My Final Thoughts On Wednesday

Perhaps many of the regular readers here were surprised by my reaction to the outcome of Wednesday’s match. I still stand by my assertions that Fabregas dove, especially after having seen replays, though I’m tempering it somewhat as you’ll see. I have had time to think about it and I’ve found that I can’t assert that he is a constant diver simply because I haven’t watch him enough to know that sort of thing. For instance, I have watched Busi and Dani Alves quite a few times and I think that I can say that they’re both constant exaggerators and sometimes out-and-out divers. And I try to harangue them for it. Perhaps I should do it more aggressively and more pointedly–I will try to do so from here on out.

Kevin, usually the smarter of the two of us anyway, brings up the more important points than whether or not Cesc dove in his well-thought-out review, which is well worth your time if you haven’t already read it. I hope no one took my reaction as thinking that Cesc was the reason that we drew what should have been a clear victory–though I suppose there’s little chance of that. I was angry, indeed, and I’m still angry, but I think my anger is tempered now by the passage of time and a nice amount of sleep. And pudding.

First, before I discuss any of the actual match, I apologize–I’m sorry–if I offended anyone with my language and aggression in last night’s post. It was ill-thought out and needless. It won’t happen again. Obviously the post stays up so that I can look at it from time-to-time so as to remind myself and others what I shouldn’t do.

Okay then.

I like Arsenal. I enjoy watching Arsenal. The Arsenal fans I watched the game with last night were a nice crowd with only one or two comments thrown our way and I think they were said jokingly. We, of course, joked back, and I hope people recognized that, besides my “diver” yell during the penalty debacle, it was all in jest. I’ll probably go back to Woodwork to watch the second leg, which should be another doozy. I just hope that this time it has football deciding the outcome and not a bad call, a dive, and a bad card.

Before you freak out about whether or not Cesc dove, I think it’s important to note that we’re talking about two incidents. I haven’t heard anyone say he didn’t dive to earn Pique (his best friend, they say) a yellow card that got him banned from the next match. (What’s more, he actually rugby tackled Pique and got away without a second yellow, but that’s not exactly his fault). It’s also important to discuss what a dive is. To me, a dive is intentionally conning the ref by making an act look like a foul when it wasn’t. That’s a fairly vague definition, I know, especially coming on the heels of me finding a difference between exaggeration and diving in the first paragraph. What I mean by exaggeration is making a tackle look worse than it was, such as when Dani Alves flops on the ground like a fish out of water screaming and clutching his foot after it was merely grazed. That’s exaggeration because there was actual contact.

I have now been able to rewatch both of the plays that I originally called dives (Pique’s yellow card at 70:58 and the red card against Puyol in the 85th) and here’s what I think of them: Cesc certainly exaggerated in both and blurred the line between dive and exaggeration in both. I can’t seem to find YouTube footage of Pique’s yellow card (please provide it in the comments if you have it), but here’s what happened: Nasri, Diaby, and Cesc play a triangle move around Busi, with Diaby threading the ball to Cesc who one-touches it to Nasri, who one-touches it back towards Cesc on a diagonal. The ball is overhit, however, and Pique, who is bodied up against Cesc, puts his arm out to stop Cesc, who goes down like a ton of bricks. The ball was nowhere near him and he could see that. He even begins to turn towards the ref before he hits the ground, with the ball already gone (straight to Alves who was quite a ways from Cesc’s path). Massimo Busacca: conned. I think that was a dive because he can see the ball is gone and he has no chance at it, so he goes down. You may consider it merely an exaggeration and part of what players do to show the ref that they were impeded–and Cesc was impeded (slightly), but the ball was gone and Cesc knew it–but I stand by it being a dive. I’m okay with it not being called a dive and being called an exaggeration, but isn’t that bad too?

On to the next one, where there is footage.

There are several ways to think of this, of course, and I know that I’m a Barcelona fan and I know that I’ve voiced my opinion of it. Brooks Peck of Dirty Tackle has voiced his. But let’s go over it quickly: Bendtner provides a nice ball over the top towards Cesc, Puyol beats him to the ball, and Cesc kicks into Puyol and then falls down with his arms raised and, most crucially, already turning to look at the ref. His arms fly up and he exaggerates the fall. There was obviously contact, but it was contact initiated by Cesc, not Puyol. Some are arguing that Cesc was winding up and they’re right, but it doesn’t matter whatsoever because he doesn’t have the right to shooting space when Puyol is already there. He didn’t wind up and get kicked by Puyol, but rather, Puyol was kicked, resulting in Cesc falling down. That he raises his arms and exaggerates the fall is, I think, the blurry line where exaggeration and dive converge. I now say that he exaggerated. I think that works better with the facts. One dive, one exaggeration. It’s Massimo Busacca that bottled it, so to speak. He gave in to the roar of the crowd, even though he had a perfectly good view of what happened. Once he called the foul, the red card was just applying the letter of the law, which is fine, if obviously harsh, but it was the foul that was so an absurdity and that led directly to a wrong card being issued (and that’s why it won’t be overturned).

So yeah, long story short: I take back what I said about that being a dive. Oops. My bad. But I can still see it the way I saw it earlier as well, which is that he intentionally conned the ref, which is one way of saying “dive”. So you could see it that way, but I now choose not to at this point. And anyway, we should have beaten them like 8-0, but we blew it and that’s our fault. Dammit.

I hope that Cesc didn’t break his leg–that would be terrible. I hope that he recovers and helps Arsenal win the EPL title. I really do. [update: apparently he cracked his fibula and is out for 6 weeks] I also hope that in his absence we crush Arsenal 5-0 at the Camp Nou next week. I hope we show the world what 90 minutes of brilliant football is like instead of just 68. I can hope that Puyol and Pique’s cards will be overturned, but I know that neither of them will be; I also hope that, if his card stands, Puyol gets a one-match ban instead of a 2-match ban like Didier Drogba got for his stomp on Thiago Motta. Puyol will come back with a yellow card to his name, I believe, so he’s still a suspension risk if we make it to the semis, but better that he gets a yellow in the semi first leg and misses the second leg than missing the final, right?

And one final note: I still don’t ever want Cesc. Maybe I’ll change my tune in a few years, but for now, rest assured that I’m against his arrival. 1) He costs too much, 2) he’s not that good (Xaviniesta’s better, I think JDS will be as good), especially for the price and 3) he’s a divin’, cheatin’, wankin’, hooooooor. Ha.

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


  1. dilly
    April 1, 2010

    Will u just shut up, how they heck that’s a dive, Cesc’s leg was caught inbetween Caveman’s legs.

    • Ethan
      April 1, 2010

      Puyol had postion, cesc shot his leg into puyol and dove. that is what happened. ive watched every angle 50 times, that is the raw fact of the situation. unfortunately its futbol and that shit happens, players act like little bitches to get calls they know they dont deserve(even our players), and the game changes. thats reality. but whats also reality, is arsenal are a bunch of kids(as everyone clearly saw yesterday) playing a bunch of men, who are far better in every aspect of the game. we blew it and what is certain, we wont blow it again, at home, in front of our fans, we will blow arsenal off the pitch and all will see our inevitable take down of opponents on our way to the bernabeu. visca barca.

      • miz
        April 1, 2010

        to be fair, fifa should overturn the red card for puyol. otherwise, punish clichy as well. he did the same to messi but gone without card. he’s also one card away from match banned…..:) which one you want?:P

      • Mikel
        April 2, 2010

        If I were Guardiola, I would have subbed Henry in the last 5 minutes. I respected more the performance of Cesc than that of Henry in this match.
        I don’t know if Arshavin will play at Camp Nou, but it would be huge if he didn’t. I mean Cesc and Arshavin are probably the two best Arsenal players.

        I think that our chances of progressing are at about 95%

    • Robert
      April 2, 2010

      What do you mean by the word “dove” please? A dove is usually understood in the English language to be a white bird. Do you mean “dived”?

  2. Tyler
    April 1, 2010

    I just hope Cesc is ready in time for World Cup. As much as that whole fiasco bothers me right now, there is no denying he is a quality player that Spain will need when it comes time for el Mundial.

  3. Kxevin
    April 1, 2010

    Stats from UEFA:

    Xavi: 112 passes attempted, 95 completed.
    Fabregas: 39 attempted, 31 completed.


    533 to 265

    Wow. How in the hell did we screw that one up? I know we got tired and they fought like dogs battling for their lives, but still …. man!

    • Alexinho
      April 2, 2010

      That’s one ‘elluva statistic…

  4. Kxevin
    April 1, 2010

    Oh, and Adriano has a torn meniscus, so he’s out for the season. That’s gotta help his chances at sticking in the side next year, right?

    • vicsoc8
      April 1, 2010

      Horrible. I think Henrique is exactly the addition we need for our defense. A solid athlete who has the ability to play anywhere across the back line. Would make a fantastic addition to the substitutions bench, and a good backup as well.

  5. April 1, 2010

    cesc never even saw puyol prior to swinging for the ball. He went for the strike, but learned that Puyol had position, and kicked him.

    It wan’st an intentional blow, but it’s the same thing that happens when someone is running with their head turned, and bumps into another player.

    Puyol was chasing a 50-50 ball, but Cesc was winding up for a kick.

    Cesc kicked Puyol and initiated contact. It looked like a penalty in real time so I can’t blame the ref, but to claim that it was a fair and just call is evidence of one’s inability to be objective after the fact.

    • April 2, 2010

      In my opinion, this is the most accurate, concise summary of the events. Was it the correct call, no. Will it be called 90% of the time, yes. Unfortunate, yes.

      That’s football folks. See everyone next Tuesday.

  6. Helge
    April 1, 2010

    I wouldn’t say the contact was initiated by Cesc. It’s clear that, as a striker, you try to hit the ball in such a situation and it was a NATURAL movement from Cesc when he got caught in Puyol’s legs – or Puyol got kicked by Cesc, you can see it from both perspectives. The same goes for Puyol, his movement is also natural and with no intention to foul. There wasn’t an intention to foul on Puyol’s side or to get a penalty on Fabregas’ side. Cesc then falls over (which is not on purpose, but a consequence of his leg crashing with puyol knee) and thus misses a golden opportunity to score. The ref sees it and calls a penalty. Consequently, he had to give a red card.
    And nobody can blame Cesc for raising his arms and exaggerating the fall, because everybody would do so. Just as nearly everybody would have played the ball with his hand in Henry’s situation.
    For me, the important thing is, there was contact, Fabregas shot was prevented by it. And Fabregas didn’t fall down on purpose, because the medicals say that the cause of his broken leg was actually this incident with Puyol.
    As I’ve said in the beginning, both players make a natural movement without any malicious intention, so I wouldn’t call this a definite foul but simply a damn unlucky situation for us which was blown against us… but it was a comprehensible decision from Massimo Busacca.

    And if we are nearly as strong as yesterday’s first 20 min suggested, we don’t have to worry about this pk decision at all. Because on another day, Almunia won’t make 6 astonishing saves, our players won’t allow him to make these saves and we could then even afford to play the last 20 min on a lower level.

    And last but not least, credits to both teams for such an entertaining match, credits to Arsenal for not giving up despite being dominated and missing players like Arshavin, Gallas, RvP and many more and credits to Barca for providing us with the possibly best 20 min of football this world has ever seen!

  7. April 1, 2010

    Also. Kxevin, can we please discuss something.

    I seem to agree with you on most things Barca, but I simply can no longer support Thierry Henry after his showing yesterday.

    I know he didn’t have a lot of time to show his stuff, but the effort he did put forward more resembled that of a pouting school boy than a world class striker. He seemed to muffle and mope about after he was brought on, and while I admit my frustration may not be fully justified by putting it on Henry (I was more pissed Ibra was taken out) I can’t help but have a horrible taste in my mouth after watching his inexcusable showing.

    He trotted when he should’ve sprinted. He’s a super sub for goodness sake. Pep wasn’t putting him out there to get some hugs and kisses from the Emirates. He put him out there to do some damage.

    I guess the cherry on top of it all are his recent remarks about the return leg. If I didn’t know who was saying them, I’d think it was Arsene Wenger himself. Henry’s love for his past club is apparent, and overwhelming, and while I respect him, I can’t support it.

    I agreed with you that Henry was too professional and classy to let his history get the best of his current situation, but I fear that we were both proven wrong.

    I say don’t play him at the Camp Nou, and I don’t think time will simmer down my frustration this time.

    • Kxevin
      April 1, 2010

      Good question, JMo. He was awful, as his match rating shows. I don’t know if it was the moment, or the fact that he’s old and has a hard time coming on a sub. But except for that initial attacking run, he was unalloyed crap.

      But he’s been pretty crappy all season, right? I think we all agree that this is his last season in the colors, and yesterday’s display might just have solidified his position on the bench for the duration of the season. It must be said that we would be a weaker side for it, but there you have it.

      Recall how awful Eto’o was against Mallorca at their house last season, and everyone still supported him. Henry doesn’t have the Barca tenure that Eto’o does, but he is still a member of this club, and I will support him and treat him as such until he leaves.

      Yes, he threw out some serious verbal bon-bons to Arsenal. Only natural. That club nurtured him and made him a star. But I don’t think it affected his performance. I think he was just shit.

    • Jim
      April 1, 2010

      Sadly I have to agree with you. Don’t know if he over complicated the game by talking about his affection for Arsenal but his head wasn’t in the right place and I’m guessing he’s now had it in Pep’s mind.

  8. Kxevin
    April 1, 2010

    I think something else we’re forgetting is that we have two away goals. Arsenal will have to beat us at home, or tie then win in extra time or penalties to advance. I admit that I’m biased in my worldview here, but does anyone think that is likely to happen? Without Gallas, Fabregas and Arshavin?

    Yes, crazy things have happened in this beautiful game of ours, so let’s not rule it out. But it would boggle my mind if it happened, mostly because we play even better at home, and Messi will be raring to go (he’d better be). Ibrahimovic appears to be with us again, and I doubt that Guardiola would make the same errors that he made yesterday.

    My only worry is what will be a difficult match vs Bilbao on Saturday, and with EE playing Racing, they’re guaranteed 3 points, so we will have to pull out the stops to keep pace.

    • April 1, 2010

      Oh, but Sergio Canales will totally score like 8 goals against RM, right? I mean, he’ll be working soooo hard out there…

      • cliveee
        April 2, 2010

        Sergio will look at Perez in the stands and say hi and forget to play the ball.

    • April 1, 2010

      O yea, I definitely have been comforted by the fact we still have 2 HUGE AWAY GOALS.

      If I didn’t watch the match, I’d be ecstatic with a 2-2 draw at the Emirates, but it’s the curse of watching us play so brilliantly that has so many of us vexed.

      Once the initial heat and temperament releases, we’ll settle back down knowing that we play exponentially better at home, and that’s something I can sleep to all night.

  9. inNYC
    April 1, 2010

    I love that Arsenal didn’t give up and I’m not too exercised about the penalty (the red card is another story), but it’s never a good feeling to watch your team give up a 2-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining. I even watched parts of the match again last night and I’m still not sure exactly what the solution is (though i think as a bunch of people have pointed out, having Abidal will be a big help, and if Dani has a better defensive game…he got turned a lot and didn’t seem to be too focused when defending crosses etc). Busi’s positioning/control gets worse when he’s fatigued and i think that was the case at the end of the game yesterday.

  10. inNYC
    April 1, 2010

    Also not to drag this out, but I agree that the incident earning Pique his yellow was a dive, but I’m just not that pissed off about it for some reason. It’s annoying, sure, but I guess I’m sort of fatalistic about those things–lots of players have their less than gracious moments on the field. I actually respect Cesc’s desperate efforts to keep his team in it. Maybe I”m crazy.

  11. Cesc Blanc
    April 1, 2010

    Honestly? I prefer what Cesc did to what Henry did. Best friend, emotional, etc. all good and stuff, but he is paid by Arsenal, he is the club’s captain, he has to do everything possible to make sure Arsenal win or get a draw or whatever. So, he actually went up 2 levels in my estimation for him. If he did that for Madrid, then that’s another case, but I don’t think that he will ever go to Madrid and I would welcome him even more at Barca. Further, he proved where his loyalties are, and that’s huge.
    On the other hand, when Henry came in, he quite didn’t know whom he is playing for. I mean, dude, you are the biggest Arsenal ever had, we got that, but let’s just take an example from Henrik Larsson when he came on for Barca against Celtic back in the days and took it in cold blood, didn’t celebrate and it was over. For him going back to Celtic Park was just as big as for Henry going back to Arsenal.

    • Hilal
      April 1, 2010

      Agreed. Henrik was class though, a true professional in every sense.

      I have always had tons of respect for Henry, but a lot of it went out the window last night. Its one thing to not celebrate or voice your affection for your former club but its another to let it effect you on the field. I dont care how long he played for Arsenal or how much he loves their fans. Barca pay his salary and he wears the Barca shirt. I felt a little disgusted to be honest. I dont buy for a second that Henry just had a crap game. It looked far more sinister than that to me. At times he would receive the ball and just time waste – as if we were 3-0 up protecting a lead and he neednt bother. I was literally shocked. At one point he broke into the box, beat a defender and then i think he realised “oh wait, this is arsenal” and then just faffed at the attempted cross. I have seen him play bad plenty this season, but last night was different; He always tried, even if he wasnt quite up to it. Last night he didnt try..

  12. JC
    April 1, 2010

    If Henry needs a replacement it has to be Di Maria, he’s playing right now against Liverpool.

    • Hilal
      April 1, 2010

      I’ve always liked Di Maria. Hope we get him. He is fast, skillfull, has good workrate and his crossing is quite fantastic.

      I know a lot of ppl might argue we have a very similar player in Pedro, but I think Di Maria is far more explosive and dangerous.

    • lovelymofo
      April 1, 2010

      Dammit, I didn’t get to watch the first half. I heard there was some pretty weak bitch slapping?

      • April 1, 2010

        Head over to rojadirecta or something. Like ants on a honey jar. Not to be missed.

        • stowe
          April 2, 2010

          more like bees since they’re wearing the yellow kits

  13. BL
    April 1, 2010

    from the fiver written by barry glendenning, of the football weekly guardian podcast:


    The home of Arsenal was designed to be more than a football stadium so, ahead of last night’s Big Cup quarter-final, the owners showcased its suitability to host all manner of entertainment. As part of a highly unique event a circus troupe of giants amused spectators by playing piggy in the middle with a bunch of bewildered Pygmies, producing a display so captivatingly comical that it was allowed to over-run by 69 minutes, leaving only 21 minutes for the scheduled contest between Arsenal and Barcelona.

    After consultation with Uefa, the two teams agreed that it made sense for the visitors to begin the condensed match two goals up on the grounds that Arsenal had Alex Song in defence and Manuel Almunia between the sticks. Arsenal got off to the perfect start, as another of the night’s novelty guests, well-known sprinter Theo Walcott, made it 2-1 with a pass that Victor Valdes allowed to trickle into the net. Arsenal continued to perform well after that, with their yellow card haul proving that they got close enough to Barça to make contact on no fewer than five occasions.

    The perfect comeback was capped by Cesc Fábregas, whose participation in the game had been in doubt right up until four minutes from the end as the player who walked out on Barça as a youngster battled a painful case of introspection. After entangling his foot between Carles Puyol’s legs, Fábregas suffered even more agonising knack but ignored it for long enough to convert the penalty. “I took the penalty quite strong and after that I went to get the ball and I couldn’t walk any more,” explained Fábregas, who is now out for the rest of the season with fibula-snap, meaning he, like Andrey Arshavin – who is set to be sidelined for the next three weeks – will miss Arsenal’s sightseeing trip to the Camp Nou next week.”

    haha, awesome

  14. vicsoc8
    April 1, 2010

    We will not start the second leg the way we started the first leg. With two away goals we will be able to impose a slower tempo on the game, and I can only see us dominating the entire match again.

    • Kari
      April 1, 2010

      “We will not start the second leg the way we started the first leg.”

      Really? I see us playing exactly the same. The faster this match is over, the faster we can focus on the Clasico…I guess?

      • vicsoc8
        April 1, 2010

        The reason I say this is because we started the first leg so ferociously because we needed to score. Scoring in the away leg is vital. The idea was to score a few early goals before Arsenal could figure out what happened to them, and then focus on maintaining possession.

        I think it will be different in the second leg. With two away goals we are going through, and so the onus is on Arsenal to attack us. By setting a slower tempo we will have more control of the ball and will have time to lure them out and break them down, and it will ensure we don’t have the dropoff we had at the end of the first game.

        At the Emirates we took several tequila shots to get the night started. At the Camp Nou we will settle in to enjoy a slow bottle of wine.

        But of course, this is just my opinion, and there’s a reason I’m posting on this blog and not coaching the best team in the world.

        • Kari
          April 1, 2010

          True, everyone has an opinion on how to approach the second leg.

          Personally, I think drawing it out wouldn’t be a good thing. We’re playing in front of our fans who always want a good show, and knowing the perpetual pessimism of some Cules ( 😀 ), it’s just not a good idea to let Arsenal grow into the game…

          The idea of “scoring a few early goals before Arsenal figure out what happened to them, and then focus on maintaining possession”, can’t we do the same thing in the second? I think it’ll be better that way. A first half blitz circa late 2008, early 2009, and maintain focus and possession in the second….

          Or maybe not. I personally want a demolition after yesterday, so I might be biased. 🙂

    • Alexinho
      April 2, 2010

      I only see Barca winning the home leg. Arsenal’s only prayer is that they can take advantage of Marquez, but I just don’t see it. Whatever the tempo, Barca puts two or three nails in the coffin of poor Arsenal’s season.

  15. LZ
    April 1, 2010

    I don’t think Cesc dove. But I don’t think Puyol fouled intentionally either because obviously he held up his hands and tried to halt himself before he bumped into Cesc. If he did bumped into Cesc, it would have been a penalty no doubt. But the fact is that Cesc mistakenly stuck his leg into Puyol’s when he was aiming the goal. I don’t think anybody could still stand when this happens. He just fell onto the ground because he couldn’t keep his balance. The fact that he broke his leg suggests he didn’t dive or exaggerate intentionally because no one would want to get such a costly penalty in this way. After it happened, the judgment was left to the referee and he decided a penalty. Strictly speaking, Puyol did prevent Cesc’s shooting by trapping Cesc’s leg in between his own although he didn’t mean to. And he is the last defender in front of the goal. If referee thinks this is what happens, then a penalty and a red card are unavoidable. This is my opinion. Anyway, it has been the past. Let’s just forget about it and focus on next matches.

    • April 1, 2010

      I love TextP. I’m happy to contribute to Google–I mean Topeka–by saving them money. Sure, the quality isn’t as great, but that’s not what’s important here!

  16. jnelson
    April 1, 2010

    NONSENSE! Why are you apologizing? I fully support Isaiah’s previous post, and after seeing the video there is NO WAY that is a penalty. Call it a dive if u want, but for certain, Cesc kicked Puyol!!!!! Puyol has every right to space as Cesc, and CESC KICKED Puyol, thus initiating contact. Puyol did nothing but go to the ball, WITHOUT CONTACT. I bet Cesc would not have even touched the ball with his kick if Puyol was not there. Nope, it looked like that was some absurd “effort” or DIVE! Now I’m pissed. What about when Messi was SHOVED to the friggin ground in the penalty box earlier? That was so blatant. Really. Come on, people.

  17. Museum
    April 1, 2010

    I don’t think there’s any way that was a penalty, but who cares? Am I the only one that wasn’t bothered much at all by their two goals? When he was about to shoot the penalty, I just felt like “whatever, give it to him.” 2-0 would be better, but if you’re going to give me an even score and two away goals, headed back to Camp Nou? We’re not going to get knocked out in that situation. Maybe I’m overconfident, but I just don’t see us losing that.

  18. Helge
    April 1, 2010

    Wow, just watching Benfica-Liverpool highlights, the 2nd penalty should at least have been a yellow, if not red, for Insua (guess not being the last man saved him there). And he already had a yellow to his name… I wish Benfica would have finished Liverpool off 🙂

    • Helge
      April 1, 2010

      Oh, and Di Maria had another hell of a match!

    • cliveee
      April 1, 2010

      its really time for Di Maria to earn some real money in an even bigger club.

      • jordi™
        April 1, 2010

        Many of them also think its just a small matter of out possessing us at home.Simples.Because it didnt happen at home, so it will happen away right?

      • jordi™
        April 1, 2010

        “The tenacity and determination showed by FF4 might just get the Spanish press talking about “The Heir To Xavi,” but who cares?”

        Why do they think anyone else but them rates Cesc so high?

      • lovelymofo
        April 1, 2010

        Not surprised, considering the source. Good for them for believing in their team, but I don’t see how they’ll get past us at home.

  19. Colby
    April 1, 2010

    Anyone who says that Fabregas got hurt by Puyol right before the penalty is dead wrong. It is obvious that The Yaya deemed that it was a necessary and just punishment for his offense (diving, or whatever you like to call it) and broke his leg using only his thoughts (he would have killed him if he used his eyes).

    And anyone who questions whether Pep was wrong to not put on Yaya as a sub is also dead wrong. The Yaya, in all of his omniscient glory, knew before the game that Cesc would dive twice and it would have been his sworn duty to make a sacrifice of him if he had been let on the field. However,Pep, being like Dr. X (why else do you think he started shaving his head), read The Yaya’s thoughts and had to have him dragged to hell by a hoard of Balrogs so that he would be available for the second leg.

  20. Tajh
    April 1, 2010

    Hey guys do any1 know which channel shows more Barca games in the US..I am currently trying to do over my Cable package and is lost in which Channel offers the best Barca coverage….
    Currently all i have now is GolTV which i notice now tends to show more EE game than Barcas’

    • April 1, 2010

      Yeah as long as you have Gol TV and ESPN/ESPN deportes you should be fine. But given they’re both quite crap at times, your best bet is a really fast and reliable internet connection.

  21. Kxevin
    April 1, 2010

    So what the hell happened with Abidal? He wasn’t even on the bench. I thought that he was passed fit for the match Wednesday. Wonder if he sees time on the weekend? Should probably get some time for Marquez too, who is certain to be deputized in the back line, since Txigrinski is Cup-tied.

    • vicsoc8
      April 1, 2010

      Am I the only one who would prefer a Yaya – Milito pairing? Marquez is just too slow to deal with Arsenal, and Yaya’s physicality would be good for dealing with Bendtner.

      I think Abidal was left out because while he was cleared fit to play, his fitness is probably not quite up to match speed yet. I suspect we’ll see him this weekend, but after a month off he should be eased in.

      Xavi is a different case. He wasn’t out as long, and he’s a human metronome. The way he came back, his injury seemed more of an enforced rest than something to cause fitness issues.

      • Alexinho
        April 2, 2010

        It’s an interesting idea, but I think you are. Mostly because I’m sick and tired of seeing him in his secondary positions. Put him in his primary position and we’ll have more than enough to put Arsenal on lockdown.

      • Jim
        April 2, 2010

        Happy enough to see Abidal back and to see him play this one but its a close call. He hasn’t played for ages and positional sense is more important than pace. Down to Pep to organise the defense so the ball inside the full back isn’t possible.

    • cliveee
      April 2, 2010

      saw it several times, but what does Txigrinski is Cup-tied mean?

      i really think it will be hard for pep to snub marquez because he sucked for a number of games and now all of a sudden the 2nd leg against arsenal needs his service…

      Abidal should play against Bilbao.

      • vicsoc8
        April 2, 2010

        Txigrinski can’t play in the Champions League because he played in a Champions League match (I believe it was a qualification match) with Shakhtar this year before he signed with us. Therefore, he is “cup-tied” and can’t play in the Champions League with any other team this year, meaning us.

  22. Pyro
    April 1, 2010

    No kxevin I rather have our good old yaya back there. he’s waaay faster than Marquez and we can remember that one final against that one red club that we won 2-0 and the yaya was wonderful

  23. Gunner Mafia
    April 2, 2010

    Credit were credit is due great game by Barcelona.

    However a simple caveat and note of warning to Barcelona and its fans.

    Be rest assured that we will not be as Starstruck as we were in the first leg as you will face a completely different animal at the Camp Nou.

    This is Easter weekend and on Tuesday you would see a resurrection of ginormous proportions from the Arssenal.The team that you so toyed with but failed to put to the sword against all odds would come out and repay the favour in kind.

    • jordi™
      April 2, 2010

      So you think they’ll be less starstruck with 98’000 whistling and baying at them than they were in their own stadium?Anything can happen obviously but time will tell how they respond.

      • Gunner Mafia
        April 2, 2010

        They said the same thing when we outplayed Madrid and AC Milan away from home.And similar when we completely thumped Inter at the San Siro 5-0.

        Admittedly Barcelona are on top form right now,but a note of warning be complacent at your own peril ..

        Without spewing talking points we perform best when the odds are not in our favour and you would face a completely different midfield on Tuesday.The Injuries to Fabregas and Arsharvin will infinitely work in our favour as both players,Arsharvin in particular have had poor seasons and have denied Rosicky,Eboue,and more importantly Nasri playing time in their natural positions.

        When Barca are pushed back you are extremely vulnerable,a victim of the tactics you dish out on others so well.
        Walcott showed that on Wednesday.

        I do admit we are in a precarious position but this tie is far from over .We are not going to lie down and fold at the Camp Nou.

        We are not Inter neither are we Stuttgart,we fight till the very end.

        • Vj
          April 2, 2010

          A note of advice/warning/caution/whatever you may call it to you too – What makes you think the Champions, who treat a 2-2 away draw as a loss, who knew that they clearly were the better side for most of the game and yet haven’t come away with anything due to complacency, will be complacent yet again?

          I for one, see the result as a blessing in disguise – It made us angry.. I hope Arsenal have better luck facing FC CATATONIA than most other teams..

        • culehastaelculo
          April 2, 2010

          thanks for the laugh! comic relief appreciated.

        • Alexinho
          April 2, 2010

          You know it’s interesting, my best Arsenal-fan friend has sworn from the announcement of the tie that he worries much more about the Emirates leg than the Camp Nou leg. He also cited the AC Milan/Madrid games. Can’t quite buy it, but it’s kind of cool to hear it from someone else. Unless…Allan is that you?

  24. jaymin
    April 2, 2010

    i was not offended and I am glad you acknowledge you were reactionary and embarrassing to every reader who values this site not as an outlet for emotional “cules” to vent their assorted feelings and passions but for serious people who like to read informed opinion from discerning, informed, intelligent editors and commentators. The internet is full of cesspools where derogatory diminutives (“franny”) and crayola caricatures are employed. I have lurked here for a long time, and while certainly many, many contributors have voiced their opinions in vulgar tones and shades similar to the one you published(they are fans, and that’s how fans are,) yours was the first that carried with it official sanction. you spoke for this site and you did so as a shrill fool. As such, you damaged the reputation of this site in my estimation. I am but one reader, but I respected this blog’s editors much more yesterday than I do today. Your venting was unprofessional and disrespectful to your readers and to your colleagues, who had built a reputation for this blog which your frank childishness significantly diminished. people who liked this place think less of it now because of you. that’s the truth. people can change, and i hope you do. you are among some of the most collegial and knowledgeable fanbases in world sports (barca fans). Learn from them.

    • Vj
      April 2, 2010

      While I appreciate your concern about the quality of the site, let me remind you that this is a site for Cules, and many echo his sentiments about Cesc, mostly not in such eloquence..

      Yes he called Cesc some names (in the heat of the moment if you ask me) and apologized, what more do you what him to do? Declare Cesc as the best there ever is, was and will be?

      If you have lurked this site long enough, you would have known that Isaiah has a penchant for short, witty posts which are straight from the gut as it were.. Check out the posts after the CL pre-quarter draw and the ones @ the Offside just after the CL semi against Chelsea.. He speaks for the site then as well, but I don’t hear those kinds of posts being disrespectful/’damaging the reputation’.. And nobody got more hurt than the Arsenal trolls, who by the way, are the least insightful..

      So, please cut the moral diatribe, keep your posts to insights about the game, or keep lurking, it was much better that way..

      And yeah, Cesc is a diver and I wouldn’t want him near my club..

      • Gunner Mafia
        April 2, 2010

        A case of pot calling kettle black,You call Cesc a cheat ,an accusation as laughable as the one that got Cesc his yellow on Wednesday,but fail to mention the reputation the vast majority of your players have all across Europe.A reputation that earns you reproach and rebuke from all.

        If Cesc was a cheat he would be right at home with the likes of Busquets,Alves,Iniesta and Pedro.

        • Eklavya
          April 2, 2010

          When any of those get a penalty in Europe then you can tell us.

  25. Jim
    April 2, 2010

    Imo Cesc is no more a cheat than most other modern players. I think there are exceptions – Messi for instance- but what he did, even if it were deliberate does not make me think any less of him. He is a world class midfielder with a great attacking mindset but also one who is not afraid to put in the tackles. That,btw, might well be a trait that blights his career injury wise. I don’t want to see Xavi or Iniesta tackling like he does. And there’s the thing. Great as he is, and I would have him at Barca in a minute, he is way behind the two I mentioned and would for the moment be a bit player. He deserves better so imo he’d be right to stay at Arsenal.

    With regard to Isaiah’s post, it wasn’t up to the standard of his normal writing which, as has been said, is both witty, informative and insightful. I was disappointed but didn’t respond at the time because I was certain that Isaiah himself would correct the situation. In that he exceeded my expectations, not only by his open apology but also leaving his mistake on the site .

    “It was ill-thought out and needless. It won’t happen again. Obviously the post stays up so that I can look at it from time-to-time so as to remind myself and others what I shouldn’t do.”

    That to me isn’t the easy way out by deleting it – that’s class !

    • Jim
      April 2, 2010

      Btw, I’m still waiting ( and genuinely hoping) for some of the decent Arsenal fans to comment on the language and bile in some of the posts from England. I’m sure they are not representative of most fans of the club but the responses to the other thread really do remind us of what we have here. Re-reading some of them I’m starting to wonder if we do want to leave that thread up.

  26. Kxevin
    April 2, 2010

    Look, I think that jaymin’s opinion is as valid as anyone else’s. The validity of an opinion doesn’t mean one that toes the party line. And before I go one word farther, glad you decided to stop lurking and “speak” up, jaymin. Welcome, officially.

    Now. Isaiah and I discussed his post via GChat, in its aftermath. It’s something that I wouldn’t have done, but I’m not Isaiah. This is, ultimately, a fan blog. As such, it is subject to the mood swings that any fan goes through, from elation to outrage. And like any fan, sometimes this blog will say things that someone might find vexing. And like any group of fans, we should be able to say “Whoa, dude, that was crazy,” or “I hear ya, thanks for saying it,” and move on.

    But this site is both a place for emotional cules to vent, as well as a place for informed commentary. That we have had so much of the latter (officially) and hardly any of the former is just how life goes.

    My obscenity-laced vituperation, frankly, was reserved for Busquets and our midfield, who let those two goals happen, sure as I’m sitting here pecking away on this keyboard. About the only thing that Fabregas did was to fight like a dog, and do everything possible to make sure that his side was in it with a shot. Hard not to respect that, no matter what side of the aisle you sit. I was, frankly, wishing for a little of that fire from Messi.

  27. Gunner Mafia
    April 2, 2010

    This sanctimonious holier than thou attitude has me in stitches.Good ol Barcelona the beacon of all things fair and good robbed ‘peter’ to get into the Champions league final last year .You are without question direct beneficiaries of the rascality and fraudulent antics of your players on numerous occasions over the last two years.

    You lot are perennial cheats and if anything have infamy as writing the A_Z manual for cheating ,simulation, exaggerated theatrics, and blatant disingenuous and unsportsmanlike behaviour

    See reference for previous instances of pious like behaviour from the very epitomes of all that is good and holy in football:


  28. Kari
    April 2, 2010

    We’re without Dani for the Athletic match, so I’m thinking we’ll see (read: I want to see) Puyol at right back and experiment with Yaya-Milito at CB. If that doesn’t work, sub in Marquez and move Yaya to DM. Maybe so his confidence doesn’t drop too much (not that I care at this point) Marquez could play DM, and him and Yaya could just switch positions, IF it’s not working.

    So, Vicsoc8, you’re not the only one, and is also, uh, “speculating” (yeah, yeah, we’ll go with that. Speculating. ) that Yaya could pair with Milito. No-one wants to see Marquez play.

    Oh, how the big have fallen.

  29. Helge
    April 2, 2010

    by the way, Messi didn’t train yesterday because he felt a slight discomfort. I guess that’s also why Pep substituted him against Arsenal, he’s probably been aware of it and didn’t want to risk too much – en contraire to Wenger.
    Sport says, Messi is fine now and will be available against Bilbao.

  30. Alexis
    April 2, 2010

    These Arsenal fans are identical to their manager: “we did not win because the weather, the pitch, the referee, the antics”… Maybe Paris Hilton broke wind in California just when the match at Emirates started and that unsettled your players…It is a possibility…Listen, the day Arsenal win something important I will take my hat off. Until then, shut up and play. Even Chelsea has managed to get more than you in the last decade…

    • Kari
      April 2, 2010

      Don’t pay much attention to SOME Arsenal fans. They’ve deluded themselves into thinking they actually beat us, when the reality is that the best they could do earned them draw, after comprehensively getting their arse kicked in front of their own fans by a team that is known to play worse away from home.

      If attempting to boost their self-esteem means resorting to insulting the very team they’re trying to play like, then be all means, they can go ahead. 😀

      The other Arsenal fans are brilliant. I hope they can beat Wolves tomorrow and get their title push back on track. They still have a very good shot at winning the EPL!

      • Alexis
        April 2, 2010

        I know Kari. But it annoys me a bit…I have always supported Arsenal. However, the behaviour of some of the fans is so extreme and delusional that I have stopped wishing them the very best.
        I can cope with Chelsea fans crying for their defeat to us in semi-finals. The referee had a few bad decisions (the same can be said to the one who refereed at the Camp Nou during the first leg though).
        I can cope with merengues talking about their glorious past (because they do have one).
        What I cannot bear is the fans of a team that is not even in the “second division of European football” be so cocky! Whenever they win a Champions League, I will welcome them to the club. Until then…

  31. Lev
    April 2, 2010

    i watched the game in a bar. the crowd was 50/50. Englishmen made up most of the Arsenal crowd which meant that each and every decision the ref made we had the endure lots of “the ref’s a wanker!!”, and “he’s a diving cunt!!”.
    I don’t get it. We’re not in a stadium where our raging roar of well-feigned righteousness can effect the ref’s decision making, our players’ emotions, our opponents’ psyche, etc. No, we’re in a bar with a mixed crowd who are there to support their team just like them I’m emotional too when I watch my team play, but it doesn’t make me behave like a degenerate gorilla.
    Neither do I understand that, having equalized on a penalty that clearly wasn’t a penalty at all, you come on here and insult us of being perennial cheaters.

    @arsenal fans
    Hollow barrels make the most noise. At said bar, most arsenal fans graciously told me afterwards that Barcelona was incredible and they were lucky to escape with a draw. If any cules come on your site and insult your team and players, I apologize. Just know they are not representative of all of us.
    For what it’s worth I can only commend Arsenal for not giving up and getting back in the game. They got two goals in the net just like us. 2 plus 2 equals draw, so you deserve it.
    Cesc was incredible. 85 minutes of playing injured, winning the penalty, breaking his leg and then scoring it. The kind of stuff heroes are made of, I hope he stays at Arsenal for many years to come.

    @fellow cules
    Wow. This is what happens when we BRING IT. I’ve read some comments saying it was the best half of football ever seen, but that is ridiculous. 2-6 at the Bernabeu comes to mind, hehe.
    Which is to say that when we bring our A+ game even the top teams have to bring theirs or risk being annihilated, utterly destroyed with mind blowing beautiful football. And then we became complacent. Arsenal seemed done for, too outclassed to seriously threaten us for the rest of the game. We started thinking we were playing against boys. And good on ’em for showing us that they aren’t.

    It was neither a penalty nor a dive. Both went for the ball. Puyol would have gotten it had Fabregas not kicked him.
    In Cesc’ defense against all of you saying he dove he was gonna shoot the ball and all of a sudden there’s a leg in the way while you are already shooting. Stop and think for a second, especially if you yourself play football. When you are about to score and somebody trips up your shooting leg, does that not feel as if you’re getting fouled? Of course he’s gonna fall down cause of the impact (dude broke his leg for God’s sake) and of course you’re gonna turn around and look at the ref cause you think you deserve a penalty. It wasn’t and I for one was really surprised. Not even the idiot fans in the bar were shouting for a penalty until the ref actually gave it, it just never looked like Puyol committed any foul whatsoever. But you know that’s football. When it comes to arbitrary decisions we gotta roll with the punches, just like anybody else.

  32. vicsoc8
    April 2, 2010

    I’ve been avoiding the Fabregas did he didnt he dive conversation, and I’m going to continue to.

    BUT, I’d still love to have him in the team. Maybe not this summer, maybe not next summer, but eventually I’d love to see him line up in our colors. Like him or not, dude’s a great player, and would fit into the side very well.

  33. Lev
    April 2, 2010

    Yeah, eventually. When he really wants to come back home, we will welcome him with open arms. We don’t need to remind him of this. For the next season our priority should be a forward to cover for Henry.

  34. culehastaelculo
    April 2, 2010

    1. i dont think it was a dive, but it was a lame call. the foul by clichy on messi has to be a PK and maybe a red, if the ref gives puyol a red. i was watching the game in a ‘british’ pub in seattle, 80-90% of those in attendance were arsenal fans, and you could hear nervous chuckles from the crowd when they replayed the clichy foul… “we got away with one…” this was the only sound they made in the first half hour, since they were just in awe and fear of what they were seeing. oh yeah, they cheered almunia, forgot about that.

    2. i havent rewatched the match, but my first impression was that the ref gave fabs a yellow for the tackle on keita because he slid in with cleats showing. you just cant cleat a dude, doesnt matter if you knick the ball. i could be wrong, that was my impression.

    3. henry — why did he not run? we keep him in cotton wool in a glass cabinet, resting him for…this? shocking his performance, he was getting outrun by players that had been on the pitch all match.

  35. vicsoc8
    April 2, 2010

    In my usually not-so-humble opinion I think the fact that Henry hasn’t been getting gametime has nothing to do with wanting to rest him for the big games. To me it’s come down to the fact that he isn’t playing well, and hasn’t earned more game time.

    I agree that Fabregas isn’t necessary this summer. But I disagree that we need a forward to cover for Henry. Henry will leave this summer, and we need a forward to REPLACE him.

    • April 2, 2010

      Spot on, vicsoc. I think we all agree that this is Henry’s last season in Barcelona. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem all that interested in going out like a man.

      • vicsoc8
        April 2, 2010

        Which has the potential to be a big blow for us at the business end of the season. With the size of our squad, we can’t have people who aren’t pulling their weight, especially someone with as much class as Henry.

        • Alexis
          April 2, 2010

          I think he is already eyeing his future glamorous life in New York instead of training hard…
          He came to Barcelona to win the Champions League. He did. He then went to sleep until the time to grab the plane to the USA…that is almost 12 months 🙂
          A total pity, since he could have been an important asset for the team in order to win successive European crowns…
          I will keep my fingers crossed praying he reacts and delivers in an important match (be it at the Bernabeu or in Europe).

  36. Shobo
    April 2, 2010

    The past week or so that I’ve been coming here I’ve learned something I would never have guessed based on the headlines coming from Spain, and that is that the Barcelona fans don’t want Cesc at Barca. I admit I’m surprised at that, but also somewhat pleased, I hope Cesc stays many more years at Arsenal.

    I believe the return leg at the Camp Nou is going to extremely difficult, we’ll be missing Van Persie, Arshavin, Cesc and Gallas (even Barca would be a different team without Ibra, Messi, Xavi and Puyol.

    That said, Nasri’s a definite threat, as he showed in patches on Wednesday, and he plays even better when he’s in the middle. I expect Walcott to start, and I imagine Guardiola will do something to try and counter this. I’ve heard Barca fans say Abidal will start, but I’m not sure how this will help as I’ve rarely seen him play, is he faster than Maxwell or more experienced or both?

    The temptation for Arsene would be to play it safe and start Rosicky on the left, as he would provide some defensive cover for Clichy, but I think he might do well to consider Vela, as like Walcott he’s lightning quick and capable of making runs in behind.

    I think the deciding factor will be our midfield. Does Song drop to CB, or do we play Sol? Frankly I don’t know if either are fast enough to deal with Barca. Will Diaby have another stinker? He was woeful on Wednesday night and it was a huge disappointment from a player who is usually so powerful, quick and difficult to dispossess.

    At the end of the day my brain tells me Barca definitely have the upper hand, but I would caution against being over confident. By your admission the first 60 minutes from you guys was not par for the course, and like wise it wasn’t the “normal” Arsenal that you saw. If we fought hard in the last 20, expect us to fight doubly hard at the Camp Nou.

    • Kari
      April 2, 2010

      “Is he faster than Maxwell or more experienced or both?”

      Both, definitely both. Abidal, before he got injured, was arguably our best player this season. His performance against Sevilla in January was out of this world.

      If I had to give an Arsenal example of the difference in ability between the two, it’s like Campbell (Maxwell) vs Vermaelen (Abidal). I know those are CBs but I don’t really know your LB’s very well…

    • Alexis
      April 2, 2010


      In my opinion Barcelona is not the only threat. Barca can play with his feelings… Cesc is a true Cule. He left at 16, not 11 or 12. So he grew Blaugrana. At Arsenal he found the trust and confidence to play at high level, that is why he is your captain. And he is a gooner as well.

      However, money is important. These lads have a short career span, so they try to make the most of it stipendwise.
      And Madrid (not the club, but the influential president they have) can fill his pockets with gold. It would be a wise move for them, since they lack talent in that position.
      And despite Cesc being a Cule and a Gooner, I cannot see him rejecting a lucrative offer from our bitter enemies if he has none from Barca.

      Wait and see and beware of Madrid…

  37. April 2, 2010

    Here’s what’s funny: Our standards at Barcelona are so high, that we are treating a draw as a loss. Fact of the matter is that in Champions League play, away goals are like gold, and we have two of them, thus the upper hand going into Tuesday’s match. It’s as simple as that. I’m sure if you were to ask Guardiola, in his heart of hearts, if he’d been satisfied with a 2-2 draw at the Emirates with us going back home, he’d say “Hell yeah,” with a big ol’ grin.

    On paper, we will have Abidal back, which means that Walcott won’t be running rampant on that side of the pitch. Ibrahimovic is back, and Messi won’t be mediocre two CL matches in a row. My only concern is the back line, but if we play the match that we need to play with the midfield control and pressure that we bring when we are on, it won’t matter who’s on our back line.

    Of course Arsenal fans are going to believe that their club can win. That’s what fans do. It makes them no more misguided than our fans, who are saying that our club is going to win. We play the game, and see who’s top after that.

    In the meantime, we can (and should) have spirited, enjoyable debate. There will be some intemperate fans who weigh in. If things are too messy, we’ll police the comments. Otherwise, let’s all have fun here because ultimately, that’s what this game of ours is all about.

    And unfortunately, I slept (actually) on getting tix for the Camp Nou leg, so I’ll be watching it on the telly, instead of hopping aboard a big Iberia jet bound for Barcelona. 🙁

  38. Shobo
    April 2, 2010

    I’m all for a spirited, enjoyable debate, but there’s a line that’s easily crossed into the realm of disrespect. Shortly after the CL draw was announced I came across this blog and was pleasantly surprised to find a group of fans that discussed football eloquently and intelligently, and also had respect for the competition (something that rarely happens on the EPL blogs).

    It was a little alarming to log on today and see comments like “I HOPE HIS LEG IS BROKEN!”

    I can understand the anger toward Fabregas, and were I a Barca fan, I’d probably feel the same way, but I’ve never, ever hoped that a player’s leg would be broken, or that he would be injured, it’s just… wrong.

    • Kari
      April 2, 2010

      I agree, Shobo. That comment doesn’t represent what the majority feel, just one individual. I wasn’t happy to see that either.

  39. vicsoc8
    April 2, 2010

    On a slightly different note, if you’ve been paying attention the elections have become very interesting.

    Goddall out, Soriano out (booo!)
    Ferrer is the new continuity candidate

    Most interestingly are the accusations in Laporta’s new book that Rosell tried to convince him to sell Ronaldinho to Chelsea in 2004, with the idea being that Rosell and Laporta would get a nice 10 million Euro commission to split. I could believe that Rosell would do this, and I could believe that Laporta would make this up, so I’m not sure where I stand.

    Either way, I don’t like the looks of the elections. I dislike Rosell, and his path seems too clear right now.

    • Kxevin
      April 2, 2010

      Was going to do a separate post on that, once things calmed down. The negotiations have been going on for a while now, with the Continuity folks. Their biggest nightmare was having Godall and Ferrer running, which would all but sweep Rosell into office.

      Now, with one continuity candidate (and the strongest one, I think), the club can help by winning silver. Then he can simply say “If you want more of this, vote for me.”

      Regarding the R10 accusations, elections are vile, and chockablock with accusations tantamount to the old saw, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” There’s no answer to that, right? Any answer acknowledges that you’re beating her, even if you aren’t.

  40. Bill
    April 2, 2010

    Isaiah, when I read your last post, I started smilling because, strangely, it made me feel better! I wasn’t the only one frustrated that we let them get back in the game! I knew Arsenal will actually start believing they have a chance.

    For the next game, I am just sad that arsenal will miss soo many players, because then they would have excuses. In a way, thats good because they will still save face and we will move on.

    • Stephen
      April 2, 2010

      Exactly, I wish Cesc would play that match. It would only prove we schooled them, and they had no chance in dreaming of Champions Glory, to begin with. Ref’s cannot win it for you, Sorry.

  41. Bill
    April 2, 2010

    I hope this is true, real madrid never cease to amaze me by their willingness to sabotage themselves. Maicon is just not very good defensively, and in offense, he likes taking wild shots than pass. Alves is much better.


  42. Shobo
    April 2, 2010

    Kari, I’ve since seen that the sentiment doesn’t reflect the majority of Barca fans on this site. You guys have a great community here I think.

    • Kxevin
      April 2, 2010

      Thanks, Shobo. We try. Like all communities, we get a little hot and bothered sometimes. But the ship always rights itself. 😀

      Regarding your earlier Abidal/Maxwell comment, Abidal would make the same kind of difference to our defense that Walcott made to your offense on Wednesday. Pace, positioning, physicality and athleticism. Maxwell is solid, but Abidal is one of the best left backs in the world. He’s been our best defender overall this season.

  43. Lev
    April 2, 2010

    @vicsoc8 true, replace is the word. I meant cover for the loss of the player who was once Thiery Henry

  44. April 2, 2010

    On the whole it’s been great to have the gooners in the house. This has been a lively place, and I have to admit I’ve been reading every comment..something I haven’t done so much this season.

    And I-man I enjoyed both your posts… though yes a bit shocked by the soon to be infamous F-Franny one. (For a second I thought you were just baiting 10,00 arsenal trolls for another lively comments section)

    Hate all the injuries and suspensions on both sides, but man am I looking forward to the return leg…and it’s aftermath on these here pages.

  45. Stephen
    April 2, 2010

    It was a DIVE !!!! Couldnt take it Cesc?? I dont cesc either, Ive read every post, don’t care. it was a Diiiiiiivvveeeeeeeee

  46. jj
    April 4, 2010

    @Stephen – roll back few years, do you remember on dutch midfielder , Van Bommel rolling around at every touch & doing a hundred niggling fouls in the CL final against arsenal ? guess , he doesn’t represent “barca” anymore. Ciao.

  47. bomba
    April 4, 2010

    Just read through these posts, and for a bunch of guys who claim to be very confident about the certainty of a Barca victory, and that you were pleased with the end result last week, you are whigning rather persisently. First, if you are going to complain about referees, tell it to a Chelsea supporter. If Chelsea were not so hated that game would live in infamy as the standard of poor refereeing. 4 Chelsea penalties denied (2 would have resulted in a red).

    As for Wednesday’s game, Of course Cesc didn’t dive, and the penalty was spot on. You claim to have viewed the play from 50 angles. Which angle shows Puyol trying to play the ball? Not dirty, but certainly a penalty and by the rules a red card (Lehmann).

    The card on Pique was soft and Cesc embellished, but that’s nothing compared to the embellishment of Barca players throughout the game who had Arsenal players booked all over the pitch. Including BTW, writhing in pain afer a clean tackle from Fabregas and getting him a booking. Get the blinders off.

    Still say that the first 20 minutes wee some of the best football I have seen since some of the great Brasil sides. That said, though Barca had more possession. Chances were limited and Arsenal created nearly as many opportunities between 20-70 mins. Before you flip out, watch the game again and start at 22 mins.

  48. vdh
    April 5, 2010

    everyone who sees a dive from cesc is blind. puyol came from behind,cesc see him so he couldn’t choose to kick puyol. the penalty is fair, it’s the same as if you accidentaly touch someone’s feets while running behind at full pace in the box : it’s penalty because you prevent the attacker to play the ball. The red card, however, seems a bit harsh but that’s fifa rules.

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