Happy holidays, from the BFB team!

What a team, what a year. It’s almost impossible to find something that we culers could have asked for that didn’t come to pass. Even the setback of the Spanish SuperCopa turned out to be a benefit in that it helped the team understand that yes, in fact, its crap did stink.

Events and things are falling into place. At the start of the year, in acknowledgement of how short the squad seemed, the catchphrase was “Hang on til January.” At that time, reinforcements in Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan would be coming on line. And unlike the delayed arrival into the XI of Luis Suarez, Vidal and Turan have been working with the team, and should be fit and fully integrated into the side when both debut in early January.

But “hang on til January” has become something more, thanks to an extraordinary group of players. There is no culer fit to wear blaugrana who, had you told them of the injuries that would be visited upon this club, including a two-month absence for Messi, the team would roll into the break at the top of the Liga table and having smoked its Champions League group, wouldn’t have said, “Sheeeeit, you’re funny.”

Yet that is where the team finds itself after an extraordinary first half of the season in which its historic rival found a way to have a legit crisis, and the Stalker from the Capitol City slipped up on the last matchday before the holidays, like Caga Tio pooped out a boon.

Busquets is even more brilliant, Iniesta more magical. Neymar stepped up in the absence of Messi, and Barça rolled on. What’s scary is that the points lead could have been even bigger, but for some uncharacteristic errors at key points during matches.

We don’t know what is going to happen in January beyond the arrivals of Turan and Vidal, but those two additions alone add a breathtaking array of tactical variations to the already intimidating fluency that Barça possesses. From midfield to false 9 to left winger, Turan can perform almost anywhere. Vidal offers midfield, right wing or right back combinations. The team gets significantly deeper in many key positions, with the arrival of just two players.

Given that Luis Enrique teams usually take off in the second part of the season (Roma improved, Celta went crazy, as did Barça last year), it would seem that there is much to look forward to, just as there is a lot to already give thanks for.

The BFB team would be remiss if it didn’t give a heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads the posts here, who takes the time to comment and who interacts with us on Twitter, in that roiling cauldron that is Barça Twitter. And even if you don’t in fact celebrate Christmas, you all are still a gift to us. So to you all and yours, from the BFB crew, may the magic of the holidays wash over you, even if all you do is benefit from the little bit of extra happiness that comes over folks at this time of the season. And here’s looking forward to a fun 2016.

Categorized as Thoughts

By Kxevin

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


  1. Thanks and happy holidays – articles here are gifts to us readers, all year round (even to us who has less time to comment and debate, of late). Cheers!

  2. A late Merry Christmas, and a big Thank you to all of you BFBers!

    Something unrelated: I watched the last minutes of Manchester United losing today, and it struck me how incredible the success of our team these days is. They played against us twice in the CL finals at the height of our success. They have had no success at all in the CL the last years (not even qualifying for it once, going out in the group stages this year) and are no contenders for the title in their league. I say this not to insult their team, but to highlight that in today’s fast-lived footballing business, where extended success probably means placing in the top four of a league for a few years, to win the Champions League four times in ten years is beyond astonishing.

  3. On the notion of lists, etc… I wonder how come Piqué does not get proper recognition for last years performances? I see players team of the year, and Mascherano is more often included, for instance, as is Dani. To me, Gerard was the absurdly good during the second half of the season, completely dominant in the air, and a great commander of the defence, whoever he played with (Mascherano was also good, mind you, but he lack that aerial dominance for one thing).

    Is it his attitude that bothers people?

  4. Speaking as the founder of the Pique fairness committee , established when many were suggesting he be allowed to leave, I think there are a number of factors .

    1. A lot of people reckon the point of defending is to make a last minute “all or nothing” lunge for a ball whether there is any clear or present danger or your opponent has stopped for a fag with his back to goal half way inside his own half. Pique rarely goes to ground and never without reason. His positioning usually means he doesn’t have to.

    2. He has been real unlucky in that most clubs have an established pairing at the back who can grow together and know each other’s movements without thinking. Pique has had to put up with a sting of partners making it difficult to get the understanding. Also, not all his partners have been genuine CBs with all the problems that brings.

    3. The way we play, with a high line and our FBs usually awol, makes defending a precarious occupation and when you add that to our determination to use our CBs to play the ball about under pressure it’s a wonder we don’t concede more daft goals but it can make our defence at times look bad when it’s actually nothing to do with them. How often do we lose goals with a full defence back ? Almost never.

    4. He is good looking, clever, playing for Barca, wealthy beyond belief and “married” to a non-lying pair of hips. What’s not to hate ?

    On a more serious note, you are absolutely correct. He never has, and I suspect never will, receive the admiration he deserves. Certainly for me, the best defender in Europe last year with outstanding ball playing and passing skills for a tall man.

    ( Do I get a special pressie,given the time of year, for not mentioning the “M” word in my answer ? )

    1. All fair (but unfair) points, that speaks volumes of how football players are assessed (I count nr of goals=best player to this volume, too) – people have trouble understanding positioning, I suppose, having not played themselves (or simply deem “best” to be akin to pure entertainment and spectacular moves, if your name is not Neymar).

      I don’t know, but I would not trade Piqué for any other central defender (no, not Silva either), but I agree it would be great to have had a more solid pairing (Silva?).

      On a different note: I’m watching Man U-Chelsea, and for someone who seldom watches other teams than Barca and national team tournaments, I am always reminded of how spoiled we are whenever I watch other teams. For all the money they put down, I would not trade a single player from our gala 11, in terms of position – except for keeper. Sure, Hazard is talented, but who would he replace? Nobody. I would be happy to see Martial as a sub, as well as Herrera and perhaps Mata, Blind and Schweinsteiger… but compared to us, EE and BM, these teams feel like two groups of second choices, generic stars without that sparkle (Rooney had it once, though). We have the three best attackers, two top 5 mids, top CB and L/RFB, very good keeper… only a thin bench is our real problem. Man, we should win a lot of trophies with this team (I know you know this, but it is easy to lose perspective). In comparison to these teams, we barely misplace a single pass, and Neymar/Messi dribbles is a fantasy to them…

      Looking forward to the Liga re-starting!

  5. Happy holidays to all of you!!!Writers readers of this blog and to all Barca fans and to all people!!

  6. Do really there are people who believe that every club must pay someone to check every player the club interested fb twitter or any social media account??Really??I understand the AntiBarto agenda but come on you can do better than that!!!!I just read somewhere that Barto is a perico!!!I thought that 2016 would be a better year but no!!!!More complaints to come!!!!

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