Barca 4, Tenerife 1, aka “Not as easy as it sounded, folks”

“Thank you, we’ll be here all week!” (Claudio Chaves/El Mundo Deportivo)

This one wasn’t as easy as the scoreline seemed, thanks to a team that, despite all the warnings, were looking to Saturday’s big face-off with Sevilla. Ultimately, it was talent that turned the trick and a tiring Tenerife side that fought, scrapped, clawed, pushed and fouled, getting in our faces as if to say “You might be Barca, but we’re fighting for our Liga lives. So bring it.”

We did, but it took a lot out of us, little moments of brilliance that resulted in four exquisite goals. We get used to seeing those kinds of displays week after week after week, but it’s worth noting the sheer beauty and elegance of what we witnessed, putting four past a side that was not going to make it easy. Those dudes probably followed Xavi to the bathroom.

It was raining, pouring actually, the kind of weather that can make a lesser team better than it is, and a strong team weak. And perhaps that explained why the lineup of Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, The Yaya, Keita, Xavi, Messi, Ibrahimovic and Krkic didn’t seem all that cohesive. There was pressure, to be sure, but pressure that was easily soaked up by Tenerife, who must have been watching DVDs of our Inter matches. They intelligently defended areas rather than men, and put a passel of white shirts around Xavi, as if to say “Somebody might kill us, but it won’t be you.”

They were right. It was Alves, who spanked in a delightful ball, that Ibrahimovic battled with two defenders for and headed down into the path of a scampering Messi, who popped it home past the keeper, just inside the post. It wasn’t what you would call you classic Barca goal, but it was elegant nonethless, as well as showing off one of the many reasons that we plumped for Ibrahimovic: strength and grace under pressure. Sometimes, you just need a giant in there, right?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic worked like a dog out there, and deserved a goal for his efforts. As it is, he will have to settle for an assist, and some highlight reel passes, including one to Alves that was jaw-dropping. Oh yeah, and a very annoyed Ninja moment:

(Manel Montilla/El Mundo Deportivo)

So it was 1-0 and we were off to the races, right? Well, sort of. We had some absurd possession statistic of more than 80 percent, and when we came flashing up the pitch on a break, Ibrahimovic having run his tail off to get into the box almost ahead of everyone, when Maxwell decided “Hey, I don’t think that angle is too acute. Sure I only have to get it past two defenders, the keeper and inside the near post, my only viable shooting option. But I’m feeling the love.”

He shot it. Stupidly. Impossibly so, ignoring a wide-open Ibrahimovic, who was standing in front of a wide-open net, having pulled off the kind of run that needs to be rewarded to make your striker not think twice the next time you’re about to start a break. And frankly, it typified Maxwell’s match, but more on that in the ratings. That pass, or lack thereof was doubly painful because at 2-0 before the half, Tenerife probably accept the inevitable and bow down. They don’t play as hard, and we cruise.

Instead, Tenerife had life as Ibrahimovic and Messi were playing a two-man game, since Krkic was busy being knocked off the ball by any grownup that happened to come near him, when he wasn’t being stood up and dispossessed by defenders. If he’s going to play the wing, as he was deployed on this sodden evening, he has to play it with movement and working give-gos with the likes of Maxwell or Keita, rather than taking the ball and trying to do a Thierry Henry. There’s just something about pace, size and strength that tend to make that kind of play work a little better. Just saying.

Still, it never looked like …. wait a minute, Puyol smacked an awful pass that The Yaya couldn’t get to, and Tenerife came charging right back, to spank a goal past a helpless Valdes. Suddenly it was 1-1, and they started playing with even more vigor and physical aggression, figuring that the ref won’t call everything, right? We got to the half at 1-1, and we looked like the better team, but the better team that didn’t quite know what to do with a scrappy lesser opponent. More importantly, we looked a little tired, showing those tired team signs of passes that are just a little off, movements that aren’t quite as sharp as they should be.

Pique came off at the half, in came Pedro!, and Krkic began playing more toward the center of the pitch, where he is happier. Sure there are still grownups there, but he gets a running start at them. So when a beautiful sequence of passes flowed from Xavi to Alves to Pedro! back to Alves, who slid a perfect pass to Krkic, all that The Kid had to do was slingshot the ball past a helpless keeper. He did that, it was 2-1, and there was truly no looking back. The rest of this match was academic, really, since we weren’t planning on giving them any more gifts that they could capitalize on. So the only question was the final score.

Pedro! tallied our third, when Messi broke him loose with yet another brilliant, perfect pass over distance that P! slotted home. It was the kind of goal that we have been scoring with regularity this season, based off movement and taking advantage of a pressing opponent. This was the second glorious chance for Pedro!, as he missed what would have been a glorious goal when he took a ball, smoked the defender and with the net gaping, chipped it wide. Yes, I thought for a moment about Eto’o and his inability to score against Mallorca last season, but P! put that to rest with his clinical finish.

Then Busquets came on to fill out our midfield, so we could pass the match away, since The Yaya had been moved to the back line, leading to what is fast becoming a tradition: Phil Schoen Moment of Stupidity No. 5,002,316. He noted that The Yaya has played the back line with “mixed results,” demonstrating that he must have missed last season’s CL final, or this season’s home leg of the Inter tie, in which The Yaya not only played the back line, but did so with style and effectiveness.

The last goal was my favorite, because it demonstrated our sheer excellence with the ball. Alves passed an absurd ball to Messi, absurd because it had pace over distance, a lovely little curve and enough spin that it dropped essentially onto Messi’s boot. Messi controlled and chipped it over the keeper at close range. It wasn’t just the pass that was remarkable, however. Messi’s control was staggering. I can’t think of another player in the world who, with the keeper and defender in close proximity, could take a pass from that distance with that kind of juice on it, and never let the ball get more than 6 inches from his foot.

“Dani, that was beautiful. Thank you. (Claudio Chaves/El Mundo Deportivo)

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this match. Tenerife were a relegation side who played their hearts out, but got tired. And in that fatigue, those holes in the defense that weren’t there when they were fresh, gaped when they were tired. And that was all that it took. Our win puts immense pressure on the EE, who roll into Mallorca’s indomitable fortress to try and keep pace with us. Let’s see what happens.

Team: 6. A little sloppy, mostly because you were guilty of looking past Tenerife to the huge Saturday match against Sevilla. Luckily, it was Tenerife.

Guardiola: 8. Can’t fault you for the substitutions. The Pedro! for Pique made it clear that you wanted to win, and right now. He turned the trick. And thanks for letting Henry fluff his feathers in front of the home faithful. Nice way to show love for an influential, outgoing vet. Moving The Yaya to the back line was bold, but it did the trick. Then you brought Busquets in to help solidify the midfield, keep possession and roll up the time. Rock on.

Valdes: 6. You didn’t have a ton to do, and one got past you that you couldn’t do a whole lot about.

Alves: 9. Has it been a while since you were Man of the Match? It just goes to show what you can do when the other team decides to not test you on the defensive end. Nice to see that your passing eye is back. That ball to Messi couldn’t have been better had you rolled up and dropped it on his foot.

Pique: 6. Some sketchy balls from you keep your rating, though you were kicking out the jams once you got that little bit of funk out of your system. Bummer about the bruised knee. We could use you against Sevilla.

Puyol: 6. You looked tired out there. Key interventions worked to offset the negative influence of that goal you were ultimately responsible for. Even when tired, the fire is there, and way to marshal the troops. That’s what a Captain does.

Maxwell: 4. Between the giveaways and non-pass to Ibrahimovic, this wasn’t a match to remember for you. We will need you to be better, much better against Sevilla, who have actual wing attackers.

Keita: 5. You weren’t much to write home about, either. I liked that you were covering so much ground when The Yaya moved back to the back line as Pedro! came in for attacking purposes, but you’ve definitely had better, more influential matches.

The Yaya: 7. You aren’t Xavi, even though you insist on playing like him. It helps the side immeasurably, as does your calm presence in the midfield. When you moved to the back line, like Pique you rolled forward on the attack, with effort and distribution.

Xavi: 6. Two more, then you can get the rest that you deserve. And was that a little bit of a limp that I was detecting as the match wore on? You weren’t as influential as you usually are, in part because every time you touched the ball, somebody from Tenerife fouled you. But when you popped up, you were amazing, as usual, with pinpoint passing and midfield control.

Messi: 7. A very quiet brace, and I see that you’re deciding to show off your passing, something that is much appreciated. It will also serve to make you unplayable. You have two matches to strive to match a pretty amazing goal scoring record for the club, but I wouldn’t focus on that. Just keep being brilliant.

Krkic: 4. Sorry Kid, you scored a goal but other than that you were mostly invisible, and lost out every time you came up against a full-sized human. You were definitely more comfortable in the middle, but wing play is going to be what will ultimately keep you at the club, so get used to it, and adapt.

Ibrahimovic: 6. You worked your butt off out there, sometimes trying a bit too hard, but that’s okay. From defense to midfield possession and passing to battling in the box, you played an all-pitch match. Nice of the fans to recognize your effort today as you came off.


Pedro! (for Pique): 6. Man, all that you do is score goals, but you shone in your rightful role as super sub, to take advantage of a weary opponent. My hat’s off to you as you battled as a defender on one end, then made the run to score the goal at the other. Wow.

Busquets (for Ibrahimovic): 5. You have to learn to play facing forward. Entirely too many negative balls for my taste. And once again, you screwed up and lay there on the pitch while the opponent ran the other way. Get up and fight, damn you.

Henry (for Krkic): incomplete. Your efforts, had they been for more of the match, surely would earned you a good rating, as your style, effort and movement demonstrated once again what we miss on that left wing. Two more matches for you, then on to the next phase. Good luck.

Next up, on Saturday, is a Sevilla side that need points. Bad. They want to grab that Champions League spot from Mallorca, and with two matches left, can’t afford to lose any ground. But obviously, we need the points as well. It should be a battle royal, so be sure to be there. I will be running the LiveBlog, in case folks were wondering. See everyone on Saturday.

And finally ….

“Okay, check out MY ugly face!” (Manel Montilla/El Mundo Deportivo)

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, Iโ€™m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, Iโ€™m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. is messi smiling in the background of ibra’s chilena?!?

    this saturday is going to be pretty intense…we sevillistas NEED those points. but on the other hand…it’s not just that i want to see real not win the title…it’s that i want to see them suffer. and if it can’t be us, i’d like to see barcelona win la liga.

    so after wishing that real and mallorca could somehow simultaneously lose this afternoon (not a tie, exactly…why can’t they both just lose?!?), i’ll go into saturday wanting us both to win. since that’s not possible, though…well, it’s on.

    did any of you see us play today? we’ve got a handful of really fast and excellent finishers who will be looking (and VERY able) to exploit your high line (and slo-mo CB’s…please tell me you’re going to play rafa if pique is out!!!) on the break. i won’t argue that we’re the better team in talent, form, or this whole year, but i DO think we’ve got the team, personnel, desperation, and philosophy to give you all a great game, and hopefully maybe possibly take all three points.

    looking forward to a great game!

    1. may the best team win the game..not only ur team that are really desperate to get 3 points..i guess barca need it more..

      put it this way..u give us victory 3 points..n i bet you, depor will also win against mallorca..then you win your last u get what you win situation..:P

    2. We were whispering because some bonehead didn’t close an italics bit of coding. I won’t say who it was, but I know him pretty well. ๐Ÿ˜€

    3. By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask, does the website accept HTML commands in the comments?


  2. Yeah, whats up with the italics? haha. It feels like the whole piece was an aside.

    In defense of maxwell, wasn’t Ibra offside? Im not hating here, im just not sure if Maxwell passed to him, the flag wouldn’t have gone up. But then again, maxwell went past him, does that mean he played him back onside?

    Messi’s ease at goal scoring is just criminal. I havent seen anyone pass the ball into the net as much as messi. He always seems to produce the right shot, angle and speed when he scores. AMazing

    I dont think bojan is gonna like this…



    Our visit to the Sanchez Pizjuan is going to be the pivotal moment of the rest of the season.

    Btw, are all the matches in La Liga now scheduled for the same time? You know, since we could be champions in any of the matchdays…

  4. digging the photo of ibra’s overhead kick with messi smiling afar. beautiful.

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing. The Messi smirk makes that pic 10 times better.

  5. not sure it was a smile…. I think it’s more like ‘what the hell are u doing?’

    I agree this game was not as easy as it seems from the score line. I saw highlights of the seville game and they looked like they are on fire. They have much more speed. I am very nervous about the game on Saturday.

  6. not to be a hater, but i didnt think that ibra worked hard.
    at least on 2 occasion when he lost the ball he just stood and watch.
    a lot of his passes in the 1st half was also wrong. he really lacks confidence imo.
    yaya made a run to the box and tried to do a 1-2 with ibra but instead he passed the ball all the way back while yaya was clear on goal. yaya was furious and i think his confidence became worse when the next ball he got he passed it very dangerously back to keita on the halfway line.
    thank god he did some nice flicks…as it will only increase his confidence but then he was taken off.right decision but it will only hurt his already low confidence..but hey, team comes first.

    keita seriously needs a rest. i was hoping that thiago would come in for him as once again he didnt do anything much and his passes are really poor at times.

    yaya is amazing and i think pep is regaining his trust.
    played yaya at cb against inter and now against tenerife while we had milito on the bench. i’d prefer yaya and busi in midfield though..

    btw, pique will miss the seville tie.

    1. Rate me down people, but Ibra sucked again. You echoed my sentiments on him. He tried to work hard. But dude does not have a first touch on the ball. He does not understand playing the ball into an open space to lose a defender, or how to do a give and go. May be he does, but lacks the confidence. Either way it is unacceptable that he is still the first choice starter for the center forward role at Barca. Things will definitely change this summer. And I can see that because Pep has been consistent in his substitution of Ibra.

    2. With your logic, Zlatan will be furious so many times in one match that people don’t pass him when he’s in a good position. Yaya furious? R u kidding me? Do you watch Barca games at all or you are just biased towards Zlatn? Well, I think your rating of this post say it all. And I didn’t even vote yet.

  7. The Sevilla match is going to be the mother of all attacking matches. I am a cule, but frankly, if there is one other team I like in La Liga, it is Sevilla. Here is hoping for an electric match with lots of good attacking football, and goals.

    1. Idk that is going to be an attacking match, I see Sevilla pushing a draw. They’d rather tie us than lose all 3 points by attacking and opening space for us.

  8. I have mixed emotions about this game, not sure what game some people were watching I think Ibrah worked his butt-off, and I’d like to mention being part of the 11 doesn’t mean hes going to score everytime. I think the entire team played sloppy, we had signs of great football but nothing really came across as spectacular.
    Like some of us mentioned in the live blog comments, Ibrah has problems with the spanish teams defensive tactics, which are quite different from the Italian ones. Honestly the man isnt going anywhere, this is Guardiola’s man, and he will make him work, and create beautiful football like we all like to see.

    We are going to win against Sevilla. We are going to win la liga. Sorry Madrid, you are only pushing us to make history ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. RM 4-1 Mallorca, cr9 hat trick + higuan goal; sevilla are waiting for us after their 5-1 away win. we will win them UP BARCA…

  10. Why do you write your ratings as if they were facts and not your opinion? To me it reads like if you were handing back exams to pupils! It seems kind of weird – as if they knew nothing about football and you were the one to teach them how to play. Know what I mean?

    I’m pretty sure this is a thing you started only recently.

    Apart from that, I always enjoy reading your reviews. I really do.

    1. Anyone who doesn’t think it’s my opinion needs their head examined. ๐Ÿ˜€ Everything here is opinion, except for facts, such as statistics, goal scorers, injuries, etc.

      I write it that was as if I were telling them what I thought of their performance. Simple.

      Thanks for reading.

  11. Am I the only one who will have sleepless nights until Saturday and fears that Sevilla might soon have eliminated us from Copa del Rey AND la Liga title race?

    1. noooo that won’t happen dude sleep well, all resources are attention are on this game. and also messi is pissed after inter when the camp nou was shouting his name and he couldn’t do much. it will be the best way to beat thong boy FC getting all single points and chanting “el alirรณn” in camp nou old skool style ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. ibrainmovil betta man up and change his game after this summer, you guys are right a bout his substitutions, pep’s trust is fading away… same thing happened with titi but BANGS has some years of contract in the way. I do think (well more like wish) that we sign villa and we have a great plan B …or A ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I also noticed xavi a little injured but it’s HIS team… who else can we rely on, keita? you gotta be kidding, without both xavi or iniesta this team looses his identity. I still can’t undestand how come keita played vs inter when we wanted to score more than ever, if only ghostface had been there! or maybe yaya he is far more offensve than him.

    poor bojan he scored he deserves more than a 4.

    1. IMHO Bojan needs to bulk up so as to not get bullied off the ball so often.. Prime example of this kinda player is Villa – That dude can hold his own even at the face of thugs.. Even Silva is a tough little character..

      Why can’t the support staff ‘build’ him physically like Messi? (and No, I’m not talking about HGH) Apart from that I think he’ll be fine.. I think its of no use bringing Villa when we have Villa-lite so to speak..

    2. there are rumours about hlebster+bojan for villa… and FCB would keep a rebuiy option (15m) on bojan. I think it is not that bad, what do you think? any option including getting rid of hlebster sounds good to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. i think Kxevin got beat up by a stuffed animal at some point in his childhood. few other things would explain that Bojan rating. the kid got buffeted around, sure, but his movement and energy throughout the game were excellent, as was (crucially) his finish. he dropped off his defender for the through-ball and slotted it past the keeper like a seasoned pro, and i daresay that’s not a goal that Ibrahimovic scores. at least, it’s not the kind he’s been scoring so far…

    what’s the news on Iniesta for this weekend? is he fit or not? while Abidal, i take it, is still out? those are maybe the 2 most important players we have against Sevilla…

  14. Jesus Navas is going to run rampant on Maxwell if we don’t put down the possession pedal, HARD.

    I’m very nervous about this match on Saturday, and I could definitely see us dropping points. The good thing is, we’re playing into space in a way we haven’t most of the season, and with Sevilla’s weaker CB’s, we may be in for a treat.

    I’m hoping for another start from the YAYA because we’ll need his brute force in the box for FKs, both offensively and defensively, cuz you sure as hell can expect some professional fouls on the wings from Diego Capel and Navas.


  15. I really think that you hate too much on Bojan. For whatever you want to say, he plays much more vertical than Ibra, although given the fact that he played there forever, he just fits in better. His pressing and work rate also come in handy and inside the box, he is just good.
    So it’s a bit annoying really to try to find points to downgrade Bojan because in the last couple of games he has been more than excellent and he just fits in better.
    The sub for Henry wasn’t either to give Henry a good bye but rather Bojan his standing ovation. Don’t think that Pep cares too much for Henry.
    With regards to Maxwell, funny, he has been playing all these years with Ibra and yet both other fullbacks, Abidal and Alves, have worked better with Ibra. Hmmm..

    Sevilla will be TOUGH! Specially Navas vs. Maxwell. Keite has to play and again, Bojan will play because he can track back on the wing and so does Pedro and that will be critical against Navas-Capel. So I don’t see Ibra starting against Sevilla, and I hope that both he and his agent understand that this is nothing personal but strictly business.

    1. i fear the same thing as well with max.
      if im not mistaken, he was kinda the main cause for the 2 goals at emirates and milan. his defending is really weak.

      oh yeah btw dont be too harsh on max about that cross to ibra.
      maybe he had a 2nd thought. he remembered the zaragoza game where ibra missed an open goal so he thought its not a 100% thing ibra will score so decided to try his luck :p

    2. I loved how Bojan played in the last couple of games. Regarding his wing play, the reason why he has received so much criticism in the review above, he did better than what Pedro and Jeffren would have done. At least he went at the defenders. Pedro and Jeffren take their defender once through course the match.
      Bojan was almost always able to make a pass or open up space when ever he received the ball in the forward positions compared to Ibra. The movement of Barca attack stays constant when Bojan is involved in play, compared to Ibra where it just dies.

    3. You think I’m trying to find ways to downgrade Krkic. I could counter that YOU are trying to find ways to upgrade him, because you like him. So what? Watch the match again, and tell me if even his most vociferous apologists would be happy with his overall play. He has talent. We all admit that. But he was terrible on the wing yesterday. He just was. Don’t hate the messenger.

      I’m reassured that you have insights as to how Guardiola feels about Henry. It is precisely those insights that should make you volunteer to step up to do reviews next season. I have two more matches, then am done with that. Then everyone can accuse someone else of having bias, and loving/hating certain players. If that person is you, rest assured that I won’t be one of the people doing it. Because I understand how shitty it is, and how tiresome it becomes, time and again, to make the same points about the seriousness and integrity with which I approach this task, that people seem so fond of pissing on.

    4. easy..relax..

      If you would argue that I try to find ways to upgrade him, you would need “evidence” that I did that at some point when he wasn’t playing or was playing bad. I don’t think that I ever did something like that. In fact, my line of argument was that Bojan wasn’t ready. In the past couple of games however he has been playing quite well and proved himself to be ready, and if you want arguments for his good game against Tenerife, then it was his off-ball movement, as an example tracking back to defend or his move for the second goal. You say “apart of that goal” as if that goal was the 5-0 in the 58th minute, but it was a quite vital and important goal that brought us back in the game.
      With regards to Henry, we still have a home game left against Valladolid, where if he wanted to give Henry a farewell, he could bring him in for that game. So why should Guardiola do that? Instead it was rather for Bojan than Henry. I don’t need to have Guardiola on my Blackberry Messenger to know that. It’s simple common sense.

    5. I was one of the biggest defenders of Bojan earlier in the season when it was vogue to want him gone, and even I didn’t think he had a good game. Now I don’t watch the matches twice like Kxevin does (well, not always) but Bojan just wasn’t terribly involved out there. To be fair, our whole left flank was fairly unproductive for the entire match, but apart from the goal and a couple other good runs off the ball, he just didn’t contribute a whole lot.

      He’s improving, but he’s not ready to lead the line full time. He’s currently prospering in his current role, let’s not throw him into the deep end just because of a good run of form.

  16. Nobody calls Bojan “Krkic”. It’s “Bojan”. If you do insist on this nonsense, then have the decency to write “Hernandez” and “Rodriguez” aswell. Thank you.

    1. I’ve been through this before. I’m a journalist. The style at my newspaper is to, with rare exceptions, use last names. Period. So to me, Bojan Krkic is “Krkic,” just as Toure Yaya is Yaya, or The Yaya in his deity mode.

      Pedro! is a standing bit of humor in this space. I don’t mind playing along. I wrestled with calling Xavi “Hernandez,” or more correctly, “Creus.” I still wrestle with it.

      If you think it’s nonsense, rock on. I don’t really care. And if it bothers you that deeply, you will have an opportunity to step up next season and write reviews, so that people can line up to throw shit at you every week.

      You’re welcome.

    2. Creus is his momma’s last name. If you want to call him by his last name, it’s Hernandez(his dad is a Hernandez) and not Creus.
      If you would call Xavi “Creus” you would need to call Bojan “Perez” and Piquรฉ “Bernabeu”

    3. And Jeffren would become Suarez. I think it’s fine the way it is (expect for Henrique being called Adriano).

      One day, when Bojan scores a hat trick vs Chelsea or something we might see his 1st name in Kxevin’s review ๐Ÿ˜€ j/k

    4. Just STOP being so critical about everythng The K man writes people. Man it’s like people don’t get that he does this for free and for his love for the club. Seriously people are complaining about last names vs first names svows favouritism or the lack there of. WOW.

      Sorry people just got tired of theese pointless commnts.

    5. Only that FranFlorida is criticizing. I haven’t seen him much so I will presume that he hasn’t read enough of Kxevin’s reviews to know that he always does like that.

  17. I disagree about my hating on Krkic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If Henry had the match that Krkic had, everybody would be calling for him to sit and let Krkic play. He was crap on the wing, in my opinion. But so was Eto’o, so he’s in good company. But watch the match again. On the wing, he just can’t play against grownups, and given that wing play is so vital to our attack, it’s a problem that we have to solve over the summer.

    And here’s another thing: Ibrahimovic worked his butt off, worked to create a play that led to a goal (t’would be verrry generous to call it an assist), helped with possession and defense, ran like crazy, and people point to the times that he didn’t run as fast as they thought he should, to say that he didn’t play that well.

    Everything that we do here is subjective. One person can say the Puyol pass was crap. Somebody else can say “Why didn’t that lazy Yaya sprint harder for the ball.” It’s all perspective, based on how people feel about a particular player. It’s also why I can’t be a fan or hater of a certain player. I can’t let any of that stuff affect what I see.

    Were there moments in which Ibrahimovic wasn’t working as hard as he could? Yes. But that’s true for every player on the pitch, except for Puyol. So why is Ibrahimovic singled out for not working hard enough to please some fans? Good question, and one that I don’t have an answer for. But players, over the course of a 90-minute match, take time off. They have to. Nobody can go full-on for 90 minutes. Nobody.

    Which means what? poipoi says Ibrahimovic needs to “man up” and change his game, as if we have no role in making him a more effective player in our system. This to me, is wrong. The system has to adapt to accomodate the players that are in it. But to point to this season and say “We got screwed in the Ibrahimovic deal because he didn’t do what Eto’o did” is misguided. Eto’o had such an amazing season last year because we had Henry, kicking out the jams. Strong wing play makes us unplayable. Without strong wing play, we become a middle to middle-right centered offense, which makes us a lot easier to deal with. Ask Inter or Espanyol.

    We have two matches left. I hope that we win them both and hoist the Liga trophy. I’m sure, however, that if we don’t, scapegoats will be sought out, and the majority will settle on Ibrahimovic, and the management who made the deal. As if more matches, injuries and a World Cup year had nothing to do with our performance this year which, by the by, is on pace to set a Liga points record.

    1. You won’t help Ibra or Henry though by downgrading Bojan and his work in the last games. In fact, it will give less credit to what you write on Ibra.
      The fact that in the first half Ibra was the best player on the field and deserved a goal more than anyone is a given. The fact that Ibra’s stats for a first year Barca forward aren’t that bad, he played with pain and injury and got screwed by refs a million times, is also a given. The fact is also that Henry at no point in the past 3-4 months looked as lively and aggressive on the field as Bojan does, never tried as much to win the ball back and foul his opponent as Bojan does and he also didn’t have Bojan’s movement, at least in the last couple of months, where he was just off. The fact also is that, as much as it might hurt to say for someone who really likes Ibra, right now the best 11 we got in ways of fitting together is the one that played away to Villareal with Bojan in the team and Ibra out, for the simple fact that the team seems to play better and they all have better understanding.

    2. dude get off Bojan’s proverbial ‘sack’. he didn’t have a GREAT match. he was mediocre at best and got a game changing goal. we all know he’s talented, and he’s got skills but, he didn’t put on a masterclass of how to be a striker. and in regards to Bojan moving better with the team than Ibra well DUH, he’s been indoctrinated by the Barca system HIS ENTIRE PLAYING CAREER. Ibra, last time I checked, has been here less than a year. I’ve said it before its a sign of disrespect to our style of play to say that a player can just come in and immediately plug in. That anyone would think that they could come in and fit in perfectly is ridiculous, especially if you came from a league that values defense as highly as we value offense.

      give Kxevin some slack, he probably knows what he’s talking about given the fact he has put more time and effort in analyzing every single game this team played this season. of course we are all entitled to our opinions, but I’m going to defer to the journalist who writes for this site like he gets paid for it, which he doesnt (i’m assuming).

      you love bojan, we get it, now get over it.

    3. I know that “cheerleading” is part of the US culture, but seriously, that’s all? Me loving Bojan blabla? LOL!

      Seriously, do you have anything of substance to say too or not? I mean, when did I say that he had a “masterclass of how to be a striker” game? The point was that he wasn’t bad at all and in fact pretty good and has been so over the past games and Kxevin won’t help anyone, not himself, Ibra or whoever else, by putting him down because “he didn’t man up against real defenders”.

      Do you listen to music, or do you just skim through it?

    4. I hate music. I never listen to it. (<— sarcasm)

      The fact is that Kxevin says it how he sees it. He's blunt, honest, and I just hate when anyone is like, "but what about (insert player here) he's really great! how could you give him a bad rating??"

      every player has bad games. period. kxevin does not have a bias. period. sometimes players you might have an affinity towards don't have a GREAT game and don't get a GREAT rating. so what? do you think Kxevin is on some PR campaign to mobilize the loan of Bojan?? It's preposterous, I mean you can disagree and think he did have a great game, but did you watch the game twice? Do you have a degree in journalism? Are you a career writer?

      I can say no to all of those. And for the record I like Bojan, but like Pedro he just disappears for far too long.

    5. This is supposed to be a blog from what I got. The point about a blog is that an author writes something and gets feedback. I didn’t call Kevin an idiot or anything, I just disagreed with him on his assessment of Bojan. Now you can either add something to the discussion or not, but you are not a blog watchdog to tell me what to do and what not.

      and WTF does a degree in journalism got to do with it? Seriously?

      No, I’m not a writer, I’m a hustler, it just happens that I know how to write.

  18. Did anyone see the news about Pedro! having his status upped in the Nike stable of the anointed? Saw a blurb on There’s even talk, should he continue kicking butt next season, of a PR17 line. Ha!

    Oh, and Valencia says Villa is a “cash only” deal, which is fine by me, because Krkic should stay, and frankly, Hleb deserves another shot with us. We could have used him this season. (Yes, I said it.)

    1. “PR17” looks to much like “CR7” IMO. Wouldn’t it be cooler if his studs had “P!” instead?

      BTW, I’ve always pronounced P! as P+ (Pee plus) in my head. I have no idea why (except that in my keyboard the “+” is on top of “1” where usually the exclamation mark is) and now it’s stuck there without anyway to remove it. :/

    2. Interesting. I’ve always pronounced P! as “PEEEEEEEeeeeEEEE” in my head.

    3. I understand the point of forgiveness for past transgressions (I mean, I did consume too many margaritas for Cinco de Mayo and The Lady is none-too-pleased about it today), but I just don’t see where Hleb fits in. He wasn’t good when he was here and while it might sound like I’m defending my original thoughts on him when he was brought in (that he wouldn’t fit in, wasn’t the type of player we need, etc), I really don’t see how he would have helped us this season.

      I kind of just don’t want Villa at all–is that bad?–regardless of who we would or wouldn’t throw in on the deal. Sure, I’d accept him for rock-bottom prices (15-20m), but that’s not going to happen and shipping a player in their direction in order to obtain that kind of deal wouldn’t be worth it either. I’d much prefer an out-and-out winger because we already have a mini Villa in Bojan. If I remember correctly (obviously I’m remembering by looking this up on Wikipedia), David Villa wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire at the age of 20. He was at Sporting Gijon in the Segunda and while he scored 20 goals in 44 total appearances (18 in the league), Bojan could do that in Segunda too. I want to keep Bojan and I don’t want Villa to take his minutes or steal his thunder.

      Hleb, I think, should be sold to whoever will buy him and we should use that money, however much it is, to buy us a real LW. I don’t know enough about Luis Suarez to say whether he would fit with Barรงa, but either David Silva or Juan Mata would probably be better anyway–though Silva would be too expensive, I think.

      PR17. That is chuckle-worthy, indeed.

    4. Agreed on Hleb, enough said.

      I think the Villa vs. an out-and-out winger question will depend on what tactics Pep is looking to deploy in the future. Really, it depends on how he wants to arrange the defense. If he wants to continue with a left back that plays a bit like a central defender to provide solidarity then we definitely need an out-and-out winger. If he’s looking to gain width on the left with a wingback, then a striker who is playing slightly wide and likes to cut in is the way to go.

      You make an interesting point about minutes. If we bring in Villa, whose minutes does he take? Henry’s obviously, but that won’t be sufficient. Will Ibra lose minutes? Bojan? Pedro? Messi? Should any of those players have less minutes? This in itself makes me more interested in a player who can play both on the wing and in the midfield.

    5. yup. villa is kinda a not too late bloomer.
      like zidane, ribery(the only ones i can think off atm.)
      i wouldnt want another Dutch league flop.
      look at kezman, kone, huntelaar…hehe
      stats aren’t everything…
      id say stick to spanish players!!

  19. The differing opinions supporters have of players like Ibra, Bojan, Busi and Yaya are in part rooted in differing perceptions over what the barca system fundamentally is, what its underpinnings for success are, and what its weaknesses and needs to evolve are.

    If for example one feels that the key features of the DM in the system are to take possession and defend so that space is opened for Xavi, the Yaya and his qualities make a great deal of sense. On the other hand if one feels that the DM in the system is best served by a player deep lying playmaker who will facilitate control then some of Busi’s play becomes more appealing.

    With Bojan against Tenerife it was interesting. He did certain things well as he often does – move in space and work rate in the box for example. Those should be noted.

    That said Bojan was playing on the wing. And if there is one thing we’ve seen clearly this year is how important strong wing play is to create what the systems perhaps most needs to do most – generate space.

    And with regards to his play on the wing to maintain space he wasn’t particularly strong. He’s young and still developing but right now strength is an issue and he is dispossessed on the wing more often than what one would want in order to clear central space.

    Perhaps he’s playing out of position, but nonetheless that doesn’t change the issue about how his play on the wing – not at an individual level – but at the system level – impacts the generation of space.

    Now the alternatives aren’t great either so there’s only so much one can expect from Bojan out there. It’s an issue with Pedro as well (though in a different vein).

    But this year has pointed out clearly how critical wing play and space are for the system and the team. As such, it makes sense to evaluate the players on the wing with regards to how their play impacted those system issues.

    1. good post.
      bojan plays better from the middle, not wing. i was kinda upset when i saw him starting on the wing and ibra at CF.
      bojan clearly is a better CF for our system.

  20. i’m gonna keep tooting my own horn about my idea of playing ibra on the left wing & show only examples that support this, of course ;^)


    jump to 2:42. ibra gets the ball from keita deep in the left side of the midfield, does a quick give & go w/maxwell then knocks down his man. he shuffles it out back to keita & then runs towards the left side of the front line where he has THREE dudes run back to cover his ass(2:53). keita passes to xavi, xavi to dani. p factorial runs to the right flank dragging a defender out w/him to play a give & go w/dani. messi is double teamed in his false9/enganche spot while all this is going on. alves runs @goal, bojan’s man runs to stop the brazilian, leaving the toddler off his leash & dani slots in another great pass for bojan to score.

    i’m gonna say this was all due to the fact that ibra decongested(is that a word?) the middle a bit, & pedro too, to let bojan get “a running start” @ the defense to do what he does best. ibra playing in the middle & dropping down to receive balls only further clogs shit up for everyone. bojan’s not a winger; hence his shitty game until this point, that is, where he’s playing as a center forward.

    @work. sorry for brevity/sloppiness.

  21. The thing that I find encouraging about Bojan is that he’s becoming a valid tactical option. He’s a completely different type of striker than Ibra, all movement and excellent finishing, which is good because it gives Pep more options.

    He’ll also earn himself more minutes as second half sub. In his current form he’s an excellent option to run at tired defenses, as he did against Inter, when he had a goal wrongly disallowed.

    Contrast this against early in the season when he was low on confidence, not scoring, and only being substituted into games in the 85th minute. Bojan’s got a lot left to learn, but he’s also improved a *lot* this year.

    That said, I’d start Ibra this weekend and bring on Bojan as a second half sub. I think we’ll need Ibra to open up space for Messi and Pedro and Bojan has played a lot lately and should be rested.

    1. Fun Fact:
      When we smacked Sevilla 4-0, Bojan had scored a goal which wrongly disallowed (ref claimed Ibra fouled – when he was opening space for bojan). ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Hey all. I made a comment a couple of days ago. I read this blog all the time, but I’m new to posting here. Maybe I’ll start posting with some regularity, if no one minds ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great review as always Kxevin. I thought Ibra played a good game. One of his best for us. For me, it’s more than just scoring or passing. I liked some of his movement out there. Just my opinion, though.

    BTW, today is May 6th, 2010. 1 year anniversary since Iniesta became Sant Andres and sent us to Rome ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. Hey! It’s May 6th! The one year anniversary of Iniesta at Stamford Bridge! Let’s party!

    1. it’s also dani alves’ birthday!


    2. Man, that song just keeps going and going, huh? I thought it would never end and was disappointed when it did.

  24. Corey, from the Real Madrid Offside, did a nice overview of up-and-coming young Spanish players who might make the next world cup (although he didn’t mention Thiago or Fontas).


    I thought his entry on Bojan was interesting:

    “Bojan Krkic:

    Like Diego Capel, he has caps (well, a cap) and has been in the national team running for awhile (note, awhile in footballing terms is around two years) now, so I dont know if he really fits here, but he is an incredible talent who seems to be one of the few Barcelona youth players not gaining from the Dream Boys magnificent run of trophies. I understand the kid loves his club and all that, but I do think a loan would do him a world of good in terms of development. He has the scoring prowess as a natural instinct, and only needs experience and physical maturation, although I dont know if he will ever get any taller or bulkier per say. I have not given up on him yet, as a 19 year old still has plenty of time to work on his game, but I dont know if the new Barcelona, one that now must contend for every title, has the patience for his near misses and all that comes with the learning process a 19 year old striker must go through. Last year Pep did well with youth teamers because the pressure was not really there. This year, besides Pedro, he has had a tough time with Bojan, Jeffren, Thiago, Dos Santos etc. because the team needs to win all of its games. Maybe a less pressure filled environment would help Bojan along, if only for a season. My two cents, feel free to disagree!”

    He has an interesting point about the pressure of winning, leading to less first team opportunities for players who need game time to mature. I think it points to an interesting difference between the current youth set-up of the two clubs, that I’d love to see discussion on.

    At Madrid it seems very hard for youth team players to get any first team action, as the pressure is so great. So young players must prove themselves elsewhere (either on loans or with a buy-back clause), before they can be brought back. Where as at Barcelona this seems like a much rarer occurrence, partially I suspect because Barcelona plays with such a specific style.

    Botia is an interesting example. He wasn’t quite ready for the first team last year, so he went on loan to Sporting where he did very well and will probably either be brought back next year, or move to a larger club. Pique probably also benefited from time away. Should we consider this for more promising youth products?

    1. Yes Lou I agree. Can we guys talk about this instead of the pointless argument which has no ending.

      I see this as more of an issue with Pep this season. One thing he is not mastered is how find opportunities to incorporate the youngsters. Pedro was able to get minutes only because of his uncanny habit always scoring.
      Barca athletic getting promoted to segunda would help matters some bit but I believe if thiago and/or jDs had been incorporated in early season they MIGHT be able to contribute a little, giving rest to Xavi and covering for iniesta.

      The problem is the enormous gap between the best 11 in the world and the reserves. Anyone who isnt a crack (eg. Jeffren, Botia) will find it hard to bridge the gap.

      I havent been around long enough so would someone please fill me in on how someone like Xavi ( i hear he wasnt an early shiner) got his strats and at what age. Who were his comepetitors etc?

    2. Xavi got his strats mostly because Van Gaal, who was the coach at that time, liked him a lot. He obviously had talent so he got gradually got minutes.

      His main competitor was no one other than Pep himself!

  25. Sorry guys, but all of these accusations of Kxevin hating Bojan and loving so and so, and not giving credit to so and so are ridiculous. Why continue to harp on these topics? Apart from his goal, Bojan didn’t have a good match. Period. There is no bias in that. It is what it is.

    I can understand why Kxevin wouldn’t be fond of continuing these reviews, although, other reasons like cycling and his real life work is obviously a contributing factor to him not writing reviews anymore after this season. I really can’t blame you Kxevin, because apart from how busy you are in real life, the accusations and what not that has been levied at you for some time now, surely doesn’t make writing in this space a fun job.

    Thumbs down all you want, but I really am tired of reading the posts of some of you. Same old B.S.

    1. Don’t read it then. Don’t be soo overly sensitive. I’m worried you might start crying soon. Why is ones opinion the only acceptable one around here? Fact is, if Kxevin takes a stand on something, everyone else has a right to voice their opposing stand. And Kxevin does take alot of stands on many issues concerning the team, so its normal for some to disagree. People don’t harp on the topics, they respond to what he writes.

    2. Yeah, IBRACADAVER, I’m going to cry. You’re so right.

      People don’t harp on the topics, riiight.

    3. the simple point is that Bojan wasn’t as crap as Kxevin points out, or at least I didn’t see him that crap and to say “he just scored a goal” while that goal basically killed off the game is like saying “Iniesta only scored a goal” although on a much lower scale and level. Further, in the Villareal game report he pointed out that Bojan was lucky that Gonzalo was already on a yellow and didn’t foul him. Well, even if he wasn’t on a yellow, if he had fouled him, it would have been a straight red. Further, who cares? That was a fantastic goal. Why belittle it? Apart of that, he also robbed the ball back for the first goal etc. so again, why try to belittle what the guy does? Don’t make it greater than it is, just give it a fair assessment and the simple point is that Bojan has looked a lot hungrier and more eager and involved than Henry and that the team has felt much more at ease and fluid with him in the line-up. Is he better than Ibra? Never. Does he play better with the team right now than does Ibra? It looks like that. Should he start over Ibra against Sevilla? Debatable. Is he not as useless as suggested? He probably isn’t that useless.

    4. I don’t think getting a bad rating necessarily means you’re crap. Remember the CL final last year? Henry didn’t get a great rating. Was he bad? I don’t think so. The others didn’t involve him enough. He got one good chance and did pretty good with it. Bojan got a good chance and finished it!

      Basically, what I’m saying is, IF Bojan was more involved he might have got a high rating. But the thing is, he doesn’t too involved on the wing (he also sucks there IMO).

    5. Well Kxevin doesn’t do decimals. But Isaiah loves them I think ๐Ÿ™‚

    6. This is getting annoying.

      People can see what you wrote dude.

      You didn’t just say you disagreed about a certain player’s performance. Your first sentence is “I really think that you hate too much on Bojan.”

      I.E. ascribing a permanent affliction to the reviewer and stating that they have a permanent bias fueled by irrational, negative emotions (“hate”). That’s what gets tiresome

    7. “ascribing a permanent affliction to the reviewer and stating that they have a permanent bias fueled by irrational, negative emotions (โ€œhateโ€)”

      pray dear, tell me that “you scored a goal but other than that you were mostly invisible, and lost out every time you came up against a full-sized human. You were definitely more comfortable in the middle, but wing play is going to be what will ultimately keep you at the club, so get used to it, and adapt.” is not irrational and negative but rather rational and positive ๐Ÿ˜€

      Anyway, sorry that I even replied. I would have understood if either Kxevin or Isaiah would have taken this personal, but to get this response for a tongue-in-cheek remark(and when you tell someone he is “hating”, it pretty much is) from the crowd, is quite incredible.

  26. Heres a dirty little secret about IBRACADAVER this season. He has been crap for the most part. Besides committing an unlimited number of offensive fouls and offsides, his movement and understanding of the plays just hasnt been there. But you know what? He was able to get to great positions and tap-in many goals, and thats what people point to when they say he had great form earlier in the season. They point out his strike against real madrid, which was great…but what else did he do in that game? My point is, Bojan comes up with the strike just like Ibra did earlier this season, yet you focus on his perceived negatives like being pushed off the ball.

    1. And u focus on ibra’s perceived negatives of pushing others of the ball. So there you go.

    2. Bojan is 19 ibrainmovil 28 I think, one is a canterano and a “promesa”, the other one is supposed to be the crack the team needed. That should be taken in consideration I think, it’s not like ibra is julio salinas or something he is a top ten player right? As when ibra goes out the team sorta works better I’d go for negative points on him even with that assist ๐Ÿ˜€ and no way than less than a five for bojan … but ratings are always subjective, that’s why they are such a headache

    1. Hopefully Miguel won’t mind that I posted a link to the original. Sid Lowe is a favorite of mine, as well.

  27. Sighhhhh

    Have we really become like the other blogs out there? I know that popularity is nice, but if it comes with ugliness, I’d rather not be popular.

    IBRACADAVER, you will pardon my saying this, but it’s difficult to see your handle and expect that you are going to have anything positive to say about Ibrahimovic. Sorry, but it just is.

    People have a misunderstanding about something very important:

    I don’t mind for an instant being debated with about a review or a player rating. What I do mind is having my integrity questioned. I work too hard on my reviews for someone to dismiss it and, by inference, my journalistic efforts by saying “You don’t like him, which is why you think he sucked.”

    We should be able to discuss matches, reviews and player ratings without being assholes in general, or to each other. It’s always been one of the things that has made this site, both at the Offside and here, so exceptional. Of late, it’s been significantly less so.

    I’m a big boy, and can take being questioned on a player rating. So if you disagree, prove it. I say X player wasn’t effective in Y or Z situation. So counter-argue by offering evidence that proves he was. Saying “You just say that because you hate him” is most emphatically NOT evidence, nor does it advance the debate in any way. It just says “Kxevin, you’re a biased asshole.” Suffice it to say, that statement doesn’t advance the discussion either.

    I don’t care what anyone thinks of my reviews, or player ratings. But I am not a fan of personal attacks, and never will be. It isn’t in my nature, no matter how hard I struggle with that.

    Like the team’s grace when losing, our respect is dwindling in this space, which isn’t a positive trend, IMHO. We can disagree, which is fine. Hell, we’re suposed to. My “job” when writing reviews isn’t affirmation. It’s to evaluate the team and individual performances as I see them. Am I all-seeing and all-knowing? No. So if someone sees a performance differently, rock on. I can respect that. We all can and should.

    Isaiah and I do this out of love. I don’t get paid a cent for anything that I do here. Blogging is a thankless, and mostly penniless endeavor. We do it out of love of writing, and love of Barca. But we also do it because the space is such fun to come to, and filled with respect and kindness, even when we disagree with each other.

    That just isn’t the case any longer, and for me, it makes it difficult to justify marking out the time to watch a match twice, including frame-by-frame analysis of key plays, taking notes and then taking the time to write a well-crafted review. In an equation that competes with training on my bicycle and/or spending time with my lovely wife, guess which one is going to lose? Call me a geek, but that wasn’t the case in the past.

    This change of tone is my fault as much as anyone else’s. I used to just let insults and personal attacks roll off. I don’t any longer, which is yet another reason I’m no longer cut out for this role. But whoever does reviews next season, the thing I hope that this space can somehow get back, is the sense of friendliness and respect. No, I’m not saying that it’s all gone. But there’s a lot less space in my measuring cup of joy than there used to be.

    Sorry for the length.

    1. dude, sorry, I didn’t know that this would start the third world war. that “hating” part was tongue in cheek, it wasn’t meant that way really. I don’t question your integrity and what not, I just thought that you were putting Bojan too much down while the poor guy scored an important goal, tracked back, made good runs and your review had “came up short whenever he faced a man size human being”.

    2. For me, it didn’t start a third world war. It did make me give voice to something that I have been feeling for a while now.

      And if you look at all of my Krkic comments, there is plenty of praise as well, right? Fact of the matter is had he played more of the match in an area where one-v-one skills, pace and strength weren’t so critical, he would almost certainly have gotten a better rating. He defies logic by being small, yet being more effective in the center of the attack. But there it is.

    3. Did you just hint at an possible exit from BFB? ๐Ÿ™

      I literally can’t live without my daily dosis of BFB and you’re a major part of it. Please, Kxevin, stay!

    4. The space will be fine, Helge. We already have two new voices, SoccerMom and (very soon) Luke, and will be looking for more. Variety is the spice of life, right?

    5. dude stay we love your reviews, even the guys that don’t say so very often

      variety is the spice of life, and disagreement is a form of variety so anyone can think what he wants of any player … and one other thing … why thuram? ๐Ÿ™

    6. Yeah, but never change a winning team…

      Will you stay a more-or-less active member of the community, or disappear completely?

    7. Don’t get all this get to you. No one ever disagrees with the way you write, about what you write, how you write. It’s only the rating which are very subjective (and touchy) topic. Everyone loves everything you write. I don’t care what you say, you’re still the nยฐ1 reviewer here and you’re going to be it next season as well. Peeeriod. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Maybe extra dose of Hector pills might do the trick? ๐Ÿ˜€

    8. Kxevin and Isaiah.. This is your blog and it’s the best place for Barca fans on the net. We sometimes act nuts over a player and sometimes we throw a lot of them at another and we put it down in this very blog, but that doesn’t mean we are against you. You two are the best. I hope the both of you keep writing for a long long time. Before and after a Barca match, I wait for you two guys to put up articles so that I can read. I don’t even read other Barca match previews/reviews. This is the kind of following you guys have created.

      We all really love you guys. Keep up the work. You have a huge fan following and just keep posting.

  28. someone i’d like to see on the LW:

    jose antonio reyes. yes, i said that.

  29. I was going to write a large response about the concept that all of existence is metaphysically and necessarily subjective, and the consequential impossibility of completely being free of bias.

    But I think we need some love instead:


  30. Man, there’s a lotta funk in this blog post. Where’s the unrepentant optimism? Where’s the love, damn it.

    Get the funk out!

  31. People like van der Vaart, Ramos, Marcelo etc. have been talking about their trust in Sevilla to take points from us, whereas Zinedine Zidane says that there’ll be two Champions this season, because both Barca and Real have been phenomenal. Dude still got some class!

  32. I’m a newcomer to this site so perhaps my input isn’t particularly useful or relevant, but I hope my two cents will be of some value as an outsider.

    Too many football blogs have become nasty affairs. Irrational insults, nationalism, anger, over generalizations, finger pointing and almost rigid ideologies about right and wrong. In general that turned me off to discussing Barca on the internet for quite some time.

    This site struck me as being very different and much of that seemed to me directed by the excellent analysis and quality of writing that the main articles posted engaged in.

    Kxevin’s articles are top notch both in their analytic rigor and the writing itself. That’s immediately obvious. One can tell that a great deal of thought and care has gone into them. Rarely are blogs written this well and it didn’t surprise me at all to find that he was a professional journalist by trade. The interaction between observation, analysis, writing and the work required to combine those isn’t a common one to find.

    Even in the brief time I’ve read this site, it was readily apparent that the commentary is very much in the context of how the barca system functions and what can make it better and how it can evolve. Now I share that general view on the team and on football, but even with that, I never took his comments regarding Bojan or Ibra for example, as anything but that. Commentary in context. In the Barca context which is a systems based context.

    Systems are great – but there’s always a tension when one is instituted about it becoming an end in and of itself rather than a means to an end. The analysis here makes that very clear. So it seems odd that criticism for a particular player would be interpreted as a slight against that player as an individual.

    The tone of this thread really did become unnecessarily personal and that’s very unfortunate. The writing in this article has a particular intelligence in it that good writing has. One can engage with the quality of thought and passionately disagree with it. The level of the writing itself invites this.

    However, to reduce it to personal remarks is both unfortunate and takes the rigor of the writing granted.

    And that is very unfortunate and unnecessary.

    1. You’re a n00b, so of course what you say doesn’t matter.

      Sorry, just couldn’t help myself. I hope the comments here haven’t turned you off, because I don’t consider this the common modus operandi of this blog.

    2. Regardless of today, I still think this is the best online community for Barcelona anywhere. Commenters and posters 99% of the time are not your average fan and we all share the deep-intense passion for the club. I guess when spats do arise it’s only because we love the club so much. Lovers quarrels one might say ; )

      I think Kxevin and Isaiah should get some type of award for their efforts, and if there is some type of blogger award for sports blogs out there we should definitely nominate the site and the moderators.

  33. a Madridista here , i read this blog once in a while just to see the Cule side of things , i dont read the comments really only the articles , just want to say that Kxevin you are an excellent writer dude i wish that there was a Madrid blog such as this with writers like you and isaiah ( although he is a little nut )

    Keep up the good work

  34. Isaiah! Quick! Start a post on the reasons why we love Kxevins pieces! Because we do!

    I for one got pulled into this blog because of you. I used to search for stories after great barcelona games to stimulate my love for the team, and I your articles always popped up. I read about 5 or 6 reviews written by a dude called Kevin before I said to myself, I should probably save the offside site to my favourites. Now, I had never really been a part of a blog community before. You broke me in…and I wish I could quit you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Whats different between your reports and others? Yours have a little bit more meat in them, its entertaining, funny, goes off in interesting tangents and just great to read from a fan of the team like myself.

    So I suggest we always start the comment with ‘great review kxevin’ before we promptly proceed to remove our swords and cutting you to pieces ๐Ÿ™‚

    Because you do deserve to be sliced once in a while. Why? Well, because soccer is a sport of variety. Theres rarely things that everyone likes about it together. Take the players for example. Do you like the crazy magician of Ronaldinho, or do you like the simplicity of Iniesta or Xavi? Do you like the creativity of Ibra or do you like the directness of Eto’o? Do you like the roughness of Welligton and Diarra or do you like the solid but fair defending of Pique?

    Whatever you pick, someone else will have a different opinion of it. As the team continues to succeed and more people keep visiting this site, there is going to be more opinions and disagreements. Like Obama, would you prefer the the little criticism at state capital-illinois he got, or the major tea-party criticism of DC? More people+more exposure=more criticism.

    And you court it sometimes :). A kid like Bojan is doing soo many great things, and to perform like him at 18-19 is by no means a small feat. If messi didn’t exist, Bojan would be considered boy wonder. SO when you mention things like being pushed off the ball, some will disagree, because his overall performance was optimistic. This is the reason why I ended up an Eto’o defender. Didn’t really care for him too much, but appreciated his contributions. So after a pretty decent outing, I read something like “his stone foot let him down”, I’m like, ‘wait a minute, you didn’t see his threatening runs, defending, simple play, and the chances he created?’.

    So I think it’s par for the course, nothing personal. You voice your opinion, mention what made an impression on you in that game, but have to accept it didn’t make the same impression on someone else. Otherwise, be as general and as vague as possible, but wheres the fun in that?

  35. I think I read at least five quotes from CR saying he is sure they will win the title. There is no denying his great form carrying the EE through the last few games, but I do hope we will shut him up this weekend.

    Kxevin, I hope you stay.

  36. This was an interesting post.
    Kxev, everyone loves your reviews. Your ratings are more interesting that ones that you see anywhere else. goal[dot]com gives everyone between 5-8 nobody how good or bad someone plays.

    What makes me love this space (even more so than the old offside) is that Kxevin in his reviews and Isaiah in his previews are a little bit more daring and honest than most.

    Ratings are subjective. That’s life. If anyone here plays football manager they’ll know that if a player scores they get a good rating. If a defender makes 1 mistake they’ll get a shit rating no matter how well they play after.
    That is a computer generated rating system and it is still overly dependent on certain aspects which is biased.

    Funnily enough, my two cents are that, without Iniesta, our left wing is toothless, especially when Henry is off-form.
    Keita is performing his role adequately but is nowhere near as important to our system as Andres. If we had David Silva as our 3rd midfielder in our system, I believe that our left wing would be a lot more effective.
    Now, I know that Keita has a lot of supporters here, me normally being one of them, but when our left wing is not as strong as last season, then our 3rd midfielder needs to be able to play wing.

  37. Kxevin I know your a big boy and can handle criticism but today was nuts.

    I truly appreciate everything you do for us and the club at this site. I hope that if you do leave (as in no longer do reviews) that you do it because you have better things to spend you time on such as family, and not because of unappreciative fools like I sometimes may be. And if you do leave I hope you stay to comment a lot and not completely disappear like our estranged “The Knowledge”.

    Thanks for everything*

    *tear runs down face//

  38. We love you Kevin Isaiah and Hector. Look forward to SoccerMom and Luke articles.

  39. For the record, it ain’t appreciation that I crave, folks. I dig the kind words, but what I want is for this space to get back to where it was: a family united in affection (or outright love) for Barca. ‘Tis true that even at its most savage, this space is like a love-in compared to typical message boards or blog commentary spaces.

    The mood and tone of discussion was such that there wasn’t any question on the part of new visitors as to behavior. I looked for a long time for a Barca blog community that was free of all the nonsense, and found it on The Offside. I was thrilled when Isaiah asked me to become a contributor. I didn’t know a ton then, and I don’t know quite a bit less now. Most importantly, I have learned from everyone here. When somebody says “A 6 for so-and-so, even though every time he moved to take a ball it created a gap for his man to slide through,” I learned from that, and got better at the task of reviewing. I had to. This is a tough crowd, and it should be.

    But all I want, all that anybody could want, is coolness. Within any family, there will be disagreements. That’s fine. I know that ratings are contentious. I put a lot of thought into them, and can’t really get them “right,” per se, because subjective evaluative standards can never, ever be correct. Yes, I have strong opinions that are usually unequivocally stated. We all should. But let’s disagree on the merits (or lack thereof) of the argument. I should be able to debate all day with friends, and still want to give ’em a hug and get pizza when it’s all over.

    I love debate and disagreement. I just don’t think we should ever forget the spirit of this space, and the thing that drew us all here.

    Finally, I don’t know what I am going to do, moving forward, but this space will carry on. No way that it can’t. But for me it’s hard. Really hard. Wnen I wasn’t getting up at 5 a.m. to train, it was easy to do News of the Day posts. On mid-week match days, I’m training after work, arriving home at 7:30 or 8 p.m., which means that I still have to do my usual match routine, because this space and its visitors demand it.

    So we’ll see. I’m definitely finishing off the season, so you all will have two more opportunities to call me a jackass, at least.

    To the new voices here, welcome. Euler, if you don’t hang around here, I’m going to stalk you until you do. So be forewarned.

    Pizza time.

    1. Kxevin, I certainly appreciate and applaud the effort of those that run this blog. I think it’s a cyclical thing, the negative tone, thing, but I hope you make the decision best for you. Might I suggest however a mediation? Maybe post every once in a while?

      As far some of the more unwarranted negative comments and this space. I too came hear because I was looking for a space with dedicated football commentary. I know that at times our feelings get the best of us, of all of us.

      Rock on BFB, rock on!

    2. I guess we’ll just have to take full advantage of those two guaranteed opportunities.

  40. Kevin, when i read your reviews, and people accuse you of things that may or may not be true, i feel bad for you since you do such a bang up job around here.

    which is why, when people harp about your alleged bias or whatever they accuse you of, you should just watch this video, is a lovely song about captain kirk (no im not a treckie)


    why does kevin review the barca? cuz he wants to make love to the barca.

  41. hi all
    i don’t comment that much but always read the blogs and a good portion of the comments.

    Kxev I don’t always agree with you, but for what it is worth I hope you continue reviewing matches on this site. And I am obviously not the only person who feels that way.
    As a European I am a bit ashamed for an American soccer blog to be my favorite. Your writing is one of the reasons why.

    Another reason is the general attitude of all of you on here writing comments, which I find refreshing. Could an idea be to add a forum to the site? It might be a more practical way of sharing our passion and our opinions without leaving the reviewer feel like he is being attacked for his views on the match and the players.

    As for my opinion (hey, I got an aยทยทhole so I have an opinion too, right) Kxevin is very right for saying Bojan didn’t play well but any player who scores the vital go ahead goal deserves at least a 7 in my book. If you don’t score goals you don’t win the match, it is a pretty vital part of the game and thus of a players’ performance.

    Anyway a forum would be cool, what do you all think? I admit I have no idea how difficult and/or time consuming it is to set one up and maintain it, but it would rock, right?

    PS – I will post this comment again if need be – I have a knack for posting when everybody has already moved on to the next article…

  42. Oooooh by the way one thing I find interesting was your comment that as a journalist you always use last names.

    However, Pele = Pele.
    Romario = Romario.
    Xavi = Xavi.
    And Bojan = Bojan.


    1. Hahahaha, smart guy. Tell you what, if Krkic can accomplish the likes of what what Pele, Romario and Xavi have, I’ll kiss his butt and call him Daddy.

  43. Well i am a madrista and cules u r lucky to have such a well maintained blog…. don’t ruin by dishing out insults in comments…
    Kxevin: why dont u make some kind of logins like facebook login and then u can just barr users from comments who indulge in insults….

  44. ehm…Alright, if you insist on a left wing, I have a problem there…

    My best option (now that we watched the team for a whole season) :

    – Obviously a player who can stretch the field from the left.

    – A player who can cut inside and serve as a striker when Ibra roams out of the box (or when Ibra is not available).

    – A player who fits my 25/25 rule: If he is over 25 years old, he must not cost more than 25 M.

    – A player with a good workrate and consistance. And with the right mentality on and off the field.

    – Not an injury prone, physically strong, and can handle the pressure of playing for Barcelona.

    Suggestions: No one so far.

    1. Well, you’ve decribed last season’s Thierry Henry. ๐Ÿ˜€ But we don’t have that guy this season. I agree with your “suggestion.” I can’t think of anyone who could do that. Every name that people offer up (Ribery, Suarez, Silva, etc) doesn’t meet some of the specifications, and a player that almost does (Villa) violates the 25/25 rule.

      The summer will be interesting.

    2. True, Kxevin. The Henry-like player is favoured because we already have the needed players for other alternatives (Keita in midfield+a none-scoring-yet-productive wing). The two alternatives worked well last season and I think one of the reasons of this season “problems” is that Both Henry and Iniesta were not as good as last season. So we lost the best two players we had, who can serve the two alternatives. Thats the mother of all complecsities with Messi being forced to work deeper (lack of iniestesness as a fake wing who can help the buildup and keep Messi infront), and Ibra being Isolated when Messi drop deep (lack of Henrisness as a fake wing who can work in the box when needed).

      For the reccord, my first option signing as a Henry hier last season was Tevez (to everyone surprise). This season the guy scored 23 goals in 33 games? Lets not start talking about his work rate ๐Ÿ˜€

      We missed that chance (though he ended up being a bit too expensive). I cant think of anyone else at the moment. Even Silva whom I prefer over Cesc, if we look from a LW perspective will not offer much more than what Iniesta and Pedro(next season we can expect him to be even better) can deliver.Add the improvement of other youth, it makes it more obvious that we need to install what we lack, not to copy what we have.

    3. Which does Suarez not meet, Kxevin? Don’t know him that well but seems to me to meet most of those crtieria.

    4. Luis Suarez maybe? Can definitely cut inside and score goals, and has no injury problems as far as I’ve heard. My only concern is that getting such a young player will heed the development of our younger players (like Pedro).

      Or even Arshavin? He’s played as striker for Arsenal before, and is a great left winger. Seems to be able to deal with the pressure well, and is a fairly strong player. Also, he’s 28, so it leaves a spot for one of the kiddies to claim in a few years time.

      Oh, and I remember reading somewhere that he’s kind of a Barca fan…

    5. From what I’ve seen, jake, he doesn’t have the versatility that Ramzi mentioned, and that I think is essential. Short of cloning the Henry of last season, that left wing is going to be an intense nut to crack.

      I’m also not entirely convinced about Eredivisie standouts. Recent history has not been good. I was watching Milan last weekend, and Huntelaar looks like he’s standing around, waiting for the train. And that dude was destroying the Dutch league.

  45. I really hope all of the Ibra haters get their wish: that Ibra is sold to some other team. Then what will probably happen is heยดll win the champions league and beat you in the finals. I have never seen a bunch of fans rip someone so much.

    1. Always have to respect others opinions, but one must understand that while he hasn’t performed in SOME of our biggest matches this season, it is his first for a club that is perhaps one of the most difficult in the world to adapt to. We play a very unique style of football, and I can only imagine what it would be like to be the focal point of the attack in this system.

      Also, he was used to being the undisputed star and “go-to guy” at Inter, and had countless opportunities to shine. Here he has a completely different role in the team- to hold up the ball, and be an imposing physical threat, a role I believe he has done quite well considering the circumstances.

      Many people will be pointing to the second Inter leg as evidence for their criticism towards Ibra. However, the whole team did not perform to standard against a team who basically had Samuel Eto’o playing as a defender.

      Inter also have one of (if not the most) physically strong defences in the world. It is very harsh to say that Ibra should be winning every header and out-muscling both Lucio and Samuel.

      On the flipside, we did need more positive runs out of him, not just in that game, but all season. Many of his runs aren’t rewarded (see the Tenerife game), but they will be if he is consistent with them. The team will notice them more, and we will further terrorize the defences of Europe.

      Anyway, sorry to keep such a pointless debate going on, people. He’s ours, whether we like it or not, so I’m just trying to get the positives out of it, because there are a whole lot of them.

    2. adding to that, it costs us time and effort when new players come into our system. It wouldn’t be a wise decision to sell Ibra in the summer and then go buy a completely new player, its like going back to square one, even if we buy Villa for instance.

      we are at a time where we can’t just buy a whole set of new players and clean out half our squad at the same time, it isn’t the summer of 2008 where we have nothing to lose.

      Times are different now, we have a squad of very high standards and tbh we have a squad of players where all are good enough to be starters in nearly all european teams.

      I think there are more important issues to be dealt with other than new signings that will probably influence more on whether we have another successful campaigne next season. So its best if we spend on signings wisely and focus on reducing injuries and improve motivation.

    3. well if u want to reduce injuries just stop being in posession for 70% of the match… 60% and u will still win without that many injuries….
      Well barcelona generally is on the scoresheet first.. do u expect the other team to watch u pass it around when they need to score.. they will foul and weaker players will succumb….

    4. the injuries we’ve had arent due to having too much possession. you’ve got to be kidding.

  46. @jake i kind of follow the dutch league so i will answer your question about Suarez.
    He has a good technique, goal scoring ability and, his teams lack of success notwithstanding, he has a winners mentality. Seems to be a nice guy off of the pitch as well. He is captain of his team despite not speaking our language and I believe he has a better goal per match ratio than club legends such as Cruijff, Van Basten, Bergkamp and Kluivert (to name a few).
    Problem is coming out of the Eredivisie it really remains to be seen how he would fare in La Liga. Ajax have not played CL for a while now and have generally sucked in the Europa League (although they did beat HSV Hamburg and Fiorentina last season).
    He starts for his national team though, let’s see how he does at the World Cup this summer

Comments are closed.