blitzen awards, the Mad Dogs and Englishmen edition

Jordi Alba falls asleep on the job.
Jordi Alba falls asleep on the job.

Well, that was a heck of a game, wasn’t it? Worth getting up at 6 am for? (Yeah, yeah, I know Asian & Australian cules regularly get up at 3 am to squint at fuzzy streams while standing on one leg and balancing a bookcase on their heads, I don’t want to hear your sob stories! 😛 ) How about a few awards to tide you over, since for once we have no midweek game scheduled?

Airing Our Dirty Laundry Award: This one goes to Jordi “Quokka” Alba, for his poorly aimed backwards header that set up Alvaro for the Getafe goal. No clean sheets to be found at this club!

All Flesh Is Glass Award: Adriano, who after miraculously making it through his Brazil NT call-up unscathed, succumbed to a thigh twinge during the game against Getafe and had to be subbed out for Dani Alves. Someday we hope to get more than two full games in a row out of him!

Song Is Not A Chair Award: I had to retire the “Messi Is Not A Chair Award” recently due to unforeseen complications, but on Sunday Alex Song stepped up like a champ and did his best furniture impression, as opponents decided the only way to keep him down was to actually sit on him. Thanks for taking one for the team, Alex!

Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun Award: At least where Chinese marketing interests are concerned, anyway! Sunday’s game was the first time since 1965 that Barcelona has played a game under the burning noonday sun, and how convenient that it happened to be scheduled to coincide with Chinese New Year! Such a perfect opportunity to trot out a couple of Asian mascots and lanterns and banners and so on. Almost like it had been planned in advance. Year of the Snake, you say?

Hey Big Spender Award: After being swindled by a fake sheikh from Dubai, and even parting ways with former sponsor Burger King, Getafe C. F. is looking for new sources of income. Hence the Chinese lettering on the back of the Getafe warm-up jackets, as a “come hither” to potential investors from the Far East?

MOTMOTM Award: Director of Football Andoni Zubizarreta described Iniesta as “a magician with orange boots”. I can’t think of anything to add to that.

Who’s Your Daddy? Award: Milan Pique, who attended his very first Barça game and was treated to the sight of proud papa Pique scoring him a goal. Pique looked as genuinely thrilled as I’ve ever seen him. (And I hope he thanked Thiago properly for the gift!)

Noel Coward Memorial Cocktail Shaker: So apparently Spanish people will go out in the midday sun as long as it’s to see a football game! The attendance at the Camp Nou was 85,610, the third highest it has been all season. And the children! So many children everywhere! It seemed like there was a great atmosphere in the stadium, and it was lovely to see whole families out a day of fun. I’d be quite happy to see more early games like this on the schedule, even it does mean I have to get up at 6 am for them.

De Boer Memorial Diamond In The Rough Award: Frank De Boer, that is. Sunday was also a special day for our very own Isaac Cuenca, who is on a six-month loan to Ajax and made his debut in the starting XI against Roda. I admit I only managed to watch half the game before I sloped off back to bed, but I was very impressed with Cuenca’s performance. He looked fit, alert, made intelligent runs, saw a lot of the ball, and seemed to have excellent communication with his teammates already. De Boer had nothing but good things to say about him after the game as well. I hope he makes a real impact at Ajax, and then comes back to Barça better than ever!

Categorized as Barcelona

By blitzen

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. Happy for Cuenca and hope he does well at Ajax. I hope Man U is able to score an away goal at Moldor to make things interesting at the Theater of Dreams.

    1. Cuenca looked very good, and got an assist too I think. The guy’s got remarkable control, and is very skilled with both feet. I’m pretty convinced he still has a big part to play in the first team going forward. And yes, here’s to a great Man United performance.

  2. Alba looks so cute in that pic, kkk 🙂

    On the CL game Celtic v Juve, I’m glad Juve won coz, it’s unbearable listening to the English press when any of their teams are involved. Granted Celtic did actually get a taste of their own medicine. They played a good match, took it to their opponents but, that counter, gone done ’em in.

    Hope Man U puts in a good fight tomorrow. As this will be the one and only time I give them my support.

    1. I prefer the better team (Madrid) to advance but after much thought it’s better for us if Man United advanced.

      Man United is a better opponent for us rather than Madrid. We will have a higher chance to beat Man United rather than Madrid.

    2. Because you can take the homeschooling mom out of the home but you can’t take the…oh wait, that’s not gonna work…

    3. That was my 1st thought. At least say British, because that’s better right? I notice on the BBC a lot of folks still use EPL instead of BPL. Some catch stick for it while others don’t care. Thoughts Jim?

    4. It is the EPL and we have the much maligned SPL despite the fact that occasionally the EPL will have a Welsh team in it. It’s never called BPL.

      From time to time there are rumours that Celtic and Rangers want to escape and join the EPL because of the Sky money but it’ll never come to anything.

  3. Now now… Don’t complain waking up at 6am. That’s the perfect time to wake up 😉

    2-4am on the other hand is inhuman!
    You guys should thank us Asians for putting pressure as it is helping you maximize your day and have a healthy lifestyle. Hehe

    1. See. 6AM shouldn’t isn’t too bad. When I was in OZ, a lot of the matches started at 6am. I loved it. Felt so fresh.

    2. La Liga will have a big leap in viewership, by so many millions, in India, if the time was anything around 6 am.
      The present time suits me, as my work hours finish only at 11pm, and it is ok to watch a game at 01.30 am. But I know there are soo mnay real football crazy people who has to leave for work by 8 am and hence cant watch it live.

  4. Nice one, blitz. Yeah – the timing for the first mid-day game for Barca since 1985 (or 1965 at home) was just perfect. Who were you thinking about that should have been born in the Year of the Snake? 😆

    Just a couple of clarifications on some points (‘cos I’m like that!):

    ~ it was the 4th highest attendance at Camp Nou this season (the 3rd highest Liga attendance), after the 2 clasicos (Supacopa and Liga) and the At. Madrid matches.

    ~ the fake-sheikh was not from Dubai – he was a Brazilian waiter hired by a group of “businessmen”, with Spanish names, claiming to be acting on behalf of the Royal Emirates Group. Other clubs (Espanyol and Mallorca among them) were also duped by the same men.

    Dubai firm denies role in Getafe swindle

    Getafe soccer deal doubts after “fake sheik” scam

    Royal Emirates’ Letter to Abu Dhabi’s Spanish Embassy

    Getafe is indeed owned by the Royal Emirates Group which is run by the Dubai Royal Family, and the company appears to be ubiquitous across many industries which leads me to believe that it’s somewhat of a shell company. Their participation in/contribution to the club is still unclear at this time, but they are listed as the owners, and assumed ownership at the beginning of this season.

    It may turn out that the club will be taken for a ride by a real sheikh, in the end, but that remains to be seen. 🙂

    1. ” the timing for the first mid-day game for Barca since 1985 (or 1965 at home) was just perfect. ”

      Huh? I remember we played one game at noon CET last season.

    2. We had already played one this season, but I believe it was Away. Statistics are used by so many to come up with talking points that really aren’t there. However, with the game becoming so global I wouldn’t mind starting games a couple of hours early to boost our Asian audience numbers.

    3. I know where I got the 12 p.m time from! I watched a game this year that had a 12 p.m. start time. I am in the U.S. Eastern time zone. So that would make it a mid-day game for me! HA lol. I can’ believe I thought that. Hilarious.

    4. In light of this. . . NO more mid-day games! I like my 2 p.m. start times. Even the 3-4 p.m suit me!

    5. I can’t recall that. In fact, I’m sure that we didn’t. I reviewed last season as a 6 part series and there wasn’t a mid-day game.

      This was published in September 2012:

      Last season, Rosell said that Barca would never play a mid-day game for the Chinese audience – but ate his words when it happened to coincide with Chinese New Year this time!

      This is what the club website reported, last week:

    6. Not sure if it was last season or the season before, but I remember us playing one at noon. 100% sure, because I remember watching the highlights of the match with so much sunlight. Also, everyone on the blog was moaning about how painful it would be to them to wake up so early for that on match, except me. I remember me trolling. 😀

    7. Maybe a friendly then? Last season was the first for the re-introduction of mid-day Liga games and Barca didn’t play one.

  5. “but I was very impressed with Cuenca’s performance. He looked fit, alert, made intelligent runs, saw a lot of the ball, and seemed to have excellent communication with his teammates already.”

    Eh, I don’t know. He didn’t look fit, he was very alert, he didn’t make too many runs and he really didn’t see THAT much of the ball, but the left side is where Ajax funnel the attacks to finish them anyways.

    He had a decent game, clearly lacking fitness, he’ll play well just didn’t think he had as good of a game as Blind or Sigporsson when he came on. But the signs are there. His assist was a great “Barca” play where he pressed the ball in the box after a bad pass, and tapped it to Blind.

  6. Cmon Man U!!

    Btw I really like the kid who scored against us, Tony Watt and Wanyama. What do you make of them Jim?

    Some rugby tactics going on in that match during corners just like Chelsea Inter in 2009.

    1. Watt is too young to really say whether he’ll make it or not, Barca 96. Oodles of pace but not convinced on technical side. To me Wanyama is the real deal and won’t be at Celtic long.

  7. Love that Ibra was red carded late in their game vs Valencia. I really hope Valencia can go and grab a 2-0 win against PSG in Paris. PSG’s goals were really well taken. I was watching more of that game than the Celtic/Juve game. Much more pleasing on the eye!

  8. As a public service for today’s game- so we can sing along (maybe I can borrow my eldest’s Scholes jersey):

    Glory glory Man united,
    Glory glory Man united,
    Glory glory Man united,
    As the reds go marching on on on!

    Just like the busby babes in days gone by,
    We’ll keep the red flags flying high,
    Your gonna see us all from far and wide,
    Your gonna hear the masses sing with pride.

    United, Man united,
    We’re the boys in red and we’re on our way to Wembley!

    Wembley, Wembley,
    We’re the famous Man united and we’re going to Wembley,
    Wembley, Wembley,
    We’re the famous Man united and we’re going to Wembley

    In Seventy-Seven it was Docherty
    Atkinson will make it Eighty-Three
    And everyone will no just who we are,
    They’ll be singing que sera sera

    United, Man united,
    We’re the boys in red and we’re on our way to Wembley!

    Wembley, Wembley,
    We’re the famous Man united and we’re going to Wembley,
    Wembley, Wembley,
    We’re the famous Man united and we’re going to Wembley

    Glory glory Man united,
    Glory glory Man united,
    Glory glory Man united,
    As the reds go marching on on on!

    1. 15 shots for Madrid, 7 for Man U… Let’s hope Machester manage to nick it; isn’t looking likely though. If they can somehow, just somehow get one more away goal…

    2. If Granada can beat RM with no shots on goal, then Man U is already doing 7 times better than that and can win as well. All they need is another set piece.

    1. It’s crazy how technically inept EPL teams are. Swansea & Liverpool are getting there. Arsenal used to be, but I don’t see it much anymore. Any sort of pressure and they just hoof the ball up the field 20 yards. I thought Rooney was excellent today and was the only Red in the 1st half showing any composure. R.M. totally marked out RVP and made him a non entity. He had a couple of shots, but nothing threatening except the quick counter from a turn over. I thought Kagawa would stay in, but it looked like he was physically overwhelmed. Phil Jones played well defensively. DeGea came up with some big save. R.M. had 28 attempts!!! That’s the official stat! How they didn’t win is beyond me. They owned the 1st half and had the better chances the 2nd half. The big miss was RVP not connecting with that brilliant chip. Alonso still barely cleared it from the line. It was an entertaining game for a neutral, if I can call myself that. What if you hate both teams? Is that neutral! LMAO

    2. Is that a serious question? He was the only player composed for Man. U the whole 1st half. He constantly had to drop deep to help out the midfield. He was constantly tracking back all the way into his own box to stop the overlapping runs. Not sure what else he could do to have a better game. Not his fault his midfield can’t bring the ball up the pitch and get it to him in a scoring position.

  9. Good game for hater like me 🙂

    RM was wasteful and United was kinda of dreadful. My small gripe with this game was that I got to watch it in HD and oy, was too distracted by CR’s and Ozil’s hair @_@

  10. What was VP thinking when he lost that glorious chance?
    But MU was so poor, don’t know was it out of fear or respect of visiting Bernabeu, they did played like kids against men. Magnificent first half from RM.
    Few dubious calls from the ref, especially the one when Wellbeck was on a free run and got booked down from behind but nothing was given.
    Rooney world class?

  11. I thought it was Bull S*#t the ref blew the full time whistle while Man. U. were lining up to take a corner. Did they take their time with it? Yes, but they had every right to take the kick. I thought he was to quick to hand out 2 yellows to United in the 1st half and then didn’t give any to R.M. when they had similar fouls worthy of a yellow in the 2nd. That’s about it in terms of the referring, because I thought he let them play and the assistants were excellent.

  12. Having seen that Varne challenge on Evra a few times I’m not sure the ref didnt bottle a sending off. He was the wrong side of Evra and didn’t get a touch that I could see. Ridiculously high line played by RM at times considering their ropey defence but they got way with it.

  13. Flat-out penalty. Totally swallowed his whistle. Funny how Adriano got sent off for a tackle nowhere near as bad at the Bernabeu.
    RM are going to have it tough in Manchester because ManU won’t have to chase the game and expose themselves to counter-attacks.
    Once again RM showed they’re not very good at breaking down a packed defence and their tactic of dumping crosses into the box doesn’t work very well against ManU (with one notable exception).

    1. True, but Barca is better at patiently moving the ball around and working in tight spaces. RM is basically a galloping counter-attacking team.

    2. Week in week out barca faces packed defense… We have won most of the games with exception of few teams like chelsea,celtic,etc.. but EE relies mostly on counter attacking with ozil being the sole play maker…

  14. De Gea had quite a good game. He seems pretty similar to his older Spanish keeper colleagues in that he’s got great reflexes, decent with his passing, and a bit of a mess on crosses. Lopez was no slouch either, especially considering how he’s a quick and cheap replacement while Casillas’ thumb heals up.

    I’m also perplexed how EE got away with a last-man foul without even a yellow, but I’ll admit that I haven’t re-watched the incident.

    1. The foul on Welbeck was definitely a yellow at least. He clipped his legs no doubt about it. Couldn’t believe no call. The foul on Evra was hard to tell from 1st glance so I can’t blame the ref for no call.

  15. Barcastuff’s tweeting that Marca is saying that Borussia Mönchengladbach’s ter Stegen has been signed to FCB for 4 years. But then, they’re also reporting that Barca is after David Luiz which isn’t true, apparently.

    If the ter Stegen signing is true, that’s a great coup.

    The guy is so mature for his age, bosses around his backline, comes out for balls and is generally a great GK. Let’s hope that he continues to do well at Barca.

    1. The @barcastuff tweet said ter Stegen had signed a “pre-deal” (whatever that is), and more importantly, the source of said tweet was Marca TV. I wouldn’t get too excited yet.

  16. “@LeeRoden89: Former FCB Juvenil A coach Oscar one to watch. His Maccabi TA Leading Israeli league by 8 points & just thrashed Hapoel 4-0…”

    1. That free-kick almost on half-way (just before the 11th min) is one of my favourite Pep goals.

      The way in which he tells Kluivert to kiss his cheek (before 17′) is funny!

    2. There is so much goodness in that video. Busquets is certainly his physical heir apparent, but Iniesta is his tactical heir apparent. That pass to Sanchez v Getafe was classic Guardiola.

    3. I saw the same.

      I would love Busquets to develop more along these lines. We’re seeing inklings of it, but nowhere near what Guardiola could do.

      You can teach tactics easier than you can develop physicality (especially height!) – it all just depends on how much grey matter is between Busi’s ears to get the vision!

      Can you imagine what our mid-field would now be like with a Guardiola-type player in there? Wow. We wouldn’t have to depend on false 9s and #8s having to drop back deep to start the plays.

    4. That’s a very naive assumption. Although Busquets may not be as adept at reading the game as Pep, he’s certainly got the better skills to play ball in tight spaces, which is what Barca require atm.

    5. What’s naive about it? 😆

      The tight spaces are caused by too many players coming cluttering up the mid-field. It’s of Barca’s own doing! Busquets passes to Xavi or Ini or Messi who are often parallel to him on the pitch. This causes the opposition defence to also congregate in mid-field. If Busquets was more “visionary” in his passing, then the mid-field could be less cluttered, because then Messi and Ini could be further up the pitch to receive his passes.

      And you should watch the video to see how Pep deals with those tight spaces. Balls over the top and long passes to cut through defences are how he deals with them. Busquets has yet to learn how to do these with any regularity. When he does, he’s going to be more sublime than he already is.

    6. Teams either play Barca with 1) a high line, compact areas. where you’re required to be better at ball circulation. And with all the references, we very well know who’s the best one-touch player out there 🙂 and 2) a deep line (bus parking), where there is no space for Busquets to deliver those Pep-like passes. Most of our creative play has to come from the forward line in this case or due to the dynamic movement of Fabregas and Iniesta. You can also associate the decreasing number of direct assists Xavi’s had lately with this.

      I believe Busquets can play the through ball if needed (look at his pass to Torres for the Euro final), its just that the way the game is played at Barca now is quite different compared to the time Pep played (less possession and less compact, less athletic).

    7. In a nutshell, we don’t know what Busquets is capable of. He’s just not playing the same system anymore. So, I thought it was kind of naive to assume that…

    8. Your error was in assuming that was I was assuming anything.

      There is nothing in my comment that is anywhere near an assumption.

      If you want a discussion, then stick with the facts and don’t go off on a tangent by calling my comments anything. Discuss what you read – avoid the name-calling and labelling.

      I believe that Busquets could still find the space for those passes. All he needs to do is look ahead and find the gap for the ball to get behind the defence and for a Barca player to run on to the pass.

      That’s what Pep could do – he could open up a defence by spotting the gap and the runner for the ball. In this team, that’s Pedro, Alexis, Villa and even Messi if he doesn’t have to play so deep.

      That’s what Busi isn’t doing with any regularity. Instead, he defers to the safer passing sideways to Xavi or Ini to make the plays. This allows defences to play a high line when all Busi is doing is playing safe.

      Again, I reiterate, once Busi adds this component to his play, he’s going to be amazing.

      Under Tito, we’re seeing a team that isn’t so much about the possession now and more about doing something with the ball and taking the odd risk. The man to do that is Busquets with some vertical passing to slice open the defence as they slide from side to side, protesting their line.

      Busquets is the key to Barca breaking the park-the-bus situations.

    9. sorry, but where in the entire discussion do you spot name calling? I think I have one line devoted to what I thought was a ‘naive’ assumption and put down all my points related to football for that.

  17. it’s thursday…david villa is back in the hospital due to the kidney stone problems…

    dos santos has recovered from his sprained ankled and is available again….to ride the pine….

    1. Good ball movement, some dribbles, crashed the box a few times, still has to gain match fitness and chemistry, also didn’t help that ajax attack mainly on the left and steaua’s left back is fast and strong

    1. didnt watch, but in their defense, hard to travel to russia…but they probably got caught being a bit complacent too…

    2. The match was played at the Calderon. Zenit played half the match with 10 men. Zenit’s second goal came in the 96th minute. Yes you read it here – 96th minute. The second minute after the overtime ended. It was probably the only chance Zenit got in the second half to score.
      The goal was absolutely atrocious. Everybody from Atletico were including their keeper were camped in Zenit’s half for the corner in 94th minute. The corner was taken in the 95th minute, and from the counter, Zenit scored in the 96th minute. It was the kind of goal that Fernando Torres scored against us last year in the champions league semi final.
      Today was the day when I expected Falcao to step up. I have to say, he is good when he has space, but today there was no space for him to play. Zenit parked the bus!!! And he does not have the same movement as Messi to loose his markers and come back into the game. So he was just not in the game. Also, there were some missed shots by Atletico that should have gone in.

    3. No idea about Falcao’s injury. If he is playing, I presume he is fit. His performance was similar to what is was against Barcelona in the recent league match. In the league match he had a couple of moments of brilliance, out of which he scored a sublime goal. That goal was a piece of art. He beat Pique on the turn, burned him on pace, and chipped Valdez on his near post. In this game too, he had one chance to score, and he hit the cross bar. He was pretty much out of it for rest of the game.

      The whole match Atleti wingers were trying to cross the ball to Falcao in the middle, for him to score one of his sublime headed goals, and the Zenit defenders headed the ball away.

      He is a much better player when he has space to play in. He had the space to turn Pique and score the goal against Barca. Based on today’s performance I have some doubts regarding his adaptability to Barca.

      Now I understand why Barca technico’s are going after Neymar, and not Falcao. Because Neymar can score goals, and also play the ball with almost no space around him.

    4. Yes – Falcao hasn’t fired since his return from his hamstring injury.

      Pretty dismal performance from Atleti playing a 10-man team but then sometimes being reduced to 10 men can make teams play better if they have the physical fitness and mental aptitude to concentrate.

      That last minute goal was a moment when having a GK up, for what should be the last play, sensationally back-fires. Instead of now going away to Rubin Kazan looking for 2 away goals to win, At needs 3 – and that’s holding the home team to 1 goal or less.

    1. When the calendar first came out, all playing days were set to the Sunday because the RFEF can’t organise itself to produce a proper schedule at the beginning of a season. That’s probably why it’s incorrect.

      Best place to check for game times is on the FCB website:

      They have an iCal to download, but I’m not sure how accurate that is, given that the RFEF doesn’t schedule times for matches too far ahead.

    2. well, you are right that the RFEF stinks, but i think that it is hard to set schedules at the beginning of the season because of the unpredictable nature of the domestic and european cup competitions, where there are mid week games that could be on tues, weds, and/or thurs. it is good to have flexibility on the wknd matches for this reason.

    3. The Google calendar lists all of the games on Sunday at first, but then it gets adjusted as the actual time is set. This time, for some reason, it wasn’t.

  18. I don’t understand why there is a need for an article on Ronaldo’s header and an article from Sid Lowe on Ronaldo being a big game player. The latter was most likely pre-written. And that header. Pfff. Messi’s header vs. Man United in Rome 2009 was much better.

    Some other notable headers;
    Zahavi’s backwards header in Euro2000. There were a few good header goals in that tournament. And van Hooijdonk. Kluivert especially one in 1998 vs. Brazil in the semi final. Dani (a Portuguese player), Ajax vs Atletico Madrid in 1996, 2 headers from outside the penalty box. TWO!

    1. so funny all the press can talk is about that header 🙂

      anyone watching Milan? they dont seem too scary honestly…

    2. For RM fans, they suffer from something called #BarcaPhobia and #MessiPhobia. They are afraid of even admitting they are good. Always complaining about the simplest things.

      Glad to see Barca fans suffer from the same thing…

    3. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

      It’s only an attempt to divert the attention away from Cristiano’s own-goal header against Granada. 😆

  19. Milan vs Parma going on. Saw the last ten minutes of the game. Milan are toothless without Shivchenko, Kaka, Seedorf, Pirlo. I dont see anybody being able to control and set the tempo of their midfield. It will be interesting to see how they will approach the Barca game. I presume it will be another “break the bus” game for Barca.

    1. Without Nesta and Silva, that bus parking tactic would seem like a bad choice. I believe they’ll go for the offensive. They’ve got nothing to lose, plus it’s a young group.

    2. I understand that Milan now has a good pitch. If that’s right, they really are sunk. Their best chance was to bring out a back-hoe, and that’s gone.

  20. Ha ha, funny thing, Celtic have put in a complaint to Uefa against Undiano Mallenco stating that he let Juve play rugby style tactics against them. Have they seen this this ref in charge of a clasico? Now that’s rugby style tactics. Besides the holding of players during corners, I didn’t think Juve were as bad as when EE play us. They might have helped Barca complaining about this ref 😉

    1. “They might have helped Barca complaining about this ref ;)”

      Which, given the relationship between Barça and Celtic, might have been on purpose 😉

      Love the awards, Blitz, as always!

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