The last time Valencia visited our house ….

It’s Thursday, and I’m already pumped about this match. Let’s GO!!!!

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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.

40 Comments

  1. Tyler
    March 11, 2010

    Damn, I wish teams still didn’t respect us and played horrible defense like in that video. Like Alves said, “we’re slaves to last season now”. Everybody knows what we’re going to do, and wants to just make sure we don’t embarrass them. Le sigh.

    • Kxevin
      March 11, 2010

      I think that more importantly, our movement and passing didn’t allow to play that kind of negative defense that we (mostly) enable in the here and now. Look at that video, and find a match this season in which we move the ball around like that, with that much overall movement and more importantly, movement withh alacrity.

      • Tyler
        March 11, 2010

        yeah I also immediately noticed that movement you are speaking of. the interplay between xavi and alves at 2:44 is just devastatingly beautiful, and also the width it creates is ridiculous. but wouldn’t you also agree that the defensive positioning many teams have set up has eaten up a lot of the space that we moved around in last year, especially the midfield?

  2. Jim
    March 11, 2010

    Oh my God! When have you last seen so few defenders in the picture whenever we attack ? Yes, we moved the ball forward a little more quickly but there are oceans of space in this video. Lets you see what we are up against this year.

    • March 11, 2010

      Yeah, esp. the first goal. Yaya was basically allowed to bring the ball from the D to the halfway line, and even when playing the ball to Henry there was no pressure.

      The second goal was magic though. No defense could stop that.

      • Kxevin
        March 11, 2010

        This year, The Yaya and Pique are allowed to bring the ball up just like that, because opponent midfields are marking the hell out of Xavi and Iniesta. The difference is that we don’t have anyone who can a) make that run and b) control the ball and knock it past the keeper. That first goal was all pace. Messi is quick, but not fast. There’s a difference. Messi will kill you with those first 10 steps, but he won’t flat outrun you, like Henry did on that first goal.

        Actually we do have someone, Ibrahimovic, but he doesn’t have that breakaway speed like Henry. But few players do. And now, even he apparently doesn’t.

        • andrew.M
          March 12, 2010

          i disagree and think messi would outrun anyone on the pitch. that kid is lightening

          • Eklavya
            March 12, 2010

            With the ball he can dribble through anyone with speed but without the ball he’s not particularly fast.

  3. Ciaran
    March 11, 2010

    The big difference is that defenses are pushed up about 15yards more than they were last year because we made ridiculous amounts of off-the-ball runs last season and do absolutely none now.
    First goal, Yaya moves into space created by Eidur & Xavi splitting and Henry running in behind defenses.
    Second goal, Messi runs right, Hleb runs left and Henry fills the gap.
    Third goal Dani makes a fantastic run from 40yards further back than the ball & Xavi finds him.
    Fourth goal just a slight run off the ball by Bojan to get some space and the kid makes a goal out of nothing.

    Ibra sits and waits for the ball to come to him. Apparently, Pep has told him to run less as he wants him to be fresh for the whole match. I dunno.
    I just wish we had a bench. It’s nearly a good thing that this is election year because hopefully our squad will be bulkier next term

  4. March 11, 2010

    the last time valencia visited our house was also the last time we saw hleb in a barca shirt.. 😛

  5. March 11, 2010

    just some hate just for fun.

    1st goal. ibra would’ve been offside or wrongly judged to be offside.
    last goal, nobody would’ve been there to tap it in.

  6. Kxevin
    March 11, 2010

    Well, it’s madness to say what would have happened with Ibrahimovic, unless people just want to slag on him some more. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The way we’re playing isn’t his fault. Yes, he’s a contributior, but so is Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Alves, you name it. It’s easy to rip on him because he’s the new link.

    This year, clubs are jamming up the midfield and leaving defenders in the box. It creates significantly less space for us to play in, and makes strong wing play vital. With a legitimate scoring threat on either wing, as we had last season, good luck clogging things up. Pedro! pinches in too much toward the middle for my liking, which makes us even easier to play.

    There was much, much less standing around last season, as well.

    • Jim
      March 12, 2010

      They’re jamming up the midfield at least partly because Ibra is so slow and Henry isn’t there , Kxevin.

  7. Kxevin
    March 11, 2010

    Villa left the Valencia match today with a shoulder knock. They will know more later.

  8. Lev
    March 12, 2010

    Kxev made a good point earlier. speed. henry has lost it. and we gave away eto’o. this is not ibra’s fault, but those were two fast and powerful attackers we are missing this season. It is also their speed which put the opponents’ defense on their back heels thus giving Xaviniesta more room to operate. As a result the teamplay suffers as well.

    • Kxevin
      March 12, 2010

      Actually, we sold Eto’o because the coach had a different set of options in mind. And just because Henry has lost his ultimate pace, doesn’t mean that he can’t be a very effective player for us.

      The way that teams are playing us, there just isn’t the space to run into, which is why width is so crucial to our attack this season. I don’t care if it comes from Henry, Jeffren or Krkic, we need a wide player that defenses respect, or who will make them pay if they don’t respect them. And we need it now.

      And for the record, no, I don’t believe that Pedro! is the answer.

      • Jim
        March 12, 2010

        Teams can’t afford to play so far up the pitch if you have genuine pace or even people who time their runs. We’ve seen Pedro do it on occasions but Ibra still has a way to go and he doesn’t have that basic speed. Messi i think does but its just not his forte.

  9. fc
    March 12, 2010

    Ok guys, if we want to get out of current funk we need Henry. Not playing him is not an option anymore. I hope he will play this weekend and do something magical.

    • Kevo
      March 12, 2010

      I agree 100%, we are missing his goals and it’s no good to bash him if we want him to operate better. I’m not saying that we are discouraging him but sport.es for example are just wanting Barca to get rid of him.

  10. andrew.M
    March 12, 2010

    towards bulking up the squad, we should buy Forlan. he is aging but he would be a perfect supersub and backup for Ibra, he is also experienced in La Liga and I am pretty sure, desperate to get out of Atleti.

    • Eklavya
      March 12, 2010

      Why don’t we just get back Keirrison instead? That way we don’t have to spend more and throw away what we already bought…

      • Kxevin
        March 12, 2010

        Very true, Eklavya. I think that offensively and defensively, we have quality at the ready. Guardiola will have to take some anti-stubborn pills and give Keirrison a legitimate look. We have the kids ready on defense, and Johnny Two-Time should be ready, as well. Ditto for Thiago. With Jeffren (and probably another purchase) on the wing, we should be feeling pretty good.

        Larger needs are replacements at right and left back. Maxwell is a temporary stopgap. Bartra is looking the business at right back, but left back is still an issue.

        Offensively, we’re in good shape. Messi is young, Iniesta is young, Xavi has at least a couple of good seasons left in him, and Ibrahimovic has about two seasons with us, if you apply the Kxevin Three-Year Superstar Half-Life formula. By that time, players such as Gael Etock will be fully seasoned, and we can continue the path from La Masia to the A team.

        • Eklavya
          March 12, 2010

          We should also try out Henrique (NOT ADRIANO!!! 😀 ) at RB. Maxwell and Abidal are fine at LB. Maybe when they’re old Muniesa will be our new LB…?

        • March 12, 2010

          If we want to go all the way with youth, the Abidal-Maxwell-Muniesa path sounds more secure than the Alves-Bartra. So I dont think the left back cover is more urgent than the right back cover (keeping in mind that Alves is younger than both Abidal and Maxwell). Thats if we want to talk about any fullback signings needed.

        • barca96
          March 12, 2010

          two-time is dos santos?
          i know two is “dos” so presume santos is “time” in spanish?

          • barca96
            March 12, 2010

            btw, i don’t think forlan would want to be just a supersub or a back up for ibra. he is too good for that.
            he has a few seasons left in him at least in mid-table teams.

  11. Kxevin
    March 12, 2010

    I admire that Laporta is staying classy, and expressing empathy for Flo-Flo, rather than urinating on the festering carcass.

    Things are going batshit crazy over there. 7 players (not counting Benzema) are supposed to be on the block this summer, Kaka’s agent’s wife’s mother’s girlfriend (or some such trail) is Tweeting nasty things about Kaka’s being subbed against Lyon. Players are bickering, and nobody is happy.

    It really does make you appreciate what we have. Even when we don’t get the results that we should, things don’t implode. Yes, fans tend to scapegoat certain players, but that’s just what fans do. What you don’t see is the system breaking down.

    –On another note, Villa is looking increasingly doubtful for the match on Sunday, while Keiteeee is probably going to be in the side. He and Henry practiced at full speed, and are expected to be ready. This is a big-ass match, because if we win, we could well do some damage in the standings. EE will either continue to implode, and drop points against Valladolid, or come out like lions with something to prove. Either way, we have to take care of business.

    • Stephen
      March 12, 2010

      I really thought Laporta would come out making his “clever” remarks but he did not, and he focused on Leo and the unicef thing, im quite proud of him.

      Im happy Keita is back, but do you think Guardiola would start him?

    • March 12, 2010

      I didn’t know anything about Kaka’s partner until this little tweeting episode. Then I googled her.

      Holy shit. Let’s just say he really must belong to Jesus.

  12. stowe
    March 12, 2010

    i don’t know much about the youth teams, but do we have any eto’o style players? I like what ibra brings to the team, but obviously what eto’o brought was very effective. eto’o isn’t your normal everyday player but it would be nice to see someone capable of backing up ibra that isn’t so small like bojan or pedro yet still fast and able to make dangerous runs

      • Kxevin
        March 12, 2010

        Gael Etock, if he pans out. Kid looks to be the business.

          • jordi™
            March 12, 2010

            Heres Gaël

            *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crcqf6GJDxE

            *Disclaimer airfutbol is known to hamper the careers of many a young talent and heap unrealistic expectations on their tiny shoulders 😀

          • jordi™
            March 12, 2010

            If you’re asking about speed, Dongou scares me.If he keeps developing physically we have a monstrous player on our hands

            *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unqKEJSj6CA

    • March 12, 2010

      If we want to look only in our youth farms, Gael Etock is promising, but it’s still too early for him.

      I believe Ruben Rochina will make a shocking evolution soon.

    • Miguel
      March 12, 2010

      why is everyone so insistent that a left winger be fast & tall? i for one love midgets and am a huge fan of el kun aguero. we need a STRONG dude(that guy’s all torsoe) w/a low center of gravity that can take on defenders and get into the penalty area.

      i’m for a bojan/kun swap any day of the week @ this point.

      ribery’s scoring stats don’t tickle me.

  13. Keano
    March 12, 2010

    I think gervinho might be an alright option. Why aren’t we linked with chamack from bordeux. Squad needs to be bulked and not just with our own youth players. Belhadj sounds like a nice deal for lb. We need to buy pace and power up front.

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