SuperCopa Preview: Barça – Athletic Bilbao; Sunday 4pmEST

Don’t forget to read the most recent posts: Kevin’s news review, my discussion of the fantasy football league, and Hector’s breakdown of the Gamper goal.

Hopefully this is the final time I have to write this during the 09-10 season: This game will not be broadcast in the US on TV. Ugh. We’ll have to webstream it like usual, though it should be on La Sexta, so try to stream it there, but don’t worry, you can always tune in here for the liveblog.

Because this is the second leg, Barcelona enters this match 2-1 to the good, with those 2 goals being very valuable away goals. Not that that changes the fundamental approach for Barça, who will always look to win every match. A draw, any draw, is good enough, but Guardiola will not want to leave it to chance, to the odd bounce to pick up a small piece of silverware for the cabinet.

So we’ll attack and will probably even start a very serious lineup that includes Messi and Ibrahimovic, which would be a good idea, I think, ahead of 5 days rest between now and the UEFA SuperCup, especially if Messi and Alves are going to be out for the first league game.  So expect everyone who can start, to start. It is also to Barça’s advantage that Bilbao played a Europa League qualifier on Thursday (winning 3-2 at San Mames against Norwegian club Tromsø IL). Yes, Barça played a game on Wednesday, but it was a friendly in which a thousand subs were used so the regular starters either didn’t play (Xavi, Valdes, for instance) or didn’t play more than a half (Messi) so everyone should be pretty fresh.

Don’t expect to see Iniesta or Marquez play because they haven’t regained full fitness yet and Guardiola won’t risk them in a match that only allows him 3 subs (A real match? Holy shit, the year is starting!), but here’s the lineup I think will be out there:

Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal, The Yaya, Keita, Xavi, Henry, Ibrahimovic, Messi

I can quite easily see Busi making a start, but I’m going to hedge my bets and sa he’ll be a sub, as will Pedro! (especially if we get a big lead — by the way, he’s now #17 since he’s an official member of the first team squad). There’s no squad list, so I can’t confirm who will be available, but Henry and Abidal have been training normally the last day or two.  If Bilbao want a chance of winning, they’ll have to start their best 11, which I think includes Yeste and Javi Martinez.

So then, we get to the part you’re all dying to hear, the official prediction: 2-1 Barça, both goals by Messi. There, I said it. It’s fated.


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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Andrew
    August 22, 2009

    Let me be the FIRST to say, if it wasn’t Barcelona then I wouldn’t be watching TV on a 12 inch screen rather than a 65 inch HD TV.

    Let’s get these games televised already!

    And first.

  2. poipoi
    August 22, 2009

    I hope Ibra scores and shuts some EE mouths

  3. August 22, 2009

    I am Hectorizing myself so often recently. 3 times in a row in the previous 3 posts. Though the guys saved me in some occations later on.

    I would love to see that starting line up…On a big screen!

    And I hope to see Keita as a holding midfielder while Yaya plays beside Xavi.

  4. poipoi
    August 22, 2009

    I’d love to see that also Ramzi… I’d go for Busquets instead of keita but yaya up. The Yaya up!!. I guess Sergi will have to play there while the African Cup of Nations is taking place.

  5. August 22, 2009

    Ramzi and poipoi, I do think that if Yaya plays up, it will be Busi out there rather than Keita. It would be great to see The Yaya get 90 minutes as an attacker and not have to worry about the defense.

  6. August 22, 2009

    True Isaiah, Naturally Busquets is the best option for this equation. Even though I believe Keita is still better when it come to tactical discipline and positioning. but trusting Sergio there and give him more chances and time to improve is a must.

  7. Maximus
    August 22, 2009

    I had previously stayed out of the ‘Mes que un club’ discussion because I am not Spanish, Catalan or versed in the matter, so I know this is late but…

    Today though, something occurred to me. If it wasn’t for FC Barcelona I would never have known of Catalunya/Catalonia and the history surrounding the region. So regardless of what the phrase is now used for…to still is more than a club.

  8. poipoi
    August 22, 2009

    if he plays up tomorrow I’m gonna count (shouting) the balls he steals

  9. August 22, 2009


    Apparently it looks like Caparrós has already thrown in the towel for this game. He didn’t even call up a boatload of their best players.

    Not only Ocio and Amoberieta (injured) but also Susaeta, Yeste, Javi Martinez, Muniain (he’s a 16 year old prodigy but not ready for the big time just yet apparently) and De Marcos (their goal scorer and MOTM against us in the first leg) due to technical decision.

    WTF. That’s about most of their starting midfield including their best playmakers (Martinez and Yeste) not to mention a starting fullback and centerback.

    That looks like a white flag to me but we can’t let our guard down. Its still a final and the Basques are proud enough to give us a good fight.

  10. Alexinho
    August 22, 2009

    In that XI prediction, it’s so weird not seeing the now-so-familiar “Henry-Eto’o-Messi,” but I’m getting used to it. I expect Ibra to bag his first for a good one-nil.

    Where is Iniesta? Is this not the injury aggravated in the Champion’s League final (in which he looked fully fit despite the fact he wasn’t)? That’s three months carrying a niggling injury. Of course he has a good season coming up and given his age, all likelihood says he will have at least five good seasons from here on. Unless.

  11. August 22, 2009

    Thats a strange news Hector. Do they have any games in eurp cup? Because that may explain it all…

  12. UAI
    August 22, 2009

    GOAL is saying that our Muslim players, (Yaya, Abidal, Keita) will delay their ramadan fasting. I think it varies from person to person whether/how much fasting takes out of you in training/games.
    Interestingly, real’s muslim players (Benzema, L.Diarra, M.Diarra) will be fasing with the help of the staff. I wonder how decisions about stuff like this are arrived at between players and management

  13. yogi
    August 22, 2009

    We will win tomorrow and also play with our strongest line up which needs to spend some time together in the field. Surprised about Bilbao decision to leave out so many of their key players.

  14. BA
    August 22, 2009

    i miss Don Andres. be great to see that little guy again when he comes back.

  15. August 22, 2009


    Bilbao are on treacherous ground for their Europa League spot (I still think of it as the UEFA Cup) having won but given up 2 away goals in a 3-2 home victory over Norwegian team Tronso. The second leg is effectively next week but not until Thursday.

    You could well be right that Caparrós is saving is ammunition for that game since it has actual financial implications for his team but a Sunday to Thursday stretch doesn’t seem too bad or maybe we are used to it and Bilbao isn’t. I don’t know. It just seems weird to throw in the towel on a one goal difference for the Super Cup.

  16. Corrine
    August 22, 2009

    woah i just read how bilbao are resting up to 8 key players. they travel to play tromso this thursday with a 3-2 home advantage. wonder what team we’ll roll out now?

  17. Corrine
    August 22, 2009

    well that’s not too big of an ‘advantage’ but i thought they’d be in a more worrying position to leave out players like that. they had pretty good odds of beating us too

  18. Ciaran
    August 22, 2009

    Qualifying for the Europa League would be worth more money than winning the Super Cup would be.
    Add to that, the fact that they don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of beating us and it would be pointless in risking their chances in Europe.

  19. Alexis
    August 22, 2009

    It is a win-win situation for Bilbao.
    They rest their important players for Tromso. The young ones will play with enthusiasm and, should they win the trophey, they will be heroes. Otherwise, it will be a great experience for them.
    And if we beat the hell out of them, then they (and the EE press) will say that we abused of a few poor kids.

  20. Alexis
    August 22, 2009

    Hopefully, the young Basque lads won’t be fully versed on how to break blaugrana legs!
    If they play with Bilbo “B”, we should then play with our young squad.

  21. Helge
    August 22, 2009

    Well, I can understand the decision. As Ciaran said, from an economic point of view the Europe League is much more important. And you shouldn’t forget that Bilbao HAS to score twice in the Camp Nou to have any chance of lifting the Super Cup. So, thinking back to last season, I’d also wave the white flag in their place 😉

  22. Jnice
    August 22, 2009

    What I really hope to see tomorrow is:

    Messi and Ibra starting

    Yaya playing up next to Xavi

    Jonathan getting some minutes

  23. OhYes
    August 22, 2009

    It would be best to start the A squad since this is practically the last chance or the team to gel together before the start of the season. There’s a game against Shakhtar on the 28th, and the first game of the season is against Sporting Gijon.

    The A team can’t play against Shakhtar since there is not enough rest between that game and the next, and playing a team of youngsters against Sporting may seem like a good idea (and I think they’d have a good chance) but is it good to sacrifice a game this early in the season?

    Plus, I think the B team (with Messi and Alves) has a decent chance against Shakhtar.

    My prediction: Ibra scores two goals for a 3-0 victory! With…Xavi adding the 3rd goal. 🙂

  24. poipoi
    August 22, 2009

    2-1: min 87 and 93 by Pedro!, Henry scores in his own goal in the 1st half … just kidding.

  25. ElShowDeJason
    August 22, 2009

    i say we start the A team, let ibra get some goals and confidence in.

    if we have a nice lead by the 2nd half, take out messi, put in bojan, so the Kid can get in on the goals/confidence

  26. Helge
    August 22, 2009

    Wow, you all seem to be quite confident. I’m happy as soon as we’ve won this cup and Zlatan has made some nice one-twos with Messi or even better scored his first goal!

    Unfortunately I can’t watch the match tomorrow 🙁
    I’ll have to wait for the UEFA SuperCup to see Messi and Ibra in action again.

  27. Ciaran
    August 22, 2009

    My XI:
    – – – – – – – – Valdes – – – – – – – – – –
    Alves – Puyol – Pique – Maxwell
    – – – – Xavi – Yaya – Busquets – –
    Messi – – – – Ibra – – – – – – Bojan

    My prediction: 3-0. One each from the front three starters.

  28. ElShowDeJason
    August 22, 2009

    Milan won today. Ronaldinho made some exquisite passes, Pato scored 2.

  29. August 22, 2009

    I’m certainly more confident with the absences from Bilbao but by no means relaxed. We’re always one bad tackle away from losing a Xavi or a Messi for a long time. That’s one thing. The other is what Alexis said. The Basques are proud and they will fight hard nonetheless. Overconfidence is a real danger against then.

    That said. I agree with OhYes that the first team still has yet to play a full on “License to Kill” game and the real games are already about to start. Knowing Pep, he’ll play full on A Teams on both tomorrow’s game and the European Supercup. The Sporting game will be interesting and dangerous. We’ll be a little winded and no Messi.

    I am also worried about Messi’s Brazil game. You guys want to see how Dunga’s Brazil plays Messi? This was the first leg of the WC Quals they are playing now. It was in Brasil and Messi got an ovation afterwards. He deserved a goal. Gutsy performance and another of the many reasons that I hate what Dunga has done with Brazil. So much talent so as to be able to play such beautiful football and yet they play like this when they come upon an equal side. They are now the South American Italy circa 2006. So sad.

    So yeah, cross your fingers that he comes back in one piece.

  30. ElShowDeJason
    August 22, 2009

    Anyone hear about the Mexican league adopting Argentina’s usage of FK indicators?

    When a free kick is going to be taken, and 10 yards are asked for, the referee takes out an aerosol can and marks a line in front of the ball, measures the 10 yards, and then marks the ground, so that the jackass defense wont keep stepping forward.

    I was literally jumping for joy when i saw this instituted today. The first freekick that benefitted from this hit the cross bar.

    I hope that this will make its way to Europe, because I’m tired of seeing FKs hitting the wall.

    (oh, and the marks on the field fade away quickly after being stepped on, so the entire field wont end up all marked up!)

  31. August 22, 2009

    I follow Argy football relatively close. That spray was awesome last season. It was funny to see so many yellow cards handed out in the beginning as players ignored it but after a little while receiving yellows they got the message.

  32. ElShowDeJason
    August 22, 2009

    yeah, i figured you’d know what i was talking about Hector.

    from what i hear, the Argy players are conditioned now, and the spray is now used when needed…

  33. libidoairbag aka txikidracula aka tbss
    August 22, 2009

    been lurking this site for a minute…made aware of it’s existence through pep’s fcbtransfers, but never gave it much heed. i like what i’ve seen recently, especially your posts, hector. devil’s in the details.

    i hear that kxevin dudes a monk fan
    fuck yeah!

  34. Kxevin
    August 22, 2009

    UAI (cough!postbeforethisonementionstheRamadanthingcough!)


    Alexhinho, Iniesta was on target to recover, then picked up a stomach virus that pushed back his recovery a bit. Then he was exceptionally shaken by the Jarque death, which put him even further behind schedule.

    But he’s on course to be on target for the season, etc. I’d rather give him the time to heal now, when we won’t need him. Really, I can’t see us needing him for Sunday, or the UEFA match, or Sporting Gijon, frankly.

    So let’s get him hale, hearty, rested and fully recovered. He’s having repetitive injuries, which means that he’s rushing back too soon.

    Nice that Bilbao is throwing in the towel. But in light of their fiscal reality, as has already been mentioned, it makes perfect sense. My guess is that Guardiola plays it tight and gets rest for key players, rolling into the UEFA SuperCup.

  35. Colby
    August 22, 2009

    Kevin, I think I remember you mentioning a couple of times in the past that you were learning catalan. Are you? and how so?

  36. Kxevin
    August 22, 2009

    I am indeed, Colby, by using various self-teaching courses, since my local Instituto Cervantes never has enough people to offer the Catalan course. 😀

    Between that and the CD and DVD that Genis sent me last year, I’m struggling through.

    Strangely, because their roots are similar, I find myself mixing French and Catalan sometimes.

  37. Kxevin
    August 22, 2009

    And welcome, libidoairbag (the short version of your handle). Ginormous TSM (Thelonious Sphere Monk) fan. Spent a weekend with the Complete Riverside Recordings box, just swapping LPs onto the platter, and reveling. In many ways, Monk’s music is like the way Barca plays, when at its best: Strange, beautiful and oh, so logical, stuff that makes you say “Where did that come from?”

  38. UAI
    August 23, 2009

    Heh my bad kevin, still adusting to the increased frequency of posts, I’m losing track of which ones I’ve seen. Still a tiny bit interesting that the EE dudes are doing it differently

  39. Jnice
    August 23, 2009

    I still think Pep will roll out a strong lineup with all the usual names. It would be a shame to take this match lightly and start off our season losing a trophy that was in our hands.

  40. Kxevin
    August 23, 2009

    The word on Jonas Gutierrez (a player we’ve been linked to) from someone who would know, a devoted Newcastle fan:

    “He’s a straight up winger. He’s playing on the left side in a 4-4-2 for Newcastle. Would be best in the top of a 4-3-3. He’s not a fill-in for Iniesta or Xavi. Lots of energy. Tracks back on D. His scoring touch is a little suspect, but he does all of the other work.

    Losing him would suck, because he’ll annihilate the Championship and guarantee Toon goes back up.”

  41. ElShowDeJason
    August 23, 2009

    I was going to make it a point to keep visiting, and maybe discussing at the ‘ol FCB offside, but every time I visit, i get discouraged.

    A whole post dedicated to slamming Marquez (how nice…) but, i liked that Kxevin, Isaiah, and other true fans came to his defense with logic.

    An quote from the new post:
    “Iniesta and Marquez are still out (get better Andres…Marquez…take your time).”

    Its fine if you do not like a certain player. Its even fine to vocalize your opinion about it. But I found the above incidents in poor taste especially considering that they were part of posts from the administrator (where some sort of professionalism is expected), and not part of comments from the readers.

  42. ElShowDeJason
    August 23, 2009

    Maybe I’m being overly sensitive? Thoughts?

  43. Kxevin
    August 23, 2009

    My rant of the day:

    Now, this dimwitted bullshit was derived from an editorial in Sport, that was clearly misnterpreted by someone deficient in reading comprehension.

    The Sport piece is the writer speculating about all of this, not Puyol. Shame on you, But it isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.

    Meanwhile, Guillem Balague is claiming that Eto’o was SMSing Mark Hughes about the Citeh deal, pleading for more time, after Citeh pulled out, citing the expiration of the club’s 48-hour deadline in doing the deal.


  44. Kxevin
    August 23, 2009

    I think it’s a different thing, Jason. As with anything, Iggy will get better with time. Hell, I stank worse than a rotting skunk corpse when I started, so my present mediocrity is a huge improvement. 😀

    A blog needs time to grow under a new author, and Iggy’s heart is in the right place. If you don’t dig what he’s doing, that’s one thing, and that’s okay. Heck, there are folks who don’t dig what we do over here. Horses for courses.

    But I will visit from time to time and support him, just because I like that someone has taken over the old joint, slapped some paint on the walls and made it their own. I wish him luck.

    Are you being overly sensitive? No. But we’ve had some pretty sharp barbs for players as well, particularly in the reviews. You try to be as unbiased as you can, but it’s still personal, as in your thoughts on the computer screen.

    And why the hell am I not in bed right now?

  45. ElShowDeJason
    August 23, 2009

    So, it appears that Cesc has a knock and can’t play against Celtic on wed.

    And it Cesc doesn’t play, Celtic’s chances of winning increase.

    And If Celtic win, Arsenal would be out of the Champion’s League.

    And if Arsenal are out of the CL, Fabregas will probably want to leave.

    And if Arsenal are out of the CL, they lose out on a lot of Cash.

    So, potentially, Arsenal could be both: In need of cash, AND, in possession of an unsettled Fabregas. hm… i forget how this is relevant to us… any ideas?

    (maybe I am being too optimistic, and reading into it too much, but we were also “reading too much” into Txiki’s milan trip, and then we got Ibra, so, you never know…)

  46. Jnice
    August 23, 2009

    I think you are reading into that too much, Jason. Don’t think there’s a chance he will come this year and I don’t mind that.

  47. Jnice
    August 23, 2009

    According to EMD, Ibra will get minutes, but will almost certainly not starting. They say the trident will most likely be Messi, Henry, Bojan.

  48. ElShowDeJason
    August 23, 2009

    @Jnice, according to EMD via Goal [dot] com, Ibra isn’t 100% fit

    “My physical condition is not the best and I lack rhythm, When you change team you have to start from scratch, get used to another style. But here it seems even more necessary. Barcelona have a very specific style, a brand that identifies them

    To become part of that mechanism takes training and matches that I have not had yet”

  49. Mher
    August 23, 2009

    finally joined the fantasy league. i really hope Ibra plays a part in a goal tomorrow, mainly wishing to get his name on the scoresheet. Oh and Kevin since you like that graceful genre, TELL me your a Bill Evans fan. That man has made some enchanting jazz, man.

  50. Larm
    August 23, 2009


    remember last year, everybody hated hleb. honestly there should be no difference between hating hleb and hating marquez. i always hear people say true fans love the team not the players.

    i take it you dont visit some of the other offside blogs? they are way more biased then izzy.

    i personally like the new barca offsides, just as a liked the old one(this one), now i gots two different sources to read. plus i like the way they have the one word description for player ratings.

  51. ElShowDeJason
    August 23, 2009

    Oh, man. This is tragic.

    Firstly, i hope that he pulls out of this alive, but even that isn’t much consolidation. Most professional football players have dedicated their lives to making it big in football. They aren’t really prepared to do anything else.

    Lord forbid he lose the ability to play footy, he’d have to start a new career from scratch, while having to deal with never being able to do what he loves most.

    Best wishes to his family.

    i cant really express through words how horrible an emotion this story evokes.

  52. ElShowDeJason
    August 23, 2009

    yes Larm, but like i said, it is one thing for us (the commenters), to bash Hleb (who was terrible for us) in the comments section, where it is more fair game, than it is for the author of the blog to bash a player on the publications.

    A player who happened to give his best years at Barca, being a hugely important piece of both the 2005/2006 and 2008/2009 CL titles, and is thinking about the club’s future even if it is without him, personally helping Muniesa with his development.

    Hleb on the other hand did nothing for us, and it was a general group consensus that he sucked.

    I digress, because it doesn’t matter that it is Marquez. It could have been Henry, Ibra, Abidal or Messi, It doesn’t matter. The principle is the same.

    And i am not saying the new Offside doesn’t have anything to offer, i just think that the fact that that is incorporated into it is rather disappointing.

  53. JC
    August 23, 2009

    I hope I am wrong, but I am so sure Puyol won’t be with us next season. Man City will give him a better contract. My chance of seeing one of the greats of Barcelona retire at the club seems to be fading away..

  54. OhYes
    August 23, 2009

    Lol Jason. I thought it was a bit weird because Marquez had such a successful season. He made one mistake in the CL against Chelsea and I guess he has yet to be forgiven for that. What I want to know is why his mistake stands out, whereas the mistakes of other players don’t. We don’t have any perfect players on the squad, do we? Aside form Xavi.

    The dedicated post and the little stab in the match preview were definitely..weird, though. But as a Marquez fan, I may be a bit biased.

    Something else that caught my eye was the guy getting angry that players are talking about the treble. It’s kinda hard not to do that when you’re one of the very few clubs in the world to have achieved that! Plus, players are constantly referencing the previous season.

    Anyway! I will hopefully be able to watch the game today.

  55. August 23, 2009

    And I think people are used to be more harsh on Pep blog than the new Theoffside are harsh on Marquez.

    It’s turning to be a habit here , and I honestly didn’t want to comment, but its a part of every post now, Either directly or through indirect hints. As if promoting one place means damaging another. Or at least allowing it to happen (if not blessing it).

    Pep blog obviously need more moderation (we are working on that by the way). But at the same time, it’s where the Barcelona Massive community with all its diversity takes place. As someone who is aware of the traffic rates and destinations on that blog, the Copy-past-and translations activities linked to that blog, I can insure you that.

    Here (on this blog) we are more like the Presidents Box of Nou Camp. Lawyers, businessmen, and elite community where calm -always mature- discussions take place. We must all praise that. We must all make sure to keep that going.

    Yet, I will not look down to the massive population of the stadium where people are less aware of “the right way and the wrong way” of saying things. Normal people, ages, education levels, etc… That part of the stadium is where all the cheers and the shits take place. But that’s the soul of our club as well. They express themselves spontaneously. After the game where we lose, the too sectors go and try to get drunk. Some by getting the best brands, others bad whiskey as that’s all what they can afford. We do not like the way they express themselves? Well, they may consider us little boring as well, but where is the problem?

    In another words, That’s where one Barcelona fan (pep) started from zero. Invested his life for more than a year working to create the best news-oriented site on the web covering Barcelona news. Its Where we all go to get the latest news, prepared, cooked, and packed for us to browse then exchange. Then after the guy was almost crushed by time, some other fans stood up to help. And more plans are taking place at the moment.

    Pep Blog, Theoffside, Barcelona football blog (here) complement to show the reality of this club with all its diversities and all must be respected. As no one can claim being the best by itself, unless enjoy living in denial. The greatest realistic goal is to try being involved in creating the best Blog-o-sphere environment for the club on the web, compared to other clubs communities and not toward each others.

    I consider myself as a part of Pep blog. And I don’t think I make a bad impact when I contribute on other blogs. Including this one, and previously theoffside. If there is something I feel needs upgrading or improvement in any other blog, I step in (my own way) and try to make the positive difference instead of criticizing. I expect the same in return.

    Apologies for the rant. But you know me.

  56. Jnice
    August 23, 2009

    I get what you’re saying, Ramzi, but maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t get how some people on Pep’s blog react the way they do. Like say when it comes to religion or something like that. Or any small little thing. All of a sudden you have all types of name calling and ignorance some masked under “anonymous” post. The comments remind me of those on and that’s why I rarely comment there. But besides that, I love that blog and it is usually the first site I visit in the morning, because like you said, that is where we get the ready-made news that leads to our daily discussions.

    As for the new Barça Offside, Iggy is doing a difficult thing, and I’m sure as the days progress, he will become more comfortable and get better. He will also attract more readers and build up a nice community. I just feel more comfortable (right now), commenting here because it is familiar and I love the discussions.

    But anyway, I hope I get a good Sopcast channel to watch the match in. Streams piss me off most of the time, so it is very necessary.

  57. txikidracula
    August 23, 2009

    monk in the 50’s on riverside….pheeeewww…forget about it. wish i had that box set though. eastwood’s documentary on him shows that it really is a thin line between genius & insanity…much like barca’s attacking mentality/total football.

  58. txikidracula
    August 23, 2009

    marquez haters on that other blog i can’t comprehend. i can’t think of any time where pique was chosen for the starting line up ahead of ei kaiser outside of an injury. pique should definitely get the most improved player of the season trophy, but that’s about it. don’t think he should be chosen ahead of terry(maybe vidic) in the uefa club awards either. he’s a cool cat & fills the void left behind by sylvinho/maybe dudjohnsen soon in the locker room but his defensive abilities are a bit shaky. been way too hyped up since after his goal against real madrid, in my opinion.

  59. August 23, 2009

    Welcome, Txikidracula!

    A Monk fan with a Txiki reference in his nickname. I think Kxevin has a new best friend on this blog 😀

    Re: Jonas Gutierrez.

    I’ve only watched him play for Argentina and I don’t want him. He is an EPL style winger. Great work rate and pace but IMO runs around like a headless chicken too much and tires himself out pointlessly. He gets the ball runs towards the opposing goal on the wing and either flips in a blind cross or flops. Think of a Diego Capel who defends but bigger albeit not as fast. No thanks.

    I am so happy that Maradona finally called up Jesús Dátolo who can play left winger. He’s much better than Jonas IMHO. I just hope he wins a sure spot on the Napoli first team. Some people will cry foul because he’s a Boca player and Maradona has been know to irrationally favor ex-Boca players like Gago and Tévez even though he pissed them all off with the Riquelme affair.

  60. txikidracula
    August 23, 2009

    thanks carnal! i feel like i should be getting hazed for wandering into this blog. “thank you sir may i have another?”

    Dátolo is sick; i’ve liked tevez since, what was it, the 2004 olympics? i think he even could have played well on the left wing for barca, much like he did against the netherlands in the world cup…but that’s just me.

    p.s. jonas sucks. how the fuck is he on argentinas national team? and if maradona were anybody else, wouldn’t his ass have been sacked by now?

  61. August 23, 2009

    Me and Ramzi ranted quite a bit last season about how Carlitos was destined to be a Barca player and would have been perfect for our system on the left but nobody listened 🙁 . His work rate, smarts, instincts, and versatility would have been perfect for us.

    I’m an Argy fan and yes, I want Maradona gone but I want Grondona gone even more from the AFA.

  62. txikidracula
    August 23, 2009

    tevez’s pace/work ethic would have been a direct answer to eto’o’s after his absence; and him coupled w/ messi AND ibrahimovic…forget about it. AFA is fucked. Kirchner’s are coming up on that shit though nationalizing the television rights. “let them eat futbol.”

  63. Kxevin
    August 23, 2009

    Not much to add to Ramzi’s comment on the inter-blog speculation/assessment, except to say that Isaiah should get some credit. He took over The Offside when it was but an egg. Go back and look at some of those early posts, with zero comments, or a precious few.

    He did the work to raise the profile of that space until it, like Pep’s Place, became a must-visit for its own reasons. Now he’s started this joint from zero, and the exact same thing is happening here. Very cool.

    Blogs are like restaurants. Different meals for different hungers.

  64. Kxevin
    August 23, 2009

    On Fabregas, Celtic won’t be able to score enough goals to beat Arsenal, even if Fabregas, Van Persie, Bendtner and Arshavin were out, and Wenger was off having a manicure. It’s just that kind of a tie.

    Frankly, this isn’t the year for Fabregas to come. Of course, next year won’t be either, which won’t stop Rosell from pledging to “bring him home.” You bet. Home to wonder why, after all the money that we spent on him, he still is playing behind Xavi and Iniesta.

    Or do we put him in the Iniesta spot, and make Iniesta a left winger? I’m against that, as I think Ghostface is a greater danger just off Xavi, in the center.

  65. txikidracula
    August 23, 2009

    fabregas is a better option as a permutation in the midfield than either one of dos santos or thiago, but wenger is high power pimpin’ & that’s his prized philly. that shit ain’t coming cheap.

    iniesta on the wing is awesome but his partnership w/xavi is even way more awesomer. i don’t think barca would be want for goals w/ him playing up top either as i don’t think goal differentials have gone down in correlation to him playing there…but i don’t have the numbers to prove it.

  66. August 23, 2009

    And for the reccord, even though Dátolo is a great player, I am not sure what kind of problems he will solve.

    I thought Bielsa Formation that was almost a 3-3-2-2 without the modifications to insure defense width was the most painfull thing to watch. Till we had this argentina era.

    Till Maradona accept the fact that Argentina will never be a Barcelona template (though can produce the same quality), there is no hope for change. As long as we see Tevez-kun-Messi, forget about it.

    I can accept that Riquelme, as an old-style “enganche” will not fit a coach vision anymore. But it means that you will have a modern playmaker of “trequartistas” quality like Messi to lead the team linking midfield with offense, or a “registas” like cambiasso to organize the ball flow from midfield. Both requires 3 additional midfielders (in another word, playing with two players upfront). one of them has to be taller than Maradona himself!

    And Kxevin, there is a reason why out of Zelllion Barcelona Blog on the web, I contribute only in two or three blogs. Full credit for Isaiah, You, and The Hector 🙂

  67. August 23, 2009

    Regarding the impact of having Iniesta on the flank on the goal scoring rate of Barcelona, the last analysis I made was after the second internationa break I think, and the team scored almost the same number of goals with Henry on the left as we did with Iniesta.

    The difference is that Henry himself scored more goals than iniesta which is the reason why there is an impression that with Iniesta we score less.

    Again, thats last season numbers, next season may give us a better idea. I am an old believer that Iniesta can turn to be a goal scorer. He improved a bit last season and became more confident to take responsibilities, but that wasnt enough, I expect more to come.

    BUt again, its great to have headache to choose one of two successfull options, rather than being dependent only on one.

  68. txikidracula
    August 23, 2009

    fuck! i gotta wake up in six hours to search for a crappy feed to watch barcelona harlem-globe-trot the fuck out of athletic w/our new gangly ass swede? goltv or espn, which ever, get off your ass already!

  69. August 23, 2009

    Ramzi- Don’t remind me of Bielsa 😀 .

    Yeah, I agree. The 4-3-3 or, even worse given the personnel, the 3-4-3 are aesthetic and tactical suicide for Argentina. I like Dátolo because he is a good old fashioned true Argentina “volante” (think of it as a mix of a pure winger and a left or right midfielder) of which we right now only have Maxi unless Pastore becomes a regular fixture (I LOVE that kid). He actually reminds me of Maxi before his knee injury. Remember Maradona playing Verón and Gago on the wings (WTF!?!?) ? As long as Zárate and Higuain keep getting ignored in favor of Jonas (again, WTF!?!?!), Dátolo is also IMHO the best option as left winger in a 4-4-2.

  70. yayotwo
    August 23, 2009

    I was wondering if anyone knows where I can download full barca games. I can stream but the timings are ridiculous(and internet is slow), and Im not too bothered about watching games delayed. I occasionaly see people put up links to download/upload sites, but does anyone know of more regular sources? Any help would do as my desperation for barca games is soon becoming insane!

  71. poipoi
    August 23, 2009

    “Monk’s music is like the way Barca plays, when at its best: Strange, beautiful and oh, so logical, stuff that makes you say “Where did that come from?” ”

    gracias tío…. gràcies nen!

  72. poipoi
    August 23, 2009

    ramzi: Iniesta is huge already but he’s gonna become enormous. I totally agree on the responsability and main role stuff but the goals… who knows? Let’s hope for te best but he is my Ballon D’Or anyways.

  73. Helge
    August 23, 2009

    Yay! I can watch the match today.
    A FIFA 09 meeting with friends has been postponed due to toothache of the host. Now, I hope I don’t get disappointed.

  74. Corrine
    August 23, 2009

    haha! i’m watching fulham vs chelsea and the fulham supporters are chanting “there’s only one iniesta”

  75. eklavya
    August 23, 2009

    I really hope we win. I won’t be able to watch the match cause I’m too tired (loong flight).

  76. OhYes
    August 23, 2009

    yayatwo: You can go sign up for’s forum. They post links to Barca (and other football) games.

    Other than that, you can download Bit Che, a program that will search all major torrent sites. I can always find the season matches here, but other matches from Copa del Rey may be a bit harder to find using this method.

  77. Corrine
    August 23, 2009

    lol just woke up from a nap and read up on inter live updates: “Eto’o misses an absolute sitter!! Milito did very well to nick the ball from a defender and square it – and he had all the goal to aim at. He placed it wide.”

    oh the memories…

  78. ballbeav
    August 23, 2009

    isaiah you said “We’ll have to webstream it like usual, though it should be on La Sexta, so try to stream it there…”

    i just went to their website and i see no mention of it in their schedule. maybe i am looking in the wrong place? anyway, normal drill, everyone post the good links that they find come game time…

  79. Helge
    August 23, 2009

    Corrine, at least Eto’o scored in the first official game for Inter (Super Cup in Beijing). Let’s see how Ibra does today.

    I also know the memories of Eto’o and he made me scream several times when he missed such sitters, but he also made me scream with his >30 goals last season 😉

  80. OhYes
    August 23, 2009

    Lol does every mention of Ibra or Eto’o have to turn into a comparison between the two.

  81. jordi
    August 23, 2009

    Keirrison made his debut for benfica today.

  82. ballbeav
    August 23, 2009

    it’s the logical thing, OhYes. It’s true, we need more time, we cant just say “etoo scored in the first game, ibra didnt, etc etc.” let’s not jump the gun. but it makes sense that people will compare the two.if ibra flops it’ll be the first big stain on pep’s (fledgling) legacy. i am one of the eto’o faithful. i also love pep and i am accepting the switch while chanting the mantra “In Pep I trust.” But he has seriously tinkered with something that wasn’t broken. So the comparisons will go on and on, but let’s save it for now i guess…..

  83. OhYes
    August 23, 2009

    All I’m saying is that if I talked about Ibra’s coffee preferences, someone would pipe in about how Eto’o’s preferences are better or something like that.

    It’s just weird, that’s all. 🙂

  84. jordi
    August 23, 2009

    Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Maxwell; Xavi, Touré, Keita; Messi, Ibrahimovic y Henry

    ITS ON ! Full A team.

  85. Ciaran
    August 23, 2009

    Alves – Puyol – Pique – Maxwell
    Xavi – Yaya – Keita
    Messi – Ibra – Henry

    Pinto – Fontas – Abidal – Guddy – Busquets – Bojan – Pedro

  86. August 23, 2009

    Liveblog is posted, but won’t launch until 3:45 aka when I get back from putting laundry in the machines downstairs.

  87. khairallah
    August 23, 2009

    Even Llorente is benched, this should be fun..

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