Saluda al Campeon: Real Madrid – Barça

La Liga Preview: Real Madrid – Barça, Saturday 4pmEST, GolTV, ESPN Deportes, ESPN360

It’s here. Finally. The match that was billed as the maker-or-breaker of La Liga, as the clash of opposite styles and institutional approaches, as the be-all and end-all of this whole sporting season. Naturally it’s none of those, but it sure is exciting anyway! El Clásico is here and so is your preview. Rejoice!

We’ll start of with the histrionics, naturally enough: Match of the Century! Clash of the Titans (part 2?)! Messi vs Cristiano! Guardiola vs Pellegrini! Laporta vs Voldemort Perez! It’s almost as if there shouldn’t be fans in the stands, but rather the world’s largest orchestra playing Ride of the Valkyries for 90 minutes. Wagner would, no doubt, himself be conducting. It’s that damned important, people! So, yeah, apparently there’s some hype surrounding this match.

A more measured take on the match is somewhat hard to come by, but here’s the best I can do: Match of the Century! Clash of the Titans! Messi vs Cristiano! Aaaaaaaaah! It’s the freakin’ clásico, people! There’s no time for measured takes on things; morbo y mas morbo, por fa! Oh, there’s something we can talk about in measured tones: morbo is an undefinable word and, as such, only Phil Ball can really let us now what it’s all about:

“It [morbo] entails a lot of slippery little notions that just won’t rub shoulders with a convenient English synonym…Most treat it as a noun and translate it as something like ‘disease’, which is hardly appropriate to this context…It’s not merely that they [Real Madrid and Barcelona] hate each other with an intensity that can truly shock the outsider, but that each encounter between them always has a new ingredient…it feeds off itself and keeps growing until it becomes a self-regulating and self-perpetuating organism…once the morbo is up and running it can never die.” (p17)

Yeah, that’ll do. It makes you chew your fingernails to nubs days before the match, when all you’re doing is nervously wondering what’s going to happen. It makes you yell vile things at anyone wearing a white shirt on the streets of New York–that they ignore you because, well, it’s New York and you might not be the only guy on the color-coding his insanity only urges you to greater lengths to get their attention. It makes your girlfriend happy for the first time ever that she’s got class on Saturday so she’ll have to miss your pacing and muttered obscure references to Ghostbusters 2 concerning Figo: Figo the Cruel, Figo the Torturer, Figo the Despised, Figo the Unholy! followed quickly by obscenities–you filthy rat! you dirty, rotten, scum-eating–okay, yeah. See? Morbo.

Not that ESPN is really paying attention to any of this. ESPNHD is showing the University of North Carolina’s Spring Football Game, which is, to let those of you who aren’t familiar with this concept know, a game played between the offense and defense of the same school. For like 30 minutes. Meaning not only is it not a game between two different teams, it’s not even close to a full length game. And you can’t hit the quarterback. And that’s airing instead of el clásico. Because that makes sense. ESPN2HD is showing repeats of the 2009 World Series of Poker Maine Event. I’m sure they’ll make a ratings killing with those shows. They’ve instead relegated it to ESPN Deportes, which is fine, except, obviously, it’s not in English and they’re showing fucking spring football games instead. Poker isn’t even a sport!

I think I can hold it together long enough to give you some statistics, but we’ll have to see. Check em:

RM: 25W-2D-3Losses like whores–sorry! (83GF 26GA)
Barça: 24W-5D-1L (75GF, 19GA)

RM: 15W-0D-0L (50GF, 13GA)
Barça caaaaampeooooon–sorry again: 10W-4D-1L (32GF, 10GA)

Top scorers:
RM: Gonzalo Higuain (24). Oh, were you expecting someone else?
Barça: Lionel Andres Messsssiiii (26, current Pichichi, European Golden Shoe, and top scorer in the Champions League, not that anyone is counting).

Blatantly Cherry-Picked Statistics:
Zamora trophy:  Victor Valdes (Barça, fyi) with 0.63 goals allowed per game.
Fairplay Records: Barça (66 points), RM (73). You filthy, dirty merengues! Learn to play without fouling!
Fewest red cards in the league (discounting Sporting and Getafe): Barça with 4, 5 of which were undeserved. RM has 5, those filthy, dirty madrikitis!
Fewest goals allowed: Barça (19)
Fewest away goals allowed: Barça (10)
Best away record: Barça (34pts)
Best away goal difference: Surprise! Barça (+12)

Okay, now it’s just getting absurd. Let’s move on…

Highlights of the last one, to get you prepared (the full match can be found here):

On to the squad lists, which are obviously extremely important to this match.

RM: Casillas, Dudek, Arbeloa, Albiol, Ramos, Garay, Marcelo, Metzelder, Xabi Alonso, Gago, Lass, Diarra, Guti, Van der Vaart, Granero, Benzema, Higuain, Raul, Cristiano Ronaldo

Barça: Valdés, Pinto, Piqué, Puyol, Alves, Milito, Márquez, Maxwell, Chygrynskiy, Yaya, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Jeffren, Messi, Henry, Pedro, Bojan.

The most notable absences are Ibra and Kaka, both of whom miss due to injury. Abidal is also out, but that was a foregone conclusion after he went down against Arsenal. I think this means that we’ll see roughly the same squad that faced us at the Camp Nou, but with Kaka and Pepe replaced by lesser players (such as Granero and Garay or perhaps Marcelo out wide and Sergio Ramos in the middle). In my interview with him yesterday, Adam Bader says that he expects some tactical changes, which Ronaldo attacking mainly down their left flank to keep Dani Alves honest. I disagree and believe he’ll stay with the right side more often than not simply because Abidal’s speed will be missing. Maxwell can certainly do a good job, but Abidal is obviously our first choice at LB.

As for our squad, we’re definitely going to reshuffle, especially compared to our Athletic lineup. Pique’s return to the lineup really bolsters our defense, I think, even though both Marquez and Milito did fairly wonderful jobs against Arsenal. So, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell as our back line. The midfield is, of course, a question. I’m suspecting that we’ll see Iniesta’s return, meaning we’ll have Busi, Xavi, and Iniesta in the lineup. That does sacrifice Keita, who I think could do very well in what will be a physical match (Lass and Xabi Alonso don’t keep the boot out), so I could also see all 4 of those players starting. The front line, if my predicted midfield is put out there, would be Pedro, Bojan, Messi.

So, let’s discuss all that, very quickly. Henry doesn’t make the cut because he hasn’t played since the Arsenal debacle when he was timid and didn’t look like he was up for it. So he sits behind Pedro, who has been working his tush off and deserves to start. Bojan gets the nod simply because, well, there’s nobody else. I didn’t think he was all that wonderful against Arsenal, but he worked hard and that’s a huge part of the battle. Henry just doesn’t deserve to start over anyone in our first team squad and probably not over most of the kids in our B squad, despite his obvious qualities. And because I just said that, Guardiola will start him.

Okay, so, it’s time to get hyped again.

AAAAAH I AM SO HYPED RIGHT NOW. It’s so on, baby. Time to forget about tactics–that’s Guardiola’s job–time to forget about statistics–they’re meaningless anyway–time to forget about pants–they’re constricting–wait, okay, no, no, don’t forget your pants. The bar might turn you away. Forget everything except the lyrics:

Tenim un nom el sap tothom:
Barça, Barça, Baaarça!

If you’re a madridista reading this and you’re headed to the Bernabeu to watch tomorrow, don’t forget your white hankie cause you’ll need to be waving it in surrender and abject hatred at your squad come full time. Mooooorbooooo. Obviously it would be stupid for Madrid to sack their coach or sell their players if they don’t win any titles this year (they won’t–win any, that is), but man, seeing those surrender flags waving in the Bernabeu and the whistles raining down on the players clad in white is just so…refreshing. I mean, not that it’s ever happened before:


Official Prediction: you heard it on the podcast and I’m going to stick with it. 0-3, hattrick by Messi. Talk about stopping him all you want, madridistas, but until you actually do–and that means neutralize him and keep him from shooting or controlling the match–you should learn to appreciate how wonderful the little giant is.

Time: Saturday 10pm Madrid/local, 4pm EST/New York, check your local time here.

TV: This match is on ESPN Deportes, ESPN360, and GolTV, so that you can hear Ray Hudson burst a blood vessel at some point during the second half. That guy needs to relax…says the guy yelling at people in the streets.

Weather: ~60F (~15.5C), clear skies, 0% chance of rain. 30-40% humidity. Should be a perfect night for some football.

And there you have it folks. Visca el Barça!

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Written by:

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


  1. BA
    April 9, 2010

    i’m VERY worried about the left side of our defense. Maxwell is a canny enough defender when he stays home, but Abidal i firmly believe would take a big steaming dump on Cristiano; he’s every bit as fast and strong and confident. Maxwell is another proposition entirely, as he showed against Arsenal.

    the other big question, i think, is whether or not Henry starts. if he doesn’t, i’m wondering why we’re still paying his wages. after all if he’s not going to start in little games, and not starting in big games, why is he even still at the club? that said, if he switches on he IS a legitimate threat to the EE, as he’s shown before.

    no idea how this game is going to pan out, and i’m tense.

    • Vj
      April 9, 2010

      I’m very worried too.. the Madridista camp has been very quiet on this one. Usually, they shout their mouths off and get called later, this time its very quiet from the other side..

      It sucks that Ibra and Abidal would miss this important clash.. I have lost a lot of confidence in Pedro after the Arsenal clashes.. He seemed a bit lost against them and I’d hope he comes on as an impact sub..

      Our defense will be tested, so I hope Pique gets fit in time and Maxi plays his skins out.. I do hope Alves delivers some decent crosses keeping in mind what went on last time we met EE..

      Henry will play a pivotal role methinks.. He loves to play against EE and I hope this continues.. Crossing my fingers and hoping Iniesta starts..

      My preferred lineup –

      Alves – Pique – Puyol – Maxwell
      Xavi – Busquets – Keita
      Messi – Henry – Iniesta

      Then again, What do I know? 🙂

      Expecting the bad, hoping and praying for the best..
      Visca Barça!

  2. mithun
    April 9, 2010

    first one for the first time yippie 😉


    alves pique puyol maxi

    xavi busquets keita

    pedro messi henry

    • mithun
      April 9, 2010

      sorry henry its gono be pedro that was a typo

  3. lovelymofo
    April 9, 2010

    I have a friend (more like an acquaintance) who is a Real Madrid fan. The last time I saw him I was happy b/c I thought, yay! I can mock him about his team and we can argue about futbol!

    Wrong! I went all out mocking his team and he AGREED with everything I said. It was awful. I mean, he supposedly loves EE and Chelski. Shouldn’t that mean he hates Barça with every fiber of his being? But no, he just nodded in agreement when I was talking about Thong Boy & Co. I shouldn’t have been surprised tho, he’s the most boring person I’ve ever met.

    Anyway, I like your prediction Isaiah! Except that I think Iniesta will get a goal. And then he’ll shank Thong Boy to the ground. B/c that’s how GhostfaceKillah! rolls.

    • Kari
      April 9, 2010

      It’s funny that no-one is mentioning Iniesta being back and fit (though I bet Mejuto Gonzalez remembers him well, muhahahaha! * )

      Last Clasico we had a Messi that wasn’t match fit as he was just coming back from a thigh strain and started because, well, it was el freaking Clasico. We really suffered without SPF47, IMO, as they man marked Xavi.

      They argue they weren’t gelling as a team but were still the ‘better’ team, but we weren’t all that awesome either.

      Me thinks if we can ride the early whirlwind EE will no doubt throw at us, we’ll have a good chance at taking the game.

      • lovelymofo
        April 9, 2010

        I know we won’t have the same line up as we did against Arsenal that first time around, but I hope we open up with crazy good football for the first 20 minutes or so. I think it can happen with Iniesta and Xavi in the middle and Messi on his current form running riot everywhere.

        • Kari
          April 9, 2010

          Don’t worry, lovely. Pep will have them motivated!


          And they better listen and listen well!


          Ah, I love Pep 😀

          • Jnice
            April 9, 2010

            LOL, I had never seen that video of Pep shaking Messi. Damn! 😀

  4. Cesc Blanc
    April 9, 2010

    dude…0-3 all goals scored by Messi? Really? We’re doomed! 🙁

    Anyway, I don’t think that we will go that small and I don’t think that Busquets will play over Yahya. On the other hand, that would be a 9 out of 11 cantera line-up.

  5. jnelson
    April 9, 2010

    Awesome preview! Visca el Barca!
    oh shit, no Abidal. two words: professional. foul.

  6. cliveee
    April 9, 2010



  7. majatt
    April 9, 2010

    Tactically speaking the side of the pitch C. Ron starts on is probably going to be most important facet of Real Madrid’s game.

    Vs. Arsenal we had no ‘left winger’ as Pedro was on the right touch line. Bojan was up front and Messi roamed but to me he seemed more the right. Width came from Abidal’s overlapping which resulted in the second goal.

    Our biggest weakness is on the left and in the form of pace, as neither Iniesta or Maxwell have the pace to keep C.R. in check. If he starts on Madrid’s right side and pins back Maxwell it could be tough because its easy to mark us if we attack down one flank only. ESPECIALLY with Ibra is out and we have no height in the box.

    I think Henry should start if for no other reason…he is over 6ft tall. I also think Yaya should start as Xavi, Iniesta and 2nd striker-ish Messi can hold possession fine. His chasing speed and physical play can keep the likes of Granero in check.

    I don’t know about Messi scoring, I think playing him withdrawn and opening space could be more dangerous and productive.


  8. April 9, 2010

    I know all of us hate Iniesta starting on the LW, but I think we need him to in this match for a dearth of serious options (no Henry after his display against Arsenal, and no Bojan for a game this big, even though I love him). We play Iniesta at LW, Yaya at DMF and Xavi/Busquets in the center of the park. Pep should also tell Busquets that if he gets red carded in this game, he will leave him alone in a room with Yaya and padlock the door.

    I agree with the poster above who finds it eerie that they’ve been keeping quiet about this one (aside from CR9, which is always expected). I’m hoping for the best but fearing for the worst. Both Ibra and Abidal are big losses, in all senses of the term “big”.

    The worst is I can’t watch it live because I will be at a conference. I have to watch replays on ESPN 360. Ah well. Good luck to everyone, and let’s hope our team does the business.

  9. ElShowDeJason
    April 9, 2010

    I listened to the podcast. You voice was far less nerdy than i would have expected.

    • April 9, 2010

      I agree, you can Kev should record your preview/wrapups. Complete with Ka-boom sound effects. BFBpodcast, can I get a second?

      Preview hyped me. I was all basking in the last 3 showings still
      But now I’m ready for Sat.
      …time to whip some egg whites

      • ElShowDeJason
        April 9, 2010

        I second. I’d be down for podcasts. Only because I have to read the preview on a 1.5inch x 1.5 inch screen on my cell-phone while driving on the highway at 75 mph.
        so i suppose a podcast could be safer.
        And chance you could get Morgan Freeman to read them?

        • April 9, 2010

          That’s brilliant. Do any of you know Morgan Freeman and is he a Barça fan. Our budget is — rummages through pockets — $3.43.

          • Jose
            April 9, 2010

            OMG, Morgan Freeman BFB Podcasts!! Jajaja, I don’t think my life will be complete now without listening to something like that…

          • DontPanic
            April 10, 2010

            Don’t know about Freeman, but Danny Glover was in the stands at Camp Nou once (though I can’t remember who we played). Would he do? He’ll revoke Flos diplomatic immunity (sorry had to do it)

  10. Eklavya
    April 9, 2010

    ——————–The Yaya——————–

    Yuuup, that’s my lineup prediction.
    Crazy line up ala Guardiola 😉

  11. Kyle
    April 9, 2010

    @ Isaiah – Unfortunately, I think GolTV owns the rights to the English broadcast of both el Clasicos in the States. If I remember correctly, that was one of the stipulations of ESPN acquiring broadcasting rights for La Liga matches this year.

      • Alex
        April 9, 2010


        That shit pisses me off SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH.

        When I saw the Texas Hold’em during the Clasico timeslot on ESPN2, my blood began to boil

  12. April 9, 2010

    I will be more worried if Ronaldo plays in the center than on our left side. In the center he has the work rate to put pressure on our Center backs to disturb possession. He can run to the box where he is more dangerous, and he can shoot. He is even more effecient when he run from the left (our right side) as he can cut in and shoot using his better foot. On our left he may dribble MAxwell but then what? Cut inside to the crowd? He is not Messi. Cross the ball? Not the more distructive thing he is able to do after all.

    If we break through their High pressure, we win this game. Especialy with the distructive pentagon Busquets-Keita-Xavi-Messi-Iniesta being in the service.

  13. Kxevin
    April 9, 2010

    I think Isaiah was kidding with the 3-0 Messi hat trick prediction. Their defense and midfield are going to do EVERYTHING to keep him from even getting the ball. It will be similar to the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls, and the Jordan Rules, which were “If we stop him, and the other guys are good enough to beat us, then we’re just screwed.”

    For many seasons, they worked. Once the roster was fleshed out, Jordan Rules didn’t work.

    Our complexity is that we don’t have a serious goal-scorer that isn’t named Messi. That makes me nervous. Yes, I think that Pedro! or Krkic will be able to notch one or two against a Messi-focused defense, but they will have to be perfect. Flat-on, full Monty perfect. Or they won’t score.

    Vj is saying what I have been for a while now, which is that Pedro! scores goals, but it’s more like “Hey! Look! A ball! A net!” than him doing something to make magic happen. That’s fine when Messi and Ibrahimovic are running around, or when space opens up. When it’s a tight, for-real match with a fresh defense, he just isn’t that impressive. It’s that tactical awareness, or lack thereof, that I often cite.

    Krkic is rolling right now, with dynamic, hard-working play. The Bilbao brace really energized him and buttressed his confidence, but he isn’t the unstoppable force that we need to augment Messi. Ibrahimovic is, so it’s a stone-cold bummer that he isn’t playing for us tomorrow.

    Having a fully fit Iniesta partnering Xavi in the midfield (if he is anywhere else, Guardiola is crazy) will be huge. Logic does indeed dictate that Henry should start alongside Messi and Krkic, but he has done absolutely nothing to earn that start. Guardiola would be taking a risk that he has a few more big matches in him, but no real match fitness. So he would start rather than sub, because he generally has the suck as a sub.

    The final score could be 4-0 for either side, or any point in between. I could even see a 0-0 draw, as they stop Messi and our defense does what it has been doing so well this season.

    I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was verrrry nervous about this one, mostly because of its import …. I think the Liga is at stake here, but also because we don’t have Abidal, who not only controls his side of the pitch, but patrols an area from sideline to sideline with his pace and athleticism. He can also get forward, and still have the pace to get back. We lose so much in having Maxwell in there, but perhaps that loss is a gain, since he will stay home more, thus preventing that drawers-down counterattack.

    • April 9, 2010

      Will you start Iniesta instead of Keita and put two of Henry/Pedro/Bojan on the field or You keep both Keita and Iniesta as they can both serve better (even for goal scoring) than the first option? I think if both Keita and Iniesta are fully fit, Pep will start them both without hesitation.

      Dominating the game is the most important factor in this game. Real Madrid is a counter attacking team, without the ball and the spaces to move it forward, they are just normal. Having solid possession game will generate enough chances for us to score. Possession+closing spaces in the midfield+threat in the box coming from the midfield A.K.A Keita leads to one conclusion: Distructive Pentagon. Just hope both Iniesta and Keita are game fit.

      • lovelymofo
        April 9, 2010

        Destructive Pentagon? That sounds awesome. That would mean Xavi-Busquets-Iniesta-Keita-Messi? Is that correct?

        I figure they must want to shut down our midfield, but not sure how they would go about it. Especially if Pep is going for power down the middle (with the destructive pentagon).

  14. Jim
    April 9, 2010

    I think the first 20 minutes will tell us all we need to know. Do we start by pressing as if our lives depended on it? CR9 will take the easier option of Maxwell( less pace than Alves) so can we give Maxwell enough cover so that he can tackle him outside the box? Actually I’m happier with him on the right as I’ve a horrid feeling Alves wouldn’t last 45 minutes on the park if CR9 played down the left. I have a feeling offside decisions may well play a part in this as both defensive lines will push up.

    I’m confident we’ll still have 60% possession so that’ll be a new experience for them and less time on the ball for Alonso. Don’t know why I’m worried about him. I’d put him way behind our two.

    There’s still a bit of me that wants to see Henry start. If you think about Messi’s little through balls to the left in recent games they are made for Henry’s runs. Can’t say he deserves it but Pedro and Bojan up front wouldn’t worry me if I were a Madrid defender.

    Finally, if the above seems rambling with no obvious linkage I apologise but can you imagine what we’ll all be like by tomorrow?

    Anyway, there’s no point in me expecting the guys to be confident if I don’t have confidence in them so bring it on !

    • majatt
      April 9, 2010

      we could go Puyol @LB, Pique/Milito in the Middle and Maxwell @LM with Iniesta @LF

  15. Kxevin
    April 9, 2010

    I will be a gibbering idiot by tomorrow, so I’m being lucid today.

    Hey, anyone see Sport saying that Laporta has verbal agreements with as many as three players. One of them, says the nonsensical report is definitely Fabregas. The other is either Balotelli or Villa. Uh …. hmmm …. let’s see. 😀

    The final deal is contingent upon the approval of Guardiola. Gotta love silly season stuff, even at the most crucial time of the season for the club.

    • Alex
      April 9, 2010

      I also saw this, sounds like complete crap if you ask me, especially sine it comes from SPORT.

      Nice to see the readers of a Madrid-centric news source like clearly realize our entire team (excluding Valdes, although I disagree) is better than the EE counterparts:


      Also, I think Puyol is our best option at left back, with Pique and Milito in the center. Puyol bitch slapped Ronaldo last year in the CL final, and Puyols positioning knowledge is better as well, I also think Puyol may be a bit faster than Maxwell…..

      Lets see Yaya, Busi, and Xavi in the middle, with Iniesta, Henry, and Messi up-front, bringing Pedro and/or Krkic around minute 70 to run circles around Garay and Albiol………

      • Jnice
        April 9, 2010

        Nah, there’s no way we can put Puyol at LB over Maxwell. Remember how crucial he was to us in the first Clasico this season? Shoving him to the wing where even if he is a bit faster than Maxwell (don’t know about that one), he still isn’t as fast as Cristiano. Maxwell is not Abidal, but if Maxwell stays back and concentrates, we’ll be alright. However, if we have the ball most of the game, we won’t really have to worry about this…

        • Alex
          April 9, 2010

          True, I just watched the highlights of the first Clasico in Camp Nou and had forgotten that Puyol pretty much saved three huge goal scoring opportunities for for EE….Marcelo, Higuain, and Benzema. Blocked all three of them, what a beast.

          • Corrine
            April 9, 2010

            * crazy man

  16. Liza
    April 9, 2010

    I am so nervous, seeing that squad list. The idea of Pedro, Bojan, and Messi up front is terrifying to me! I really really wanted Ibra to be back for this one. If Henry can magic himself back into some kind of form for a game, this would be the time. We need some muscle/height up there! With all the hype around Messi, I would like to have another real goal scorer up there to take advantage of the space he’ll make. Not saying that Bojan and Pedro can’t do it, it’s just that… Well, I’m not a convert to Bojan’s side yet, to be frank. I think RM will be able to push him off the ball too easily. Prove me wrong; I dare you, Bojan!!!!

    I’m going to predict a 1-1 draw– and that’s my pessimistic side talking. I’ll keep the faith though. Barca can be thoroughly awesome when put under pressure, that’s for sure!!

  17. Rohanv
    April 9, 2010

    I have a faint feeling that Henry will get a start. Not completely sure why, but I think he’ll work his ass off if he does get on the field, Madrid will not be expecting him on there or to do much, and that could work greatly to our benefit. Like everyone else who’s been called to step up despite cules hating on them, I think he’ll have a good game, and it fits into Guardiola’s tendency to put something out there that most people don’t expect.

  18. Jose
    April 9, 2010

    I can feel myself slowly descending into a slobbering, nervous rage… 2pm tomorrow can’t come soon enough…

  19. jordi™
    April 9, 2010

    Man this match is perfect for henry, come on dude, we need you!.Sucks that ibragol is out but remember a draw is all we need, but a win of course will end their season then and there.If we start like we did at the Emirates, then i am sorry, we win this, unless of course Iker is up for this game like he usually is against us.

  20. andrew M
    April 9, 2010

    very cool interview with Dani Alves


  21. fcbfan
    April 9, 2010

    Isaiah, your prediction are usually at least 50% right. Hope it is the same this time, but then this is clasico. Who predicted 2-6 last year? I’m sticking to my draw pred. Prematch buzz more often are wrong. Messi and thong boy won’t score. All right, Valdes will keep a clean sheet. A Busi hattrick, Henry makes Ramos do an own goal… game can’t start soon enough. I am nervous obviously. expecting the worse.

    • ElShowDeJason
      April 9, 2010

      last season, after we won 2-0 at home, i said “Next time, when we have Iniesta, we’ll win by four!”

      (I had no idea my prediction would come true!)

  22. Kari
    April 9, 2010

    Brilliant, brilliant article by Tim Vickery on the role Messi had vs Arsenal. It’s what I thought as well. Note: this was written the day BEFORE we played Arsenal at Camp Nou:


    • Liza
      April 9, 2010

      I found this a while ago as well. I found it quite interesting and very well written. Makes you think.

  23. vicsoc8
    April 9, 2010

    After seeing Eklavya’s squad setup, and some heavy contemplation, what if we lined up like this:

    Alves – Pique – Milito – Puyol
    Xavi – Busquets – Iniesta
    Messi – Henry – Keita

  24. poipoi
    April 10, 2010

    hi guys, haven’t been commenting lately ’cause I’ve been moving to an attic near canaletas 😀

    both messi and pep (the team) couldn’t come to the game in a better moment. I think the line-up will be:

    alves pique puyol maxi
    xavi keita
    pedro! messi!! iniesta

    and you still have the “Y bomb” ready to blow for the tactical wizardry of pep, la yaya on the bench! … and bojan.
    I think busi does great in the big games, he’s a hell of a CL player 😉 and with him and keita iniesta can come back to receive the ball and help. I am seeing lass hanged up in xavi’s back. And we don’t have to worry much about our forwards converting cause p! and specially messi are pure fire. I am confident I guess but anything can happen this is football!!!! visca el barça

  25. Jim
    April 10, 2010

    Did I miss this? I’m guessing its Xavi getting the freedom of his home town? Some lovely pics that show what it means to him. Was this earlier this week? If so, he’s had some week.


    • Eklavya
      April 10, 2010

      Whoa, whats going on? Is Xavi crying??

      • andrew M
        April 10, 2010

        what was this event and why does he always wear shiny suits? pep needs to give him some fashion tips

        • inNYC
          April 10, 2010

          Amen, brother. Doesn’t he have sisters or a girlfriend? It is their job to stop him from appearing in public in ridiculous clothes.

    • SoccerMom
      April 10, 2010

      It’s a medal of honor from his pueblo.
      A Spaniard is loyal to 3 things, the saying goes: his mamá, his equipo de fútbol, and his pueblo.

  26. AJ
    April 10, 2010

    Projector: Check
    Online streaming (damn you ESPN!): Check
    Red wine and single malt: Check
    Azulgrana and EE fans coming over: Check

    Yup, all set for el classico! 🙂

  27. Helge
    April 10, 2010

    Wow, you are really optimistic, Isaiah 🙂
    Brilliant preview nonetheless.

    After watching the video from the last Clasico, I gotta say Kaka was damn good. Maybe the loss of Kaka and Zlatan even out.

    I’ll go with no prediction at all, because this match simply is unpredictable. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result, imo.

  28. April 10, 2010

    ESPN’s channel listings have El Clasico on at 1pm. Are they going off of West Coast time or what, our match is at 4 right?

  29. inNYC
    April 10, 2010

    Look everyone, a Messi made of chocolate:


  30. UAI
    April 10, 2010

    Barcelona “behind the scenes” thing at
    I didn’t realize Laporta’s english is so good

    • Jnice
      April 10, 2010

      Yeah, I’ve heard him speak in English several times and it really is good. Nice link.

  31. stowe
    April 10, 2010

    I know that Henry has done nothing lately, but you have to think he would love to show he still has the ‘stuff.’

    Also, I can’t figure out the exclusion of Yaya. I think Busquets is a great player and I’m excited at his improvement with the coming International tournament this summer, but I think that Yaya brings more strength, experience and composure to the side. I really don’t think we are gonna have him around next season. Keita is getting advanced in years too, so I’m wondering who’s going to provide depth in those positions in the next few years. the youth are great, but they aren’t big and strong like keita and yaya.

    4am is going to come waaaay too early, at least it’s not as bad as 2:45 and 3:45 like the Arsenal games were. I shall kill someone if I can’t get it on tv or a decent stream 🙂 CCTV5 will hopefully be airing it and working on my tv. (don’t complain about Deportes)

  32. SoccerMom
    April 10, 2010

    SoMa is SO glad that the Barçabloggers are more gabby, less crabby. She’s been in the sunken living room, playing Chubby Checker LPs on the hi-fi, raising a highball and waiting for y’all to sleep it off. Like we did last summer … like we did last yeaaaar!

    It is springtime in Camp Nou. An esprit de corps of joie de vivre, if you will. A certain easy breezy childlike (most unlike a certain childish Portuguesie) touch to the tiki taka. El País says of Messi: “Los niños no preguntan. Sale al patio a jugar” (Children don’t analyze. They just go outside and play). Messi bouncing the ball he dribbled to 4 goles (no poker face, there). Bojan melting at a thumbs-up from Capt. Pep like the little leaguer spotting his papa in the bleachers. Pique presents his book (that’s right, he done write a LEE-BRO) and his Blaugrana buddies are there, waving and jostling like they’ve never seen a TV camera before. Dani is swarmed aprés a team lunch and giggles, ‘I can’t talk about Saturday! I’m not allowed to!’ Like most kiddie bugs, it’s contagious.

    So like Messi (because SoMa is SO like Messi), SoMa will not analyze. Que los niños salgan al patio. It’s time to jugar.

    • ooga aga
      April 10, 2010

      bueno, a mi me toca analizar:

      la poesia de SoMa es como el juego de la pulga = divina!

      thanks for the positivity and smiles….

  33. y2k156
    April 10, 2010

    I think we will go with VV – Alves,Puyi, Pique, Maxwell – Busi, Xavi, Iniesta – Keita, Messi, Pedro. I wish Henry was the man but he is not and Pep i think is shrewd manager. I might be totally wrong though:).

    Cannot wait for match to start. Just hoping for a good match and really praying for our win.

    And to think, last week i was in Barcelona next to Nou Camp just waiting to be admitted inside to watch the team in action LIVE. Alas, time goes on.

  34. Lev
    April 10, 2010

    Pumped up for the match! Also happy that according to your posts it will only be shown on ESPN deportes, meaning i won’t have to put up with physically challenged commentators who can only speak from their a··hole, jaja.
    I’d take a 0-5 win over EE over winning la Liga anyday, but this game can go either way. I’m a bit nervous to be honest I can easily envision us losing here (both the game and the league).

    Btw, Kxevin my apologies I specifically asked you to reply in a previous post regarding objectivity in sports journalism yanks vs euros and then life got in the way and I never got to reply to your response, which was great btw. There is definitely room for opinion in us sports coverage, Bill Simmons being a great example (who is coincidentally one of my fav sportswriters – and no I don’t support any Boston teams). One of the things which make US sports journalism more objective imo is your fondness of statistics. Whether stats tell the whole story or not is open to the debate, but I do think said use of statistics is a way of at least attempting to be as objective as possible when measuring the performance of teams and players.

    Anyway just wanted to get back to you on that cause i appreciate your taking the time to reply.

    In the meantime ¡VISCA EL BARÇA! ¡VISCA CATALUNYA! and for the off chance anyone here understands criollo ¡QUE EL EMPIRICO VAYA PAL COÑO! lol

  35. ooga aga
    April 10, 2010

    GolTV is showing it live at 4 pm eastern, then replaying it at 7 pm eastern, also at 7 pm eastern sunday, and i think also 8 pm monday? check on that at *

    If you cant watch it live… since it is on GolTV you can just download the TVU player, which is much easier than downloading the whole match from rapidshare or mediafire or whatever, and then watch the replay on GolTV (TVU channel 65217) when they show it again.

  36. May 11, 2010

    I highly doubt it as I’ve gambled on Partypoker and Bodog when it was legal and they randomly move you to protect from cheating. People using multiple computers at one table. It takes work to get real cash credited to your account and it usually isn’t credited immediately. I just find it odd you wouldn’t notice people leaning up behind you when the cards on any online poker site ain’t very big to know your hand takes crazy vision and half your cards are hidden by your body anyway. While it may seem genius I just think a lot of luck is involved to get an FML like that.

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