The Galicians Are Coming! Barça – Depor

Liga Preview: Barça – Depor, Wednesday, 4pmEST, ESPN Deportes/ESPN360

It’s back to the regular old hum-drum of the league, eh? It’s the winding down, it’s the last 7 matches, it’s la recta final, all that jazz. Yawn. Deportivo la Coruña? On a Wednesday night? What could be more pedestrian? They’re not even in the top 10 of the league–oh wait, they are? Really? Depor? Haven’t they failed to win for like…18 months? Isn’t their top scorer Riki? Oh, it’s only been 6 matches since they won? Oh, Riki has 6 goals? That’s not too bad.

So I guess this isn’t going to be a walk in the park? I mean, maybe it will be, but we’re without Iniesta now for the rest of the league season and maybe even the Champions League final, if we make it, and that makes the match all the harder. Little Don Andres Gusiluz Ghostface is out with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that kept him out of action for the past few weeks; he returned for cameo appearances against Arsenal and RM at the weekend, but is now set to miss a solid month of fixtures. Can you type tears? Well, if you can, that’s what I’m doing.

Despite my half-joking about them above, Depor is no walk in the park, it’s just that without Felipe Luis, they’re struggling mightily and I don’t think they’ll get back to their winning ways against us. Not right now, not with the momentum and ability we have on our side. Messi and Xavi are playing out of this world and while we’ve got a massive derby coming up on Saturday and a ridiculous game against Inter on Tuesday, we’re in this thing to win it and Depor is not going to get in our way. They play boring, boring football, but don’t allow many goals, but they don’t score many either (36GF and 36GA all year; 15GF 16GA away from home), so I’m thinking it will be a fairly drab affair where they sit back and try to counter us sometimes, kinda, but mostly just are boring. Ugh.

What we have in store for us from now until the end of the league season is this:

  • Depor, @Espanyol, Xerez, @Villarreal, Tenerife, @Sevilla, Valladolid.

What they (and I’m no longer talking Depor here) have is this:

  • @Almeria, Valencia, @Zaragoza, Osasuna, @Mallorca, Athletic, @Malaga

The toughest game in there is our trip to Sevilla while their toughest match looks to be the trip to ONO Estadi to face Mallorca. Not that Villarreal is a walk in the park whatsoever, it’s just not as daunting this year as the trip to Sevilla, which is strange because Villarreal held their own against 1-1 in our meeting at the Camp Nou while we throttled Sevilla 4-0. I’m hoping that we arrive at the Sevilla match with a pasillo waiting for us, but that’s probably a bit much to ask. All-in-all, I think our road to the final jornada is a bit tougher, but it’s hardly worth talking about since we have our destiny in our own hands and it’s ours to lose.

And first step to not losing is beating the pants off of Depor. That means keeping Andres Guardado in check while also simply keeping them off the scoreboard. At their place we beat them 1-3 with 2 goals from Messi and one from Ibra (highlights here). So anyway, we’ve got to keep them bottled up and that means no stupid backwards headers–Busi. The key, to me, is to come out firing and not back down. I think that means a return to the backline of Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell, even though I know that Abidal is back in training. I don’t want to push him back early and would rather have him for Espanyol and Inter than for this match against Depor.

Ibra will miss out after still not training with the squad, but I think he’ll be back for Espanyol and definitely for Inter. That’s good news for us in the future, but for now we’ll have to stick with our rotational striker group. I’m expecting to see Henry out there because, well, who else do we have? In the midfield I really, really want to see Yaya, so that he can show us all what we’ve been missing the last few matches (come on, Guardiola, play him more!) and so that Busi can get a rest. Kid’s all tuckered out, I think. Not only that, but I think that a midfield partnership of Yaya-Keita-Xavi will be dominate against Depor, who, while having a capable midfield, isn’t the team they were (Guardado’s words, not mine) and I think a stamp of authority on the match will go a long ways.

Up front, then, I’m going with Bojan, Henry, and Messi to round out the squad. La Pulga probably needs some kind of a rest, but he’s 22 and doesn’t seem to enjoy resting yet, so I think Guardiola will keep playing him. So, the full lineup:

Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, THE YAYA, Keita, Xavi, Bojan, Henry, Messi.

I’m not expecting a romp, but I think that a romp could be in the works. We’re firing on all cylinders (all 500 of them!) and we’re almost back to Status: Machine like we were towards the end of the season last year when we made small teams go kablooey! That’s right, kablooey.

Time: 10pm Barcelona/local time, 4pmEST, check your local time here
Watch: In the US, this match will be on ESPN Deportes and
Weather:  ~54F (~12C), partly cloud to clear, 0% chance of rain.

And begin disagreeing with me….NOW!

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. *

    Strike by Spanish players not going to happen!

  2. Man I’m going to miss Iniesta so much. Next to Messi he’s probably my favorite player when he’s on. But, I think we will be fine without him, we are playing like a machine right now.

    And man how gross was that Felipe Luis injury? why did I watch the replay like 5x? that’s not leaving my nightmares anytime soon…

  3. everyone is, well, except for the teams that played earlier today.

    short and sweet preview. I’ll fill in the predictions for you.

    Predictions: 3-1

  4. This has me in splits. SOOO FUNNY! Crackòvia – “Lionel, Messi”, esgota definicions. Pure genius.


    “Leo, Leo, Leo”
    “Leo, Leo, Leo’
    “Leo, Leo, Leo
    “puto Leo”


    1. I’ve seen those 😀 . Ah Crackovia… I wish they had those types of show here in NA 🙁

      Then again, the coaches are can be quite entertaining…


    2. Ugh. My English teachers are weeping. Hopefully, you get the gist of what I’m trying to say…

  5. So sad for Iniesta. But I hope he just works hard on getting better so that he can play the Champion’s League final (if we get there/when we get there) and be on point for the World Cup.

    Anyway, I too hope that Yaya gets a start, he needs it.

    1. two big time players for spain are hurt right now. both Fabregas and Iniesta will be lacking regular playing time when the club season comes to an end. interesting

  6. Last I checked Pique still had a bit of discomfort in his leg, so my lineup guess is:

    Alves – Txigrinksi – Puyol – Maxwell
    Xavi – Yaya – Keita
    Bojan – Messi – Henry

    1. Depor will fight (& foul) us hard, so I believe Yaya will exercise his muscles to fight back. Can’t see Busi’s diving anymore… those despicable weak-ass dives.

  7. “And begin disagreeing with me….NOW!”

    ok, everything you said is wrong, except for of course the things you said that are right.

  8. It’s spectacular that you guys get so many posts in during the week!! A big salute to the both of you!!

    A few thoughts..

    1) I don’t get how Iniesta keeps getting injured oh! so many times in a season. The one thing that impresses me the most about Pep reign is that he revamped the whole medical aspect of the club from eating habits to specific training methods and what not. I just don’t get how our poor ghostface is more or less always on the treatment table towards the end of the season… I’m pretty sure he’s secretly snaking in between meals!

    2) We are really threadbare right now! call me pessimistic but Henry is more a liability than anything else. Reinforcements are in order in the summer for sure

    3) Arsenal seems to like Caceres although I would have like to give him another season with us covering for alves on the right wing. He’s quick, not so sure about his crossing (can’t be much worse than Alves on that front), he knows his main job is defence and he knows the Barca system already. If we are going to sell him to Juve or Arsenal, I hope we get top dollar for him cos i think we’ll lose a lil when we sell Hleb cos noone seems to want him.

    4) Tonight’s game is going to be one of the hardest for Pep to motivate the players but I think he’s capable of getting a result at the Camp Nou tonight. No more injuries please!!!!!!!

    1. i think juve has an option to buy caceres, and if they dont exercise that option, as kxevin has pointed out smartly, why would he be good enough for us?

      unless we see something they dont…

    2. The issue, as I understand it, is that Juve want Caceres, but they don’t want to pay what we are asking for him.

  9. I hope the guys don’t relax after all the excitement when we played Arsenal and the EE. I guess the tough one will be against Espanyol, who play unusually intense every time we meet them. Oh boy! How would they like to ruin our title chances…it is their wettest dream!
    Despite one of my brothers being an Espanyol fan (and me having been raised in Sarrià going to the stadium every now and then for just 100 pesetas), I can only say: “Perico que vuela, perico a la cazuela!!” 🙂


    Arsenal and FC Barcelona officials met in a private meeting during the Londoners most recent visit to the Camp Nou to discuss the future of Cesc Fabregas.

    After their meeting, it’s been publicly declared that Barcelona officials assured Arsenal leaders that we will NOT be pursuing the signing of Fabregas this summer!


    LaPorta is a genius. By making such an agreement, the next President, whoever he is, won’t be able to make promises of grandeur in order to swoon voters. I know the administration will be changing, but the agreement between clubs will keep us from so many dangerous things…

    -Like wasting our money
    -infuriating Pep with Presidential promises/jargon
    -Bringing Cesc over to our side too soon
    -forcing Jonathan Dos Santos to ride the pine.

    All these things are avoided now.

    AH it’s so good to root for this club. Comments? Rebuttals?

    1. Wow just read that. Very, very happy.

      JDS really has the potential to be a much better midfielder than Cesc, so this decision really goes a long way in securing his stay with us.

    2. Or, when the new president comes through and still tries to sign Fabregas, everyone will accuse us of lying and not sticking to our word and so on and so forth. I don’t think the Fabregas issue is over by a long shot.

  11. Caceres is not bad. I haven’t heard much about him recently but he was in the Juve starting 11 during the first half of the season. Juve will probably buy him.

  12. I do not give much credence to any announcement. In football, we have seen too many times for teams to say something and do something else. I agree that right now it might not be a best time for Cesc to come but if he does, i shall welcome him with open arms.

    Expecting a tough one today. Hoping for a early goal as we need to conserve bit of energy for crazy week ahead.

  13. Caceres is gone and dusted. Done. The only question is how much we sell him for.

    Hleb is also gone. We are going to take a loss on both of them. Only question is how much.

    A significant question this summer is going to be squad depth, particularly in the midfield, and a reliable replacement for Ghostface. Krkic? Thiago? JDS is more of a Xavi type than an Iniesta type.

    Does anyone realized that after losing the home leg of El Clasic last season, EE embarked on a 4-match losing streak? Brave, plucky, strong-at-home Almeria is not the team they want to be seeing right now.

    Thankfully we are home against Depor. I wouldn’t trust us on the road right now. A psychological letdown will be difficult to avoid, so the buttressing of home will help a lot.

    The only definites that I can see leaving this summer are Henry and Marquez. The Yaya is a potential departure. There might also be a few other surprises, though helping matters will be that Txiki will be leaving in June, when Laporta leaves the house. So I will expect that any transfers we are going to do will be announced very early, or very late. Probably the former rather than the latter.

    That Fabregas thing, I’m calling bullshit on. Once Laporta’s successor comes in, all bets are off.

    1. I agree totally on the last point! Laporta is as conniving as he is.. well just okay 🙂 A deal like this stops Rosell from making any promises when it comes to Cesc. He’s probably going to go the Ribery, Villa, Silva or even Torres way but there’s noone the Camp nou faithful would want more than Cesc.

      This deal coupled with a pre election comment from Pep saying something along the lines of “We don’t need Cesc this season and I’ve spoken with him and he wants to stay at arsenal for another season but will surely come home next season” will surely throw Rosell out of the race. All he will have then is a new plan which will be similiar to what is already in place except that he wants to get rid of Txiki… doesn’t bode well for him at all

    2. Henry I understand, but why do you think they’ll sell Marquez? He hasn’t been totally consistent, but he’s had great games and he is the type of passing, playmaking centerback that our system needs. Pep also clearly still has some faith in him, choosing Rafa to start over Toure in the Arsenal home leg.

      If he wants to leave in search of more playing time then that’s one thing, but I’d still like him to stay in case Pique gets injured. I think Chygrynski is Marquez’s eventual replacement, but right now I’d feel better with Rafa on the field for important games. (I really like Chygrynski but I think he needs another year before he’ll be ready for the big matches).

    3. Marquez is gone because we have defenders coming out the wazoo: Botia, Adriano, Txigrinski are all ready, and all have the Marquez skill set, with the advantage of youth. This doesn’t take into account Milito (who might also be sold), Pique and Puyol. That’s a lotta guys for two positions.

      Add to that the necessary blooding of the likes of Muniesa and Dalmau, and you suddenly have a glut of top-quality defenders, which ain’t bad thing to have. I wish we had that problem in the midfield.

      –Spare a thought for poor Filipe Luis, who went from almost getting aboard the AVE bound for Barcelona, to staying in Depor and suffering a horrific injury.

  14. Isaiah, def. agree it wont be a walk in the park, we will miss iniesta, at least the sense of “having him there”.. but this brings me back to last season, we had a small squad, made it work and got 6 cups, so really we’ll be fine!

    Depor, not really a concern.. but then again… we need to demolish them early and not let the guard down.

  15. tbh I am more worried of Espanyol than Depor. That said, it won’t be an easy game.

    I am hoping both Thiago and JS make it to first team. So the later Cesc come home the better. Both Yaya and Busi and of course Iniesta when he’s fit can run the midfield. Still not enough?

  16. Hmmmm the thing that frustrates me with not buying an Iniesta replacement and relying on the cantera players is that Pep never really plays them. I mean we usually give one of them a shot each year. Last year Busquets, this year Pedro. I know that Copa del Rey usually helps in us getting them playing time, but it seems to me we gotta give these kids a shot more often and for more quality minutes if we need to rely on them. God forbid, but imagine Xavi going out with injury on top of Iniesta what do we do then? I think JDS, Thiago, have enough quality to go in against a team like Tenerife, even Bartra looked good that one time. Obviously I don’t know how ready they are because I’m not a trainer, but come on, let’s see what these kids can do or let’s buy some re-enforcements!

    1. I do not buy completely into idea of getting young players into first 11 just willy nilly. Its great that we have so many players from youth system. at top level, margin for error is quite small so a prudent approach is always better then gung ho one. I like arsenal and they follow the route of giving young kids a chance sooner. Do not think they have won host of trophies by that approach even if they play pretty football. We have a good mix and one or two players into senior side every year is a huge achievement by any account, especially if you consider that ours is a trophy winning team in last few years.

    2. Obviously I’m not saying willy-nilly, and I’m not suggesting they start or anything, but a steady rotation of 10-15 minutes against lower table la liga teams could do a lot to a young player’s confidence and perhaps get them to a level like Pedro or Busquets quicker. I agree that one or two players a year is huge, and we all have seen what happened with Bojan coming up to quickly. I just think this idea of a small squad is a dangerous gamble, look at Arsenal now, they practically have no one left on that squad to carry them due to all their freak injuries.

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