Barça vs Atleti match comments post

We all remember this match. Falcao scored first, then Adriano did what Adriano does. The final was 4-1. Still feeling like today is a 2-1 in the offing, as I can’t see this Atleti conceding 4 goals to us. But a win will be in the offing.

For those expecting a trophy ceremony at the Camp Nou today, forget it. Liga chairman is “traveling.”

Anyhow, here’s your match comments post. Have fun, and don’t hurt anyone.

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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.

179 Comments

  1. Dar_vincy
    May 17, 2014

    And let the game begin…..

  2. Dar_vincy
    May 17, 2014

    As today signals the grand finale of our otherwise topsy-turvy season, I would like to seize this moment to specially acknowledge the assiduous efforts and inputs put in by the mods- Kxevin especially for his sustained presence and being an incurably serial distributor of incessant optimism. Big ups, man.
    Others Like, Blitzen, Euleri?, Soccermom, NZM (from TB, right?), among other names memory fails me to mention for their brilliant and overly virtuosic input. To my fellow commenters, the quality of comments and arguments- never mind our knee-jerk reactions- read here are unrivalled anywhere, I make bold to say.
    Whatever happens today, there is always the accompaniedly comforting feeling that Madrid won’t be winning the treble.
    Visca Barca!

    • Messiah10
      May 17, 2014

      Well said Dar_vincy. I 2nd that. Especially Kxevin, who has pumped out volumes of work over the last few months. This space would be dead without him. Thank you Kxevin!

    • Dar_vincy
      May 18, 2014

      Agree with you, Messiah10.
      They deserve being commended for their selfless efforts.

  3. teddy
    May 17, 2014

    Lineup confirmed:

    Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Sergio, Cesc, Iniesta, Alexis, Pedro & Messi

  4. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Brave line up, I like it.
    More impressive is that we actually have a really good bench today, Bartra, Alba, Song, Xavi, Tello and Neymar.

    I’m excited

  5. May 17, 2014

    Kevin, please do not worry about the comments. This site is way ahead of other forums in terms of quality and decency.
    Different people react differently to a failure, also based on their moment’s mental situation which could have been influenced by lots of factors, other than football. Inspite of that, mostly this is an excellent place. There is a minimum standard of decency here always. You all should be proud.

    Finally it seems Tata has a different tactical plan, with Xavi on the bench. He must be hoping Atleti to attack in the first 20 minutes, during which the directness of Cesc would help.

    For some reason, I am not tensed at all.
    Visca Barca.

  6. georgjorge
    May 17, 2014

    As Real doesn’t have a chance at the Liga, only good results will be possible ;).

    Seriously: I would love to win the Liga this year, but my greatest wish is for Barca to really give Atlético a run for their money today. I want Xavi to attempt risky passes, Messi to run as if for his life, Iniesta to find his shooting boots again, Pinto to make the saves of his career etc. etc. As long as they play as well as we know they can, I’ll be proud of this team no matter what.

    Can’t wait for it to start!

  7. ooga aga
    May 17, 2014

    Hey, I just popped back in to say two things.

    1. re: my last comment. This for me is still the best English-language place to be a Barca fan on the web. Still, I think there is some stuff that gets said that really rubs me the wrong way. It’s a personal decision to take a break. Maybe I should have kept it to myself.

    2. A few threads ago I made a comment about new fans. I want to be clear that I think new fans are great. It is new fans with a sense of entitlement, and no sense of perspective, that rub me the wrong way, especially when this space get clogged up by their comments. Again, a personal thing, completely subjective. Again, I should have kept it to myself. I think I am too sensitive, and, as I said before, this season has been really intense, and I let it get to me. But despite that, I always hoped, check the record. 🙂

    One more thing. Kxevin’s recent post about being “all in” was beautiful, because it can also be a commentary on how to live life. Never give up hope.

    And if today we aren’t crowned champions (I’m just saying this to make a point, because we WILL win today), it is not then vindicating a position of hopelessness. You always have to believe, period.

    Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Thank you Kxevin and all others that make this place enjoyable.

    Talk to you all on the other side of an historic win.

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Ooga aga: the fans and the club are reacting to a difficult situation and sometimes all of us get angry and make ill advised remarks.

      I have always liked your comments and hope you stick around! Any one who loves our team and our players is a friend of mine!

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Good to see you, at least I can offer my apologies directly if I have offended you.

      Look, I talk here like how I talk in real life to friends which I expect us to be after 4-5 years communicating. Of course I did not agree with you but it was just a talk. I mentioned your name because I was talking to you. I talked to you because it was a reply to you. I don’t see how else I could’ve done it differently.

      I wish I know how to write it differently to make it look like a softer tone when in my mind I type like how I would talk at a normal pace.

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 17, 2014

      If there is any consolation, I try to keep my number of comments low.
      But sometimes, the quality of comments make me say ‘WHOA !’ & I end up leaving a compliment.
      Merely appreciating 🙂

  8. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Checked in on some quality Real sites. As expected most of the comments are about our game. The one player they really fear on our team at this point: Neymar.

    I don’t look at this game today as an end of an era, but the beginning of a new one!

    Outsiders looking on to see the end of a “once great team” are going to be very surprised.

  9. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Good start to the match. I feel for Costa, a reoccurrence of his hamstring problems and it’s the second or third time they brought him back too early.
    Arda now has taken a knock so it’s going to be difficult for them

  10. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    One of the best finishes I have ever seen

  11. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    like the guy on the tv just said.. QUE BOMBASO!!!

  12. G6O
    May 17, 2014

    That goal was so similar to the one Diego scored in the CL game – same impossible trajectory. Payback 🙂

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Note to Juventus : If you want him and he still wants to go, OK.
      New Transfer Price: 50 million

      Anther great Alexis moment of the season for me:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_YpucBd58k

  13. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    One of their biggest threats gets a free header… what other outcome do we expect.

  14. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Busquets has a problem. The referee certainly has been lenient; especially when it comes to fouls on us.
    No one whatsoever picked up Godin for the goal. I don’t know if some one was meant to be marking him and just didn’t or was it a tactical error but it wasn’t pretty.

  15. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Here we go… Neymar for Pedro

  16. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Time to break the bus!

  17. May 17, 2014

    It’s finally over, this season. Congratulations to Atletic!

  18. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Congratulations to Atletico. We were unable to beat them when it counted and they won the league fairly.
    We played well enough today but failed to create enough chances.
    It will be the last match for a number of our players and thanks to them for their work. I look forward to the next season.

  19. stefan2k
    May 17, 2014

    Congrats Atletico :/ the better team won

  20. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Congratulations to a great team.
    Best of luck next week!

  21. georgjorge
    May 17, 2014

    It was a good match – not too many chances, but a very spirited display and some very nice combinations (a bit too often broken up by dirty fouls that weren’t called). We didn’t win anything this year, but if next year continues in the same spirit as this match I’ll be satisfied.

  22. Messiah10
    May 17, 2014

    Well, Hats off to Atletico. By far the better team throughout the season. We definitely didn’t deserve it. The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half cost of the championship. Came out absolutely flat & were beaten to every 50-50 ball. If Tata can’t inspire them at halftime, up 1-nil, with the Championship at stake, I don’t know when he can. Time for a coach who can inspire and won’t give up on the season 3/4 of the way through. Time for our board to step up & make some signings that the team needs. Xavi needs to have a good look in the mirror too. If indeed he was behind the regression back to his hallowed “tiki-taka” then he should go. I have faith in the core of the team. Fantastic players & they can still win everything. They need a motivator. An inspirational figure & a leader. We need a leader on the field as well. I thought Pique could grow into one, but I’m not so sure now. Congrats Atletico Madrid. Visca Barca!

    • Rivaldo
      May 17, 2014

      Come on dude. Tata bashing at this point? Really? Some off it please; and that’s putting it nicely.

      “If Tata cant inspire them at halftime….”? No seriously you didn’t just say that. If the players cant be up at halftime in a match like this with those fans behind them and all to play for THEY need to go. Simple. And, btw, I don’t think that’s what it was.

      P.S. Players of the Barca teams of the future; this is the intensity we want from you every game. It can be done … puyol played every game is entire Barca life like this and Atletico did it this season. Thank you. It would be much appreciated.

    • Rivaldo
      May 17, 2014

      *Come off…

      and yes I see your small comment on Tata as “bashful”

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      I agree. This is the same team that won 4-0 against Milan at camp Nou last year with Jordi Roura as coach.

  23. Messiah10
    May 17, 2014

    I just heard the Spanish FA President did not make the game? Know one knows where he is? Atletico don’t get to lift the trophy? WTF? The Spanish FA is the biggest joke of a federation I’ve ever known. From dates unannounced for months to the President not attending the Championship game of the top league he resides over. Absolute disgrace!

  24. May 17, 2014

    Congrats Atleti! Visca el Barça. Thank you for the season, you competed until the very end.

  25. Jamal102
    May 17, 2014

    Hey I’m I just signed up for this site but I have been a regular visitor since the Euler days..

    I just wanted to say congratulations to Atletico.
    Also, I was wondering if anyone was also proud of the immense impact of a newly, returned Pique. For me, this is just further proof for the need of good defensive signings.

    Secondly, I lament the fact that we could not close out the game vs Getafe. It would have met an entirely different scenario for us, as well as Atletico coming into this final game.

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Still would have gotten second place. 90-89

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Eventhough he didn’t have the captain armband around his biceps, but he was the captain today. I’m really looking forward to him stepping it up next season.

  26. Valdemar II
    May 17, 2014

    Everyone gave it a 100% in this last game, glad to see. Grats Atleti.

  27. May 17, 2014

    Congratulations to Atletico and especially to Simeone. They wanted it more than us. Best team of this season.

    Please finish this form with CL, please Atletico.

    What a goal by Alexis, almost like a payback for Deigo goal.

    • May 17, 2014

      It will be a sin, if I didnt give credit to my Barca. We tried well, and probably this was our best try against Atletico in all the 6 matches this season. Thank you team.

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Alexis’ goal was amazing. It was impossible to go in but he did it. Just raw power. He will not score a better goal in his life. Diego’s goal was nice but there are plenty of those. Alexis’ was one in a million.

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      I wonder what Ray Hudson would’ve said.

  28. norden
    May 17, 2014

    Well done both teams. Congratulations to Atletico.

  29. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Looking forward to a great La Liga next season.

    Three great teams.
    Six Classicos.
    A reinvigorated Barca side.

    Thanks to a coach who tried his best; things for whatever reason did not work out.

  30. Peter
    May 17, 2014

    Fuck Atletico. Fuck them. May they not win a trophy for the next fifty years. Fuck those diving thugs. Yeah, fuck those diving thugs. I don’t care about the “deserving”. Atletico depend on the rest of the teams to play them like any other team. If there was any team deserving to win, it was Barcelona. If there was one team that suffered this season, it was Barcelona. But fate plays no dice. One team deserved to win this league, and it was not Atletico. Atletico were massacred by Osasuna, and they were stopped by Malaga, the same teams which Barcelona won against.

    Atletico will remember this season as the miracle come through. Barcelona will remember it as the season of everything come wrong. Forgive me for writing under the influence, I’m just too tired of other clubs taking advantage of Barcelona’s weakness. Like I said, may Atletico not win a trophy for the next twenty years, because their fans are thugs, their coach and players are thugs. Fuck them, and I will say it out loud, even though it will mean my firing(my boss is an Atletico fan).They did not deserve it, with their meek performance against Real Madrid. They did not deserve it for their performance against Osasuna or Malaga. They depend on teams not playing them as they would Barcelona.And that means they won’t win. Serves them right, the cheating thugs.

    I am drunk, so don’t pay attention to my maledictions: but may Atletico not win for the next forty years, for they cherished he who would not be named to win this one. Fuck the bastards.

    And fuck Diego Simeone. Cholo, burn in hell.

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Feel you pain, man.

    • Jamal102
      May 17, 2014

      “I’m just too tired of other clubs taking advantage of Barcelona’s weakness”

      That’s what football is though…using your resources to exploit another team’s weaknesses.

    • Víctor
      May 17, 2014

      Football and every other sport out there involves that… in fact, not just sports…

      And, our team, Barcelona do also take advantage of other teams’ weaknesses… as it should be.

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Sorry Peter but this is probably the first time I disagreed with you. They didn’t dive more than our players did. And I do think that they deserved it more than we did even if we won the league. Look at their budget and their players. We are much more superior in those department. But they have a better plan and worked harder. It’s just magical what they’ve achieved. Something you can tell your grandkids about in the future.

      Btw, if you really dpn’t want them to win any trophy for the next 50 years, then it would just be between us and Madrid. I’d rather Atletico win a trophy than Madrid other than us. Atletico is the lesser evil 🙂

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Brilliant bibacious guy is just letting of steam.
      Just ignore the post, Kxevin will take it down.
      Peter, just sober up for tomorrow and be nice to your boss.

      Next year things will be different if we play our cards right!

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      @Inamess

      But tomorrow is a Sunday so he’ll have another day of sobering up to do 🙂 Unless he’s in the Middle East but he’s not. He’s from Spain actually.

    • Víctor
      May 17, 2014

      Yes, Atletico had bad results against Malaga, Osasuna, Levante… and Barcelona had bad results against Granada, Elche, Valladolidad…

      The result: through La Liga they won one more game than Barcelona. Head to head: we were equal… two draws.

      Congrats to them… and I hope that they defeat EE in the Champions League.

    • May 17, 2014

      If barca expect every team to play attacking football against them, then why can’t Atletico wish the same? What they have achieved is enormous. They lost two of their best players, still they fought.

    • BA
      May 18, 2014

      Atleti won the league, fair and square, despite having 1/3rd the wage bill and a quarter the revenue. despite having a less talented squad, they won through the kind of determination and organization that we have been sorely missing. congratulations to Atleti, and to Simeone who is easily European coach of the year.

      our fans in the Camp Nou rightly recognized their achiement and
      gave them an ovation. that you would not be similarly gracious is a blight on their gesture. show some humility; the best team won the last game and the season. get used to it, it’s down in history now.

  31. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Plz calm down. The alcohol just make you more depressed.

  32. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Try to drag yourself out of the picture and you will think clearer.
    1st, it may not be as bleak as you think..Think about what happen to VDB who take RM to its prime and his ultimate fate in his relationship with RM and the image done to RM. Try to connect this with Barca. not the insider, so cannot judge the actual intention of Barca board members.
    But at least the damage can be limited. I’m not sure whether they change the coach/mananger before/after this. But now, if Celta news is true, then well,~ to that GK’s previous coach hint. If they are true, pretty sure the long awaited news of some who are concerned will be out very very soon..

  33. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    i saw that leo threw up again at the beginning of the match..im wondering if he has some serious issue that isnt being properly addressed..with all to play for, in front of 98,500 screaming fans..one shot on goal today, and that was the free kick into the wall..just doesnt seem right..almost no off the ball movement, little to no diagonal runs behind defenders..in the last ten minutes, with the ball at his feet in the final third..sideways passes without a hint of urgency…like he knew he wasnt going to produce anything…

    i am not trying to attack messi..but something mentally or physically doesnt seem right with him..if argentina doesnt win the world cup i can certainly see this becoming a greater problem.. for me figuring out how messi and neymar are going to play together from here on out is as great of an issue as any that we have going forward.

  34. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    and the CB issue, this is no excuse for the transfer department.
    This is one of the problem and today you saw it when the problem is not treated, no need to splash tons of cash/cracy cheques, just the appropriate player who is young, able to fit the system, willingness to adjust. In defending corners especially most situation the most dangerous player is the one who rushes to attack the ball towards the goal from an impulsive and energetic burst. So no matter man-marking/zonal/mixed, the most important is to observe, think quickly and head the ball at least out of danger far away or to an (open) teammate. And this responsiblity usually to the CB or the one who is closed to ball. Which ever system you use, the aim is just one. get it back and attack. Mascherano often plays with what he have, but genetics can’be changed. The transfer department are not quite good at scouting defenders/too insist on ‘big-name’ defenders, who knows?
    Coz small details does matter in extremely tight games. If you don’t fix it, you pay for it

  35. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    how they train in defending corners is another question, but at least fix the most glaring problem

  36. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    though not able to often observe how they play, but another consistent problem. Fix it or pay it..Use the whole width of the pitch.
    Not meaning play ‘kick and run ‘ as some of you would suggest. Not degrading these teams, they have the freedom to choose how they play as long as no dirty tackles and deliberate time-wasting are performed.

    The ‘deeper’ you use the pitch, whenever you decide to cross or cut-back(coz higher/lower pass to teammate you can decide base on the player’s attributes. That’s obvious, not discussing it again..
    The effect is better closer to goal when the attacker shot. That’s a trade-off, when you pack ‘sticks’ madly in the middle, there is space in the lateral, you do the vice versa, the other can counter it doing in another way..[to and fro..]

  37. barca96
    May 17, 2014

    Hummels scored but wasn’t counted. Unbelievable. He’s been great so far. Playing LCB.

    Lewandowski is a beast! How can such a big guy be so agile? The best, if not one of the best big players I’ve ever seen.

  38. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Thought they would have learned from the Getafe match, but they didn’t learned enough or forgot.
    The goals they got, look at the position where the cross/cut-back/assist is, they are so similar. Because the opponent likes to cede that space to them, use them. If opponents follow suit, then Barca players can return to what they ‘like most’. If you care about your fitness and willing to run, this is feasible. Do it consistenently if these space are ceded consistently, but if you don’t use them, you may feel regret..
    Not only losts are reviewed, but useful ‘hints’ in every match should be reviewed properly and practiced and improved based on that besides other stuff..

    Hard work is highly appreciated, but the correct method is also important. That is not from me, but from many others,e.g. Lebron has said ~ things before Heat first won their Champ.

  39. May 17, 2014

    Martino has announced that he is leaving the club.

    • BA
      May 18, 2014

      good.

  40. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Another, the space btw the 3 packs too large, move as a team both in attack and defense(including the transition in both phase). Can’t be so timid while leaving big gaps inviting opponents to attack facing 2 CBs. Better coordination and some ‘reminders’ during match would improve the offside trap success rate.
    Agree with someone have said, not enough dynamic[esp diagnonal] movement, running to receive the pass is better than standing to receive the pass, that introduce the time and space to create surprise goal scoring chances

  41. scribblez
    May 17, 2014

    Bartomeu came out in the press after the game said “they have been working on a new project for weeks now. There will be profound changes”.

    This is our board. Working on new project when there is a title to play for. Also instead of supporting the players and staff, this kind of comment.

    Very poor choice of words.

    Anyways, first half was brilliant from Barcelona. Tactics worked perfectly. Second half more like the previous games.

    But thank you to the players for fighting till the end. Thank you to Tata for taking care of the team and for being a honest and honorable person in midst of a crap environment. I wish he was treated better and wish him all the best.

    Visca Barca!

  42. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Some observations going forward:

    1) All of our team is world class, but at this point they can not win consistently as a unit. We are too small and not athletic enough.

    2) The team has to either build around Fabregas or he should try to get that opportunity back in the EPL. To me he is an “all or none player” for our side and should no longer be included because he is a good player playing in a system that presently is not suited to his strengths. Also, whether Cesc stays or not we should have an stronger, more athletic midfield option.

    3) We no longer have the “impact” that can be a leader or a dominating physical presence on the field. I would like to give Luiz a shot as he seems like we could be better with someone like him on the pitch. That way either Pique or Luiz could be played forward in parts of games to join the attack.

  43. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Tata confirmed his exit, saying something along the lines of:
    an agreement with the club to stop being coach.
    He went on to apologize for not being able to deliver trophies.
    Bartomeu went on to say that there will be profound changes

  44. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    If the coach have to decided to play more aggressively in previous games, the result may change. His mentality changes at least for today, but too late..What is certain they give all out, wish their injuries can be healed quickly. But they should think and practice with better method coz hard work with better method is priceless.

  45. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Injuries did have a effect on the chemistry between players. Eto’o and Ronaldinho used to train a lot together in their prime. The chemistry between the 2 players can and have to be improved, only time can tell..

  46. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    They are starting the project?!! But an unfinished project/experiment left by Guardiola is still being buried underground..Though he did not succeed in his last campaign in Barca, they are worth a look. Frankly, don’ think teams will play out. More and more teams are playing more and more defensively which is a good ‘sleeping pill’ for certain people. You can observe this especially after the previous World cup games.In a league, you can invite them to attack and counter-attack. But don’t think that will happen as some teams are willing to take 1 point away. Too many draws= loss. Teams usually change in 2 different ways also considering balance, you can mention them to yourself in your minds..[That shape might even be ‘crazier’ than their shape in the last mins of the game or that infamous Chelsea game[Torres goal]And Sorry to mention thisdon’t laugh. Isn’t barca DNA is mostly attacking? Though the 2 phase have to be done as a unit..The thing they have to learn from Athletico is especially how they defend as a unit when they have to , not everything from them
    But previous/pioneer’s work advantage can be taken and this cycle repeats, sounds very familiar..IF the manager and players are willing to learn, collaborate and take estimated risks. People are more concerned on the [improved]method than rather who invented it if the method do more good than harm..

  47. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    To me players and tactics are inseparable. Teams play better with certain players on the pitch in certain games. Assuming Alves leaves and we still have to get rid of one other major player to get another in his place. Who would you also choose to sell?:

    fabregas(40 mil)
    sanchez (25 mil)
    Pedro (20 mil)
    Masch (15 mil)

    • ciaran
      May 17, 2014

      Pedro has been terrible, absolutely terrible in the second half of the season. 1 goal in the last 10 games without a single assist. In every big match this season (v Atletico, v Real, v Man City) he didn’t get a single goal or assist.

      I’d sell him for €15million if we got it. He takes up space and minutes that we could get a world class striker to fill.

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      I agree. I think the problem with our club over the last two years is that certain players from the Guardiola era are still viewed as the players they were 2 or 3 years before.

      I know that this is why so many were offended before, but I think we want players who are improving or at least not declining. I almost wish we could judge a player solely on the basis of their performance over last 1 or at most 2 seasons. Even our core La Masia players should be examined using this perspective.

      Other than Alexis I can’t think of another player who improved this year whether because of circumstances (e.g. injuries) under their control or not.

    • ciaran
      May 17, 2014

      Bartra did, and Alex Song did too but that’s not a popular opinion.

      Xavi & Iniesta were the biggest disappointments for me. Last year I suggested selling Pedro but it was never likely to happen so I’m not surprised by his form but Xavi and Iniesta didn’t control the most important games this season and failed to motivate themselves for the small games too.
      Pointing out poor performances of Iniesta is the equivalent of telling someone that there’s no god because he is worshipped but I expect a lot more for him. He has incredible talent but wins matches all too infrequently.
      I’m not saying for a second that he should be sold or anything but I certainly hope that for next season we get a different Iniesta.

    • Jim
      May 18, 2014

      First of all, my attention was elsewhere yesterday as St Johnstone lifted their first trophy in 130 years ! What a game and what a celebration (I saw groups of elderly gentlemen following the markings in the middle of the roads just to make sure they were going the right way home !)so I sat down to watch our game about 1.30am this morning and I confess the edge was off any disappointment by then.

      I remember quoting a stat around the end of January, Ciaran, which was at that stage Xavi and Iniesta had only played 41% of matches with both starting. To me the league would have been over Tito style if that hadn’t been the case. Iniesta for me has improved his shooting no end this year because he has discovered he has power in his feet through timing whereas before even his shots had a horrible mistimed feel about them. When played in his proper position he has also looked as likely as anyone to open up defences, imo.

      Yesterday again we saw that the answer isn’t to just get the ball up the park quicker. Other than a one in a million effort we would have failed to score again with Xavi sitting on the bench so again I say it’s not about the mids , other than they do need to get ahead of the forwards more but you’re not going to get better passers forward than we have in our current midfield and you’re gonna face more packed defences next year because the lesson from our top competition this year is that it works.

      I agree with the comment above about moving in packs. We get caught again and again with gaps between defence and midfield and that’s down to a lack of a leader in the back four. However, it doesn’t take much to sort this and Tata has done a fair bit this year to address it by trying to keep one of the FBs at home all the time. It’s just that we need to stop losing avoidable goals, easier said than done but a lot of that will hopefully be sorted by the new CB. I know we’re being nice but I’m gonna say you’ll never get a better example than the goal we lost yesterday. Completely avoidable on two counts: first with just a bit of positional sense and a close look will tell you who I’m talking about here, and secondly with the much derided ( here but nowhere else) of putting one of our shorties on a post at corners. Look at the space Pinto had to cover to get to the header – was never happening.

      Have to say I’ve found Tata a completely class act, I would still probably have given him another year – how long will it take Enrique to come to terms with the squad, work out answers to all our debates this year and then come up with a solution to ultra defence teams? However, there are probably enough question marks over Tata’s performance to make it a close call so I can’t argue. Personally, if the board knew he wasn’t staying I’m glad they’ve already started on plans for next season.

      Anyhow, another European campaign ( of about two matches if we’re lucky) coming up for the Saints next year. Never thought I’d live to see what happened yesterday ( this year seems to have turned me into an emotional wreck) so that gives a bit of perspective that enables me to say well done to the players and Tata for trying and roll on next year.

      I retire in the summer so I’m gonna be making a good few more Barca games next season. Thinking of the good lady and myself hiring an apartment for three/ four weeks near the Bouqueria over the winter and sampling some of the produce I’ve been drooling over on previous visits! Hope also to get a chance to share a drink with some of the regulars from the city at some point. So life’s not all bad 🙂

  48. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    So the season didn’t go as planned.
    There were many ups and downs and unfortunately, in the biggest matches there were more downs than ups. We managed a single trophy, the Spanish SuperCup but missed out on the big three.
    Off the pitch we dealt with a barrage of issues, from scandals to the passing of Tito and were still in with a chance on the last day of the season.

    There’s a lot to admire about this bunch of players; and coaches for that matter. We have tried impose our playing style on every single one of our opponents this season; forcing practically all of them to change their game plan to stop us. We have had many good performances and some great results. Some of our players had their best season with us, Neymar had his first and hopefully next season will be even better for him.
    Other players will have played their last game for us and will move on; including Puyol & Valdes who I would consider to be two of our best ever players. Others who fall into this category will be leaving for other reasons, deemed not good enough for this club and undoubtedly will have their choice of Europe’s other big teams.

    For the past decade we have been the best team in the world off and on. The core of this squad has stayed intact for the most part but as football has evolved our own evolution is about to begin.
    Our flaws seem to be more visible after a defeat and we’ve had a few to digest this season, especially in the second half of it. It is predictable how we have concedes goals; set pieces, crosses and break-aways. It has also become predictable in how we try to score goals, and teams with the resources have been able to stifle our attack due to similar traits to what hurts us at the other end of the field… physicality and fitness.

    So where to now?
    Well Tata has said goodbye and, along with a number of players, should be able to leave with his head held high. By all accounts, Luis Enrique will be named shortly as the man with the task of the next phase of our evolution. Lucho likes very fit and physical teams and loves to attack.
    As a former captain & legend he has my full backing. I loved him as a player and what he has done with Barca B & Celta show his credentials. His time at Roma may not have been the success that he would have hoped but his evolution of Roma has been continued and on his foundations the current Roma are a better team for having been managed by him.

    My hopes are simple;
    1. That the manager is announced over the next couple of days and given full backing. If this is Lucho then I expect him to get this.
    2. ter Stegen’s announcement is followed up by a keeper with similar skills. My biggest issue with Pinto is that he has none of the same abilities as Valdes had so when he plays, our defenders have to change their style of play. Links with Caballero, Navas and any other shot stopper are not to my liking. Pepe Reina might not be the best keeper in the world but he is right up there with any of the others linked and certainly better with his feet than any of them.
    3. Cesc Fabregas & Alexis Sanchez to get new contracts, both of them deserve it and neither of them deserve to have to live with the speculation that surrounds them every summer.
    4. We sign a genuinely world class centreback who can rotate with Bartra & Pique to give us better balance in our squad. Benatia, Hummels & Garay are my favourites for the position but I understand that not everything goes to plan.
    5. We do our transfer business early, whether sales or purchases so that when preseason starts we have a full squad except for those who go far in the world cup.
    6. The players that cannot contribute in our future are given permanent transfers, not loaning players who will never improve like we’ve done with the likes of Bojan & Cuenca previously.
    7. That we add physicality to our midfield and aggression to our frontline. We have too many nice footballers and very little tactical diversity.
    8. Lastly, that the decisions we make cover the needs of the next two summers. I still assume that the ban will happen so we need to think of the future which involves decisions on the likes of Xavi & Dani. I’m not saying that we have to sell them but we should be buying replacements even if they are for the following summer.

    • BA
      May 18, 2014

      it went exactly as i planned: i predicted defensive inadequacy, an unprepare manager, a disjointed team and no titles. i wish the course of events would have proved me wrong, but the great hope is that we finally fix matters this summer.

  49. Rivaldo
    May 17, 2014

    Bartra has won my heart this season…. so much of him reminds me of Puyol and I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen him jump all over an attacker risking his body and landing a lil awkwardly to win a header: his all out approach. Seeing him cry today broke me man

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