. Notice that even then, Pedro! has bit parts/cambios during that era, while Bojan scored a crucial away goal at Schalke in the Champions League Quarter-finals. Remember how much we were raving when Bojan first broke into the new team? The Bojan that got us to the semi-final of the Champions League? The Bojan everyone wanted to play instead of Henry (well, everyone here wants someone-anyone-to play over Henry *rolls eyes* That was sarcasm btw, if you didn’t catch it 😀 )

    That Bojan is still there! What Bojan knows is that he’s under a new coach. A coach who had no say in his (Bojan’s) promotion and doesn’t know what exactly to do with him. He can’t put him in the B-team and he can’t start him either. I really do feel for Bojan.

    Despite this, I really feel that he’s improving. We may not see the fruits of Bojan’s labour right now on the pitch, but he’s improving a lot. We’ll see a very strong player mentally next season. Football is half physical and half psychological. When Bojan gets over this mental barrier (yes, I said it. MENTAL, not physical), he’ll be one to watch! Bojan has what it takes to succeed. He needs to play more. During the Rijkaard era, he got a lot of that (albeit as a sub) because of injury. Now, no one is injured (Thank God) and he’s finding it harder to play regualarly.

    Anyway, this is all good for Bojan. He’s developing more and more in a crucial aspect, the mental aspect–the football aspect will come with time. The good thing is that Bojan is patient. You won’t see him leaving at the first signs of adversity for another team. He’ll be rewarded for that in the future, believe me!

    Gosh, soo long. I didn’t know I had it in me. Now I know what Ramzi and Hector feel like 😛 I’ll be Hectored, watch 🙂

    1. You won’t be Hectored, just because I’m trapped at work, rather than at home, writing the review. 😀

      I think that Krkic and Pedro! play very differently. More about that later.

    2. I know they play differently, P! is more of a winger and Bojan is more of a striker, comparing them wasn’t my intention.

      My point(s) was/were that size matters, but it’s not that important in the face of goal scoring (and I was just using Pedro! as an example) and to argue against the point people are making that Bojan ‘doesn’t have what it takes to play for Barca’.

      Yay! No Hectoring for me 😛

    3. RE: long comment

      I meant *…breaking into the FIRST team*

      RE: Above comment

      Long story short, what I’m TRYING (and failing) to say is that Pedro! is a success in the first team and has the Midas touch (..or foot, I should say?) without being a big, strong guy. My argument is that Bojan HAS the ability, but he has a big mental/psychological barrier preventing him from fully utilizing it. I’m NOT COMPARING THE TWO, just using P! as an example to re-enforce my point(s)

  14. IMO its best to rest both Messi and Inesta from the final before there are out for long periods of time….
    The best lineup to field for the final is
    Pedro!!!_ _Henry

    Maybe if Messi is fit enough he can play the second half like 2day’s game but Pep Should definitely rest Iniesta…….

    1. I just don’t really see that happening because Guardiola has claimed that he’s going to go for this win like a starving tiger after raw meat. It’s the trophy the cabinet is missing and I don’t think Puyol is going to allow himself to be taken out for the game.

      Because of Iniesta’s more than likely absence from the match, I’m guessing we’ll either have Keita back and starting alongside Xavi and Yaya/Busi or we’ll see the same midfield trio as today and a front line of Messi-Ibra-Pedro!.

  15. I’m hoping to see more Chygrynskiy in the final..Its been so long since he started..Pique and Chygrynskiy should do the job in the final.

    1. Btw whats even more worrying is that Pique and Puyol is our only solid Center Back partnership so far this season…I hope both Marquez and Chygrynskiy start to improve over the break..we need them more than ever in the new year..

    2. Pique and Chig pairing? don’t think so. No way our captain won’t play. Either Puyol/Pique or Puyol/Chig.

  16. Knowing, Pep its gonna be an “all hands on deck” line up. All the big boys will be out.

    I actually think Kari and Kxevin are closer to agreement than they think 😀 . Yes, Pedro is just as small as Bojan but he plays a different position and has had a different style during his whole youth team career that better prepared him for this. Bojan is finding out that he can’t overpower defenders like he did in La Masia and that Centerbacks have over a foot and 50 lbs on him but are just as fast. He has to adapt his style and his position which is something Pedro hasn’t had to do. Kevin has advocated in the past moving him to winger/forward a la Pedro or Henry and I agree. He is a natural second striker in a 4-4-2 IMO.

    The mental part is also important and hard to overcome. He is just 19 but many a talented player has flamed out around that age because they were not able to cope with the pressure. In this game, he is no longer a kid and if he is not good enough then there are plenty waiting behind him to take his place. I see him being frustrated and having low confidence. We need to either get him more playing time or ship him out IMO. If he shows patience, tenacity, and huimilty and develops on the bench a la a young Iniesta or last year’s Pedro then he will be fine but if he will get frustrated and lowers his confidence then its better for both him and Barca to get him somewhere where he can play.

    1. good point about his mental thing. it is in fact so crucial in just any sport, but given football is so big and so competitive anywhere, bojan has a big challenge in front of him. but if he continues to show what he has been showing in this season so far, i dont see him stay at the end of the season. he will need to be a wonder-kid like he once was a while back, but do you see it coming? i don’t. he has been in the same form since last season and i don’t think he is getting better. he continues to miss the sitters and the wonderful chances that his teammates provide for him. if he want a starting position, do what pedro is doing or better. at least score some basket of goals like fruit tarts or chocolate marshmallow lollipop.

      it is only a matter of time for bojan lovers to finally see he belongs somewhere else. i wouldn’t say he is not good enough, but the squad competition, the style of our game, the functions that every position must carry out and the productivity all point to one thing: bojan is not needed in our system. sad and cruel to say this, but as kxevin put it nice and clear, no one should be treated differently.

  17. I only watched the second half, but I’m very happy with Bojan’s performance.

    Yes he should have scored, but he had just come on when he missed his chance, and this comes down to experience and mentality, something Bojan has struggled with.

    But the important thing is that after that mistake, he didn’t fold, and he didn’t disappear, and he didn’t give up. Instead he picked his game up and worked hard and produced several spectacular chances for his team mates. One should’ve been a penalty and one was a classy, deceptive pass to put Messi through. In my mind this is much more important than Bojan scoring, he faced mental adversity in a match and stood up and played well after the issue. To me this represents progress.

    On to the issue of his size. My dad always says “to play soccer, you must be tall enough that your feet reach the ground”. Eto’o wasn’t particularly tall, good in the air, or specifically physical, but he made deceptive, intelligent runs and was deadly in front of the goal. Bojan has the seeds of both these attributes, and if cultivated properly I believe he can play with the big boys. He will also fill out, Messi wasn’t as strong as he is now when he was 19.

    Some people say his size is the problem. I completely disagree. I think it’s his mentality. He was brought up too fast, and we’re seeing the negative implications of that now. The good news is you can grow out of mentality issues if managed correctly, which I believe is what Pep is doing.

  18. Couldn’t catch the first half game (damn you spontaneous work meetings), but Bojan looked bad on the highlights but not that bad throughout most of the game. Put me in the “give him more time” crowd.

  19. On a wider point of getting more playing time for those not playing, I’ve always wondered why La Liga clubs don’t have a reserve system like they do in the BPL. I know EE and us have the “B” system, where they play for second clubs in lower divisions, but wouldn’t it make as much sense to have our reserves play some practice matches?

    What I’m proposing is for every game, reserves will play a second game behind closed doors (preferably in the training pitch) against the other team’s reserves. That is, if we play at Villareal, we travel with our reserves and, after the official match, our reserves play a match against their reserves. That way you don’t have players that haven’t played matches for weeks. Since these are reserves, too, you can expect them to be trying to impress, so the matches will be somewhat competitive.

    Perhaps do this only with closer teams (so we’re not flying all those reserves to the other end of Spain)… or limit the matches to 60 minutes. I don’t know, seems win-win for me.

    1. that would mean I would have to learn the names of at least 11 more players, I don’t know if I like that. I kinda like the idea that the only team that plays like FCB is FCB, and FCB Athletic. It makes us that much more exclusive.

  20. You know what the real problem is? Most people haven’t seen the young players play badly since they never watch the youth teams.

    Two years ago I clearly remember watching a game where Pedro was horrible and it wasn’t just that game for more than a month he was the worst player in the team. If we had judged him like most fans are judging Bojan now we’d never would have had that record yesterday.

    1. do they air full youth team games on Barca TV?
      I’m not sure if this is true, but I think from the few Gio Dos Santos/Bojan compilations I’ve seen that their team was playing 4-4-2! is that possible?

    2. we were very patient with Pedro and not so with Bojan I think.
      even Messi with his lavish skills was brought in the first team slower than Bojan.
      but timing is not everything, Dos Santos was given time and opportunities to shine and yet he was never as effective as Pedro is right now.

  21. My thoughts on the Bojan/Pedro! saga..

    My optimism compels me to believe that the Bojan issue is not as serious as it looks in this comments thread.

    The stuff that makes him look bad:

    1) Pedro!’s rise to prominence is clearly putting bojan in bad light. However much we refuse to believe it, even though they may be different types of players, they will always be compared since they’ve both come up the ranks.

    2) He misses a few sitters and Kari is spot on when she brings up the confidence issue. He’s no more the darling of the fans who every one has a soft corner for because Pedro! (again) has taken most of the love away.

    3) His mentor Henry isn’t doing too well either. Correct me i’m wrong but Bojan was brimming with confidence while Henry was in his element and I feel Henry is trying to sort himself out right now.

    However, I absolutely believe Bojan has got a whole lot of positives in his favour:

    1) He’s young, very very young and he’s been through a lot at his tender age!

    2) He’s got so many home grown players like himself who have stuck in there and finally come through in a fascinating way. All those players around him will definitely help him through any confidence dips. (I would take Bojan as our youth product any day if i had to choose between him and balotelli)

    3) Sure, he misses a few chances that come his way but then he’s got an abundance of attacking talent around him to shadow his failings for now.

    4) This phase he’s in now is a blessing in disguise. There’s no better way to learn that the hard way. He broke through into the first team too easily IMO and he’s going through his rough patch now. Players like Dos Santos, Assulin, and the likes are going through that with the B team cos they are on the fringes and will continue to be for atleast another season and a half and that makes them like mentally strong to cope with disappointment and at the same time strive to shine with the B team to be noticed consistently. All that Bojan can do now is give his best at every training session, week in week out and not get restless like a few others who’s come and gone recently (JDS knows who i’m talking about)

  22. Good comments, all. And as a friendly warning, any thoughtful comments might want to wait a bit. Now that I have grokked the match in its fullness, review is a’birthin’ as you read this.

  23. Just a quick stat shot, for those of you who put stock in such things…

    League Minutes Per Goal

    Pedro: 247:20
    Henry: 302:30
    Bojan: 221:00

    Just putting that out there, but remember, as always, statistics can be bent to the will of those who use them.

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