Fight Until the Bloody End: Barça – Xerez [Updated]

Ibra has so many legs! No wonder he can do that ninja crap!

Liga Preview: Barça – Xerez, Saturday 12pm EST, GolTV

Update! Check out my Minute +10 Podcast with Kevin Walker of OGN/Serie A Weekly. We discuss the Champions League in-depth and what the underage French hooker scandal could lead to.

I seem to enjoy the sport-as-war titles, don’t I? There were the Visigoths, the invasions of the Russian steppe, and a few other “it’s time to kill some fools” kinds of titles out there. This is no exception, but what’s interesting is this match seems like the forgotten child–the Kevin in Home Alone to our Paris vacation, if you will. And no, I’m not talking about our Kevin. I mean, it’s just Xerez, right? It’s just the worst team in the league, isn’t it? We can forget about this one and move on to the bigger fish we have waiting next to our fryer, can’t we? It’s Inter, man, the remontada, the comeback of the century, come on, stop with the boring Xerez talk.

But that’s the thing: you can’t forget about a single point, a single minute in this league or you’ll end up without any silverware. Overlook even the smallest of fish and they’ll find a way to crawl up your junk and eat you from the inside out (read this and this to justify your skepticism/fear). So, what I’m saying is, you gotta go balls-to-the-wall against even the smallest of opponents and put them to the sword quickly if you want to rest at all during a match. Allowing them to stick around lets them grow in confidence and that, in turn, means we have to expend more energy to destroy them.

And yes, I just spent the last 10 minutes shivering at the thought of Victor Sanchez climbing up my urethra and into–must stop this goddamned line of thinking before I freak out and run into the street screaming about Spanish men being in my pants. For those of you who live in crazytown like me, it would just be a typical Friday afternoon, though, right?


So it’s Xerez, the return of Victor Sanchez and the ever-dangerous Sidi Yaya Keita, whose mental and physical powers either cancel each other out or are beyond those of our own Immortals, which is not something I can even get close to wrapping my mind around. Yaya Keita is such a badass name. Maybe he plies his trade at Xerez just to keep his profile lower so that while he’s off fighting intergalactic wars no one will notice his absence. I don’t know, I can’t think straight cause of that candiru business.

It’s worth considering that while we’re up on top of the financial pyramid, there are teams struggling to get by within the same league despite not having management made up entirely of blockheaded blunderbusses (cough Portsmouth cough). It is notable–if not at all coincidental–that the day before they play Barcelona, their official website publishes a call to arms against the media rights rules in Spain (if it shows up in English, click the Spanish flag for grammatically correct Spanish rather than obviously Google-translated English). They point out that they earn 1 euro for every 11 that Madrid earns in TV rights, which is an unsustainable financial climate. In the past I’ve advocated a more equitable TV rights deal and given that the EPL appears to be successful with that model, I don’t think there can be that many arguments against it, though I’m sure some of you will figure some out and post them in the comments.

So what’s with Xerez these days? They’re the cola of the league table, just as they have been for most of the season, coming in 20th with just 27 points from 33 matches. Their leading scorer is Bermejo with 10 goals (1/3 of their total) and so I suppose he has to be put in the “danger man” category. That’s one more than Pedro has…Xerez’s record is an abysmal 6W-9D-18L (30GF, 56GA) and away from home they’re even worse at 2W-5D-9L (15GF, 30GA), though oddly enough they’re 14th in the away table and 19th at home. They are, however, coming in on somewhat of a high, having gone 3W-3D-2L in their last 8. Those 12 points account for almost half of their overall points total and their only notable victory was against Atletico Madrid at the Calderon (1-2) and they also held Sevilla 1-1 at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

We, however, are sterling at the Camp Nou, owners of the only undefeated home record in the league (suck it, Madrid!) at 15W-1D-0L (46GF, 9GA). I mean, that has to spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r for Xerez, right? But we’re going to need all of our wiles to pull it off, I think, because we’ll be without Dani Alves after his red card for two bookable offenses during the Espanyol match last weekend was upheld and Abidal has basically been ruled out after re-re-injuring his groin in Thursday’s practice session. Can that guy maybe stop injuring himself? We need him to go up against Inter and now he’s just gone and lowered his chances of playing in that match? Dammit.

All of that means that we’ll see Puyol, who has to miss the Inter match anyway, on the right, with Marquez and Milito in the middle and Maxwell on the left. If only Muniesa weren’t injured, we could have an entirely M back line (and we could start Ruben Miño in goal, Messi up front, er…Mavi in the middle with Musi? Hmm. We could also do Pinto, Puyol, Pique, Pilito, and Pedro! on the left…that’s even more of a stretch…

Predicted lineup: Valdes, Puyol, Marquez, Milito, Maxwell, Yaya, Keita, Xavi, Pedro, Ibra, Messi. I think we roll out what we need to to get the job done and get it done early. Then we sub in Henry, Busi, and Bojan. throughout the second half in order to get them some minutes prior to what could be an all-hands-on-deck last few minutes against Inter. I could see Chygrynskiy getting some time, but I don’t see the utility because he can’t be used in the CL match and we have to be prepared for that.

So we’ll put the boot in (up to the knee, as Kxevin likes to say), twist, shake, and move on. Official prediction: 4-0. Messi gets back on the scoring track with a brace and that bodes well for us on Wednesday, Ibra grabs one, and so does Keita. Chickens: counted. Eggs hatched: none.

We will, of course, have to fight to the bloody end of this league campaign, so let’s start that off here, against Xerez. There is no I in quit. Shit, there is…hmm…how about: there’s no Barça in quit! Yeah! Viscaaaaaa.

Time: 6pm Local/Barcelona, 12pm EST/New York, check your local time here.
TV: In the US, the game will be on GolTV
Weather: ~64F (~17.5C), ~75% humidity, clear skies, 0% chance of rain. Should be a beautiful night for football.

PS, here [link fixed!] is a follow up article on Juan Antonio Samaranch. Thanks, Steve, for posting it in the comments of the previous post. I’m very much anti Olympics and anti World Cup in terms of what they do to the places they’re held, especially when those places are poor(er) and can’t really afford all the things that are required of them. The human toll far, far exceeds the value of the competitions and that should be changed. Of course, I still watch them, which is something I shouldn’t do, but how am I not going to watch the World friggin’ Cup? Oh the dilemmas…

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. The Samaranch thing confuses me so. He was a fervent Francophile in the purest sense of the word. A 100% fascist, a strike-breaker, and a downright awful head for the IOC. Yet people in Catalonia are reacting as if George Orwell died all over again. I understand he brought Barcelona the 1992 Olympics, but come on, this seems very strange to me.

  2. I LOVE your prediction 🙂

    As Pep said, this is the decisive week, and I simply cannot think clear anymore. I can’t wait for neither Saturday nor Wednesday!

  3. Thanks for the shout out Isaiah. How do you get to the article? I agree the Olympics and World Cup come to your town dripping from head to toe in blood, but when they’re happening I spend every hour of the day watching them or itching because I’m not watching them. I justify it as supporting the athletes not the event. In the Olympics nothing beats the drama of some nobody’s one shot at glory standing between being on the Wheaties box or stocking the shelves with Wheaties boxes. While in the World Cup it’s all about the greatest of the great’s ability to persevere through the homicidal grind of a World Cup soccer year and have the good fortune to be on form at just the right time like Garrincha in ’62 and Maradona in ’86. (I’m looking at you Messi!)

    Anyway! great preview, I’d really like to see Henry have a chance to get back on form, I’m just not buying he has checked out. I think if we can have an in form Henry against Inter then we’re in the the Bernabeu at the end of May, guess that’s a pretty big if, but I don’t think it’d hurt our chances against Xerez to play him.

  4. baby bojan: the mama’s boy

    “In addition, the forward admits that he is a fan, especially for the past several years, of David Bisbal, an award-winning Spanish pop singer who gained fame after being a runner-up on the Spanish musical reality show Operación Triunfo.”

    a little different to the angry, death metal listening, long haired weirdo that puyol is.

  5. WTF is wrong with that picture?!? Is it photoshopped? Oh, I’m so confused!

    PS, I don’t think this will be a piece of cake. People were thinking the same thing last time we faced Xerez and they were still last at that time but we had to grind and work hard to get a win. I hope it’s better this time.

    I think we’ll get a 2-1 victory.

    1. …I take back everything I said about the Ninja, he’s obviously contending with a major birth defect.
      …and he’s smiling too. I stand chastised.

      (Photoshopped or more likey Pedro-cropped)

  6. So I’m really bad at photo-shop but I wanted to combine probably my favorite movie with my feelings about next wednesday and I came up with this:


    haha it’s pretty amateurish, but I believe in Harvey Dent, and I believe in Remontada!!!!!

  7. This is kind of random, but I’ve been wondering about Samaranch’s first name. Juan is the Spanish equivalent of Joan (the Catalan name) and John (the English name), correct? So was Samaranch’s family “Spanish” (perhaps Castillan is the correct term?)? Or do some Catalan people use Spanish first names?

    1. Possibly. My parents randomly gave me a Catalan first name (Joan) even though we are not Catalan, but rather Canary Islander (the Spanish side).

  8. For some crazy reason, I feel that we will win tomorrow, go through on Wed, but we will struggle at Villareal. I hope EE drops some points soon.

  9. You know, I think it’s time to revisit the Cesc question. I was as against his acquisition as anyone else on this blog when it was being discussed a month or two ago.

    But the tiredness evident in Xavi’s play last couple of games, the constant injuries Iniesta has suffered (poor guy hasn’t really recovered from last year’s CL final), the fact that we have too few players willing to shoot from outside the box…I dunno. I think it’s worth a re-think.

    Also, you know how ALL players take AT LEAST a season to start producing in our system, or are under par their first year (Henry, Hleb, Ibra to an extent etc)? Well Cesc is one of two or three players for whom there will be no adjustment. He could hit the ground running, and following a (probable) long World Cup run for Iniesta and Xavi, it might be worth it. I think.

    1. You know what I kinda agree and I was REALLY against getting Cesc, even at 30m.

      I bet he is looking at the team and thinking exactly the same thing: “Man I could slot into that midfield tomorrow and it would be like I was playing there for years”

    2. Good argument Ahsan,agree with all only I belive it is players who are discouraged from shooting outside the box-keita had a fine strike at sevilla. A deco type player is whats required- I really appreciate him now hes gone

  10. Off topic,
    GUys check out Ramzi’s review on the inter game, god he’s on a roll:

  11. cool preview!

    entire M-lineup?

    Muniesa Milito Marquez Maxwell
    Musi Mini-esta
    Mojan Menry

    ….anywaayyyyyyy excellent photo. i think its pedro behind ibra, you can just see his left leg through messi’s legs. kind of suspect imo, it looks as if pedrito is trying to hump some swedish lump

  12. Hate that Abidal’s injured AGAIN. I feel so much confidence when he’s on the pitch, its unbelieveable compared to last season.
    Like the prediction, lets get some confidence back, and lets take names on wednesday !

    1. What’s with poor Abidal? Can’t seem to catch a break! Pep must be livid cos he’s definitely banking on him for the Inter game too. What’s the extent of the injury?

    1. It wouldn’t really be any kind of collapse from here on in. The team has done amazingly well to stay involved in both competitions up to this point. To win one is really as much as we could hope for. There’s a reason teams don’t successfully defend the CL and we’re seeing it just now in injuries and the pressure for the second season in a row of playing so many important matches in such a short space of time. Remember, nothing has been lost yet. If asked at the start of the season if you’d take our current position I’d have taken it.

      However, if you’re Xavi just now you must be exhausted, frustrated and worried that despite yet another awesome season form wise you could end up with nothing. You’ve also got to live up to your reputation at the World Cup then it all starts again….

      Could we rest him and Messi today and still win ? And if the rest of our squad can’t beat the bottom team why are we paying them big bucks?

    2. And we shouldn’t forget, if Perez hadn’t overtaken Real Madrid again, they wouldn’t have spent the most amount of money a football team has ever done and we would practically be la Liga’s champions right now!

      Visca el Barça

    3. i know…
      we are sooo good this season but damn that EE.
      they are pushing us all the way.
      i thought they would’ve been out by now and we can spend more energy on CL..but i was wrong..
      credit to ee for raking up so many points with a brand new team. im kinda worried for next season.

  13. damn it..
    pep didnt call up any atheltic player.
    that means that we won’t be able to rest a lot of players.
    i think pep really means it that la liga is more important.

  14. Valdés; Puyol, Márquez, Chygrynskiy, Maxwell; Xavi, Touré, Keita; Jeffen, Ibrahimovic y Henry.

Comments are closed.