Spoooon: Barça – Osasuna


Liga Preview: Barça – Osasuna, Wednesday 3pmEST ESPN Deportes

Look. It’s a midweek game and I’ve got a lot going on and it’s hard to write so many previews and reviews so quickly. So I have to come up with quirky ideas for intros and whatnot…

Okay, you caught me. I don’t have anything going on. I just wanted to talk about The Tick. It’s basically the greatest show of all time and if you haven’t seen it, stop reading this and go watch it. I’ve always identified a little too much with Arthur–that shouldn’t be a surprise to you–but whatever. That is neither here nor there. You see, The Tick is everything I want in a TV show: loud voices, a guy in a tight blue suit, and slapstick comedy. And giant mustachioed dinosaur men. And a guy with a chair for a head. And operatic references. I should stop, shouldn’t I?

The point is, in one of the episodes, Tick realizes he needs a battle cry. Because he’s eating breakfast, he has a spoon in his hand. He then screams SPOOOON and the rest is history. Lost history if you’re one of the simpletons that has never seen the show.

Our beloved coach, Señor Josep Guardiola i Sala is being attacked by the RFEF for claiming (correctly) that referee Clos Gomez and his henchman assistant made up his actions when they sent him off during the Almeria match. If found guilty of these ambiguous infractions (“marked and public acts which threaten sporting dignity and decorum” — see this story for a couple of details), Pep faces a month out. All for telling the truth like his mommy no doubt always told him to do. So much for a Villarato, eh? Because of this, I think we need a rallying cry and I hereby official decree suggest that we take up the rallying cry of SPOOOOON. That should invigorate the troops and put fear into the hearts of our enemies. Such as RFEF’s absurd notions of “sporting dignity and decorum.” What the hell does that even mean?

So then, we have much to scream SPOOON about. Osasuna is our next opponent and they were one of the teams with the audacity–yes, the audacity, those curmudgeons–to draw with us 1-1 when we visited them way back on Halloween. Kevin’s reaction had something to do with smooching your sororital sibling, but all I know about it is that Pique put one into the back of our net and that sucked. Then, we were just days away from facing off with Rubin Kazan in the CL group stage (we drew 0-0) and now, we’ve got a trip to high-flying Mallorca in between ourselves and a trip to London to face Arsenal in the quarterfinals of the CL. Will we see a repeat of the points left behind or will we be able to put them in their supposed place.

I think that we’ll take all three points because, well, The Tick is always the winner in the end, right? The first one was one of those episodes where there’s a “to be continued…” at the end that totally pisses you off cause now you’re wondering what’s going to happen even though you know in the end the hero will put 3 goals past the mid-table kiddies. Still, it’s annoying cause maybe they’ll kill off one of the hero’s buddies to end the season. And that’s not cool.

Stats comparison:

Barcelona: 21W-5D-1L (68GF, 18GA)
Osasuna: 8W-7D-12L (25GF, 30GA)

Barcelona: 12W-1D-0L (37GF, 8GA)
Osasuna: 4W-2D-8L (13GF, 18GA)

They’re not so good away from home, it would appear, which is beneficial to us. What’s not beneficial to us is our lack of a Xavi and an Abidal. But that, of course, is remedied by Iniesta, Busi, and The Yaya going buck wild in the midfield. If I don’t know whether or not Pep will start that lineup or whether he’ll go with Keita again, but whoever he selects, I think we’ll see a pretty serious amount of domination. See, we’re going through this moment where Messi is playing out of his mind and I’m pretty sure the rest of the team is about to join him. Maybe not for this particular game, but in general, we’re working towards “vintage” Barcelona–and by “vintage” I obviously mean those moments last year when we were so dominate it looked like there was just one team on the field. Older fans will scoff at that being vintage, but hey, I drink 2009 wine and think it’s classy. What do I know?

Osasuna has also not won since February 7, when they hosted Tenerife and they haven’t won away since they visited Xerez and came out 1-2 winners. They’re not really any good, but they’re also not that bad. The thing that would worry me is that they’ve got Walter Pandiani, El Rifle. He’s their leading scorer with 7, followed by 3 players with 3 apiece, and he’s a brute force that has to be met head on or, well, he’ll add to that 7. He also appears to enjoy scoring against us. Which, I suppose, is a good thing for a striker, but a bad thing for us. So he’d be their danger man, except he’s not in the squad list, so that dubious honor falls to, uh, –fishes name out of hat– Nacho Monreal! Yeah, yeah, Nacho Monreal.

Their squad list is: Ricardo, Roberto, Azpilicueta, Echaide, Oier, Miguel Flaño, Josetxo, Roversio, Monreal, Nekounam, Rúper, Puñal, Vadócz, Juanfran, Masoud, Camuñas, Calleja, Esparza, Galán. That’s a lot of names I can’t really pronounce (Vadócz? Roberto?) and not a ton of talent, but certainly enough hard-nosed tackling to cause problems if they’re having a “good” day. Our lineup isn’t out yet, but here’s my predicted lineup:

Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Milito, Maxwell, Busi, Yaya, Iniesta, Henry, Ibra, Messi.

Give it all you’ve got and you’ll get something in return, I suppose. And if that’s our lineup, we’re going to kill some fools.

Official prediction: 3-0. Goals by Henry, Messi, and Ibra. SPOOOOOOOON.

TV: In the US, the match will be on ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.
Time: 8pm local/Barcelona time, 3pm EST/New York time, check your local time here.
Weather: Should be clear, very slight chance of rain (20% at 4pm), 57F (~14C). Perfect weather for a SPOOOOOOON.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Jnice
    March 23, 2010

    LOL, funny preview.

    Let’s hope Ibra scores tomorrow.

    I’m almost 100% certain we will see Messi rested tomorrow. Mallorca away will be a tough game on the weekend, so we will need him for that one more than Osasuna at home. That’s why we need Ibra to score.

    I think we might see a Busi, Yaya/Keita, Iniesta midfield with Titi, Ibra, and Pedro/Bojan up top.

    Or I could see Pep playing Iniesta up front with the same mid as last game. He’s a tricky one.

  2. fc
    March 23, 2010

    Messi with another hattrick. I feel like Nostradamus or something 😀

  3. vicsoc8
    March 23, 2010

    Very difficult game to predict the starting lineup… and that’s coming from someone who almost always predicts them wrong.

    My preferred lineup:

    Alves Puyol Txigrinski Maxwell
    Yaya Busquets Iniesta
    Bojan Ibra Henry

    It looks weird, but it should be able to walk away with a close win.

    • fc
      March 23, 2010

      I think defenders will tremble just watching messi anywhere near the field. I say keep him stretching/jogging close to Osasuna’s defensive line. That will do the trick 🙂

  4. Lev
    March 24, 2010

    wont be able to see the match since i couldnt get anyone to change shifts with me 🙁
    oye pulga callate tu tienes que descansar ya!

    • Jnice
      March 24, 2010

      “oye pulga callate tu tienes que descansar ya!”

      LOL, I know right? 😀 Rest once in awhile, please!

    • Colby
      March 24, 2010

      The game will be on ESPN360 if you want to watch it afterwards.

  5. Jnice
    March 24, 2010

    I really don’t think he will. It doesn’t really make sense, either. I mean play him for the 12 straight league game (I think) against Osasuna, a team that has been poor for awhile now, and then play him against a dangerous Mallorca team away and again at the Emirates? That’s just asking for a breakdown.

    I think a front 3 that includes Henry and Ibra can score goals against Osasuna. Keep Messi on the bench as a sub and if things aren’t looking good, let him him don the cape and put him out there to change the game.

  6. jnelson
    March 24, 2010

    I say ride the hot hand and play Messi. After all, injuries are inconvenient and even if he was benched for the next 3, yea even 3 games, he would probably be injured in the first 5 minutes of the 4th, like Colt McCoy against Alabama. Injuries are never predictable. Play him.

  7. jordi™
    March 24, 2010

    Even if he Messi doesnt get injured, he still needs to rest.He was completely running on empty by the time the cl semi finals came around last year and it would be nice to avoid that this year.

    • cliveee
      March 24, 2010

      Now that we’d all heard how Pep would ask Messi questions such as “do you wanna play and how many minutes?” we can rest assured that Messi will not be overused. I only hope Messi himself won’t force it himself.

      • Jnice
        March 24, 2010

        But we also heard Pep say he always wants to play, so I really don’t think he would say no even if he’s tired.

  8. cliveee
    March 24, 2010

    Osasuna is always tricky to play not only because they are tough to beat, but they are also capable of pulling an upset.

    If we are able to trash them, then I think we are really going on the right path to play (back) to our best. Particularly when now Messi is hot like fire, I am confident that he will be able to make other players better by having that form. I can only hope the omen is not an illusion.

    Ibra will certainly start tomorrow as Pep wants him to continue doing good things on the field, but I am not sure about Henry because Pedro is in such an incredible form, too. If Henry doesn’t start, he will probably come on as a sub though. Let’s continue to have Yaya and Busi in midfield as we rest Xavi. I am loving every bit of this business. Yaya is finally playing in his best fit position while Busi is playing better and better.

    Let’s go!

    • Zlatanator
      March 24, 2010

      Henry actually tracks back and plays defense though and he has really played well as a provider and adding movement to our front line recently.

  9. barca96
    March 24, 2010

    haha the tick!
    i wished they made a movie out of it!
    but the tick wasn’t popular at all but i liked it!

    messi should be rested.
    jeffren and bojan as super subs

    now try yaya at dm and busi at cm with iniesta
    keita sub.

  10. Helge
    March 24, 2010

    Damn… they could really ban Pep for A WHOLE MONTH ?!?!?
    I’m getting so berserk about this stupid RFEF, they cannot be for real. If they go through with their warning, I’ll visit them and show ’em what I think about it. This is absolutely inacceptable!

    As for today, I’ve read that Messi might be rested. I would actually love to see him on the bench, being substituted IF needed. Given the upcoming matches at Mallorca and Arsenal, he’d better be completely fit then. And I don’t trust the Osasuna players with respect to fair play…

    And did you read the comment from Mallorca’s coach: “The only way to stop Messi is with a shot gun”.
    It hopefully was supposed to be a joke, nonetheless if a Majorcan injures him, I’ll also have to visit Mallorca, before continuing my travel of vengeance to the RFEF.

    • Bojan
      March 24, 2010

      hahahaha i am coming with you my friend! 🙂

  11. Bojan
    March 24, 2010

    Well Osasuna will be easy win i agree that messi should be rested but he is always crucial to barca’s game but i leave it to pep because i have a faith in him. well mine formation will be something like

    busquets-yaya-iniesta(keita but i doubt)

    i know its in a way the standard form. but pep can’t allow to slip at the osasuna game they must fight for those stupid 2 goals real advantage that they have. I get so furious about those stupid 2 goals that its almost unfair. Real are total waste of good money. Visca La Barca! by the way does anyone have any information about xavi’s return i can’t wait for him to show up. and what’s with puyol is he getting rested or he is injured but not healed good?

  12. Helge
    March 24, 2010

    I only got 8/10 in the Messi quiz. Question 6 (wtf! How could I fail there…) and 10 were too much for me, shame on me ^^
    I know this has already been posted in the previous article, but maybe some of you missed it, so here it is again:
    Have fun!

  13. Eklavya
    March 24, 2010

    Wow … Sevilla just sacked their coach!

  14. Hector
    March 24, 2010


    I’m definitely not gonna be able to catch this one but even though Osasuna are always a hell of a hard nut to crack at home, they are not as tough on the road. However, for as little goals as they score, Camacho teams rarely get “goleados”. If a goleada ensues, it’s a good sign for us because Camacho’s guys always play tough.

    Mallorca scares me. Their at home form has been nothing short of miraculous. Seriously. If not for one game then they would be undefeated at home. It’s a frickin enchanted island or something this season under Manzano. That guy has done miracles with the resources he has at hand.

    Getafe has their best defender (Cata Diaz) and striker (Soldado) out against RM. The song remains the same on that front. Hopefully just like RM broke the Depor curse, Atleti can break their own curse on the weekend.

    • Eklavya
      March 24, 2010

      Hopfeully Albin and Pedro Leon do something. Albin is always dangerous against us…

    • Jnice
      March 24, 2010

      Michel might make Getafe put it in their own net.

    • barca96
      March 24, 2010

      damn. even he knows how to time his run!

  15. yogi
    March 24, 2010

    I scored 10/10 in Messi quiz. Guess i watch too much Barca:).

    Sad about Sevilla, they have gone off the boil quite spectacularly.

    On one hand, i want Messi to rest tonight but on other, i do not want to make a big deal out of it. He is 22 and physically can cope with demands. Making him rest will not necessarily be a positive move. Let him decide what his body says.

    • March 24, 2010

      I got a 7/10. Guess I don’t know much about Barça…

      Sevilla got a case of the yips and fired their coach. Fools. We’ll see who replaces him and if he can galvanize a team that’s missing its star striker…or if they’ll continue to be in FIFTH. FIFTH, people. Firing your coach because he’s in FIFTH is stupid.

      About Messi: He should play if he’s feeling good. If he’s feeling tired, he shouldn’t play.

      • March 24, 2010

        I gotta 6…guess I really on this site for too much of my Barca knowledge.

        Hilarious preview. If our lads can shake off the mid-week blahs like you just did we’ll be good.

        (63)Messi (87)Messi
        (62) Monreal (thanks for your hat Isaiah)

  16. Hector
    March 24, 2010

    Supposedly Aragonés is in line for the Sevilla job. NOO!!!!! He and Atletico Madrid are MADE for each other!

    When oh when will a Sevilla, Valencia, Bilbao, or Depor give Manzano (Mallorca) a chance!?!? The guy has performed miracles year after year with no budget, losing his best players every year (sold), a shitty stadium, and horrible attendances. I WANT to see Sevilla improve. La Liga’s quality below the Big 2 needs a serious boost.

  17. stephen
    March 24, 2010

    I have to say Messi will play first half. I dont know that Osasuna will just go down without a fight, most teams seem to want to fight us, instead they will backup in their own field, and counterattack, like everyone else.
    Ibrah scores! I think we need a trident, and Pedro! will be there instead of Henry.

  18. cliveee
    March 24, 2010

    We will definitely see Keita today because Pep will wanna give him the minutes he needs to get back to the match playing mode. I expect Yaya to be on the bench again. But I am hoping to see another hell of a Busi-Yaya-Keita midfield.

  19. March 24, 2010

    Hey Alex et al,
    You doing iPhone Justin TV today?
    Here are some jtv sites showing the game…and alot probably have viewmylastbroadcast or saved archives should you miss game.
    Just add http://www.justin.tv\


    …got them from rojadirecta, they are all spanish stremams…closer to gametime probably more will appear including an english one or two.

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