Barcelona 5 – 1 Osasuna: Winning Made Simple

Yup, my goal count isn’t going to get mentioned in the coming post. But you’ll think about it anyway.

It was a game that had a fair amount of buildup going in. There was a defensive lapse that led to an opposition goal, but the whole thing was over but for the bloviating the moment a red card was handed out. The winner, like the home team’s opener, came from the boot of an Argentine and the crowd whirred away in throaty contentment. And then the Barcelona game started.

Oh, you thought I was talking about Osasuna? No, I was talking about the much more intriguing Barcelona B – Real Madrid Castilla match just prior to kickoff in the Camp Nou. The Miniestadi was a caustic cauldron of hatred that suggests the next home meeting with the Bigger Merengues will be something of a verbal bloodbath: in what amounts to a glorified youth match, coins and lighters were thrown at celebrating Madrid players after Alvaro Morata put the visitor’s in front. Contrast that with the absolutely classy cheer that the crowd gave Victor Valdes when his name was announced prior to the Osasuna game. It’s a confusing time to be a cule, I guess.

What made the Osasuna game uninteresting was Alejandro Arribas’ second yellow for handball, the second one in the box for a penalty to boot. Reduced to 10 men and down a goal, the Gorritxoak quickly experienced the negative hat trick: they lost their manager when Mendilibar was sent off, further dooming their comeback attempt. Still, they weren’t completely out of it until, well, they were. Pedro scored on what was an offside play on Alves, but it should have been at least another goal to FCB anyway given that the linesman blew a terribly obvious call against Messi a few minutes earlier. It ended up working out this time, which is something everyone might want to remember next time there’s a disastrous call by a ref “bent on destroying Barcelona” or some such conspiracy theory hooey.

With a man advantage for so long, it’s no wonder that a team playing for (and perhaps expecting) trophies in 3 competitions were able to put 5 beyond a team 37 points beneath them at the beginning of the match. Osasuna is not best matchup to test strength in depth. Yet they gave us a run for our money in the away leg and held Madrid to a 0-0 draw just a couple of matches ago. Whether that’s indicative of a deeper La Liga field than some might give it credit for is a discussion for another day, but it at least signals that the focus I was speaking about in the preview is something the team is aware of too.

The team certainly has moments when it switches off, but then there’s that moment when Puyol flung himself absurdly at a ball in the Osasuna box, missed, dusted himself off, and then catapulted himself headlong into the fight to get the ball back. The look on his face said it all: we want this. And not just I. There’s no I in this collective. And that’s what Puyol brings to the table that few others do: commitment and leadership. It’s not that others aren’t committed or can’t lead, it’s that Puyol is exceptional at both. He’s so committed he’s the guy that’s all in pre-flop on the first hand of a billion dollar tournament because [bleep] you, that’s why. Maybe he’ll never won’t win a beauty pageant, but gosh darn it, he keeps winning my heart.

Roar away, Capita, roar away. []
Up next is a Copa Clasico. Shudder at the specter of more clasicos, people. Shudder hard. But in the meantime, enjoy this:

Diving Cristiano Ronaldo

By Isaiah

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


  1. Ohh so the mini classico was a mirror of our game. Will definitely catch the highlights. With regards to puyi I think even ray caught how he was closing down the counter with such heart and gave him his due praise.
    Pre-classico jitters are starting, though they have the misfortune of playing at home first.

    There schedule is bad later on. 2nd leg of CDR, La liga classico, Away to Man U on Tues. Though I heard they tried to petition to move the classico to friday. Our schedule is much better, Hope we can keep this form going forward, cards seem to be falling in our favour.

  2. Was just thinking that, since the new year, EE have been missing key players in defence yet, have only conceded one goal vs Valencia in the 6 games played so far. Barca on the other hand, have a pretty full line-up with their first choice backline yet, conceding in every match. A bit worrying against other teams never mind EE with their 7 second counters.
    I don’t know if it is momentary lapses of concentration or just plain bad defending but, it needs to be fixed coz in CL knockout stages, those leaked goals will come back to haunt us. Already cost us the super copa 🙁 and we cant always hope to outscore the opposition.

    PS: I was pleased to see us play a team without blue/red and white strips after weeks of that. My eyes were starting to get funny, kkkk.

  3. The roar that went up from the crowd after Puyol came charging back was fantastic.

    First, it fell deathly quiet when he went down, with thoughts of his Benfica injury (before the last clasico) going through everyone’s minds, and I for one was letting out some heartfelt relief by yelling his name when he got up and zoomed back into the play!

    In other news: with the evident support of VV from the Camp Nou fans, Rosell has gone on record to say that if VV wants to renew, the door is always open.

    In other other news: the Villa family welcomed Luca into the world today. Another boy for the future team.

    1. Yeah, I saw Rosell’s comments. I think he’s spineless. So, if the some of the Cules had whistled VV would he have said anything? The answer is most likely NO. The door for VV should ALWAYS be open. He’s given 20 years of his life to the club. He’s been our keeper for all of our recent CL trophies and Liga titles. Yet, Rosell has to wait to see what reaction VV gets before leaving the door open for him? Just another example of why I can’t wait to see the back of him when his time is up.

    2. I can’t wait too but the eagerness you show to hate him no matter what is astonishing. It’s only matched by the eagerness to criticize alexis when he’s not scoring.
      Rosell wanted him to renew and said exactly the same words right after his refusal to hear the proposition.
      Jumpy , much?

    3. I think you’re (Messiah) being harsh on Rosell here. Couldn’t it just that no reporter asked him that question before this?

  4. As an aside, i want to express admiration at work done by Keita for Malian peace process. He has vocally parlayed for peace at every opportunity and is always eloquent and thoughtful on the subject.

    Great human being, who furthers the image of this wonderful generation of barcelona players. Today’s article by Jonathon Wilson captures struggles of Mali quite well.

    However badly he may have played in my eyes, his actions have been class (a word which is so overused in footballing circles but deservedly here)

    1. That’s a lovely comment, pr17. I’ve been thinking of Keita a lot the last few weeks–he is playing football for his country in the CAN, while Mali disintegrates. I was heartbroken yesterday to hear that the extremists have burnt down the buildings in Timbuktu containing priceless ancient manuscripts. I knew it was going to happen eventually. They should have been removed to a safe location long ago.

    2. There is also a fine Malian musical tradition that is in danger of being quashed, as more fundamentalist notions take root. As many of you know I’m sure, Mali has a fairly wondrous batch of performers coming out. Many of them, such as Rokia Traore, Vieux Farka Toure and Ali Farka Toure, regularly play in Chicago.

      Nasty situation, and it’s a reminder of the global voice that one footballer can have.

  5. I had to look up 3 times to check if it was Isaiah who did the review. When was the last time you wrote one Isaiah? Must’ve been months if not years.

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