Liga Liveblog: Atleti – Barça

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By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Agreed. I’d like to have seen Henry start, more to ensure that Iniesta plays his normal midfield position although I think he’d work well with Maxwell. It’ll be interesting to see how good our possession is.

  2. Jeffren may get his FIRST start as a RB today..

    Lineup as per Sport:
    Jeffren, Puyol, Milito, Maxwell;
    Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Keita;
    Messi, Ibrahimovic e Iniesta.

  3. Jeffren gets the nod at right back anyway so…
    Jeffren, Puyol, Milito, Maxwell
    Xavi, Busquets, Keita
    Messi, Ibra, Iniesta

    1. And that was a 3rd division tram 🙁

      Anyway We should give the lad a chance.Just kind of wish we started henry to run behind their “defence”

    2. Do remember that he wasn’t starting with the typical 11. This time around he has lots of support he didn’t have before. Messi > Gai, for instance, Xavi > Thiago, etc.

  4. Cesc is coming to Barca this summer, unless Arsenal win the Premier League or the Champions League. 100%.

  5. Did the rules change in the second half or something? Is there a reason why we were lobbing the ball the entire last 20 minutes??? Our midfield SUCKED today. Iniesta too. His little runs didn’t amount to jack and his passing was as awful as Xavi’s. Busi? Atletico made a fool out of him time and time again, as well as Maxwell. It is a shame we held them to 2 goals but we could only score 1, ONE! against them. Oh well…

    1. Things happen. We played an awful match in midfield. I’m trying not to overreact, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse performance out of Xavi in the last 2 or 3 years. Perhaps ever. Part of that was the field, which was disgusting, but also Atleti just didn’t worry about who we were, they just got into our faces and today we couldn’t handle it.

      The Jeffren experiment was an abject failure, in my opinion. It didn’t give us any more control and when Bartra came on it changed the complexion of our defense in a very positive way. Kid is good. Jeffren is amazing, but at RB? Not so much.

  6. damnnnn! i hate it when Messi has a pooooorrr game.
    Definitely one of the worst game of the season so far.
    Initially I thought our attacking line and midfield would be special and motivated since our back line was so makeshift, but in vain.

  7. I’m positive there will be no slump, but this is the worst match I’ve seen them play in a while. Xavi, Busquets, Messi… the defense. Just all off and not on the same page. That Keita injury was a big blow, he would have strengthened the midfield with Busquets playing the way he did. It’s a shame, but what can you do.. We had to lose someday, but the way we lost was pathetic. I want to see a positive response next week.

    With Keita in the midfield, we would have been way more aggressive and not let Reyes slalom through us like we were a bunch of bitches… knew his loss would be a big one.

    And yeah, Bartra should have definitely started over the non-defender Jeffren. Bad move by Pep.

    And can I just say that the foul on Puyol for Simao’s goal was all ball. Once the ref called it, I knew it was going in. Shame.

  8. I dont mind losing, but feck it was like no one was interested.We played how i expected Atleti to play, they- having just reached a cup final all.Heh, i feel like we say,” ahh its mid february , tis the time of the year to piss about and give the rest of the league a chance and a a false sense of hope” 😀

    This is the 1st league game we lost with andres in more than a year and a half btw

  9. Disappointing but I hope folks don’t go over the score. Defence was way under strength and the game was so compressed due to both teams playing a high line that there was no space for the midfield to work. It had to be down the wings. Messi disappeared when he went inside.

    Still, off to have a few glasses of Shiraz. Will be more objective second watch of the game.

  10. “Yo siempre digo que el Madrid sale con nueve puntos de ventaja cada temporada. Los tres de cuando juegan aquí, en el Vicente Calderón, los tres de cuando vamos al Santiago Bernabeu y los tres que el Barcelona se deja aquí”

    Wow its so painfully funny yet sad that its true.

    1. Well it was Atleti’s president Cerezo basically saying EE start with 9 points guaranteed per season, the 6 they get from pateticos , at the calderon and in the bernabeu, and the 3 we leave at the calderon. :(.And hes not even ashamed to say the 1st part.

  11. So the review will have to be delayed, since ESPN Deportes crapped out for the match’s last 20 minutes, so it’s difficult to score folks properly.

    But I do know this: Xavi, Messi and to some degree Iniesta, were shit. Xavi’s pass was the direct cause of that first goal, in addition to having approximately ZERO pace on our back line, so Forlan ran past Puyol like he was parked.

    And I have two more words to say: Professional foul. Maxwell understood it when he put somebody on their butt to stop a break. No shame in that play. That’s all for now.

    1. Just a wild guess but I’m thinking nobody’s score is going to improve when you watch the last 20 🙂

    2. if Xavi gets more than a 1, i’d be mad.
      look, I love Xavi, but he didn’t positively contribute once. He was downright Hlebian

  12. And the nonsense continues:

    While European ­champions Barcelona deny that any ­contract is in place between the parties, they have ­budgeted for the deal. This includes a £60m transfer purse, a five-year ­contract for the player worth a staggering £160,000 a week, a £9m ­signing-on fee, and image rights and bonuses that could see Fabregas’s earnings rise past the £200,000-per-week mark.

    This from the Sunday Mirror. It’s obvious nonsense because the numbers are so profoundly absurd as to beggar description. 60 million pounds?

    1. Pay £60m to Arsenal & £9m ­signing-on fee to Fabregas and the only aim in my life would be to visit Catalunya and chop the head off both Txiki & Laporta PERIOD

    2. We would be paying what more than the price we bought, Ronaldinho, Samu and Pique combined ,for essentially a bench warmer.Surely we would not go that far.We could even include Yaya’s price and have 4 great players that we paid less for than this unfathomable deal.

  13. Pep screwed up. Simple as that. The guy got just about every decision wrong except for bringing in Bartra for Jeffren. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 but still…Bartra looked MUCH better than Jeffren at right FB and actually played some offense which hints that maybe Bartra should have gotten the start, I am still wondering where Henry was, and Bojan for Xavi was a disaster. The Cruyffism’s were bound to catch up with him eventually and it turns out today was the day. Kevin, if you want to know what happened in the last 20 minutes, Pep took out Xavi for BOJAN. Yeah, that did not work out too well at all. Granted, Xavi was shit for most of the game but if you thought we were bad before, just look at the last 20 minutes. Anyways, I’m out…

    I LOVE Valentine’s Day! Reminds me of last year when we also lost to Betis thus initiating our yearly Liga second half slump. ARGGGHHH! I gotta lock myself in the office and finish some work. ETA like four more hours. I gotta give myself some chocolates after this 😀 .

    1. pep knows better than us, but he can make mistakes too. and we just witness some of them today. but i guess keita’s injury is what screwed up his whole plan, and it was in the 5 minutes mark. a total disaster.

      taking out xavi to play bojan sounds ridiculous, but i think xavi was way off. i thought he could bounce back in the second half, but he obviously didn’t. and he led to the first goal we conceded. i donno, it was a gamble. but we lost, not just pep.

      i am more curious to know why henry wouldn’t start over pedro when keita is out. pep opted for pedro immediately like it was decided before the season began. he stood up, warmed up a little and got into the pitch. henry would have been a much better choice in my option because of his ability to hold up the ball and cause a REAL threat down the left, and i believe he could have linked up with maxwell much better than pedro.

      our midfield didn’t suck too bad in the first half. we got back the control, but in the second, especially toward the end, we were kinda desperate and kept lobbing to the box. and on defense, the invisible display of busquets exposed our lack of pace at the back line. milito and puyol took turn to come out of their line to cover for busi time and time again for his drama. total craziness.

      i saw it coming. i was confident that we could win, but back in my mind in knew if we were to finish our winning streak, this will be it.

  14. My thinking is if Jeffren didnt work out against a 3rd division team why would it work this time against Atleti with worldclass forwards.

    Pep said Xavi went off as a precautionary for a muscular problem.

    1. Well, that just adds to the joyfulness of today. Add Busi MAYBE being suspended for the next game as well and yeah, its a great bloody day. Still, like Pep says. No excuses. The guys better buck up, bite their collective lip, and make up for it.

    2. Mr. Busi should have taking that yellow card against Reyes when he was slaloming through our mid like he was in Vancouver. Sticking out your leg and hoping for the best? Shameful to say the least.

    3. Yaya or Abdial would have dropped them.I could not believe Ujfalusi was roaming through us the way he was.Henry might have occupied him more.

  15. So after getting another yellow card today, is Busquets suspended for the next game against Racing?

  16. I wrote a post on the game at my blog, check it out:


    Shorter version: absence of ball-playing CB and Alves really hurt, Messi and Xavi had clunkers, Atletico played well.

  17. al barca player & technical crew av a bad day. dis shows dat they are human coz human cannot b 100% evry tyme. but someone should pls tel ibra 2 b playing wit his confidence coz dis is not ibra we use 2 knw.

  18. At least now Txiki should open his eyes and get a Left Winger, let Iniesta paly in the mid.
    And a back up right back.

    DONT WASTE MONEY ON FABREGAS RIGHT NOW! Get us what we need, not what he already have.

    1. Am being overtly optimistic, but it looks like the Right Back cover might be Solved from our very own Bartra if yesterdays performance is anything to go by

  19. god this hurt to watch, why no titi, i dont get it. anyone coming back from injury of suspension for the midweek/next weekend..

    Also check out my blog about transfers. today was man u, there is also stuff on milan and of course Barca on the blog. Hope you enjoy, I worked hard on the damn thing lol.

  20. Watched first half of the game again – it was surprisingly decent from a possession point of view (63%) given my feelings at the time. The problem was that AM could have scored at least three times quite easily.

    It’s easy enough to se what our problem was. We made it easier for them by gifting them a two goal start and then we had no space to work in and contributed to it by not keeping the field as wide as possible. ( Btw, you have to say that from their viewpint they were both great goals). At times when we had the ball you could have thrown a blanket over all 20 outfield players. Both defences were playing a high line – the difference was that they had good diagonal movement in behind us and we had none. With little pace in the CBs and a new backline, as has been said, that is suicide for us.

    The midfield struggled the whole game and no denying Xavi had a bit of a clunker. However, to me he didn’t look fit from the start. He wasn’t chasing back quickly and was often separated from Iniesta, something that seldom happens. (Btw, i would defend Iniesta yesterday – looking back on it again I thought in a totally congested area he did quite well. How he keeps possession in some of those situations is beyond me. The whole first half he only lost possession twice and both were slightly overhit passes on a slick surface which went out of play and not to an opponent).

    There was also the problem for the midfield that there were very few attacking options. Against such a high backline you need people springing from midfield or your FBs looking to get beyond the defence for the early ball. None of that happened. I suspect that Pep told them at half time that they were playing too slow a game for the situation and to get the ball forward more quickly. however, that brought its own problems.

    Too long already – I’ll be getting the thumbs down 🙂 Not sure that that’s a useful feature, btw. The great thing about this site is that we discuss/argue points not anonymously diss someone.

    Final point. Sorry, I know the defence will take a slagging for yesterday and some of it is justified but I thought Puyol was immense in a very difficult situation. I just love watching him, whether its launching himself through the air into a forest of heads for Ibra’s goal or making up a few yards on Aguero in the second half to make a last ditch tackle perfectly. He is awesome and holds us together.

  21. OK. So, now maybe it is time to actually panic. You guys want to hear something funny?

    Xavi is out for two weeks.


    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. But seriously…

    They’re dropping like flies. Seriously WTF!?!? I can’t remember a team having literally HALF of their first team players out at once. This week it was the defense but at least we get Pique (who is one yellow away from another suspension BTW) and Marquez back. This week its the midfield: Xavi, Yaya, and Keita all out. This leaves Biscuits, Iniesta, maybe Messi, and… JDS?

    The Yaya has to come back this week. Otherwise, what seemed like a very manageable first leg at Stuttgart may get downright nasty. We cannot afford any more injuries.

    1. :'(

      I am sooooo down now, my heart is almost bleeding. So much bad luck, what have we done to deserve all this???

      And by the way, says that Busquets is suspended for the next match. I’ll absorb my “Barca – the best year of our life” book to get into a better mood. The next weeks will be damn hard for Barca, and thus also for me 🙁

  22. Sad about Xavi. Our first 11 is down right pared to bones right now.

    As regards to yesterdays match, Jeffren was a mistake. We should have played with a proper defender. Our first 20 minutes were not great, then we had a decent spell of 10-15 minutes and got another poor spell. Second half was not at all urgent. We were not pressurizing by any means. Also, i did not understand why Henry did not start, maybe he had some niggle seems to be the best explanation.

    Regarding Messi, i thought he had a decent game. He did not take the game by scruff of neck but also did not play bad. At the end, he also went close to give us parity. The problem was service to him. I counted at least 3-4 times when he did not get the ball when he had space. From those, at least twice Pedro tried to pass to Ibra rather then to Messi. And add to this our midfield loss of control, and it can be explained why he was starved. It was as if he was playing for Argentina.

    Ibra had a decent match but we threw too many long balls at him. Maybe we were not sure about our own midfield, which is a pity.

    Our next two games are going to be quite difficult as we seem to find it a problem to even field 11 players.

  23. At least Pique & Marquez will be back from suspension.
    We’ll be without: Alves, Chygrynskiy, Abidal, Yaya, Busquets, Xavi & Keita.

    Puyol, Pique, Milito, Maxwell
    Iniesta, Marquez, Jonathan,
    Messi, Ibra, Pedro

    That should be enough to beat Racing Santander. Busquets will be back then for Stuttgart which might help.

    The worst thing at the minute is that too big of a share of our goals conceded can be linked to Busquets. Xavi fucked up big time with the giveaway and Iniesta could’ve fouled Reyes, but that’s not really Iniesta’s job. Busquets should have just stood in front of Reyes and let him run straight into him. He probably wouldn’t even have got booked because it was at the half-way line pretty much. If he had stuck out his leg and got the yellow then we could re-group.

    It is a shame that our squad is so incredibly bare when we have probably €40million worth of talent out on loan… Caceres, Henrique, Botia, Hleb & Keirrison.
    We probably have the weakest squad in the Champions League possibles.

    1. I don’t know… I think most teams would struggle if they were missing 5 defenders or 4 midfielders at a time. It’s just bad luck a) that we have so many injuries/suspensions and b) that they keep hitting the same section (last week defense, this week midfield).

      However, Pep has all week to practice with the players he has and get them ready. At least we don’t have to play in the Champions League this week. Hopefully we can play both Yaya and Busquets against Stuttgart.

  24. I still don’t think we should’ve loaned out Caceres. I hated Hleb so I can’t disagree with that, and Keirrison would play less than Bojan, so I can’t complain with that either.

    1. why do you hate hleb?
      i thought he played well last season. he was just not given enough time..but it’s funny to see people making fun of him”hlebbed”

    1. well mate maybe i’m wrong, i’m just qouting the commentator from LIGA BBVA weekly highlight. I’m sure we’ll bounce back with the canteranos coming in. Cheers

  25. At least, Racing Santander is also playing everything but well lately. And they won’t be without Tchité due to a red card. So we should beat them with any line-up!
    It’s really hard to have so many weeks without mid-week games from our beloved Barca. Especially after a loss, I can’t wait for the next match.

    1. “It’s really hard to have so many weeks without mid-week games from our beloved Barca. Especially after a loss, I can’t wait for the next match.”

      So true. It is always nice to see an immediate response to a loss, but guess that won’t happen for awhile since we won’t be losing anytime soon. 😀

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