Barca 1, Sevilla 2 a.k.a. “That light at the end of the tunnel was a train.”

I coulda done bettah ....

Well, now what? We let an undermanned Sevilla club with no stars come into our home and rub shit in our faces. They walk out with not one, but two away goals, goals that allow them to park the bus at home. Yes, Ibrahimovic scored a goal for us but really, who would bet against them on their home pitch, against a club that seems to have, however temporarily, lost its swagger.

I have one and a half pages of notes for this match, that was not only awful, but boring. If losses can be wake-up calls, this one was the equivalent of someone stringing every alarm clock in Spain together, amplifying them with an 8×12 Marshall stack, roping the lot to some church bells and turning it all loose.

The lineup made me nervous as hell, in part because it was a real Copa lineup, with Pinto, Alves, Milito, Txigrinski, Maxwell, Marquez, Iniesta, Thiago, Pedro!, Messi and Krkic. It made me nervous because we had a guy just back from an injury layoff, with a big, slow Ukranian, and an even slower Marquez as our DM. And since all they were going to have to do was mark Messi, where were the goals going to come from?

Sure, Messi did his part, with an absurd first half display, but he was bound to run out of steam, and he did.

And I know that losses are supposed to get the same level of analysis as wins, but a) there isn’t a lot to say about this one. It wasn’t even that we played that poorly, we just couldn’t put the ball in the net, and we had two key defensive breakdowns that, with the A defense in there, don’t happen. But that’s life in the Copa, right? And b) I’m just too disgusted with watching that display. I hate losing. I hate watching us lose. And I hate watching us lose matches that were there for the taking.

It’s also another side that got in our faces and succeeded in doing so, because the passing and movement that were such beautiful hallmarks of our game last season, are absent. So we have to hold the ball longer, giving the defense more time to get set. There were interceptions galore, as we sprayed balls all over the pitch. It was a pretty vile display by a club that played like it started with only three first-teamers in the side. Once you get the collective shits, it’s hard to stop the flow.

Let’s deal with their goals, because they were pretty illustrative of our defensive complexities right now. Recall that Guardiola has said that without the ball, we’re pretty bad. So what is making us not contest every pass as we did last season, and strut around the midfield like it’s ours? “No, you can’t complete a pass. Not with our ball. Sorry, but give me that.” This season, it’s “Go ahead and play, we’ll just stop you, because we’re mighty Barcelona.”

Problem is, we aren’t. Not when we don’t have the ball. So when Alves got smoked in the corner with his loose man charging into the box, suddenly the whole defense had to shift. Txigrinski did his usual, lazy, “sweep the leg Johnny” defending, and missed the ball. So suddenly, two of the four defenders are WAY out of position. Milito and Maxwell moved in, covering their men, and luck of the draw saw the pass get through to a completely unmarked man. Should the DM have come back when he saw the fire drill happening? You betcha. But he didn’t. Another man in the box prevents that goal from happening. And Pinto, not being the keeper that Valdes is, missed the one chance that he had to shut the play down, by letting the pass come through the box to the unmarked attacker. At that point, charging at him just opened up a better shooting angle, and in it went.

The second goal was just a stupid, schoolboy club error, as we celebrated our goal, full of pride and the belief that we were coming back. So Sevilla just started play quickly with a charge directly at the heart of our vulnerable defense. It found Txigrinski all alone against a small, agile attacker, so Txigrinski did about the only thing he could do, which was give up the foul. But it was a stupid, stupid play because we were caught with our drawers down, not really paying attention, and got screwed. There were so many errors on that play that they are impossible to chronicle. We can sum them up by saying that nobody was home. Nobody.

Most critically, nobody was home between Txigrinski’s ears. The reason they’re called “professional fouls” is that you do what you have to do, but you do it in a position that gives your team a shot. Read the situation, and foul his ass outside the box. It’s a set piece, and we can defend that. Was he waiting for help that wasn’t going to come? Stupid, stupid, stupid. He had been having a reasonably good match up to that point.

Our goal was exquisite, by the by, from the pinpoint long pass by Marquez, to the control and finishing by Ibrahimovic. Shame on us for ruining it so.

Team: 2. We don’t want to win right now, and we aren’t playing like it. The urgency is gone, so is the midfield pressure and the movement. People are standing around waiting for the ball, instead of scrambling, hauling ass to get open. Nor are we supporting each other. Shameful. Just shameful.

Guardiola: 4. Did what he had to do, made the subs that he had to make, but for some time now, we haven’t been ready to play crucial matches. We scraped by in the Club World Championship, but against better sides, we are being made to pay. And what the hell were you thinking, with Marquez as DM? There was no pace in the back for us, and it showed.

Pinto: 4. Sorry, but Valdes prevents that first Sevilla goal. It is inexcusable for a keeper to stand there and watch a ball roll across the face of his goal. Yes, he made a couple of very nice saves, but it’s clear why he isn’t a starting keeper.

Alves: 5. Some good, a lot of bad. Made some fine defensive plays, but of late, he’s getting beaten like a gong by quick, skilled attackers, and it puts our slow defense at a disadvantage. Last season, we had the ball all the time, so that deficiency wasn’t too apparent. This year, it’s like an infected mole on an alabaster ass. And we paid for it today.

Milito: 6. Nice match for his first time back. Made some positional errors, but that’s to be expected, given that he’s been injured for most of an adult lifetime. He was about the only defender who did the right thing on their first goal, which was to man up on the nearest attacker, which is also the least complicated thing.

Txigrinski: 3. Careless with the ball, put Pinto in … um … challenging positions time and again, and the penalty was inexcusable. It’s the one that might have knocked us out of the Copa, and it just didn’t have to be. If you have to foul, foul … outside the box. And you have to do more than lazily stick your leg out at a pass. You had an excellent chance to save Alves, and you blew it.

Maxwell: 4. Capel owned his ass, and dude, you can’t just lunge at a ball that is in the box, because it might deflect to, oh, an opposing player. Clear the goddamned thing. And if you’re going to be mediocre on defense, attack and make up for it on offense.

Marquez: 5. Solidly anonymous. Nice pass to Ibrahimovic, but he just wasn’t quite sure where to be, so he did a lot of standing around, instead of influencing the match and the attack, as Barca-style DMs do. Should we expect better from him? Yes. Or don’t be out there.

Thiago: 7. I like this kid. Fine effort both on offense and in tracking back on defense, and nice work to keep attacks going. His sub was inevitable once it was Xavi time, but nice match. He’s a keeper.

Iniesta: 7. Brilliant first half, tailed off quite a bit in the second as we pressed more and Sevilla packed it back a bit.

Messi: 5. It isn’t just you. Majestic first half, but you were just too selfish in the second half. You have to make that pass to Ibrahimovic. You just have to.

Pedro!: 4. Keep going like this, and I’m going to take away your exclamation point. Cloaks of invisibility are supposed to be worn to help your club, not hurt it. Matches such as this one show that he isn’t ready to start, because of his (yes, I’m a broken record) tactical deficiencies. He just runs, without knowing what or where he’s running to.

Krkic: 3. My view on Cuddly Toy is that it’s a wasted roster spot. He plays in the Copa only, and he can’t even do that any longer. He was worthless in the first half, and all but in the second. Yes, he had a goal ruled out by a silly foul on Ibrahimovic, which does nothing to convince me that he deserves a spot in the side. Between the standing around, lost balls and wayward passes, he’s going in the wrong direction for my tastes.


Ibrahimovic (for Pedro!): 6. Beautiful goal, excellent effort, and you should have had two, had your heading skills been a bit sharper. Upon review, I have to say that you/we got hosed on the offside call.

Busquets (for Milito): 6. Simple Busquets is good Busquets. Keep the ball moving, don’t get in the way of the grownups and contribute to the attacks with laser-sharp passes. Crap, what did I warn you about thinking too much. Now look at your rating.

Xavi (for Thiago): 5. With more time, he would have made more of a difference. Beautiful pass to Alves for the goal that was offside, but just.

Now we have it all to do in Sevilla. Guardiola admitted that he screwed up with the selection, saying that “Hey, I have to play guys, right? Everybody wants to play, and we need everybody.” Not a direct quote, but that was the gist of it. He’s guilty of underestimating Sevilla in its damaged state, not because they were so good, but because we were so mediocre. I hate to say it, but this match doesn’t happen last season, because we wanted every last match that we played, except when we were on a championship hangover late in the season. This year, we’re playing as though we’re content.

And I don’t like it.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. tyler
    January 6, 2010

    damn i got hectored real bad.

    and I am so with you on this:

    “b) I’m just too disgusted with watching that display. I hate losing. I hate watching us lose. And I hate watching us lose matches that were there for the taking.”

  2. ooga aga
    January 6, 2010

    next week, all we need to do is play our a-game, with our a-team (sub sergio for yaya) and we will sweep sevilla aside. we are so good we can turn it on like a faucet and produce a big game when needed, by fielding the right line up and playing with our fangs showing.

    • Blaugrana561
      January 6, 2010

      yaya and keita are out because of acn, if they werent, i reckon we would have won this match.

    • auld super
      January 6, 2010

      ya ya is in africa playing for ivory coast.

      • ooga aga
        January 6, 2010

        i know. i meant, our best 11, minus yaya, add busquets

  3. stephen
    January 6, 2010

    “Krkic: 3. My view on Cuddly Toy is that it’s a wasted roster spot.”

    I said that ALLLLLLLLL game. We played with 10 players on that field, cause this kid was lost.

    I think a 3 is kind, the kid doesnt know how to even kill a ball anymore, no passes, no ideas, no run, NOTHING.

    He needs to go.

    Pep, took Pedro out instead of Bojan, that was STUPID. We couldve used Pedro! in the second half, especially since Iniesta looked a little more alive.

    Sevilla did what they had to do, we just bent over and took it.

    ps: i hate losing too.

    • Alexinho
      January 6, 2010

      Couldn’t believe Pedro came off instead of Bo. This is quite possibly the worst-managed game I’ve seen by Pep Guardiola, given the selection and that sub.

  4. ElShowDeJason
    January 6, 2010

    Thiago did impress.

    This only reinforced my feeling that JDS is made for Xavi’s role, and now i see that Thiago could be growing in the Iniesta mould.

    Where Jonathan dos Santos is safe, precise, and very intelligent with the ball, Thiago is explosive, inventive, creative, daring and very lively.

    Papa Henry needs to give CT a slap outside the head and get him back on track. He clearly won’t be a striker for us. So he needs a crash course on adapting-fast-and-doing-something-with-the-minutes-you’re-given.

    at the back, I hope Muniesa and Fontas stay on track, because Puyol has an expiration date, and there isn’t a Centerback on earth, let alone our squad that can do what he does right now. call me overly optimistic, but i still have hopes for Caceres (assuming that Juve decide not to keep him, but then again, what does it say if Juve don’t want him ???)

    Oh, and Messi should have definitely laid that ball off to Thiago, instead of pegging some poor Pigeon with the ball.

  5. vicsoc8
    January 6, 2010

    Time for me to be a broken record. Bojan was anonymous today. However I don’t understand what you mean when you say he’s a wasted roster spot, especially since our roster isn’t full right now even with him on it.

    The kid blew up when he first got his chances in the team, and played well under Rijkaard. Somewhere in the coach switch he lost his confidence, and it seems like it’s been a death spiral since then… he has less confidence, Guardiola doesn’t play him as much, he plays poorly due to lack of confidence when he gets time, his confidence gets worse… rinse and repeat, many times.

    I still think it’s too early to push him out of the club, hell, he’s the youngest player to ever score for the club. I’ve come around to the need for him to go out on loan, ASAP. He needs to be in a new environment and then we’ll find out if he can shake this melodramatic emo stage.

  6. ElShowDeJason
    January 6, 2010

    When Rediculous Rumors spark… it’s important to nip them in the bud:

    “Nothing is done. I repeat, nothing. Writing about a meeting that never took place is absolute rubbish. At this moment I am an Arsenal player and in the same situation as I was last year. Last season people were announcing all over the place that I was leaving. Some people wrote that it would happen for sure but at the end of the day I stayed at Arsenal.”
    – Thierry Henry, June 12, 2007

    “He will not leave, unless Moratti decides to sell him. Otherwise we will have to see what happens when his current contract ends in four years time.”
    – Mino Raiola (Zlatan’s Agent) , March 17th 2009

    “I like Ibra just as much as Laporta likes Eto’o. I do not believe that there will be an exchange.”
    -Massimo Moratty – June 5th 2009

    And not that this is a related topic at all but…

    “Right now I am only thinking of fighting for Valencia to be in a Champions League place next season. Further, signing for Barca is something that does not really depend on me”
    – David Silva , January 5th 2010

    Ah…. nothing I like more than an unconvincing denial, followed by a complete removal of one’s accountability for one’s impending transfer. 🙂

    • vicsoc8
      January 6, 2010

      Silva is a class player, but I’m not sure he would be the best fit for Barcelona. Do we really need a LW who likes to move inside and carry the ball? No, we need someone who provides width and can beat their man. I’d much prefer another converted striker ala Henry.

      Think about it, they’d have time to adjust because we could use Pedro when we had to on the wing. The only problem is it’s difficult to find people who could fit the role. Suarez is unproven in the big leagues (think about Huntelaar). Torres would be great if he had a decent touch, Villa is too old, Dzeko is on his way to Milan. Other names are eluding me.

      Anyways, that’s my .02.

      • Keano
        January 6, 2010

        Ryan Babel.And don’t mention birmingham ,because if i remember correctly EE signed lass from from portsmouth.That didn’t fair too badly,did it?

        • Tyler
          January 6, 2010

          I think Silva could work. Although partly what makes him so great is his telepathic connection with Villa. I think that given some time and work, he would fit nicely into our style of play. Especially when you watch him play for Spain, who play exactly like Barca imo.

      • Flippy
        January 6, 2010

        You are taking the Huntelaar case way too seriously. At Madrid he scored 8 goals in 13 games and this was his half season at the club. Don’t forget to mention some of those games were as a sub or his very first games. Then Perez decided to sell him for whatever nonsense reason. At Milan he is barely given a chance. No starts, hardly any playing, and one of the few times he came on as a late sub he scored 2 goals to win the game. So put it this way: Madrid and Milan have ruined him, not him not being good enough for the big leagues.

  7. BA
    January 6, 2010

    Chygrynskiy didn’t even deserve a 3 in my opinion; i can’t think of a single thing he did right all game. what absolutely killed us was our utter lack of passing out of the back. Milito could never play the ball, Rafa was covered or too immobile to get into a position to receive, and Chygrynskiy was just awful (especially when we were promised a “ball-playing central defender”). without Xavi moving and picking the ball up deep to compensate we were left with no angles and no play through the center of the pitch. Iniesta, bless him, went back and front and side to side to try to pick the ball up but didn’t really have anyone to link with since Thiago didn’t seem in sync and Messi was in Selfish Mode. all this against a Sevilla team that lives and breathes down the wings, as Pep should well know.

    only thing i’ll add to that was the Perez Burrul needs to be taken out somewhere and beaten. he’s a fucking joke of a referee and disallowed 2 PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE goals; Bojan’s that deflected off of Ibrahimovic, who apparently committed a foul just by being big and Dani’s that was taken after he was LEVEL with the last defender, NOT offside. yes we played badly, yes those goals shouldn’t have mattered if we had played better, but that doesn’t mean they shouldnt’ve been allowed at all. the guy is a fuckup, as he’s shown time and again.

    • ElShowDeJason
      January 6, 2010

      Call Caceres’s tackles reckless, but he hit the ball 4/5 times. Chyg only hits grass.
      And accuse Caceres of having bad placement, but he has pace, something none of our backline had today (Alves doesn’t count)

    • January 6, 2010

      Dani Alves IS offside, his legs might be in the same level but his upper body ain’t.

  8. yesisaidyesiwillyes
    January 6, 2010


    1) at the end of the day the copa only sounds good tacked on to 5 other trophies. i don’t really care what pep says i want us to drop out of this one so we have a better chance at the liga + CL; and

    2) how did you let your liveblogs go downhill? i’m glad the blog is growing in followers, but i used to follow along for the insightful commentary, not the rape references and homophobic and racist comments.

    • eklavya
      January 6, 2010

      I’m partly responsable for that. Sorry, I’ll cut the crap from now on.

    • stephen
      January 6, 2010

      yeah I agree with dropping the cup, a liga repeat and a champs league would be great, not that the copa would be “bad” but we arent the same team as we were last season, by a longshot, we have lost rhythm and confidence to some level.

    • Luna
      January 6, 2010

      I agree about the live blog. I don’t go to it anymore b/c it’s not even about the match and frankly feel uncomfortable there.

    • katalini5
      January 6, 2010

      Thank you, I thought I was the only one who felt that way about the liveblog. It has basically become unreadable for me. When I follow the liveblog, I actually want to see intelligent comments about the game, not sift through caps lock sexual references.

      • stephen
        January 6, 2010

        yeah it was like that when i went into the liveblog, and i have not been back to one since.

  9. barcelonista81
    January 6, 2010

    Txigro didn’t commit a penalty that was a clear FOUL! He started pulling his shirtway outside the box!So he basically did do what he had do which was foul the agile attacker…so no blame for Txignasty for that just the referee…

  10. Cesc Blanc
    January 6, 2010

    As the poster before said, I also rather saw the foul outside the penalty area and Capel was let go when he was inside, but then decided to take the fall. And although they missed Fabiano and Kanouté, that was still more or less Sevilla’s A-Team(at least they had more regulars than we had). I didn’t see the game as that bad, specially as we could have killed the game anyway in the first half. And Txigrinski’s opening pass is fantastic…not much wrong with that tbh.
    I hope they are more motivated and focused in the league game at home because that’s the one that REALLY matters. Greatest things about the game were Gaby being back and Thiago’s rather impressive debut. Everything else was more irrelevant tbh.

  11. eklavya
    January 6, 2010

    I think Pinto should have a higher rating…he was doing fine. And I dont put too much blame on him in the first goal.

  12. Cesc Blanc
    January 6, 2010

    btw. call me whatever, but as important as January looks like, we have to hit full speed and top form from March-May on. That’s the time we will compete for the trophies and have to win. We had a rather terrible January and February last year too, just that we were 12 points ahead and our opponents easier, but the trophies are won at that time and as long as we don’t play shit in March, I can live with everything else.

    • Tyler
      January 6, 2010

      hmmm this is a very smart comment. we did have a really bad january and february last year, remember losing to espanyol and atletico madrid? i remember everyone was talking about a crisis then. we still have time to salvage this month, but we need to play more convincingly. I think we are fine, I just really want a game where we dominate beginning to end against a strong team. a 4-0 scoreline or 5-1 is something we haven’t seen since I guess Zaragosa.

  13. Helge
    January 6, 2010

    Txigrinski looked shaly to me from the very beginning, and he also played some miserable passes back to Pinto which led to a dangerous situation, plus some passes straight to the opponent BEFORE the penalty. He’s definitely my worst man of the match (and the are with me^^).

    I don’t know if Pedro was any better than Bojan yesterday. Bojan had two or three moments in which he has done great and created opportunities / scored an actual goal, whereas I don’t remember any real contribution to a good chance from Pedro.

    Then there’s talking about this Sevilla side being a sort of free win or mini-Sevilla (as described the match in their preview). I compared their line-up to the one against Real Madrid. The differences are:
    Escudé playing for Squillaci. Considering Squillaci’s horrible performance against Atletico (he’s been almost as good as Txigrinski in that match), this is not a weakening. Plus, Squillaci had to be substituted in min. 24.
    F. Navarro for Adriano. In the match against Real Madrid, Navarro has been substituted for Squillaci.
    Romaric playing for Zokora. A slight weakening.
    Lolo playing for Renato. Definitely a weakening, but Renato came on later.
    Then there is certainly Luis Fabiano missing. But he is the only important missing player. For instance, Diego Kapel (who started against us) has been substituted against Real Madrid after Madrid scored the equalizer.
    So basically, it has been the same team that played against us and that dominated Real Madrid some weeks ago – with the exception of Luis Fabiano. I remember the match from Sevilla quite good and they should have beaten Real by 4-1 or so.

    Compare Sevilla’s line-up, which is NOT a B team, to ours, on paper a draw or worse was to be expected anyway. With that slow defense against the likes of Navas, Capel, Perotti and Renato in a team that likes to counter? How could that work out?
    That it almost worked out and that we dominated them in the first half is a big compliment to our B team.

    This loss wasn’t shameful to me. Sevilla is the 3rd-strongest team in Spain, they simply dropped too many points against minor teams – even with one man more on the pitch. That’s why they are currently sitting in 5th place. Potentially, Sevilla are a lot better and potentially, their line-up was at least as good as ours yesterday.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether Pep will go for it in the 2nd leg or rather focus on la Liga. I’d definitely prefer the latter. But I’m really excited about Pep’s decision.

    Oh, and we are not in a crisis or anything as of yet, and people who start losing trust in Pep must be insane. If we lose at Tenerife, we are in a minor crisis. But I doubt it very much!

      • ...r....
        January 6, 2010

        Helge good points but you forgot to mention that sevilla were on fire back then and real wasnt at all it would have been 4-3 had everyone taken their chances , also the game was at the sanchez pizjuan so ….leave us out of this thanx 🙂

  14. DontPanic
    January 6, 2010

    Am I the only one that isnt panicing? Yes we didnt play well, but we werent THAT bad. I mean our defence was completely makeshift. When was the last time Milito played a competitive game? When was the last time Dima played from the start? Whew was the last time Marquez played as a DM? What about Maxwell? And they were all thrown in the water at once. As soon as I saw our lineup I knew this was going to be a close call.
    That being said, we still werent outplayed. Yes we didnt dominate, but even with a lineup like that, Sevila didnt destroy us. I know they are missing players, but you know what, they are going to be missing them next week too. We wont. Its first team for us next week. Its Puyol, Pique, Abidal, Xavi, Ibra in the lineup. They scored two away goals, so its going to be tough, but I truly belive we can do it. Im optimistic.
    BTW sorry for my english.

    • majatt (Maximus)
      January 6, 2010

      Nah I’m not panicking either. If the only trophy we won this season was the League I would be happy. We need the occasional wake up call and as you said we put out 3 non-starter defenders and an out of position(ish) DM. On top of this we had Thiago in the MF and Bojan/Pedro up front.

      We could turn it around but if we don’t I’m not going to lose much sleep. The league is more important to me although the Copa time would be good for Milito, Chyg, Maxwell, Thiago etc.

  15. Kxevin
    January 6, 2010

    First off, apologies for the liveblog from one of the people responsible for this space, even though I didn’t run it, or participate in it all that much. But I will go back and revisit it, with the above comments in mind. Thanks for those.

    On a broader note, I’m not a fan of the “boys will be boys” view of blogs and message boards. I have zero desire to be part of a place in which racist, sexist or homophobic language exists. As I sid, I will revisit the liveblog and give it a read.

  16. SoccerMom
    January 6, 2010

    SoccerMama does not approve of Barcababies blogging badly.
    Carbón de reyes for all naughty comments on liveblog.
    Match a stinker, to be sure — Camp Nou whistling Chigry.
    Local Catalan commentary:
    1. Did Pep throw Copa?
    2. Is Chigry Barca-worthy?
    3. Can Barca beat a 4-4-2 formation?
    PD. My baby got his VV kit for Reyes! I stole the bufanda.

    • Miguel
      January 6, 2010

      glad i missed the liveblog, almost. stupid jury duty. tres reyes, that’s right. happy you found that kit.

      the nasty stank it up yesterday but to have been booed like that by the camp nou is not cool.

      happy kxevin gave marquez a 5. that’s like a 8.5 for him!

  17. Ciaran
    January 6, 2010

    We spend big on central defenders every summer and can’t ever seem to get it right.
    Chygrynskiy, Henrique, Caceres, Milito, Winston Bogarde, Patrik Anderson, Phillipe Christanval… the list goes on. We are just very bad at it.
    Frank de Boer was good, well decent. We got lucky with Carles Puyol, and buying back Pique was a no-brainer but smart nonetheless.

    This summer EE bought Raul Albiol for half of what we paid for Chygrynskiy. Now allow me to ask why is Chygrysnkiy worth twice as much a a full Spain international who is good with the ball at his feet, has years of La Liga experience and can play as DM. What the difference, oh except that Albiol is a better player, IMO.

    We currently have a weakened forward line and have Hleb & Keirrison out on loan; and were very poor at the back last night and have Caceres, Henrique & Botia out as well. Why?

    • Cesc Blanc
      January 6, 2010

      Albiol is good with the ball at his feet? Albiol further played for a counter attacking team where the defense is around 15-20 meters more withdrawn than ours. How was he supposed to fit in?

      Txigrinski’s one major asset is his opening. I mean, you can’t really deny that the guy can play incredible long opening passes. It’s just that he still isn’t used to playing in Spain and with the pressure on the team with Madrid breathing down our neck, it doesn’t get easier for him to get used to it.

    • ...r....
      January 6, 2010

      Ciaran it’s true that we got it right with albiol but if you recall , we also bought metzelder , samuel , woodgate etc… who have all turned out to be not so good for us thats the reality of footy some transfers work out , some dont , besides the ukranian is talented if you give him time he might come good

      Madridista were saying that Garay was too slow and inexperienced , isnt good enough for Madrid but he has been given time and he is proving his worth we havent lost a single game that he has played in ,the ukranian might come good for ya at the end of it all

      • Tutomate
        January 6, 2010

        Isightfull comments ….r…. Not the usual trolling we sometimes get from some Madridistas. Thanks.

    • BL
      January 6, 2010

      i guarantee you that fontas would’ve done better than chig1lkj342sky yesterday.

      also, muniesa probably would’ve outplayed maxwell and thats not even his position.

      is it that we can’t buy the right players or that the players can’t fit in? i don’t know, i think its a bit of both to be honest. the only really good, but still very streaky from season to season, foreign defender we’ve bought in the last 6 years is marquez. pique as you said was a no-brainer and home grown, edmilson was ok at times but better at DM and then faded to crap. thuram was too old and slow, milito is a good player but only really got 1 season in before his knees exploded.

      and before that.. the players you mentioned. its a pretty dire record.

      but screw hleb. i can’t believe anyone is even mentioning his name. the guy just didn’t work or fit in at barcelona. end of story.

      keirrison is different though, we really need more depth in attack. we need a suarez AND a keirrison to complement what we currently have outside the starters.. which is a P! (super sub) and the catalan teen idol, banjo crickets.

      what we all knew when the season started is showing itself pretty glaringly, we don’t have enough depth in midfield and attack. and the depth we do have at defense blows at present time.

  18. vicsoc8
    January 6, 2010

    I didn’t see the racist, homophobic, or sexist talk in the liveblog, but then again I wasn’t paying much attention. Regardless, the quality of the liveblog sucked, very little thought provoking commenting, lots of irrelevant chatter.

  19. JMo
    January 6, 2010

    Is anyone else wishing we had Caceres and Hleb in the roster?

    4 months ago you I would’ve seized at a comment like this, but after watching the debacle of our efforts last night, I’m not sure that I don’t miss them. Hleb provided creativity at least, and Caceres was fast and fierce.

    Chygnasty seems like a slower version of Pique in terms of passing, but exponentially less in terms of his defensive awareness and decisiveness.

    The only good thing is that he LOOKS like Puyol. and that’s just from the eyebrows up.

    If we have to play a legitimate top 4 team in the CL, we are going to get STOMPED OUT if we keep this up. We need something like this in order to re-focus the team…

  20. cliveee
    January 6, 2010

    i am still confident of progressing, but not with this kind of display anymore. we also had some dip in form last season, in the moment when we lost to espanyol at home. but here we are in 2010 now and we have been playing this kind of lazy, complacent and unsharp football.

    2 goals in their home next week. we have done that before, we can repeat it if we show how much we want it to happen. I don’t expect Pep to play the Liga squad. Expect to see Trigrinxky and Bojan.

    Still calling for more love for the hairy dude although the stupid foul was unacceptable, but still, we should have a reasonable tolerance for every player, especially when he is new and had been out of action for some time. But the same thing cannot be said for Bojan. No size, no speed, no strength, no composure, low sense, limited skills. Opportunities had been given to you and you are not doing anything with it. Tolerance for you is enough, try Arsenal or Bayern Munich or wherever…

  21. Liza
    January 6, 2010

    Strange, but I’m not as disappointed as perhaps I ought to be. Yes, I hate losing, especially matches are winnable. But we always seem to be weak after the December break, and now that the pressure of the CWC is over, everyone seemed to take their feet off the pedal a bit. Maybe I’m placating myself a bit, but if we had lose one, which inevitably we do, the Copa would be the one I’d choose. And besides, we still have the away leg, right?

    Basically, this confirms a lot of the things that people have been pointing out on this blog for a while: that while Pedro! is good, he still needs to work and practice to be on the starting XI; that Bojan needs a confidence boost; that VV is our first goalie; that our defense is too often flaky. It’s not impossible, but difficult to turn this around in the next leg. We just better hope that Guardiola has a good motivational speech ready to give these guys a bit of a kick.

    And this is going to sound silly, but sometimes after crappy performances like this one, I go back and read match reports from last year. Because Kxevin is right– last year, we won games like this. Some of them with ridiculous scores too.

  22. cliveee
    January 6, 2010

    Still don’t think Ibra fouled before the disallowed bojan goal.

    • January 6, 2010

      Apparently, offside was the call, not a foul. So Burrull got it even more wrong. As for the Sevilla penalty, whether the foul should have been called at the spot is debatable. Txigrinski should have removed all doubt, and fouled the shit out of him outside the box.

      But that disallowed Sevilla goal was good, since the ball came off Milito. So they would still have had two.

  23. Blow-Granite
    January 6, 2010

    I am pretty chill about the match. The only reason I would like Barca to be in the Copa is that the fringe players get some experience, and to get more of Barca. For me, this tournament is non issue. If Barca is out of this, I feel sorry for many fringe players like Bojan, who will not get any more time on the pitch this season, and as a result will be forced to leave Barca. I would say bring Kerrison for Bojan and loan him out to a smaller team where he can get some experience.

    Chygrinsky need playing time. I would say that with his passing ability use him on the right wing in some of the games to give Dani boy some rest where he gets a run around and is able to do his cross field crosses.

  24. Kxevin
    January 6, 2010

    I don’t really see panic, I must say. What I do see are chinks in our armor, but they are easily fixed. We just have to play as we can. With passing, movement and midfield aggression, the lack of pace of our back line never gets exposed. With the intelligent, one-touch elegance that suffused our game last season, everybody gets a touch, and nobody feels as if they have to try to win a match by themselves.

    But as it is, we have what we have. I wouldn’t call it panicking to point out our evident deficiencies.

    Guardiola is defending Txigrinski, and I will add my voice to the chorus. He is the goods, and will become our best attack starter from the back. The problem right now is that the middle layer is missing. What happened last season was that somebody would get the ball, shovel a short pass to The Yaya, who would shuttle the ball forward a bit to Xavi, who would do his magic thing with Messi and/or Iniesta, and the goals flowed.

    This season, we get the ball at the back, and Pique is the one bringing it up, because Busquets is up with Xavi, rather than back where The Yaya customarily plays. This means that we are travelling, on offense, 15-20 meters more with the ball, which gives opponents more opportunities to upset our apple cart, so to speak.

    This also means, if they are successful in intercepting passes, as they were yesterday, they get more shots at our back line, which isn’t like a traditional back line when it comes to straight-up defense. Our back line folks are more like sweepers, collecting stray balls, playing positional defense and starting the attack the other way.

    But it all starts with playing as we can.

    –To Vicsoc’s point, Krkic is a wasted roster spot because he can’t do anything. I don’t care if it’s because of age, or damaged confidence, or they were out of his favorite snack in the cafeteria. He can’t play against men, which means that he can’t play in the Liga, or Champions League. So he gets run outs in Copa matches, or garbage time of matches that matter.

    I just think that every roster spot should be occupied by a player who can come into a first division match and help the side. Jeffren can, Pedro! can, even some of the kids (Dos Santos, Thiago, as we have come to see) can.

    Krkic is a limited player who plays in a limited role. Yes, our roster is short. But it’s even shorter, because we have this allegiance to a player who I don’t think is ever going to match the potential that he has, through no fault of his own, really. Sometimes, size does matter.

    Blow-Granite makes a good point about Keirrison. He can’t be much worse than Krkic. Why not give him a shot, instead of loaning him out again? Well, mostly because Guardiola didn’t want him.

    –We have some talent out there floating around. Caceres just didn’t cut it, mostly because he wasn’t that adept at starting attacks, and gave up stupid fouls. But I can’t say that I wouldn’t mind having Hleb and Gudjohnsen for Copa matches, and other Liga matches. But they’re gone, and none of them are coming back.

    The real question is, can we get through January relatively unscathed? Every remaining match is winnable, particularly as we play Liga with the A side. I think that we can win the Copa leg in Sevilla, but Guardiola is going to have to give up his adherence to “giving the drummer some,” and putting a real side out there.

    But as we all know, Guardiola is a man of principle, so he isn’t going to do that.

    • vicsoc8
      January 6, 2010

      Bojan is good to have around right now, especially because the squad is so short. Why you ask? Because if we’re comfortably winning he can give someone who needs a rest a rest.

      But I’m all for bringing in someone who can start, and sending him on loan, as it’s become obvious he isn’t going to escape this funk playing for us. I still think it’s premature to call for his sale as a loan period can do wonders for a player.

      In many ways it’s very frustrating, as he was playing better when he broke into the team, when he was smaller and less experienced.

    • ooga aga
      January 6, 2010

      how can you say “you dont see panic” when you wrote “If losses can be wake-up calls, this one was the equivalent of someone stringing every alarm clock in Spain together, amplifying them with an 8×12 Marshall stack, roping the lot to some church bells and turning it all loose.” the fact is that you are partly an amazing writer because of your flair for the dramatic but sometimes i think it over the top. i mean again we had a makeshift 11 out there and — repeat — in Pep we Trust. he says he has no doubts that we will “remontar” and I believe Him.

  25. BL
    January 6, 2010

    yeah chillax one and all. pep clearly is to blame for this match and that is fine, he knew what would happen putting that lineup out there.

    1) maxwell SUCKS. i swear every game hes played in we’ve been scored on
    2) chiglkjdlfa;kdjsky… not… good
    3) marquez… not… good
    4) bojan… not… good

    when that many players lay an egg in the same match, you can’t really expect to win can you?

    even WITH that shite lineup, we should’ve won. consider that for a moment. only the ref got in the way.

    1) bojan’s goal should have stood. the referee’s association in spain needs to have a sit down and learn this simple fact: when players over the height of 6’3″ touch midgets with their aura it isn’t a foul.
    2) capel’s penalty was extremely frustrating because the shirt tug began outside the box and capel sold it like a used car salesman, because theres no way ANYONE goes down after that contact. shirt tug outside the box + dive in the box = penalty? raw deal. chigl1k2j34l12kjsky still royally screwed up though. idiot.

    so if those 2 plays go our way, we probably don’t lose… even with the chumps we played. so i’m not worried. the team that started that match (mainly the defense and DM) are barely worthy of shining the 1st team’s boots.

  26. Alexinho
    January 6, 2010

    I don’t know if Marquez was very good, but I think it was probably his best match of the season so far. I was stalwartly against seeing him as DM, but I was surprised. I’ll buy your bit about his tactical unawareness there, but I thought the role made his passes shine through more, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more…perhaps in the next Copa match, since my impression is that Pep…well, did he mean to throw it away?

    Thiago is definitely a keeper: he looked like Jonathan dos Santos + highlights. Had trouble finding his place in the game like anyone new to the position (including last season’s Keita), but when he got the ball he made sure everyone watching remembered. More impressive, he did cool stuff without giving the ball away or slowing down the attack or in general making himself look like an ass. I was definitely wowed.

    Yesterday I made a comment reflecting on how soccer is so transitive and how the swagger comes and goes, dust in the wind, etc. etc., and I’d like to add a bit to that without sounding terribly cynical. Last season, not only was everyone in the starting XI unbelievably talented, but they were all in blazing form. I think Kevin mentioned recently (he’s obviously been watching longer) that Xavi was in the form of his life. That form took pressure off every other player, so each players’ form was multiplied, and that’s what made us unbeatable. This year, Xavi’s been on and off, dealing with heavy marking and generally not playing as well. Iniesta’s been hampered by injuries, dating back to his “sacrifice” in the CL final that kept him out of international duty. Henry wasn’t the player he used to be at Arsenal last season, and is far less so this season. Ibra has changed our style, and has himself not been so great. Instead of Yaya, we mostly play Busquets. So it’s just different this season…what we saw last season may very well have been a once-in-a-lifetime event.

    Beyond all that, when you look at the losses and draws the other CL sides are racking up (that includes the Premiership Big Four), Barca is still one of the best teams in the world. I have every hope for a great CL run.

  27. Lumi
    January 6, 2010

    Refs will always make mistakes till they stop being mortal.

  28. Jim
    January 6, 2010

    I don’t think we draw conclusions from one match. My problem is that this has been happening regularly now, even in some of the matches that we have scraped a win in.

    Last year we dismissed teams with our passing. They were never in with a chance and we knew it. This year I’m nervous before games because I know that team selection is likely to cost us and it often does.

    We are now in danger of losing confidence in our passing game which would be fatal. I don’t care about resting players atm. We need to re-establish our credentials for the rest of the season. I’m sorry to say it but I’m going to pin the blame for this largely on Pep who either has an inflated idea of the ability of our younger players which is worrying or else underrates the unique football which is played when Yaya teams up with Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.

    For the record anybody who pulls a shirt outside the box and contines into the box deserves to have a penalty awarded whether technically correct or not . . and i did see Alves as being just offside.

    Defensively I thought both Milito and Maxwell were decent – the other two weren’t. Can’t agree that Chignasty deserves any more time on the pitch. He’s super slow and if we’re looking to Pique to become our rock in defence we can’t have two super slo mos in the middle. Like Bojan, I’m not seeing what his qualities are even on a good day.

    Btw, this isn’t panic. It’s a growing awareness that disappointments are stacking up in front of us unless we work out how to combat the tactics used against us. Let’s not pretend there isn’t a problem. It also isn’t pessimistic I don’t think. When we play our first 11 we will win because then we have the technical ability to withstand other teams pressuring us. Still think we need a quality forward in the transfer window, if one is available at a reasonable price.

  29. Lumi
    January 6, 2010

    And what makes us feel after January there will be a smooth patch till June? At some point along the way the going will always be rough so we must be BUILT FOR THE KILL.

  30. Lumi
    January 6, 2010

    You don’t have to be sorry Jim coz i second you on that it’s Pep’s fault.

  31. vicsoc8
    January 6, 2010

    I feel lucky that I support a team where a 2-1 loss to Sevilla in the copa del rey is considered a major setback by the fans and has loads of people complaining.


    • Tyler
      January 6, 2010

      true that, it’s only the second time we’ve lost ALL SEASON and we are PISSED!!!

  32. Areign
    January 6, 2010

    When you say messi was selfish, I agree, however when you say he should have passed to ibra on that one play, i disagree. Ibra was offside during the ENTIRETY of that play. from when Messi got the ball, to when messi should have passed and should have been able to pass to an onside teammate.

    Also Dani was onside on his play as replays show.

    • Kxevin
      January 6, 2010

      I’ll watch again, and correct the record if I’m crazy (which has been known to happen). Word.

      They showed the Alves one time and again, and he was off from the only angle that mattered, though it was definitely tight. And for that matter, whatever happened to the “tight ones are supposed to go the way of the offense” dictums that people were talking about last season? Officials seem to show that they can be more picayune than the next, by calling miniscule offside events.

    • vicsoc8
      January 6, 2010

      Well Kxevin, imagine you’re the linesman, that job has to be so incredibly boring. They run up and down the sideline all game just waiting for their chance to raise the flag. It’s not surprising that they raise it when one of the players hairs is across the line.

      • January 6, 2010


        True that, right? I distinctly remember that officials in all competitions were told to relax, so that offenses could flow more freely. We’ve been particularly bitten by that one this season, as Henry and Ibrahimovic like to exist right off the shoulder of the defensive line.

  33. January 6, 2010

    Note to all:

    We have new “voices” in the house, so the time is right to lay out a very gentle reminder: We have a standard here. If you disagree with someone, that can be made clear without insulting them, or telling them to “beat it.”

    The offending comment has been edited, and apologies to Tutomate for getting caught in the blowback, because you are absolutely right.

    Some people come here from message boards and other spaces in which things such as flame wars, etc. go on. That doesn’t happen here, mostly because of the tone that is set by the people who visit here. When Isaiah, Hector and I have to police it, we will.

    I don’t like naming names, because you know who you are. But we just don’t play that way here.

    Thanks, everyone.

  34. January 6, 2010

    Guardiola, by the by, fessed up to the issues that were a direct result of his selection. But it certainly doesn’t sound as though, given the situation, that he would do anything differently. And you know what?

    He shouldn’t.

    I don’t think that any of ua agree with his selection for this match. But certain people have always played the Copa, and you build loyalty by sticking to principles. Yes, we could have rolled out an A team and put the smack down on Sevilla. But in many ways, I would rather go out of the Copa with our principles intact, than win it with.

    The damage done to not only player confidence, but the perception of Guardiola as someone who has confidence in us, until the going is serious, would be significant. Hats off to our coach, despite the result, for sticking to his guns.

    • missingpage
      January 6, 2010

      I Couldn’t agree with you more on that one and as Pep nicely put it you cant win six cups with 11 players…
      I think that our team last night had the same talent as the team that won the copa last year…

  35. vicsoc8
    January 6, 2010

    Looking at the game, it astounds me that Milito was our best defender on the pitch (including Marquez). The guy comes back from 28 years of solitude and is immediately better than our other backups? Crazy.

    Forget Chygrynskiy, it’s too early to tell how that one will work out. I’m much more concerned about Marquez. This is the guy who has been a rock in the team for many years (and started as a DM if you remember), but he’s playing like he aged 20 years since the end of last season. He was even playing well at the start and middle of last season.

    What’s the deal? Marquez has had a great career with us, I’d hate to see him fade into ignominy.

    • Blow-Granite
      January 6, 2010

      I believe in Milito aka Hackman!!!

      • Tyler
        January 6, 2010

        yeah i noticed that too. this was my first match to watch milito play in full and he looked like he hadn’t missed a single match! and on the goal that capel scored, maxwell’s positioning is atrocious. he leaves capel completely unmarked for the go ahead goal by JUMPING into the center of the box. i like maxwell a lot, I think he serves his role well for the most part, but that was just horrible.

    • BL
      January 6, 2010

      well first its not surprising to me that milito played well, hes a great defender and hes already shown that in blaugrana colours.

      second, its not the first time marquez has gone into a deep, deep funk.

  36. January 6, 2010

    My my… the Three Kings did not behave very well this year.

    Notes and stuff:

    – Give Sevilla their due. Pep wasn’t being patronizing when he said that they are the deepest team in Europe. Yes, they brought out their A Team but this is a team ravaged by injuries and the ACN and they still have a bunch of legit bad ass players to play. My opposing MVP’s: Konko, who shut down our left wing and owned it, and Perotti who wrecked havoc down the left all game long and gave Chygnasty nightmares.

    – What they did is nothing new. Its the same thing that Villareal did. Its a dose of our own medicine. High pressure and make us work our asses off just to get the ball past midfield. Believe it or not but it seemed to me at times that we were playing AGAINST Barcelona. It was a brave, “we’ve got nothing to lose” type decision that they executed well.

    But…if doing that is so effective, why don’t more teams do it against us? Will every team from here on out bring up the high pressure and give us nightmares? Because the reason its brave its that it is also incredibly risky. When teams go high up to pressure us we HAVE to make them pay. How? I smell a new article but lets at least discuss what went wrong:

    – The two CB’s HAVE to split up more when playing the ball out. We have to use the wings. Why? Because if you draw the overloading pressure to a wing then the center opens up or, like with our own high pressure, a cross field pass opens up on the other side of the field. However, when facing a high pressure scheme, we have to get mobile in midfield and play balls into space, run onto them and then quickly move them forward to make the opposing team pay for their daring.

    – High pressure has a Catch 22: if the back four of the pressuring team stay back then there is space between the lines in midfield which we can exploit. The problem is that the midfielders will be tightly marked. So, you exploit the space by playing balls into space and making runs. Marquez’s lack of mobility kicked us in the ass here as did Thiago’s inexperience (which should not take away too much from a very good debut from the rookie considering the circumstances). On the other hand, if they centerbacks play up field, they compress the space which makes the high pressure more effective (which is what we usually do) BUT make themselves vulnerable to long balls breaking the offside trap. See the Ibra goal for an example. If they do this, we MUST make them pay.

    Sorry for the rambling, I’ll try to get something better compiled to explain those concepts better.

    – Hopefully you guys see why I have been so pumped about Thiago for a few seasons now. Its been a while since we had some Brazilian flare in midfield. The guy has oodles of potential which makes the battle with JDS for young’in in waiting all the more interesting although they do have perceptively different styles.

    – I actually though Chygnasty was not doing too bad until the penalty sapped his confidence to hell and gone. Shame on the people booing him every time he touched the ball. The guys is gonna need some Pep “Talking” now. Keep in mind that a great deal of the confusion in the back is on the keeper who should be communicating with his CB’s and coordinating the ball exits. Pinto was not good at all yesterday. Milito gets some slack what with this being his first real game in over a year and a half.

    – I gotta agree with CT’s case of the shits. The guy is just not doing good enough for a first teamer.

    …I’ll think of more stuff later.

    • Blow-Granite
      January 7, 2010

      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………is waiting for Hector to finish thinking and put pen to paper!!!!

  37. Vj
    January 6, 2010

    Whatever y’all might say, I put the blame on yesterday’s loss squarely on Dumb and Dumber (Moaf and Eklavya). Isaiah gets an honorary mention for a stream of mine..

  38. Vj
    January 6, 2010

    Whatever y’all might say, I put the blame on yesterday’s loss squarely on Dumb and Dumber (Moaf and Eklavya). Isaiah gets an honorary mention for ruining a stream of mine..

  39. jordi
    January 6, 2010

    Thiago is old school Deco.Watching his brother Rafa with the spain under 17’s , made me feel bad not knowing how we can keep all these potential studs in the future.

    • drew
      January 6, 2010

      i feel the same way. thiago’s game reminded me a bit of deco’s.

    • BL
      January 6, 2010

      the boy’s got some ronnie in him too, the way he used the bottom of his foot roll the ball around that defender then deftly float a ball right onto someone’s boot has some buck-toothed swagger to it. high hopes for senor alcantara for sure.

  40. cleareyesfullhearts
    January 6, 2010

    i’m a sevilla fan, but i wanted to comment a bit on the match and this community’s reaction to it.

    1. what’s with all the ref-blaming? gosh, you guys sound like chelsea fans! i agree that your annulled goal should have stood, but so also should have ours. would you rather have the final score 2-3 or 1-2? thank the ref for keeping the away goals deficit you now need to surmount to a minimum. and regardless of that, you all support a true team of champions! you support a team the likes of which the world has never seen! you have many of the best players in the world! at times you play with a fluidity and beauty that elevates sport nearly to art! don’t you feel that bitching about how a ref’s decision to give a penalty for a foul that happened both in and out of the box cost you the game is…sort of beneath you?

    2. i certainly would never compare EE and barca as teams, but sometimes reading this blog and the comments i feel like your recent success has made (attracted?) supporters who are very similar to madridistas in all the worst ways. you guys just lost to a very talented CL-level team that won its group easily in the CL, and many of you seem to be outraged at the disgrace of losing to such a small, insignificant team. the attitude from many commenters (not all…there are also many who are reacting reasonably) seems to be that this sort of loss is “beneath” your team. also, i can’t remember if it’s isaiah or kxevin, but one of those two always laughs off the the UEFA/europa cup as some NIT-style worthless championship. that’s exactly the kind of perspective someone who would only ever cheer for 1 of the 10 or so teams in europe that can compete for the CL every year. it’s a very narrow viewpoint, and it’s…well, it’s the sort of attitude i’d expect to hear coming from the capital. ONLY THE BIGGEST AND THE BEST MATTER TO ME!!!

    3. finally, i want to say i really enjoy watching barcelona play when they’re on. i didn’t want last year to end bc i knew there’d never be another team like them (including the 09-10 version of barca…sadly). you all have a lot to be proud of, but don’t let it go to your heads or you’ll end up as insufferable as the ones you love to hate the most.


    • Kxevin
      January 6, 2010

      Thanks for thr visit, and the comment. It’s Isaiah who disdains the Copa. My history with the club envompasses roo many silverless years for me to scoff at any accolades.

      Your lads handed out asses to us. And as I noted, the penalty and the blown offside call cancel each other out. My chagrin comes from the fact that we didn’t go down playing our best. If we play our game and still lose, you can feel good about the effort. But we were kinda stinky yesterday.

      Burrull hacked it up for both sides. I rarely blame a ref for a call, because the player still puta himaelf in the position to get hosed. If a ref makes a bad call, he saw it that way, without the luxury of slow-mo replay.

      So please understand, that yes we have high expectations for our side. That’s what fans do. Full credit to you for out Barca-ing Barca. Now we see what happens on the return leg.

    • stephen
      January 6, 2010

      We have to be critical of a team that has achieved so much, and unfortunately in that critizism, we take the other teams and assume them less, but like Kxevin said, its the nature of fans, and more so for Barcelona fans whom are used to the beautiful way our players play. And of course, we are naggers, but regardless i dont appreciate the comparison, we are better than madridistas by a LOT.

      • January 7, 2010

        True, Stephen, but you can see how the seeming sense of entitlement could be construed thusly. It’s all good, and I think that every club’s fans have high expectations. Ours have certainly been tempered by six trophies in less than 12 months, I’d say.

    • January 7, 2010

      I think it’s important to say that I do not disdain the Copa. I like the Copa. But I do not value the Copa as much as other competitions. I do, however, disdain the Europa League, which I do not think should exist just as I do not think that the GMAC Bowl that just finished on ESPN should exist. But I understand why it does.

      The NIT is lame. I will not watch Kansas if it plays in it. The Europa League is lame. I bet I’d watch Barça in it, but only for purposes of this blog. The reason is because there’s an actual tournament that has been created for those who finish, you know, higher than 5th in their league. I also think it bears repeating that I am for parity. I am for Barcelona being clamped down on fiscally along with the rest of the footballing world. I am for that. The UEFA Super Cup was fun, I’ll admit, but that’s because I love basically any one-off match with a title on the end. I bet I’ll watch the Europa League final this year, in fact. But that doesn’t make it not a second-tier competition that is, in the end, meaningless. It’s the “oh great you’re not a big team” cup, which is fine and dandy and all, but why not just actually level the playing field instead of faking it with some crapass, second-rate cup?

      As for Barça itself, at the moment: I thought we would win this match because we would be the better squad on the day. I was wrong. Sevilla did what they had to do and while I do believe that, ultimately, they were lucky to escape as they did, in many ways we were also lucky to escape as we did. And, as Kevin said, Burrull was just crap all around. That Chygrynskiy penalty was probably his best call and even that one was disputable. I don’t think the Ibra penalty shout was actually a penalty, but there are, I’m sure, strong arguments that it was.

      Ibra blew it for himself on Bojan’s goal by yelling at the ref after that penalty shout and thus making sure that no calls went his way after that. Burrull, however, didn’t give Busi a card for running down Capel unnecessarily, gave Sevilla a free-kick on the edge of the box after dismissing a blatant foul by, I think, Konko on Maxwell, but calling what definitely was a foul on Chygrynskiy, and the linesmen incorrectly gave offside to a host of players on both sides (though not Dani on the goal he scored; I maintain that was the proper call). I think I’m being fair here, but perhaps not.

      As for expectations: I come from a family of Kansas Jayhawks, who, for the first 25 years of my life, were championshipless because, when it came down to it, I didn’t experience the 1988 championship since I was 5 and living abroad (and wouldn’t have cared at the time anyway had I known about it). I know what droughts are like and I’m actually okay with them. I never want our winning to end, but I sure hope I have the decency to understand that it’ll be okay. I mourn Barça losses like Kansas losses, by sulking and being overly irritated (my gf looks them up online when she’s at work just to see whether I’ll be pissy or not, like some 5-year old), but our wins don’t make me complacent, they make me over-joyed. Draws make me go “erm” most of the time and unsure of how to act cause it’s not like we lost but we didn’t win either (American brain explodes).

      I am and ever shall be an optimist when it comes to sports and I can’t wait for our next match because I want to see our boys in action. Also, it’s basketball season (suck it, Cornell!) and so I’m up to my eyeballs in emotions, blog posts, and that which constitutes my social life (emotions and blog posts, primarily).

    • Tutomate
      January 7, 2010

      You are right. But I don’t think anyone here takes Sevilla as an “insignificant team” onthe contrary.

      • Tutomate
        January 7, 2010

        Damn my comment seems completely stupid and unnecesary now. Damn you K man and I man

      • stephen
        January 7, 2010

        I was a sevilla man myself on that Madrid win haha! so they are not insignificant.

    • cliveee
      January 7, 2010

      Respect for Sevilla, really. I enjoy watching Sevilla when it is on too, and I never thought your team is small and insignificant at all. They gave us another home defeat after Rubin Kazan, which I think is not in a bad time and situation (Copa). But with only 15 players, they came and beat us.

      No excuse besides we were playing really badly. I expect to see a battle when we meet again. I’m especially excited to see the attacking line of Sevilla versus our A team defense. Not that I am saying you guys can only beat our B team defense, but I’ve always liked players such as Navas, Capel, Perotti and some other players. So, I wanna see a better fight! no, like this bad one.

      Forgive us for being spoiled by Barca. We are used to winning, and when we don’t win, we complain. that’s how much pressure the whole team faces. we have many harsh critics and fans sitting home talking carefree. So, don’t let it bother you.

    • UAI
      January 7, 2010

      I don’t agree with everything Cleareyes, but that was a thoughtful and interesting comment. Thanks for stopping by

  41. ooga aga
    January 7, 2010

    cleareyesvisine: good points. no crying here though. i root for sevilla in europe. they play nice football. easy on the eyes. happy to let them win gainst our B team in the first leg. you;re welcome for capel. now for una buena remontada.

  42. Jose62
    January 7, 2010

    cleareyesfullhearts, go away, can’t you see that this is a Barca blog and why you com ehere and talk ish about us, go back to your own blog and let us live in our own echo chamber of idiocy and whining…

    Is what we would be saying if we were like 99% of most soccer blogs out there (you know who you are) 😉

    Seriously, though, I appreciate the comment, though try to understand that no one is diminishing Sevilla. If there’s one team in La Liga that I don’t find shame losing to, it’s Sevilla. But there is shame in the way we played, and we’re not shy to point it out.

    Hope to see you comment here again!

  43. cleareyesfullhearts
    January 7, 2010

    all–thanks for the comments, i really appreciate the thoughtful and composed responses. jose62–lol, when the page loaded i only saw the first line of your comment, and i thought “oh man, is he serious?!?” and then i scrolled down and saw that you are not. : )

    just in case there was any hard feelings on anyone’s part, though, and if it wasn’t clear from my first post, i was writing from a place of respect for you all (both the barca team and community at large, as well as this blog, which i enjoy regularly reading both for the posts and most of the comments), and not as a hater. and my comments were a reaction to some, not all, of the comments here…i’ve been a lurker and occasional commenter here and at the offside for the last couple years, and i know that for the most part you guys are class.

    isaiah, we’ll have to agree to disagree about the europa. i understand your points about equalling the playing field (i’d love to see it, too), but as a fan of a team whose most glorious silverware run is in part composed of a couple of those cups (and as someone who does not believe the big clubs will ever allow that kind of regulation), i simply can’t agree that those cups don’t matter. what are mid-level clubs left to hope for outside of their domestic leagues (almost always dominated by 2 or more big-money clubs)? as a sevilla fan in the early part of the decade, i always appreciated that there was so much more to play for in a season than just first place. it’s one of the strengths the european format has over playoffs here in the states. i understand that as a big club fan, everything below you seems small, but understand that from where we’ve come in the last decade, the stuff above seems very large indeed.

    (i also can’t resist saying: ooga aga, thanks for the little time capel spent with barca before he grew up in our youth system. you are of course very welcome for dani alves and keita.)

    best of luck to you all next week (and the week after!). funnily enough, i seem to feel that barca reversing the result is more likely than many of you, although that probably has a bit to do with watching the last 6 or so matches sevilla has played, and our ever-lengthening injury report.

    thanks again, and visca el barca (except against the rojiblanco!)

    • Tyler
      January 7, 2010

      Cleareyes = class act. There is no shame in losing to Sevilla, they are a great team that knows how to just destroy teams on the wings, and I love to watch them play. I especially enjoyed watching them beat Real Madrid this season 🙂
      I just hate watching my team lose, but if we lose I’m happy that it’s to a team who plays very nice open football (and from Andalucia!) I think everyone here is just very passionate about this team, we expect the best from our players because we truly believe they are exactly that – the best. When we see them play below the level we know they are capable of, we all get a little testy. Much respect and looking forward to our next clash, although let’s both hope for better refs!

  44. Blow-Granite
    January 7, 2010

    The biggest problem with this match was the Defensive Midfielder position.
    Marquez almost always passed the ball back when he received it, or tried to pass it straight to a forward instead of trying to make triangles in the midfield and allow Xavi or Thiago to do their magic. The Defensive Mid is also the position where the ball gets to be fed to either wing and that distribution was a little screwed up as well. On the other hand all the other midfielder like Xavi, Iniesta, Keita, Busi, Yaya know how to change the direction of their body so as to enable the ball to move up the pitch and then to make the pass. I do not think Marquez will or should be playing that position again.

    • Kxevin
      January 7, 2010

      Exactly! That’s why I noted in my review/rating of Marquez that he didn’t screw up (though he really should have been in the box for that fire drill goal), but he didn’t do anything, either. And by not doing anything, I mean exactly what Blow-Granite stated so well.

      I think that a Barca-style DM has to do more than function as a layer of defense between the midfield and the back line. So the distribution complexities noted by others were a direct result of having a defender as a DM. It’s why I think that Piquenbauer would be a nice experiment in that DM role, because he does function more as that kind of intermediate link.

      But without that link, Ghostface was running hither and yon to pick up the ball, rather than having it delivered to him on a platter. That’s a lot of why he got tired in the second half, because he had to go get the ball, then do his thing to get free from the initial pressure, then think about creation/distribution. That’s hard, yo.

      And here’s what I will say about Iniesta in the Xavi role: What I love so much about Xavi, is that he understands not only passing and what pass to make, but who he’s passing to and how to pass it. So his pass to, say, Abidal will be different than his pass to Messi or Ibrahimovic.

      Iniesta is a bit more ambitious than Xavi, and doesn’t quite have that situational knack yet. But the future of that position is definitely bright, because he was dazzling in the first half, but in a different/more dangerous way than Xavi.

  45. Kxevin
    January 7, 2010

    And it’s Vieira to Citeh, so that rumor can officially be squashed.

  46. Tom
    January 7, 2010

    Anybody no any other good FCB related websites/blogs to check out? I love this site but want to have others to look at too when there isn’t a fresh post here…

    • Vj
      January 7, 2010

      Try / or /

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