Barca 0, Hercules 2, aka “Shame enough to go around for everyone”

"Egg! Egg! It's all over my face! Get it off!"

Javier Mascherano can be forgiven for thinking “Hey, wait …. I signed up for this? Some freakin’ debut, dudes!”

Newly promoted Hercules, the club with the ambitious name, took on the Liga giants of Barcelona and kicked mud in their inept, ineffective eyes with two goals that could easily have been more. Watching this one twice was painful in the extreme. I really don’t want to see this match ever again, or this kind of effort from my beloved club.

Simply put, we were terrible, with a few notable exceptions.

–Some will blame the international break.
–Some will blame chickens coming home to roost.
–Cruijff will say “See, I told you so. Yell “Shit” for so long, and the club starts to play like it.
–Still others will blame the luck of the draw, and “On any given day.”

Personally, there is plenty of blame to go around for a shameful defeat to a club that we should have dusted off by the 10th minute, and put to bed. Guardiola rolled out with a lineup of Valdes, Adriano, Pique, Abidal, Maxwell, Mascherano, Keita, Iniesta, Messi, Villa and Krkic. For my money, this was the wrong lineup. Hercules tottered into our house with fear in their eyes. You could see it in the early tentative play. If I’m Guardiola, I resolve to play the real boys for 20 minutes from the start, then start pulling key players. As it was, Hercules saw our No. 4.5, and started laughing. “Hey, they expect a toy to lead the line! Bwahahahaha!”

Actually, we didn’t have anyone leading the line, since Messi was running around sleepwalking, Villa was flitting about on the wings somewhere (when he wasn’t getting called offside) and Krkic didn’t even bother showing up. In my estimation, the advantage was lost when Krkic didn’t turn that chance. It was a difficult chance, to be fair, but he tried to get cute with it, instead of just stopping and steering the ball home. The pass from Maxwell (an amazing effort) was coming right to him. He tries some fancy-pants flick sideheel nonsense, and missed.

Then Hercules got confident, and began exploiting the middle of our “attack.” Sloppy possession meant that Mascherano was facing a jailbreak, and took not one, but two fouls for the team. On the first, Valdez (theirs) was off to the races, being supported by Trezeguet and Drenthe. If Mascherano doesn’t give the pullback, the defense is dead in the water. So he did. Hats off to him. He took a yellow, but that’s what you’re supposed to do. Watch the sequence again, as Messi slaps an awful pass to Iniesta that the Hercules defender takes and slots directly into the attack.

On the second, a horrific Messi free is functionally a pass to their defense. Drenthe takes off on the break, and he does exactly what you’re supposed to, which is to run directly at the defender and make him do something. He sold the foul but again, Mascherano took one for the team. Should he have been off on that second foul? No way. What he should have been doing was getting on his attackers for being so wasteful and silly against a side whose only real shot at hurting us was off the counter. No DM alive can handle a jailbreak, kids. I know that we’re all into getting on the new guy, but I don’t care who’s playing DM …. The Yaya, His Mama, Busquets, whoever …. he’s taking a professional foul.

The first Hercules goal came about as a direct result of this sequence. Drenthe whipped in the free kick, and we were ball watching as they headed the ball toward our net. Valdes slaps the first effort away and as Maxwell falls down for some inexplicable reason, their Valdez spikes the return ball off the pitch into the open net. Meanwhile, all of our defenders, eveyone is standing around. Should someone, as soon as they saw how the play was busted have run to the goal mouth to kick or head away the leaking ball? Sure. Instead, Abidal is standing around as though he’s waiting for a bus, Pique is hailing a taxi …. no, wait …. he’s hoping for an offside call on the play that was clearly onside.

And by the by, we can learn something from Mascherano. Take the foul. When Abidal lunged for that steal and missed it, leading to the second Hercules goal? Position your body so that if you don’t get the ball, you get the man. Foul his ass. Yes, you take a foul. Better than taking a goal.

There was no fight in the club today, which was even more appalling than the loss. Some would say can we really expect such things, this early in the season? Rosell has been calling into question everything about the previous regime, regime that encompasses every goddamned player on the pitch, and their coach. There were three new signings and a passel of departures, not all of them pleasant. There was the World Cup, the attendant vacations/late arrivals, then straight into the season and an early International break.

And meanwhile Hercules sits, watching us rack up frequent flyer miles, thinking “You know, they’re going to be tired, and we can beat them.” And so they did, with a display that deserves full credit. They defended like lions, took their chances when they came, and were stonewalled by an extraordinary Valdes performance between the sticks. They could have had a few more goals today. 2-0 is bad enough, but think how 5-0 would have been, eh?

A loss, no matter how many goals, still counts for three points. We weren’t top of table going into today’s match and we sure as hell won’t be tonight, no matter what EE does against Osasuna. Do early matches matter? Not really. If you’re going to cock one up, might as well do it early. We started the treble season with a loss and a draw, lest people start panicking.

I am much more concerned by the broader deficiencies that this match manifested in our club, which I will break down as simply as possible:

Villa can’t lead the line. People called me an ass when I said it the first time, and I stand by that statement. He just isn’t that kind of a striker, and he never will be. Without a grownup to create space for him, he’s ineffective.
Iniesta ain’t no Xavi. Will he ever be? Good question. I’d say yes, once he learns patience. He still thinks like an attacker, even when he’s playing creator.
Krkic ain’t no 9. Yes, he’s wearing the number, but you need a forward who can do something other than lose the ball every time he comes up against a defender.
Without Xavi, do we really have a midfield attack? We kept possession, but didn’t do anything with the ball.
We have no stylistic versatility. Against a club with only one real way to hurt us, why not play back a little bit more? What’s the harm? So the cules whistle derisively as our back line sits back more. Fugg ’em. We were caught up the pitch time and again by a club that counterattacked with increasing bravery.
We have no versatility in attack. Say what you will about Ibrahimovic, but you could knock the ball to his big ass, and have him do something with it. That option is gone. When Villa is the tallest man on your front line, you’re going to be facing some issues (and some ribcages of taller players).
Squad depth is going to be a problem. I mean real squad depth. You need somebody better than Krkic to bring in, and you need a Xavi surrogate, to keep the offense popping in the absence of our midfield maestro.
The psychology of this club is damaged. It seems that like many of its fans, it doesn’t know what to do in the face of adversity, so it panicks. Long balls, impossible passes and silly one-on-ones are not the way to break down a disciplined, energetic side.

Was this one of those matches in which the doors just came off? Sure, in part. But there are more International breaks coming up this season, as the interminable qualification process for Euros continues. Add friendlies to that, and the complexities aren’t going to be resolving themselves any time soon. We looked like a tired club out there, and there was nobody to bring us the energy or cutting incisiveness that creates goalscoring opportunities. And so, we lost. Further, brace yourselves, folks, as we’re going to lose some more this season, one that is going to be more competitive than a lot of pundits, fans or cules realize right now.

Why? Because the big teams are exhausted. Us and EE effectively sent every player that matters to the World Cup. Just back from that and it’s Euros already. This isn’t the case for the Atleticos and Sevillas (or Herculeses) of the world. This is where quality squad depth enters the picture. And we don’t have it.

Team: 1. Terrible, terrible display. No help for each other, no energy, no clue. You attack as a unit and defend as a unit. One-on-ones, such as Mascherano saw twice and others still even more, are signs of a tired club. Second match of the Liga is way too early to be showing that fatigue.

Guardiola: 1. You can’t play the match for them, but you can dictate how that match goes with the starting XI, which should have had more firepower. You took Hercules lightly. Shame on you. How do we know that, despite all your natterings, you took them lightly? Because you didn’t put our best squad out there. I’d rather see Dos Santos as playmaker than Iniesta. Yes. I said it.

Valdes: 7. Two got past you thanks to your defense, but every shot that you had a shot at, you stopped. Thanks for not allowing this to become truly shameful. Best keeper in the Liga? Good question. You keep making arguments in your favor.

Adriano: 6. You had a 7 going until that shameful dive. Just because you’re on the right side doesn’t mean you have to act like the incumbent. I loved your energy, effort and ability. The crosses were excellent, and you battle for loose balls like a champion, and it still surprises me how fast you are. You also played defense a lot better than the incumbent, who should perhaps be reconsidering his difficult negotiating posture. We have a viable replacement now, and are blooding another one in Dalmau.

Pique: 2. You had two great scoring chances that you screwed the pooch on. And you have to marshal your defense better than that. Yes, Valdes had the captain’s armband, but don’t kid yourself. You were too passive when your defense was falling apart, and positionally, you were struggling with that whole right place, right time business. Oh, and you can’t stand there and watch the guy take the shot that will kill you. Now do you understand how good Puyol is?

Abidal: 2. Don’t know why in the hell you were tired. It wasn’t like you had to play any Internationals. Lunging for balls that you should have run for cost your team. No, you don’t suck as much at CB as I’m sure that some will say, but your positional sense needs some work. And if you’re going to go for the steal, make it or foul the man to stop the attack. Your being out of position created an imbalance that led to the second goal.

Maxwell: 5. Solid in a crappy overall team effort, with fine attacking prowess. Your effort on the pass that should have resulted in a goal for Krkic, was remarkable.

Mascherano: 5. You were playing to a higher rating before Guardiola pulled you to protect you from that second yellow. The hustle and tenacity were there, and who said you can’t pass? Our team definitely lost something when you went out, and Hercules exploited it. Your positional sense is already strong, and you will get the hang of where to be in this side. And the attack won’t usually hang you out to dry like that.

Keita: 3. Sometimes you’re quietly effective, sometimes you’re just quiet. The usual pace and energy of this season were absent, making you a liability on the pitch, particularly when Mascherano went out, making you the DM. That position needs boundless, constant energy.

Iniesta: 2. Run the offense when that’s your job, as it was today. A directionless mass of people is calling for some organization, someone to set the tempo, hold and distribute the ball. Don’t play as quickly when you’re occupying that Xavi role. Take the time, make the right pass that won’t cede possession.

Messi: 2. You showed a bit of hustle, a lot of mediocrity and more than a little selfishness. Again, for the record, if you have four men on you, odds are that a teammate or two will be open. So pass. Now. And when you aren’t passing, move without the ball. Your unpredictability makes you dangerous. Sluggish Messi is way too easy to control. Thsi is your team. Lead by example. Hustle, get in people’s faces and put the hell out. Don’t just sulk around and make runs at the defense.

Villa: 2. I don’t care if you ever again do another backheel. To hell with the folks in the stands. Play effective, offensive football and put the damned ball in the back of the net. Like Pedro! used to, you were running around like a headless chicken, which is not what our offense needs. If you don’t make yourself available for the passes, how can you expect them to come your way?

Krkic: 0. We were playing with 10 men today. I know that we’re supposed to give you time, and be patient, blah, blah, blah. But the display was horrific today, when your club needed you. You got the number, so play like a “9,” not a boy playing dress-up. Just because you’re half the size of your predecessor in that number, doesn’t mean you have to play like it. Get good, or get gone. There was, as with Villa, no direction to your play. And you lost the ball against a defender every time. I counted exactly one good run from you, which is ridiculous.

Substitutes

Pedro (for Krkic): 4. You struck an early spark, but stop trying to play above your ability level. You aren’t going to be beating defenders in 1-v-1 situations, nor are you an effective crosser of the ball. You score goals. Make the moves and do the things that enable that. Speed of play is a good thing, playing too fast is a bad thing.

Xavi (for Mascherano): 4. We gained a little solidity when you entered, but you missed a couple of very good chances, one with a horrid shot, the other with a woeful touch in the box.

Alves (for Adriano): 2. You’re the starter, and are supposed to play better than the substitute. This just wasn’t the case today, as you left fellow defenders stranded, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and flat-out didn’t hustle as you usually do. Malaise is team-wide, it seems, but on man can also pull them out. You had the chance to be that man, and you blew it.

Well, we got this one out of our systems. Next up is Champions League play, against Panathanaikos. If you thought that Hercules were dangerous, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Let’s hope for a better display.


“I’m checking my e-mail, because you guys suck today!

By Kxevin

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.

170 comments

  1. FIRST loss of the season! It was gonna happen sometime

    Djokovich just hit himself 3 times with his racket.

    1. sad not to see a Nadal – Federer final, but all the credit to djokovich. he’s a great player when he plays well, and he was real gutsy to stay in the match against roger. especially at the point when he was down 15 – 40 with two match points in federer’s favor. honestly wanted to see nadal beat federer again in a big final though.

  2. kxevin thanx for this very explicit review.i don.t know if i will see the game tommorow.i have a question.if today our line up was valdez andriano pique fontas abidal mache iniesta dos santos messi villa pedro?let s put young motivated players now hungry to play

  3. Well, now that I actually read the review. Wow, Bojan did get a 0.

    I’m somehow finding it comical…weird.

  4. my friend liverpool fan i respect your team so much.but i am sure no barca fan will go to a liverpool,arsenal,united,milan,e.t.c blog if you lose in anfield by stoke..

  5. I mostly agree, except:

    Adriano – I think you rated him too high. He was working hard, but his crosses were terrible, he was off target almost every time. I give him a 5.

    Villa – A little too hard on him. He did his part getting the ball up the field, but the Hercules defense just refused to let him get in position to shoot. I give him a 4.

    Yes, the chickens. I blame the chickens.

    1. His crosses were terrible?!?!? Off target every time!!!!

      Watch again. Maybe I’m blind or crazy, but every damn one he put in during the first half was spot on.

      I must be crazy.

  6. We played shit, they played very well, it’s September, no biggie. Every time there’s a bad loss under Pep, he has them ready to play next game. It’s a good thing the CL game is in midweek, it’ll allow the stench from this game to dissipate quickly.

  7. Didn’t read it yet, but the ratings reflect my current feelings and seem quite fair (given my current emotions).

    I got some more HORRIFIC news for all Culés!

    Barca B got trashed 5-1 by Cartagena. Today’s gotta be the worst day (or at least most shockingly-unexpected) of the last 2 years.

    1. I blame Ibra! He was nowhere to be seen out there.. Shameful display from our no.9!! He’s a waste of money! He should be sh..wait, what? Oh..

  8. Didn’t see the game, but your review leaves me confused. How do you reconcile the idea that Villa was “flitting about on the wings somewhere” withthe conclusion that he is unable to lead the line? To me those are two very, very different things, and since you said both just a bit confused about where he was playing and how it went.

    1. “..confused about where he was playing and how it went…” exactly. you’ve described every man on the team. Except for Valdez.

    2. He started on the wing, then drifted toward the middle when it was clear that nothing was to come from Krkic. Then he was on the right, so who knows. I don’t think that “leading the line” is necessarily positional. I think that your striker leads the line. The problem was that we came at Hercules with two secondary strikers and a magical midfielder/striker who is making fame as a false 9.

  9. HAHAHAHAHAHA – from a Liverpool fan, who are you gonna try an poach now????? YOu will find for what Masch adds to a team, there is just as much (if not more) that he takes away. Especially when you are down to 10 a few times this season…..

    1. Hmm good question. I think Torres would do good here. Gerrards going to Madrid next season, So your teams gonna be pretty pathetic.

    2. ??? id be more concerned about your club being listed as a toxic asset than trolling barca blogs if i was you, but meh, to each his own…

    3. I’m a little confused by your post, Paul. You’re contradicting yourself, me thinks. By the “he takes more than he gives” statement, I’d guess you’re happy he’s off your hands, but then you say we “poached” him. What, does that mean you wanted him to stay?

      Which is it, Paul? Which is it?

  10. Kxevin i respect your views a lot, and i knw uve been sayinG villa cant lead the line ever since Spains first match against Switzerland.

    I dont agree with u entirely tbh. He can lead the line- just not very well against buses, but dats not really his fault, even eto’o struggled against buses but we all know he led the line lyk a lion.

    We as a club always will suffer from buses irrespective of the personnel up front. Ibra, Drogba, Torres, i even dare say Ronaldo yes El Phenom himself. Why?

    Because the mode of service will neva change.
    We either break buses with tiki-taka or we dnt break them at all which while admirable is jus plain naive IMHO.

  11. Good review as always, Kxevin. I feel your pain having to watch the whole match twice. I’ve just watched the first half again and that was enough. I agree with all your comments about the team and most of your ratings. However, I’m going to have to take disagree with both your rating and analysis of Iniesta’s performance today.

    I also thought he’d had a poor game when I watched it live. However, on a second watch ( of the first half only – I’m not that stupid ) some things struck me. If he was instructed to take the Xavi role he just plainly didn’t do it and deserves criticism. He played far too far up the park for that. The result of that was that he was harder to find with passes from others not as skilled as he and Xavi at threading balls through defenders.

    What is undeniable though is that his passing was absolutely flawless first half. He didn’t even lose possession once so I don’t understand your observations about him losing the ball unless it was second half which I haven’t rewatched. What he did do in the first half was fire in two beautiful dangerous balls into the area for Pique, several lovely long crossfield balls which were perfectly weighted , two of which found Adriano who fired in decent cross balls, and he was always available. He never stopped. I suspect Masch was playing a little too far forward which pushed him even further forward resulting in him not being in position to take the Xavi role of receiving the ball from the defence. The problem in that half was that we couldn’t get him on the ball enough for whatever reason.

    With regard to Masch I agree he had to take the second foul or we were in trouble but the first was unnecessary imo. It was caused by a poor Abidal challenge far too far up the pitch but while Masch was pulling the player back they were both running straight at Pique and Abidal’s speed had the situation covered even if he had pushed the ball past Pique.

    I think the main issue though was correctly summed up by the comment about starting with your best team. Still don’t understand Pep’s thinking there.

    1. Note, that I said “make the right pass that doesn’t cede possession.” I think that he is a higher-risk passer than Xavi. With risk often comes reward, but with our offense, with risk can also come the counterattack.

      I also think that much of the problem with the first half was that we didn’t have a playmaker. Was that Iniesta’s job? It’s hard to see who else’s job it should have been, in a midfield with he, Keita and Mascherano.

      Who, speaking of, was yo-yo ing up and back, trying to learn on the fly where to play for us. I think he’s going to be a monster addition. I do think Pique would have been screwed on that first professional foul.

    2. None of his passes in the first half at least did cede possession but I agree with your point that by nature he takes more chances in his passing than Xavi does. That comes from playing in a more advanced role. Passes there should take more chances otherwise we get nowhere. That’s why they are dynamite together in the midfield. They both know that the other is the most likely person apart from themselves to set up something so find each other with the ball so often. This is my worry for the season. My midfield if all are available would always be Busi, Xavi and Iniesta. Our problems this season with the third forward position could end up unsettling the best part of our team.

      I’m just not sure that Pep didn’t ask Masch to operate a little further forward as he wasn’t expecting much opposition. We’ve all seen Iniesta play the Xavi role further back and it didn’t look to me yesterday as if that’s what he was trying to do. Still quite upset at Pep. There was no need to disrupt our setup yesterday. (I’m not getting at Masch by the way. He played well – its just that he will take time to get used to how we do the DM position and it would have been useful for him to have a look at Busi who has picked it up well. )

  12. Hope that result sobers some people up, we are not invincible and 11 good players doesn’t make a good team.

    The last two seasons came from hard work and a continuously high level of play. There are no gimmes and if the squad goes out and play like that they get what they deserve.

    That said, its the 2nd game of the season. Lets see how they react to this loss in the next few weeks and if they can get it together this season.

  13. Kxevin i think you are being too hard on Pedro. He is skillful enough to beat people one on one and actually looked more like scoring than anybody else. His crossing is also way more accurate than anything coming from our right flank, and im also talking about last season where alves offered nothing to ibra.

    1. Respectfully disagree. When Pedro! takes on defenders, he only rarely beats them. Usually, they wind up forcing him toward the end line, where he either wins a corner or loses the ball.

      Nobody really looked like scoring, unfortunately. Today was just one of those matches. On the up side, we can’t possibly look any worse.

  14. Well damn my weekend got even worse.Roger had it in his hands 🙁 , now novak will run out of gas in the final and nadal will win.Fml.

  15. Just watching Arsenal now after my Federer disappointment as well as earlier and what do ya know . . . . . Fabregas is playing a storm 🙁

    1. Though Barca lost, Arsenal has won their last three, and this one is the kind of game they would have drawn last season (nobody would have scored Chamakh’s goal for damn sure). Even more shocking, Philly Union won against a Chicago Fire that looked to have a worse defense than, well, that of the Union. I believe that’s a six game winless streak that broke. All in all, it was a good day.

      Barca loses so seldom that I can just about laugh. But I daresay, as Kxevin says, there will be more losses. If this isn’t the beginning (or the early middle) of our come-down from the great 08-09 team, I don’t know what is.

  16. As for Liverpool fans coming here and crowing about us losing and the Mascherano deal, show some class. Just a little. The player wanted to leave, and he wanted to come to Barca. It was a family decision. Respect a player’s right to make a decision that is best for his family. If the club made that player a promise, the player has every right to expect that promise to be kept.

    I will never, ever understand the desire of fans of one club to visit another club’s space to shout silliness.

    1. Liverpool supporters will show class and respect if Bacelona players like Xavi and Villa can show class by keeping their mouth shut and not talk on behalf of their Spanish team mates about where they should be playing! The hell with respect with a classless team!

    2. Clearly, you don’t read Sid Lowe and other intelligent members of the BritPress, who disgustedly report that 99% of all comments you see from Barca players are made up. Not that such knowledge will make anyone’s dudgeon any less high. So have fun with that.

    3. “I will never, ever understand the desire of fans of one club to visit another club’s space to shout silliness.”

      ?? And yet you comment on Real Madrid’s Offside blog. Maybe nothing as unnecessary or stupid as a Liverpool fan gloating Barcelona’s loss. But teasing and baiting none the less.

    4. No. You see respectful commentary. Always. And you know that is true. If you think otherwise, go and find the comments, and paste them here. I won’t hold my breath.

      Because I understand how pointlessly dimwitted such endeavors are. Further, just as you would like someone to behave in your space is how you should comport yourself in theirs.

      So until and unless you are prepared to support your assertions, I’m finished with this conversation.

    5. Even though you’re comments are not childish insults they are still aimed at teasing Real Madrid fans. I see it the same as the Liverpool fan coming here and teasing Barcelona.

      I don’t care really, it just surprised me you would say that you don’t understand fans of other teams coming here when you go to Real Madrid’s blog. Even if what you say isn’t malicious or isn’t ‘silliness’, it has the same intent at heart.

      Also, if anyone would wonder, Henry got his second goal yesterday for the Red Bulls.

  17. And as I note above, we started the season of the treble with a loss and a draw, if memory serves me correctly. We have the best club in the world, but even the best club will have some hiccoughs. Better now than when it matters.

    1. I only wish it were something Guardiola learned from, but unfortunately he continues to make these mistakes. Take our Copa del Rey exit last season as an example.

  18. Not to come in to rub in everyone’s face.. but how do you like Bojan now? With Bojan on the pitch assume you’ve lost two players. Defense can ignore him since they know he can’t handle pressure, and focus on sticking 3-4 defenders on Messi.
    Guardiola should’ve gotten a 0, its this early and the season and you are ‘saving’ players?? If Messi was fit to start, why wasnt Milito? or Xavi? Please explain that to me. You don’t underestimate teams, its insulting to the other team, who (like hercules) is going to prove you wrong.
    finally, can someone please explain to me WHY would Pedro attempt the SAME cross 5 times until he realized we have the SHORTEST team around, and those crosses aren’t going to work?? Please explain.

    1. Puyol was also fit to play. I think that he’s taking this first Champions League match very seriously, and would rather go at that with his best lineup. Spot on about Krkic, unfortunately. But he has an entire season to prove us wrong.

      I think Guardiola took a calculated risk, that didn’t pay off. It happens.

  19. And off-topic, Djokovic can’t beat the monkey. But I’m not sure that Federer can either. He just can’t seem to close out matches the way he could even a year ago. The men’s game is so Darwinian.

    1. Apologies. But the grunting, sleeveless shirts, wedgie fixing and general simian-ness, brings nothing else to mind.

  20. Dammit, Kxevin! As a serious writer, who prides himself on his writing, who tries to make a career out of writing, I HATE to have to say it again, but…

    I could not have said it better myself!

    Humbug!

    1. Thanks, Alexinho. We try. Man, how we try. It’s the expectations of the group that keep us on our toes, though I fear we will all have to work a very, very long time to top SoMa’s last post.

  21. Well that was a depressing evening! On the bright side I got my copy of Halo Reach 3 days before the official release date(thank you very much Amazon UK) so i can use that as a distraction till Tuesday 🙂

    Btw, what was up with the pitch today? It felt almost like an away game the way the ball was bobbling all over the place out there. WTF!?!? First home game of the season you would think the pitch would be in perfect condition! I cannot remember the last time I saw the Camp Nou pitch like that. Not using it as an excuse or anything because we were horsecrap out there tonight, but still… WTF!!

  22. Surprised to hear about the loss tbh, a similar thing happened to Juve against Bari (although Bari are a better team). I just have a quick question to the Cules here, How did Trezeguet play? Was he unsettling the Barca defence or was it mostly Valdez that did that? FORZA JUVE!!!
    ps Yago Falque appears to be unable to step it up to the senior level. He’s great in the youth division but rubbish with the A team. He’s at Villareal B now I think

    1. Trezeguet wasn’t bad but he did miss a very easy shot on goal in the second-half. Which I’m very happy about.

    2. Trezeguez worked hard, but didn’t threaten the Barça defense much until his golden opportunity near the end of the game. He didn’t get to touch the ball enough to do much damage.

      I knew Falque wasn’t going to cut it for you guys because he couldn’t cut it for me in Football Manager haha.

  23. great review! imo valdes and masch were good. poor masch, people are going to frown on that yellow and this debut… but i thought he put the most effort into the match.

    and yes, pique and the rest of the defense — take a lesson from puyi!

  24. In other news, Milan went down 0-2 to Cesena, and a certain lanky Swede missed a penalty kick.

    So, you know, there’s that.

  25. What goes around – Comes around I think is the saying no? Barcelona Fans – You WANTED Mascherano – You GOT Mascherano (After indulging in a few underhanded tricks STRAIGHT from the book of Fiorentino Perez and the Bernabeu ‘Tap-Up’ Squad) – What you DIDN’T get was this – A warning that you SHOULD Have got and that? Is the fact that When Masch’ plays for you? Your team changes – without an Alonso style player alongside him? He is USELESS as we found out more than once last season with Lucas beside him – He’s OK with someone like Aquilani or Iniesta there but to make him TRULY exceptional? You HAVE to use a deep-lying playmaker ala Alonso or Xavi – Don’t? And he ends up negated, frustrated, (often) sent-off and peripheral to the game he’s in.

    BTW to the IDIOT who was bragging re the departure of Torres and Gerrard – Firstly, Torres has a HUGE contract with us which means he WILL cost Many, many Millions – NOT the sort of purchase, a broke outfit like Barca’ can even THINK of funding after their recent extravagences – Secondly? Gerrard is a one-club man, he’s a born Liverpool player, he’s PLAYED for Liverpool ALL his career And? He WILL end as a Liverpool player just as Carles Puyol will with yourselves, Alessandro Del Piero is at Juventus, Bryan Robson was at United, etc, etc. Gerrard will NEVER move – Liverpool is in his blood and he’s won EVERYTHING he can win with us barring just ONE particular trophy. Same as Jamie Carragher.

    So dream on Barcelona fans, Dream on, with regards to the treasures you WANT from us and cherish the one you HAVE from us – It’s the LAST thing you’ll get from us for a VERY long time………….

    PS Isn’t it ironic? THE perfect partner for Mascherano? Now sits at the heart of your BIGGEST rivals midfield in Madrid. The ONE man who WOULD work like clockwork with Mascha’ and give you THE midfield to fear in Europe? The one Liverpool had 2 seasons ago which DESTROYED the club he’s now at in Europe and everything else we played against most of that year to – That man?

    Why, he Is Xabi Alonso – Maybe not as good as Xavi but a FAR better partner for Mascherano as they KNOW one another – They played together for us for 3 whole seasons and would STILL be the best midfield partnership in World Football if they weren’t suspectible to money as they have BOTH proven in successive summers. Spain may have taken THE jewels of the Anfield midfield in those two but whoever planned it? Did so WRONG – they SHOULD have both of them at ONE club, NOT on opposing sides.

    PPS: DON’T come out with that “Unhappy Xabi” rubbish please/Wife couldn’t settle trash etc. He WASN’T unhappy when he took us to the 2007 European Cup Final WAS HE? He didn’t mind when we finished 2009 Premier League Runners Up no? He was ONLY unhappy last season for ONE reason and one reason only – He’s a selfish-money orientated footballer who cares ONLY to play where success isn’t EARNED but a right – Well, that or his Agent sensed a big pay-day.

    Actually? Regarding Agents and knowing the pieces of carrion THEY are with clubs in distress as Liverpool have been? I’d probably put my money on the latter. But Masch’ did NOT move because of his emotional situation OR Well-being. (He REFUSED To play to FORCE a Move for God’s Sake!) His happiness or otherwise? Had Nothing to do with this move, NOTHING at all…………………..

    1. Well, we all see situations from our club affiliations. To you, players leave the warm bosom of Liverpool for nefarious reasons. To me, it pretty much doesn’t matter why they leave.

      Players want money, trophies and happiness, believing that the third of that trio will arrive simultaneously with the first two. Sometimes it does, other times it doesn’t. All that we supporters have to go on are the blandishments they offer us through the various stories that surface about motivataions.

      I appreciate that you’re a fervent Liverpool supporter, as I am sure you appreciate that we are fervent Barca supporters. And that’s that.

    2. “without an Alonso style player alongside him? He is USELESS” LOL

      I dont comment on EPL whiners, but I find this note hilarious. At Barcelona, Valdes can do a Xabi (passing) while the rest of outfield players are better. So have no fear, in case you are worried.

    3. I couldn’t bear reading most of that post because of the ridiculous capitalization, but your “one-club-man” Gerrard is not as loyal as you make it seem. He was but hours away from leaving a few years ago, even putting in a transfer request. So, yeah.

  26. oh enough with that EPL fans.this is a joke.look to your teams and live us alone.good luck to all of you.

  27. Disappointing. I wish Hercules would sign Weligton and then we could have all of our problems sorted: Hercules, Espanyol, Patetico, and EE. Looking forward to Tuesday.

  28. i am watching the game now.what we need is motivation,passion,hungry for win.and i believe players like abidal,keita,alvez will be very difficult to stay focus this season.bojan must go.sorry but that.s it.sell him next summer.the kid will always be a kid.and pep when you lose a tall striker buy another like liorente from bilbao..oh and without xavi we are without a creative midfieldes.old news.pep bring the boys from barca b and stop the risks.

  29. oh and sorry for that but what keita is?a d.m?a creative mid?what?adriano is not he a left back?what.s pep think?with a normal squad that was an easy game.pique milito,adriano left,alvez right,iniesta,mache,busi mid,pedro,villa,messi

  30. ok i was a little angry before..bad things happens!i hope the boys make us proud again tuesday and with a big win in calderon!

  31. As much as I enjoyed the CAPS from Liverpool FANS, it PALES in comparison to your SUGGESTION that Liverpool had the best MIDFIELD in the world at ANY point during the last FIVE years. This is very FUNNY to a Barca supporter, I’m sure you know WHY.

  32. Ok Ahsan – WHOever you are (NOT a Barca’ Supporter methinks) Maybe “Joint 1st or 2nd only just) but if you don’t believe me? Watch some videos of the Alonso – Mascherano combination in tandem for Liverpool ESPECIALLY in 2008/2009. THEN you’ll see what I mean – As a Central Midfield pair? Those two had NO equals in their time at Liverpool. Also what happened when we played Barcelona with them in the middle at Camp Nou? Still think it’s funny? Only ONE club has beaten you from England in the Camp (TWICE). Guess who? And guess WHO the Two Central Midfielders were the Second time we did it in 2007? I Think you’ll find their names rather familiar………………….

  33. I really don’t know…I mean, we kind of would have faced this kind of defeat at some point in the season. Last season we lost to Kazan at home 2-1, when we faced a team organized with two lines and doubling up on the wing, which led to Guardiola to play Messi as a enganche and we didn’t care anymore.
    This season it happened in the second game so we now have plenty of time to readjust.

    On the other hand, in order to readjust we would need the players and the squad lacks depth and variation.

    So on one hand it’s good that we came back to earth pretty early. On the other hand, what can we do about it?

    Btw. I thought Adriano was horrendous. He almost gifted Valdez the 2-0 in the first half too. And say whatever you want about Alves crosses, but even if they don’t hit, they create second chance opportunities, because he crosses early and gives the defense problems to readjust. With Adriano crossing not that early and often, it’s much easier for the defense to readjust.

    Can we get Batistuta’s body? Dead or alive?

    1. Adriano has to cross and pass the ball faster at times, but I think he was quite good yesterday. He actually fought hard and worked hard to get up and down the wing. His passing/crossing will get quicker the more he adjusts.

      I hope we crush Pana on Tuesday, but I would be elated if we were to somehow win against Atleti at the Calderon.

  34. I was at a conference all day long, but I followed the game on my phone.

    The result has given me a nonspecific feeling of depression. Ugh.

    1. It happens. They come, and they go. People love to see the mighty topple. It’s one of the joys of sport.

  35. I’m not that upset by the loss, because this is football, and that happens. But I am disappointed because I was looking forward to watching some beautiful football, and I didn’t get that. I got a hot, sticky, ugly mess. With holes in it. As consolation, I offer a link to one of my favourite Xavi videos on youtube. It’s lovely, and the song is nice, too:

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sjmEfM1c88

    1. “I didn’t get that. I got a hot, sticky, ugly mess. With holes in it.”

      I’m so bummed out by today’s loss that I can’t even make something out of this.

  36. Simon Worden, I’m sure you’re a nice guy in real life, but I just don’t see the point your comments. This is a Barcelona blog, so your assertions that you had the best midfield and beat us once some 3 years ago doesn’t have any value here. Sorry.

    I get that you’re pissed at the way Mascherano left, but with a due respect, that really has nothing to do with us. Mascherano brought down his own price and Liverpool didn’t have much leverage. We came in to buy a want-away player for a reduced price. Nothing personal, just business. Every club does it.

    We have no interest in Gerrard. Period. You’re thinking of The Other Spanish club.

    I get there’s this whole “Hate On Barca Because They’re So Successful and Do It In a Way We Can Only Dream Of” smear campaign going on in England, especially with the tabloids, and I get you don’t bother looking at the sources of where these fake quotes–yes, they are in fact fake. Do you really believe these people would spend their precious vacation time talking to third rate English papers like the Daily Star or the Sun, while not saying a peep to Spanish ones? Really? Rock on.—but this is trolling on an fan blog is just sad.

    As much as you’d like to believe, we don’t actually have weekly meetings with Sandro Rosell, Antoni Zubizaretta, Pep, or any other Barca affiliated person.

    Now that you’ve got what ever you have to say off your chest, I respectfully ask you to please either be more respectful or leave. We have a brilliant blog here, and I wouldn’t want trollers ruining the peace we have here. Arsenal fans have already come and we’ve said the same thing.

    1. This little slew of Liverpool invaders has given me a new appreciation for the Arsenal trolls that we got though. Miles ahead, those Gunners are. Say what you want (and much has been said, jeje), but the Gunners had a coherent message, an healthy dose of righteous indignation, and hit their main points (“classlessness”, for example) consistently!

  37. Hey guys am I the only one who have been impressed by the standard of La LIga teams this year domestically. I have finally started to watch all La liga games from Barca to Levante games and I have to say this season I have seen more teams playing aggressive and brilliant.

    I personally have high hopes for both Valencia and Atl. Madrid this season, I really think they can hold their own against the big 2 now(although on our day we can destroy any team)

    Wth us playing them twice, the reality is that they can both get a fluke win or draw against us and EE giving them an actually outside chance of winning the league if they stay consistent throughout.

    1. As a barca fan and yes this might sound kinda gloomy since of 2days result but if we where to lose the league for whatever reason I would love to see Valenica or Patetico win it @ our expense, sounds kinda harsh I know but as a fan of football 1st and foremost this is a fair scenario.

  38. didn’t see the game, but i’m still upset that Ibra left and having Bojan apparently disappear doesn’t make me feel any better. do we have any real strikers on the team? aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! frustration!!!!

  39. ugh after today’s match, though I have no doubt they will take today’s lesson and turn it around, really focuses what has been a nagging worry for me, squad depth. So yes maybe our boys were tired from the International break, but there’s champion’s this week. In this tight of La Liga race, which I have no doubt it will be, I anticipate just as tight of a race as last year. Every point counts. Don’t doubt the talent, but do we have the squad to take us through an entire season? I really do hope I eat crow at the end of this season. Nothing would make me happier.

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