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.
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.