Remuntada! Barca 4, Sevilla 0 (5-3 agg.), aka “Just like old times.”

"I leave destruction in my wake. Yes."

As a Sevilla fan at that club’s The Offside page noted after they gave our kids and b-teamers a 3-1 kiss at their house, “Remember when we pissed them off last season? 4-0?”

Yes, we do. And it was deja vu all over again, in a masterclass of decisive, dominant football, with a twist: Usually, it’s our opponent who catches us looking forward to a crucial mid-week European encounter. This time, it was us catching someone in a position of disadvantage. Because make no mistake, Sevilla had to balance the club’s Champions League needs past and upcoming, with what will almost certainly be the club’s most realistic chance to win silver.

So they rolled out with a spate of tactical naivete that was sure to fail, and so it did, because they ran into a buzzsaw, and we got, as Parliament-Funkadelic would say, not just knee deep, but hip-deep in that ass.

This was a match that was over before it started, because of Sevilla’s staggering tactical blunder of deciding to absorb our pressure, playing with a two-goal lead as they were. This means that we had plenty of space, and almost all of the possession, with stats approaching 70/30 some 15 minutes into the match. And Guardiola let it be known that he was for real with this one. He rolled out with Valdes, Alves, Pique, Abidal, Maxwell, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Messi, Pedro and Krkic. That’s the real deal, minus Iniesta, Villa, Puyol and (arguably) Ibrahimovic.

This was also the wrong lineup for Sevilla to decide to give space to, because the way teams decided to play us toward the end of last season, was to press the hell out of Xavi, foul him if necessary, just don’t give him the time to pick you apart.

Are memories really that short? Xavi is a demanding, almost tyrannical taskmaster. His passes make incessant demands upon the attackers. They say to Krkic, “Don’t stop the run next time.” They say to Alves “Of course you can control this pass with two defenders on you. You need the ball right now, so take it.” His perfect little pass to Pedro! in space, said “Even after last year, they still don’t respect you. Make them pay. Here ya go.”

Pedro! turned on the jets, and went on one of his crazy, high-wire, stumbling runs that made mincemeat of three defenders. He crossed the ball and Konko, running toward the goal to defend, knocked it into his own net as if he were the intended recipient of the pass from P!. 1-0 good guys.

To their credit, Sevilla stuck to their game plan. But without applying offensive pressure, Alves and Maxwell became almost full-time attackers. So where most clubs have two or three in the attack, we have Alves, Maxwell, Messi, Xavi, Pedro!, Krkic and Keita. It’s just too many men, and if you don’t stop the ball, it becomes impossible to play. When you allow Keita to bring the ball all the way up to your box because you’re worried about getting killed by Xavi, it presents a whole different set of problems, as Sevilla also discovered. So you have to respect more of our attackers, which is all that we need.

The second goal came from about as beautiful a play as we will see this season, mostly because of its simplicity and perfect timing. Messi popped back behind the defense, then broke through a space created by the Sevilla back line. Xavi popped an inch-perfect ball for Messi, who slid it past Palop, making it 2-0 and saying to Krkic, who had missed a couple of gilt-edged chances, “That’s how you do it, kid. Pay attention.”

More importantly, we were now in the driver’s seat in this tie, and Sevilla had to play football. Simple as that. At least, if they wanted the trophy they did. So out they came, garnering more possession for a bit. But our defense allowed them four passes at most, and nothing at all threatening to Valdes, who is probably getting used to another season with the best view in the house.

The third goal was, to me, the most important because of what it represented. When Pedro! stroked a ball to Alves, who fed a streaking Messi, did anyone really suspect that Messi would spank that ball into the upper 90, in about the one space that he had to put it, since Palop was, as usual, playing out of his mind against us? And It was a right-footed finish, defenders around the world noted with horror, because playing Messi in the box has always been easy. Just protect against that devastating rightleft foot. So did anyone really expect that kind of a finish. No. And it was 3-0, with the tie effectively over because until that moment, Sevilla had mustered approximately zero shots on goal.

There isn’t a lot to say about this match, really. David Villa made his Camp Nou debut, bringing joy to the multitudes. He also rolled into the lineup as if to the manor born, with play and movement that looked as though he belonged. So it was really no surprise that he had a hand in setting up the fourth goal for the Messi hat trick, feeding Iniesta who squared it, and that was that. 4-0, and as thorough a thrashing as I’ve seen us deliver. Sevilla never had a chance. The incessant midfield pressure and ball-hawking attackers meant there was never any time to settle on the ball. Anything long was intercepted by Abidal, Pique or Maxwell, who fed the midfielders so that they could return to the task of turning the screws.

“I have suffered many times as a rival, now it is much nicer,” said David Villa, who showed up and started hoisting silverware. “[Messi] has been sensational as always, it is a joy to watch him play as a teammate.”

And so, it’s our first silver of the season, in a stunning victory that has me wondering, frankly, if this season’s club isn’t better than last season’s. Dunno. I just know there are some points to give out.

“My arms never get tired of this.”

Team: 10. Yes, they got a little tired toward the end, allowing Sevilla some time on the ball in threatening positions. But they always put out the fire. Every man on the pitch wanted to destroy, and it showed. It was effort and elegance, unleashed to devastating effect. An opponent who played right into their hands certainly helped, but I don’t believe there are many teams that could have gone with us today, the way the lads were playing.

Guardiola: 10. The right lineup, with what must have been one hell of a pre-match speech. Also the exact right substitutions, at the exact right time. Things were getting a little funky, then came Villa and Iniesta, and we were off to the races again. Adriano coming in was the perfect time-killer, as well.

Valdes: incomplete. He didn’t have anything to do. Anything. Our defense blanketed Sevilla, so all he had to do was watch the match.

Alves: 9. He’s been working on his defending in the off season. His attacking skills were razor-sharp today, as well. We forget how many goals he is involved in, in one way or another.

Pique: 8. A little unsteady when fatigue set in, and his usual positional sense let him down as he was a pylon for Sevilla attackers, once they got going and committed to at least trying to score. Love his attacking forays, too.

Abidal: 8. One horrifying clearance that could have led to a goal, had he not sprinted back and put out the fire alongside Maxwell. Yes, he lined up as a center back, but rarely played like one once the match got underway.

Maxwell: 9. Where did the extra gear come from? Last season, it seemed that he was always chasing attackers. This season, he’s outrunning them, as well as slotting into the midfield when it’s attack time. I daresay he’s too good to see a lot of bench time, but I don’t know how Guardiola is going to work that. He provides a different look to the left side than Abidal, one that is much more aggressively offensive.

Keita: 10. Magnificent, with an all-pitch game that was truly from box to box. He was one of the best players on the pitch today, from storming at their box with the ball, to heading away danger in our box, providing some muscle and just making me all woozy with delight.

Busquets: 9. Aside from a Bad Biscuits moment, he was Keita in this match, in that he was invisible to the naked eye, until you realized that nothing was happening for them in the midfield, usually because of No. 16. His nose for the ball and calmness are uncanny. And he’s still improving?

Xavi: 9. Got a bit too ambitious with a few balls, which is to be expected when someone with his ability to see the pitch, is given space, time and distance. His passes are capable of opening up defenses with a rapier-like deftness. And as long as he has players willing to run like dogs to make themselves available, he will keep on making them.

Messi: 10. And I don’t mean the hat trick, though that was certainly nice. He’s learned how to control and protect himself by playing one-touch football. He is also learning when to pass, when to challenge defenders and when to let someone else help him make the challenge. That run off the Xavi pass for his first goal was like a pure striker’s. And more right-footed finishing just means that he becomes even more difficult to play.

Pedro!: 7. I loved his all-pitch game. Like Keita, he was roaming from end to end, playing defense and making himself available on offense. His goal was lucky, but a delight. He’s picking up right where he left off last season, as is Messi.

Krkic: 5. His industry and effort were nice, but he has to learn to finish chances. He always seems to find himself in the wrong place compared to the ball and the defender. And Xavi will get you the ball, so he will have to curb his tendency to start a run then suddenly change directions, or stop a run too soon after he begins it. That happened a few times.


Villa (for Pedro!): 8. Wow. You can still see that he isn’t used to playing with the Flying Wallendas of football. There was one cross-pitch pass that went to the exact spot that he vacated, and would have opened Sevilla’s defense like a can opener. Love the movement, aggression and passing. He responded well to the tyranny that is our excellence.

Iniesta (for Krkic): 8. Get someone to remove the bad goalscoring juju that you have. Please. I’d forgotten what joy it was to watch a fully fit Iniesta, as he shifted roles from attacker to playmaker in the blink of an eye. He really is an amazing player, who deserves a better season than he had last year. I still don’t know how he missed that chance, though. Crazy.

Adriano (for Xavi): incomplete.

Next up, on Wednesday, is the “official” Camp Nou debut for the new team, the Gamper Trophy match. Guardiola will almost certainly field our strongest lineup, at least for a half, not as much because he wants to win as because he wants to see how they all work together. It’s also a glorious party for the Camp Nou faithful. Until then, download the match, and revel in the excellence of our side. It’s a team that we might never see the likes of again in world football.

There’s no such thing as a short-sleeved dress shirt? What?

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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.


  1. cliveee
    August 21, 2010

    10, 10, 10. perfecto!
    how i miss this beautiful game we play.

  2. Jnice
    August 21, 2010

    Like I said before, Pep is fresh in anything he wears.

    But yeah, wonderful match, basically only had Pique and Abidal in the back the whole match. Passing, movement, pressuring… wonderful. Life would be a lot worse if I wasn’t a fan of Barça.

    Oh, and Sandro Rosell is still wack.

    And I’ll repost the download link for those of you who haven’t seen it in the previous post:

    Full Match, TVE coverage:


    Credit to adriancrm

    • ML
      August 22, 2010

      Thanks for the link Jnice. Much Appreciated 🙂

    • El Kun
      August 22, 2010

      Thanks a lot! Do you, by any chance, have a link to the 2-6 Bernabeu trashing? I would love to see that again…

      Barça was once again a joy to behold. Only injury can keep us from winning a load of trophies!

      • Jnice
        August 22, 2010

        Hah, I watched the 2-6 just the other day.

        No problem, folks.

        Here’s the links (Real Madrid vs Barça, May 2009):

        NON HD



        HD (but file is 8 gigs or so)


        or if you have rapidshare: * and the password to open this folder is: LLfbtzHD

        Credit to Pakman

        • El Kun
          August 22, 2010

          Thanks a lot! This will get me through a very boring day 😀


  3. jnelson
    August 21, 2010

    Awesome review! I look forward to every single one of them. Great reads.

  4. zeebarca
    August 21, 2010

    awesome game thanks for the megaupload post !!!

    on a side note arsenals 6 – 0 bashing of blackpool , chelsea 2 weeks in row now 6 – 0 scores most recently against wigan , and epl fans still saw say that la lig ahas week defending.

    18 goals scored by two epl clubs in 3 fixtures WOW talk abt lack of defense …

    thats my two cents

  5. Cesc Blanc
    August 22, 2010

    The Ibra case reminds me of the Godfather:
    Johan is Vito(because he always is), Pep is Michael, Mino Raiola is Moe Greene. Remember how Moe Greene told Michael “I’m Moe Greene! I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!”? Well, Michael had him killed later. I just hope Ibra is not Fredo.

    But damn, Guardiola is a Gangsta. The only person on earth looking good in a short sleeved shirt.

    • sab
      August 22, 2010

      tito vilonova is tom hagen then.

      i think ibra is al neri,mino raiola is luca brasi coz of him pep cant get into the head of ibra

  6. Barcathegreatestever
    August 22, 2010

    Enjoyable read Kevin minus the hokey scores. Can’t wait to see the replay

  7. vicsoc8
    August 22, 2010

    “His passes are capable of opening up defenses with a rapier-like deftness.”

    Sentences like this keep me coming back

    • gv
      August 22, 2010

      but to be honest, that xavi pass was very pep-like. still, xavi is awesome!

  8. jnelson
    August 22, 2010

    Does anybody think the Pep’s job is stressful?

  9. Reagan
    August 22, 2010

    super super performance!! A few things –

    1. Why didn’t Ibra hold the trophy up when they gave it to him? what is wrong with him?

    2. Xavi is the greatest player alive today or worst case – really really close to the current player of the year

    • Diabolics
      August 22, 2010

      1. Personally I did not see that part, but it was reported by someone else during the live posting that he said something to Adriano (who apparently held the trophy) and they giggled. Is this all you saw as well? Because if it is, then he might have said: “Dude, welcome to Barca, enjoy it a while longer, I’ll feel it later/have felt it already”
      Conspiracy theorists might devise something like this:
      “Dude I am Ibra, I wreck shit, if I don’t get to play then I will be a crybaby and refuse to hold that stupid ugly trophy and show the whole world what a worthless pice of garbage I am. See Pep? See how I am NOT holding this trophy?”

      • Jnice
        August 22, 2010

        All of Ibra’s teammates say he is a good guy in the locker rooms. They say he works hard in training and jokes around a lot. I don’t know how that makes him a “shit person”, but okie dokie.

      • Luke
        August 22, 2010

        To Extreme Barca Fan and all other posters: Personal comments about players are unacceptable. Please refrain from calling the player a shitty person or otherwise commenting on their actions off the soccer field unless somehow directly related to the games or a story. Examples:

        Acceptable: “Messi play like shit today, his game was on the awful end of ass”

        Unacceptable: “Ibra is a shitty human being who is selfish off the pitch and worthless”

        Note: Neither is like true, but you get the point. Calling a player a locker room cancer or something is fine, the other comment is not. Please note.

    • Jnice
      August 22, 2010

      I don’t know if you should read too much into that gesture by Ibra. I mean Adriano gave it to him and it did look like Maxwell wanted him to take it, but then Ibra said something to Adriano and had a smile on his face and they both laughed. I mean, he looked happy enough when they were taking the group picture with the trophy at the end

  10. iBlau
    August 22, 2010

    Off topic:

    Seems Rosell has a twitter account: @sandrorosell.
    English: @sandrorosell_en

    Apologies if this has been posted already.

  11. Jim
    August 22, 2010

    Great review, Kxevin, and can’t argue with any of the ratings. Really pleased that Maxwell is getting some recognition. I think there is still more to come from him. Technically, he is very good with the ball and could still attack defences himself a little more. He also has a very decent shot. Like you I was surprised at his pace at times. Could it be that a decent spell injury free has given him more confidence in his old knee injury?

    And isn’t Puyol a gem? He couldn’t have been more happy for the team despite the fact he didn’t play. I also wouldn’t get hung up on Ibra not holding the trophy. I think in his position its okay to feel happy for the team ( which i thought he genuinely did) but feel a bit of a fraud waving the trophy about. his non-appearance at any point though does raise serious questions. It may be that pep was going to give him a run but needed to shore up the midfield instead but everything atm seems to be pointing the same way. Typical, just as I’d given myself a talking to about needing to get behind him and give him another chance 🙂

  12. skyislm
    August 22, 2010

    excellent start to the season.

    pardon my ignorance – what is “remuntada”?

    • Jnice
      August 22, 2010

      I believe it means “comeback” in Catalan.

      • skyislm
        August 22, 2010

        thank you Jnice. I was trying to translate it from Spanish. How dumb am I? 🙂

  13. messi_fan
    August 22, 2010

    Minor correction.

    because playing Messi in the box has always been easy. Just protect against that devastating LEFT foot

    But a great review for a great match 🙂

  14. sab
    August 22, 2010


    in one of ur earlier replies 2 me,u said no body should be supported unconditionally,not even xavi or messi.seriously,after what they have done for barca,they should be.

    and by the by isnt defenders only 2 worry the left foot of la pulga inside the penalty box?

    i didnt c the match,but 2 rate 10 to a player he must have done some extraordinary things,i very nuch doubt keita had done that,on the other hand messi did score a hat trick,which though isnt extraordinary isnt easy either.

    well done the by what do u do?

    and do u know dtroittheanswer @

    • Jnice
      August 22, 2010

      Does your definition of extraordinary include tremendous workrate, being all over the pitch, and offering help in both facets of the game? If not, then you will have difficulties understanding why Keita received a 10.

      • August 22, 2010

        I am a journalist by trade, at the Chicago Tribune. And no, I don’t really frequent the ESPN Soccernet boards enough to know anyone over there. They get a bit uncivil at times, which isn’t my thing.

  15. Jnice
    August 22, 2010

    Another thing I noticed yesterday was how quickly Busquets released the ball. He was definitely quick last season, but this season his passing looks even quicker.

  16. August 22, 2010

    “As a Sevilla fan at that club’s The Offside page noted after they gave our kids and b-teamers a 3-1 kiss at their house, “Remember when we pissed them off last season? 4-0?””
    Best opening line to a review. Ever.

    Btw I didn’t know Guardiola sold bibles…

  17. Helge
    August 22, 2010

    Messi is crazy 😀

    I didn’t realize that he scored the 2nd goal with his right foot, because I just thought “What a hell of a shot!”. Thinking back to his other goals, I don’t even remember a right-footed goal (maybe a pass-into-the-net goal, but no real ones). If this goal was not an exceptionn based on luck, he will be even better. And some people still argue about Sneijder to win the Ballon d’Or or Crynaldo to be on the same level as Messi…

    • y2k156
      August 22, 2010

      Messi’s goal against Arsenal, 2nd one was with right and i think the third one against Valencia was with right as well. And both those goals were quite good with excellent finishes, not power but lot of finesse. So i guess Messi is not all left foot, though he mostly is and who is to complain:).

  18. sab
    August 22, 2010


    Does your definition of extraordinary include tremendous workrate, being all over the pitch, and offering help in both facets of the game? If not, then you will have difficulties understanding why Keita received a 10.

    yah thats the definition of me of extraordinary,thats why i give a rating of 10 to dirk kuyt ,cambiasso,etoo(mourinhos etoo)and essien every time.becoz of this defintion i cant give a rating of 10 2 players like say busi,xavi,messi.

    according to the dictionary the definitions are:
    1.very unusual,remarkable or surprising.
    2.not in an established manner,course or order.
    3. employed for a particular events or purposes.

    see jnice i always rate a football player under the no 3 category. never under category 1 or 2.

    u have opened my eyes

    • August 22, 2010

      What you’ll find here, at least when I’m doing reviews, is that a player doesn’t have to have goals to have a great match. Likewise, a player can have a hat trick and still not have a very good match. It’s part of what makes me so vexing at times. but I will always explain the reason behind a rating, then you can choose to agree or disagree.

      But I watched the match again, and now believe that Keita was indeed our best player on the pitch. Dude was just crazy.

  19. August 22, 2010

    btw didn’t realize it before but Barça (9) now has more supercopas than EE (8), yay! 🙂

  20. August 22, 2010

    So, what’s funny is that over at the EE Offside page, our dismantling of Sevilla seems to have opened some eyes. A few are beginning to (already) wonder if the Liga is already over and done with. 😀

    I still can’t believe how well we played, and the players are still not in shape, or firing on all cylinders. Well, Keiteee clearly is, and Pedro! also looked very good. Villa and Iniesta were revelatory to me, as well. I can only repeat that for the past two seasons, we have seen Iniesta injured, or just having come back from an injury, only to be injured again. I had forgotten the joy that a fit, healthy Ghostface brings to a match.

    If we can stay healthy, with or without Ibrahimovic, we are going to be in for some amazing footballing spectacles this season, everyone. No, not every team is going to be stupid enough to give us the kind of space that Sevilla did. But the passing, movement and sheer virtuosity out there should be able to overcome almost anything.

    Messi is better, Busquets is better, Xavi looked great, Iniesta is healthy, and Villa already understands what it means to play in our kind of system. Alves looks ready, Keita is always ready, and Abidal has clearly seen how great Maxwell is going, because he is even more leonine this season.

    Bring on Wednesday!

    • Luke
      August 22, 2010

      Haha, the RM peeps were making some pretty bold statements on the Twitter this week about how this match was over, etc. etc. The entire season will come down to which teams executes against the lower guys the best. Barca may lose both games to RM (I don’t think we will, just saying) and still win by a good many points because of all the inherent complexities with playing these tiny teams whose only goal is to beat RM or Barça. We have a better squad to handle those teams, RM, due to a lacking LB situation as well as their penchant to run the DM forward at almost all times (if they ever play with a true DM, something I doubt a lot) means counter-attacks from the Bilbao’s are easier.

  21. sab
    August 22, 2010


    good to know u r a journalist(hopefully not lyk our countries).u do clear urself about ur ratings.i have seen the highlights which is approximately 6mins long.the goals we scored,dont c any kind of contribution fr keita,but football especially barca football is not all bout goals,may be i have 2 c the whole game 2 understand the contributions of keita.(but still in a highlight if i cant c a player contributing nothing 1 cant give him a 10).

    yah the espnsoccernet site sometimes become uncivilized.still the chap i m talking bout he is a barca fanatic(i m also),but the vast knowledge he has bout the whole barca thing sometime he just astounds me.

    @jnice,thanx for the link of 2-6,doest it have english commentary?

      • sab
        August 22, 2010

        thanx a lot.

        i think i rate u a 20 on that

    • August 22, 2010

      If you haven’t seen the entire match, then you are not equipped to talk about the entire match. Highlights packages are limited by their very nature, in that dirty work isn’t a “highlight,” per se. Why show a guy marking, or tracking back on defense? That isn’t a highlight. Show the passes and the goals, right?

      Download and watch the entire match, then talk to me about Keita.

      • sab
        August 22, 2010

        pretty much seen the match for bout 70 mins,keita is awesome,but not 10 point awesome

        • sab
          August 22, 2010

          guess i have 2 c another 20 mins,then

          • sab
            August 22, 2010

            keita deserves a 10 fr u coz of his marking,tracking back, u r saying that was his job and he did that perfectly,so u gave him 10 out of this same analogy all the backline deserve 10 coz their duty is to not to let in any goals,xavi a 10 coz he perfected in controling the tempo of the game.dont take it otherwise, all i was saying that u r a bit generous in giving him a 10.8.5 is what he deserves according 2 me.when u have xavi,busi in ur side and taking on renato,romaric it is much more easier,he didnt have 2 tarck back that much,though i know abidal has to do that after that horrible pass.

            i m sorry 2 irritate u on this as a new guy,sincere apologies.

            are u the founder of this website?sorry again 2 ask so may questions.coz i live in a place where there is a scarcity of barca fans,so i want 2 know about other barca fanatics,hope u dont mind

          • Kari
            August 22, 2010

            Nope, he’s not the founder–that would be Isaiah–but he is a regular writer and part of the admin.

            His reviews are full of win, but he’ll be splitting them with Luke this season. Life > fanatic blogging about the greatest team in the world

  22. poipoi
    August 22, 2010

    perfect game… great review man!

    Yesterday I saw a different xavi, a even more mature and better xavi. Maybe it just that he is out of shape and could only walk but I looked at him closely yesterday and ended absolutely amazed. The confidence this guy has to have right now and his worked-talent are more than sky high. True that he was given space but his performance was out of this world. Both xavi and iniesta are in super-saiyan mode now after winning the WC and if injuries respect them I feel like we cannot loose. Barça has had some defeats with them, maybe ’cause one or the other was injured or the coach didn’t trust them both at the same time like rikjaard did, but in Spain Nat Team they just can’t loose. The way they touch the ball with two or three defenders back to back, dropping sweat on them and how they show absolutely no fear of the pressure it’s too much. The way the combine with busi messi pedro! and now villa is mesmerizing, for the crowd AND the defenders. I don’t see many other teams doing that stuff, not with xabi alonso and khedira for sure.

    lol Good point on busi and the naked eye. To me messi wasn’t that good yesterday, bojan was bad but at least he didn’t get in the middle of most plays like the tall dude.

    last… don’t take this wrong me loves villa, long time but… didn’t you see villa a little “limited” in the left… looks like he has no left foot at all, he did some great but not-academic controls with the right, all dribbles were to the right, not many crosses… etc. he is great and this is only his 1st game, he sure will improve but he has almost alway played as 9 for a reason, even though he is so short.

    • Kari
      August 22, 2010

      “Both xavi and iniesta are in super-saiyan mode after winning the WC”

      +Yaya for the Dragonball Z reference. OMG 😀

      • Jnice
        August 22, 2010

        Haha, I was going to mention the Dragonball Z reference, too. Good job, poipoi.

  23. PS
    August 22, 2010

    For all the arguments about which three attackers should be in the starting XI, I think that the more interesting question might be who should compose the starting midfield. Though the Xaviniesta pairing is undoubtedly great, I wonder if

    Keita – Busquets – Xavi

    might not, all things considered, actually be a better starting lineup. Based on the past 6 months (especially taking into account Keita’s current run of form and Spain’s use of the dual pivot at the World Cup w/Iniesta on the “wing”), I think a compelling argument COULD be made for the K-X-B trio.

    There’s also the question of Iniesta’s best position, the answer to which, after his exploits during the World Cup, I don’t believe is as certain as it was in 2008/9. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see the kind of tactical innovations that Pep is able to introduce this season. In 2008/9, there was Messi as a central forward. In 2009/10, there was the 424 that culminated in those mesmerizing first 20 minutes against the Emirates.

    What does 2010/11 hold? While the Villa/Ibrahimovic debate continues, I think it might actually be overlooking a more fundamental issue: for Barcelona, the true key for the upcoming season is going to be (as it usually is) the midfield.

    • poipoi
      August 22, 2010

      true on keita, besides maxwell or adriano can play like full winger if we do sorta 3-4-3 like yesterday, with pique as only CB abi:LB and maxwell:all-the-left-side-is-mine-period, all of it. And adriano is a great profile of player for that position, a full “carrilero” … it sounds great. With Keita filling all the spaces that those people who actually know how to attack leave, great. But trying to play without keita (and let xaviniesta shine or alcantara or JDS) to prove it right or wrong wouldn’t hurt. he always plays, always. But what the hell in pep we trust 😀

      • poipoi
        August 22, 2010

        I mean adriano-maxwell full winger so andres can become a midfielder more.

      • Jim
        August 22, 2010

        This is something I was thinking about while watching the match yesterday. There is actually a bit of a problem here. I thought Keita played really well yesterday but wouldn’t place him even close to Iniesta in terms of our possession football. I also don’t see him as carrying the threat that Iniesta does. However, if we play with basically two DMs ( which I thought was a pretty dull development in the WC) would Pep be tempted to leave Iniesta out? To me an in form Iniesta goes onto every important team sheet along with Pique, Xavi and Messi. Beyond that I’m open to discussion . . .

        • poipoi
          August 22, 2010

          the thing with that line up is that either villa or ibra have to go out. The extreme line-up I saw yesterday was like this, I think they ended the game in this way.

          messi —- villa

          If we have so much the ball and attack, adriano/maxwell and alves can go up all the time and be considered more like mids. busi, keita and pique abidal take care of everything. iniesta plays sorta wide (yesterday more in the right I think) but not fix in only one wing… messi and villa can cut inside as much as they want and xavi is the ruler. in defense if pique and puyi play togther it should be fine. it IS crazy but great!!! sometimes it does look like 4 defenders is too much 😀

          • poipoi
            August 22, 2010

            just saw the game stats, adriano got in for xavi. had no idea 🙁 but still it’s the same, swap maxwell for xavi. adriano, maxwell and abidal all at the same time on the pitch… don’t think it will happen much.

        • PS
          August 22, 2010

          I didn’t mean to imply that Iniesta shouldn’t be starting, only that we might see him more in the pseudo-winger role that he played during the World Cup (and the 424 last year) this coming season. I fully agree with you that a fit Iniesta is pretty much an automatic starter.

          What I’m curious about is whether it would be better — at least in certain circumstances — to play Keita alongside Xavi and Iniesta on the wing. After the 2008/9 season, I would have said no pretty much unconditionally. Now, I’m not so sure.

          (I’m also ignoring the headache of picking two of Messi/Ibrahimovic/Villa/Pedro to play the other forward roles, but that’s also something that has to be taken into consideration.)

          • poipoi
            August 22, 2010

            yeah only busikeita-xaviniesta if two the forwards go out. messi+villa is good offense though and it’s not like agüero+forlan that play almost on themselves.

      • sab
        August 22, 2010

        when we have a possession based football it is important to have a player lyk keita.but IMHO keita should never have a rating of 10.


        basically we play 3 1 1 2 2 1 in all our home matches (except against EE and Cl).our full backs bomb up 4wards,2 CB s stretches and the DM slots in between the CBS. m in favor of playing keita against a physical team ala IM, Chelsea or against a team who packed their midfield.

  24. August 22, 2010

    WEll back on the game….did any1 else saw the combination play with Pedro and Alves?
    Was truly a warm site to see since if reports are to be confirmed Messi will be playing a false 9 this season.Nice to see our right still as deadly.

  25. Eklavya
    August 22, 2010

    Freakin’ awesome review Kxevin!

  26. Ali
    August 22, 2010

    Firstly, congrats for a great win! It showed that this team will have a lot to give this season.

    With Villa replacing Henry and Adriano used a extra cover at both LB,RB and midfield this team looks very well balanced. Marquez didn’t get to play much because of Milito and with Abidal in the middle we look fine in the back four.

    I think our team has actually improved since Henry was not how he used to be anymore. The only position that still worries me is that DM role. With an injury to Busquets, who looked very very good today, we would be caught out. Keita, Xavi and maybe even Adriano could play that role but besides Keita I would not rely on any one of them. We need to bring in a DM before the window closes. It would calm me down especially with Yaya leaving and leaving a big hole in that position.

    Great match to watch though, only wanted Ibra on the pitch at some point too! Villa Ibra and Messi can all play together as the front 3, should be awesome to watch!

    • Kari
      August 22, 2010

      “with Abidal in the middle we look fine in the back four.”

      I disagree with that. Abidal at CB is a disaster waiting to happen. He wasn’t put under pressure at all because of Sevilla’s dimwitted tactics–and yet, he still got himself into trouble at some periods of the match, though he made up for it with his pace.

      He should NEVER play CB. Ever.

      Agreed on all else, Ali.

  27. Jnice
    August 22, 2010

    YES! The Gamper match is on ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3. Nice.

  28. sab
    August 22, 2010

    hey why it is showning
    “Your comment is awaiting moderation”.

    did i do anything wrong?

    • ooga aga
      August 22, 2010

      you posted a link, thats why. put an asterisk b4 it if you like

  29. SoccerMom
    August 22, 2010

    As RayRay would say:

    “Are you KIDDING me ?!?!?”

    1 down 5 to go.

    I could have sworn that Navas was heading to the Bernaboo. Just goes to show you should never believe anything you read on line. From me. 😉

  30. ooga aga
    August 22, 2010

    i heard pique is real wacky and likes to play billiards

  31. Stephen
    August 22, 2010

    Beautiful game. I was like a kid screaming “did you see that?!??”
    Really want Ibrahimovic to stay, I hope that it wasn’t a sign.
    Keita and Busquets: couldnt have said it better myself, its like they werent there, yet they made their presence be known with punishment.

  32. Blow-Grenade
    August 22, 2010

    I think you have to give Villa and Iniesta an additional point each for making Messi’s 3rd goal.

  33. Tim
    August 22, 2010

    Apparently if we want Iniesta to score we’ll need to Inception him to convince him that every game he’s playing is either a WC final or a Champion’s League knockout round. The move that ended with him hitting it wide took my breath away.

  34. sab
    August 22, 2010

    guys this article shows how football can bring ppl closer whether they r rival fans or not,truly remarkable.i almost cried.


  35. Kari
    August 22, 2010

    So Newcastle beat Aston Villa by a scoreline of–guess what?– 6-0.

    24 goals now in 4 matches. Aston Villa is supposed to be a good side (Top 6 or 7). Although they are technically managerless after O’Neill left.

  36. vicsoc8
    August 22, 2010

    In honor of the Ibra to Milan rumors, and the fact that Milan is really broke, let’s play a game.

    What Milan players would you be interested in having in the team?
    Thiago Silva?

    • larm
      August 22, 2010

      silva, hands down. he is like a fast pique. maybe even better on the ball. but not as good at long passing.

      infact i would trade ibra for silva

  37. Kari
    August 22, 2010

    Brit Taboloids are at it again. Messi the target this time. Courtesy of Pep’s twitter:

    Lionel Messi: “The Premier League have not seen it yet but Jonas Gutierrez is one of the best players in the league. [Daily Star]

    “I know you guys have Rooney, Fabregas, Torres and many more stars – but Jonas is as good as any of them. [Daily Star]

    “I am backing Jonas to show it now. By the end of the season I would expect the best European teams to be trying to sign him.” [Daily Star]

    I LOL’ed when Pep posted afterward:

    “note: this was a fake interview”

  38. Kari
    August 22, 2010

    According to Guardiola, it looks like Caceres won’t be our 4th CB…

    “We’re looking for a club for Caceres, Hleb and Victor Sanchez where they will be able to play more than here.

    “If Caceres, Hleb and Victor Sanchez in the end stay, they’ll be treated as the others but we can’t guarantee them playing time.”

    Courtesy of Pep’s twitter.

  39. drew
    August 22, 2010

    if we loan ibra to milan and pay 40% of his wages then sorry, but we are fucking retarded!

    • drew
      August 22, 2010

      *then we are…sorry for the typo, too angry to type right

  40. iBlau
    August 22, 2010

    “This trophy goes especially to those that did not play today. There are always players left out that deserve to play.”

    “We want to have few players and try to give them all games. With the ones we have, more than a hypothetical new signing, we have players from the youth ranks who we can step up.”

    FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at the post-match press conference after the winning Super Cup against Sevilla.

    • cliveee
      August 22, 2010

      he could be talking to Ibrahimovic, because he is the most obvious snub, and the fact that he scored the only goal in the away leg points to the fact that he has a part in this trophy. After all, Pep DOES NOT want to sell Ibrahimovic. If the club really sell him at the end, Pep will be gone next summer. No way in he will wanna stay in such management.

  41. poipoi
    August 22, 2010

    just read some news about messi scoring 130 official goals with Barcelona, so he has just reached RIVALDO and ETO’O. All official goals with the 1st team???? omfg, it’s unvelievable even of messi.

  42. Kari
    August 22, 2010

    Is there any mediapro files for yesterdays’s match? Megaupload never seems to work for me and rapidshare is a pain if you’re not a premium user.

    Just wondering, I’ll check out rojadirecta later today, but if fbtz has it, that’d be awesome.

    • Jnice
      August 22, 2010


      Credit to lksa @ mysoccerplace

      The megaupload one is only one file, so you should be okay.

  43. August 22, 2010

    i guess the only consolation for us sevilla fans is to remember that we knocked you out of the king’s cup last season. 🙂

    also, it’s nice to remind myself that barcelona has bought 3 of our better players in the last 3 seasons. i’m scraping the bottom of the consolation barrel with that one, but since keita was tied in the rankings for best player today i’ll take some 🙂 in that he’s a former sevillista.

    good luck this season, culés. no one will dispute that you have a superior team.

    • Kari
      August 22, 2010

      Thanks for coming by, aaronwk!

      Good luck against Braga eh? First leg result musta been a bummer, but the good thing is that it’s only 1-0 and you guys play at the Pizjuan–which, trust me, ain’t the best place to play for your CL lives if you’re Braga.

      Oh, and you have that dude, Palop. Oh, how I hate him 😀

  44. August 22, 2010

    i think Zlatan should have been put in the game.
    if he is going to stay with the team anyway, he might as well get the feel of the pitch and get some of his confidence back.

  45. cliveee
    August 22, 2010

    The 10 from Keiteee was, at first, a shock to me. But after rewatching this match in a much higher quality download, sponsored by Jnice, who found on the rojadirecta page (see above comments), I realized how great a game he played.

    Keita will be extremely important in this coming season, especially if we won’t be able to sign anyone to strengthen our defense. What he did yesterday was mainly invisible jobs like he is always into. I deliberately paid more attention to what Keita did to earn that 10 from Kxevin and found that he is a good game reader. He does not commit himself easily to positions. The way some of us described him as a headless chicken could not apply on what he displayed yesterday. He reads the game, think for some time, and then react. Sometimes he is fast, but he displayed some perfect positional sense in many ways, because in the kind of total football we played yesterday, which we have the ball most of the time, players like him who know when to do what to help is very important, because if you don’t do anything, we are very predictable and playable.

    Keita went back to defense when he see Pique/Busquets moved up, dart forward to pressure the goalkeeper or defenders if some thru pass reached no one. dropped back and win headers in the midfield, or sometimes, just be in certain locations to fill the space so that some passes from the oppositions won’t go thru. These are all invisible functions he carried out, which can only be found if he DO NOT DO them. You’d find us losing the ball all the time, giving too much space to the other side to attack us, or start anything from the midfield to press us. But with him playing smart positioning from box to box, things became easier, but you don’t notice them.

    I don’t know if Kxevin had the match downloaded and rewatched it immediately to give this 10 to Keita, but I’d be amazed how much you could observe if you’d only watched it once to give this review. Thanks for being awesome.

    • Jnice
      August 22, 2010

      That’s why Kxevin always (or usually) watches matches twice before doing the match review. You pick up on stuff you didn’t see the first time.

  46. joe91
    August 22, 2010

    i’m looking for a good picture of Oriol Romeu’s face for a project. anybody have any images or links they’re willing to share? would be much appreciated.

    • cliveee
      August 22, 2010


      Are those what you need?

      • joe91
        August 22, 2010

        looking for something more along the lines of this:


        but without the copyright across his face, of course.

  47. cliveee
    August 22, 2010


    He won the ball 10 times back from Sevilla yesterday, which is the most among all players. 10 times! I can’t believe thats how many times he won the ball back. It is very clear that he has become more and more solid on the defensive end, but since there wasn’t a whole lot of defense to do (In fact Navas played like a right back more than a winger yesterday), and he became a very good attacker on the left. Dominating the entire left side of the pitch, which, we also do so on the right with Alves… I have no idea how other teams would play against this Barcelona.

    I like Maxwell because he is very dependable, and that implies he has immense consistency. He arrived last season to learn 1) what Spanish football is like (His 1st club: Ajax, 2nd Inter, then us), 2) what Total Football is like. That means he also has great adaptability. He did not have a incredible season, but he provided the needs to cover Abidal for us and he did so with increasing solidity. One particularly game he demonstrated how dangerous he could be, were he permitted to move further up, and that’s a game when Alves was suspended or something and he had to cover the right back position. He won balls, played one-two with Messi, Ibra and others, and cover the ground with speed. Amazing. He did the same yesterday with even faster speed and power. Craziness. He made me yell at the monitor a couple of times and it will be really hard to choose whether Abidal or MAxwell will play the left. So, I foresee, Maxwell would feature on the right and midfield more, to give Busquets or Keita the rest they will need. Or cover suspensions. Same goes for Corriea, but we will have to see how well his adaptability compare to Maxwell’s.

  48. flyzowee
    August 22, 2010

    Been doing sum thinking, and maybe im jumping to conclusions but i get the feeling dat keitee is goin to be undisputed starter 4 us this season.

    Hes the only one giving our midfieke some punch. Xaviniesta combo is gr8 but is too light-weight assuming busquets will play DM.
    Where this leaves iniesta i dunno, messi and villa have the wings on lockdown assuming Ibra plays CF.

    Im hoping pep cud field all keitee iniesta villa and ibra, bt dnt see it happening.

  49. scav
    August 22, 2010

    Open letter to Maradona:

    THAT’S HOW YOU USE THE MOST DANGEROUS PLAYER IN THE WORLD, not by asking him to operate 40-50 yards away from the goal at all times.

  50. Vicsoc8
    August 22, 2010

    So I was thinking about the Ibra situation, and I realized that I can’t for the life of me actually think of any time Pep specifically said that he wanted Ibra to stay this season. He has been playing his cards very close to his chest with regards to Ibra (this could be for several reasons, wants to protect himself in case Rosell decides to rid the club of Ibra, but maybe Pep isn’t sold on keeping him either?). Anyways, most of us will accept the premise that whether Ibra leaves or not should be Peps decision. Can anyone help me and my terrible memory out and point me towards something that confirms Pep wants to keep Ibra?

    • Vicsoc8
      August 22, 2010

      I know what this looks like, but I’m really not trying to stir things up or cause trouble. I was complaining to my brother about the problems with Pep and Rosell and how Ibra fit in and he asked me what if Pep didn’t want Ibra to stay. I said he did, but when he asked me how I knew I didn’t have a good answer.

  51. jnelson
    August 22, 2010

    I think what people need to remember is that Sport and El Mundo Deportivo know nothing of managing a futbol club. They can make up all the stories that they want, but in the end, they are about ratings and Pep is about futbol.

  52. jordi(TM)
    August 22, 2010

    Ever since our goodwill deal with ronaldinho, Milan seem to think they can get our players for cheap.Braida was even talking about “gifts” WTF.We shouldnt even entertain their delusions, they tried it with Samu as well lest we forget.Sorry Berlusconi is a billionaire, its not our problem if politics is stopping him spending his money, pay up or get the hell out.They found a problem with Cissokho’s teeth just to try to knock the price down, its obvious they’ll try to low ball us.And as for players coming the other way, its not worth it, they wont give us Pato or Thiago Silva, its like one step forward, two steps back for them to do that.Giving him away is a joke,the 10 million that he is making is not going to sink us financially especially after we already got Rafa, Henry and Yaya off our wage list and we didnt replace them, which is what they should be spending their time doing instead of trying to make our tiny squad tinier (and i dont just mean numerically).Its a disgrace, addition by subtraction can only go so far, and we’ve already subtracted enough for the summer -_-“

  53. Jnice
    August 22, 2010

    Mascherano rumors heating up again…

    Spanish reporter Sonia Gelma says that he won’t play against City tomorrow hoping the deal will be closed soon

    Rac1 says we have agreed personal terms with him and are still haggling over the transfer fee with Liverpool.

    John SInnott, BBC journalist says that “LFC refuse to comment on reported Barca/LFC talks over Javier Mascherano transfer.”

  54. Kari
    August 22, 2010

    Villa speaking English…I think 😀 . Aww, he’s so cute!


  55. cliveee
    August 22, 2010

    Keita gave away the fewest ball, as well as Busquets. I was surprised by the passes Keita completed were all very well-timed and well-placed.

  56. k5
    August 23, 2010

    great, witty analysis 🙂 i just discovered your blog and it’s fantastic! extra kudos for the puyol caption 🙂

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