Catalan Derby LiveBlog, Barca v Espanyol!

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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.


  1. vicsoc8
    April 17, 2010

    Glad to see Toure is starting – he deserves it after the way he played against Deportivo. Good man management by Pep

  2. Jim
    April 17, 2010

    Signs not great so far. I’ve a feeling we aren’t going to finish with eleven here. Need a goal soon. Maxwell’s not a forward and Pedro has disappeared ( again). Maybe Henry?

    Also, Xavi needs to move back into his normal role. Too far forward at times.

    • Kxevin
      April 17, 2010

      Nice calls, Jim. Didn’t work out, though. Almost did. Had Alves not been sent off, might have been different. But that’s life.

  3. stephen
    April 17, 2010

    I blame Henrys subtitution. Why not Ibrah, pep? why….

    • Jim
      April 17, 2010

      Doesn’t matter who you have up front if you can’t get them the ball…..

    • Kxevin
      April 17, 2010

      You can’t blame Henry’s substitution. Did you see the space he created by occupying defenders and making breaks off the ball? Will you then blame Busquets for being terrible, Alves for being sent off (he should have known better), Milito for terrible ball after terrible ball, Xavi for passing like crap at crucial times?

      No. Why do we always gang up on one man, usually the most convenient target? Ibrahimovic made less of a difference than Henry when he came on. Keita was the sub with the biggest effect.

      • stephen
        April 17, 2010

        I felt the change when Ibrah came in, more passes, Henry I dont think completed a pass?? maybe he did, I mustve missed it. Im just saying Ibrah would’ve made a bigger difference with more than 8 minutes in.
        I don’t think the rest of the team did great, but putting Henry a man who has not shown ANYTHING this season in this game was sort of stupid, I think even Bojan would’ve been better.

  4. vicsoc8
    April 17, 2010

    We never got in gear, simple as that. Espanyol facilitated this with their negative tactics, but we need to win these games.

    After all, how do you think Inter is going to play?

  5. Lev
    April 17, 2010

    Disappointing. Espanyol basically played us the way we can expect Inter to play.
    Btw, I always thought it was Henry who should have been replaced last summer instead of Eto’o, but who could have predicted that Titi would suck so much this season that Pep is resorting to Maxwell taking his place and playing Puyol at left back?

    • Kxevin
      April 17, 2010

      So it sounds like my review should read “Henry costs us the Espanyol win. He sucks.” Rest of the team, 10, Henry, 1.

      Jeez. Really?

      • y2k156
        April 17, 2010

        Though i write about Henry, i do not think he played bad. I think he did ok. What is clear though is that he is not the player he once was and maybe last season was his second wind. But today is not about Henry.

        It was about Espanyol playing well, Busi’s stupidity really hurting us and really poor games by Milito, Maxwell, Pedro, Xavi. Honestly i dont think our players covered themselves in glory today. Only ones i have good words about are Valdes, Pique and Messi.

      • stephen
        April 17, 2010

        We were playing 10 men before Alves was sent off. then we had 9…

  6. Ethan
    April 17, 2010

    awful game. guardiola did not get outcoached, espanyol just had no desire to play to win, just to hack us and foul every chance and ruin any rhythm we could have. bad tactics by the other team who had only one goal in mind. i guess they achieved it, but for a team as far down as they are in the table, pretty dumb that there only concern was to make sure we didnt score, i felt like we were playing an italian team that wanted to go to penalties. probably should have had ibra on much sooner as he is needed for a bad game like today. really a bummer when a spanish team comes to play us with no intention of winning. oh well.

  7. y2k156
    April 17, 2010

    Let me try to be level headed for a minute. Espanyol did play well and matched us for great extent in the match.

    I hate them. Would celebrate if they go down to second division.

    The referee killed the game for us. Not that he was really bad but he was bad. He gave so many decisions against us that it was silly. Alves’ decision was not a second yellow by any light. I also do not like Busi today. He killed at least few of our own attacks by his silly acting. Henry is past it.

    Espanyol cheated like a pimp but its difficult to blame them as they cannot match us in any thing.

  8. Fares
    April 17, 2010

    I usually don’t bitch about refs, but i think this ref is a disgrace. All his calls were just influenced by the crowd and the players, and Espanyol have been hacking at our feet for a full 90 minutes and we get a red card for a challenge that wasn’t even a foul? Bullshit!

  9. jordi™
    April 17, 2010

    Well, Kameni wasnt needed today anyway 🙂

    Man no more room for error, we must win every game from now . did we have a shot i target btw?

  10. Kxevin
    April 17, 2010

    I can run down the list, if we’re looking to blame people:

    Guardiola: Not a match for Pedro or Busquets.
    Valdes: Faultless.
    Alves: Stupid. Should have known better. Let the defense control the man.
    Milito: Terrible. Just terrible.
    Puyol: Ineffective at crucial times.
    Xavi: Bad pass after bad pass.
    Messi: Never understood pass and move.
    Pedro!: Atrocious.
    Pique: Bad passes.
    Maxwell: Just plain terrible, and so on.

    It isn’t any single player’s fault, and the sooner we realize that, the happier we will be. Espanyol played the match they had to play to win, and their movements and tactics were designed to get a player sent off. Alves obliged them by being stupid.

    • y2k156
      April 17, 2010

      I flat out disagree with Messi comment. Do watch him again. There is not even a single time in this game when we can blame him for being selfish. He passed the ball every single time.

    • stephen
      April 17, 2010

      I disagree about Messi, the man tried. It was a collective effort to tie, but we were ALREADy playing badly and a SINGLE MAN who was supposed to come in and perhaps change the face of the game COULDNT even complete a pass.. come on…

    • Kari
      April 17, 2010

      Completely disagree on Messi. He was our most dangerous player and had no one to pass to/ a target man. Every thing he did, he made himself. Messi has been selfish in past games, but NOT in one.

      Also, Pique had bad passes but on the defense he was solid and won everything in the air. Not to mention crucial block on Osvaldo and Callejon.

      Offensively Pique and Puyol were bad i.e passes and such, but defensively they were solid–especially Pique.

  11. vicsoc8
    April 17, 2010

    Players who were poor today:


    Players who weren’t good:


  12. Vj
    April 17, 2010

    Its laughable really.. They kick us from the onset, and our players get sent off.. Madridista press puts pressure on those incompetent blind morons in black and white and they buckle with ease.. I wonder if Alves gets that non-existent yellow rescinded they rescinded Kameni and Albiol’s suspensions..

    Pep should’ve started with Henry and not rolled out such a weak starting XI.. They crowded out Messi and Xavi because you can take out Pedro and Maxwell from the game with half a leg..

    That said, it could’ve really been worse if it weren’t for Valdes and Pique (although he got burned a few times). That said, its really tough to play 5 games in 14 days.. No wonder the players were tired and listless..

    Hope we learn the lessons and not fuck up against Villareal and Sevilla..

  13. Jnice
    April 17, 2010

    Wish Atletico Madrid would play Real like that.

    Anyway, wasn’t hopeful of scoring. Ref was shameful, Callejon was diving all game and finally got Alves sent off. Our passing was pathetic, Dani, Milito, and even Xavi to some extent were the culprits in that respect. Busquets and Yaya did nothing. Only player that looked a threat was Messi.

    We have to win every game from here on out, but don’t know if that will be possible. I’m sure Madrid will win out, though.

  14. Kxevin
    April 17, 2010

    Ultimately, vicsoc is right. We need to win these matches if we want to be champions. We have come up short in two crucial away matches: Atletico, who are terrible, and Espanyol, who are worse.

    Would Iniesta have helped? Almost certainly. Xavi had no help until Keita came on, as Busquets was the personification of ineffectual misery. Maxwell was also awful.

    But Guardiola should have realized that this was the kind of match where you need back-to-goal players, who can then make the pass to a cutter. Pedro isn’t that player. The two players we have who can do that, Henry and Ibrahimovic came in, but too late.

    And that’s life in the big city. We still are supposed to win these. The ref didn’t call that bad a match. Players are supposed to realize that, and play through it. Look at the challenges that Pique backed out of in dangerous positions, because he saw how the match was being called.

    We are champions, and didn’t play like it today. Simple as that.

    • stephen
      April 17, 2010

      I agree that the ref had little to do with anything he called fouls for both sides, it was frustrating how much the game stopped.

    • Ethan
      April 17, 2010

      i dont think u can fault guardiola for not seeing the fact that all espanyol cared about was keeping the score 0-0. if they had come out to play, our lineup would have been fine. now all i hope is that the rest of the league doesnt play us for draws now, making it difficult as all hell to win the league with draws as the teams left will almost certainly lay down for madrid. oh, and an end point, its an utter disgrace to the governing body of la liga when they rescind those 2 cards, so the keeper can play us and madrid have an essential defender back to play tomorrow. u cant just make those decisions like that after the ones you have made all season. ur a governing body that is supposed to be unbiased, but u have clearly show where ur interests lie. disgraceful.

  15. April 17, 2010

    Sometimes instead of railing against our players, we should give the other team credit. Espanyol did what they had to do — they made it difficult, they harried, the nipped and fouled and hacked, they played smart, they played hard, they threw us off our game, and they came away with a point. Well done to them, tough luck to us, and on to Inter.

    • Bojan
      April 17, 2010

      can’t agree with that, because this was espanyol’s finest game, it doens’t play like that it was pure envy of the barca success thats all, they didnt play to win or draw they played to hurt and humiliate. really shamefull 🙁

  16. jordi™
    April 17, 2010

    lol how is henry being blamed? This game isnt any one player’s fault, and if it was it wouldnt be henry.Maxwell por example killed everything that went to his feet.Games like this make me wish we had a mascherano type player, to snap into tackles, but then with our luck he’d get sent off.Anyway we arent going to get any help for the refs or the committee or rival teams or anyone but ourselves so we just need to roll up the sleeves and get on with it.

  17. Kxevin
    April 17, 2010

    People are going to laugh, because both of these guys sucked too, but this would have been a great match for the likes of Hleb and Gudjohnsen, somebody to help with possession in the midfield so that Xavi could find his feet. We were rushing everything, because of how Espanyol were playing, and frankly, the pressure. We have lots of attackers and defenders, but precious few mids.

    • Kxevin
      April 17, 2010

      To be clear, I don’t think that they sucked. Not as universally as history would have us note.

    • Vj
      April 17, 2010

      To be frank, I was worried about this general lack of depth in midfield when the season started.. Take away Xavi and Iniesta, and we would struggle to find creativity in the midfield..

      We still need a good replacement for Gudjohnsen IMHO..

      If we don’t spark a bidding war, we should go for Silva.. I think he’s versatile enough to play both at LW and in the centre..

      And to reiterate, Pedro is best used as an impact sub..

  18. vicsoc8
    April 17, 2010

    Well, better now than on Tuesday I guess. Off to the liquor store

  19. jordi™
    April 17, 2010

    We really missed ibra and keita as well, we had no one in the box, and yet we still launched long balls!Its taking much restraint for me not to launch into an obscene tirade against the pericos BTW 😛

  20. Eklavya
    April 17, 2010

    Damnit, we didn’t get the 3 points! Why did I go watch a movie instead … damn!

    • Jnice
      April 17, 2010

      That movie was probably better than this match.

  21. Jnice
    April 17, 2010

    Sucks that now instead of thinking fondly of how we won all 3 pts while I’m writing my 3 papers and studying for my exam, I have to think back to how poorly we played and how we let Madrid inch closer. Sigh.

    We really have to win out because I just have a feeling Madrid will as well. I can imagine how motivated they will be for tomorrow’s match. I can also see Valencia scoring first only to be overrun and beat in the final 20 minutes thanks to an epic Madrid comeback. Happens all the time for them at home. That is why I won’t even look at the score until the match is completely finished.

    • Eklavya
      April 17, 2010

      Yeah please! Last time you checked Crynaldo scored!! And I don’t think it was the 1st time it had happened!!! 😀

      • Jnice
        April 17, 2010

        Yeah it has happened a lot this season and last.

  22. Jim
    April 17, 2010

    Wow, just read the Liveblog. A bit too vitriolic for me. This team that has played so well recently in all the important matches had a bad night – no more than that. It had to come and I’d rather it came here than last week or next.

    It maybe wouldn’t have been a bad night if Alves had seen the way things were going and not made a stupid challenge but hey that’s the way he plays. However, just as Espanyol should have been tiring after their efforts they got a boost.

    for the rest I saw a lot of effort but if we can’t get solid possession not much else is going to happen and we never really got that. I don’t blame Xavi for that – I thought our starting lineup was pretty strange and not likely to help him possession wise. Maxwell can’t play that far forward as he doesn’t have the pace or the offensive mentality. However, I didn’t see him as having a bad second half at all. I’ll rewatch tomorrow though.

    Neither Henry nor Ibra had any real chance to shine. It’d be wrong to blame them imo. I’ve less tolerance for Pedro who again disappeared. He has a rare knack of running away from good passing positions. He could learn a lot from Henry’s runs ( or maybe could have is more accurate).

    I was looking to Yaya and Busi to help Xavi but thought they were far too easily isolated from him. I thought both played a weak match tactically and both need that sense of when to move past a man rather than play yet another pass sideways.

    Messi tried but they played him well and most of what he made come from himself.

    Finally, the main thing for midweek is that we get back control of the ball. although the possession stats weren’t bad it was never good, clean possession.

  23. Tajh
    April 17, 2010

    Wow these Titles races around Europe are so unpredictable… When you think its done and dusted something else happens on the weekend to awaken everything….Perfect Joy 🙂

    • Jnice
      April 17, 2010

      Well I am more frustrated than joyous, but to each his own.

      • Tajh
        April 17, 2010

        I to would love that we can get the title wrapped up with games remaining but i love the excitement of this years race..

        BUT IN PEP WE TRUST-this game has to be a learning experience for the guys to know that we need focus more than anything.

  24. Helge
    April 17, 2010

    Robben kicks ass, he got a hattrick for Bayern. IF we reach the final, we’ll have to be damn careful!

    I fear Inter will be a similar match as today’s 🙁

  25. Ciaran
    April 17, 2010

    It was all Pep’s fault unfortunately. We can blame the players all night but the buck stops with Pep.
    Milito was pointless all match long. Busquets & Yaya did not both need to be on the pitch and Messi is always at his best with someone ahead of him, just ask Maradona.
    Valdes – Alves|Pique|Puyol|Maxwell – Xavi|Yaya – Pedro|Messi|Keita – Bojan

    • Vj
      April 17, 2010

      Now that I’ve cooled off.. I’ll post some of my thoughts on the lineup..

      This is how Pep rolls.. He has shuffled his starting XI countless times.. And only in a few games has the gamble NOT paid off..In hindsight, its easy to criticize his lineups but we have to keep in mind that there may be a few reasons we might not know of while selecting/not selecting certain players..

      IMO, we were really tired after playing match after match.. and it was the 2nd match of the Parakeets season.. No wonder we didn’t show up in the first half..

      Valdes is match-by-match strengthening his case for a call-up to the NT.. If you take his form in recent matches, its better than Iker’s, and by recent I mean the last two seasons..

      Villarato my ass.. We haven’t been helped one bit by refs..

    • Vj
      April 17, 2010

      Oh yeah, I forgot to add,


  26. fcbfan
    April 17, 2010

    I’m glad we had a bad match because this means we will give everything to win in Milan. Inter will probably use this tactics, and will kick and foul 10 times worse! Not going to blame anyone for the bad result though. They know they played poorly and will bounce back like all champions do and this is when the team need our support most. Heyy its a point gain rather than a loss. Visca Barca! Barca under Pep have not played poorly 2 games in a row. Cheer up guys! 5 games to go and we will win them all. Trust.

    Just one thing anoying, Busquets stop the hell falling to the ground! you break more Barca’s attacks than the opposition. Grow up!

    Got to say Isaiah, your prediction is so off on this one haha.

    • Helge
      April 17, 2010

      well… predicted a 4-0 ^^

  27. tMe
    April 17, 2010

    Iniesta on facebook:

    “The derby match is always a very complicated and intense and today we have not been able to take all three points. Now we have to think on Tuesday and continue with the same confidence and work.”

  28. Kari
    April 17, 2010

    Four words

    Rather Espanyol than Inter

    Three words

    I. hate. Espanyol.

    Two words

    David. Silva.

    One word


  29. stephen
    April 17, 2010

    I think this a collectively BAD awful match that couldve been won. No espayol did not play great, no they werent a threat, and no they didnt deserve to win (tie).

    Pique,first half, dude enough with the damn LONG balls, they are not hitting target, stop it ! second half, you played better why? cause you stopped with the long passes…

    Busquets, stop falling, enough fouls play the ball, don’t make stupid passes, and RUN !

    Milito, you haven’t had a bad match, you were okay to have one. But it shouldn’t have been today.

    Guardiola, dude if Henry sucks, bad season, why today? You’ve put Bojan instead of him in bigger games, why today? Ibrah was the better option here.

    Tie that feels like a loss…

  30. Kari
    April 17, 2010

    OT, but, umm, WHAT THE FUDGE?


    Is there something Scholes and Neville want to say…? The caption under picture reads

    “Neville kisses his partner Scholes after scoring the only goal of the game”

    • ElShowDeJason
      April 17, 2010

      wow… kinda gay.

      and when I say “kinda”, I mean “really”

  31. Whatever
    April 17, 2010

    The word is that Mourinho will roll out with a 4-1-4-1 formation against us on Tuesday. What do you guys think?

  32. amal
    April 17, 2010

    Well, at least Espanyol played better than Arsenal and EE all combined.


    Kxevin,Henry Sucked big time today, it’s not that we’re just bashing on him, he’s simply bad, even Maxwell could hold on to his crapy passes. let’s be true. i do expect Henry to step up when Messi, Pedro, or Ibra aren’t lucky. the only game i saw Henry doing somthig usefull was against Valencia, any other game you recall?

    i guess anytime now, i’d expect him to announce his retirement.

    • Jnice
      April 17, 2010

      Henry didn’t suck. We actually could have done better with him on the left instead of Maxwell.

    • amal
      April 17, 2010

      even Maxwell couldNOT hold on to his crapy passes


      • amal
        April 17, 2010


        i didn’t see that comming, no decent cross, nor a liget pass.
        Plus, I wouldn’t juge Maxwell since he’s not LW,but at least he tried to bring his game up.

        • Kxevin
          April 17, 2010

          So as I understand it, Maxwell was bad but gets a pass because well, he was trying, but Henry was terrible, because….? I await a valid reason other than “Because it’s fashionable to hate on him.”

          What, oh what, will you all do without my contrarian self?

          • amal
            April 17, 2010

            No, at least to me. in fact, i rarely post here, only read what you guys write, and whoever thinks that Henry is bad was right.

            let’s say Maxwell was bad today, but he did great job against Depor, EE, Arsenal ” althought not much, Walcot owned him ” he’s pretty consistant comparing to his previous form. Henry ISN’T.

            it’s NOT that “it’s fashionable to hate on him ” but it’s more of a accumilative opnion,thing, or whatever. let’s be true and dare to say it ” he’s done and dusted ” .. he did not play well today.

            i don’t hate Henry, never. but truth hurts.

          • stephen
            April 17, 2010

            Kev, Its not that he was “bad” but isnt the job of a substitute to do something different?? TRY. I mean I didnt not see him the whole time he was in. Nothing good came from his substitution, I mean it was a waste of a sub.

          • Jnice
            April 17, 2010

            The Henry criticism is crazy. People are acting as if he started the match. Remember, we were 1 down for practically the entire time he was on. People will believe what they want to believe, so it’s not even worth arguing.

  33. waleed
    April 17, 2010

    dont you guys ever think that Valencia will do us or even themselves a favor, you’ll all see how cute and friendly they’ll be tomorrow, they’ll score, I know that for sure but the’ll concede much more than they score.
    one more thing..
    I don’t buy the conspiracy theory, specially in football, but now I’m giving it another thought!

    • stephen
      April 17, 2010

      As much as I would LOVE to think this.. the way teams play real is different.. they always look scared. I hope for the best, but I want happiness from MY team, not because real crap lost.

  34. Museum
    April 17, 2010

    I hated watching this match. I hate playing Espanyol, it’s never fun. Hats off to them though. That is all.

  35. Jim
    April 17, 2010

    I find it difficult to judge Henry on today’s performance as there wasn’t much coming from the midfield. i did, however, see him put in a lot more effort than he did in his time on the pitch against Arsenal which was encouraging.

    When a forward has had as little playing time as he has had his touch is bound to be off a little, hence the awful passes to Maxwell. That’s why I would have liked to have seen him get more in earlier games where they weren’t as vital. Would I continue to play him this season – don’t know.

    Whatever, he’ll be gone by the summer and we need to seriously start thinking about his replacement. Whoever it is they are going to have to be capable of scoring a reasonable amount of goals. Still not sold on Pedro either. No offence, he’s had an amazing season goal scoring wise, we had no right to expect the amount he has scored and we would have been struggling without his goals but I’m toiling to think of many whole games where he has played well. A bit like Bojan, i can see him putting chances away but for me, to play up front for Barcelona you need to be able to create your own chances as well. I never felt today that he was going to come up with a move that would lead to a goal. He is at best a work in progress.

    • Kxevin
      April 17, 2010

      Exactly, Jim. The only problem with Henry being gone is then who will be the scapegoat.

      Maxwell’s feet was where attacks went to die. (About to watch the second time now.) Pedro made Alves’ passes look bad by darting around like a frightened rabbit. We had no midfield presence because Busquets was too busy rolling around on the pitch, and The Yaya was defensively fine, but offensively not there. So it was Xavi against the 4-6 people that Espanyol packed the midfield with. Those numbers aren’t going to work. When Messi went back to get the ball the midfield gained in effectiveness, but the attack lost impetus, because essentially, Pedro was the striker. That ain’t a high percentage play.

      How ANY of that is Henry’s fault boggles my mind. But I leave that to others to suss out. I’ve watched once, and don’t see it. I do see that he was more successful as a substitute than Ibrahimovic. Lacking match pace and fitness? You bet. His fault? Maybe. But he can’t pencil himself into the lineup, or walk onto the pitch and decide to play.

      Yes, he is a convenient target for anger. I get it. Big salary, hardly any goals, no playing time, which means that he must be crap in practice. I get it. But in looking at what he did in TODAY’S match, there are a lot of people who were worse. So now what?

      –Jim is spot on about Pedro. People like him because he scores goals, as if that were the only measure of goodness. He has value. I still don’t think he’s a starter, except for a club that had a lot of injuries, a starting LW that never rounded into form and not much luck in the transfer windows with finding a replacement. We’ll see what the summer brings.

  36. Kxevin
    April 17, 2010

    Oh, and conspiracy theories are hooey. Teams see us as a way to make their season, plain and simple. We’re the best team in the world and have won 6 trophies, etc, etc. Even a draw against us will have a player drinking for free in the club’s home town for decades. Not hard to see how we’d not get every side’s absolute best effort.

    Sometimes, referees are helpful in that they throw more cards around, and get control of the match right away. Other times, they don’t, and it’s up to the players to find a work around. Some did, some didn’t. But conspiracies are as difficult to prove as they are comforting to the aggrieved party(ies).

  37. Ciaran
    April 17, 2010

    It was our worst performance as a whole.
    Valdes was super solid as usual
    Dani screwed us by being silly and childish
    Pique was solid defensively but had no real outlets
    Milito was terrible and ineffective
    Puyol tried but is not a left back
    Busquets – stand up
    Yaya did not do too much right or wrong
    Xavi was absolutely lost for the first 60mins
    Pedro did his usual energizer bunny thing but thats about it
    Messi did nothing all night and really needs a ‘9’ infront of him
    Maxwell was ineffective at left wing and was better at left back

    Any one of Henry, Ibra or Bojan & Keita should have started. Keita improved things and we needed a ‘9’. Very simple. The wrong XI was selected for the match and Pep didn’t fix it in time, and then Dani got sent off.

    You can say that it could have worked out but we barely got a shot off in the whole 90mins. It was terrible. If Pep watched last weeks classico he would have noted that we created only 4 chances in the whole match against a team that gave us room and we compelled to attack. Espanyol gave us no room and were playing with freedom.
    Props to Pochettino, he out-thought Pep.

    • April 17, 2010

      Well hell’s bells, Ciaran, that’s my review in about 18 million less words. 😀

      It’s up, folks.

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