View from the stands: Spain vs. Chile

One of our long-time members, Eklavya, was lucky enough to attend the friendly between Spain and Chile yesterday, and was generous enough to write up his experience for us! Take it away, Ek:

I was on holiday in New York when I saw a tweet from @barcastuff mentioning this friendly match taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. Matches of this caliber don’t take place here often since the maximum capacity of the stadium is only 30 000. As soon as I saw the tweet, I called my buddies, made up my plans and bought tickets to this match for the really cheap price of 44.- CHF per ticket (approximately €35 and $47).

We arrived at the stadium right in time to see the teams warming up and playing a few rounds of rondos. With the exception of Sanchez, no Chile player got much applause from the crowd when their names were being announced. As you might expect, most of the Spanish players got the full applause, with Iniesta, Ramos and Villa getting the loudest cheers in that order. It seemed many people had never heard of Mario Suarez, Monreal, Javi Garcia, and so were left scratching their heads.

As I noticed the last time I went to a stadium, the bright green pitch looks smaller in reality than on TV, which I guess is due to the height and optics of the cameras.

I had tickets for the corner sector in the north stands, but our seats turned out to be way lower than I had imagined. Although you could see the some players closely, the gridded metal fence was chopping part of our view into perfect cubes. The good thing was that Spain’s bright red and Chile’s white jerseys really stood out well on the pitch.

photo 1

After seeing Valdes and Sergio Ramos high-five and hug, we were treated to a first class view of the Chile’s first goal at only the 5th minute. The thing about watching matches live is that without the visual help of replays from all angles, you (or at least I) forget the overall play pretty quickly. Instead you’re left with the post-goal impact and a vivid atmosphere, which gets accentuated a tiny bit more as you take a big sip from your beer to celebrate.

Much to our dismay, the stadium had plenty of spare seats remaining even after the kickoff, and I felt our (relatively) small town wasn’t doing justice to this team despite being generally very knowledgeable about football matters. They later announced that the crowd was made up of a meager 15000 supporters, exactly half of the stadium’s capacity, and half of the crowd that had turned up for the Argentina-Portugal match a few years ago.

photo 2

After Chile’s goal we decided to try our luck at moving towards the middle sector. As the prices vary from sector to sector, changing seats isn’t “legal” strictly speaking, but after sneaking out and exchanging a few smooth words with the security guard, we found ourselves sitting in the much more comfy and padded seats of the VIP section. For the record, the guy in front of us was holding a 134.- CHF ($143/ €108) ticket. However, the atmosphere in this sector was noticeably more subdued and many more expensive clothes were visible, but I digress.

Coming back to the actual match, which we had sort of forgotten in our excitement, we could now see the whole field perfectly well, as well as make out the formations and the players.

photo 3

The most noticeable feature on the whole pitch was easily Santi Cazorla’s ridiculously small height, even as compared to the low average of Spain’s team. Alexis, pretty short as well, did not give the same impression at all due to his noticeable strength. Combined with his speed and work rate, he looked like a bull willing to take on anyone. Pedro, who is around the same height and capable of matching Sanchez’s work ethic, did not make an noticeable impression on me, although he did have a good game, providing assists for both goals.

Similarly, Xavi and Fabregas, both starters and stars, didn’t strike me in any particular way (as disappointing as that can sound). On the other hand, Don Andres Iniesta, who came on in the second half for Xavi, was clearly on a higher level than the rest. Despite not having any “magic” moments, he still moved glided on the pitch in way that made the pitch glow brighter and better (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating :D ).

Negredo, taller than most others, was pretty craptastic in his passes and decision making when he came on late in second half. Koke showed some (surprisingly) good technical abilities and maturity in one particular (somewhat) sticky situation.

Overall, Spain were not exactly impressive that day, and were lucky to get a game-tying goal in the last minute. Also, the Chile fans were louder than the rest of the stadium combined.

photo 4

Highlight of the day:

At half time we decided to go up as close to the pitch as possible and try to get Iniesta’s attention as he was warming up, but he ignored our cries for 10 whole minutes, returned to the bench to remove his training kit and put on his red jersey. Not giving up yet, the small crowd of fans that had gathered up there (mostly consisting of small kids and their parents) jumped up the small chain barrier and ran up to the seats closest to the bench that had apparently been closed off for security reasons. Iniesta, apparently having heard our shouts, came out and threw his light blue training kit at us which I missed by a few only inches.

photo 5

Next thing we knew, all the players were coming out of the tunnel again and the security guys were all over us. Despite the chaos, Casillas came up as close as possible you can get to a crowd of crazy fans and signed a few shirts while mumbling something in Spanish. You can imagine the craziness that ensued when Pepe Reina and Villa came out a few moments later and sat on the bench, right next to where we were congregating. Reina gave us a somewhat warm nod and thumbs up, whereas Villa, who has a full badass black beard, gave us his eyebrows-raised-cold-stare-of-death that he’s known for (that’s just how he is). At this point the security had enough and started booting everyone out, but I couldn’t be bothered: I had just seen three major stars from as close as possible you can be.

So, that sums up my interesting evening. On a final note dedicated to all the ladies on my twitter timeline who might wonder at times: when the match ends and players take off their shirts you can make out the lines of their abs from the stands pretty well.

What, no pic of that??? :( Thanks very much anyway, Ek! We always appreciate game reports from members of the family!

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194 Responses to “View from the stands: Spain vs. Chile”

  1. Barcaleya says:

    So happy you got to see them up close, Ek!

    And no – you’re not exaggerating re Iniesta – I’ve seen him/them couple of times and I agree that you do notice him more than the others. He looks like an S in the field while everyone seems to be rigidly vertical.

    Thanks for sharing the experience!

  2. lea_terzi says:

    Thanks for sharing the experience, Ek!
    Btw, totalbarca shared the translation of the interview Alexis gave before this match: http://www.totalbarca.com/2013/interviews/alexis-if-it-werent-for-football-i-would-still-be-washing-cars/

    It sounds like he finds the system and his role at Barca restrictive, and I don’t see how that’s going to change with Messi and Neymar needing freedom in the front three. Alexis is the one tasked with providing width and discipline and defense, and it’s wearing on him. Hope Tata Martino’s less deliberate, more vertical approach gives Sanchez more space, confidence and allows him to shine. I was always rooting for him to succeed here, and he comes off as a lovely person in that interview.

    • dl says:

      I have always like Alexis, and after reading that interview I like him even more. Tough, kind, good heart, tremendous work ethic, and no sense of entitlement. Humble and grateful for the opportunities he’s had. I wish him all the luck.

      • blitzen says:

        I especially liked where he said his friend needs to “earn” the car he promised him, even if it was tongue-in-cheek. Too many footballers just throw around their money thinking they are being generous & attract the wrong kind of friends.

  3. KEVINO17 says:

    Not surprised alexis says its more tiring playing for Chile. he really is a monster, all over the park.
    If there is a better team to watch in world football, I’d love to know who they are. Love to see them make the semis, at least, in the world cup

  4. flyzowee says:

    Yeah I was going to post a link to that article.
    The part that stood out for me was when he said he that at barca he tries to take on players 1v1 and shoot only to realise that the rest of the team is behind him.
    An interesting read.

    Oh and thnx to Ek man for the match report.

  5. blitzen says:

    If you are interested in reading a first-hand English account of yesterday’s Catalan Way, check out Liz Castro’s blog:

    http://backtobarcelona.blogspot.ca/2013/09/one-part-of-way.html

    You can also follow her on twitter: @lizcastro

  6. Kxevin says:

    Interesting, from @barcastuff on Twitter:

    Barcelona games played by Puyol, per season since 1999/2000: 37 – 24 – 51 – 46 – 38 – 45 – 52 – 55 – 47 – 45 – 48 – 27 – 44 – 22 – 0

    • simple_barcafan says:

      Also @barcastuff:
      Tata Martino had several new printers installed at Barcelona’s sports centre as he wants all information also available on paper. [sport]

      Rosell must be fuming…

    • Rami says:

      In season 2010-2011, We conceded only 36 goals in all competition, The lowest figure ever? Yet puyol only played 27 matches.
      But in that particular season, We reached the highest average possession in our history, a whooping 73.3%.

      • Kxevin says:

        Exactly. Ball control is more important than a CB.

        • Levon says:

          Yes, but up to a point.

          More and more teams cede us control of the ball yet create better chances than us over ninety minutes.

          • Kxevin says:

            Which has to do usually with a breakdown in the midfield and loss of ball control, leading directly to dangerous counterattacks.

          • Levon says:

            Sure. That and set pieces.

            The question then becomes whether or not those breakdowns and set pieces are inevitable. If they are not (or not enough so), then we might need a different type of defense to deal with it.

          • Kxevin says:

            Ah. That means a Premiership-style defense, which goes directly against the way the club plays. With that playing style, comes risk. So you either play as we do, or you line up Kompany, Ferdinand, etc, and do it that way.

            Personally, I’d rather have our style, with a bit of risk.

          • Rami says:

            That’s the flip side of our possession based football, We need triangulations, At least 10 passes, and a perfect through ball to even get a chance against the opposition, In contrast all they have to do is make 2 or 3 vertical passes, And they’ll be facing no nothing but valdes, The 3-1 classico of last season, The atletico game in camp this season, Are both perfect examples.
            So the question now become, Is the trade-off worth it?, And the answer currently is yes, But not for long, The triangulation and passes and our execution which we depend on to win, Is itself also dependent on the caliber of the players we have, Like Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and specially messi, And with them declining and gone, Our style will simply be impossible to maintain.

          • Levon says:

            @kxevin
            I didn’t mean thaaat different, lol

            @rami
            Impossible to maintain? Our style has more or less been the same since Cruijff returned to the club as a trainer some 25 yrs ago. It will continue to evolve.

  7. Levon says:

    Thank you for your contribution, Eklavya!

  8. Jim says:

    From Barcastuff : Barcelona’s first offer regarding the renewal of Andres Iniesta has not been accepted. A second offer is expected in the coming weeks. [ser]

    Should I be worried ?

    • Kxevin says:

      Nope. Iniesta isn’t a happy bunny, with his favorite trainer gone, role change and best friend leaving because of something that was done to him (yes, I believe this).

      But he is Barça for life. The first offer is almost always rejected.

    • Rami says:

      We’re forgetting that this is just a rumor, Neither confirmed by the agent or the player, Sport and MD report that the negotiations are in fact progressing smoothly.

  9. Rami says:

    Highlights of Sergi Samper Vs Tenerife:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z0x9qxTJt8

    Our biggest la masia talent, Two seasons and we’ll see him in the first team.

  10. Kxevin says:

    The noise about this River Plate defender, Eder Alvarez Balanta, is increasing. The River Plate president quoted today as saying “Tata said he is going to need defenders.”

    Here’s a YouTube highlights package:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ6_B8iTvIs

    Like all YouTube players, he looks like the Second Coming. I find individual (complete) match highlights more interesting, because there isn’t any cherry picking, as there would be with a player compilation.

    • lea_terzi says:

      He’s 20, too old for the B team, but could be a welcome addition to the 1st team bench with opportunities in copa, rotation matches and as injury backup. It would spell the end (or loan) for Bartra, who the coaches don’t seem to trust. There’s quite a bit of hype surrounding him, might opt for a season at a Porto/Udinese/Roma type of club, and then a big money transfer to the elite if he pans out. If we have a positive scouting report and coach’s approval, it could be shrewd business to get him now on the cheap.

    • Clouseau says:

      Initially i didn’t take it seriously when MD mentioned it after all it happened after he became a Jorge Mendes client a couple of weeks before. But yeah Passarella put the cat out of the bag.

      Hope the club will benifit from Tata’s knowledge of SA football.

  11. blitzen says:

    The MiniClasico between Barça B & RM Castilla is on at 6 am EST Sunday morning. Anyone going to watch it with me?

  12. alpinegroove says:

    What would you do when Puyol is back? Mascherano seems to be in the best form right now, but I can’t see taking Pique out, the only tall defender…

    I suppose there will be some kind of rotation. Mascherano and Pique can’t play everything as they have been…

    • Kxevin says:

      Mascherano’s form is too good for him not to be first choice at CB. Height isn’t everything, particularly with “No Jump” Pique.

      I imagine he will be worked in gradually, once he returns.

      • Levon says:

        Height isn’t everything, but height + body go a very long way, which is why Pique doesn’t have to jump to be an excellent aerial defender.

        On the other hand Mascherano’s lack of height has already led to him giving up a couple of set-piece scoring opportunities in the handful of matches played so far. Agree that he is the man in form and should be considered first choice over an aging, back-from-serious injury capita.

        • swamidigital says:

          It’s not so much lack of height, as lack of vertical. I mean look at Nate Robinson, he’s the exact same height as Mascherano and I guarantee there is not a person in football at any height who could outjump him for a header. Maybe we need to get the Barca basketball coaches to work with our midgets. :-P

          • Levon says:

            Heightwise, comparing basketball players to soccer players does not work. Most NBA midgets are UEFA giants.

            Also it is not all about outjumping people. It is about using your body and height to dominate the space where the attacker wants to jump to.

            A strong vertical can go some ways to compensate, but does not completely eliminate the original handicap. Nate Robinson might get up higher than a lot of his taller colleagues, he still stands to get his shot blocked / outrebounded because a taller and stronger body is already there where Nate wants to go even before jumping.

          • swamidigital says:

            Nate Robinson actually has a good finishing % around the basket, and some spectacular tip dunk rebounds. The problem with height in the NBA, and why it is necessary has nothing to do with controlling airspace, and everything to do with the ability to shoot over someone. Even if you can jump and block someone (and 7 footers in the NBA do get blocked by smaller players like this from time to time) a simple shot fake can do you in. Those problems don’t really exist in football.

            Mascherano actually does a good job of using his body to control space, but a lot of times he looks weak on corners when the ball sails over him and someone jumping behind him is able to connect. From my anecdotal experience watching him, I think jumping higher would cure most of his ills. After all, at 5’9″ he’s only losing some inches to the taller strikers out there, and many of them don’t have amazing vert themselves.

        • Kxevin says:

          If Pique is an “excellent aerial defender,” I am Queen Elizabeth.

          • Levon says:

            Well, right now he is our best after Puyol anyway.

          • Jafri says:

            Your Majesty.

            *bows*

          • blitzen says:

            Queen Elizabeth? Isaiah? is that you?

            (BFB in-joke for those who remember that far back :D )

          • Jim says:

            Have a look at the Bayern games, your Majesty :)

            Seriously, I can’t believe people are even talking about Mascherano in the same breath as either Pique or Puyol. We have already seen he is a liability on cross balls, he is still jumping in when he shouldn’t although I think he is starting to get the message there and he gets left playing forwards onside …. because he is not a natural CB. We will win nothing with him as first or second choice. You can’t have a tiny tot at the heart of your defence at this level. They draw Pique wide and fire in a cross. I suspect that is why, despite the fact that Tata seems to be going for man to man he has left Pique free reign to go where he is needed on set pieces and corners.

            Did I mention the quality of Pique’s distribution going forward because when everything gets tight that’s gonna count big time.

          • Kxevin says:

            I have seen Pique done in the air too many times to consider him an excellent aerial defender. If he could actually jump, that would be one thing. He can’t. Not his fault, though, if you want to blame genetics.

            He also takes long strides instead of short ones in the box, thus often finding him off balance at key times. This means he gets muscled around a lot, or lunges too often.

            I think Pique is a fine defender, and works in the Barça context. But for all of Ferguson’s pique about his sale (see what I did there?), I reckon his only complaint was about the price, rather than the transaction itself.

            As for Mascherano being mentioned in the same breath as Puyol and Pique, yes. The way Martino has the CBs playing now is right in Mascherano’s wheelhouse. No, he isn’t a natural CB, but a natural CB (Ferdinand, Vidic, etc.) isn’t what our system needs. The way Martino has drawn it up so far, it actually prefers a DM’s skill set.

            I would take Mascherano’s tackling, anticipatory and ball winning abilities over the few times that we have to worry about him in an aerial duel.

            As well as he played last season and so far, this season, I admit to being surprised that there is still doubt about his capabilities at the center of our defense.

  13. PrinceYuvi says:

    Come saturday, come already.
    Can’t wait to see more of our signing of the summer.
    Tata, I mean. Pedro dropped but the babies are all in. AnimsTito.

    Also, thanks eklavya

  14. Rami says:

    Santi nolla, The director of mundo deportivo, Gave his thoughts about cruyff’s recent statements, I also shared similar opinion, Here is my ‘loose’ translation for everyone:

    “Luckily cruyff, Receded what he called ‘pin’ that distinguished him as the honorary president of FCB, Because he wasn’t a clear example today (Supporting ajax)”

    “Time always puts everything in it’s place, Laporta made the decision to appoint cruyff the honorary president near the end of his presidency, Without asking the assembly when he was about to leave, And he left rosell in a tough spot when he knew he was leading the polls”

    “The decision to give him the title didn’t happen in consensus, Not for a minute”

    “We must thank cruyff for his past and contribution to us, But an honorary president character should never be diving it’s environment”

    “Another thing we should know is that he won 3 European cups with ajax, The club that made him, Yet he finished his career with feyenoord, Ajax rival”

    “You can be with one or another (Rosell or laporta), But the team never changes, Yet cruff said he won’t set a foot in camp nou while rosell is still the president”

    “The fans may be with or against rosell, But they’ll always support the team, Any other attitude won’t be acceptable”

    “We remember cruyff’s importance, Magnitude, And reputation, But his support of ajax against FCB is anything but honorary”

    I apologize for any mistakes that i may have made in the translation, And this is the source:
    http://www.mundodeportivo.com/20130913/fc-barcelona/cruyff-con-el-ajax_54382388875.html

    • Kxevin says:

      Nolla is the chief suck-up at a suck-up publication that is part of the media empire helping Rosell solidify his power base. I am surprised he doesn’t accuse Cruijff of boiling and eating babies on weekends.

      • Rami says:

        I didn’t who nolla was until today actually, I just happened to came across his piece, And i decided to post what he said because it happened to echo perfectly with what’s on my mind, Nothing more.

        And i don’t see what is it about this piece that is being a suck-up, What does make of me then, Since i share the same view.
        By the way i’m not saying this in a high tone, Or getting defensive, Although it might look like it from the first impression.

      • blitzen says:

        Yeah, what he said. Santi Nolla is, to put it mildly, akin to an undigested bit of meat lodged very far up Rosell’s large intestine. His most recent bit of vitriol was an attack on Guardiola for trying to “score points” with the media by trying to repair his friendship with Tito. He’s a piece of work.

      • Rami says:

        I’m in the dark on what ever pieces he wrote before, And if i ever happened to read them i might also detest them, But it’s not logical do dismiss before-hand what someone says because he said X and Y before.
        In regard to cryuff, He didn’t say anything illogical, At least in my opinion.

        • Levon says:

          “but it’s not logical do dismiss before-hand what someone says because he said X and Y before.”

          Actually, as the head honcho of a publication that actively seeks to discredit certain people on behalf of the current administration, you should keep in mind his agenda when reading his columns.

          When taken at face value it sounds logical, but you should be very aware of the agenda behind his words.

      • Jim says:

        But which bit of it is wrong? I confess to not being an expert on this matter.

        • TITO says:

          If we are ok with it, when we detest almost everything that Rossell does and stands for, but regardless we still love our club and go to the stadium (those who have a chance)…isn’t that what Cruyff should do as well?
          Rossell isn’t Barca and Barca isn’t Rossell.
          That’s how i understood the column, and i don’t care what he wrote in the past. It’s this particular column which is discussed, and as Jim and Rami, i don’t see anything wrong there.

  15. Levon says:

    Cruijff has always claimed to have two loves in football, Barcelona and Ajax which, given his past with both clubs, is completely logical. That he is being pushed towards Ajax makes me very sad, but it is understandable (and completely in his character).

    Our club has stripped Cruijff from his honorary president title and refused to pay money owed to the Cruijff foundation destined to handicapped Catalan children. Its president disrespects him publically and has pushed both Barcelona football dailies to conduct smear campaigns against a man they should honor to this day.

    No man is bigger than a club, but our current administation is not bigger than Cruijff, he who turned around the Barça’s fortunes and put in place the philosophy for which it is revered around the world. I can safely to say that without Johan Cruijff the majority of us would not be FC Barcelona fans to begin with.

    • barca96 says:

      Yup. Without the Dutch influence, I wouldn’t have had more interest in Barca in 95. They used to show it unusually a lot on tv, I guess it was because of Cruyff.

    • Rami says:

      Cruyff wasn’t ‘stripped’ down from his title, He resigned, There is no such thing as honorary presidency in our club laws, Laporta by himself decided to create this title near the end of his time at the club, WITHOUT even taking the votes of the assembly on the matter, And when rosell came he put the title position under the vote on weather it should exist or not, But cruyff decided to take the short route and resign before such a voting took place.

      I’ve said many times before, Politics are very low on my priority list, And generally don’t like to discuss them, And certainly don’t have any ‘sides’, But cruyff isn’t an angel, Being great on the sporting aspect, Doesn’t necessarily makes him great outside of it.

      • Levon says:

        So what? Plenty of big clubs have honorary presidents/members who haven’t done half of what Johan Cruijff has done for Barça.

        Threatening to take his title was a stupid, petty thing to do and should serve us as indisputable proof of the complete and utter hypocrisy of our current president when he says that he wants to “unite” the different factions that exist in barcelonismo.

        • Rami says:

          Threatening?, Who said anything about that, I’m not sure why you’re insisting on having ‘cynical’ view on this matter.
          If we were ever to have such thing as honorary presidency, The votes of the members should be taken on the matter, And i would’ve done the same, And that’s how all decisions that concerns the club as a whole should take place, It prevents any president from having excess authority over the club, And i’m sure you’ll agree on this.
          I honestly do understand your frustration about this, It’s not a pretty sight to see someone like cruyff step down from such a title, But if we look at this objectively, The current board shouldn’t take the blame of either a deliberate incompetency or just willful ignorance of the past administration, Because if they really cared about pinning down this title in the club laws and ensure that cruyff stays for future presidency, They should’ve done it in the right way.

        • Kxevin says:

          For me, it’s a question of tone. Cruijff is quite clearly an Ajax-supporting bad guy, is how my editor’s eyes read it. Presumably that piece is an editorial rather than anything purporting to be “news,” which makes it the writer’s opinion.

          His view on Cruijff doesn’t stray very far from my “to hell with Guardiola” view in reality, right? But again, we need to apply some perspective, and I find it in top portion, about Laporta ramrodding the honorary role for Cruijff, and putting Rosell between a rock and a hard place. Should Rosell have put it to the Assembly? In retrospect, maybe. But he also shouldn’t have used another president’s Assembly vote to guide his decision to sell the front of the shirt. No MD editorials about THAT, though.

          How is it thus? For a wee honorarium for a man who helped define the club we are exalting today, and the club that Rosell wanted to be president of? What possible harm could could come of a little medallion, or whatever in the devil it was?

          The harm was in Rosell’s mind. He couldn’t well be seen in any way, shape or form honoring a man who, despite what he has done for the club, is an outsider. And the fact that Laporta gave him the award makes him not only an outsider, but the enemy, because any friend of my enemy is my enemy, right?

          So when you write a piece that is, in effect, a naked attempt at justifying Rosell’s petty, vindictive behavior, you are a sock puppet, plain and simple.

          Were I that person’s editor, I would have suggested that there is a way to write that piece that calls into question the deep ties that Cruijff has to both clubs, Ajax and Barça, and how complex it must be for him. You could craft an opinionated, yet neutral piece on such a thing.

          Instead, the sock puppet has given us, “Laporta gave him this important thing, and Cruijff supports Ajax anyhow.”

          So for me, the view that he supports is immaterial. One of my rules is always “consider the source.” The source(s), in this case, are flawed and demonstrably biased.

          Politics

          I can respect Rami’s view that politics sucks, and I just want to watch magical sprites kick a football around. But politics are, have been and always will be a part of this club. They taint so much, and explain worldviews that might otherwise seem innocent (or not). Politics is at the core of the way that the club is being run now, just as they were at the core of the way the club was being run under Laporta.

          Laporta wanted to use Barça as a stepping stone to becoming King of Catalunya. So he figured success would help that. Unprecedented success? So much the better. He did things, spent money, did ratty stuff. Was his heart in the right place? No. Were the accomplishments ultimately a delight? Yep. So that’s the quandary, but it’s also why I won’t be voting for Laporta in 2016 in the hopes for a better alternative.

          Rosell, because he hates Laporta, had to make everything that Laporta said and did, shit. Hence austerity, and selling the shirt because that evil man left the club in a bad way, etc, etc, right down to snatching a simple honorarium back from a man who has a vital role in this club’s history.

          Yes, Cruijff has said that he won’t set foot in the Camp as long as Rosell is president. So think about that for a second. He loves this club. Yet, his opposition to Rosell is so deep that he won’t see the club that he loves so, live, because of that man.

          That is politics. It’s a very real part of this club, as much as any of Messi’s goals or Iniesta’s mazy runs. Do I wish it wasn’t? Yep. But there it is.

          • Rami says:

            Thank you for the effort you put into this long piece.
            Politics can be head scratching, Subjective, And messy, And it gets darker the deeper we get, We can keep arguing about all the details, But in the end i don’t feel it’s necessary, Let’s just be glad we’re just outside viewers.

            If anyone ever sees me commenting about a political matter, My intention will always be to add balance to a certain discussion, I don’t like seeing Pro- or anti-rosell, Pro- or Anti-laporta cules, Taking ‘sides’ will weaken our club, And i don’t want it to ever reach the point of harming what we love the most…….Our football

            I’m dying of wait for the sevilla match, two very long weeks have passed without my beloved team.

          • Jim says:

            I asked above what he had said factually that was wrong and I can see that the writer’s point of view doesn’t strike a chord with many here but in the interests of balance (especially for the likes of me who aren’t really aware of the old politics) it’s good to hear both sides. I wouldnt learn much if all we got from this space was one side. Very rarely in situations like this does there turn out to be one clear black hatted villain. I can see why some don’t like the things Rosell has done and now I’ve a better idea why some don’t like Cruyff. FWIW, my only memory of Cruyff, except as a player and watching cameos like that unbelievable turn, is from a documentary on his life where I have to say he did come across as an opinionated asshole.

            As a teacher Kxevin I’m interested in the mechanics of journalism. Would you call in an article like that and suggest a change of slant ? Does that happen often? I watch Sunday Supplement with the football writers on a Sunday and boy army opinionated. Not sure any of them would take kindly to not being allowed their own slant on things. I’d assumed they were a law unto themselves on their newspaper.

          • Jim says:

            * boy are they opinionated

          • Levon says:

            Wow, Kevin just hit several nails right on the head.

          • Kxevin says:

            Yes, Jim, I would suggest that the writer massage his piece to remove the slant. To be as brief as possible, there is point of view, and bias. So my point of view is that Guardiola is the enemy at Bayern. Bias is “I hate Pep Guardiola for going to Bayern.”

            Both are valid, as long as they are understood, but the latter person, when they write anything about Guardiola, would necessitate that it be seen from that worldview.

            That article could very easily have been made more interesting and impactful without the poorly hidden slaps at Laporta and Cruijff, and the writer’s point would have been better made. Cruijff IS on the fence in this series, with his deep ties to both clubs. And he is an opinionated asshole, as you so aptly note. So you can treat him on that, leaving off the disputed honorarium and defense of Rosell’s role in it, which is perspective dependent.

  16. barca96 says:

    Yup. Without the Dutch influence, I wouldn’t have had more interest in Barca in 95. They used to show it unusually a lot on tv, I guess it was because of Cruyff.

  17. Jim says:

    From Barcastuff : Barcelona have rejected the offer of a betting company to have their logo on the left sleeve of the team’s shirt this season. [md]

    Dunnit !!! I’ve finally found something Rosell did right. Come on, come at me ….. :)

  18. Rami says:

    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Alves Pique Mascherano Alba – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Tello Messi Neymar

    Martino coming in gun blazing, Poor emery…..

    • 86ed says:

      I don’t think that’s not our best lineup. Horribly unbalanced in the flanks.

    • Levon says:

      Wow, Tello! I expected Alexis to start because he was rested before the international break, but I am happy for Tello because he renewed even though Neymar’s arrival will make it very hard for him to succeed at Barça.

      Dani Alves is simply that much better than Montoya. And Sevilla is always a tough opponent.

  19. 86ed says:

    Does Alves have to be on the operating table for Montoya to get a match?

  20. simple_barcafan says:

    Any English streams? much appreciated..

  21. PrinceYuvi says:

    Header by dani. Not celebrating. But Ney is sensational.

  22. Rami says:

    Neymar is on FIREEEEEEEE!!

  23. chop says:

    Messi has been crap. Pique looks incredibly slow on defense.

    LOL @ the two-handed push on Neymar.

    • Jim says:

      I think it’s been really interesting so far. We’ve done well to not lose a goal and get one ahead. We’re also pinging the all about well at the edge of their box. Xavi’s control and vision at the edge of their box is awesome.

  24. psalmuel says:

    and am bored to death

  25. 86ed says:

    Sevilla were robbed.

  26. BA says:

    BAD. DEFENDING.

    on both goals.

    anyone attempting to excuse our defensive inadequacies now?

    • G6O says:

      The second goal was completely inexcusable. We weren’t even outjumped, he was alone in a few meters of space, in the middle of the penalty box – how is that even possible on that level????

      The first goal just showed once again how slow and how we can’t defend the counter as a result.

      And then I think of the names Ronaldo and Bale and get really scared…

  27. Rami says:

    I turned off the TV from frustration before the 3rd goal, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  28. simple_barcafan says:

    that was close…

  29. barca96 says:

    MESSI MESSI MESSI……

  30. Flippy says:

    What a nail-biter!! Incredibly lucky win, and we have much to learn. Nevertheless, 3 points!

  31. PrinceYuvi says:

    Messi is fearless. Dunno how he finds that sliver of space in all that stampade

  32. simple_barcafan says:

    Masch was outstanding…
    Neymar was terrific…

    • Messiah10 says:

      Neymar was definitely my MOTM. He was incredible today. So dangerous, so quick, and a little bit to unselfish if you ask me. I thought he could’ve had a poke at goal a few times he laid it off. Especially the Messi break away that he tried to get back to him.

      • G6O says:

        He should have absolutely taken the shot. It was on his right foot too.

        In the first half, we showed a lot of confidence and took a few shots, but in the second it was pass-first only.

        Still, MOTM for me too, and an amazing performance overall. Can’t wait for the next game when hopefully both he and Messi will be on from the start

  33. Messiah10 says:

    Well I had to turn it off after the equalizer. Unbelievable. Such poor man marking or zonal defense on set pieces. We were lucky to not be losing 3-2. Of course I missed the Sanchez winner. Saw it on my phone alert. lol. Oh well, still not happy about the lack of concentration and ability to finish the game off.

  34. Messiah10 says:

    I’d be thankful to anyone who posts a clip of the last minute winner we scored! Since I was so disgusted and closed out my internet connection.

  35. barca96 says:

    Coleman, the ex Fulham and current Wales coach just uttered shit on live tv. They didn’t know that the cameras were still rolling.

  36. stefan2k says:

    Everybody doubting Masche should be silenced by now. Just when I thought Messi has an “off-ish” game he makes a run and wins us the game… WOW

    Hope Tata gains the same insights as allas does on Twitter. Man-Marking didn’t do us any good this game.

  37. TITO says:

    Anyone can explain why their first goal was disallowed???
    I noticed only that mistake from the ref, and maybe a red or two on Sevilla players after they really deserved it.
    Too much ups and downs, and i will write this down to the tiredness after the international break.

    • G6O says:

      Their first goal was a foul and was correctly disallowed. He pushed Dani Alves down with his hand.

      They also called a foul on us when Pique hit the post in the first half so that was consistent.

      One can argue that Messi committed a foul for the third goal though

      • TITO says:

        That was not a foul, at least from, watching it on my TV.
        As for the third goal, there was no foul from Messi, cause he was just faster that their defender, and used his arms just to accelerate more, that’s all. That is not a foul on my book.

    • Flippy says:

      I believe the ref called a foul on Alves. It’s not exactly clear if it indeed was a foul, but that was the call, if I’m not mistaken.

  38. Xavi6 says:

    1- Messi is a phenomenon , In one of his worst games , he scored a goal and assisted a crucial goal that gave us 3 points.
    2- I think our defensive fralities is down into 2 things :
    A- The weak defensive contribution from Xavi and Iniesta .
    B- Lack of height in the team that leave us exposed in set pieces.
    3- Worried about Iniesta , very bad form since the start of the season .

    • Doug says:

      I actually thought Iniesta played well.

      Very bad form? Sorry, I thought he has played well the last couple matches.

    • barca96 says:

      I agree with all of them Xavi. I’ve been noticing that Iniesta has been a passenger quite a lot for the past 2 seasons. That was my main worry when Neymar got here, we would have 3 passengers in Messi, Iniesta and Neymar. Thankfully, Neymar improved a lot in that aspect of his game.

      I am a midfielder myself. Have played both wings, whole midfield and RB and I can safely say that the midield’s job is the toughest in terms of work load. Join in attack and help in defense.

      However, both Xavi and Iniesta don’t seem to follow the script anymore. Iniesta started first and now even Xavi doesn’t track back. Only Cesc tracks back from our midfielders.

      You could argue Xaviniesta might be tired after all the years at the top but how about the 99.99% of the other midfielders out there? They have played top flight football too. Either you work for the team in attack and defense or you sit out. That’s how I feel.

      Either we can’t play Xavi and Iniesta together anymore since they both aren’t able to run up and down anymore or we need 2 DM’s to carry them.

      I hope there is a stat that shows the distance that they’ve ran to prove that I am wrong.

      Still love their contribution in attack though. Still the very best at that.

  39. Rami says:

    I wouldn’t be quick and blame the defense, Technically speaking we can point our fingers at them, But with that we’ll be missing the original source of the problem.
    The team is getting tired in the 2nd half, And they lose control of the match, More sloppy passes, Less tracking back, And the defense gets overwhelmed with waves of attack, This happened in every single game this season, The pressuring is taking it’s toll on the players, It’s going to take a few more weeks for the players to overcome the their physical problem.
    I’ve said it after the malaga match, Be prepared for close call matches, Until the players reach their peak physical condition.
    Let’s also add that this is a fifa virus match in case we forget.

    • Levon says:

      Echo’s from last season’s 2-3 at Sevilla… Happy for Lexus that he got the winner.

      Surprised nobody mentioned it, really.

    • G6O says:

      Good points. We’ve always struggled in games immediately after an international break. And most of the squad didn’t have a proper pre-season – there was the Confederations Cup, then they came back at the end of July, had a week of training were shipped to Asia for a week, then some had another week of training while others were sent to yet another international game, and then real games started. That’s a complete insanity.

      So we should be happy with the 3 points (which does not mean we should forget about the glaring defensive deficiencies).

  40. Jim says:

    Great result and that is the only important thing at this stage of the season. The goals we lost were nothing to do with Xavi or Iniesta but it is fair to say that they aren’t the quickest once the counter starts. Iniesta’s form isn’t great just now. Maybe what he needs is a spell on the bench. He has always been a really humble player who gives you the impression he only produces the magic if the team is struggling. He needs not to let Messi and Neymar outshine him.

    Not claiming hindsight but I’d just finished saying to my good lady that no game is over with Messi till the whistle goes. He is quite simply incredible.

  41. PrinceYuvi says:

    We accidently* broke a chair celebrating Shh.
    Special applause for everyone who’s up and awake so late in the night to watch the game.
    Good night.

  42. TITO says:

    I did miss Cesc in this game.

  43. Ultraculé says:

    Some observations:

    = in the first hour, Neymar was by far the best player on the pitch, Pleasantly surprised and genuinely excited for the future from this guy.

    = In the first hour, Messi was as crap as I’ve ever seen him. But then he turned around and how!

    = Nobody and I mean nobody has the right to say anything about Mascha. Ever.

    = Alba is broken. We are going to fix that with Adriano? Funny.

    = Iniesta is a bit off. But he’ll get sharper.

    = Ok this is important. Regarding man marking vs zonal marking. One thing is for sure, that second goal we conceded from the corner would NEVER have happened in a zonal marking system simply because a player will not get so much time and space in such a crucial area when the zone is protected. I always thought that for a team like Barca and its characteristics, zonal marking is the best way to defend corners simply because it thwarts any height advantage and uses numbers to defend properly. I dont know, but maybe Tata needs to rethink this one. Busi is one of the weakest guys I have ever seen in the air. I think I could outmuscle him.

    = I also think its worth experimenting with Neymar on the right. Just so that Tello gets a few outings in the left.

    = Neymar should have scored today. To cap off a fine performance.

  44. Ultraculé says:

    One thing is for sure..
    That second goal conceded from the corner would have NEVER happened in a zonal marking system. Maybe Tata needs to really rethink this one, but I have always thought that for a team with Barca’s characteristics, zonal marking in set pieces seemed like the intelligent thing to do as it safeguards critical areas with the use of numbers where height disadvantage is thwarted to some extent. Busi is so weak in the air, i am sure i could out muscle him. That goal would have never occurred when protecting zone as the guy would have never had the time and space he enjoyed in such a critical area.

  45. 86ed says:

    Our defense is a sick joke.

  46. ian_percival says:

    wow bale derby goal

  47. Levon says:

    God how come M*drid is not 3 goals down already!!!

  48. Kxevin says:

    I think that our defense is a positional mess, rather than a poor defense. It’s also worth noting that the very skills that make our defenders so excellent in attack, make them suspect when it comes to traditional defense.

    So from a classic Premiership defense, we have a crap defense. From a Barça-centric worldview, we have tactical complexities to solve.

    For example, look at that Sevilla goal off the break. Busquets, Pique and Mascherano made like Keystoke Kops on that one, because they just aren’t traditional defenders. On the other hand, a traditional defender isn’t going to dribble a ball to the halfway line, and pinpoint a pass to Iniesta’s boot.

    So we take what we have, and understand how it works.

    When people look at other teams with a more traditional defense and say we have a crap defense, it’s like trying to haul a camper with a Ferrari, and saying that a Ferrari is a crap car because it can’t haul anything other than ass. You have to look at what something can do.

    In effect, our first-choice back line is two DMs and two wing attackers. Yes, at times it is going to be vulnerable, on either the break or on set pieces. But if our defenders start thinking like traditional defenders, good luck getting them even NEAR the halfway line, much less past it and on the attack.

    The announcer who scoffed that David Luiz moved like he was being controlled by a kid with a PlayStation controller is craving one style of defense. Luiz was playing another, more Barça-like style, in which he is more mobile and active, with and without the ball.

    Yes, we conceded two goals today, for reasons having nothing to do with us having a crap defense. Organization and understanding easily fixes both goals. A wide-open man on that second? That’s just somebody not talking, rather than any indictment of the quality of our defense. We have an excellent defense in the context of, and for the purposes of, this club.

    Is it going to be a set-piece stopping, slide tackling, none-shall-pass stalwart? Never.

    • Jim says:

      Just in passing I’ll make the point from an earlier discussion that if we had adopted the unfathomable British tactic of putting a man on each post at corners that wouldn’t have been a goal.

      • Kxevin says:

        True. But again, that would mean there wouldn’t be defenders poised to take a recovered ball and lead the break, or make a long pass. I think that we just have to dance with death, and cover our eyes on set pieces, hoping not to hear the opponent celebrating.

        I also wonder whose man that was for that second goal? That was crazy. He was just standing there. That’s why I point to a systemic issue, more than a personnel one.

        P.S. Responded above to your journalism query. Fascinating discussion.

        • Levon says:

          “I think that we just have to dance with death, and cover our eyes on set pieces, hoping not to hear the opponent celebrating.”

          That’s what most of us were doing back when Puyol and Abidal were still stalwarts of our defense. Right now our set piece defending borders on the ridiculous. We would have conceded from two corners were it not for a soft call.

          • Kxevin says:

            See for me, that is far from the case. I leave the math to someone else, but I would wager that our percentage of goals conceded from set pieces is in keeping with that of a club at the top of the European stage.

            Meanwhile, Chelsea, with the purportedly awesome traditional defense, lost today. Who’s back there for them? Luiz, Terry, Ivanovic, Cole, etc? You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think those four are top-class defenders, and yet.

            Defenses give up goals. That’s part of the game. There are also teams that have defenses that are a liability. Ours is far from that. I think that people are overreacting.

    • 86ed says:

      If you analyse everything into minute detail, every goal scored and let in is due to a mistake. The problem with us is that it’s happening in every bloody game. So we’re neither learning from our mistakes nor hiring different personnel to fix them. If fact we’re doing precisely the opposite, in coming up with reasons to excuse systematic failures. The goals regularly shipped in for nigh 2 years are an indictment of the poor state of our defense. It will not take a set-piece stopping defenders, I agree. I fear it will take three top class defenders now, to stop our letting in so many goals. Players aren’t talking because we don’t have good defenders at all. In fact, we only one proper defender in the team, Pique, and he hasn’t been particularly good since 2011.

      Good defenders who also dribble the ball into midfield aren’t an asset only we possess. I watched Borussia and Bayern today. That’s essentially how they start most attacks.

      The facts are clear, to me at least. We import goals reguraly. A defense that does is a poor defense, no matter how we may try to excuse it. A team with a poor defense will not make any headway against tough opposition in the CL. It works in our crappy league, but even here it’s starting to fail.

      • Kxevin says:

        Bayern has already dropped points in the Bundesliga, have they not? Using defenders to initiate attacks requires a certain type of player, a different type of player. We are going to concede goals. It’s as simple as that.

        Some of them can be fixed with organization, like that floating Sevilla attacker on the second. Others are just going to happen.

        But poor defenses don’t win leagues, or make six consecutive Champions League semifinals. I understand the need to apportion blame of some sort. I just think the whole “crappy defense” notion is one that isn’t supported by aggregate performance.

        • 86ed says:

          But it is though isn’t it? Isn’t the defense consistently our weakest part practically in every match? Doesn’t your heart race every time the opposition enters the last third of the pitch? Don’t you just want to look the other way when they have a corner (Sevilla had 9 of those today! 9!)? Clearly there’s something fishy going on. It is only exacerbated by our reluctance to pay market price value for a decent defense. Even Wenger has accepted what is happening and spent serious cash. Wenger! the cheapest guy in the EPL. The longer we go without seriously investing, the more expensive it will eventually be.

          • Kxevin says:

            Aha. Sevilla had 9 corners, and got one set piece goal. One. Does that speak to a defense that is a disaster? Shouldn’t a disastrous defense give up maybe 3 or 4 set piece goals from 9 of them?

            The fishy thing that is going on, for me, is the unrealistic expectations of culers. Perfect record in the Liga, has won the only silver it’s been up for so far this season. Sounds pretty good to me.

            Define a “decent” defense. Chelsea’s? They lost today. RM? Ramos, Varane, Pepe, etc? They drew. Who else ya got to suggest?

            People need to calm down, take this team week to week and enjoy its play and stop worrying about the doom that might never come. I half think if this team wins a Treble this season, people will still say that it won a Treble despite a crappy defense.

          • 86ed says:

            Sevilla scored twice from corners. We were just lucky the ref counted only one.
            We have to look at a entire patch of games for the data to have meaning. Four games in and 50% of the goals we have allowed so far have come from corners. Defenses are penetrated all the time, even legendary ones, like Capello’s Milan. What they don’t allow to happen is the ridiculousness that we are allowing every week. Most great teams have a balance to them. The last great Barca side, that of 2011, only let in 36 goals all season, scoring 147. Last season we scored 158: we let in 66(!). That tells me we have an imbalance in the syste–we have perhaps the sharpest sward in the kingdom, but pretty weak armour. It is armour that always determines the outcome.
            I know Real have allowed more goals than we have. That’s to be expected. They started 4 new players today, three of them in either defense or in the defensive midfielder position. We are using essentially the same defensive block as 2011 but with worse results.

          • Kxevin says:

            No. Sevilla scored once from a corner. The other was correctly ajudged to be foul.

            I am just not sure what people want, but I feel lije suggesting that a different club might make them less miserable. I have no idea how we suffer through such mediocrity week after week.

            Previous teams gave up fewer goals because of playinga less risky style, the same style opponents have figured out how to game, and culers say needs to be tossed because it can’t break a bus.

            So the club does. More vertical, more risky. Scores more, concedes more, wins more Liga points. But the point isn’t that. It’s a nonexistent standard of flawlessness that when not met, leads to “sky is falling” dire predictions.

            I don’t buy it. And I don’t buy it because it isn’t supported by results. This team is perfect. Not bad for a disaster. I know. The standard is clean sheets and a manita. I always forget that.

            The set piece goal that was conceded today was a consequence of a frail skill player getting out-physicaled. So you replace Busquets to prevent that happening, or do you accept that corners involve risk with a team of comparatively small players.

            And then excuses are made for RM. Uh, our coach, in the midst of installing a new system, had to battle cancer. Now we have a new coach, who is wrestling with installing his own system. Same players, new instructions.

            To my view, people are so anxious to find doom and blame that no slack is given. Every other team has a reason, but not ours. The core of RM’s defense has a tenure as long as ours, and by all accounts it was shambolic today.

            It doesn’t make sense the way supporters are assauting their own club.

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        Crappy league ? That’s insulting.
        You’d rather watch headless chicken run around the length of pitch. Be my guest. I don’t know what makes you happy people.

        • 86ed says:

          Crappy league not in terms of quality of play. Far from it. Crappy in the sense that we and Real control all resources. We pay Messi more in a year, for example, than Villarreal’s team cost. How is that not a crappy league, if the top two spots are guaranteed?

          • Kxevin says:

            Then every league is crappy. Lyon used to own Ligue 1. Now PSG does. Montpellier was an aberration. Look at how often United wins the Prem. In the Bundesliga, the big two are already beginning to distance themselves.

            It isn’t just La Liga.

          • 86ed says:

            I wasn’t talking about everyone else. I was talking about how crappy Spain’s league is. And it is crappy. That the some of the other leagues are going that way too is another debate altogether. In the Bundesliga, at least, they have a fairer distribution of wealth. Bayern has the most resources, certainly, but that’s also down to great business sense on their part.

    • Rami says:

      Perfectly said.
      We always hear about how better RM defense is , Or bayern..etc, But i can almost bet we can concede less goals across the season than all of them with our 2 DM And 2 attacking wingers, Even though the other teams have better ‘names’ in their back-line.
      Our defense isn’t defined by our back-line, It’s our pressure, A collective effort from the whole team, that can outshine any back-line composed of super ‘names’.
      Yet Some are under the wrong impression that if we bring ‘true’ CBs, It’ll be even better, But that’s not how it works, It’ll break our harmonious possession based football, Which is by itself the best defense we can ever have.

      • barca96 says:

        What 86ed about the crappy league is pretty straight forward. I don’t know how one can argue with that.
        We are guaranteed a top 2 spot. We have a larger share of the tv money. What’s so hard to understand about that?
        La Liga is crappy when compared to the other leagues in the 2 terms that he mentioned.

        Of course there are dominating teams in other leagues too but not because of the 2 reasons stated above.

        I love Barca and I like watching La Liga but I can not deny that fact.

  49. TITO says:

    Ok then, we are 2 points ahead of THEM, the league is ours. It’s time to concentrate on our CL campaign.

  50. Jim says:

    It seems even our goalie has twigged to one of our issues.

    From Barcastuff: Valdes: “We need to control better the attacks of our full-backs to avoid leaving Busquets alone.” #fcblive

  51. nia says:

    AS and Marca are just clutching at straws now. They say Alexis’s goal was illegal because it was scored at min 93:07. They say Messi started his run at 93:00 exactly and the ref should have blown for full time then, hence the illegal goal. Seroiusly??? o-O

    On the match though, Barca were so disorganised at the back it’s not even funny. Once Sevilla scored, they seemed a bit edgy and were running around like headless chicken. Worse is seeing Busi and Pique trying to run back and never catching the player. It was inevitable that they equalised. Messi does next to nothing all game long only to come up with the winning play and good thing Alexis has found confidence coz, last yr he probably would have missed that.

    Sevilla were unlucky today. They had a good game just like Emery’s CL team last year that lost 2-3. Sevilla must hate playing us now. Last yr at home they also lost in the last minutes as well after some dodgy ref calls. I aint complaining. 3 points for us, VISCA BARCA!!!!

    • Kxevin says:

      Very true. But no referee is going to blow for time when a play is active, as in a possible scoring chance. Never mind that Sevilla celebrated into injury time, or that they should have been down to 10 just we were until Messi decided to wake up.

      That ref was crap all around, not just against Sevilla.

    • blitzen says:

      The game is over when the referee blows his whistle, not when the time “runs out”. It’s at his discretion, that’s why they have added time in the first place. No ref is going to stop an active play, they always wait until there is a dead ball or a foul or some other reason to stop play. Silliness.

  52. PrinceYuvi says:

    Jordi alba out for two to three weeks – thigh injury. Ah well.

  53. 86ed says:

    Would Sanchez have buried that chance a year ago during that infamous dry spell?

  54. bhed says:

    Neymarrrrrr! Kid may have a future in football. MOTM.

    Thought Pique and Masch were both good, for MOST of the game. Have no idea if man marking played a part in the second Sevilla goal, but we need to either make some serious readjustments, or reconsider what we’re doing.

    Thought Iniesta and Xavi played well, but Cesc continues what I believe will be a banner year.

    Really, the only dark spots were our first 2 goal scorers. Dani’s crossing has never been that accurate, but now it seems he’s making terrible short passes as well. Hopefully he’ll snap out of it. Messi was also terrible until the end, but it’s after the break, and no way I’m betting the reign is over yet.

    All in all, whew!

  55. nia says:

    Nice to see ATM and Barca topping the table with the same for and against goals. They seem stronger this year ATM and will definitely give the two big teams a run for their money. At least we don’t play them until just before the winter break. Glad the teams in La liga are not just folding over for either team as well.

    I think i will need that defibrillator this season ;)

  56. barca96 says:

    Btw, thanks for sharing Eklavya. I thought you were a girl all this while. Anyways, from the photo of Iniesta, it looks like you were actually on the pitch and not in the stand. Did you jump on to the pitch?

  57. fotobirajesh says:

    I wish all those EPL fans boys who always tease liga, had watched how the ‘two horses’ of liga were suffering yesterday. Both Barca and Madrid were on the edge yesterday. Very happy we came through.
    If Villareal were good in finishing, it would have been an embarassment for Real – 4-2?? Deigo Lopez was excellent, but the whole Villareal team was brilliant, except for their finishing. Almost all their players looked technically excellent.

    I am afraid, by the end of season, we all would be discussing, why the hell we didnt buy a defender. Our defense is not crap, but they miss out on some key moments, even without trying. They gave a free goal to sevilla, didnt they.
    But our passing in the final third was beautiful, except for some terrible short passing by Alves. He is now brought his cross style to short passes too?
    Did Messi and Neymar agree on terms to shine at different halfs?
    That was unbelievable, the winning goal. Also a big arguement for anybody wanting to sub Messi off – better bring him as a Sub in the second half. With Messi on the pitch, there is always a hope.

    • barca96 says:

      Yeah, Villareal is amazing. Imagine if Rossi wasn’t released. What a success story. I hope they can maintain this form.

      Messi wasn’t as bad I think. A lot of neat passes but yeah he could’ve ran more and stop trying to dribble 4 players. I like Messi dropping deep to get the ball but I shriek every time he tries to dribble 2-3 players in the middle of the park. When he loses it, it’ll always become a dangerous counter attack.

      Usually the passing doesn’t click after the international break but they don’t seem to have any problems with it last night. Where was this tiki taka vs Malaga and Atletico (was in Korea when they played Valencia so I don’t know if it was tiki taka)?

  58. barca96 says:

    Why don’t we do MoM here anymore? It’s been years.
    1 – Neymar
    2 – Busi
    3 – Messi/sMasch

  59. barca96 says:

    That push from M’Bia on Neymar was an obvious foul but it would have been a pretty soft red card for me though. I don’t know. I find football rules a bit strange. There is always more leniency for the 2nd yellow which I find unfair.

    If the ref gives the offender a 2nd yellow = red card, people will cry soft red but if he doesn’t get a red, he knows he will be able to get a way with numerous soft fouls. I guess, this discussion can be saved for another day.

    I can’t believe how M’Bia didn’t think it was a foul. A lot of players act the same way even though it is obvious that they have committed a foul. Most of the footballers don’t seem to mind to cheat people. I wish they were more professional and honest.

  60. socrates says:

    Indeed, who among us turned off the telly/computer/walked away in disgust when Pepsi scored that last minute Sevilla goal? Ye of little faith? Well, I for one, did – I felt exasperated, enraged. How could Barca throw away a 2-goal lead just like that? When they should have sealed the victory a long time ago? Like why did Neymar pass the ball back to Messi that time when he should have just slotted it in?! Nevertheless, I crept back in to watch the last minute of extra time, lured by — I don’t know what, that fucking crazy Barca magic I suppose — if any team can do the impossible, surely… And there went Messi ploughing through the back-line like a driven man and lo-and-behold, blessed Alexis popped out of the doldrums to place all our cule faith back in place.
    This should be the narrative of the today’s game: how our team achieves the extraordinary despite everything. A lashing of Saturday evening magic. Not that our defence is like a sieve, or that corners/free kicks are cule instant death. As Masche said a few days ago, “many times Barça lapses into self-destructive tendencies, because we don’t stop to enjoy our successes.” Indeed, fuck the begrugers. Celebrate the impossible!

    • Kxevin says:

      Never give up on your football club. Ever. Win or lose, stand by them and give your full support. It doesn’t matter if they screw up, or vex or annoy. In for the glory, in for the sadness and frustration.

      • barca96 says:

        Walking away from the tv is one thing, but I can’t really understand those people in the stadium who leave early when the team is losing. Paid so much and so grateful to be able to watch them live, why leave early. Not just in Camp Nou, but other teams as well.

  61. barca96 says:

    Villa scored a goal that he wouldn’t have been able to last season or 2. He looks so confident at Atletico.

    • Kxevin says:

      Because he is being given space at Atletico because of how opponents are playing them. At Barça, he was not being given space. That is the most significant difference. Were he to return to our club tomorrow, he would look exactly as he did last season with us. Space is key, particularly for a player who can’t beat defenders 1v1.

      • barca96 says:

        I can’t disagree with you as what you’re saying is spot on but I was talking about the goal that he scored, not his overall play.

        With us, he would hit it softly and try to hit it on target. That was a sign of a player on low confidence. I’ve watched 2 goals of his now at Atletico, the other one against us, where he had so much confidence in himself. He chooses a spot and strikes the ball with purpose and venom to the corner.

      • Jim says:

        I’d agree partly with this assessment. Villa is no Neymar and Neymar is a better choice for us on the left wing. However, he is a natural goal scorer and doesn’t need space in his best position. He creates enough for his shot. He has a better first touch than our other forwards and had he been played in the centre and played regularly we would have reaped benefits. Anyway, water under the bridge now.

  62. PrinceYuvi says:

    Masch was brilliant last night, cooly killing off every counter in their cradles.

    He was everywhere on the pitch and the nou camp busy chanting his name they said.
    finally things got messier even for him.

    If we play busi & masch in front of two proper cbs, subbing off xavi/ini in dying moments we might at least curb this last minutes silliness

    & bartra will get his precious minutes- might renew with us -everybody is happy.

  63. Kxevin says:

    Hats off to Barca B for the Mini Classic win today.

  64. Rami says:

    This is my favorite highlights videos, It has a catalan commentary, Not that i know catalan, But i like it, The quality is also good, I’ll post this after every match:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x14q1vz_t13-14-j4-liga-bbva-fc-barcelona-3-2-sevilla-fc-rac1_sport

  65. Kxevin says:

    A little something new is up, about defense and expectations.

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