News of the Day: March 9, 2010

It’s another Champions League day, but instead of playing Stuttgart in the snow, we’re going to watch other teams battle it out in their second leg encounters. Arsenal host Porto (1-2 on aggregate) and Fiorentina host Bayern Munich (1-2 on aggregate) at 2:45 on FSC or Fox Sports en Español. Barça, meanwhile, has been practicing in this freaky March snowstorm. Let’s get to them.

-Once again, the team practiced in pretty crap conditions, but this time they were forced to a side field because it had artificial turf instead of real grass. Carles Puyol began the practice with the team, but was taken indoors with a back problem. The official site says the injury “doesn’t look like a serious problem, and he [Puyol] was able to continue working out in the dressing rooms.”

-During the same practice, Thierry Henry did not take part because of a left Achilles problem. It should be noted here that it sounds somewhat minor, but if it is a recurring problem, it might be why he isn’t playing many minutes these days. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s “available” for matches in that he could play a few minutes, but isn’t able to play a full 90. This has, of course, led to rampant speculation that Henry is done at Barça after this season and that Pep Guardiola has it out for the Frenchman. Whatever, only time will tell.

-Both Dani Alves and Lionel Messi trained regularly with the squad after working exclusively indoors yesterday. Seydou Keita and Eric Abidal were both still absent through injury. I don’t expect the latter two to play during the Valencia match, but hopefully Keita is fit for the Stuttgart return leg and can come on as a sub.

Sport has video of Guardiola’s supposed infractions during the Almería match that show that referee Clos Gomez was almost entirely wrong in his statements concerning Guardiola’s actions. Because of Pep’s proximity to the assistant ref, one can make out his exact words thanks to the microphone that the assistant ref uses to communicate with the referee. He says, basically: “You can see the play exactly, he [Messi] was pushed!” and while he’s gesticulating at the ref, he keeps his hands down and his voice fairly mild while speaking directly to the assistant ref. We’ll see later today how RFEF rules on both that and Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s fantasy red card.

-Read my thoughts on the tiebreaker scenarios that are possible in La Liga and why I think they’re terrible. Then read the comments because, as usual, there are intelligent thoughts on both sides of the argument that are worth considering. I stand by my original argument, which is that multiple league-wide factors should be considered before moving on to head-to-head.

-The Yahoo! Fantasy results are in for this week. Yippee. Hat Trick remains in first with 1,352.50pts, meaning s/he has a 32.50pt lead over 2nd place Mes Que Un Club. For those of you who care how I’m doing, I had a good week, ending with 69.50pts, which jumped me to 14th, just 5 points behind Bashir, who I’ve been chasing for a good while now. Remember to make any changes by Saturday to get your team ready for the weekend.

-In the Table Prediction Game (here), Lovelymofo (42pts) continues to dominate. Thanks to Xerez’s unlikely win at Malaga and, stupidly enough, Malaga’s unlikely loss at Xerez, I’ve fallen all the way to 8th place (25pts). In case you missed it, here are what the point values mean. Children laugh at me.

<0 Oh soccer, not football…
0-9 You have the intelligence of a beef Weligton.
10-19 I hope you used a hat to pick…
20-29 Children laugh at you.
30-39 At least you don’t do this for a living…
40-49 Not too shabby.
50-59 You clearly enjoy spending some Sundays in front of GolTV
60-69 You clearly enjoy too many Sundays in front of GolTV
70-79 You eat, sleep, and breath La Liga
80-89 Yaya lent you some powers for a day.
90-99 Pep asks you for advice.
100 You sold your soul to the devil. It was worth it.

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. One match ban for Pep and Ibra. Club wants to appeal (again). Hope it doesn’t get worse through this, as it is often the case in England…

  2. Snowing in Barca? Phantom red cards? Maybe instead of Villarato we got a Villaflorentino? Man I should suggest that to Sport and let them run rampant with that.

    And on the note of tiebreakers I think what is in place makes the most sense, at least to me. Because at the point of a tie, the two teams have separated themselves from the rest of the league obviously. Then from there the only way you can compare to separate teams in an isolated scenario is to look at their head to head results. That doesn’t take away from any of their league results or accomplishments, it just focuses on really the only way you can compare two teams: who beat who. That’s just my opinion though.

    1. I agree, Tyler. Head-to-head should be the first tiebreaker, then the other stuff. Or do what major league baseball does, which is a one-game playoff to determine the division winner.

    2. Wow, can you imagine a third leg clasico, with winner taking La Liga, that would be nuts! Well, I guess this year’s champions league final still has a chance of being a third leg clasico too.

  3. Henry and Keita have exercised individually outside later today. Also, Abidal has been to the gym for the first time since his injury.

    Question: does the Appellate Committee have a right to exchange a red for a yellow card, or is it only the rescission?

    1. With Xabi missing this game they may play double pivots, which make them less fragile against Counter attacks. But you can cross your fingers 🙂

    2. I think Xabi being out also inhibits their creativity taking the ball out from defense. So it may be good for Lyon. EE have been playing good lately, but I still think that if Lyon play a sound defensive game, they can squeeze out a 0-0 or a 1-1.

  4. “We must rise above all that because football is about mental strength, if you are strong you reach the top and if not, you’re left behind. We must be strong mentally and not be influenced by everything that comes from outside, absorbing both the good and the evil, and we must kick some ass.”

    Dani Alves


  5. Keirrison for 13.5 mio € despite having so many talents in our own Cantera? I don’t get this… and the few minutes he’s been playing this season so far, he was far from impressive. How could we spend 13.5 mio on him? 🙁

    Great goal from Nasri, by the by.
    And Ribéry… he’s not worth 50mio at all. Robben is constantly out-performing him. Another terrifying stat about Ribéry: From the last 36 games that he’s taken part in, only 4 have been for 90 min. That’s only 11% complete matches over ~ 1 year. If Real wants him, they shall take him. I wouldn’t mind.

    1. Sign me up for the “doesn’t want Ribery” club.

      However I’m not against Keirrison. The boy needs time to adapt to European football. Let him stay with Fiorentina again next season, and I think we’ll see a lot of growth.

    2. Yap, but the question is, did the transfer make sense at all, considering that we’ve got players like Pedro, Jeffren, Bojan or even Gael Etock? I personally would prefer to set even more on the youth. Barca is already brilliant with respect to youth work and promoting talents, but I still want more 🙂
      Next season, with the new presidency, another big signing will be made, and that will cost the perspective of many upcoming talents. It’s an unfortunate but inevitabel consequence of such big signings. Sometimes I’m for such an investment, but not every season.
      Keirrison is certainly not such a big signing, he doesn’t really threaten the development of homegrown talents. But I also highly doubt that he will give back the money we’ve payed for him.

    3. We certainly need a big signing this summer,bojan and jeffren are clearly not ready to compete and pedro makes a good super sub for now. Like sport said we need to sign goals (and hunger). EE have scored more than us and this shud not be happening. Kerrison 14 mil and not good enough to play at the club is crazy-i fear chigkrinsky will go the same way as caceres. Ribery is injury prone. I saw better tonight in arshavin- class act. to sum up we need a cf with lots of goals and a right footed lw. We already have a small squad so pep must add AT LEAST 3 signings

    4. i still want to see what bojan can do, if given the keys and a vote of confidence, he just might be a cheaper solution.

    5. i don’t know man.jeffren should be given a chance at LW. really like his speed. can see his potential even he’s playing at RB.

  6. I really like the way Keirrison moves in the box. He’s a for-real poacher, which is something we don’t have, and could use. His up side is immense.

    I just don’t see Krkic leading the line. We’ll see how we line this weekend against Valencia. Messi as the 9, flanled by Krkic and Pedro!?

    1. but yeah, everyone here or around here knows that it’s good to tailor make clothes in India. i want to go there as well buy good quality plain white tee’s similar to those from Zara.

    1. lol, it’s awesome at the end how Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are watching the video over a Pepsi 😛

    1. Thanks for the link, eklavya. Worth thinking about. I’ve been saying similar things for some time now, just not at length. It’s weird to see us moving so freely when Ibrahimovic was banging in goals, and now stilted and rigid we are now. I can’t for the life of me figure out the difference. But to blame Ibrahimovic for all of it isn’t accurate. At all. Nor is it as simple as “I wish that we had x or y striker.”

      Be one hell of a post if I can get it figured out, or do a Vulcan mind meld with Hector or something.

    2. “I’ve been saying similar things for some time now, just not at length.”

      Yeah, I had pretty much the same thought.

    3. The problem with Arsenal is that they don’t have anyone badass to get stuck in. Every team, even the pretty ones, needs those (Yaya anyone?). Funny because Wenger, unless I’m mistaken, brought in Vieira and Petit for this precise reason. But his latest team doesn’t have that.

      Still in with a shout in both the league and the CL though…

  7. Who was saying that Nasri looks like he’s going to explode anytime? I think it just happened yesterday!

    1. I’ve said that I’d rather get Nasri than Fabregas. Hell of a player. I just can’t figure Arsenal out. They have all the tools, but sometimes they just don’t come together. Kind of like us at the core of it all, I reckon.

  8. Somebody can confirm what position is Luis Suarez playing in Ajax?
    I’ve always thought that he was a winger, but looking at statistics this season he has scored 26 goals in 25 matches in the Eredivisie.

    I really don’t watch the Netherlands league so I’m not sure if he is playing as a winger or central striker, but if he has scored such number of goals playing as a winger we shouldnt let this guy escape.

    Actually he is second in the fight for the Golden shoe, with Rooney first and Messi third.

    1. Last year it was the same except it was Huntelaar instead of Suarez and Eto’o instead of Rooney.

      Huntelaar didn’t really work out at RM and he’s struggling in Milan, isn’t he?

  9. omg… could it be true?!?

    1. I was in Vegas in December and was getting 25-1 odds on Ivory Coast to win the whole thing, which seemed quite generous given that England were something like 5-1. I put 20 bucks on them (Ivory Coast that is).

    2. Ivory Coast has a tough road to winning the WC. They have a very hard group (Brazil and Portugal) – In my opinion it’s the hardest group.

      If they come out of their group in second, and Spain wins their group, then Ivory Coast faces Spain in their first knockout round. A very tough group.

    3. They were my bet since naming SA to host the competition. After the ACN I was a bit less confidant.

      If they hire Hiddink (I was hoping they do so), they can shock.

    4. And the group plus possible round of 16 opponent didn’t decrease your confidence in Ivory Coast?

  10. can’t wait to see EE crash out of CL.
    Lass will be the only DM. he will be vital for the whole team. if he play well, madrid won’t lose. but if he suck, i am happy.

  11. No Helge. It enhanced it. They play first against Portugal. If they get a win there (more possible than its thought), they can play for a draw in the second game against Brazil (Hiddink can put his magic there), then pulling three points against Korea means they may top the group.

    Till the final, they may have to play Chile, Netherlands,England, then Spain/Argentina.

    Not easy, but attainable. At least, better than having to play Brazil in the knock out stages.

    The only question is: Can Hiddink make an African team defend with some positioning sense? Thats the football virus of African teams since ever.

    1. It is more possible for Ivory Coast to beat portugal than korea. portugal are often overrated while korea are underrated. but still i believe ivory coast can get 6 points off these 2 teams.

    2. Ivory Coast plays Korea DPR, not south Korea (who are much better). But I agree, you never know with football.

  12. Lyon have used the ball reasonably well so far the few times they have had the ball but RM look more dangerous

    1. They should have had the crazy Lisandro miss though to make a clear win. Still I’m not complaining 😀

  13. All the chances lyon missed in the 1st leg will probably be the killer.The tie shouldve been over then tbh.

  14. I am not so sure that I want Madrid out of the CL yet. I know its always nice to see them lose but I dont want them to be able to concentrate on just the league. I also dont think they can realistically win the CL so I am not too worried about them progressing too far. Lyon has caused them enough problems, can you imagine what a Chelsea, Inter or Utd would do to them? Plus, how sweet would it be to knock them out ourselves….even if its not in the final!?! 🙂

    1. True but if they break the knockout round curse they’ll be buzzing.Not sure what i want really.

      GGovou! aagh.

  15. This result would be awesome. I’d like to order one more Lyon goal, with a side of Iker-face.

    I’m having one hell of a crappy week, so it would make me happy.

  16. OL has been playing incredibly in both ties! The goal they scored was a complete team performance. a joy to watch. i wonder why they can do it so much better without their star players of last year.

    EE will get nothing again this year!

  17. Of topic… but I just found a really cool sites breaking down formations and tactics…


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