Can we really go undefeated this season?

Look deep. Deep into my eyes. What do you think? Can my boys and I pull the magic trick of going undefeated for an entire La Liga season?

You are getting sleeeepyyyy. Sleeeepyyyy ….

Ding! Wake up now, because it’s time to contemplate.

Our beloved club has reached the halfway point of the season with a 5-point lead on one Evil Empire. It is also undefeated in the league, having conceded but 10 goals.

Yes, you read that right …. 10 goals.

It’s funny how with all of our anguish about Marquez, and Txignasty, and Pique being in a bit of a funk, and set piece vulnerability, etc, how that number smacks you upside the head.

In the winter transfer season, we didn’t buy or sell anyone, but we did some nice business, with both our Africans returning early from the African Cup of Nations, and Gabi Milito sliding back into the side almost as if he’d never left. This means that our defense is now even better. The Yaya will be back on Thursday, by the by. That explains the sudden darkness many of you might have seen, passing overhead. He sometimes causes an eclipse.

We have 19 more matches, and let’s look at them and the possibilities, and how likely it is that we can win:

@Sporting Gijon: Brave and plucky, but this is a W.
Getafe: We beat them 0-2 at their house, and we were playing like shit. Now we’re at home. W
@At. Madrid: It depends on which team shows up. If they play out of their minds …. D
Racing: We beat them 1-4 at their house. Does anyone expect any different at home? W
(Note that we have the first Champions League match against Stuttgart in midweek, but dude …. it’s Stuttgart.)
Malaga: We beat them 0-2 at their house, with Weligton acting like the Terminator. We’re at home now. Payback time! W
@Almeria: Dude. Come on. W
Valencia: Whew! This one is at home, which makes me confident of at least a draw. D
(Note that Stuttgart comes to us in midweek, but we should have salted away the tie at their house.)
@Zaragoza: This is going to be a tricky one, because they play solidly at home, but we should just eke it out. W
Osasuna: They will be brave, but we’re at home. W
@Mallorca: Recall that at the end of last season, during “get Eto’o the pichichi,” we didn’t play our game. We will this time. W
Bilbao: At home? In a tight Liga (I figure the EE to keep nipping at our heels.)? We’ll get it done. W
@EE: This is the one, the potential bugbear, the pimple on the ass of our perfection. It’s the match that they are already pointing to, while I’m sure that Guardiola is saying “Just do everything you’re supposed to, and this match won’t matter.” D
Deportivo: It all depends on the outcome of the EE match. If we win, expect besotted subs, so anything can happen. D
@Espanyol: This one is always crazy, when we visit their cauldron. Last season, it took some Henry heroics and a late penalty. This season, they’re erratic, and played us tough at home. If we have something to play for, W. But I could see a D.
Xerez: W. All day and all night.
@Villarreal: This is another Hudsonesque banana peel, as they are always crazy at home, particularly against us. Again, if we’re already champions, this could be an L.
Tenerife: We’re at home. No way. W
@Sevilla: They will be fully manned and spoiling for revenge after our Camp Nou spanking. We’ll be ready. D
Valladolid: The season finale will see us celebrating …. what? It won’t matter. W

So no, I don’t think that we can finish out the season undefeated, mostly because we will have some serious Champions League action that we will have to rest key players for. But unless we wrap up the championship crazy early like, I just don’t see any team in the Liga who can deal with us. Hell, they couldn’t deal with us when we weren’t on our best game, and as we move closer and closer to getting (once again) to that rarefied level, it will take more than one of a few things to beat us:

A key injury: (Xavi, Abidal, Valdes)
Crazy ass luck: Remember the ping-pong own goal between Valdes and Pique? Stuff can happen.
Besotted joy: “We’ve won the liga. Who gives a damn?”

You see the matches. What’s your view on this matter? Can we go undefeated for the rest of the season, as we did the first half? I’m more confident this time, because last season we were playing out of our minds. This season, we haven’t been all that hot and still, we’re undefeated. But even with that, we’re going to give one up.

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Written by:

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


  1. Moy
    January 26, 2010

    Don’t really think we would finish unbeaten,guess we would have won the la liga with a couple of matches in hand a lose one then!

  2. January 26, 2010

    wow..the first to comment…
    anyway i think that winning all last season might give the guys a lot more motivation to go undefeated this season…Its like the only crown jewel left to conquer… So hell ya y not…
    This record can achievemen as pointed out so well by the post..only a few iffy matches…
    We just need to pray that there’s no injury to anyone at a crucial time…

    i also feel that the EE match is gonna be crucial .. if undefeated till after the match..we can go all the way…

    • JMo
      January 26, 2010

      sorry dude, you were second… woomp woomp

  3. vogy
    January 26, 2010

    I think the championship is gonna be decided before the last game and if thats the case i think we gonna loose our two last matches.
    just think of it, a sevilla side fighting for a champions league spot and a valladolid side who is battling to stay up in la liga while our boys are just thinking about the world cup it would be nice tough to take an arsenal

  4. January 26, 2010

    We won’t go undefeated. No chance in hell. It won’t be RM that takes it from us, though.

    Remember, everyone, you have until Saturday to get me your La Liga second half predictions! Send them to info[at]barcelonafootballblog[dot]com and I’ll add them to my spreadsheet of wonder. So far, not too many of you have entered, meaning you can’t win!

  5. majatt
    January 26, 2010

    Anything can happen in any match, to end undefeated I don’t care about but to win (undefeated or not) is what I hope for.

  6. auld super
    January 26, 2010

    It can be done and if anyone can do it then it’s the mighty Barca. That’s an optimistic YES ! It would make up for going out of the cup too.

  7. Hilal
    January 26, 2010

    Hmmm, a lot of “impossibles” heres….i remember people saying it was impossible to win the treble last year, we won the sextuple. If there is anything i have learnt about this team it is that NOTHING is impossible. I think it depends a lot on how much Madrid chase us, ironically the closer they are the more likely i think we are to continue undefeated. Without the Copa to worry about it makes it all the more feasible. It would be nice, but more like icing on the cake, lets concentrate on winning the league and retaining the CL.

  8. nick
    January 26, 2010

    Only way we go undefeated is if Madrid stays within 2 points with us throughout the second half. Otherwise it dies the same way our quest for 100 points did last season.

  9. January 26, 2010

    If the players even thought about it, they will get defeated in the very next game. I recommend that you block all the players IP adresses. Not allowed to read this one.

  10. Tyler
    January 26, 2010

    I mentioned this way back, and people told me to shut up……. but I really think we can do it. The option of drawing creates a path for us to definitely pull this off, because:

    a) no one, not even EE is ever going to score more than two goals on us

    b) we can probably score at least two goals against any team in the EE if we are on. (yes there have been 1-0 and 1-1 games, but we are more than capable of scoring two at any point)

    It’s just going to be a balance act of how hard we have to work for the champions league, and how willing are the players to focus for each match. but I think we can do it, we have the talent, the coach, and the winning attitude. we are barca. come on, we can do anything.

    • auld super
      January 26, 2010

      I couldn’t agree more I could try but it would be impossible so I won’t.

      • Tyler
        January 26, 2010

        haha, good, great minds think alike right ; )

        also, when you look at last years league numbers compared to this year’s, we are probably going to end up with a better goal differential due to our much improved defense. also we probably score the same amount of overall goals. Last year we ended up with 105 league goals, and currently at the halfway point we have 49. It doesn’t require too much of a stretch of imagination to think that we can score 56 goals within this next half of liga play, especially with the run of form we are slowly but surely settling into. The more time Henry, Ibra, and Messi play with each other up front, the more in-sync and deadly they will become which = more goals.

        What I’m trying to say is we are a better team than we were last year, mainly due to us being a much more balanced team overall. And if we were able to win everything last year, it’s not hard to believe we could pull off an unbeatable season. We will just need luck, few/no injuries, and for the football gods to smile upon us.

  11. Catalanblood
    January 26, 2010

    That’s impossible!

    But so is winning all the competition that we played in.

    I think we can but you’re in a way right. There’s less importance in going undefeated in the league than trying to rest important players for the more “impossible” objective: winning the Champion’s League twice.

    Now that’s where my fingers are crossed.

  12. January 26, 2010

    thing is,barca is prone to stupid crazy goals, moments of madness in the defense, busquets-inspired opposition counterattacks, and yes, the inability to score at times. whether it’s a great goalkeeper or a matchwinning performance by the crossbar, the phenomenon of ALMOST SCORING happens far too often at FC Barcelona. for these reasons, NO.

    • BlaugranaDOOM
      January 27, 2010


      Agreed. 19 games just leaves too many opportunities for mistakes (which we are prone to make). Couple that with a wonder strike or inability to score one and 0-1 or 1-2 will end that run. We could go undefeated, but the probability is very low (like less that 5% just to pull a figure out of my arse).

  13. Miguel
    January 26, 2010

    “the pimple on the ass of our perfection.” i love that.

    i don’t doubt our winning the league, but unbeaten? maybe if we had 03-04 henry.

  14. El Tel
    January 26, 2010

    I’ll hazard a “hell, yes!” They seem to be hitting their form now, and Ibra and Gabi can only improve.

  15. Bill
    January 26, 2010

    That Pic! I can see alot of Pique and Guardiola in it!

    Trying to go undefeated is putting too much pressure on the guys. Winning one game at a time is the way to go. 12-13 games into the second half will be the time to take a break, then look at the situation, then decide whether its worth it. But if there is any team that can do it, this one can. During champions league, there is still alot of breaks in between. For every 3 consecutive games, theres a week off. Losing the copa really did us some great favors.

    • majatt
      January 26, 2010

      Agreed, 1 game at a time got this far and I’m sure pep is using a industrial drill to get home that point to the team.

  16. ooga aga
    January 26, 2010

    i dont know if we can get past xerez.

  17. ooga aga
    January 26, 2010

    everyone has the xerez match on their mind, i know. but you cant look too far ahead. you gotta take ’em one at a time.

  18. DontPanic
    January 26, 2010

    Second leg of the CL 1/4 finals is played 4 days before El Clasico. It gonna be tough.

  19. jordi
    January 26, 2010

    It would be nice, but all i want more than anything else is to retain the champions league at the bernabeu.If it were Madrid we defeated, that would be even sweeter, but it might turn ugly because im sure all the cules after the game would trash Cibeles .

  20. Jim
    January 26, 2010

    Its not reasonable to expect that and then be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Its about winning the league.

    With regard to what might stop us, I feel injuries of more than a week to Xavi, Iniesta, Messi or even Puyol could do it. I don’t put Abidal in that bracket.

    Whatever, happens they have done very well not to have a complete downturn as a reaction to last year.

    • Kxevin
      January 26, 2010

      Jim, but recall how messy things were for us when Abidal was out for 8 weeks last season. It took a while, but we gradually began to acknowledge the effect that his absence had on the defense. I’d rather lose Puyol than Abidal. (Yes, I said it. 😀 )

      • El Tel
        January 27, 2010

        Oh, no, you didn’t!

      • Jim
        January 27, 2010

        I don’t recall a bad run last year, Kxevin, but I’ll take your word for it. My problem with Abidal started when everyone started raving about his performances. I’ve always thought him to be a sound but not world beating full back. However, last year in the big games I felt he was exposed time after time.

        When a good winger (eg. Robben) runs at him he is often beaten – witness Robben skinning him twice in the opening two minutes in last year’s 6-2 rout and Jesus Navas this season. Also, both last and this year the number of goals that we lose in the position between Abidal and his CB is worrying (Estudiantes and several others this year). Part of it is undoubtedly the fact that our full backs play high up the pitch but I don’t see why we need Abidal to do that as he doesn’t offer anything really in attack.

        It sounds as if i have a real thing going against him but I genuinely see lots of flaws in his game. A couple of weeks ago i was happy to see him deservedly MOTM. He is still probably better than Maxwell but I think it would be close if Maxwell got a run in the team. All I was saying was that i don’t see how his absence would hurt us this year. I can’t even come close to thinking that you really believe he is as vital to the side as Puyol.

  21. Bill
    January 26, 2010

    Has anyone watched how disjointed Real Madrids game seems to be? I don’t think they are really much of a threat to be honest. Yeah, individual talents will shine through many times, but they will also lay an egg in their fare share of games.

    Yeah yeah, I know everyone says its because Barcelona have played together for a long time. There’s a difference between trying to learn to play together, and having an incoherent team. The spanish national team and many other great teams of the past didnt need 6 months of playing together to get it.
    This Madrid team don’t got it. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but they aren’t much of a threat if we keep up our standards. They will be exposed, especially in the champions league by a well organized team.

  22. BA
    January 26, 2010

    weeell i know who tops my list of transfer targets for the summer.

    Luka Modrić.

    watching him just now against Fulham and he’s been sublime; i’ve never seen him have a bad game despite being the only brilliant player in a team of mediocres. he’s young, fantastic technical ability, a great passer and can work on the left wing. is pretty much the engine for Croatia’s entire offense as well.

  23. ooga aga
    January 26, 2010

    bring him with defoe and blobbie keane.

  24. Helge
    January 26, 2010

    away games @ Atleti, Real, Villarreal and Sevilla –> We won’t go undefeated. I can even imagine to lose already at Atleti, because these matches have been pure crazyness the last years!

  25. Eklavya
    January 26, 2010

    Can someone tell me how many goals we had scored and conceded last season at this point?

    • Kxevin
      January 26, 2010


      Last year: 54 for, 13 against
      This year: 49 for, 10 against

      • Eklavya
        January 27, 2010

        We’ve conceded less in general but we’ve conceded more dumb goals (Busquets style) this season than last season at this point.

  26. vicsoc8
    January 26, 2010

    If I look at every game individually I think we can win every single one of them.

    However when I look at the entire second half of the season, especially with the Champions League involved I just see us having a brain fart and losing one of the games. Not to EE, but one of the lower teams we will show up unmotivated and they will take it to us.

    Remember, we’re only currently undefeated due to some luck and somewhat undeserved results in games where we played poorly. Lady luck won’t be sleeping with us forever.

  27. Alexinho
    January 26, 2010

    Do we really need to finish undefeated and get co-Arsenal fans like me referring to Arsenal AGAIN??

  28. ballbeav
    January 26, 2010

    hector wondered out loud a few threads ago whether we were scoring earlier in games last season.

    i had time to kill. so…

    really there isnt much difference between this and last year in terms of when we score first. if you take into account the variance of the data, there is no significant difference.

    i took into account only the first 19 games of last year. in the cases where we were shutout, the “score” given is 90.

    here we go. first number is last season, second is this season:

    average time to first goal: 40.7, 37.2 minutes
    median time to first goal: 31, 36 minutes
    (standard deviation): 29.5, 23.3 minutes
    # of times first goal comes in first 45 minutes: 11, 11
    # of times first goal comes in first 30 minutes: 9,8
    # of times first goal comes in first 20 minutes: 7,6

    interpretation: on average the same, but we were more erratic last year in the primera vuelta. i.e. we had several games where we scored quickly but also more where we left it late. we had a string of 5 games last year (the 6th – 10th games of the season) were our first goals came in the 3rd, 63rd, 5th, 5th, and 12th minutes; usually it was Eto’o who gave us the advantage. this season Ibra has also opened the scoring for us several times.

    • ballbeav
      January 26, 2010

      that should be “where”, not “were” near the end of the above post..

    • Hector
      January 26, 2010

      You, ballbeav, get a cookie.

      Awesome work! When our Emperor of Stats (Isaiah) gets back you might even get a poem. Of course you would want that 😀 .

      • inNYC
        January 27, 2010

        I demand an Isaiah poem about Ballbeav’s nerdiness. Extra points if it’s in iambic pentameter.

  29. Corrine
    January 26, 2010

    if we do finish unbeaten *knock on puyol’s abs* would we be setting any records, making history etc?

  30. January 27, 2010

    we can actually go unbeaten and still lose the league as a result of DRAWS.
    in that case i’d rather lose 1 game so that the boys will be fired up again. you need to taste defeat once in a while.

    the way i see it, the title is ours but it’s also ours to lost.
    we make too many mistakes at the back and rely too much on messi for goals.

  31. Lev
    January 27, 2010

    call me pessimist but i just hope we win the liga. the champions league would be worthy of a big fat orgy but more important is that we win the liga and madrid win nada

  32. Lev
    January 27, 2010

    and i dont think we will go undefeated. last season teams almost rolled over and died before they even stepped out on the pitch with us this season they’re fearless and often unlucky.

  33. cliveee
    January 27, 2010

    We will be undefeated until we win the league, and after that, Pep will call upon the young lads to “exercise” a bit, so there will be some loses.

    • January 27, 2010

      it’s better if pep rests our key players im matches once we are leading by 2 goals up in the 2nd half.
      the youngsters can get some minutes and more importantly, key players get rested.

  34. January 27, 2010

    We probably won’t last the entire league season undefeated but it’s interesting to note that last year we had quite a few games wherein we left it really really late to win. That hasn’t really happened this time around and we actually dropped a couple of point at the death against Bilbao (i think)

    I sense we’ll win or draw the seemingly difficult games for eg. EE, Valencia etc but we might lose the plot against teams who have a lot of potential but are languishing somewhere in mid table. For eg. an Athletico Madrid or a Getafe. Pep will do his best to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    The brilliance about the mentality of the players this year is that it seems that they are mentally much stronger than last season as if to prove that last year was not a flash in the pan. It’s so exciting when you support a team that has no limits!

    • January 27, 2010

      PS. Xavi if you’re reading.. Belated wishes and you’re my favourite player!

  35. Missingpage
    January 27, 2010

    …yes we will go UNDEFEATED! Especially if Madrid keep throwing mud at us from all over! Messi did the same to Valiente as CR94 to the guy from Malaga?! acording to the only difference between the two is that thong boy has longer hands than Messi…DISGRACE!

    • January 27, 2010

      and thong boy blames the victim for being too short!
      he really is too much!

  36. Blow-Granite
    January 27, 2010

    Yes they can go undefeated in the rest of the season. It will depend on Ibra’s form. Rest of the team is doing well.

  37. Diane
    January 27, 2010

    Well that’s not fair…you post that picture of Pep (can NOT believe you found one so perfect for the occasion) allow us to become fully hypnotized and then ask us for independent thought!? And I’m not saying that because I’m female, I’m old enough to be — well, his aunt anyway. Now I know why his players will do whatever he asks of them…

    However, I don’t think that will include going unbeaten for all of the good reasons mentioned. Every team comes out to depose us now and even bottom of the table teams, in any premier league but especially in Spain, have enough talent to play a blinder for a “surprise” victory against any other team on a given day. I also agree that it took some of last season’s losses to fire us up to reach the heights we did by the end of the season.

    I don’t like to lose, but I do so love to watch our attacking game played at its best. Trying to go unbeaten could compromise that, but if it comes with taking the risks that make Barca such a joy to watch, it would be another testament to the style of play we all believe in.

  38. dude
    January 27, 2010

    nope we wont be undefeated.

    we will lose one at home. surprisingly against a bottom-trash team.

    mix of bad-luck and arrogance because we will have a 8 point lead to Evil Eve.

    still goin to be campeoneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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