Sevilla 3, Barca 1, aka “This is no time for panic” UPDATED w/ratings

For sale. Lightly used, high maintenance. Will deal.

Lordy, what the hell happened? First of all, I’d like to give a big, giant thank-you to Comcast, who have added TVE to their lineup, which enabled me to watch this match in full, big-screen, DVRed glory.

I’m only sorry that things weren’t better. Man, did they start out well, but here is the bottom line: Depth is going to be a problem this season, but we all knew that. When ALL of your starting XI are, for one reason or another, called away from the team with a match that you’d like to win coming up, it’s no surprise that when facing a fit, rested opponent’s first-choice side, things aren’t going to go all that well.

So what happened?

1. Fatigue. You could see it in the possession statistics, as a 68-32 became a 50-50. We aren’t going to win any match in which the other side has half of the possession. Our back line is, even at its best, too fraught to allow those kinds of numbers. When you roll out a tired right back, a kid, and guy with 1.5 knees and a French Greyhound, it only goes to follow. More importantly, we got tired. You could see our players walking when the Sevilla players were running.

2. Loss of control. Messi for Ibrahimovic was a dumb move. Messi for the worthless Krkic would have been a much better move, unless Guardiola wanted to limit Ibrahimovic’s minutes. But we lost a target man that anyone takes seriously (Messi will make runs and kill you, but he isn’t an in-the-box target man). We also lost a forward who is willing to play the possession game, take the pass and knock it back to the midfield. Messi wants to do something with every ball. That ain’t always good.

3. Depth. Txigrinski, anyone, over Sergi Gomez? I’d take that one. But our president needed 15m, stat. The height would have been valuable, as well as the position defense that Txigrinski was quite capable of playing. The Sevilla goals came from simple marking issues, in every case. Fabiano split a defense that should have barred his way. Then Kanoute did the same thing, then Abidal just decided to stand there instead of marking anyone. Shameful, but not surprising.

4. Donuts, anyone? Keita was the only midfielder capable of standing up to Sevilla’s physical attack, spearheaded by Zokora. Basically, we were bullied off the pitch. They ground us down, then took advantage of it to nail 3 goals in a match that we should have been able to control had we not been a big ol’ hole where our midfield should have been.

But for the good, I have no idea what is going to happen this season with our Big Swede, but we have not had a striker who can score a goal like he did today since Real Ronaldo. I don’t have time to play silly comment-based games, so I will leave it at that. The touch and control required to one-time that ball from Maxwell past Palop, while being attended by two defenders …. are you kidding me? Now, somebody is probably going to say that Krkic could have score that goal, easily. Whatever.

We rolled out with a lineup of Mino, Alves, Sergi Gomez, Milito, Abidal, Oriol Romeu, Keita, Dos Santos, Krkic and Ibrahimovic. That’s only three players who are going to be in the starting XI when the real matches begin. Even at that, we were very strong at the beginning of the match, controlling possession and attacking Sevilla with verve and inexorable weight. The goal was inevitable. That it came from precisely the kind of simple pass that Ibrahimovic saw so rarely last season, while making the run that people say he never makes, was icing on the cake. I rather imagine that Guardiola wanted to call Rosell and say “See? See?!”

You could see a side that looked something like us, only it lacked calmness with the control, simply because right now, Dos Santos plays too quickly. Where Xavi has the presence and skills to control the ball even while being battered by Zokora, Dos Santos doesn’t, so he gets rid of the ball quickly, which makes play move too quickly, which forces us to lose possession and chase passes that needed that little extra breath before being made. Xavi calms the side down.

Once the lack of calm started happening, we starting just kicking the ball long to get it out of the way, rather than playing it along as we customarily do. This gifted Sevilla with possession, which meant that it was only a matter of time. When that time came, Sevilla took full advantage. Hats off to them. The rest will be dealt with in the ratings, the first of the season.

Team: 5. This was a unit finding its way, one that will probabaly never play together again. They did fine for a while against the might of Sevilla’s first team. The size, strength and movement of Kanoute pushed things over the edge, as it came when things were starting to get very, very sloppy as regards possession.

Guardiola: 5. He got the starting lineup right, but to my mind, he erred in subbing Messi for Ibrahimovic, and waited too long to make the Correia substitution. I also would have liked to see Dos Santos and Thiago. I don’t believe that they fill the same role, and in swapping one for the other, the exact same issue of midfield command and control existed, but in a different way. And Abidal canNOT play CB, and should never be allowed to again. There. I said it. I do think that he wanted to see what certain players could do in certain situations, so he let them pretty much play it out, to see what would happen. I don’t know that he cares that much about the SuperCopa, and I think it showed in what he did with the lineup in this match.

Mino: 5. I thought he was solid, and made an excellent reflex save off a header that was, granted, smacked right at him. Still, a lot of keepers don’t make that save. He wasn’t really called upon until he didn’t have a real chance. His back line hung him out to dry, which is why his rating is higher than a keeper who let three get past him.

Alves: 3. From positional errors and uncharacteristically sloppy control to general scatterbrainedness, this wasn’t his best match. Tired from the friendly? Maybe. But too many Sevilla attackers were able to get the corner on him, or get leverage on him to do something creative. This is unacceptable, and if he’s going to be mediocre on the defensive end, he needs to kick out the jams on the offensive end. He didn’t.

Sergi Gomez: 5. The kid showed that he has immense promise, but he isn’t ready for this level yet, and it showed. Positional sense is one of the things that separates great center backs from good ones. You just don’t get caught pinched up with a player the likes of Fabiano running around. And you place your body so that you restrict passing options from the midfield. That didn’t happen, so Sevilla’s first goal was a piece of cake. A kid and a slowpoke must have had Fabiano wiping the drool from the front of his shirt. Yes, he made some very good plays, and shows the kind of play that will earn him a serious look some day.

Milito: 3. The veteran is supposed to marshal the back line and keep things under control. He didn’t do that, and got smoked on that second goal for which Abidal also had culpability. If you go for the steal you’d better make it, otherwise your back line partners are screwed. He missed it, and from that moment on the pass for a fresh Kanoute to run past Milito as if he were waiting for a train was simple as can be. He didn’t play anything approaching the kind of match that he needed to play.

Abidal: 4. His qualities as a left back verge on unassailable. He was destroying stuff like crazy out there, and once he decided to start contributing to the attack, we became a much stronger offense. Then he switched to center back and became a disaster. I still contend that the problem with him is decision making. CB gives him two sides to worry about. He chose wrong on the second Kanoute goal.

Oriol Romeu: 4. When he wasn’t invisible, he showed promise. Our command and control stems from the qualities that make a Barca defensive midfielder: making the right pass, and being in the right position. Busquets is so good at being that safely valve. This match could have used a pure destroyer to sub it at DM, but we don’t have such a thing. I’d like to see Romeu shadowing the midfielder more, making himself available for that simple, possession-maintaining pass. I liked his movement, and again, I think that his future is bright. But he wasn’t up to it today, not in the face of grown men.

Keita: 7. Excellent match. For a while he was like the Lone Ranger out there, standing up the likes of Zokora, making simple passes and trying to maintain possession without the calm presence of Xavi out there. He looks ready to go for this season. Overall, probably our best player on the pitch today.

Dos Santos: 5. Much promise, but he has to learn to play the ball less quickly. Tempo is set by the person occupying his position. When you play fast, the whole side tends to play fast, and that’s when problems arise. It takes time to play the way that we do, and Dos Santos seems to have the problem of keeping the ball moving too quickly. Weird problem to define, right? But it manifests itself in his getting and distributing, rather than getting, surveying and then distributing. The difference is small, but huge.

Andrade: 5. Some beautiful passes and fine runs. His lack of pace caught him on two occasions that would have been excellent chances for another, pacier player. For Andrade, the defense just cut his slow ass off. I love his all-pitch game, and his willingness to not ignore the simple pass. But he was woefully deficient on helping us to maintain the kind of quality possession that we need to excel against a tough, physical opponent who wants the ball.

Krkic: 3. I know I’m not supposed to start the season punching on Cuddly Toys, but he was terrible out there, right down to a poor decision with the ball where he found himself in the box in an excellent spot, and chose to pass to a clearly offside Messi. I’m not sure how long people are going to continue making excuses for Krkic. Yes, he has good matches, but this outing spotlighted all of his deficiencies: inability to get and hold a position being foremost on that list. And his decision making with the ball needs a lot of work.

Ibrahimovic: 7. He and Keita get my joint Man of the Match today, for being stalwarts against an increasingly physical attack. Ibrahimovic was scoring, creating, making possession passes and generally being a threat that kept Sevilla honest. Once he came off, Sevilla lost their minds.

Substitutes:

Messi (for Ibrahimovic): 3. Dire. I know he’s had a long World Cup campaign and all that jazz, but sometimes, the best play is to reset the offense rather than running at 3 or 4 defenders. You don’t have to do something for the highlight reel with every ball. Seriously. We lost a lot of control when Messi entered instead of Ibrahimovic, because he doensn’t do the kinds of back and lateral passes that Ibrahimovic will made, just to maintain possession. No knock against Messi, but sometimes it’s important to just make a simple, direct slide back to the defense.

Thiago (for Dos Santos): 5. I wasn’t that impressed, but it wasn’t a full match for him either. He had the opportunity to help us salt away, or at least control the rest of the match.

Correia (for Milito): 4. He might have played to a higher rating. His pace and sheer effort level are going to be very welcome this season.

Make no mistake, I want us to win the SuperCopa. I think it’s important to start the season right, by grabbing the first piece of silver that we can lay our hands on, starting with the rematch. I’d like to see us roll out with our first-choice squad, to see what happens.

P.S. Yes, ratings for the Team and Guardiola were initially omitted. Whoops! The record has been fixed now.

Finally:


Whew! Hard day at the office

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Written by:

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

148 Comments

  1. jnelson
    August 15, 2010

    Abidal sucks at CB! It’s worse than playing Iniesta at RW. Horrible move!

  2. drew
    August 15, 2010

    hopefully pep still doesnt believe that our squad is good to go.
    we need some additions like yesterday

  3. vicsoc8
    August 15, 2010

    In my mind it’s not a question of making excuses for Krkic, but instead it “is no time for panic” when he has a bad game.

    And he certainly had a bad game. A 3 was generous

  4. Miguel
    August 15, 2010

    i just finished watching the game via tve, too. you shouldn’t expect to see very many games on there, but it is nice to have. especially if you’re a novelera like soccermom.

    i thought this game would have been perfect for busquets, not a yaya like dm(yaya played well vs the spurs today). romeu was never really pressured by the sevilla midfield, they didn’t feel they had to, & usually had the most space in front of him. i thought jonathan’s not so stellar performance wasn’t so much his anxious fast passes, but his not dropping back much to link up w/the defence & the d-mid. he was never going to have much time to dictate play so far up the field, not the way sevilla approached the match. all that will come w/time. it took xavi a little while to figure that out, too.

    i actually thought play became a little better once messi came back as he did exactly what nobody else was doing, dropping deep & trying to get the midfield galvanized. why ibra came off for lionel, & not bojan, is a good question. shit kind of went to hell after the goal & a lot of the kids on the field showed their age after that.

    should make for a great second leg!

    • Miguel
      August 15, 2010

      *not so stellar performance didn’t stem so much from his…

  5. El Diez
    August 15, 2010

    2-1 would have been a good score for Barca. we can see an allout attacking game , next leg.

    What is that golden crest in the middle of the jersey. Anyone?

    • jaymin
      August 15, 2010

      still permitted to don the fifa club world champions shield until either the italian or brazilian inter wins it in december at the club world cup

  6. Tim
    August 15, 2010

    The pass from Maxwell to Ibra was just sublime and brought a big smile to my face.

    I’m not too worried about the return leg. Two goals in the opening match at the Camp Nou seems very possible, especially with the majority of our internationals returning as I hope they do.

    Hopefully we unleash the trident of Villa, Ibra, and Messi next Saturday. I’d also like to see Xavi take up the baton and begin conducting the beautiful symphony that is Barca.

  7. ML
    August 15, 2010

    Finally, the reviews are back. They’re always a great read, kxevin, especially to those who only saw the highlights.

    Only thing i want to know is why are you calling Adriano – Correia, and Maxwell – Andrade. Its confusing as hell to be honest. But maybe its just me.

  8. cliveee
    August 15, 2010

    could not see this coming. very disappointed. a mix of seniors and homegrowns without much chemistry.

    two things (from the highlight only):
    1 Mino
    is not ready. He showed lack of quality in the first goal. Totally unacceptable to be beaten between the legs. argue the speed of the ball all you want, but not acceptable, at least not between them. but he could be our next victor valdes who has the potential to grow. that header hit right at him and kxevin is exactly right – “Many goalkeepers don’t make that save”.

    2 Maxwell
    will have a great great season with us. he will be given very important role too. he had a great first season from my point of view albeit unspectacular. the only goal we scored was 40% ibra, 60% maxwell. Yes, that is a huge 40% from Ibra, if the ball was for Krkic, there wouldnt be a goal. That thru pass was so stunning in terms of the timing and precision. the defender was centimeter away from deflating the ball to make a good defense, but it was just enough to beat him.

    he will have a good season with us because he is very usable in many positions, much like our new dude Adriano. But Maxwell has established himself a very dependable player already, so he is ready to BE spectacular for us. and i think he is more than capable. his foot skills, experience of play, brazilian somba football culture, and the history of playing with ibrahimovic. all things point to a bright season ahead. i can’t wait to see him attack.

    DOWNLOADING THE MATCH STILL! DAMN!

  9. Luis
    August 15, 2010

    Kxevin- completely agree with you about JDS. When lacks ability on the ball (or confidence) he will tend to rush things. In this regard almost everyone will seem lacking when compared to xavi, who has this sense of where the oppposition is when he traps, and whethere there will be pressure or not. Im not sure how much this ability can be developed as I never saw young Xavi, but at this stage i would say thiago is slightly above JDS wrt confidence on the ball. I hope pepe maintains confidence in JDS- this is a unique opportunity to learn from the worlds best, Xavi

    • poipoi
      August 15, 2010

      I saw young xavi and to me he didn’t hold the ball a bit, he had many bad critics for “horizontal passing”, me included. xavi started as DM and then with rijkaard changed to OM (for good), JDS would be a good DM me thinks… he looks tougher than xavi or iniesta.

  10. Stephen
    August 15, 2010

    Agree on it all.. except Messi, instead of a 3 he should’ve gotten an incomplete. Do not blame him for looking left and seeing no one and looking right and seeing useless, i mean Bojan, hes going to attempt to do something with the ball he wasn’t going to see back at his feet for another few minutes.
    Saw no rating for Guardiola, which should’ve been in the negatives! Few choices, doesn’t mean make idiotic ones.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 15, 2010

      care to elaborate whom you would have played instead of say Milito, Miño or Jonathan Dos Santos? Would die to know.

    • Stephen
      August 15, 2010

      First of all, dont take Milito the CB semi-holding it together, game’s almost over he was doing decent,and to put an AWFUL at central Abidal, if we needed some sort of speed on the game coming from Adriano, he should’ve placed him instead of Alves, who looked bad the entire game.
      Miño I never said did badly, he’s a kid, on a debut, it was the defense’s fault everytime, even the first goal, Fabiano sucks, but another striker wouldve just found another way to get around him. And the Dos Santos substitution, was not okay, immediately after he was out, we lost the entire midfield, Messi couldnt get a ball to his feet. It was attack, no midfield, and an awful defense.

  11. Fares
    August 15, 2010

    Well I unfortunately missed the game … but did anyone really expect us to win against Sevilla at their stadium with a B team? I sure as hell didn’t think we could do it, and many others I know didn’t think so either. I would have been extremely happy with a draw, but a 3-1 loss I can take too.

    • Kari
      August 15, 2010

      Ditto Fares.

      Here’s hoping for a attacking wave from heck at the Camp Nou. Villa, Ibra, Messi, Xaviniesta baby!

  12. Diego S.
    August 15, 2010

    What we learned simply from this match is that we lack depth .. Sevilla defeated EE at Sanchez Bizjuan and we still had difficulty defeating them with our A team in the final weeks of la Liga .. So I think it’s a good result after all .. But You just feel with a few changes we could’ve done better

  13. Cesc Blanc
    August 15, 2010

    Ibrahimovic had to get subbed out because he wasn’t feeling well and it was more a safety first issue than anything else. He was killing Sevilla’s back line, so I don’t really think that Pep subbed him out because he wanted to lose it. You had at halftime on catalunya radio the guys talking about how Zlatan didn’t feel well and was talking to the doctors, so that explains the sub. He also went straight to the bench with ice on his legs. That should explain it.

    But yes, a big middle finger to Rosell and MD for selling Dima and trying to sell Ibra. Anyone with half a brain who watched the World Cup, saw that Villa isn’t at his best when facing physical defenders without a target man upfront. Anyone with half a brain could tell you that there’s no fucking use to have 8 attackers in similar shape, so Özil, Robin the Hoe and whoever else they are name dropping won’t help us and anyone with half a brain could have told you that by getting rid of three players over 1.80/5ft 11 you will suffer heavily on set pieces and headers….but I guess Sandro, Bartomeu and the rest of them don’t even have half a brain.

    • poipoi
      August 15, 2010

      I would have loved to have someone else for our of.mid/wing… özil is left-footed and a pure dribbler/passer, villa right footed and pure scorer so I think the german could have added something to the team in terms of variety. Besides if Ibra or Villa get injured what’s gonna happen? pedro/iniesta left wing like last year and messi/bojan right….great, that is some change right there, for the teams to know us even better. And xaviniesta/keita for the midfield, change after change how great. Like what we did with etoo for ibra with people saying it was all for the sake of changing, a change for good. Now what???? The only change from last year is Villa but he is a 9 playing in the left wing like titi did. Villa will do better me thinks but it’s the same thing, a 9 for a 9 , besides adriano. Where’s the change pep? Is thiago gonna play this year for sure?? ? ‘Cause if not I’m gonna go crazy with keita of.mid and iniesta in the wing one more year … oh lord

      I love the youngsters but yesterday’s game and how the season is looking to me was too much, it’s like we are disrespecting Sevilla or la liga with that kind of list. It’s starting to get really spooky with the signings. The list gets shorter and shorter every year. We have had some xavis puyoles and iniestas but that doesn’t mean every single youngster is gonna be the shit (roger, de la peña, ivan iglesias, celades, oscar, nano, gabri, mario… the list is just endless). sure they have to play eventually to see if they are good but some backup wouldn’t hurt either. some talent from abroad come on!!!

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 15, 2010

      Özil is a similar player to Iniesta. He won’t solve any of our problems if either of Villa, Ibra, etc. get injured.
      Besides, we have 6 forwards this season to count on(Messi, Ibra, Villa, Bojan, Jeffren, Pedro). That’s 2 more than last season. If we need over anywhere it’s CB and DM.

    • poipoi
      August 15, 2010

      Agree on DM or CB, but those look like positions that can be filled easier with canteranos I think, and just now … I just would like to see a left-footed-turkish-german to have some variety in the team, but it’s my personal taste, I wanna see new stuff in our offense. On the other hand, if iniesta had to define himself in terms of using one foot over the other it would have to be right-footed. Besides andres is not a winger, özil is more like it. Iniesta controls too much game to play in the wing.

      BUT if thiago becomes a 1st teamer it’s all fine by me 😉

    • Hannibal
      August 16, 2010

      To my eyes it looks as if Ozil has at least a pair of faster legs than Iniesta, moreover his shooting range and precision would be welcome to a team lacking long-range firepower.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 16, 2010

      Have you seen Özil play apart of the World Cup? he is less of a goal threat than Xavi.

      And Özil is as much a winger as Dick Cheney is a communist.

  14. Dr. J
    August 15, 2010

    I’m not sure how long people are going to continue making excuses for Krkic.

    Actually, I don’t think excuses are really necessary. I’m sure you know that footballers put their potentials into consistant play at different times. And it is all about consistency for him as he has clearly showed he can play with the big boys.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 15, 2010

      The guy had to play for the U-21 in Finland a couple days before and just like everyone else wasn’t at his full fitness. He was still pretty bad, but he proved at the end of last season that he ain’t that bad. Yesterday he was a pedestrian, but still, at least there’s a good excuse for this.

  15. Jnice
    August 15, 2010

    I just don’t think Bojan can play well on the right.

    Interested to see our lineup for the return leg… Pep said that it isn’t for certain all of heavy-hitters will play.

  16. Jnice
    August 15, 2010

    On the bright side, we had two great chances besides the Ibra goal with this squad. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of chances at home, we just have to take them.

  17. GREECE BARCA
    August 15, 2010

    nice reviw!i agree with all except that tsigrinski matter.also i don.t wanted any transfers but please pep.if we can buy macherano,make it now!abidal and alves perfomances really make me worry.are will they be motivated for this season?i hope.

    • Jnice
      August 15, 2010

      Abidal did fine when he was at his proper position, left back.

      Alves had one bad half, no need to be worried yet. And I’m positive Alves is always motivated.

      And the Mascherano thing is not going to happen, but hopefully we bring someone in.

  18. messi_fan
    August 15, 2010

    Thanks for the review, Kxevin. I really missed them 🙂 Couple of questions though. Why do you call Maxwell by his last name now? And secondly, what about Caceres? Do you think he has any chance of making it back into the team? He has height and pace, both of which we need right now.

  19. Jnice
    August 15, 2010

    BTW, regarding Romeu, the official site says, he “won more balls than any other player except Alves and gave away less than all but Abidal.” Say what you will, but that’s impressive.

  20. GREECE BARCA
    August 15, 2010

    now oezil want to go to madrid.i can.t undersand what s going on with them.they have alonso,kedira,2 diara,granero,f.d.faart,di maria,leon,canales,ronaldo,kaka.for 4 positions!and also they want drogba!haha..how much they afraid of us!

  21. August 15, 2010

    Was disappointed in JDS, but as was commented on yesterdays thread the youngins need first teamers to back em up, not other youngins.

    If we think that losing to Sevilla playing only 3 regular 1st teamers shows lack of depth then we are living in a sad sad world where Barça / EE are supposed to beat the 3rd or 4th best team of the league playing our kids. Then again we need a DM & Central defender also 🙁

    Ibra was the best player on the pitch, which is a good thing. Good goal too, although not the wondergoal people make it out to be imo. Plenty of other strikers can score that goal also. Still think if Man City bid a Ronaldian amount of money we should take it. But I hope this season he will play like the 2nd best-paid player on our team.

    Oh and of course Alves is motivated. He’s Brazilian. Those guys stay motivated forev….oh wait. mmmmmm…..yeah let’s keep our fingers crossed on that one.

  22. Ciaran
    August 15, 2010

    I don’t know where all the Bojan hate has come from, Kxev. It is fair to say that if Ibra had started all of the matches at the end of the season that Bojan did, we would NOT have won the league. I’m all love for Ibra, but if you are going to constantly ask people to stop making excuses for a 19yr old not winning every match for us then you will have to stop making excuses for Ibra not doing a hell of a lot more.
    If you are comparing the two equally because they are both strikers, you have to at least take into account a few numbers.
    69 – the value in millions that Ibra cost us more than Bojan did.
    9 – the estimated after tax wage of Ibra
    246 – the amount of matches that Ibra has played more than Bojan.

    So, I’m sorry but Ibra has to take matches like this by the scruff of the neck and win them. He is the second most expensive transfer in world history and I expect more than a tap-in in matches such as these. I’m not saying that I like him, but Cristiano Ronaldo has been much more impressive than him in the same length of time in Spain

    • Jnice
      August 15, 2010

      Don’t think we should be comparing Cristiano and Ibra..

      And I think you’re doing Ibra a disservice by labelling his goal as a tap-in, but anyway, I don’t feel like getting into this argument.

      Truth of the matter, for me at least, is that Bojan didn’t play well this match.

    • Jnice
      August 15, 2010

      And for a lone striker up top, I would say Ibra came as close to taking the game by the “scruff of the neck” as he could. I mean before his goal, he gave Bojan a golden opportunity, then he scored himself. Is it his fault the defense lacks awareness?

    • Bill
      August 15, 2010

      Yeah, I think Bojan has alot of upside. I see his play many times and you can tell this guy will be a great striker in the future. I like him alot. But he is 19. He still has about 1 or 2 more seasons before he grows into his own identity. He needs more games to gain experience, lets hope he can get them.

  23. Bill
    August 15, 2010

    I think it’s unfair to say we lost this game because of Messi’s introduction. Just like I agree we didn’t lose the Inter games primarily because of Ibra, neither did we lose this game because of Messi. He had nothing to do with those cheap possession loses combined with defensive lapses and bad decision making.

    Bojan looked unsure out there, making the wrong decisions many times. His body positioning while making passes was wrong, plus he stayed on the ball unsure what to do too many times. It clearly points to lack of game fitness, meaning he just didn’t have his groove. Couple that with Pep playing him at probably his least favorite of the three striking positions, you get this display. But, it’s a one-off game, he will come back stronger, I think.

    Ibra’s goal was an art he lost last year. He stayed ONSIDE, then started a run that communicated to maxwell his intentions, and got the ball exactly where he wanted it. Last year, soo many times he was either offside, close to offside, or simply standing behind/next to a defender so when guys like Xavi looked up, they didn’t know where or when to get the ball to him. Let’s hope he continues with that.

    This was a game Pep rolled the dice and hoped to get a result. Not because he is reckless, but because he played the best hand that was dealt to him. Those international friendlies, especially the Mexico game really did him in. Good news is that many first teamers will be back, and guys like Messi have some time to rest at home base.

    Let the season begin!!

  24. August 15, 2010

    Well in defense of the reviewer Bojan was terrible yesterday. That is not hate it is an observation that most of us agree on. The fact that he was on the RW explains it in part, but let’s remember that while at the end of last season Krkic played up to his potentional these also were the first stretch of games for two seasons during which he actually did so.

    In defense of Ibra he scored a goal and generally played well yesterday. As the second most expensive transfer ever we should expect him to do so consistently, something he failed to do last season imo. To say that he should take games like this by the scruff of the neck is a major disrespect to Sevilla, apart from the fact that this cannot be expected from any player, not Messi, nor Rooney, Sneijder or Ronaldo are MotM every game.

    Personally I’d rather see Bojan make it at Barça than Ibra, but give credit where credit is due and the same goes for criticism. Zlatan played well and Bojan played like crap.

    • Vicsoc8
      August 15, 2010

      To be fair, the success of bojan and Ibra isn’t mutually exclusive. I would love to see them both succeed, and I think that is completely possible.

    • Kxevin
      August 15, 2010

      A striker can only take a match by the scruff of the neck when he gets the service that is required. That didn’t happen with the regularity that it should have.

      Is Krkic going to become a great striker? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I wish that I could watch him play and see what others do. All that I see is a too-small player trying to find his way, and being pushed around by the big kids. Then he has matches where he knocks in 2 or 3 goals and it’s like “Damn, where did that come from, and why isn’t it there all the time?”

      Then you watch the match again and you understand why. The Kid thrives on chaos. Nothing wrong with that. So does Pedro! But it does make you wonder about the possibility of him becoming a full-on, lead-the-line, target striker.

      His talent is huge. If his skill and instincts were in, say, a body the size of Keita’s, I daresay we wouldn’t have bought Ibrahimovic. But they aren’t. So we have to find the best role for him. That will be an immense challenge for Guardiola this season.

  25. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    Another great review, Kxevin!

    About the depth issue, I dunno. We were playing away, at the third–okay, fourth, best team in La Liga who fielded their strongest side. I don’t disagree with the notion that we need another DM/CB, but for argument’s sake, this whole team bar Ibra, Alves, Abidal, and maybe Keita (Messi in the second half) are essentially depth players. Meaning this will probably be the only time they’ll all start/play together.

    I think rather than looking at the team and saying “Fudge! If we field this team of utility players and kids in the CL semis, we’re screwed”, I’d look at the individuals, since we want to see which players in which positions can safely deputize for the injured player. For example, if Abidal were injured and Maxwell was suspended, I’d say that Adriano can safely deputize for both of them. If P n’ P (Pique and Puyol) were injured/suspended, then I’d say that Sergi Gomez probably couldn’t safely deputize for them. It was a match for those kinds of conclusions.

    I highly doubt most of our team, including the bench players (read: Pedro!) will all be injured or suspended at the same time. It’s easy to say “What if so-and-so and so-and-so are injured or suspended, what would we do then?”. If you think that way, then we’d need 15 more players, to replace the utility players that might get injured or suspended.

    All in all, for 45+ minutes we were a better team than the 4th placed La Liga side (take that as you will) and I think it’s much too early to pass judgments on our depth in just one game–particularly in 45 minutes as I though we were okay in the first half.

    Didn’t some people say they could handle a trophyless year if we could blood our youth?

    • Diego S.
      August 15, 2010

      But Sometimes it might just happen .. Like the 2nd leg of CL semifinal with Chelsea when we were without Marquez,Puyol,Milito (Due to his long injury) .. and when we got to the final we were without “Abidal,Alves,Marquez,Milito” and we had to play Yaya as CB in both in which he did brilliant .. but now there’s no Yaya .. No Backup CB .. Busquet Can’t play CB he lacks pace ..

    • Kari
      August 15, 2010

      That’s true. Just like those freak injuries to all of our defenders last March, when we lost to Pathetico (read: Atletico) Madrid.

      I’d like a CB, but also not at the expense of our cantera. Sigh. Do they have to be mutually exclusive? I’d like to see an experienced DM (ie. Senna) and a canterano (Romeu) at the same time…

  26. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    Oh, and I just saw that Joe Cole got a red card for Liverpool at the end of the first half.

    “Better than Messi”, eh?

  27. poipoi
    August 15, 2010

    Ibra was good yesterday but gotta disagree with the part “not many people could have scored that goal by ibra” , like that justifies everything … ibra himself in another moment could have perfectly missed also … AND many goals ibra did not put in last year could have easily been introduced by any other striker, like soldado no big deal.

    if he starts to play we are gonna freak out!!! vamossss ibra!!!!

    • Stephen
      August 15, 2010

      Idk that any of our players could’ve tapped it in other than Abidal 🙂 Barely got to it, timing was perfect, but the length of the leg mattered, we don’t necessarily have the tallest squad out there. It just worked with Ibra !

  28. GREECE BARCA
    August 15, 2010

    zubi said that ibra will stay and macherano will not come.

  29. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    If anyone cares, here’s a Sky Sport stream for the Liverpool-Arsenal game.

    /http://boxingguru.co.uk/gurutv2.html

    Arsenal went down a goal ~2 min. into the second half against 10-man Liverpool after Joe Cole was sent off. At the time of typing, it’s the 54th min.

    • MoSSi
      August 15, 2010

      They really look like shit without Fabregas, no wonder Arsene was so desperate to keep him..

    • Kari
      August 15, 2010

      Tell me about it…

  30. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    For the people complaining/ unhappy with our match and defending yesterday, watch Arsenal right now against a 10-man Liverpool.

  31. Vicsoc8
    August 15, 2010

    I figured out the solution to our midfield problems: add Pep to the roster.

    • Vj
      August 15, 2010

      We could shored up the wings last season by calling back Lucho too..

  32. Vj
    August 15, 2010

    Not that bad considering the 5 youngsters that started.. Happy that Ibra got a goal too.. I don’t mind losing a pre-season game if canteranos are given a chance to perform a the highest level..

    Also, I’m least bit worried about the result. 7 World Cup winners and Messi (the one we all know) come back to the fold.. Next week should be fun!

  33. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    WHOA

    Reina with an absolute shocker. LMAO!

    • Jnice
      August 15, 2010

      I don’t like Arsenal.

    • August 15, 2010

      Me too 😀
      In particular i HATE wenger.

    • Kari
      August 15, 2010

      They are, in a word, f*cked. Their defense is atrocious. And now, their new signing–a defender– got sent off at the end of the game. They needed a howler to get level against 10 men.

      No wonder they said Fabregas was nontransferable. He really is.

    • Jose
      August 15, 2010

      lol, check out the post at the Arsenal Offside claiming Reina’s blunder was cosmic retribution for his involvement in the Cesc Barca shirt incident. Can the derangement get any worse?

      And looking at their defense (even with so much possession!), looks like Arsenal might miss out on the Champions League this year. Hee.

  34. Euler
    August 15, 2010

    Given circumstances, yesterday’s result is secondary. There wasn’t a lot Pep or the squad could do. Ibra was subbed out most likely due to fitness.

    It’s true that playing so many youth team players at once is far from ideal. They will clearly play better if surrounded by the usual first team players.

    However, the fact remains Barca plays with a small squad. And as of now there’s been discussion of completing the squad entirely with youth players and not making anymore transfers.

    If that’s the strategy, then there is a non-trivial probability that at some point in the season multiple young players will have to play together at the same time. Will it be as many as yesterday? Highly unlikely. But it very well could require at least 2 to be on the pitch together. Or it could be 2 B team players in addition to Bojan or Pedro.

    That’s the whole issue with depth – you only use it if the first team players are unavailable. And unforeseen circumstances often happen over a grueling 60 match season.

    For example, the club may be fine with Romeu playing in front of Pique and Puyol. But would they fair as well if he was playing in front of say Pique and Fontas?

    Perhaps such a scenario is unlikely. It really gets down to how Pep and the club want to absorb risk vs. expending different resources. You obviously can’t prepare for every possibility.

    That said, I personally don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that at the same time the club may need to simultaneously play it’s second DM and 4th CB.

    So it’s true the youth players will look much better when surrounded by experience.

    However, as it stands now they may not have that luxury if they are integrated along the current strategy of keeping a small squad with depth being provided by multiple youth players as a cohort. This is particularly true at the defensive end.

    Last season Yaya provided cover at 3 positions. When Busi was starting, Yaya was cover for DM, AM and served as the CB. This season the cover he provided is set to be handled at each one of those positions by youth players. I’m in no way trying to reopen the Yaya debate – it’s unfortunate but he himself decided to leave. I’m just trying to illustrate the scope of responsibility that youth players are being asked to assume if no further transfers are added.

    Integrating 1-2 youth players at most during a season ensures that you’re not going to have to put yourself in a situation where multiple recent B team players are going to need to play together. Once you start using a small squad where 3-4 youth players are being counted on for depth, it’s more difficult to know what’s going to happen in terms of how much the experienced first team players can shelter them as they are integrated.

  35. August 15, 2010

    @Euler add to that the fact that it is actually better for the development of those youth players themselves when it is only one or two promoted to the squad.

    @mei “I HATE Wenger”
    I love his dedication to attacking football and admire his stance on giving the youth a chance. Despise his constant whining (at all times) and his whining and hypocrisy (in post game commentaries) and the fact that the youth that he gives a chance he often comes at the expense of the quality of other european leagues – if i stalked so many teenagers Interpol would open a file on me!

    • August 15, 2010

      I also hate the roaming idea that “arsenal’s got a great cantera”.
      No they dont. Raising kids up through a youth academy and then intergrating them into the first team is very different to buying youth very promising stars and throwing them into the first team.
      Arsenal giving chances to young players is admirable and stupid(because they use too many youngsters in the first team , like us yesterday :P)

    • gooner
      August 15, 2010

      well lets see , you bought puyol when he was 17 , bought pedro when he was 16 going on 17 , got oriol romeu from your rivals Espanyol when he was 15 and thiago from Flamengo when he was around the age of 15 those are just some examples im sure there are more

      so its not only us who get kids when they are already half developed mate 😉

    • August 15, 2010

      Well thats true, but its not my point.
      Puyol spent 4-5 years at lower ranks before registering(didnt become a starter until a bit later.)
      Pedro 5 years. Oriol romeu is already with the young teams for about 5 years , along with thiago (- plus theyre not first teamers and there is no guarantee yet that those players will register with the first team squad).
      They were taught in the cantera , worked hard to assimilate the style and were given a shot at the first team , after gradually moving up from lower ranks to prove themselves.
      So the point is that arsenal usually buys young highly rated players with the promise of giving them playing time at a big club, instead of shaping them in their youth team.At least when talking about starters.

    • Hilal
      August 15, 2010

      Exactly! Not to mention the fact that they are all SPANISH. In fact most of the players in the Barca youth are Spanish, unlike Arsenal and most of the other big English teams, who get the majority of their talent from Europe/South America/Africa. This is probably why the English national team struggle so much and why there are no really great young English prospects. Spain, Italy, France all have a lot of very promising and talented young players because all their big teams nourish their local youth and dont go around farming kids from other countries because they can offer them lucrative contracts at a very young age.

    • August 15, 2010

      Hilal, Laporta would say that many of those Spanish players are in fact Catalan. 😀

    • Hannibal
      August 16, 2010

      actually I kind of agree with this gooner, we are definately not holier than the pope in this regard. Matter of fact is that from thee “true” home-grown players we’ve had more luck in them becoming outright topplayers like Iniesta, Xavi, Picqué, Bojan.
      Every team can try to form players and do this with a quality-based youth academy but ultimately its up to the players and their potential, injury-proneness,… . If you see how many young players have come through both squads in the last decade you must credit Arsenal as well imo.

  36. August 15, 2010

    @gooner read again mate, i said “at the expense of the quality of other european leagues”. The vast, vast majority of our youth is spanish if not catalan. Other countries do not suffer because of our youth set-up.

    • jaymin
      August 15, 2010

      well the demonstrated poverty of british, particularly english, players quality of first touch, awareness, etc. makes it necessary for all english clubs to look very often abroad. check out the reserve squads of chelsea, united, and ‘pool. the same. we’re fixated upon as unique culprits, though.

    • Vicsoc8
      August 15, 2010

      This is a chicken and egg issue though. Do English clubs run out to buy foreign talent because English players aren’t good enough, or are English players not good enough because English clubs don’t put enough emphasis on developing them from a young age and instead buy forein players?

      I personally think it’s the later.

  37. Diego S.
    August 15, 2010

    For Those who have watched the Ireland/Argentian Match and the SuperCopa .. what do you think of Messi’s passing ? I think it improved greatly .. He sends some great through passes nowadayas

    • Vicsoc8
      August 15, 2010

      Did you see the amazing, pinpoint, 30-yard pass he hit to Dani Alves streaking down the right side yesterday? It was his best play on the game, and showcased not only his terrific passing ability, but also his much improved vision over the last couple of years.

      In fact that might be the only positive thing he takes from the world cup with Maradona. He was played deeper and expected to dictate play more, and his vision has improved as a result.

    • Kxevin
      August 15, 2010

      Messi is going to be a monster this season. I believe that. His role as playmaker, while it wasn’t the best role for Argentina’s chances, might have been the best role for us because it has forced him to develop another aspect to his game. I did see (and note) that pass. It was killer. Would he have made that pass last season? Dunno.

      But my hope is that it will make him an ultimately more creative player by adding another dimension to his game. I’ve said it before that if Messi starts passing, he officially becomes unplayable. Play him for the run, he makes the cutting pass. Play him for the pass by cutting off his angles, and he makes the run.

      Teams will agree to give us a 3-0 head start, if we don’t use Messi. 😀

  38. August 15, 2010

    “we’re fixated upon as unique culprits, though.”

    Sorry, that’s pretty much because you are. I wrote in another thread that in my country, Holland, the youth academies are being raided by EPL scouts. Our talent is getting whisked away at from the eage of 14, 15. Not by La Liga teams, or serie A or Bundesliga teams, but by the EPL. My country traditionally has a pretty good youth set up but our clubs cannot compete with the money Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man U are willing to spend. For them it is cheap to stock up on foreign teenagers on the chance one or two of em become first teamers. The demonstrated talent of British players is no excuse to go cradle robbing in other countries.

  39. Kxevin
    August 15, 2010

    Make no mistake, I think that all of the young’uns showed promise. Were I to have rated them on a sliding Kids scale, they would have gotten better numbers. But they were all being rated as starting players for FC Barcelona.

    And I know it’s early, but let’s put it out here right now: I don’t hate Bojan Krkic! The season hasn’t even really started yet and already the Cuddly Toy mafia is coming out?

    Krkic has immense potential, I’m just not sure as what. In the role in which he was playing yesterday, he was doomed to fail. It looked to me like he is still having complexities playing against full-sized human beings. He tends to be best when he is able to capitalized on spaces and chaos created by the players around him, rather than as a target, as he was yesterday. That’s going to be hard for him. It just is, and there’s no shame or hatred in admitting that.

    But I believe that Krkic is, and will always be a limited player in that there are situations in which he will not be effective, unless surrounded by people who can take the heat off of him. Ibrahimovic was the target man and main man, and he still converted a kick-ass goal. (Tap-in? Yeah, right.)

    I believe that if Krkic were still a canterano, we wouldn’t be talking seriously about him being ready for a promotion to the first team. We’d be saying that he shows promise, but still has deficiencies that manifest themselves. He is our Theo Walcott: Immense talent, home grown, and we’re terrified of selling him because of the “What if?” factor.

    –Be careful of reading anything into my match reviews except the fact that they are a document of that particular match. The “blame,” such as it is, for this loss could come from any number of factors that anyone can choose from: World Cup keeping key players out, vacations, lack of fitness, experimentation, etc, etc, etc. It happens.

    –It’s interesting that NewsNow popped up a blogger wondering if we were right to sell Txigrinski, given that players always improve in our system, particularly young players, etc, etc. Hmmm. I think the real value of selling Txigrinski is that Guardiola now understands who the Boss is. Period. He would have been of value yesterday.

    • Kari
      August 15, 2010

      “He is our Theo Walcott: Immense talent, home grown, and we’re terrified of selling him because of the “What if?” factor.”

      Yes, I am part of the Cuddly mafia and I am extremely offended that you’ve put Bojan in the same category as Walcott!

      1) I wouldn’t call Walcott home grown. He was signed from Southampton as a 16 year old for something like £9 million.

      2)He’s woefully over hyped–although that’s not his fault to be fair– and has the unique ability to run really fast without amounting to much. Footballing wise, for all his well-documented faults, Bojan is a much, much better player IMO. Walcott’s crossing makes Dani’s look good, and I doubt he passes the ball better than Bojan. Bojan’s positional awareness, movement, killer instinct, ball control are all streets ahead of Walcott.

      3) For all the lambasting Bojan gets when he plays on the wing, put Walcott in the CF role and we’ll see what happens.

      I’m not saying Walcott’s a bad player–and I realize that you weren’t comparing the two footballing wise–, but I doubt Walcott’ll improve much more than he has. IMO, Bojan has and will. However, I am biased, so everything I say in regards to Bojangles can be taken with a pinch of salt.

      But, one day, you’ll see! You’ll all see! He’ll light up the Camp Nou with the regularity of, of, of which you’ve never seen! Muhahaha!

    • Kxevin
      August 15, 2010

      By “home-grown,” I mean English. And yes, I am merely comparing the hype, and the reluctance to rigidly evaluate said players because if you sell them and they reach their potential, then what? Walcott showed what he could do against us in the Champions League, by the by.

    • Kari
      August 15, 2010

      Which is run really, really fast against a tired defense. He was shut down by our very own French Greyhound–fresh after comeback from injury– in the 2nd leg.

      If you look at the Bendtner goal against us in the Camp Nou, you’ll see that the ball from Walcott, after running on to the pass from Diaby?, was not all that great. Bendtner’s tenacity made up for it.

      If anything, he’s more comparable to Pedro!.

      Well, anyway, I’m tired of talking about Arsenal players, so we’ll have to agree-to disagree 😀

    • Diego S.
      August 15, 2010

      Bojan is at his best when he plays CF .. he has a good finishing ability and knows what to do with the ball at that situation “Tenerife,Deportivo,Sevilla,etc” Last season .. but when he plays on the wing he doesn’t do well as he’s outmuscled and pushed around .. and doesn’t have the pace to surprise a defender .. He’s a good STRIKER .. Maybe Raul,Inzaghi,V.Nisterlooy kind of striker .. time will tell

  40. August 15, 2010

    @vicsoc mmm interesting comment about messi and maradona. I also thought Messi played really well during the WC

  41. Kxevin
    August 15, 2010

    The blather about who has the “best” farm system, who supports youth the most, etc, etc, is just that. Blather. Fans want their teams to be superior to other teams for whatever reason.

    Fact of the matter is that Wenger supports youth, and building a team from within. You have to admire that. For me, it doesn’t matter a whole lot where he finds his young’uns, in cases where he scouts outside his own farm system.

    But we play many farm products, Arsenal play many farm products. More power to the both of us. I believe that it’s a belief system than can show the way. And never forget that our brighest, most shining example, Messi, is ours simply because his home club couldn’t afford to pay for his medical treatments. Would we have paid for them had he not had the potential to become one of the game’s greatest players?

    Um, hell no.

    I always think about it this way: Valdes, Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Messi, Busquets, Pedro!, Pique. In this day and age, could we afford to buy those players, or even HALF of those players? Absolutely not. In a few years, perhaps Arsenal fans will be saying the same things about the likes of Wilshere and Walcott.

    But the bickering about who is “most” farm-friendly and who gets its youngsters through the purest means is just a waste of bandwidth. No club is pure. We’re playing our farm products because they are also among the best in the world at their postitions. If they weren’t, we’d be shopping, youth and opportunity be damned.

  42. August 15, 2010

    “The season hasn’t even really started yet and already the Cuddly Toy mafia is coming out?”

    that cracked me up. I agree it is difficult to see where Bojan will fit in. What really gets me though is the fact that he showed in his first season under Rijkaard how good he can become. He was a real goal getter that year. If he is to stay with Barça he needs to recapture that tenacity and killer instinct. Link that to good decision making and I could see him replace Ibra in 2 yrs.

    Right now he has too many games in which he plain old SUCKS though.

  43. Kxevin
    August 15, 2010

    Yes, I’ve been quiet for a while. Been catching up on footy action.

    –Citeh and Spurs: Citeh’s keeper saved their bacon. The Yaya didn’t play like the most expensive player in the Prem, but he sure played like one that Citeh’d better be glad to have in the colors. Silva is going to kill it for them. That, by the by, was one of the most entertaining 0-0 matches I have ever watched.

    –Chelsea and West Brom: I know it was only West Brom, but lord, those guys are ruthless.

    –Arsenal and Liverpool: I know Joe Cole is supposed to be the answer, and maybe he would have continued to be with a whole match, but that goal that Arsenal conceded was pillow-soft. Reina bailed them out with a staggering gaffe.

  44. August 15, 2010

    With all due respect Kxevin I think you are missing the point. It does matter where a club gets its farm players for the simple reason that if you get so many youths from foreign countries you deplete those countries talent stocks.

    It might be because you are American that it is completely irrelevant to you (which could be a false assumption).

    Thing is the “small countries” have already suffered tremendously ever since the Bosman ruling and the CL setup which awards millions and millions of euros while at the same time awarding more spots to the big countries instead of it being a CHAMPIONS League in which only champions compete for the holy grail.

    This very financial inbalance has led to the current situation in which EPL teams use their financial power to even further erode the game in other countries. It used to be teams from Holland, Portugal, Eastern European countries etc could compete. Now we need a miracle if a team outside of maybe 4 countries are to win the CL (see Porto 2004) and this is only going to become worse with the current EPL youth setup. Not to mention the fact that some of these players might choose to eventually represent England instead of their home countries 🙁 🙁

    • OhYes
      August 15, 2010

      Obviously you have different priorities than most players. Some do enjoy representing their country even if they suck, and some players love playing for their favorite “small” club. But the fact is that most players prefer to either win trophies or earn money.

      I don’t see anything wrong with that.

      And what do you mean by depleting talent stocks? I don’t see why it’s wrong for a league/club to want to have the most talent in the world. That is what you get when you have a competitive sport. Smaller leagues are still entertaining, anyway. There’s more money in La Liga than in the Mexican Primera Division, yet I still enjoy watching both leagues. Argentina’s Primera Division is fun, and the Bundesliga, and so on and so on. I don’t understand why there has to be a direct connection between talent, money, and entertainment.

      Also, what’s with the American comments? Are you saying that Americans are insensitive to the needs of foreign countries? It’s funny that you’re making assumptions about Kevin’s nationality when first of all, soccer is not even an American sport. Second of all, the leagues that you say are taking the talent from smaller countries are not American, and they’re not even on the same side of the world. Thirdly, soccer doesn’t have much of a market in the United States, meaning of course that America really has no input as to how the game is played or how it functions. What are Americans supposed to do about this even if we were in favor of forcing talented players to stay within their country of origin?

      Lastly, why is it so bad that players from smaller countries/clubs are joining the bigger clubs that play in the big money leagues? I’m a Chivista from birth and it does NOT pain me at all to see a player like Chicharito move over to Manchester United. In fact, I’m happy for him. I am happy that he is representing Mexico and Chivas in the biggest league in the world. I’m not even the only one, seeing as he has received a warm and cheerful send-off from the other Chivas fans. Why would I even ask him to stay at Chivas or Mexico’s league so “our talent isn’t depleted”? I’m not gonna ask a player to stunt his aspirations just so my ego can be inflated.

    • Sairax
      August 15, 2010

      Hi, I’m an Arsenal supporter. I just wanted to clarify one point. Wenger’s approach to youth is two fold. One, he brings in young foreign players (I’d say between 18 and 21) that he believes have a lot of potential, and you can see many of them in our team today. These players would include Diaby, Bendtner, Denilson, and so on.

      The second way is through our youth academy. Wenger’s vision for the academy would have been seriously implemented around 7 or 8 years ago where young (about 10 years old) English players are brought in to come through our system. Only now are we seeing these kids come of age. Gibbs and Wilshere are two examples of under 20 English players that have learned their game at Arsenal. We have many more at 17 and 18 years old who are English and out on loan currently. We hope to produce more and more players at Arsenal in the future, we just got started later than some.

      I would add that I have nothing against foreign players coming to the EPL. They have added excitment and a greater level of play, and I have enjoyed what foreign talent has brought to the English game. I also support nurturing English talent.

      I’m not trying to start an argument, I just felt the need to clarify, thanks.

    • August 15, 2010

      Thanks for that, Sairax.

      My point, Lev, is simply that youth players want a chance to play, make money and win trophies. Cesc Fabregas left for those reasons. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If a youth player doesn’t want to play in Cameroon his whole life, he shouldn’t have to, particularly if he has the talent to become a world-class star in our game.

      My being American has absolutely nothing to do with this argument, by the by, so let’s dispense with that red herring right now.

      Now let’s look at an American sport or two, baseball and basketball. Both had complexities back in the day with players and their race, not nationality. You don’t see people baying about baseball or basketball having “too many furriners,” or where those players come from. Because it isn’t about that, any more than it’s about that in football.

      It’s about talent, opportunity and excellence. Should we have been deprived of what Samuel Eto’o did for us, just because he wasn’t Spanish or Catalan? Or should Messi have stayed in Argentina, to play there?

      Every sport is imbalanced. So is life. Money buys nice stuff. Citeh can buy The Yaya, Silva and lord knows who else. We can buy Ibrahimovic, Alves. The complexity with smaller leagues (Eredivisie, etc) isn’t just money. It’s exposure, and ultimate quality of talent. Players want to move “up,” so to speak. And there’s nothing wrong with that, be they 16 or 29.

  45. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    *http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/15/england-manager-fa

    Yeah, because we all know what went so well last time

  46. GREECE BARCA
    August 15, 2010

    for last time my opinion:when you buy a 25m central defender he must be a starter.not a player for super cups.trigrinski was a flop.with 25m we could had david luiz
    from benfica.

    • Ryan
      August 16, 2010

      You also gotta take into account his age: he was 22 and thus a very long term addition to the squad.

  47. Kari
    August 15, 2010

    So, it looks like we won, officially, 15 titles last year. FIFTEEN.

    /http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/english/noticies/club/temporada09-10/06/20/n100620111672.html

    Cost of success, huh?

  48. GREECE BARCA
    August 15, 2010

    rosell is not the boss.he sold tsigrinski and toure.toure left because of playing time.he buyed adriano pep request.he don.t make any big transfer to make catalan press happy like laporta last year.kxevin you accuse me for negativity but yours negativity again rosell is against the facts.

    • August 15, 2010

      No, I say you’re negative because 9 of every 10 comments that you make are negative.

      If Guardiola were the boss of his club, we wouldn’t have sold Txigrinski. Simple as that. The other transfers are a rather different matter.

      Rosell didn’t make any big transfers to make people happy only because Arsenal wouldn’t deal on Fabregas. Finally, don’t confuse statements of fact with negativity. Txigrinski was sold against the will of the coach by Rosell and the board. That’s a fact. Opinion-based negativity would be “So and so makes stupid transfers all the time,” or “he don’t make any big transfer to make catalan press happy like laporta last year.”

      There’s a difference.

      Do I dislike Rosell? Right now, I’m not sure. It depends on how he manages EVERY aspect of the club, not just the sporting side. Balance the books and win titles, and I’ll kiss his feet in the middle of La Rambla.

  49. August 15, 2010

    “when you buy a 25m central defender he must be a starter.not a player for super cups.trigrinski was a flop”

    couldn’t agree more. I trust in Pep but he set Chiggy up to fail by agreeing to pay 25 mil for him. Everytime he was on the pitch he looked a liability. It is one thing to be a great defender when your coach is parking the bus, it is another thing to do so rocking the blaugrana. To get back 15 mil was a bargain after the dreadful year he had in Barcelona.

    • August 15, 2010

      But we had starters already. Does anyone think that any defender would have cracked our starting lineup the year that Txigrinski came? Ask yourself that honestly. His price was a function of the market. Nothing we could do about that.

      Was Txigrinski a flop? Find video of the matches in which he played, then honestly ask yourself whether he was a full-on flop, or work in progress that had huge potential.

  50. August 15, 2010

    @Kevin:

    “And never forget that our brighest, most shining example, Messi, is ours simply because his home club couldn’t afford to pay for his medical treatments. Would we have paid for them had he not had the potential to become one of the game’s greatest players?”

    Even Xavi is ours because his neighborhood had no team that is great enough to keep him. Going by this logic, no player is the son of his club. It doesn’t work this way.

    When Messi joined Barcelona, he wasn’t any club’s property. He came with his father to Barcelona looking for help. Make no mistake, even with economy crisis in Argentina, lot of clubs could have afforded his treatment (including at least one of the teams he trained with). They just didnt want to take the risk because youth are unpredictable. Every day You can find youth with Messi-tic skills while playing with kids, but when they mature and start playing on a higher level, they collapse. Barcelona took the risk of embracing the talent of a kid who had NO club. They taught him this game and he perfectly fit barca’s football. He didnt sign and straight to the first team carrying it on his back. They had to invest in his football growth money and time more than they invested in his hormone of growth. Full credit for them. No club in Argentina (rightfully or wrongly) claim that Messi is theirs. That case is not similar to some other cases, if you know what I mean.

    Messi is Barcelona’s youth without any single doubt, and THIS club is his HOME like no where else. Even in Argentina there are massive numbers of fans who consider him a Catalan.

    At the moment, Barcelona’s youth academy is the best in the world. its one of its kind. Till anther club win as many titles counting on home made products, that’s the fact that there is no need to deny to make others feel better. It is the truth and it should be told.

    PST: You ladies and gents are reading too much in the super-friendly game we played yesterday.

    • August 15, 2010

      All true, Ramzi, but it doesn’t negate the fact that had he not been so amazingly talented, we wouldn’t have done anything with or for him.

      It’s why I say that it just doesn’t matter a whole lot where youth players come from, or how a club get them, as long as said methods are above board.

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