FC Barcelona vs AC Milan Liveblog

Today the Camp Nou hosts our eternal inevitable why-arewe-playing-them-yet-again? esteemed opponents AC Milan in our fourth group stage match. Join us as Vj hosts the Liveblog!

By blitzen

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


    1. Really? I thought it was such a slow paced game especially in the 1st half. I was calling for Cesc, or Fabergas as Euler says lol, to speed up the game which he immediately did.

      Thanks for your reply btw. Usually celebrities just go to Amsterdam when they visit Holland.

  1. It was a controlled performance from Barca but I did enjoy the game.
    Messi is still clearly not 100% but he still scored a couple of goals which is good.
    Neymar was responsible for the set pieces leading to both goals and had a good match. It was debatable when he was called offside when through 1-on-1. He must have made 5 or 6 great runs that no one played him in until that one when Xavi still delayed too much.
    Cesc makes those passes more than Xavi does but hey…

  2. great game and exquisite 3rd goal.

    still recovering, though, from revelation in last thread that our own Levon is in fact B-Real from Cypress Hill! mind = blown.

  3. For me, total control really. We could have had another four or five with a bit of luck and usually had enough defenders back to handle anything. Subs came at the right times for me. Milan were tiring badly and it opened up spaces for us. I thought Messi looked sharp and much more interested.

  4. just noticed that the two players with most yellow cards in the Liga are youth products, one of which is still ‘ours’ — Albert Botia and Rafinha.

  5. This wasn’t exactly a vintage performance, but we were in control all the time and got the win.

    The speed of play is really frustrating at times though – we can play much faster than this and it will result in a lot more good opportunities.

    It might be deliberate though – last year, we played some really great football in the Fall, but then ran out of gas in the Spring, and while Tito’s absence was a factor, how much effort we expended in the first half of the season probably was a factor too. This year we saw some vintage performances in the very beginning, and then it all went into a much more subdued mode, while still winning. I would like to think this is conservation of effort, rather than inability to play better – those early games when we pressed intensely and moved the ball around at lightning quick speed showed we can still do it. Time will tell.

  6. “Messi is still clearly not 100% but he still scored a couple of goals which is good.” I think this statement shows just how lucky we are 😉

  7. I’m not sure Cesc would have made a difference while Milan were able to hold their defence shape. Might have but just as likely he would have been posted missing as has happened previously. The control we had meant that ( possibly until Ballotelli came on) we really prevented our defence being tested and by that time I thought they were struggling to support him in numbers possibly due to chasing us most of the first half (think we were 70% possession at one point. We were also creating chances against their full defensive lineup, all of which bodes well for me.

    1. Well, Cesc did something that Iniesta wasn’t able for the entire game. Play a one-two with just one pass, and not trying to control the ball and dribble it when is not necessary to do it.
      He’s slowing our game, that’s for sure, sometimes that’s what we need, but some other time we don’t.
      He just has to release the ball much sooner. In numerous times last night he just brought the ball to Neymar only because he wants to have it on his feet. IT IS much simpler if you just pass it.
      This is not a go at Iniesta, before somebody now tries to defend it, it’s just an observation based on last night, and i might add in some other games as well. To me, this season, that’s a part of his game that needs to be “solved”.

    2. I think that was my point though. Milan were knackered by that stage and De Jong who had been shadowing Messi just didn’t have the legs to match his run. It’s a lot easier coming on the last quarter against a defence that has been run ragged than it is to create against a fit defence. You need to do the work to tire out parked buses before you can benefit at times. That’s why I’m always looking forward to the last ten minutes in both halves as that’s when the gaps open up. Having said that I loved the pace on the pass back from Cesc which helped make the avoidance of the tackles easier for Messi.

      I couldn’t tape the game as it was on Sky interactive but just off the top of my head wasn’t it Iniesta’s precise pass over the crowded defence to Neymar that led to the penalty? He was also pretty unlucky with his curled first time shot in the second half which produced a great save. That’s the third great effort in three games. They are both great players. Just depends what you want from the team. I know Iniesta can throw risky passes forward all day if that’s what we want but that opens things up at both ends.

  8. mixed feeling about the game.
    either we played it like a training match and still won, or,
    we are tired. After all the buzz about rotations, to see our players tired even before Xmas, not nice.

  9. It’s not an accident that a succession of very good coaches in Spain (Pep, Tito, Tata, Luis Aragones, Del Bosque) have been using Cesc as a substitute in key matches. He comes in, injects directness, unpredictability and great passing in the final third, usually assists, scores or is somehow involved in a goal, and we call for him to start. Next match, he starts and goes missing on the pitch (it’s been happening less this year, to my absolute delight).

    Thing is, all of the aforementioned coaches value control, and historically, Iniesta in combination with Xavi have been the definition of control, of imposing their will on the match and making the other team play at their pace (even though Iniesta plays on the wing for Spain). In this, Spain is unlike England, where creating chances is valued above control. Cesc is amazing, but tactically he is seen as too risky/not assertive enough to play 90 minutes against great midfields, and not good enough a finisher to play 90 minutes as a striker / false 9 against great defenses. His instincts, honed at Arsenal, leave him in limbo.

    On the positive side, he’s showing signs of figuring it out in Spain at the age of 26. Let’s not forget that Xavi and Iniesta, while delightfully talented from the start, did not become every midfield’s worst nightmare until later on in their careers.

    About Messi: reading that he was limited ever since his first injury in April, and scored a modest 38 goals (+12 assists) in 39 games in 2013, is hilarious. We’re spoiled, spoiled, spoiled Cules.
    It’s great to see our flea adjusting his play a bit (and Tata mixing up his tactics) while he’s getting his explosiveness back. Messi shows up on the wing and in midfield more, facilitating play for Neymar and Alexis zinging ahead. It’s a glimpse into a possible (and distant) future, when or if we get a striker, Neymar develops into what he could be, and Messi’s role changes into more of a facilitator as he matures.

  10. It would be interesting to hear how you guys rate our use of Neymar thus far and how we can better make use of his abilities.

    The boy seems to be making a lot of runs (to his credit) but our midfield (at least in this game) did not favour fast transitions. If we are going to make use of his explosiveness then it would necessitate that we hit him early sometimes otherwise we reduce him to being just another pedro (sorry pedro) who recycles the ball or having to produce high risk individual moments of magic to create chances.

    1. I think that Cesc decides to make those through balls much more often than Xavi and Iniesta. It’s not that Cesc is better than them but he does take more risks. There were at least 5 or 6 occasions last night when I was screaming at the TV for Xavi or Iniesta to find Neymar’s runs in off the wing.

      Neymar is still getting used to our system but the kid is the real deal. I’m very excited about his future.

  11. Cesc’s situation is kind of a conundrum; we look at our most dangerous when he is on the pitch but we are also, more vulnerable.
    I think with the rotation of Cesc, Xavi, Iniesta & Song the only loser is Sergi Roberto. I really feel for the kid. It’s easy to see why so many of the young players decide to move on to other clubs.

    Alexis, Messi & Neymar up front is clearly our best forward line so at least we know that much.

    1. Yeah, likewise. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of him but he’s not gonna get a lot of time apart from the Copa. Still a little worried about Xavi’s playing time. At least it seems like he’s not called up this time. VDB has to start being sensible about these things if he wants his midfield to arrive in any state for a WC.

    2. He will get time in the Copa and even more so now that JDS is injured. It might be bye-bye time if he fails to impress this season, as the next one Denis Suarez will come a knockin

  12. Now is the ballon d’or given based on who performed and won trophy(ies) through out the year, or its based on who scored the most goals heading into the fifa gala awards night?

  13. Now is the ballon d’or given based on who performed and won trophy(ies) through out the year, or its based on who scored the most goals(penalties) heading into the fifa gala awards night?

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