Espanyol 0, Barca 0, aka “I suppose they’re proud, but must they vex us so?”

This really, really, really sucks.

People will whine, and people will moan. Conspiracies. Complicit refereeing decisions. A team who didn’t want anything to happen. They kicked us. They dove. Blah, blah, blah.

Fact of the matter is that championships are won with matches such as today’s and we came up short. Woefully short. Espanyol played their hearts out, as if this match were their entire season. We played like a team who has had season-defining match after season-defining match and finally, hit the wall. It was bound to happen. The Catalan derby was our 10th match in the past 30 days. That’s a match every three days. And many of those matches were enormous. Stuttgart at home. Arsenal home and away. Mallorca at their fortress of a home pitch. El Clasic.

So it’s understandable that Espanyol would believe that this was their time to play as cynical a match as I have ever seen, a match with precious little pride in their colors. Though that isn’t fair. They fought for their colors. Only they were, in my opinion, fighting for a draw. It’s also an understandable match that they played, because what’s the percentage in doing anything else for them? A prideful death? What would ever possess them to come out and play football with us? I wouldn’t either, were I their coach, who got one up on our genius today.

They flooded the midfield, worked like dogs, marked the life out of Messi and Xavi, defended as if their lives depended upon it, and dared the other players to beat them. It worked because we had no ideas, no movement and scads of meaningless possession. Sure they also dove, exaggerated fouls and fouled us whenever something promising was about to happen for us. If that’s your tactic, rock on. It worked for you, I guess. Maybe you can even look in the mirror tonight and say that we played the best club in the world to a draw, and feel like you actually did. Whatevs.

We have seen this kind of tactic before, and played right through it. Every time except tonight, when we sunk to their level, and did some exaggerating and fouling of our own. And this was the time when we oh, so desperately needed to rise above. But we couldn’t, because the players looked tired, mentally and physically. A passing game such as ours, with its movement and intricacy, needs players who are fresh. You can only fake the funk for so long. Espanyol was getting to most of the loose or 50/50 balls, which happens to us about 0 percent of the time. And the ones they didn’t get to first, they fought for.

Better now than at Inter, right? We have to look in the mirror as well, and say that we were outplayed today, that the other team wanted whatever they got more than we did, that Guardiola’s interesting lineup came back to bite him in the butt. Yet, when we rolled out with Valdes, Alves, Pique, Milito, Puyol, The Yaya, Busquets, Maxwell, Xavi, Messi and Pedro!, who honestly thought that such a lineup wouldn’t get a sniff at goal, wouldn’t even trouble a keeper whose red card was rescinded in time for him to play, but who his club really didn’t need?

The caught us at the right time for them, and a bad time for us. That’s life. But the fatigue explains the rush, the bad passes, the wasted efforts, the general futility of our approach to the game. Yes, Espanyol put tons of pressure on the ball, but we already know the way around that: passing and movement. We just couldn’t make it happen. Lord knows what their lineup would be, numerically. Maybe a 0-6-4? It worked for them as we struggled to find space, in part because Xavi was all by his lonesoome in the midfield.

Messi and Pedro! were forward, and Xavi’s midfield cohorts, Busquets and The Yaya, were too busy respectively flailing about in agony on the pitch, or helping to put out fires created by bad passes that were intercepted by them. Maxwell was supposed to be the genius touch, but that didn’t work out, either. The things that we needed to make things go differently, were sitting on the bench, to be deployed too late.

–An attacking winger who could play with his back to goal, make runs and distribute.
–A big, strong, creative striker who could set up camp in their box.
–A physical, possession-based midfielder who is also an attacking threat.

We got all three of those things, but we got them too late. The match was a mess, and everybody out there was tired because they not only started out tired, but had to play a man down when Dani Alves wasn’t intelligent enough to suss out how the match was being called, and pull out of a ticky-tack challenge at midfield, on the sideline. What possible harm could the attacker have done, particularly as you had held him up long enough for the defense to get back?

Yes, two of those things suffered from a lack of match pace and fitness, but still, they almost turned the tide. Messi suddenly had more space, we had more attacking fluency, Xavi could pick out passes since the midfield pressure was greatly diminshed. Suddenly, we weren’t relying on Pedro! to be our attacker. Then time ran out. We had a great sequence toward the end of the match, where we were piling on pressure, only to have Maxwell kill it. And that was that.

It isn’t the first time that we have been found wanting this season. Sevilla found us short at home in the Copa del Rey. Atletico found us short and defenseless at their home. Rubin Kazan actually took a match from us, by copping an early goal, then out-muscling for most of that home Champions League leg. And now Espanyol.

What’s painful about this one? We dropped two points. Espanyol will view it as leaving what they came with, which is what most teams want more than anything when we roll out at them. But our standards are such that a draw feels like a loss. The pain of it is that we are locked in pitched battle with the second-place EE, for Liga supremacy. We beat them at their house, and people were acting like the championship was done and dusted. But for many, this was the championship match, as it will probably be the most difficult league match that we face the rest of the season. We do still have to see Sevilla and Villarrreal away, but they have too much pride in their colors to play the way that Espanyol played today. We win football matches. It’s what we do.

Win this match, and it’s back to a 6-point lead, 3 if EE beat Valencia, with 5 to play. Now it’s a bit more fraught, but our mission hasn’t changed: Win out. Remember, we can finish tied with EE and still win the Liga on head-to-head. So I’m not worrying, or acting as though the Liga was lost, as some are. We are still top in every meaningful category that can be used to determine a tiebreaker. And we will learn from this one, as Guardiola will learn that sometimes, you can be too smart for your own good. Sometimes, lads, it requires one great effort. How many times was one of our attackers headed for their defense with zero support? Dig once, get the goal, then rest. Just saying.

Team: 3. It was time to man up, and you didn’t. Fatigue? I’ll buy that. But to not create a single meaningful chance on goal for a group of the standard of ours, isn’t up to snuff, and you know it.

Guardiola: 4. You didn’t have them ready to play today, even though you knew what they would be up against. The right subs at the wrong time, i.e. too late. Should have been done at the half, to give them both plenty of warm-up time. And you got outcoached. You always say “One match at a time,” but you were thinking of midweek. Keita and Ibrahimovic should have started. We had a chance to get our foot on their throats, and it went away. Pedro! isn’t the player that his stats would have you believe. And you know it.

Valdes: 8. Well, you’re my man of the match. Who knew that you would be called upon to make more saves than Kameni? And I still have no idea how you parried that ball off the post, but you’re the only thing standing between us and a loss. Hats off to you. If some dude named del Bosque calls, answer the mobile.

Alves: 2. Stupid, stupid, stupid. You couldn’t handle the physical nature of the match, and you let them get under your skin. Usually, that’s what you do to the other side. Then you compound matters by picking up a silly second yellow, when you should have just let it go. You hurt your team. Seriously. In a match where every man was needed.

Pique: 7. On many a counter or attack of theirs, you were our last line of defense. Yes, you had some funky passes. But your always timely interventions and a calm that belied the angry freneticism of the match were your hallmarks today. Nice work in staying above it. Too bad you couldn’t pass some of those qualities on to some of your teammates.

Milito: 2. You had to pick now to play like a guy who had a long injury layoff? Even if your curly locks were getting in your face, it’s still pretty easy to discern Blaugrana from blue and white. So why did you keep passing the ball to the wrong side?

Puyol: 5. Hard to fault your effort for the colors, but you have to act like like a captain, and take your side by the scruff of its neck. Get in some faces on the pitch and demand the kind of excellence that we need to be champions. And I much prefer you at right back. You looked lost out there, and improved when Maxwell moved back, and you could return to your familiar stomping grounds.

The Yaya: 5. Yes, you were strong on defense, but your attacking midfield captain needed you to be better. It wasn’t your fault that your teammates kept giving the ball away. I know. But you were also sluggish afoot at times.

Busquets: 3. You killed more attacks than Espanyol defenders with your exaggerations of fouls. Stop it. If we have the ball, get up and contribute. Don’t lay there like a petulant child. The ref will stop play, because he thinks that you’re dying. Then Xavi looks back like “Dude, what the ….” You made some good plays on the defensive end. But again, your passing, movement and fluency are supposed to be helping our attack.

Maxwell: 2. Yes, the last time you played in the midfield, you were very good. So what happened? Was it the pressure that got to you? Whatever it was, your panicked passes and sluggish movement weren’t helping matters one little bit. You are supposed to create on that wing, in terms of attacking width and passing, not to mention possession. Why were you playing like a defender, instead of an attacker?

Xavi: 4. Ick, dude. I know you were due, and perhaps it was all those stories that herald you as everything except a cure for cancer that made a comedown inevitable. But I don’t think I have seen as many bad passes from you in a season, as I saw during this match. Hope it’s all out of your system, because we need you for the rest of the way.

Pedro!: 3. Just stand still. How the hell is somebody supposed to pass the ball to you if you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off? And learn to play with your back to the defense. Every now and again, you need that skill. Yes, your energy is commendable. And I know that you work so hard because you aren’t as talented as the group that you’re playing with. But calm down. It will help you a lot.

Messi: 5. You’ve been marked by a whole defense before and prevailed. And many times you kept the ball too long, which played into the hands of a defense that was tailor-made to stop you and only you. I liked how you kept going back to get the ball, but just outside our 18-yard box is not where you should be playing. We destroy teams with passing and movement. You were a threat whenever you got space, I know. But great players are sometimes supposed to carry their teams on their backs, which doesn’t mean by doing everything.

Substitutes

Henry (for Milito): 4. You tried to make a difference, and did some good things, such as making constant runs off the shoulder of their defense. But for the most part, you were below standard. Whatever you need to do in practice, do it, because I’m not sure that we can get through this season without what you bring to the table when you don’t have the suck.

Keita (for The Yaya): 7. You were excellent, right away and the whole time you were out there. Why didn’t you start? Dunno. Don’t look at me. I just armchair quarterback this stuff. Your physical presence, ball skill, aerial ability and pace were exactly what our midfield needed to make Xavi and Messi’s life a delight.

Ibrahimovic (for Pedro): 3. You looked sluggish and uninvolved. I know you like to start, but you have to be ready to come on and electrify. This match was screaming for you to do that thing you do. So get in the box and raise some hell.

And now, we wait. If we’re lucky, Valencia will draw EE tomorrow, leaving us right where we started over the weekend. If we’re really lucky, they will beat ’em, but two defeats in their home in the same week would be a bit much to hope for. Which leaves us, as noted above, in the exact same spot we were before we laid an egg against our “neighbors”: Having to win out. Our next match is against Xerez, and we will be facing it without Dani Alves, because the league isn’t about to rescind his red card, as they did Kameni’s. And I’m not sure they should. Can you get a red for being a big ol’ dummy? Just asking.


“The optometrist is right over there. Please? For us?”

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

Written by:

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.

147 Comments

  1. Kxevin
    April 17, 2010

    Xavi whined about the referee, saying “It’s unfortunate that he helps those who do not want to play.”

    Alves cited some racist chanting by Espanyol supporters, which wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    And Laporta called Espanyol’s president and other board members childish.

    Really? 6 trophies in a season, and what do they have except a battle against relegation. Don’t even give ’em the satisfaction.

    • Jnice
      April 17, 2010

      Well to be fair to Alves, the reporters brought up the racist chants, and he ignored it saying something about how football is beautiful and he doesn’t worry about those things.

      • ballbeav
        April 18, 2010

        and to be fair to laporta, he was asked by a reporter about the comment by the espanyol mucky muck who said that relations between the two catalan clubs would be normalized once Laporta was out.

        i think its cute when laporta gets upset, since he is usually so diplomatic, and the moment after he angrily “goes off,” the same bemused smirk settles back over his face.

  2. jnelson
    April 17, 2010

    Espanyol was embarrassing, but that is nothing short of what I expected of them. They are easily in the same company as Malaga. It is really strange that Patetico and Getafe don’t do the same thing to EE when they play. Add Malaga when they played EE. I don’t remember Weligton doing shit in either of those matches.

  3. Kari
    April 17, 2010

    Well, with the reaction of some people, you’d think we lost this game 😐

    Espanyol played the best they have all season and still only got a draw (HA! HA!).

    To be honest, while I’m not happy we didn’t win this match, we didn’t lose, right? If the boys were really thinking of Inter (and given the performance today, I hope they were) then we’ll come out firing on all cylinders. It seems to be happening quite often this season; play so-so then just explode, kicking major butt in the process.

    I remember before the Arsenal away match, we played Osasuna and Mallorca and were pretty lackluster.

    Anyway, good thing this was against an Espanyol that can’t score goals (HA! HA!). I trust Pep will learn from this experience. That can only be a good thing because Inter will be playing quite similarly, no?

    P.S. DAVID SILVAAAAAAA!

    • waleed
      April 17, 2010

      I agree, it isn’t that bad this point may prove to be the point of the season!
      I suppose this time Inter will be willing to score, so they will get out of their own half.

      P.S. expect no gifts tomorrow 😉

    • Kari
      April 18, 2010

      Oh no, I’m not. I’ve long since realized that teams pity EE and lay down for them, because a memo was issued at the beginning of the season saying it’d be embarrassing for EE if too many teams beat them.

      Alcorcon didn’t get the memo.

      I’m just expecting David Silva to kick some butt.

      Oh, and some guy named Villa.

  4. Museum
    April 17, 2010

    To speak in the parlance of Woodstock, this game started giving me bad vibes, man. Someone should take me to the chill out tent for some orange slices. Ugh. I keep having dark visions. I need to shake that out of my system. Supporting a club that’s going through a time where nothing but trophies will be a success, and being so close to that goal but also to winning nothing…..la vida es dificil.

  5. Luke
    April 17, 2010

    A few things here:

    1. This is Espanyol’s entire season. Period. They are out of the relegation hunt, and they are done with the Copa. This is it. We played flatly and got burned.

    2. We have played two of our most complete games of the year against Inter. We can beat them, handily. It will not be a pushover, but Inter will not play with this same type of vigor.

    3. We still will have the advantage on RM after this weekend. Either 1, 3, or 4 points, plus the tie-breaker in hand.

    No one should panic and people should understand that you lose and tie some games you should win. That’s why we play the games.

  6. Helge
    April 17, 2010

    I expect Inter to play the way they did against Chelsea.
    I don’t expect Valencia to get anything from today’s match… but damn, would it be nice if their offense gives their best, given Real’s defence, we could at least expect 3 goals (on the other hand, Valencia’s back line is even worse).

    by the by, it’s 5.30 am here, but I couldn’t sleep anymore. Still agitated because of the traitors from our own city 🙁

      • Helge
        April 18, 2010

        Yes, I am. And it was 5:35 am when I posted the comment above.

  7. Museum
    April 17, 2010

    Just remembered that this kills our chances of breaking 100 points. That would’ve been a cool thing.

  8. vicsoc8
    April 17, 2010

    I’m a bit intoxicated, so sorry if this doesnt make sense.

    On reflection, know who I wanted to see out there? Dos Santos. We missed Iniesta in this match tremendously as a player who could work with Xavi and take the pressure off to ensure we could maintain possession and control the tempo. Busquets and Yaya weren’t the people to do it. Maxwell wasn’t the person to do it. Messi had to play further forward with only him and Pedro as our legitimate forwards. If JDS had played he would have taken the pressure off of Xavi and the team would have benefited tremendously for it. This isn’t even to mention that he would play with fire and isn’t as tired as the rest of the team.

  9. Kxevin
    April 17, 2010

    I don’t think that Guardiola trusts Dos Santos yet, but I was thinking the same thing. Might be time for a kid to grow up. Sometimes, you’re better off with a player in position, rather than trying some voodoo with the lineup.

    One more thing. When people talk about us not being able to be magical in the Prem, this match could be offered as their evidence. We don’t see many inferior clubs that are fully committed to mucking up a match like Espanyol were today. The Prem is rife with Hull City, and Bolton, and Portsmouth, who play that chippy, bruising, in-your-face style because that’s all that they have.

    It isn’t that difficult to imagine some ancient supporter, in a tattered scarf, nudging his neighbor and saying “Them fancy boys don’t like it innem,” as we bleat ineffectually to the ref, as Messi picks himself up off the pitch. We don’t see that style in Europe, because the top clubs don’t have to play that way.

    • Kari
      April 18, 2010

      Yeah, and I’d like Chelsea and Man UTD play Mallorca in ONO Estadi, or Osasuna in Pamplona, or Almeria in…Almeria.

      Spain is packed with very, very good wingers and teams can actually play decent attacking football.

      Okay, we didn’t score against Espanyol and we didn’t play a great match. That’s fine; we can’t be perfect all the time. Just because we had one match that wasn’t that great doesn’t mean suddenly wouldn’t control the midfield and would struggle against the likes of Bolton or Blackburn. That’s BS, because it;ll be the same against every team we’ve face–they won’t have the fugding ball.

      Espanyol played a high-tempo, pressing game and it happen to coincide with in a match where we were off. I firmly believe it was an off daybecause Milito wouldn’t suddenly be colour-blind, Xavi wouldn’t miss those passes, etc. This was like a final for Espanyol, but this was just another match for us, and we have bigger fish to fry. Bolton or Blackburn would just sit back and kick the crap out of you. And their forwards are even worse than Espanyol’s for goodness sake!

      I get that the match was frustrating, but I don’t want to hear all that “let’s see that tippy-tappy football against Prem teams” bull*** that EPL fans use to cover up the embarrassment of having their top clubs smacked by us.

      IT WOULD BE THE SAME.

  10. April 18, 2010

    we still sevilla and villareal to play… And RM will surely drop point in their remaining game; i’m sure..

  11. April 18, 2010

    we still sevilla and villareal to play… And RM will surely drop point in their remaining games; i’m sure..

  12. April 18, 2010

    Man it was hard watching today’s match, but we still held on. Espanyol are proud of their new playground and they have not lost their the last 10 games, so lets give them some credit. Maybe this lapse in from will motivate us for for the final push.

  13. Corrine
    April 18, 2010

    we seem to hate all our players after a bad result aha. puyol who was once a versatile defender is a now crappy leftback, messi used to be untouchable and flawless but now he’s selfish, can’t make a pass, etc etc

    was not happy with the score obviously but i think we needed a game like this as a reality check since there has been so much ass kissing from the media lately, and also a bit of overconfidence from the team (and its fans???). jeezus i could not believe the skysports commentary for our game against depor. i know our recent form deserves the attention, but the fangirling was so excessive that it got unprofessional at times, especially when a commentator is supposed to be neutral. hope this game is enough to keep us grounded for the rest of the season, and ps: i really don’t like how xavi always criticizes the opposing team for “not playing” when barca don’t win. it’s never our fault haha

    that said, i hate espanyol 😀

    • Museum
      April 18, 2010

      That gets on my nerves about Xavi a bit too. It’s your job to figure out how to win in spite of what other teams do. Still, I kinda like him a bit.

  14. Corrine
    April 18, 2010

    wow, the team has to bus to milan for the CL game because of the volcanos. the extra time on the road might be a bit exhausting mentally, no? unless pique spins some sick tracks during the trip

    and liverpool and fulham might not even make it to their europa league matches

    grrr mother nature

    • Jnice
      April 18, 2010

      Yeah, the bus trip is going to suck. Let’s hope the players have the right mentality.

    • Helge
      April 18, 2010

      And Milan is ~ 980km away from Barcelona. That would mean a coach tour of 10 hours… 🙁

      They will train this noon and decide afterwards whether they can still go by plane. But I doubt it very much. So will they start their travel after the training, at ~ 16:00 or will they drive over night? Whatever, both kind a sucks!

      • Helge
        April 18, 2010

        Ok, EMD confirmed that they’ll go by bus with a stopover in Cannes. Not the worst solution, at least the players will get some sleep and they’ll arrive in Milan on Monday forenoon.

  15. barca96
    April 18, 2010

    how to play football when they played dirty..
    but big ups to them for working their asses off. but sometimes they were down right dirty!
    messi could’ve gone down on many occassion but chose to stay up..
    we started slowly with many misplaced passes due to the high pressure but after that we were okay..
    btw busi actually twice stopped our counter attack by play acting.unbelievable..always holding his ankle even though he is hit on the shoulder..

    • Alex
      April 18, 2010

      I am really starting to dislike Busi. His faking this match was ridiculous, grasping his ankle as if he had been shot!!!! what the fuck.

      Someone (i.e. Guardiola) needs to pull him aside and slap him silly, tell him to STOP WHINING.

      • ballbeav
        April 18, 2010

        the ref also had trouble with the advantage rule. but yeah, busi is just too much. he looks like fucking jughead from archie comics, who is also a really unlikable character.

  16. barca96
    April 18, 2010

    and the ref was pathetic at times…
    and pedro and messi were tightly marked!
    at least messi got away but pedro took a beating..

  17. April 18, 2010

    Curse those parkeets but they played their asses off. I actually enjoyed this match, tense like a final.Their pressure made for some extremely quick passing at times. we just didn’t have the juice. You know how sometimes a workout doesn’t hit you until 2 days later? The Classico just hit us I think. I think we fought pretty hard under the circumstances.

    Rest the bruises and get ready the Mou-show-down.

    • ballbeav
      April 18, 2010

      i like tension, but not up to and including the end of the game. it leaves me on edge the rest of the day.

      and really, it was just an ugly, ugly match of football. too much stoppage. it never flowed. the game lacked rhythm from the outset. i hated it.

      • April 18, 2010

        yeah I’m surprised the uglyness didn’t get to me, I hate that English-shyte…maybe caused I watched on demand in chunks.

        But what I liked is even with tired minds and legs we played with heart. If we had just waltzed to a 0-0 “we know we’re better than them” draw, THAT would frustrate the hell out of me.

  18. jordi™
    April 18, 2010

    If we dont win the league these wont be the points that made us lose it, it will be the stupid points dropped to osasuna and villarreal because we actually had those games won with leads but conceded silly goals.Today we were just outfought just like Valencia away at the mestalla.But we wont lose the league so no worries :D.Hopefully next year EE actually go a little further in europe so they can stretch their resources like us.

    As for the game on tuesday, i just want a away goal, 1-1 would be fine, 0-0 is far too dangerous.

    • barca96
      April 18, 2010

      well said..
      it was a tough game..and the players were obviously tired

  19. April 18, 2010

    We were caught in a bad day. Simply put. Keita and Ibra can’t play two games in three days now that they are coming back from injuries (So it was right to save them for Inter). The selection was kind of dictated by the squad conditions (same as it was against RM where Pep’s brilliance was praised for a similar selection 😀 ). May be…Bojan starting instead of Maxwell, but again the kid’s mental strength is still unreliable for such kind of games (against the enemy). Henry has been ineffective so far this season (got most his praise when he didn’t play) so picking Pedro -with his more effective work rate- over him is an automatic option. No case otherwise.

    I thought Valdes, Puyol, and Pique were good defensively. Alves was good/bad. Midfield was a problem with Yaya still being out of form defensively, and Busquets showing some of his bad sides as well. It was too much for Xavi in the midfield to deal with and too much for Messi offense wise to decide. Collectively we were not there. It happens. Moving Busquets back and installing Keita showed the undeniable huge difference tuning the midfield can make (Even for a 9 men squad).
    I can’t blame Pep much. May be it was better to get Ibra in before Henry. May be it was better to ask Henry to play in the center and spread Messi and Pedro on the flanks as they are better in moving the ball forward while he is better in a static position, containing the ball till he gets support than making the offense play himself (at least so far this season). But it is all a “May be” hindsight logic that always sound smart after the final whistle. It is as valid as criticizing Pep for starting Milito for this game after his classico performance.

    Almost an identical selection won us the classico. We had a bad day. Such things happen. We move forward. If we win all our games at home, we win the League (not mathematically, but based on realistic measures).

    Besides, it’s a good alert before the CL game. Better than winning 6-0 and going there with ANOTHER dose of overconfidence.

    • barca96
      April 18, 2010

      i agree. playing bojan would be a bad decision. even pedro couldn’t cope with them.

    • Helge
      April 18, 2010

      Nah, I don’t think winning the home matches will be sufficient to win the league. I think we can afford to drop 3 points, but not more. Real Madrid could drop points today or @ Mallorca, but the rest is most-likely wins for them.

      • April 18, 2010

        What I meant is that losing at home will put the serious threat on our title chances. If we win all the home games then we can afford a draw or even a loss away (depending on how many points RM will drop). I dont see us wasting more than 2 (3 at most) points from our two away games. Thats what make the home wins a road map to title. Another draw at home complicate things while all wins keep things under control.

        • Helge
          April 18, 2010

          Okay, I second that 🙂

          All the remaining home matches are against the current bottom 3 of la Liga. Could that actually be a disadvantage?

  20. April 18, 2010

    I am new to the Blog. Can someone please tell me why Madrid are called EE? Thanks

    • Helge
      April 18, 2010

      because they ARE the Evil Empire. But on 2 playdays of the season, I think of calling Espanyol the EE 2.0

      • andrew M
        April 19, 2010

        espanyol are too little to be an empire. what about MM for malevolent minnows?

  21. Lev
    April 18, 2010

    LOL@Helge I wouldn’t actually call Espanyol an EMPIRE…

  22. Jim
    April 18, 2010

    Good review as usual, Kxevin. I read the Liveblog and sorry to hear you might have to limit your participation here. Your thoughts are always interesting to hear. Still, like us, you’ll get much more satisfaction from carping at whoever is unfortunate enough to take over the reviews 🙂

    I know why you’ve given Xavi the low mark but in all honesty there was nothing on for him most of the time. Messi was the only one on the same wavelength. It must have been soul destroying for him and to be honest that’s the sort of game where he could end up getting hurt so I’m taking a positive from the fact that he came through it.

    Bummer about the bus journey though. The first 20 minutes in the San Siro we’ll not know where we are.

  23. Hilal
    April 18, 2010

    Well that wasnt a fun game, but I think considering how we played vs how they played we can be satisfied with a draw. As Kxevin pointed out we have been on a crazy run of HUGE games and have come out on top in every single one of them. We needed to have a bad game just cos, well, thats football. You cannot always play well, its as simple as that. We had these types of results last season too. In fact we lost to these f*****s last season, at home none the less so I wouldnt get too upset by this result. For me this game was the quiet before the storm. We have another crazy run of games coming up and we essentially need to win them ALL. In a way I like these games, its a little reminder to the players to keep their feet on the ground and not let the hype get to their heads. We only win these games when we work like dogs and yesterday we didnt work like dogs.

    I think the team was just not on mentally yesterday and Espanyol took advantage of it. Yes they are diving, cheating, pathetic whores, but who can blame them really? If they dont do that we win with ease, tbh I think if we walk into this game ready mentally then win it anyways, regardless of their tactics.

    Oh and I must say that I completely disagree that this game somehow proves that we would not succeed in the EPL. Most of the time we win these types of games, Espanyol did nothing new, they just caught us on a bad day. Hull, Stoke and Portsmouth would not trouble us in the slightest, trust me. Like yesterday we would need to be off our game to lose anything to teams like that. If Arsenal can ride those games and mostly come out with wins we would breaze through them. We all saw the kind of mental and physical strength that Arsenal possess, I dont think anybody would argue that we are miles ahead of them. Even the heavily biased commentators on Sky had to concede that one. Actually I am watching Arsenal winning pretty easily away at Wigan now…. funny all the talk of defense in the EPL and I am watching some of the worst defending I can remember.

    • Kari
      April 18, 2010

      They cite defensive strength to cover up how awful their offense is.

      The people at Sky and many EPL fans in general bring down the Serie A so much because they were so jealous of them for so long.

      You said pretty much all I was trying to say in one post. Nice 😀

      • Hilal
        April 18, 2010

        Hahahaha. YEah I know and ironically this season the level of defending has dropped and we are seeing a lot more goals in the EPL. The result is that now the EPL is “more exciting” because of all the goals. Its pathetic really. They see all the goals that get scored in Spain and they say “oh its bad defending, you could never score like that in the EPL”, but when it happens in the EPL all of a sudden its not poor defending (which it msot definitely IS) but its great, exciting football.

        It used to piss me off, now it just makes me laugh…. mostly because there are no more EPL teams in the CL and in the last year we have knocked out 3 of their top teams (2 of them with relative ease).

        The most any english team can hope for in the Europe is the Uefa cup 🙂

        • Kari
          April 18, 2010

          Yeah, I mean one second I check livescore and Arsenal are winning 0-2

          Now they’re 3-2 down against Wigan.

          Against WIGAN.

  24. poipoi
    April 18, 2010

    guys please just watch marca’s frontage… “canguelo” again! lmfao

    I think pep screwed up a bit yesterday but it’s good to know he’s human 😉

      • ballbeav
        April 18, 2010

        based on your above post im gonna guess that you spend most the day speaking spanish and then come here to speak some english…am i right?

  25. Helge
    April 18, 2010

    Wow, Arsenal once again give it away 😀

    They really cannot win important matches, they are still boys against men…
    And I said it before the CL match, they risked their whole season by playing with many injured players, and now, they really gotta pay the price.

  26. Nick
    April 18, 2010

    WTF was Xavi doing at CF in the first half?!

  27. Hilal
    April 18, 2010

    A little off topic but Modric is quality!

    • ballbeav
      April 18, 2010

      yes he is, modric.

      and ive been advocating for defoe to come to the campnou since the beginning of the season….tongue in cheek.

      they also have this sorta versatile guy named gudjohnson. heh heh.

  28. stephen
    April 18, 2010

    Ibrahimovic should’ve been an Incomplete. playing 8 minutes? (sorry 11ish minutes) He’s good but hes no Messi. sorry.

  29. barca96
    April 18, 2010

    and the ref stopped the game when there still was at least 10 seconds to play for..and he did this while we were on the counter attack..
    really a poor referee..villarato..

    • ballbeav
      April 18, 2010

      i noticed that too, what a chode wafer.

      • barca96
        April 18, 2010

        lol what the hell is a chode wafer?

        • ooga aga
          April 19, 2010

          apparently, a wafer made from a chode. the chode is the area between your balls and your butthole.

  30. vicsoc8
    April 18, 2010

    VISCA EL BARCA!

    I have faith! I’m so excited for Tuesday!

  31. Corrine
    April 18, 2010

    have we talked about how FLY yaya looks in these?

    *http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/682/yaya2.jpg
    *http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/1478/yaya1j.jpg
    *http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/1512/yaya3.jpg

  32. Kxevin
    April 18, 2010

    Corrine, I don’t think that anyone hates any of our players. But I do have to evaluate their match-by-match performance. I still think we have the best club in the world, period, full stop. We don’t always play like it, and when we don’t, I have to make those calls.

    I think that once people calm down, they will realize that this sort of match was inevitable. We’ve been playing at such a high level for so long, that it’s just difficult to keep it going. We probably would have been good enough to beat most other lower-table sides in the Liga, but not Espanyol, who played like the spiteful little gits that they are. Sometimes, spite and anger can propel a team that can’t to great things, but they also have to catch the team that can on on off day.

    • ballbeav
      April 18, 2010

      i agree here with kxevin and everyone else that this game was inevitable. you cant be topshelf every damn match. plus, i would not be surprised at all if i found out pep said to the team, “you’re gonna get kicked out there, just avoid getting injured.”

    • Corrine
      April 18, 2010

      i was exaggerating hehe, but i feel like our emotions tip from one end to the other quite drastically. one bad result and harsh words are being thrown at players we were just creaming ourselves over a few weeks ago. cules have high expectations i guess 😛

  33. ballbeav
    April 18, 2010

    isaiah and kevin i want to reiterate something, maybe you can pass it on to your techie guru:

    whenever i click on reply to reply to a comment, i am whisked up to the top of the page. i then have to scroll down and find where i was so i can type my reply. on a slow browser this is really a drag. it happens on every computer i use so i dont think it’s just me. any way you can let us reply without all this scrolling business? last time i made this comment i got several thumbs up. just sayin.

    not at all to take away from this wonderful site that i have visited religiously since the offside days.

    • Jim
      April 18, 2010

      Just to say that it doesn’t happen to me if that’s any use to the techies. Not that it wouldn’t be a pain if it did. Btw, I use a Mac if that’s any help.

      • Dave
        April 18, 2010

        While we are on it;how does everyone see the latest comments, do they click comments or home?? What would be the argument against running a live blog option after every thread?

      • ballbeav
        April 18, 2010

        i use a PC, maybe its a PC thing.

    • fc
      April 18, 2010

      I think you’ve tried the following things
      1. Using Chrome/Firefox 3
      2. Cleaning cookies/cache
      3. Making sure that there’s no virus/malware affecting the browser

      It can happen if you click on ‘reply’ before the page is completely loaded. ‘#comment’ takes you to the beginning of the comments section.

      • ballbeav
        April 18, 2010

        1. it happens on firefox and explorer, i will try chrome
        2,3, hmmmm does everyone else do these things to ensure they dont suffer the same fate?

        i think the BFB webpage takes longer to load than almost any other that i visit due to all the avatars and “thumbs.” granted i dont browse the web a whole lot. maybe other people have better/faster computers than i do.

        • barca96
          April 18, 2010

          im using chrome.
          i encounter the same problem..
          so what i do is, i just search my own name, ctrl+F to get back where i left off.

    • Tajh
      April 18, 2010

      yup the same happens to me as well.idk why doh

    • April 18, 2010

      Happens to me too.IE 8
      …but firefox works OK!
      …though yuo do have to wait for alot of “polldaddy” stuff to load.

      I’ve also noticed after posting that the browser will scroll up and down as if possessed by a drunk person trying to find the place I last read. Hope that’s a techincal enough description.

    • vicsoc8
      April 18, 2010

      Doesn’t happen to me, I’m running safari on a mac.

  34. Reagan
    April 18, 2010

    This was the first game i missed all season and this is what happens??? In my defense I had to see about a girl! 🙂

    • Dave
      April 18, 2010

      You’re better off you missed it.painful to watch

  35. ballbeav
    April 18, 2010

    EE pays teams to play half-ass against them, and pays teams to kick us about and play their hearts out. i swear. heh heh.

  36. ballbeav
    April 18, 2010

    LOL david silva’s nickname by the espn commentator is “el chino” == the chinaman.

    • Tyler
      April 19, 2010

      haha it’s a slightly racist nickname a lot of hispanics use for people who aren’t asian but look slightly that way. Probably not the most politically correct term I imagine haha.

      • ooga aga
        April 19, 2010

        well, a lot of stuff flies down there that doesnt up here. like the nickname “gordo,” “sapo,” etc. people on the receiving end dont seem to get as bent out of shape about it either, or at least they dont show it. i dunno.

        • Tyler
          April 19, 2010

          yeah for some reason all those things are like terms of endearment, i wish americans were a little more thick skinned like that

  37. jordi™
    April 18, 2010

    Outstanding defense by los che there…

  38. Jose
    April 18, 2010

    Bitter rant warning:

    Maybe Valencia fans should shut the eff up about being the third best team in Spain and shouting to the Earth about how there’s an equivalence between Barcelona’s behavior and Real Madrid’s. If those clowns can’t manage to build any chances against Real effin’ Madrid, then resign yourselves to the fact that you are just at Patetico as Patetico Madrid. Oh, and stop acting as if it’s somehow our fault that your club went through years of idiotic mismanagement that led to its subsequent financial crisis, a large part of the reason that you–beyond a shadow of a doubt–suck.

    I’ll calm down in a couple of hours, but that is my venting for today.

        • ballbeav
          April 19, 2010

          why all the thumbs up just for reporting the score? my most popular comment ever. are there madridistas lurking about?

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2010

      valencia players were walking around, strolling.If you cant get up for a game in the capital, what motivates you then? ah yes, beating the champions :/

  39. Bojan
    April 18, 2010

    Wow, I think this was Espanyol’s best game in the last 3 years. Sure we can say it was fair we missed the chance but the fact is that Espanyol didn’t get out there to play football, win or even to lose! They came out there to prove the envy they have for the team thats only few blocks away!!!! Espanyol’s play disapointed me because they tried to hurt our players in order to try and win the game on a way that we will found humiliating! I pitty those souls! they didnt put up the heart on the real game for the town neighbouring team sake! I liked Espanyol because its from Barca and Catalonia too but with yesterday’s game they dissapointed me as hell! I was soo furstrated at the Espa’s players that i wanted to jump into the tv and come on the field and kick the shit out of every cinicle tackle they made on our guys! If we talk facts then the only fact is that we are tired. Schedule filled with tough games its not a pressure that everyone can take! If real had this tight schedule they would cracked down and started to lose shamely! Also i was watching the EE’s game today with Valencia and saw that the ref. commitie is pushing a policy of forcing EE to somehow manage to get the tittle! It is so obvious that a normal non-fan of Spanish football will notice! My cousin which is a Milan fan told me that he can see the ref. unfairness which fustrated me further! Overall everyone knows the pressure that Barca has and as a true champions they will overcome like allways. And one more fact that i must add is that we went on a 9-0 win strak, we had to tie once, and it is in a good time knowing the upcoming game on tuesday. i bet that we are sooo furios that we will let loose all the anger from the Espa’s game on those poor inter souls!
    VIVA LA BARCA FOREVERRR!!!!!!! I LOVE BARCA
    ON TO THE NEXT VICTORY!!!
    IN PEP WE TRUST, INDEED!

    • Dave
      April 18, 2010

      We need to get rid of Espanyol from the Primera divison. Now I realise that two games a year won’t do that but if we do beat them twice at least Barca have done their bit to get them relegated.No Catalan derby then or potential banana skin. Only solution

  40. fcbfan
    April 18, 2010

    Valencia is pathetic! they don’t deserve 3rd spot.

    Time to talk about Inter!

  41. waleed
    April 18, 2010

    hey! they are 24 points away from EE for a reason!! I have no intention to underestimate the game played by EE, they had a great match indeed, but the fact that a side with players like Villa, Silva, Matta, Pablo, Juacin and Baniga, couldn’t manage to threat such a defense is beyond my perception!

    now its well accepted that EE is unlikely to loose any point this season, so that our margin of error is zero!
    p.s. Bruno Saltor who was responsible for both goals, is a Catalan and played for Espanyol before he has joined Valencia, Irony??

  42. Alexinho
    April 18, 2010

    I’m not sure how much longer Alves has on his contract, but I for one wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t renewed. He’s popular (I think), and he has the flare that we like at Barca. On the other hand, I so wish we had nabbed Filipe Luis. I don’t even watch when Alves gets the ball on the wing looking to cross, those seem to get flubbed further and further into the stands with each passing game. His distribution is absolutely awful, especially when things aren’t going right. First choice or not, he’s become one of our mediocre players, and it really shows in games like this. By half an hour he was frustrated and from then on, he provided the team nothing.

    • jordi™
      April 19, 2010

      Dani’s crossing is usually off the mark but hes still joint 5th in the league in assists.You only have to look at how bad we were,lacking width and all, when he was injured, to see what a vital part of our machine he is.If you don’t want him renewed, would you rather he left for free -in 2012- and we got nothing ?(especially after what we paid to get him).

      • Alexinho
        April 19, 2010

        I suppose if I feel the same way about it in 2012, than renew him for a year and sell him for market price, which I’m sure will be hefty. And of course, that’s a long way away, and he has plenty of time to convince me.

        5th in the league status should probably have an asterisk, that is, we’re Barca, and everyone on the team has the best stats. When you look at the top scorers on other teams, how many goals do they each have? Seven? Eight?

    • barca96
      April 19, 2010

      i understand why you’re mad and i know alves should’ve not touched raul garcia cos he was looking for the foul anyways..
      but that was only alves’ 3rd foul and he got a red..
      it was really harsh..
      and he makes a lot of 1-2’s with messi..
      so no problem with his passing game imo.

      • Alexinho
        April 19, 2010

        A lot of 1-2s with Messi, but not 10% of those he had last season now that Messi plays more in the middle. Look back and watch his distribution, especially behind the halfway line. The amateur-ish giveaways…always those slanted passes inside two teammates…are shocking.

        I’m not really mad, not about this particular game anyway, but every week I feel like he has one or two highlights that save his bacon. The rest of the game he’s probably the least efficient passer on the team.

        • Tyler
          April 19, 2010

          Well Filipe Luis plays left back, and he broke his foot, so I don’t see how that would solve anything. And I think you aren’t watching close enough. The pedro goal against Depor was entirely set up by Alves hustling his ass off to get downfield. Alves is the one guy on the team (besides abidal) that play up and down the pitch and never gets tired. He adds width and speed and creates so many options. Perhaps his crossing can be off sometimes, but so is every player’s. Plus, he is a menace on the field, he gets under player’s skin and disrupts their flow, just ask Ramos haha. He and Busquets might seem like they are annoying on the television, but from an on the field perspective you need players like that. The day Alves doesn’t wear blaugrana will be a sad day, because I can’t think of anyone else I would want to play for us in that position.

          • Alexinho
            April 19, 2010

            All true, admittedly. But I stick by what I said: that given what’s on the table now in 2010, when his contract goes up in 2012, I wouldn’t miss him all that much. There is, of course, time to clean up those ridiculous giveaways and even more ridiculous crosses.

            I should’ve checked if Filipe played on the left or right. As for the injury, well, in a different dimension in which he played for us, it might not have happened.

            PS, I like Dani Alves regardless.

  43. MT
    April 18, 2010

    I think all of us need to take a step back and breathe. Even with EE winning over Valencia, we still sit atop the table with a one-point lead, a goal difference of three, and with the head-to-head matchup with our closest rivals won. We were off-song today. Period.

    We won’t be this wonky against Inter tomorrow. We haven’t played badly for two consecutive games all season and I’m confident we’ll regain our form.

    A little off topic but Gareth Bale was yet again BRILLIANT. This kid will be a household name sooner than expected.

    • barca96
      April 19, 2010

      i found him brilliant as well before he got injured..
      after that ekotto was preferred and only recently he got back in to the 1st eleven…

  44. Nick
    April 19, 2010

    Why is the squad traveling by bus when both Spain and northern Italy are open for air travel?

    • barca96
      April 19, 2010

      i also don’t understand.cos yesterday klm and luftansa did test flights and it was ok..and maybe the team couldv’e taken a detour with a private jet..
      but i preferred taking the bus, safer for them..
      btw those people in cannes are soooo lucky!!

  45. stephen
    April 19, 2010

    Valencia looked like they wanted to lose. No team plays that badly if they actually had some aspirations.

    Now lets hope Inter plays as awfully as they did, and we have ourselves a final.

    By the way… Think Ibrahimovic would Celebrate this goals against Inter???

  46. Reagan
    April 19, 2010

    Barcaelection2010 says Villa is to join us before the elections! Tabloid rumors ofcourse! But it’s not that difficult to fathom though because our president wants to go out with a bang.

  47. Helge
    April 19, 2010

    Wow, imagine you’re just taking a rest at a motorway service area in France, and suddenly, two Barcelona busses appear and THE WHOLE TEAM gets off the bus 😀
    *http://sport.es/galerias.asp?idioma=CAS&idgaleria=1371

    That must have been a huge surprise and a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

      • Helge
        April 19, 2010

        Maybe Olympique Lyon will stop there 😉

        • barca96
          April 19, 2010

          i would follow the bus all the way to milan actually. give them extra protection :p

          btw, once i was just walking around town then one all of a sudden linkin park got out of their bus..lol

  48. Kxevin
    April 19, 2010

    Briefly:

    –The site has gotten really, really slow of late. So much so that I will load the page, then check e-mail or something while it gyrates. You can see all the stuff loading in the background. Part of life on the big, bad Web, I guess. Loads really slowly on my smartphone, too. Can’t see it getting a lot better, though it is worst on IE. Firefox and Chrome are much better, for sure.

    –If the Villa rumor is true, I don’t like it. I think he’s overrated. But if he comes, people will have the opportunity to turn on him, just like with Henry and Ibrahimovic (and now Alves). Talented? For sure. Worth what he will cost? No way. The good thing is that he will return Pedro! to his rightful role as super sub, I suppose. But why start the silly season before the real season is still going on in earnest?

    –I repeat, I don’t think that we can drop any more points this season. I didn’t figure we were going to win at Espanyol, but I don’t see us dropping points at any of the remaining fixtures. By the time we get to Sevilla and Villarreal, their positions in the table (and in Europe next season) will be decided. But we have to win out to win the title now, which will be challenging.

    • Eklavya
      April 19, 2010

      The site hasn’t become slow for me … at least not in Chrome.
      Use Opera for smartphones. I can access the site pretty fast with it.

      PS, I don’t think Villa is overrated.

    • ballbeav
      April 19, 2010

      all the avatars and thumbs contribute to the slowness. it was never like that before the thumbs and avatars. i think both should be trashbinned, especially the thumbs. (even though — ahem — my comments always receive high marks LOL)

    • Museum
      April 19, 2010

      Site hasn’t been slow at all in Safari. Though I have had an issue where I’ll click an article on the main page and nothing will load, I’ll just get a blank page. Then I have to hit refresh several times before anything comes up. Which is annoying. But it isn’t because it’s slow, it stops loading right away, it’s just that nothing comes up.

      • vicsoc8
        April 19, 2010

        That happens to me as well, and I’m running Safari too.

    • Tyler
      April 19, 2010

      I haven’t been watching Villarreal enough, but do they have a potential of creating problems for us? I know they always play us hard.

    • Nick
      April 19, 2010

      Gravatar and rating are the culprits. Nice to have them but it becomes a nuisance after 50+ comments.

    • Helge
      April 19, 2010

      I recommend to use NoScript for Firefox. Then you can simply disable scripts from polldaddy and all the other stuff that you don’t need (which is for me facebook, msn, statcounter, all the stuff related to google). Then it loads within 1 second.

  49. ballbeav
    April 19, 2010

    news update:

    we are appealing alves’ cards in the derby match:

    **http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/castellano/noticies/futbol/temporada09-10/04/19/n100419110533.html

    • vicsoc8
      April 19, 2010

      My bet is that the card isn’t rescinded. Why? Simple – the federation is pissed off a Guardiola for coming out and saying one of the referees lied. The Ref association can’t do anything about it because, well, the ref did lie. However they won’t let Pep get off scott free (even though he was in the right) because they don’t like being criticized, and therefore the card won’t get rescinded.

  50. ballbeav
    April 19, 2010

    i was just looking at the situations of the remaining champs league teams in their respective domestic leagues

    barcelona == 1st place, 5 games left, one point advantage over 2nd place

    inter milan == 2nd place, 4 games left, one point behind the leaders

    bayern munchen == 1st place, 3 games left, two point advantage over 2nd place

    lyon == tied for 3rd, 5 games left…four teams, separated by only 2 points, are fighting for 3rd place (the last CL spot)

    ++ ++ ++
    all the teams have work to do in their domestic leagues, though bayern is the most comfortable, with the biggest lead and fewest games remaining.

  51. Ethan
    April 19, 2010

    I hate volcano’s more than espanyol.

    • Helge
      April 19, 2010

      Wow! I definitely hate Espanyol more than all volcanoes of the world put together 😀

  52. ballbeav
    April 19, 2010

    you might notice that ballbeav has some time to kill, and he’s browsing the web.

    iniesta sings for haiti:
    **http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/castellano/noticies/club/temporada09-10/04/19/n100419110531.html

    • Kari
      April 19, 2010

      Out of all of those, I’m pretty sure Kun is the only one actually singing. 😛

      Nice find!

        • Kari
          April 19, 2010

          Yep! He even sang his own song (with the band that made Leo’s song as well)

          *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKRuwtzsKAg

          and with Maradona

          *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_BJRoemLVs&feature=related

          • ballbeav
            April 19, 2010

            you missed the pun:

            Cancun?

            kill me now…

          • Kari
            April 19, 2010

            Oh no, I didn’t 😀

            I figured I’d give you the benefit of the doubt and say it was just a coincidence… 🙂

  53. ballbeav
    April 19, 2010

    since he is probably too modest to do so, i will post a link to ramzi’s preview of tomorrows match:

    *http://barcelona.theoffside.com/team-news/inter-barcelona-cl-battle-catenaccio-vs-total-football.html#respond

  54. Kari
    April 19, 2010

    I still can’t get that picture of Scholes and Neville out of my mind. It’s following me everywhere. I never look at those two the same again.

    I’ll post the link again if anyone wants to be permanently scarred.

    (Hector me with a preview or something! Quick!)

    • y2k156
      April 19, 2010

      Definitely a picture that will leave a scar on you. And the guardian blokes are putting it on all their articles, which for me, is quite tasteless.:)

    • Helge
      April 19, 2010

      What picture are you talking about? 🙂

  55. ballbeav
    April 19, 2010

    breaking news:

    we will be wearing our “mango” aka salmon-colored kits in tomorrow’s match.

    knowledge is power.

Leave a Reply