Live MBM: Barça – Villareal Minute-by-Minute Report

Gooooooood morning/afternoon/evening/night, depending on where on the globe you find yourself this fine fourteenth of December. With about fifty minutes to go, prepare yourself for our first live minute-by-minute match report . Y’all know my motherstinkin’ name –  terrible jokes and typos are guaranteed. Let’s start by giving a big shoutout to Osasuna for keepin’ it Real and stealing two points off of those ugly-*ss b*stards  (whoah-ho-hoo you didn’t expect the good doctor to remain polite when describing those merengue sons of b****  hey, you know who I mean!).

Anyway, let’s concentrate on our own three points. Any reader wearing white and/or yellow has 45 minutes to burn their clothes. Will we spoil Giovanni’s homecoming and sink the Yellow Submarine? In the meantime SPORT has given us the definite speculative line-up: Pinto, Alba, Bartra, Piqué, Montoya, Busquets, Song, Iniesta, Neymar, Cesc and Alexis.

Yes Sireee, another Busquets-Song midfield combo of the kind that worked so well against the mighty Cartagena, never mind the hope that Fab Four will avoid another Sucky Nine performance. It is not always easy to get into Gerardo Martino’s head, but I sure wish he could get into mine. Send all brainwaves to wish Mr. Fabregas to never again play as a withdrawn striker to Catalunya ASAP SVP PS he’s a midfielder for heaven’s sake!

At least this guy's playing!
At least this guy’s playing!

So, another forty minutes to go. Very important announcement. In order to protect the vanity of your MBM reporter integrity of the MBM report I will delete all comments in the comment thread below this article.


You can send them to instead and the worthy ones will be worked into the report, where yours truly may or may not make snarky remarks about the ludicrousness of your observations and/or suggestions. Just like the MbM reports in a certain British newspaper we all read. Remember, originality is key here among the Barcelona Football Blog contributors. Hope to see you soon, I will update as we go (this means you will have to refresh as we go)

Villareal’s line-up: Asenjo, Mario, Musacchio, Dorado, J. Costa, Pina, Trigueros, Aquino, Edu Ramos, Giovani and H. Perez. Cani is injured and Bruno Soriani is suspended.

Ladies, gents and in-betweens, this is going to be a tough one. We are receiving a team that gave Real M*drid a run for their outrageous sum of money at the start of this season, when they completely outplayed the blancos and let them escape with a 2-2 draw. Also, thanks to reading the official FC Barcelona website I can bring to your attention that Villareal has the third best defensive record after Barça and Atletico. Wowzers!

minute 0 Barça kick off and immediately enjoy the majority of possession!

minute 1 still in possession ticking and tacking

minute 2 nice backheel from Song to Alexis who immediately finds himself surrounded by fourteen Villareal defenders and loses the ball. Asenjo kicks off, Villreal loses the ball.

minute 5 still in possessoin ticking and tacking. Lost it for a second but Octopus intervenes and gets the ball back. Jordi Alba wins us the first corner…

minute 5 … from which Song receives a huge chance but he blasts it onto the post/bar! Avid readers know how much I hate it when we miss huge scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of difficult games.

“Song attacking is interesting. Saw this being tried vs. Cartagena.” writes Michele Taylor. Hmmmm, I know you are not the only one who feels that way. I’m not a big fan of this tactical variant myself. I feel he lacks speed and scoring prowess for this role. He is free to prove me wrong, though!

minute 10 Barça continues to play well but haven’t created another chance yet. Another corner came to naught.

minute 12 Pinto touched the ball for the first time, coontrolling a miscontrolled Villareal pass. Barcelona resume our attack but give up the ball to Villareal. The match is opening up.

minute 14 Giovani breaks free on the left flank. His low cross, fortunately for Barça, misses precision.

minute 17 Dos Santos is feeling it today, causing all kinds of mayhem dribbling through our defense. Barça recovers the ball and passes its way out of trouble.

minute 17 and 14 seconds “Cries for Independence even stronger after referendum announced last week”, reports Michele Taylor.

minute 21 Barça maintain in control while Villareal are luring on the counter. I had thought our opponents would take the game to us.

minute 22 Montoya is wrongly (I think) called offside but it doesn’t matter as he made a complete mess of the scoring opportunity given to him.

minute 23 At the other end of the pitchTrigueros’ shot is deflected upwards and easily caught by Pinto.

minute 24 Sucky Nine has space to dribble into the penatly area but gets pushed off the ball way too easily.

minute 25 Then again, the same happens to Neymar less than a minute later after a great pass by Fab Four!

minute 26 Terrible control by Sucky Nine when Iniesta tries to combine and penetrate!

minute 27 Penalty! Jordi Alba one-times a glorious direction-switching Busquets long pass onto the hand of a Villareal defender. Hands seem accidental to me. Neymar steps up to take the penalty….


Barcelona leads 1-0. Villareal as to step up and attack us now, which they immediately do.

“Not sure what Pique is doing with some of those short passes. Team-mates already pressured and he passes to them”, says Michele Taylor (girl where would I be without you?). Yeah, uhmm, accurate analysis on my part is kind of hindered by switching my eyes from  Gmail to TV screen to WordPress to TV Screen. It’s why I never join Live Blogs.

minute 34 Piqué seems to heed Michele’s words and clears the ball wide and far. Villareal keep up the pressure, though.

minute 36 My girlfriend’s adopted sister  our home’s resident retard bumps into the TV turning our cable signal into a big snowy mess!!!

minute 39 Alexis is one-on-one with Villareal’s keeper but can’t find the back of the net through the snow!

minute 43 Pinto prevents danger when the ball is crossed into our area. Villareal looks threatening on the counter.

My cable signal is restored just in time for a replay of the Sanchez chance. It was a good save but the Chilean could (should?) have done better there. Nevertheless, he has looked lively, as always.

minute 45 The referee does not allow for even this much extra time and blows the whistle while Barcelona is attacking. Into the break we go.

“Alexis stamps down the turf that jumped up to meet him while trying to score. Pitch is still not right after the heating was installed, says our indomitable Ms. Taylor. I stand corrected, and, “Given our sparkling performance, it must be a punch in the eye for Villarreal that the first goal comes from a penalty”. Good point. We have played quite well (although I would like us to create more real chances), but our yellow opponents look dangerous when they come forward, too (although thankfully they are not creating any real chances so far). Still, a polemic handball is hardly the stuff of dreams. The defender was about a yard removed from Jordi Alba when he played the ball onto his arm and I am not sure whether it was hand to ball or the other way around. But you must admit that Neymar’s stutter step with which he wrongfooted Villareal goalkeeper Asenjo was pretty slick.

“Happy we’re up but that was a freak play. We need three proper forwards there,” comments G60, showing an absolute disregard for MBM etiquette as per above instructions. Our Nine is definitely Sucky, you get no argument from me there, but I do feel that given our overall play we deserve to be up by a goal, regardless of how that goal came about.

The players make their way back on the pitch. Let’s hope we will add to our lead and not concede.

minute 45 Villareal kick off. Barcelona dominate possession.

minute 46 The referee ignores an obvious Villareal handball as witnessed on a small TV set continents away from the Camp Nou. Hmmm, he must be a Liga BBVA employee.

minute 47 GOL! Musachio equalizes for Villareal from, how else, from a corner. Bartra looked pretty weak there.

minute 50 Ye Gods! Giovani almost puts his team ahead when he cuts inside and lets go with his left foot. Missed the goal by inches, he did.

minute 52 Bartra robs the ball in midfield and dribbles it towards Alexis. He tries a long distance shot which is easily saved.

minute 53 Piqué gives up another corner. Culers don’t like corners.

minute 54 Uuuuh with a bit more composure Alexis could have delivered a better cross there, as Barça had one or two attackers just waiting to put that ball into the net!

“Nice longshot from Alexis. Need a few more of these”, offers Michele. Yes, I love how he always tries to make things happen!

minute 57 While Xavi is warming up on the sideline, Bartra plays a terrible ball out of defence. Danger was averted by the referee getting in the way of Villareal’s break-out pass. Young Marc isn’t having the best of games since he got back out of the dressing room…

minute 59 An almost chance for Barça, met with sighs as soon as spectators realized the ball was passed to Montoya. Do you miss Dani Alves as much as I do? Nice play from Lexus, though.

minute 61 Song’s off for Xavi. In fairness to the big Cameroonese, he wasn’t playing all that bad. The problem is our attack more so than our midfield.

minute 62 As I write that, Sucky Nine misses a peach of a chance alone in front of the keeper!!! Oh, Martino, what are you doing to me?

minute 64 Piqué, our yellow card specialist, adds another one to his collection when he bowls over Giovani. The free kick is kind of headed into safety.

minute 66 Bartra dribbles across the whole pitch but loses the ball with a ridiculous pass.

minute 67 GOOOOL!!! Fab Four crosses a ball into the box. Lexus chests it down and offers the tap in to our Brazilian wonderchild, O Ney.

That was lovely and well deserved, i might add. Barça is playing better than their opponents.

minute 70 Oooooh, Neymar almost creates space for a decisive third, when dribbling past his marker deep into the penalty area! Barça is looking to close this game out.

minute 73 Lexus, who’s having a cracking game, lays the ball to Cesc who blasts well over from outside the penalty area. It must be said that Barcelona have started to play a lot better once Xavi came on.

minute 75 Beautiful passing by the blaugrana in the yellow half. Me loves triangles, me really does. When possession is lost the ball is recovered via excellent pressing.

minute 77 Pinto shows us Valdes is not the only goalkeeper capable of playing the ball out of defense. The braided one is cool and calm like Israel Vibration.

By the way, did I mention how Iniesta rocks? Now’s as good a time as any. Dude rocks!

minute 81 Did I say now’s as good a time as any? Should have said it sooner. Ghostface almost scores from a lovely chipped cross by Lexus. Great save by Asenjo.

minute 83 Alexis Sanchez receives a heartfelt applause from the Camp Nou as he goes off for Pedro.

minute 84 Only God and the referee know why Neymar has just received a yellow card. We will have to manage without him our next match, as that brings him to a suspension. Most all of his cards have been completely unnecessary this season.

minute 85 Martino is instructing Sergi Roberto in the dug out…

minute 86 … aaaand he’s on for Fàbregas.

minute 87 Piqué keepie-uppies the ball over the backline. Corer for Villareal. I will be livid if they score.

minute 88 On the contrary, the corner leads to an excellent counter opportunity for Barcelona. Until the ball is passed to the black hole that is named Martin Montoya, of course.

 minute 89 Hearts stop momentarily when Iniesta uncharactistically loses the ball. Villareal apply pressure, but chaos and pandemonium in our penalty area notwithstanding, Pinto is not called into action.

minute 90 On the other side of the pitch, Sergi Roberto squanders the counter opportunity. Four minutes of extra-time are called.

minute 91 Visionary pass of Neymar to Pedro! The Canarian shoots just wide.

minute 92 Mouthwatering Ney-Roberto one-two.  The resulting shot goes over.

minute 93 Barça tiki-taka the game into safety, until…

minute 94 Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhew (that was a whistle!). That’s that. It was an awesome second half, with a blaugrana win as a deserved conclusion.

“Good lord. we really do have to practice our passing accuracy when doing counters”, writes Michele. My head is nodding feverishly in agreement.

And it is time to wrap this baby up. It seems that the last fourteen minutes of the game my internet connection dropped. I am powerless against the limitations of mother Technology, unfortunately. Thank all of you for joining me, and a special shout out to G60 and especially the lovely Michele Taylor for writing in your comments. I’m out, and the comment thread below is open.

By Levon

Culé since way before football boots were of the neon yellow and lizard green variety, Levon is a deep thinker with increasingly shallow thoughts. He lives in Barcelona with his gorgeous wife and daughter. The lucky bastard...


  1. Nice work lev…can you do this for everyother match? Really hate to see whiney commentary…you can have kxevin work with you on this so this can be attentive to detail as it should…it also means new traffic for the blog…because millions of people are typing live stream on thier browsers every barcelona matchday…

    That said, this is a balanced match with tiki taka counter attacking or mere possession stlye of play…the double pivot does allow a more flexible flow of passes but i think tata was disappointed we conceded. afterall the true essence of a double pivot is to stifle opposition attacks…ney has really come of age and an hatrick would have been justice today…its good to see dos santos light up the camp nou again, he showed a sly hint of what could have been…its shameful to witness a section of the nou camp boo cesc at some point in the game, now he’s made to feel greatly undervalued and that will affect his form…wait, is ney our new pk taker?(aside leo?) because our last pk was taken by both ini and fab 4, does this mean the barca hierachy has modified a few things? Or its just one of those on-field team decisions?…

    Xavi seemed rejuvenated coming from the bench…its so great to see such a leader in fine form.

    1. Unfortunately I can’t, Kess. I generally record the Saturday games to watch later, as I work. Also, only every other league match is broadcasted by my cable provider so even if there is a Sunday game I often end up watching it at a bar. In Venezuela pulling out my laptop in a bar is akin to putting a handgun to my own head.

      As for the lack of detail, this is my first MBM so yeah, I will keep it in mind next time I do one. One thing I really missed was input from you guys, our readers. Y’all are so lively during LiveBlogs, but other than Michele and G60 I got nothing from you today. A shame, because I think the MBM is a much more interesting format than LB.

  2. Why was that yellow shown????

    And don’t tell me the referee was not aware of the yellow card situation…

    1. im not sure about the call. but we will be fine without ney. glad he misses a match now and not vs atletico, our 3rd match from now (getafe-elche-atletico).

    2. When the most fouled player in the Liga has received more yellow cards than his markers have for kicking him, you know something is rotten in the state of Spain.

  3. Messi=False 9, Cesc= Sucky 9. Hehe! Tata, how many times are we going to warn you about cesc at Sucky 9? I’d rather cesc plays CAM in a double pivot or pairs of with either of xavi or ini in a 4-3-3

    1. I really like Martino, but I seriously question why he, like Tito before him, insists on playing Cesc as a withdrawn striker.

  4. great game from the team. we should have had more goals. we were intense, pressed well and had some brilliant moments. alba looks very fit, bartra played well, and the second goal was great. villareal scored on their only shot on goal and they almost never troubled us in their 24% of possession. we were far superior, and they are a very good team, folks. if we maybe didnt have as many shots on goal as we would like, well, they were sitting quite deeply and there wasnt much space. we still managed to break them down. it was good to see gio dos santos as well, he is doing fine.

    and real mandrill dropped points. a good day.

  5. Good game vs a tough Villareal side that has a very organized defense. I was a little disappointed with some of our final touches and final balls. Extremely disappointed with Montoya. He just doesn’t have the composure or the talent to pick out a pass once he’s in a great position. His crosses are horrific. I’m most disappointed in him because last year he showed great promise. I was impressed enough with him last year that I thought we’d be ok selling Dani. No longer a viable option. Time to ship him out and bring in a right sided version of Abi to back up Dani. Ney was excellent. Again. Cesc didn’t have the greatest game because of some errant passing in the 1st half. He picked himself up and made a brilliant pass over the top to Alexis for Ney’s 2nd goal. That was the winner, so hard to say Cesc was horrible. Xavi completely changed the game. He brings that calm, measured, reassurance to our midfield. Love him. Alexis was a work horse as usual. Thought he should’ve done better with his opportunity, but he works so hard for the team. I like Pique & Bartra in the back. Although Bartra lost his marker for their goal(I think), he’s still so good at making the right tackle or anticipating where the pass will be and breaking it up. Overall, I’m very pleased with the result. Tough team and we needed the 3 pts after EE dropped 2. Lets see what Atletico do today. Hopefully we are still top of the table this evening.

    1. Agree completely on Montoya this season, to my great chagrin. I also agree that we need a taller, more defensive backup for Dani, ala Abidal. I don’t think 2 small attacking fullbacks are the way to go. Since Alba is definitely that type of fb, and Dani is not getting any younger/faster/better, I think we should balance Jordi’s skill set with someone a bit more capable defensively.

    2. Up until this season I had thought that Montoya would progress to be a starting full back for us but now I think we’ll be happy if he becomes an Adriano-like great backup.
      Elohor Godswill, the Nigerian right back for Juvenil A shows a lot of promise but is still too young to know whether he will make it but he has the right profile. He’s very physical, tall and athletic. He scores a lot of goals from right back but is fast enough to get back to cover defensively.
      If we had a right back with those characteristics, then Jordi Alba at left back would be free to go forward like he currently does.

    3. Montoya needed to either shoot or pass on three of four occasions but instead took a touch or two and then nothing happened. I don’t know how I feel about him, but maybe he just needs more experience, but as nice as it is to have Alba back (I love his pace), the Alba/Alves combination won’t work against better teams. It leaves us too vulnerable on the counter. I’d really like to see an Abidal type signing there.

      I know everyone and their mother has been saying this, but WHY does Martino keep putting Cesc as the false 9. Cesc is such a great midfielder! I really like the idea of the Iniesta/Cesc/Xavi/Roberto rotation (in that order), in this case resting Xavi quite often. I just don’t understand. Does anyone think Cesc as false 9 is a good idea?

  6. Man, If that Shot from Neymar with the little first time backheel from Sergi Roberto in the box had gone in, I would have gone Crazzy.

    The Ronnie times are back in the Camp Nou.

  7. If anyone watched Spurs v Liverpool today, Suarez tore Spurs to shreds today. He has 17 goals in his last 11 matches. He is unplayable. Scoring and creating goals at will. Unbelievable.
    I’d love if we signed him in the summer. He is tenacious too which is certainly something that we need.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. He scores more while being less selfish than during seasons past. And he has often spoken of his affinity with FC Barcelona.

  8. Love this Lev! I hope you can do this more often. I prefer this much more than Liveblog. I love reading MBM on the Guardian. Did you mean the Guardian by British newspaper?

    Just a quick suggestion. Instead of emailing you our thoughts, maybe you should open up a similar type of outlet as the one on Liveblog. It’ll be much more faster rather than emailing.

    Btw, you will get robbed at knife or gun point if you bring a laptop to a bar in Venezuela? In a bar with many people around???

    1. 1. Yup, that’s the one.

      2. If I open an LB type outlet I might as well not write an MBM. The idea is that I work your thoughts into my report. The really cool thing is that we will end up with a match report that is not only mine, but ours. That’s the way I envision it anyway.

      3. Yeah, uhmm, knife attacks aren’t even that common here, cause everybody packs heat. Robbery is both the most likely and also the least bad thing that would happen. Attracting the wrong type of attention and getting kidnapped on my way home the one that would worry me the most. If I were as stupid to spend 2 hours writing a minute to minute in a bar, that is, lol!

  9. I missed 2 matches already since I’m travelling in Holland. Not liking the exclusion of youth players in the match vs. Celtic.

    What’s the point of qualifying early in the CL group stage when you don’t rest key players and give the youngsters a chance?

    Why the continued use of Cesc at F9 and why the double pivot of Busi and Song again? Worse still, in a home match!

    1. well, we had qualified, but we needed a result to guarantee 1st place. we didnt know ac milan would tie ajax. plus we have a 2-week period coming up with no matches. just cartagena and getafe to go.

      i imagine we will see some rotation vs cartagena, as we are taking a 4-1 lead back to the camp nou.

    1. That charity soccer games are being used to launder drug money would not surprise me, but to link Messi’s father?

      A new post is up, guys…

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