News of the Day: February 4, 2010

Muniesa (upper left) and Dalmau (bottom left) watching the Messias.

I haven’t had my Barça fix in two full weekends. I haven’t had the blaugrana flashing around on screen since they beat 4-0. That was 18 days ago. Eighteen days. I feel like it’s the height of summer and I have nothing left in the tank, no more ability to aguantar this insanity. But it’s coming, this tide of fury and passion. And, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to experience it with me as I’m looking to head to a new bar here in Brooklyn to test out the waters. It’s called Woodwork and perhaps it will become my stomping grounds for when Nevada Smiths is too far or the subway is messed up.

Regardless, there is news afoot and it must be discussed.

-Because of Carles Puyol’s impending suspension for accumulation of yellow cards and Eric Abidal’s and Dani Alves’ respective injuries, we will probably see a very uncharacteristic back four against Getafe on Saturday (2pmEST, 8pm local). Normally when Alves is out, we rotate Puyol to the RB position, but that is obviously not possible this time around, so canteranos Marc Muniesa and Albert Dalmau have been called up to first team training this week. Muniesa, if you remember, is a promising youngster whose first official appearance for the squad was against Osasuna last year and ended with a straight red, though he is still considered to be one of the better prospects to emerge from the cantera in quite a while and he’s still only 17. Muniesa did not train with the squad today, but Dalmau, who is also 17, did.

Dalmau is mostly a straight up RB, but with that attacking flair we’ve all come to love from Alves. Obviously he’s not Alves, but he appears to be solid, having been given the green light by Guardiola to jump over the Barça Atlètic squad and straight to first team training. That’s pretty cool, but it does leave us with some questions on the back line. Will we start Dalma-Pique-Milito-Maxwell? Abidal is training partially with the first team and we might see him starting if he makes another miracle recovery like he’s been known to do. Alves is far less likely to play, as he has yet to train with the squad, but never put it past our little Brazilian hummingbird. You can read the official site’s take on it here.

Dmitri Chygrynskiy doesn’t give a crap about your whistles. According to both Sport and EMD, Chygnasty’s latest press conference was full of him telling us all that he’s “going to triumph” in Barcelona. Damn right. Positive attitude goes a long way, but so does the fact that he’s apparently working absurdly hard on his Spanish–something the newspapers never fail to mention–and which sits in direct contrast from He Who Shall Not Be Named (but who we shall see on Feb 28).

-In case you missed it, the Champions League final against Manchester United last May broke a record. After years of being dominated by the annual title game of American football, the Super Bowl, the CL Final finally surpassed its North American opponent and became the most-watched annual sporting event. We’ll have to wait and see if this year’s version does the same, not simply because the NFL has cobbled together what should be an amazing game (Colts-Saints), but because there’s always the possibility of a dismal final being played (another Chelsea-ManU would be a similar horror show of a match, while Barça-RM would attract quintillions of people, I would imagine).

-It looks like tomorrow, Friday, FCB is going to host a game for ex-players, socis, penyas, and the like at the Sant Joan Despi sports complex in order to raise some more money for the Haiti disaster relief. The place is still a mess and they still need money–and some objective help, it would seem. Donations are still welcome, no doubt, but before you do donate, please read this intelligent, thoughtful article about the dangers of giving strictly to one particular disaster relief campaign instead of to a particular organization.

-I miss Barça so much! Fin.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Eklavya
    February 4, 2010

    Wait a new bar called woodwork? Wth, did they do that on purpose?! 😀

    • Helge
      February 4, 2010

      I definitely think so 🙂

      Looks like a great football bar! I’ll keep it in mind – just for the case of me ever making it to NYC.

  2. FCBarca
    February 4, 2010

    Heh heh, such an odd photo…You know those guys weren’t really watching like that

  3. auld super
    February 4, 2010

    I was just thinking there if we do sign Cesc(and I know I’m getting sick of hearing about it too but it’ll be non stop until the elections)and move Iniesta to the LW then would it be so bad ? Up until today at about 5.45pm Irish time I was totally against it but now their saying he will only cost about 45m that’s not so bad when you think the alternative is Ribery who spends more time in the treatment room than on the pitch and is overrated if you ask me. I know Iniesta wasn’t great there previously but we know he’s pure quality and will grow into it and I couldn’t see him having a hissy if he’s put out there. Of course this could all change tomorrow but it’s just what I’ve been thinking recently.

    • Jnice
      February 4, 2010

      Rather see Iniesta in the midfield than on the left wing.

    • February 4, 2010

      It also sends a message to canateros to go elsewhere. How pissed would we be if JDS becomes the next Xavi in the EPL only because he didn’t sign a contract b/c he was scared of never playing in a cesc/xavi/iniesta midfield.

  4. Miguel
    February 4, 2010

    i dig’s in depth coverage of ladygagagate.

    but what of lady yaya? do we see him in this weekend’s line up over sergi b or does his omission prove pep and toure’s bad romance?

  5. Tajh
    February 4, 2010

    Yeah Isaiah they also open one in the Bay Ridge area around Third Avenue named LongBow Pub & Pantry….It’s not a big place but the music is at a low level for football viewers. All new and clean it’s football guaranteed just only 2 tvs so far…Should be adding more i head.

    • February 4, 2010

      Do you live in Bay Ridge? I make it down there ever now and then…

      • inNYC
        February 4, 2010

        I would definitely be up for a journey to a Bay Ridge football bar. Thanks for the tip!

  6. February 4, 2010

    Marquez-Pique-Milito-Maxwell is the most probable option at the moment.

    • Jnice
      February 4, 2010

      Why do I get the feeling that Dani will play?

    • cliveee
      February 4, 2010

      I get the feeling that Abidal will play…

    • Hector
      February 4, 2010

      Marquez in space against Albin?

      Dude… Rafa’s gonna be turned into guacamole out there.

      If that does turn out to happen it will be as big a Cruyffism (a seemingly bat shit crazy tactic which seems like genius if it works but like madness if it doensn’t) as I’ve seen so far from Pep. I’d rather see Milito (more pace even if not by much) there than Marquez.

      If Dalmau is thrust into it, I gotta go with Yaya and Busi in midfield with one of those two tasked with paying special attention to covering the kid’s backside. Hell, I gotta go with that if Marquez plays as well. Shoot. Make Messi into a right fullback before Marquez.

      • February 5, 2010

        I trust Marquez Experience over Dalmau pace. As a third CB with Milito and Pique we are more secured than with Dalmau and Maxwell on the flanks.

  7. Spencer
    February 4, 2010

    Best CL final (to attract the most people) would be a top Liga team vs a top EPL team. That way, most Premiership supporters AND most Liga supporters watch.

  8. cliveee
    February 4, 2010

    if we want a disaster, we can try something like:
    (Chygrynskiy – Pique – Milito – Marquez). it will be a guaranteed horrendous show.
    Starting Dalmau on the right while Maxwell on the left seem to be our best choice, no?
    Or, if we wanna try, we can put Maxwell on the right and Abidal on the left coz I have a feeling that the dude is going to wake up tomorrow and discover himself recovered. pretty bizarre but if even swine flu can’t keep him in bed, why not?

    Maxwell is behaving very well for his bench role. No complains, no words from him, YET. He better be more patient for now, coz I think he has much to offer. Right now, his competitor is a real beast and it takes swine flu plus injuries to beat. so, Maxi, please wait for your turn. but I hope you will start.

  9. cliveee
    February 4, 2010

    was peeping some madridista’s stuff and found out some fans prefer raul over higuain… i think that’s pretty absurd, coz higuain is the madrid saviour.

  10. ky
    February 4, 2010

    No one talks of Cesc on left wing? Good ball handler, better scoringinstincts than Iniesta, less responsibility commandeering midfield.

    • Jnice
      February 4, 2010

      Cesc on the left wing? Definitely not. He is not dynamic enough for that. Sure, he can dribble a bit, but can he really take a fullback on and accelerate past him like Iniesta can? I don’t think so.

    • Hector
      February 4, 2010

      Pay 40+ million for a converted out of position winger when better options are out there for half the price? No thanks. Cesc is an awesome player but he is no winger.

      I am against adjusting a whole system to fit one player. Guardiola brought in Ibra because he wanted to adjust the SYSTEM and is using Ibra to do it. If Pep wants Cesc its because his system needs him. Having Gosall or Sandro buy Cesc and hand him over, gift wrapped an all, to Pep and say: “here he is, fit him into a peg and if there is none that he fits into then make him one” is a recipe for Pep just replying “screw you guys, I’m going home to read poetry, listen to super sophisticated music, and be bad ass. Bye.”

      The only way I can see Cesc, Iniesta, and Xavi working relatively effective together is with the 4-2-3-1 Spain used in the Euro when Villa went down. Xavi and Busi/Yaya in the pivot, Iniesta on the left, Cesc in the middle, and Messi on the right with Ibra on top. However, I think Messi and Xavi’s effectiveness will drastically decrease in that system.

  11. Miguel
    February 4, 2010

    the people’s party in catalonia say “no” to foreigners. they probably want cesc to play on the left wing too.


  12. vicsoc8
    February 4, 2010

    Is Jeffren recovered? Pep tried him at right back before, anyone think it might happen again?

  13. inNYC
    February 4, 2010

    I would like to see some Miniesta in this weekend’s game. Just sayin’.

  14. February 5, 2010

    Hope this Dalmau kid plays this weekend. Would be interesting to see what he can do. Has anyone seen any videos of the lad?

    Separately, our opponents this week, Getafe, scored the most outrageous goal against EE last year. I was watching that game and I couldn’t stop laughing!! I had a new found love for the Getafe boys since. This is the link for it..

  15. andrew.M
    February 5, 2010

    yessssssss. that kid is the bee’s knees

  16. February 5, 2010

    My comment is awaiting moderation apparently.. It’s not like I said boogers or buttcracks in it! 🙂

    • Eklavya
      February 5, 2010

      If you put a link in it then it automatically goes into the “awaiting moderation” status, that’s why most people put a “*” before any link.

  17. February 5, 2010

    Nope. It just contains a nasty youtube link, Reagan 😀 . A veteran, poster like you…tsk, tsk, tsk. Remember to put a \\ or a * before the link so it wont get caught up in the spam filter, guys. I know its annoying but its the best way to keep out all the spam bots.

    In other news, Alves completed the whole practice with the rest of the team today. Apparently his super human powers have still not waned and it looks quite probable that he can be ready to rock tomorrow. That would be a HUGE relief. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked what I saw from Dalmau in the preseason but Getafe is no pushover. In addition to being a bogey team of ours, they are a good team in their own right. I’d rather throw a kid into the fire against a Zaragoza or Xerez. Pedro Leon and Albin are legit players on the wings.

  18. andrew.M
    February 5, 2010

    anybody have an opinion on mohamid zidan from egypt? he is 29 and spent most of his time in the bundesliga, but he is a very good left winger. i remember someone saying that henry should be replaced with someone with age/experience so that the youngsters dont get put off.

    apparently we are negotiating with him fending off manyoo and arsenal.

    • Jnice
      February 5, 2010

      HELL NO.

      The dudes ego is out of control and he is hot and cold. I would be shocked if we really wanted to sign him.

  19. Kxevin
    February 5, 2010

    Excellent news on Alves.

    On another, more vexing note, more Fabregas nonsense is kicking up again. Now he’s saying that he’s made no secret of his desire to return to Barca, he loves the city, plans to retire there, London weather sucks, etc, etc. And right now, all that he is focuased on ia the rest of the Prem aeason, and getting in top form for World Cup.

    Hmmm ….

    I still don’t want him.

    • majatt
      February 5, 2010

      Agreed, he can finish his contract and come on a free when Xavi is looking to retire.

    • Hilal
      February 5, 2010

      Damn…..that sounds like somebody who has made his mind up. I really hope we dont go and spend a lot of money on him. Hopefully Arsenal will pull a Valencia, get all greedy and ruin any deal already in place with the player (if that is indeed the case – who knows).

      I am not entirely sure why Cesc would want to come to Barca right now. Right now he is playing in a team and in a league where he is regarded as one of the best, he is the engine of the Arsenal team as well as the captain and considered on of the best midfielders in the league. At Barca he wont even be guaranteed a starter, if Xavi and Iniesta stay fit and on form he may end up seeing very little playing time.

      We certainly dont need him, so i am a little confused why there is so much media attention focussed on his return. We would be much better off going for Silva, Ribery or even Suarez. We could probably get Suarez AND Silva for the same price as Cesc. It would be a silly transfer!!

      • Hector
        February 5, 2010

        My explanation: he’s Catalan. That’s a big reason why the Barcelona media is plugging him over a Thiago or a JDS. If Cesc were a Masia product but say, Argentinean, I’d bet that he would not be getting all this attention from Sport and EMD. Not only is he: a (1) crack and a (2) Masia guy but he is also a hometown kid.

  20. majatt
    February 5, 2010

    Interested in seeing Dalmau, other than that I hope we don’t concede silly goals.

  21. vicsoc8
    February 5, 2010

    Prediction: IF Yaya doesn’t start tomorrow with our weakened back line it will foreshadow him leaving this summer.

  22. Kxevin
    February 5, 2010

    And we have Ribery still playing coy, saying that “he will announce his future plans at the beginning of March.” Whatevs, dude. Don’t particularly want him, either. Fickle, suddenly fragile and I don’t see him playing a lot of defense. Couple that with a big-ass price tag, and daddy no likey.

    vicsoc, you could be right about The Yaya leaving in the summer, but I don’t think that him playing tomorrow or not will be a foreshadowing of that. Busquets is definitely our DM of the future. No question that Guardiola loves him. I’m not all that convinced yet, but I don’t get paid to coach footy, right?

    I think that The Yaya is a fantastic player. I will also note that even with his sporadic presence in the lineup this season, we are undefeated in the league. Do I think that we can be ultimately successful in Champions League without that bulwark in front of the back line? No. But I’ve been wrong before, and will be wrong again.

    Three DMs (yes, I still count Keita in that position) are a luxury that very few teams have. I note that EE also has three, the two Diarras and Xabi Alonso. And note that we haven’t heard any natterings about Mascherano lately. But if the Benitez to Juventus rumor has a shard of truth (and quite possibly even if it doesn’t), figure that side to scatter to the winds, and Mascherano could very well land in Barcelona.

    That said, I would still rather have The Yaya than Mascherano, but others would disagree with that assessment. My biggest nightmare is facing off against The Yaya, having seen what he can do to a midfield-centric attack.

  23. auld super
    February 5, 2010

    Most don’t want Cesc and there aren’t many certainties in life but Cesc playing for Barca next season is one.

  24. Kxevin
    February 5, 2010

    The Fabregas quotes:

    “Barcelona is the best city in the world to live in and the quality of life is great. I know it very well. I do not like the climate in London, but as a city it is spectacular. When I retire, I will live in Bareclona.”

    “I have never hidden the fact that I want to return to Barcelona. Since I was nine months old, my grandfather would take me to the Barca stadium and all my life I have worn the Blaugrana colours. For one motive or another I had to go, but one never knows what can happen.”

    “I’m in the best form of my career, individually speaking, and I want to keep my mind in the present. There are four months of competition and we are doing well as a team. I want to be calm and to be able to centre myself in the Premier and in the Champions so that I can arrive at the World Cup in good form, that is another of my priorities.”

    “No one has called me – not me nor my agent, although I only speak of what I know.”

    • Hilal
      February 5, 2010

      “I want to keep my mind in the present” – thats the tell tale quote right there. Why say something like that unless you are intent on leaving.

  25. vicsoc8
    February 5, 2010

    Ugh, don’t get me started on not wanting Mascherano Kxevin.

    Fabregas sounds like he’s made up his mind. But right before his team has a huge game against Chelsea? Is he mad? He can come back, but I’d prefer that in the summer of 2012, when his contract is winding down and Xavi is getting older.

  26. vicsoc8
    February 5, 2010

    My mind is made up. It seems Arshavin is growing increasingly frustrated with Arsenal.

    I would love to have Arshavin come in for the LW. He is quick, good on the ball, can score and pass, and would be fantastic in our team. As an added benefit he is 28, allowing time for the canteranos to push him out in a couple of years if they can. Nobody fits the bill like he does.

    Would love to see Arshavin picked up this summer. Let Cesc hang out at Arsenal for another year until his price drops.

    • Alexinho
      February 6, 2010

      Interesting idea, I notice his hanging head and goal drought also.

      As an Arsenal fan, I watch him week after week and wonder if he’s good enough. And don’t talk to me about his press, he is waaay overrated performance-wise. “Andrei Arshavin and the Arsenal”–my ass. Granted, playing him as an out-and-out striker makes him a much poorer player, and every time we’ve moved him back to the left where he’s belonged, he’s done great. I can see how one can be frustrated…heck, I’m frustrated.

      As a Barcelona fan, I have some emerging questions about his attitude. He’s done well for Arsenal this season, but he’s never looked as good as he did in his first ten-fifteen games at the end of last season. He’s had some good goals, but he’s never approached that kind of play. I could definitely see him going the way of Hleb.

      • February 6, 2010

        Remember when I told you (and two Arsenal/Barca/Arshavin fans) once, that you will figure out why I have that old (none exciting) opinion about Arshavine before the end of this season? 🙂

  27. February 5, 2010

    if you want to talk about 28 year olds, then VILLA is the perfect choice..

    • auld super
      February 5, 2010

      Villa would be great but he’s no LW.

  28. February 5, 2010

    is it me or do you guys also think that Pep is very patriotic(Catalunya).
    that is my only answer to why he is choosing busi over yaya.
    i just cant find to any other conclusion. yaya played CB for us in 2 important matches last season. he sacrificed for us. keita was asked to play there but refused. yaya is better at cb than veterans like marquez.
    i really hope yaya doesn’t leave us. big big mistake

    • vicsoc8
      February 5, 2010

      Pep plays Busi over Yaya because Busquets is the future of the team, and Pep has a plan for how he wants his team to look.

    • February 5, 2010

      I’m done. His Full-On Man credentials are etched in granite forever. That’s like hockey players! Awesome!

  29. yogi
    February 5, 2010

    I am sure that if we go for Arshavin, he will come to us in a second. Since his time in Russia, he has been saying how much he wants to join Barca. If we do not get Villa, he would be great addition.

  30. john
    February 5, 2010

    Hey! Any Chicagoans interested in watching the game at The Globe tomorrow? Kevin? Eh?

    • February 5, 2010

      You were promptly Hectored…I’d repeat that suggestion in the next post just to be sure.

  31. Alexinho
    February 5, 2010

    These are not injury problems. Arsenal has injury problems. I would call these injury “treasures”. I must crow about it again.

  32. Alexinho
    February 6, 2010

    Oh yeah, GO COLTS COLTS COLTS!!!

    I can’t believe the CL final has never surpassed the Super Bowl. That must be only North American stats. Last year’s Super Bowl was the same day as Chelsea-Liverpool; this year it’s Chelsea-Arsenal, and I just can’t believe that worldwide, the numbers for the soccer games didn’t put the Super Bowl to shame. Not a knock on football though, I’m a straight-up Peyton Manning worshipper.

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