Aleix Vidal: An underdog story

The rules have been violated. Barça won 0-6 at a difficult away ground, and the players don’t really care a whole lot.

This is what Sergo Busquets had to say:

“Vidal is loved by all of us, this is awful, we feel really bad. Win comes in 2nd place, he comes 1st.”

As Busquets notes, that Vidal tackle destroyed everything good about this match. It was a reprehensible, irresponsible action that violates every aspect of the players’ code of conduct. A professional doesn’t do that to another professional.

Football is a fast, hard, potentially violent game. The thing that keeps it from teetering over the edge into savagery isn’t the officiating, but the players. They are professionals who understand that when you make you living with your body, playing a sport for money, you have a responsibility not only to yourself but to each other. You don’t back off, but you don’t comport yourself in a way that is reckless, that will cause injury.

This is true even if you don’t know that it is going to cause injury. You don’t do a studs-up challenge when an opponent has his leg planted because you understand that you can shatter bones, destroy ligamnets and ruin careers. And every professional knows that “There but for the grace of God go I.” Challenges come in hard and fast. Every now and again, one will cross a line, but those instances are rare.

We saw one when Radja Naingoolan went in hard on Rafinha from behind, and tore the Barça mid’s knee ligaments. And Nainggolan had previously broken an opponent’s leg in two places. It was a violation of the rules that professionals have. You don’t destroy another professional’s ability to make his livelihood.

It’s sport. You play hard, you go hard. But when you are losing by six goals in the 86th minute, you don’t do that. You just don’t. People will assert that well, you play until the whistle, and blablabla. No. Theo Hernandez had no chance at that ball, no chance of doing anything except destruction. That is what he chose. It was the 86th minute and Vidal was miles from the Alaves goal. All he was looking to do was control the ball and move it along so that the clock could run out, and he and his teammates could return to Barcelona.

In an instant, all of that changed.

Hernandez has said, publicly, that he didn’t mean it, that he will go and see how Vidal is. He already knows how Vidal is. He saw the aftereffect of his savagery. Let’s be clear about this, if you haven’t seen the horror tackle. He went in, JUMPED in with both feet, in a way that made it impossible not to land on the legs of his opponent. When you do that, you don’t care. You might feel bad in the aftermath, but you don’t care at the crucial moment when you should care about the career of another professsional.

No player ever means to injure another player. Intent doesn’t absolve you of reponsibility. That was a vile tackle if the game is in the balance. It is inexecusable and a transgression of every athletic code to maim a fellow competitor when there is nothing to compete for. It isn’t about fairness. It’s about hunanity.

The danger of big clubs going to visit lesser clubs is that lesser players have less margin for error. Mascherano will go in hard, but he has already weighed the situation, and understands how he can make the challenge without destroying. If a player makes a basic slide challenge and an injury results, it’s awful luck. Nobody will ever say that the challenge shouldn’t have been made.

There is nobody in football who would believe that the challenge Hernandez made on Vidal at that point in the match, should have been made. Some will say, “Well, his cleats caught and that made it worse,” and things such as that, ignoring the reality that it should never have happened.

Vidal was a wonderful underdog story, like that team who has been counted out them makes a stunning comeback. He was signed from Sevilla the same season as Arda Turan, another signing that nobody liked. He made some errors, didn’t work hard enough and suddenly stopped making squads. His coach, Luis Enrique, the man sitting on the bench looking like he had just seen someone get shot, said that the rest of Vidal’s Barça career was in his hands. Play up, show up and he will get back in the squad.

That’s what Vidal did. He came on as a sub, and did some damage. He scored a goal, and the cut to the bench showed a scene of joy, one that people mistook for jibes. His teammates were genuinely happy for him, because every player understands not being good enough, then making a liar out of the people who believed that you weren’t.

Luis Enrique said that Vidal had proved him wrong, and the Catalan RB went from no squads to making every squad, and playing well when he did. He scored another goal, nabbed assists, including a lovely one to Luis Suarez for the first Barça goal against Alaves. He scored or assisted in seven of his last eight matches. Many would suggest that he was on the verge of making the RB spot his again. It was a delightful story, one that is potentially over, ended in an instant.

Vidal did his job. He worked hard, worked to correct his errors and was never the subject of a lot of whining in media outlets. His path was always clear, and he worked to get back on it.

Now it’s done. If Vidal is lucky, it is a severe dislocation, which means 8 weeks, conservatively. It would be a bit longer if the ankle was fractured. If the ankle is broken, three months just to get to a point where function is possible, then rehab after that. And it only took a second. The record will reflect nothing of Vidal’s pain. The ref didn’t even ajudge the challenge to be a foul. Play on, except that another human being can’t walk.

This isn’t about subs, or the rest of the season, or what the coaching staff will do. Right now, this is about a human being whose life has been irrevocably altered by the actions of another. And it breaks your heart.

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Written by:

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. Anders
    February 11, 2017

    Theo Hernandez has a history of not giving a flying fuck about his colleagues:

    I don’t even know what to say.

  2. barca96
    February 11, 2017

    Absolutely gutted. I was so happy for him to get a start at RB and then seeing Roberto at Midfield. I was saying to my brother during the match that Lucho has finally given up on his experiment. And then this happens.

    • barca96
      February 11, 2017

      And the image of him and Alba a few days ago in the car stuck in my head..

  3. Kd
    February 11, 2017

    Horrible!! Absolutely reprehensible.
    And I am even more enraged after looking at the video posted by Anders.
    Have not commented in a while but I was distraught and was just hoping for some news and decided to check here at BFB.
    I’m glad you wrote about this Kxevin.

  4. Jim
    February 11, 2017

    I know this won’t be popular but I didn’t see it as being as bad as it maybe looked. For me the guy was always winning that ball, he went to ground admittedly with a fair bit of force but didn’t catch Vidal with his studs and did get the ball. You can’t attack someone with your body. I might at a push have given a yellow for leaving the ground but I ask myself whether the guy was going for Vidal or the ball. It was an impact collision and Vidal was going so quickly he couldn’t hurdle it. These things happen at speed. I know it was stupid going for a ball with that aggression when you’re 6-0 down and maybe there was some frustration behind it but for me not the horror tackle folks are saying and certainly not as dangerous as a studs up on the leg one.

    Sorry, just the way I saw it. Not to say I don’t feel really sorry for Vidal as a player and a person but also especially given the way he has come back from a bad start at Barca . Tbh, I’m also a little confused why he felt he had to attack the ball at all as the guy wasn’t doing anything down at the corner flag but that’s irrelevant given the situation.

    On another note, I’m not sure we won’t have a longer injury list when they wake up tomorrow. Why wasn’t Messi taken off when he was grimacing every time he put weight on his leg in the last fifteen? Did I not see Alba clutch his hamstring when the ball was over the other side ? Was Suarez coming it or did he get an impact injury when he went down ?

  5. luisthebeast
    February 11, 2017

    I wish a speedy recovery to Aleix and he will play the Cup final and he scores the 6th goal against that scumbag Hernandez and that shit club.I read that Alaves fans attacked to Barca fans with metal bars.

  6. Mishti
    February 11, 2017

    According to official statement, Aleix out for 5 months. His season is over.

  7. Hamid
    February 11, 2017

    Jim, you have used the words “stupid”, “frustration” and “aggression” to describe the horrifying tackle, but decided to put the blame on Vidal because he “felt he had to attack the ball”. Anyone who played football in a professional or non-professional context would tell you that there are many ways you can seriously hurt the opponent and make it look like it was not intentional. There is not much that can be done about it. Let’s at least recognize that Barça’s players are, more than any other team, exposed to a higher degree of hostility not because they welcome it, but because they have a different view of football.

  8. Kd
    February 11, 2017

    I concur Hamid. I have been quite concerned lately about our players especially Neymar. Sometimes it almost seems that the other side is only there to kick lumps out of our players. And Jim I love some of your analysis but I do think this time you have got it absolutely wrong. Haven’t you gone for a 50-50 ball even when winning with a landslide, in your younger days? I know I do.
    When I heard 5 months I was actually happy. These things could end a career. 5 months in the larger scheme of things is brilliant. I for one cant wait to see Vidal taking the field, coming on as a substitute, with the Camp Nou chanting his name. Get well soon Alex.

    • Jim
      February 12, 2017

      Hamid, I wasn’t putting any blame on Vidal, I was merely wondering why when we were six goals up with a few minutes left he felt the need to make any kind of tackle rather than shepherding to the corner flag. Nine times out of ten Vidal would have gone over the top of his body without incident. There have been more obvious attempts to hurt our players than this, imo. KD, I was just taught never to go to ground or make a tackle if it could be avoided because if you stay on your feet you stay in the game. I don’t think Vidal was attempting a tackle either . KD, I honestly wouldn’t go for a 50-50 ball in that situation . The guy was going nowhere at the corner flag. However, not saying I’m right, just the way I saw it.

  9. ciaran
    February 12, 2017

    I’ve watched and rewatched the tackle and it wasn’t a career ending tackle in terms of its execution. He went in, got the ball with his instep very cleanly, his body was slightly off the ground but not a dive. Vidal planted his foot at the moment the tackle came in and that caused the freak injury.
    I wish the best to Aleix, he had just been coming into form and showed his potential. He was sure to be vital in helping us fight for trophies and achieve his own goals.
    Football is a contact sport and freak injuries occur but I wouldn’t be bashing Theo for what was a full blooded challenge. He was their best player by a massive distance and showed his heart the whole way through. Some frustration may have crept in but not in my opinion.
    Look if Vidal’s foot didn’t plant in the turf then he gets cleaned out but continues as if nothing happened.

  10. ooga aga
    February 12, 2017

    I dislocated my right ankle playing football 15 years ago. My tibia also snapped in two in the same incident. I now have a steel plate in my leg on my tibia; the bolt that was put in to stabilize my ankle was removed. But to this day my left side is worse off due to problems with sprained ankle and sprained big toe.

    Three months in a cast or walking boot and then another two in rehab and fitness. Five months is about right. Good luck Aleix.

    • ooga aga
      February 12, 2017

      *Football as in futbol

  11. February 12, 2017

    Sorry, but for me that tackle was, and still is inexcusable. He came in full speed from distance, exactly as he did in a previous red card incident. As I would surmise Neymar was trying to explain to him, it was completely unnecessary given the circumstances. It was also reckless. In the NFL Hernandez would have been penalized for what verged on a chop block. In the most violent pro sport extant.

    The way he went in all but assured that Vidal had no chance of avoiding serious contact. Vidal is at speed and Hernandez essentially dives at his ankles. I have no issues with the “man’s game”s stuff, but that tackle was reprehensible. And at that point in the match, it was reckless and given the player’s past, almost certainly done wtih malice aforethought. The ball was headed for the sidelines. Neither player was going to get to it and even if Vidal had, what harm would have come from the possession. It was, for me, the action of man who took a beatdown and didn’t like it. Reckon he showed Vidal, then.

    “That’s just football” is only partly true. A professional still has an obligation, a code. Hernandez’s apology said, of course, “it’s very sad when an injury happens to a fellow professional.” What the apology doesn’t say is that it didn’t have to happen. That is the crux of my issue with it, never mind the pace and violence of how he jumped into the tackle. It was to my view unnecessary, violent and retributive. The actions of a thug.

    You just don’t do that at that point in the match. The only thing that can come of that is bad. You are supposed to account for things such as, as Ciaran notes, an opponent’s foot getting caught in the cabbage patch of a field they had. As a professional, you would want the same courtesy. Reckon if Mascherano had gone through Hernandez in the same way he’d be screaming bloody murder, and saying why make that tackle in the 86th minute of a 0-6 match. And they’d be right. Because it’s reckless. That is what makes it a horror tackle for me, the complete and total disregard for any consequence.

    It’s hard for me to be neutral about his wanton potential destruction of a fellow professional’s career. There is no excuse.

    — And to cap off a trip to Alaves, a Barça supporter who was attacked by Alaves ultras on the afternoon of the match, was treated for his injuries at the same hospital as Vidal.

  12. Messiah10
    February 13, 2017

    Have to agree with what seems the majority here and condem the tackle and the circumstances behind it. Absolutely NO reason to go in at 6 nil down in the 86th min and with such force. Based on previous history he should be banned the rest of the season. End of story. Retroactive punishment for these types of tackles and severe fines & bans may make a player think twice before considering it. Although based on Anders vid this lunatic seems to just lose his head when angry or frustrated. Which is even more inexcusable to me

  13. Messiah10
    February 13, 2017

    Kxevin, any news on the Word Press hack/bug? Did it affect us? Are you updated to newest version to avoid any potential problems? Any info would be appreciated. I was concerned about my personal info so needed to ask. Thanks

  14. Jim
    February 13, 2017

    If anyone gets the chance have a look at the Eibar / Granada match, first of all for how genuinely poor Granada is ( humped four nil) but then how their play changes the last 30 when Samper comes on. Watch how he takes the ball in , keeps it under pressure, provides the glue and delivers forward passes which create chances. If Granada were told to get the ball to him at every opportunity they wouldn’t be in their current state – no, strike that. They really are that bad.

  15. ooga aga
    February 13, 2017

    Sorry Kxevin, but we’re going to have to send in the feds to Chicago to address the carnage we have all just witnessed.

    • ooga aga
      February 14, 2017

      My apologies to Kxevin for assuming it was he who took the post down! My bad.

  16. Jim
    February 13, 2017

    From the other side of the pond I’m assuming this is a sporting comment of some sort, Ooga ?

    • ooga aga
      February 13, 2017

      Levon made a post this morning titled “make barca great again” pretending Trump was a new Barca coach, replacing LE, using Trump quotes. Very funny and had several positive responses before it was entirely taken down. I used another Trump quote to comment on the situation. Sorry Kxevin — I know you want to keep politics out of this space, but it’s gonna be impossible…love you anyways.

    • Jim
      February 14, 2017

      Aah, I thought I was going daft and had imagined I saw a post about August 2017 but when I came back it wasn’t here. I actually thought I’d dreamt it !

      Would have been good to hear from Lev again but I can appreciate the line Kxevin is trying to walk, allowing us some leeway but not wanting it to get out of hand. I was curious some time ago when the new President was elected and I made a ( fairly innocuous) comment about it and wondered if it would be removed. It wasn’t and I appreciated that but a whole post might encourage a flamefest.

      As you say Ooga, it is difficult here when we feel we know each other a little not to tread into other areas at times. I feel I’ve missed something now . . . Damn, need to be on more often – well, maybe not.

  17. ooga aga
    February 13, 2017

    On another note, i think we might see our gala XI tomorrow! When was the last time that happened? Wow.

  18. barca96
    February 13, 2017

    I read from another forum about the great article but when I clicked on the link, it’s missing and when I found out here that it’s by Levon who’s been missing for what seems like decades, it really piqued my interest. Why was it taken down? Is it because there’s politics involved because of the mention of Trump? The title doesn’t give any hint that it’s a political article except for the famous tag line…

  19. luisthebeast
    February 13, 2017

    I am sure that if instead of Aleix was Messi or Neymar,nobody would say that things i read,that Hernandez tackle was not so bad and why Aleix did go for the ball.

  20. ooga aga
    February 13, 2017

    Maybe Levon could email it to interested folks. It really was funny and on the mark. I hope it hasnt generated strife behind the BFB curtain 🙂

    • February 14, 2017

      No strife. I volunteered to take it down because the article was a political statement just masquerading to be about Barça. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though.

    • Jim
      February 14, 2017

      You devil, Levon ! I probably wouldn’t have noticed that had you not told us 🙂 Nice to hear from you again.

      If you’re anything like the older kids I used to teach they used to plagiarise obscure short stories, hand them in as their own and when I told them that was unacceptable and that the exam board would know they resubmitted with only the characters’ names changed !!!

  21. Davour
    February 14, 2017

    So Gomes ahead of Rakitic tonight. LE is consistent in his trust of Gomes. Tough call, since both did well last game, but I like the ambition to go for the more attacking player. But SR has a big challenge ahead of him, locking down that flank!

  22. Laurentiu88
    February 14, 2017

    jesus… not going well at all… do iniesta and messi want to be on the pitch tonight?

  23. lala10
    February 14, 2017

    Only Neymar and Ter Stegen with signs of life.

    Its like the guys are on protest. No vigour going forward. No zeal in defending either.

    We will be lucky if the second leg is worth playing. At this rate PSG will put 5 against this shambolic mess

  24. PPos
    February 14, 2017

    Wow. Very poor first half. PSG’s midfield is just running us over and Messi has barely pressed. The only reediming thing we had was Neymar but he can’t take one 4 players. Suarez has been starved of service and Gomes was just bad. He moved the ball far too slow and didn’t even shoot with confidence. Rakitic is needed or Arda. We need a goal threat from midfield. Sergi Roberto has done okay, but his lack of pace down the flank is hurting us all season long. The possession of the ball has been fairly even. I don’t like that. We are not a good defensive team and that’s a fact. We protect our backline by having the ball. Guardiola made that very apparent. We need Lucho’s halftime talk to do something because we are in deep water. I’m worried.

  25. realdox
    February 14, 2017

    I really don’t know why the coach keep trusting GOMEZ when he knew Roberto need cover .our only great chance fell into Roberto path whom we all know he’s not a good scorer ,we will be lucky to escape with a goal here but I’m not going to give up on my time .this matcch seems like rafinha match though

  26. Víctor
    February 14, 2017

    PSG had about 60% possession in the first 20 minutes. After that, they decided to “park the bus” and that’s why Barca ended the 1st half with about 55% possession. What’s the point of this, you might ask? It just to point out that big teams can find a way to out-possess Barca if they want to… and without having to put too much effort.

    Sure thing, possession means sh%! after all is said and done… Barca needs to find its offensive power once again to solve this. And I think they’ll do…

  27. Davour
    February 14, 2017

    Wow, that was a punch in the face. Hopefully we’ll shake it off, while PSG tire. Team has not cohesion at all, no coordination or proper movement. Waiting. Second goal just appalling in the lack of effort from our talismans – Messi and Iniesta.

    Heads up, that this is what the end of Messi will look like (it is not here yet; just a foreshadowing) – a tad too slow, no pressing, walking, waiting. He must have a team of runners around him for it to work.

    Ter Stegen good, saved us from further embarrassment; Neymar trying. Gomes turns out to be struck by stage fright.

    But kudos to PSG for execution – they have been flawless – and Verratti reminds us why people are considering him a dream transfer to Barca. Very composed.

  28. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    what exactly was the game plan? we don’t have a frigging coach I felt disgraced watching they first half. lucho should get the fuck out of barca

  29. Laurentiu88
    February 14, 2017

    it’s really painful to watch at this point, reminds me of a game with ac milan also in ucl…

  30. Víctor
    February 14, 2017

    Come on, people, that was a bad first half… but the teams knows how to recover from that… I don’t think Barca will end this match without scoring at least one goal…

  31. TITO
    February 14, 2017

    Well, we surely dont look like a CL team at the moment. Completely outplayed.
    I hope we somehow get a goal and ease the second leg because it will be extremely difficult.
    And asi write, here comes the third.
    #Tata, calm down.

  32. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    there we have a clueless coach on the bench. zero shot on target. fuck you lucho psg will soon score a third

  33. Víctor
    February 14, 2017

    Rafinha in… let’s hope that this can bring Barca back on track… about half hour remaining…

  34. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    3-0 don’t fucking tell me to calm down

  35. TITO
    February 14, 2017

    Yes, im telling you.
    While the mods i believe can ban you.

  36. Víctor
    February 14, 2017

    Yup, you should calm down… you are already blaming LE and wanting him out when the match isn’t over yet… and there’s still one game left…

    Sure, it is difficult, but this team has the skill to make a come back…

  37. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    I will get banned for wanting l.e out?

  38. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    okay. I apologise. l.e should stay. we could always come back to play UCL again next season

  39. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    4-0. don’t worry guys there’s still time we will turn the tie around

  40. realdox
    February 14, 2017

    This team lack cohesion ,I really don’t understand what he’s thinking dropping rakitic to the bench when you know this is going to be physical…look at how we keep losing 50-50 chance over and over

  41. stefan2k
    February 14, 2017

    Emery built his own Barca, just fresher and more eager to win. Well deserved for PSG

  42. PPos
    February 14, 2017

    I’m speechless. Looks like the cycle is over. Only Real Madrid losing tomorrow could bring some semblance of happiness back but at the moment t I’m just distraught. I kept thinking Xavi where art thou. We had no rhythm, control, drive, incisiveness what’s so ever. It was shambolic.

  43. Davour
    February 14, 2017

    This was painful, another Bayern but even worse. Emery created a perfect Barca-destroying machine and they executed perfectly. We did not show up at all. Messi lost in no man’s land, Neymar isolated, Gomes had no business on that pitch. etcetc. Team didn’t manage to be a team.

    Do the legends have another reboot in them? There needs to be some serious thinking. This is just the final consequence of how we have been playing lately. AM, had they buried their early chances, could have closed us down, too.

    Thank you for the music, LE, but now its time for a different tune. Same problems will remain, but does not seem to be the man to fix them, I’m afraid. Players at fault, of course, but can’t fire a entire team, so…New coach, new RB, clean up the mid and find a way to manage MSN without surrendering the right wing to Gomes and Roberto.

    Easy as cake. Like scoring 5 at home without conceding.

  44. February 14, 2017

    Well that was depressing to watch. Ah well, such is life. Football is ups and downs, it’s not so long ago we got hammered by Bayern and bounced back to win the treble. This team and these players (a lot of them) have given us so much joy and worked so hard in the past I cannot be too disappointed right now. In all fairness this has been coming all season, we just came up against an opponent who were very well drilled and knew exactly how to expose our quite obvious weaknesses. Kudos to them and to Emery who had LE dead to rights tactically.

    The most concerning thing for me, was that the way the players turned up today (or didn’t turn up would be a better way to put it) makes me think they have given up on their coach. When you see players who normally give 110% on the pitch, give so little, well it says a lot about the lack of belief they have in their coach and his vision. I think Busquets words post match also pointed to this.

    I do not like to call for coaches to be fired, and certainly not now. Now we support the team, till the last whistle of the season is blown. Then there is a fair amount that can be discussed, from a new coach, to fresh blood in certain positions, to finally forcing Messi to rest.

    • Rami
      February 14, 2017

      Busquets: “PSG were better than us. They played better with a better tactical and physical plan.”
      Busquets: “It’s not a matter of attitude, but football. They pressed us more, with a better plan.”

      Take from these comments what you will, Trying to save his skin?, Who knows, But what he said seemed to correlate to what we saw on the ground.

    • Rami
      February 14, 2017

      These type of passive-aggressive comments coming from one of the captains is not a good sign, Specially coming from a player with no history of this.

  45. dl
    February 14, 2017

    Well and truly outplayed. No other way to spin it. Hats off to PSG — they finally put all the pieces together and earned a resounding victory.

  46. Tata2
    February 14, 2017

    if I may ask what exactly were our tactics today?

  47. Jim
    February 14, 2017

    Jim tiptoes into room scared of what he’ll find . . .

    Well, on the bright side I can probably cancel my BT HD sub before the next round.

    It was a shocker and they can happen. Anybody can have a bad game and most of them did but when most of them do you need to ask if there’s a bigger problem.

    For me, we weren’t up their end often enough to blame the forwards, except in their defensive duties. Suarez ran constantly but I can’t remember a chance, Messi dropped deep straight away and hardly saw the ball apart from losing it for the second. I think we can agree Neymar was the best of the three but even he didn’t create anything.

    The midfield, Iniesta included, was awful and it doesn’t take me to say again it needs attention. Not sure why Gomes was preferred but he won’t be again. Iniesta looked slow but then he’s always looked slow and you can’t come straight back from a lengthy injury into a game like this. Busi looked like the earthly incarnation of Pep’s adage that we are horrible without the ball.

    None of the defence had a great game. We saw Umtiti’s limitations although I don’t know what he’s done to Mcmanahan to deserve the abuse he got tonight. For me, Pique was great . . . Until he let Cavani get that step on him. Probably would have blocked it had he gone across goal – but he didn’t so that doesn’t count. I’m gonna put a word in for the CBs though. They had sod all protection. In an away CL tie which was going end to end we still kept our FBs too high up. Not sure what they were doing up there to merit it .

    However, no matter which way I turn thoughts come back to LE. No, he didn’t play, he won’t care what I think and I know less than Jon Snow but for me . . .

    Why Gomes above Rakitic ? Gomes is slow and very poor on defence. What kind of game did you expect and when you saw why wasn’t he off after fifteen minutes ?

    I’d go further and say what game did we expect when we saw their team full of ball carriers ? Not the first bad away CL display, Pep had quite a few, but what was our defensive plan ? The space between our defence and midfield wouldn’t have disgraced a small African country.

    What did you say to the team about faster ball circulation in the second half ? And what did you do to change things ? How can their players run unchallenged for forty yards ? How can Alba be the only defender in our half from our corner with four attackers pouring over the halfway line chased by our defence?

    In general, for me, we had no defensive head on at all. If you’re gonna do that you have to hold the ball much better than we did. ( The emergency RB I want to sign is called Thiago who is currently being played out of position in midfield ! I know he’d be ineligible.) has the time come to look st 4-4-2 for away CL games ? If you allow your FBs to be awol we maybe need two holding mids.

    It probably means no major trophy this year. I could live with that if I thought we were on the right lines but as I’ve said since Xavi left I’m not seeing what the big idea is.

    It probably means LE leaving. I’ve no problem with that as I think he has made a lot of big mistakes, not the least of which was buying a group of journeymen ( at our level) last summer and if his big idea was get it forward asap then it’s not working. I can’t remember seeing a team set up and saying wow it’ll be interesting to see how this works out. However, I’m clueless as to who might replace him unless it’s Unzue. I remember commenting on LE’s silence in the dugout while he raged on the touch lines.

    It probably means delaying the renovations to the stadium given the money we’re gonna have to put out to sort deficiencies and renewals but I’m okay with that as well

    It probably means we’ll be hearing that Messi has aged and lost all his talent again this week. That doesn’t worry me as he’ll be back next but his mindset both regarding renewal and why he didn’t set the example tonight with a really hard shift does.

    In a nutshell we ignored defence, didn’t ( couldn’t?) put pressure on the ball at all, lost our shape, couldn’t ping the ball about at the required speed and deserved a humping. Not coming back from this one.

    Slight positive ? Hadn’t seen much of Verratti but he has good vision, pace and can hold the ball well.

  48. luisthebeast
    February 14, 2017

    After Saturday i said here Lucho out and it was sarcastic.I did nt expect that today.I was optimist.But except tactic talks i must understand that MSN played almost all the games in 2017 until now.Why?To reach Copa final?Ok.Rotation must have a logic.Messi and Suarez are 30y old and Neymar is not a robot.They need rest.And i cant understand why we play that 4-3-3.Shit.Lets go for a 4-0 and qualify in penalties!

  49. luisthebeast
    February 14, 2017

    I had the hope that Lucho would make a new evolution,that the team will play 3-5-2 or 4-4-2.But we still remain in that fucking 4-3-3.Even in Guardiola era there were games that we could lose like today.In europe in away games you must be smart.

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