One More For the Trainer…

Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe

Today is the day you will remember for the rest of the year. Today is the day that it came out that Xavi Hernandez Creus is injured and will be out for 2 weeks. I’m sorry I didn’t build that up more or ease you into that. I’m sorry. I just didn’t have it in me to withhold such vital information from you.

During yesterday’s liveblog, several people questioned Guardiola’s sanity in putting on Bojan for Xavi and while I was one of them, I was actually also in favor of this mind-bendingly wack move because Xavi was having a horrendous day. I don’t know if it was because of the injury (a leg muscle strain), because of his particular roll within the overall tactical approach, or because of Keita’s injury shifting the midfield focus from steel to possession, but Xavi was craptastic. It happens, but what’s crazy is that it doesn’t happen to Xavi. Not Xavi. Not Humphrey Bogart. Not Professor Equis. Other mortals, maybe, but not Xavi.

That’s all I have right now. More later, when things have settled a bit and I’ve stopped snarling at people who say things like Madrid and not horrible in the same sentence.

Categorized as Team News

By Isaiah

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


    1. Oh come on!
      “Atletico always score plenty against us” – yeah we’ve screwed them 6 to something so many times. Of course at their home field its another matter 🙂

  1. I’m starting to question the equipment the medical staff are using :s Maybe some madridista’s in the clinic are smearing the lenses (or whatever imaging machine they use)? I can’t remember the last time our medical tests were so consistent in their results – of injuries!
    … Wishful thinking.. I know..

    End of the day it is most likely due to the break in our two-games per week cycle. While the training’s been adjusted to accommodate for the change in our routine, I sense it hasn’t really worked out too well. While luck is definitely a factor, we can’t forget the praise we heaped on the Barca staff last season for formulating a training routine that kept our players so fit. The fact that it’s all happening at once, especially at a time where there’s been a significant change in our schedule, does raise some flags that shouldn’t be ignored.

    However, I can’t deny that I’m a bit excited. Yes, we lost the (cough) best player in the world (cough) for a couple of weeks, but we still have a few others and this will definitely give some of the kids a chance to show what they’re made of (as cliche as that sounds). I missed this semi-nervous anxiety before each game. It’s a good reminder of days gone by and the severity of the challenge ahead.

    1. Nice to see Iniesta agreeing: “I’m not a doctor, but it can’t be chance”

      Apparently that was his response when asked about the injuries…

    2. I’m with Iniesta. Think it has something to do with the two physically-oriented training sessions per week Pep implemented once we were knocked out of the Copa.

  2. True with the injuries but we could only be so lucky in having the perfect season last year when Xavi AND messi both remained healthy through about 90% of it all.
    We’ll get past it, do Madridistas forget a 6-2? Do we forget beating Man U without letting them even smell the ball?

    I think Madrid is going to “Pinchar” they almost did at Xerez, had they freaking stood 20 more freaking minutes. I think theres much Liga to play.

    We got this.

  3. Is this the crisis time again? 🙂

    The best part is that I know we will come out in end better than we were, like last season.

    Anyone else thinks the Stuttgart match is gonna be like Lyon’s 1st leg last season? We struggle but kick their asses apart in the 2nd leg!

  4. how is our midfield gonna be next week? the only good thing about this is that it opens the door for alcantara and dos santos

  5. It’s risky to play away from home with holey underwear.
    You might get caught with your pants down and show everyone how flabby your back line is.
    But kudos to Quique for getting Kun and Co. out of their slump with a swift and well-earned kick in the rump.
    Los culés are bummed, but los de Atleti must be over the moon.

  6. now we are into injury trouble. it happened so quick. 2 weeks and we have abidal, alves, yaya, chrgrynskiy, keita and xavi out. all vital part of the team, and all very good players.

    now i really think crashing out of the copa is a blessing in disguise.

    2 weeks is nothing though, and i believe xavi will come back strong. our next 2 games are Racing and Malaga, both in our house. we will beat them. it is also time for JDS and Thiago to stand up.

    abidal will make a miraculous early recovery, as well as yaya. don’t measure them with normal standard, plus, i trust the professionals in our medical team very much. time and time again, we have players come out of injury exceptionally fast.

    visca barca.

  7. wait.when i saw humpreys bogarts name mentioned i just remembered that i wanted to ask this since last year.
    when i watch barca matches on “la sexta”,
    why do they refer xavi as humprey bogart and alves as moto gp
    is it because xavi looks like bogart and dani is fast like moto gp?

    1. The Dani part is correct, but I think the Bogart for Xavi comes from a movie or something like that.

    2. Its a Casablanca reference, specifically to the classic scene when Bogart says “Play it again, Sam” to the piano player.

      In Spanish, “play it” would translate to “tocala otra vez” which could also translate to “touch it again” since “tocala” has more than one meaning. In football, “tocala” refers to a soft touch be it a pass or a dribble. Since Xavi touches the ball so much and passes it so smoothly, I think it was the late Andres Montes who annoited Xavi as Bogart and he yelled “¡Tocala otra vez, Sam!” when Xavi was passing and orchestrating. The fact that Xavi is cool, smooth, and wears copious amounts of hair gel also adds to the appropriateness of the Bogart nickname. 😀

    3. Awesome. I had no idea it was due to anything other than his liddy eyes, general slickness and hair gel.

    4. thanks guys!!
      haha its so funny.
      is there any other funny nick names that the presentators give the players?

  8. I have feeling we are gonna pull through just fine, the evil empire did it, we can do it a thousand times better.

  9. Titi hasn’t played a single minute in the last three matches. Is he off to the US? Just a thought.

  10. I haven’t seen the match, but I have a question for those who did regarding tactics:

    From what I’ve been reading Atletico played with a high defensive line. This high line compressed the midfield and made playing our game difficult. I’ve always thought in these situations that a striker like Eto’o is ideal because he can make good diagonal runs and get behind the defense (which is how you beat the offside trap). Was Ibra unable to provide that option yesterday?

    1. To be fair its hard for the CF to achieve that. The most likely people to spring that line are the wider players or midfielders running onto through balls.

    2. Ibrahimovic’s best runs found Messi’s passes missing him, thus sending him wide and away from the target. But yes, he was making the diagonal runs.

      But for the record: Ibrahimovic. Isn’t. Eto’o.

      You beat the offside trap by not being shit in the midfield, and getting your striker the ball in a position where he can do something with it. We didn’t do that. The couple times that we did, Perea made a couple of last-ditch stabs to deflect the ball.

      You also need width, which we didn’t really have. Jeffren, after a good start, was flopping around like a fish out of water. What was really missing was that link, that playmaking central defender that bridges the gap between the back line and the midfield. It’s a crucial, but forgotten (until it’s gone) part of our attack.

      The Henry exclusion is a baffler, because once the Pedro! substutition was made it moved Iniesta to the midfield. So why not a player who is a threat, even when he isn’t scoring goals, and who tracks back on defense? Good question.

      Yes, a review is coming. The rebroadcast was on at 3 a.m., so it will be coming later tonight, once I watch the last half-hour or so. Thanks for everyone’s patience.

    3. Not to blame Ibra but he is offside one too many times and yesterday i found him to be offside because he was too slow to come back in time. That i find unacceptable. As a striker, he should try to be back asap. Maybe i am wrong but that aspect of his game did not impress me a lot.

    4. Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but how many times has Ibra actually been ONside, only for the linesman to raise his flag and call him off? They have gotten too many calls wrong regarding him and his runs. Not to say that he isn’t offside too much, but come on now, he could have had at least 10 breakaways this season had the linemen made the correct decisions.

    5. yeah i didn’t understand why Henry didn’t start on the left or Bojan. both of them play kinda similar on the attack and usually wear out defenders by making lots of runs. to me Pedro is more of a super sub than a starter(he pretty much did start last night).

      oh well, lesson learned i guess. we gotta keep things in perspective that this is pep second season as a big time coach, and his first real injury crisis.

  11. Craptastic? I didn’t think he was bad. There were a couple bad balls, I suppose, but the guy looked to be moving pretty damn well. More than anything, I think Iniesta this year does a lot of what Xavi did last year.

    My post will be up soon so check it out everyone…

    In any case, terrible injury, at a terrible, terrible time. We have, what, Busi and Iniesta to play against Stuttgart now? JDS, maybe? This is going to be a tough one. Iniesta will need to play his mind out.

    1. A couple of bad balls is right, me thinks. That’s what I though after reading this news post. Another thing is that he disappeared for long stretches of time.

    2. He did disappear a lot, but I thought he was absent a lot also (at least in the sense that he didn’t often have the ball at his feet) against Getafe, but was still prepared to call him awesome because the touches he got were mostly awesome. Not so in this game, but damn, did he so seldom give away the ball. He certainly didn’t strike me as one of the under-performers on the field.

  12. The supernatural powers love competition in football. They decided to add more suspense to the Liga, that’s whats hitting us at the moment. Simply put.

    But looking to the full part of the glass, no one can say later that we won the league because we were lucky with injuries. I like that.

    The game was not an easy one for Pep. I didn’t understand some of the decisions, but I will not go as far as saying he was wrong. I am unaware of the details that’s hidden behind the scenes.

    Till Kevin post his review, you can have some deserts:


    Especially that it is not exactly a review that evaluate players and rewind specific events. I will leave that for Kevin.

    1. Nice article, Ramzi. I said the same thing about the training. Like Iniesta said, it’s no coincidence.

  13. Craptastic indeed. I guess we will be seeing some JDS and Thiago. Not to mention that next week Busquets is suspended. Hope fully the YaYa will be back.

  14. i don’t know what to think anymore, i think the Mayans were wrong and the world is going to end NOW due to increase of injuries in barca players. well, at least my world.

    the only thing i have to say is it’s interesting that the only two spanish teams to have beaten us this year are both in the copa del rey final. that must mean something, but I’m not quite sure.

    ugh, wake me up when alves is fit again, this is going to be hard to watch.

  15. The injuries are not half as serious as everyone is making them out to be. Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Toure, maybe even Keita will all be back within the 13th of March, when we will play Valencia. Abidal’s injury is the most serious to me, as he was in great form.

    Puyol, Pique, Milito, Maxwell
    Iniesta, Jonathan Dos Santos,or Thiago
    Messi, Ibra, Pedro

    The lineup that I posted will beat Racing and Malaga at home. Almeria away is not easy, but Xavi, Toure, Busquets, Alves should be back for that one. What is everyone worried about? Stuggtart? Everyone except for Abidal should be back by the second leg, and even with those injuries, we should get a result in Germany

  16. Calm down everyone. It’s one loss with half the team missing. Now that Pep knows what went wrong, he’ll try to fix it, and he has plenty of time to work out the kinks. Sit back and relax…there’s a LONG way to go.

  17. i am actually quite happy that we lost now cos now we learn from mistakes and can make a good run till the end of the year.
    but man..why doesn’t EE ever lose points? are they that good? or other teams just surrender?

  18. I blame the tour of the US and a messed up preseason. Madrid took a leaf out of our book and went to ireland like when we went to scotland.
    Tours have to be done but our squad is far too small.

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