Barca v Bilbao LiveBlog

Yes, it’s happening. So get those good links ready, and I’ll see everyone 10 min before the match starts.

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In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

89 Comments

  1. Kari
    April 3, 2010

    A win please! I want a good win to send out a message that we won’t be complacent this time!

  2. Kari
    April 3, 2010

    I call:

    Valdes
    Puyol – Marquez – Milito – Abidal
    Xavi – Yaya – Busi
    Bojan – Ibra – Pedro!

    Messi gets a rest, then is subbed on for Bojan at the hour mark. Pique replaces Marquez around the 50th minute. Keita for Busi.

  3. i think Abidal will play today, so that he can get his match fitness. lets win this match…

  4. Evil that men do
    April 3, 2010

    I don’t trust Marques, best lineup in my opinion:
    Puyol Yaya Pique Abidal (If he’s fit)

    Sergi
    Xavi Keita

    Pedro Ibra Jeffren

  5. April 3, 2010

    On a slightly non Barca-centric note, boy did United get hosed. Drogba wasn’t even CLOSE to onside. If Ibrahimovic goes offside by a toenail, it gets called. Imagine what his goal tally would be if we could have that EPL linesman calling matches for us every week. :O

    • Kari
      April 3, 2010

      I wouldn’t say they were hosed; UTD’s goal was a handball so it balances out, but yeah. Tough luck.

      Chelsea were the better team, though. Joe Cole’s goals was nice; a backheel in front of goal.

  6. lovelymofo
    April 3, 2010

    The actual line-up is CRAZY:

    Valdés; Puyol, Piqué, Chygrynskiy, Abidal, Busquets, Touré, Maxwell, Messi, Ibrahimovic & Jeffren

    Um, I guess Pep is gonna keep everyone guessing about the line up against Arsenal? Only guarantee I see is Abidal coming into the line up (along with Ibra and Messi).

    • lovelymofo
      April 3, 2010

      And I guess Busquets is a guarantee and maybe Yaya is in for Keita? Also – I think this hints pretty strongly to no Marquez against Arsenal. Unless Pep tests him out during the second half. I know he’s been a liability, but you know, we might want Yaya down the middle.

      • Jnice
        April 3, 2010

        I know Milito isn’t playing because he played a lot recently, and he needs a little break, especially after his injury. Chygrinskiy playing over Marquez tells me that Yaya has a great shot at playing CB against Arsenal. Why no Xavi? I don’t know, but this is a weird lineup, hopefully we can get it done.

        • Jnice
          April 3, 2010

          Yeah, spot on about Marquez against Arsenal.

    • Tajh
      April 3, 2010

      SO Basically we are running a 4-4-2???
      BUT HEYY IN PEP WE TRUST

    • Helge
      April 3, 2010

      lol?

      I like to see Txigrinski, but I wonder how this midfield is going to work out…

    • Colby
      April 3, 2010

      Great news that Abidal is healthy for real.

      I think for rotations sake, starting Puyol and Pique is smart, plus we still are trying to win the league and they are our best center back pair.

      I feel bad for Bojan, this is twice in a row he has been chosen after Jeffren for the wing spot.

      Don’t count Marquez out completely. I don’t think he necessarily has fallen to such a level in Pep’s eyes that Pep feels like he needs to test him. There’s a good chance that Pep’s opinion is “Marquez was a great defender. Marquez still is a good defender. I have faith in my players. I don’t want to slap him across the face metaphorically by starting a midfielder in his spot. He is better than Yaya anyway.”
      That having been said, it would not shock if Pep’s opinion was “Marquez is gone this summer anyways because we have lots of good young cbs, so why not slap him in the face.”

  7. April 3, 2010

    Lineup also means that Henry is either dead to Guardiola, or will be used for one last shot at redemption at home on Tuesday, then again in El Clasic.

    But I ain’t betting the house on it.

  8. April 3, 2010

    Any my guess is that the Twin Towers (Txignotatallnasty, Pique) is to counter the height of Llorente.

  9. April 3, 2010

    There’s also some speculation that Iniesta might see some time against Arsenal in midweek. I find that hard to believe, but what do I know?

  10. April 3, 2010

    May be Chegrnskiy or Pique playing as a holding mid, with Abidal as a CB beside the other one.

    Or Jeff as a left back, messi goalkeeper and Valdes to do the Xavi role. And dont say it is not possible!

  11. April 3, 2010

    Best of all, Maxwell has been much better on the right wing than the left for some reason, so that’s good. And Alves could use the rest. Even hummingbirds can’t fly all the time.

  12. April 3, 2010

    And did I say that this is the game that worries me most after the CL effort in the midweek? I think Pep picked Fit over in form.

  13. Ethan
    April 3, 2010

    this is a whack lineup. 5 defenders with yaya out their so like 6 defending players, pep always shocks me. have no idea what cb pairing will come out on tuesday, but i do know this, ABIDAL IS BACK!

  14. Colby
    April 3, 2010

    In terms of winning this game, I would like to see: Maxwell-Puyol-Pique-Abidal at the back, with Txigrinski in the midfield.

    In terms of prep for arsenal, I would like to see: Puyol-Pique-Abidal-Maxwell at the back, with Txigrinski in the midfield.

    If I were Pep, I would start Alves-Milito-Abidal-Maxwell on Tuesday against Arsenal. (and yes, I have watched abidal play centerback, and yes, I know kxevin still has nightmares about it).

    • April 3, 2010

      Noooooooo! No right-minded Les Bleus fan EVER wants to see Abidal at CB. 😀

  15. April 3, 2010

    Nothing like a little healthy trash talking. The Yaya says that our success is down to Guardiola getting rid of Deco and Ronaldinho, and treating all the players equally instead of some having “most favored nation” status.

  16. Sid
    April 3, 2010

    Interesting to see Jeffren in this match. Would like Jeffren to play against Arsenal for providing width and pace

  17. ermengol
    April 3, 2010

    Bojaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!

  18. Evil that men do
    April 3, 2010

    Toure dictating the midfield 🙂 if only he played against arsenal

  19. Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
    April 3, 2010

    Where can i watch the full game? i checked the maxxed football forum but there’s nothing there????? anyone?

    • Jose
      April 3, 2010

      *http://forum.rojadirecta.com/showthread.php?85655-Barcelona-Ath.-Bilbao

      They should be up there soon enough.

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      April 3, 2010

      thanks guys!

  20. Jose
    April 3, 2010

    Great to get three points today! Now we are set for the next two, major matches..

    Glad to see Bojan with a brace, and Jeffren to score his first senior team goal (right?).

    Thank Yaya for almost giving us a heart attack with that moment of insanity. Could have so easily been a red…

  21. April 3, 2010

    Now we have to wait and see what is up with Ibrahimovic. Exam tomorrow, verdict shortly thereafter.

  22. Kari
    April 3, 2010

    Messi – Bojan – Pedro! Front line please, if Ibra really is injured for a while!

  23. Jnice
    April 3, 2010

    Yaya should have been sent off. But why was Martinez even arguing with him? Wonder how bad Yaya’s and Ibra’s injuries are. I’ll wait till official announcements tomorrow, don’t want to speculate. Jeffren’s looked bad, though.

    Great game from Bojan, took both goals well, and had some nice movement and passes.

    Abidal looked good and you can see what he gives us in defense and even on offense at times. Txigrynski looked good as well, had some nice interceptions and made no glaring errors.

    Jeffren played pretty well, glad he and Messi got a goal. That kick on Messi by Koikili (I think) was dirty.

    Valdes played well too and Puyol is the 2nd best RB in the world lol. Oh and props to Maxwell for doing well in a different position.

    Bilbao never stopped fighting and had some great spells of possession as well as 1000 corners.

  24. vicsoc8
    April 3, 2010

    I changed my mind. Jeffren should stay next year.

    Henry better watch out, or Bojan is going to step above him in the pecking order just like Pedro did.

  25. jose011
    April 3, 2010

    Slightly off-topic but, does anyone have a link to youtube, or any other video site where i can find just the first 20 minutes of the game against arsenal?

    would be much appreciated.

  26. April 3, 2010

    Whew! That was easy! We’re flushing again.

    I would advocate, at this point, starting Krkic against Arsenal on Tuesday. Might as well ride the hot horse. I just don’t see Ibrahimovic being ready for the match, and Krkic isn’t a threat to Messi, so he should be playing free and easy. So yes, that means a front line of Pedro/Messi/Krkic, aka all midgets, all the time.

    Guardiola will almost certainly play Tuesday’s match as conservatively as you will see him, as he knows that as long as we don’t concede, we go through. Then everyone can heal. I think CL is a higher priority for him than the Liga, and to my eyes, this is as it should be.

    • Kari
      April 3, 2010

      Also playing Henry will just make a black hole appear on the field. Unlike the Emirates, when he decides to pass or run into the Arsenal defense, there won’t be a roar of approval. It’ll just get really nasty.

      Considering that he played so well against Athletic Bilbao, a physical team, I don’t think Bojan will have that much trouble vs the Arsenal defense. Also, Sol Campbell could play at CB so CT has him beat for pace already…Play him, Pep!

    • Jose
      April 3, 2010

      I’m conflicted as to which competition is more important. Any year, I would say La Liga, but with the final at the Bernabeu (and being the first to repeat in the Champs League) winning the CL would be incredible.

      That said, and here’s where the animosity sets in, I can live with the last seven CL teams winning it over us. I can’t live knowing that we conceded La Liga to EE and CryFuckFace.

      But you know what would be great? To win both 😉

  27. Bundy
    April 3, 2010

    unfortunatly I managed to wake up right after the game finished, so I missed everything, is there somewhere on the net that is replaying the game right now?

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      April 3, 2010

      I’m looking too, without success 🙁

    • lovelymofo
      April 3, 2010

      ESPN 360, you can “replay” the entire match.

  28. Kari
    April 3, 2010

    All the goal-scorers were La Masia products. Double Awesomeness.

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 3, 2010

      Oh! What would life be without those magical midgets.

  29. April 3, 2010

    How nice it is that the team is tuning the right momentum just at the perfect moment of the season. Collectively the game was excellent.
    Lot of interesting notes from this game…
    – Valdes, the Keeper with the best form for Spain at the moment.
    – Chegrnskiy was ok. Still too far for being reliable. But on the right track.
    -Puyol the best back up for Alves we can have. I said it before. I repeat it now. Look no where else for next year. Look at the youth farm for the following seasons.
    – Abidal is the best news for today.
    – Yaya played his best match so far this season (putting one moment of insanity aside).
    – Busquets was tired. It was better if we didnt start him today. He wasnt bad, but if we will need him for the CL, it was better to bench him.
    – Maxwell proved being a good signing. I never doubted that. He was everywhere on the flank tracking from the midfield back to support, and forward to cause damage.
    – Jef still need time, and Bojan practiced his finishing well. Great for his moral. Especially if we needed him against Arsenal.
    -JDS, the one for the future. Unless if…

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      April 3, 2010

      what happened to ibra though?

    • vicsoc8
      April 3, 2010

      Agree with everything except Yaya. He gave the ball away much too often in the first half. He improved dramatically in the second half.

      • April 3, 2010

        Yeap. He gave the ball away too often. But thats another reason why even when Busquets give up some balls I still defend him. What was different in this game was the attitude. He was more involved. He cared more? He made more runs. My problem with Yaya’s performance this season has two faces: Form and attitude. Form is improving, yet not as good yet. Attitude was much much better. So I praise him for that.

    • Miguel
      April 3, 2010

      jonathan was amazing out there even though the void left by toure was immense. he did seem to get a little too mesmerized by his own tiki taka, though.

      if ibra is fit by the arsenal game he should start, but it’s great to know bojan is up to the task if the swede isn’t.

  30. Jnice
    April 3, 2010

    Reaper, the match is here: *http://www.fbtz.com/forum/showthread.php?t=151927

    For those who aren’t registered on the site:

    Sky Sports broadcast:

    1st half:
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371658230/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic.Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part1.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371658236/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic.Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part2.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371658578/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic.Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part3.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371658581/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic.Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part4.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371658194/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic.Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part5.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371658196/First_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic.Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part6.rar

    2nd half:

    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371664977/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic_Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part1.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371664980/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic_Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part2.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371666120/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic_Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part3.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371667972/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic_Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part4.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371670650/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic_Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part5.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/371670655/Second_Half_-_La_Liga_-_Barcelona_v._Athletic_Bilbao_-_03-04-10.part6.rar

    or Mediafire

    *http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=083f4a63779b1018ab1eab3e9fa335ca3cc7049083230ad4

    • Jose
      April 3, 2010

      jnice, I meant to thank you for the Arsenal-Barca game, so thanks!

        • poipoi
          April 3, 2010

          great links as always jnice, thanks! but… ¿how come I can’t register for that fbtz page?

          • Jnice
            April 3, 2010

            Sometimes registration is closed to control the numbers. I’ll keep checking periodically and let you know when it’s open again.

          • poipoi
            April 3, 2010

            if you say that it is only “sometimes” I’ll be checking it VERY often 😀 thanks again

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      April 3, 2010

      Thanks Jnice!!!!!! Yay!!

  31. Jose
    April 3, 2010

    FYI: since the other Tuesday match is @ Moscow (vs. Inter), they’ll do the Russian time adjustment and play the game earlier. That is, before we even kick off against Arsenal, we’ll know (unless it goes into penalties) who we’re playing in the semifinals.

  32. Jim
    April 3, 2010

    Ibra according to Sky was meant to play had a calf knock in the warm up. They seemed to think he would struggle for Arsenal. but might be back for the Classico. Seems sensible. Look what happened to Gallas.

    • Tajh
      April 3, 2010

      Damn these pesky injuries…at least most of our players who r injured are out to aleast 5-10days..

      • Tajh
        April 3, 2010

        Sport.es is also reporting that Ibra would be out for the Arsenal game..

        • Vj
          April 3, 2010

          Both SPORT and EMD are reporting that PIQUE will be OUT of the Clasic.. Ibra might make it in time..

          Damn!!

          • Vj
            April 3, 2010

            Okay, My bad, their participation reportedly is in DOUBT – they aren’t confirmed as OUT yet..

            Ibra has a break in the Soleus of his right leg, Pique has elongated his right thigh adductor.. Sport adds that this type of injury requires an absence of 6-7 days..

  33. April 3, 2010

    Great, both Pique and Ibra doubts for the Clasico. Xavi, Messi and Iniesta are going to have the games of their lives. You know, kind of like last year.

  34. culehastaelculo
    April 3, 2010

    official FCB site says ibra out for arsenal:

    *http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/castellano/noticies/futbol/temporada09-10/04/03/n100403110237.html

  35. Kari
    April 3, 2010

    Now I know that it’s rumoured that BS.com writer don’t watch matches, but I thought that was just a rumour.

    “Gabilondo: 4.5 – Very little influence on the left hand side and struggled against DANI ALVES. Taken off at half time.”

    *http://goal.com/en/news/1127/player-ratings/2010/04/03/1861685/player-ratings-barcelona-4-1-athletic-bilbao

    • Jnice
      April 3, 2010

      LOL and BS.com said Txigrinski had an AWFUL match. Huh?

  36. BA
    April 3, 2010

    Ibra out for Arsenal and probably for Madrid.

    Pique MIGHT be fit for Madrid.

    this is not looking promising….

    • Kari
      April 3, 2010

      I think Pique’ll be fit. His injury is for about 6-7 days, and with our track record with injuries this season, he could be back before that. Ibra is another story…It’s funny. Until recently, if Ibra was injured two or three weeks ago, or even the first half vs Arsenal, people wouldn’t be too bothered.

      The two positives I can think of are that 1) Bojan will get his chance vs Arsenal and 2) Messi will step up some more. Unfortunately, Henry could also play instead of Bojan, but he’s been craptastic. Also, Henry against Arsenal is a no-no but Henry vs Madrid is probable, but he doesn’t seem to want to leave the club on a high note. Sad, really. We really would like an in-form Henry right now.

  37. jordi™
    April 3, 2010

    Well the full tests havent been done yet but if BANGS is out we have enough to beat arsenal.Even a 0-0 or 1-1 is enough but i dont trust our defense not to fall asleep in the second half so 2 goals is a must.We beat inter without both ibra and leo.I’d rather not start henry against the gunners and save him for the Bernabeu as hes scored there on every visit in his career.Bojan may be small and weak, but atleast he works hard, we cant have henry jogging around and being nostalgic again against the Arsenal.

  38. culehastaelculo
    April 3, 2010

    we will slice and dice Song and Sol and/or Vermalen this Tuesday, they’ll be picking up their shorts all game. it’ll take all three of em to carry Yaya’s jockstrap.

  39. majatt
    April 3, 2010

    Considering the line up I was thoroughly impressed by the width and control in possession.

    Messi in the middle seems to cure not having xavi/iniesta.

    Abidal is BACK!

    Maxwell was pretty good out there on the left…well and everywhere else as he was popping up in the middle pretty often. Perhaps we will see him again v arsenal if Iniesta isn’t fit?

    Yaya…no silly reds please, good game alot of ‘almost’ moments in the box.

    Its a shame jeffren got injured he looked good out there his pace stretched the play at the right times.

  40. Kari
    April 3, 2010

    Pep on the Arsenal Match and Bojan:

    “We are short of players for Tuesday and we need support at the Nou Camp, the crowd can push us on – it’s a real final,” Guardiola said after the match.

    “If we advance, we will have the chance to be league and European champions at the end of this season, so it’s our most important game of the whole year.

    “Guardiola praised tonight’s two-goal hero Bojan, who is now set to play a major part on Tuesday.

    “Nobody is happier than me when he plays and scores – the system we used tonight allows him to develop his goalscoring attributes, playing behind as a second striker,” he said. ”

    *http://www.espnstar.com/football/primera-liga/news/detail/item422403/Guardiola:-We-are-short-of-players/

  41. Bebop
    April 3, 2010

    This doesn’t look good but I’m still confident. Just hope that Ibra will be back against EE.
    Interesting to note what Pep said bout Bojan. “playing behind as a second striker”. I think it was Kxevin who said that Bojan is a Second Striker for a 4-4-2 formation.
    I didn’t get to watch the match, but I wonder if Bojan played as a second striker, than what was the formation? I thought he played a striker. Or maybe Pep used a free rolling -out of this world- formation where the forwards always in constant motion to change position? 😀
    I hope Bojan starts against Arsenal, he is in a better condition than Henry, although I wonder what role will he be in?

  42. Blow-Granite
    April 3, 2010

    Frankly I loved what Bojan bought to the table today. His passing movement and finishing were top class. I would love it if he started against Arsenal.

    What Pep is refering to as a when he says Bojan played as a second striker is that both Bojan was not hugging the offside line all the time and trying to fight for the ball with his strength. He was playing between the defense and the holding midfielder, the position that is normally occupied by a supporting striker.

    I thought this was one of the toughest matches in the league. It was amazing how hard Athletic were working, attacking, and all this till the final whistle.

    It will be very interesting to see Tuesday’s lineup. Here is my predicted lineup
    Valdes
    Alves Chygrinsky Milito Abidal
    Busi Keita
    Xavi
    Messi Bojan Maxwell

    • Helge
      April 4, 2010

      Txigrinski isn’t allowed to play in the CL this season because he already played in it with Shakhtar Donezk.

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