Athletic Bilbao 1, Barca 3, aka “Magisterial!”

It’s appropriate that this review and attached video highlight should begin with the Bilbao red card, because that moment changed the match.

Interestingly, the non-thinking footy fan snarls and says that the ref handed us the match with that red card to Amorebieta for Iniestabuse.

The thinking fan, however, realizes that the ref in fact gave Bilbao a lifeline and a road to a point in their house. They didn’t get it because of a team putting its foot down and playing like the best club team in the world.

When Bilbao strode onto the pitch of their Fortress San Mames, it was with the intention of playing football, and taking points from the defending Liga champions. And we took advantage of that bravado, creating chance after chance, near miss after near miss from our lineup of Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Adriano, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro! and Villa. Keita put one at the keeper that was beautifully dealt with, and somehow, amazingly, Villa hit the post after being put in with an exquisite, millimeter-perfect ball from Iniesta.

Then came the card, and up rolled the bus. You could see how it went from Bilbao rolling forward into our end with 4 or 5 players, to no players except for a hopeful forward, looking for a counter opportunity or bad pass. Handing us the match? Hardly. No team plays well against a bus.

Nonetheless, this was a pretty easy match folks, and one that was relatively drama-free. Experiencing it during the LiveBlog can often skew perspective. Time of possession was 77-23, corners were 8-1, shots were 25-11, score was 3-1. It was that kind of match, one in which everyone wondered what would happen. We were without the best player on the planet, Lionel Messi, who was still recovering from the foul-induced injury that made Antonio Lahoz so quick to show red after the challenge on Iniesta. It was a big match in a tough stadium, on a weekend during which giants were falling like rotted redwoods. Bayern to Mainz, Arsenal to West Brom, Chelsea to Citeh, EE held by Levante, Inter to Roma.

We stuck out our chests, played exactly the match that was laid out by Guardiola, and easily took the three points. As Guardiola said, we neutralized their height, in the attacking presence of Llorente. Really, they were only going to score against us via busted play (they did) counter attack or set piece. This meant that the premium was on disciplined, positional football that took away space and angles, rather than going after the ball with challenges that yielded free kicks and potential corners. So we attacked them with position defense and pressure, never allowing any of their attackers any comfort on the ball. Usually, one of us would arrive at the same time as the ball. More often than not, two would arrive, taking station in a way that funnelled their attacks into the maw of our possession game. The defense would take the wayward pass, feed to Busquets or Keita, and off we went into their end of the pitch.

The intelligence of this team was on full display, in a match that might be the purest reflection of its coach. It was all passing, movement and pressure to create space for more passing, movement and pressure. Our defenders were invariably where the ball was going to be because of the inexorable logic of the attack. So a player gets the ball, our defenders note where the nearest available opposition teammate is, and just cut off that route as another defender rolls in to harass the player with the ball. It sounds so simple, but it requires a work rate that is off the charts. Hats off to Guardiola for making a team that has won everything play like one with everything to prove, almost from top to bottom. It was, in many ways, illustrative that the worst players on the pitch were the newcomers, Villa and Adriano, who don’t yet understand. They haven’t been assimilated into the system yet, but they will be.

And I’m not that big a fan of tactics, because as with battle plans, once the first bullet is fired, they usually go to hell. But Guardiola, anticipating that they would try to cut off the head (Xavi) so that the beast could die, decided to make Keita the shadow. As he and Xavi moved around as if on a tether, usually the way that Xavi does with Iniesta, this did a number of things:

–It gave Keita the ball in dangerous positions, we saw as he should have, could have had 2 assists this afternoon.
–It gave Keita the cut-and-attack option, which we saw in his goal as he took the pass and finished.
–It gave Iniesta freedom, and he proceeded to raise hell.
–It allowed Xavi to play a bit farther back to survey more of the field, and use Keita as a safety valve as he moved forward into the attack, leaving Keita as the distibutor.

What you saw was a team that effectively didn’t know who to chase or foul, so they just chased the ball, like dogs in a park. But because the ball moves faster than players, that approach was doomed to failure. So when Bilbao rushed at Xavi, he slotted the pass to an on-the-move Keita, who was only a curled shot away from making it 1-0 very early. Villa slid neatly into the box and Iniesta curled a ball around two defenders right into Villa’s feet. That he amazingly hit the post was almost as remarkable as the pass, a pass that came about through rapid movement of players and ball.

So Bilbao saw red, and began to play defense. Things were looking pretty stultifying in the muddy, rain-soaked morass of the San Mames until suddenly, Iniesta to Villa to Keita found the back of the net, in a play that would have shredded a defense with 12 men. It wasn’t just the movement, but the pace of the passing. The pass to Iniesta was hard, the pass to Villa harder and the one-touched ball to Keita absolutely flawless, so that all Keita had to do was roll it into the empty net, empty because Keita and the ball arrived so quickly that the only option was to try to snag the ball before the shot, an impossible task.

Eduard Omedes/El Mundo Deportivo

The second goal was simple brilliance, as Xavi just decided there was an opening for a shot, and smacked a ball that took an ever-so-slight deflection off a Bilbao player and past the keeper. At 2-0, the match should have been done and dusted. From then on, it was a simple matter of playing man-up possession football. Then David Villa had to go and take umbrage with a bit of on-the-ball roughhousing, throw a punch and get a straight red, only his second direct red of his professional career. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now this was potentially a match-changing red card, because Bilbao went from a side with no hope, to one who could scramble and, in the 8 or 9 minutes left, maybe even salvage a draw.

And they attacked. Valdes stopped a header on a play borne of our defensive uncertainty and Bilbao’s aggression, buoyed by 40,000 screaming mouths in their stadium. But the ball caroms to a Bilbao attacker, who puts in the square ball for a 1-2 match. Heads that were drooping were lifted, eyes that bore the sullen opaqueness of the defeated sparked into life, as they charged.

Then we killed ’em once and for all as we stopped an attack, and an alert Keita one-timed a brilliant, cross-pitch pass to a streaking Pedro!, who did exactly what he was supposed to do and found an onside Busquets, who finished into the roof of the net, and finished Bilbao once and for all. It was, like the first goal, a piece of quality with its roots in movement. Pedro! saw what Keita was thinking and began his run even before Huh? What? got the ball. He was running into acres and acres of space, and a lesser player would have run at the defense and the keeper, thinking “I can do this, dammit!” P! opted for simple perfection, and the sure thing. And that was that.

In consecutive weekends we have taken full points at two places in which we have most recently seen frustration: the Calderon and San Mames, in both instances from full-strength sides determined to rub salt in our wounds. And the club isn’t playing at anything like its potential yet. So stay tuned.

Team: 10. This is a match that almost forces you to reevaluate a scoring system, maybe going for an 11 or something. Team victory, team dominance, attack and defense in layers. Spectacular.

Guardiola: 10. From tactics to timing of the substitutions, he was hard to fault today. As soon as the match was without a doubt, off came Xaviniesta. How was he to know that Villa would screw it up?

Valdes: 7. He didn’t have a lot to do, and mostly did it well. I’d accuse him of resting on his laurels as he palmed away that header, rather than getting ready for the next shot. He almost made it, though his cleats didn’t have a chance in that mud at the goal mouth, churned up by our first-half assault at that end.

Alves: 8. His defensive skills are continually underrated, much to the club’s benefit as he made some stellar defensive plays today. And why teams keep giving him so much room in which to operate is beyond me.

Pique: 9. He wasn’t perfect today. There were some wayward passes, and I’m not convinced that he did all that he could to keep that ball out of the net. I might have marked that loose man more tightly. But still, what a whopper of a match from a guy who Ferguson must watch highlights of, and throw stuff. He defends, brings the ball up, crashes their box, helps with possession in midfield and goes out for snacks. He’s Gerard Pique.

Puyol: 7. Very strong match from our captain, though he was much outshone by his central defense partner. His positioning and charging up the pitch to start attacks helped to unsettle Bilbao, who were waiting for the defenders to simply dump the ball to Xavi, lord knows why.

Adriano: 3. A few solid plays, but he lost almost every ball that came near him today, showed signs of not being fit and was a general mess.

Busquets: 10. An astounding match from a player who was everywhere, from box to box, passing, tackling, heading balls away and battling for possession like a demon. He always seems to be two steps ahead of play.

Keita: 10. That first, crucial goal, countless runs that were rarely rewarded with the pass and a series of great passes that deserved better finishing were the hallmarks of his Man of the Match effort today.

Xavi: 8. A very good match for the brains of the operation, with his usual precision passing and elegant movement. The goal from distance was a benefit. Another contender for MOTM.

Iniesta: 9. The only thing keeping him from perfection is the echo from my shrieked “Shoot, Ghostface! Shoot!” still bouncing around the house. He’s unselfish to a fault, but his passing, movement and control were superhuman. He gutted Bilbao with pass after pass, as Xavi moved back a bit in the first half.

Pedro!: 7. Damn, what a stat-stuffing match. It’s hard, sometimes, on the little Web stream to understand when a player who doesn’t score a goal nonetheless kicks out the jams. But on the big TV, P! was easy to find: Just look for the guy moving faster than anyone else on the pitch. He played defense, made passes and jerked their defense around like marionettes, creating space for Villa to exploit.

Villa: 1. He was an inch-perfect assist away from a zero. Chance after chance blown, a goal that I still don’t know how he didn’t score, walking when he should have been running, runs not made all topped off by a stupid, stupid straight red that will probably deprive us of his services for two matches. Nice work.

Substitutes

Maxwell (for Adriano): 7. He came in and put his world on lockdown, understanding that his usual marauding runs on the left side needed to be done away with, in favor of exceptional position defense and midfield help.

Thiago (for Iniesta): 5. He looked much better when we were possessing the match away, than when Bilbao got its feathers up and started attacking. That was where we missed the iron-clad control of a player such as Xavi. But man, is this dude’s future bright.

Krkic (for Xavi): 3. Ran around, looked cute, didn’t really do very much.

So. Next up is Mallorca, a match that is (thankfully) at home, since we will be Villa-less for it. We will also be Messi-less for it, and coming off of a midweek Champions League away leg to Rubin Kazan. Who said that greatness was easy?


A hard day at the office! Eduard Omedes/El Mundo Deportivo

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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.

122 Comments

  1. Bill
    September 26, 2010

    I have a pet peeve against players who give their team ultimatums, lik e Gerrard and Torres at liverpool. What do they mean when they say “if this team doesn’t win anything this year, I may move?” Who is “THIS TEAM”. Isn’t that supposed to be you? Doesn’t it just mean that you are part of the problem if they aren’t winning? For example, if Gerrard and Torres had stayed fit and sharp for the last one year, would the team have been in such dire conditions?

  2. Bill
    September 26, 2010

    Wow! Virtually all the big clubs in europe fell this weekend, besides us ;))

  3. Shaun
    September 26, 2010

    Hey guys, been away for a while.

    Great review, as always, Kxevin. Great game in the Mamés, too, it feels good to go there and grab a win even without Messi. It should lay rest to the ‘Messi-dependencia‘ theory.

    For me, Keita was Man of the Match. When I watch him play, the word “omnipresent” comes to mind. Except yesterday, he was much more noticeable.
    And as for Villa, what a stupid red card. Yeah, he was clearly frustrated, but you can’t react like that, and if you do, you know chances are the player is gonna go down like his face caught a bullet. Athletic have that reputation, too. He’ll be fine.

    Cheers all.

  4. September 26, 2010

    Kxevin writes in his preview: “He was an inch-perfect assist away from a zero. Chance after chance blown, a goal that I still don’t know how he didn’t score, walking when he should have been running, runs not made all topped off by a stupid, stupid straight red that will probably deprive us of his services for two matches. Nice work.”

    That was followed by a character he typed: the number “1”.

    Now everyone forget the whole paragraph and discuss the one :D.

    More?

    Last season, Some were saying when others were trying to explain Ibra’s impact in the selection: “Bullshit! the goalscorer role is to score! He wasted chance after chance! He caused no threat in front of the goal! He is shit”

    Those same some say now, Commoon silly! Strikers role is not just about scoring!

    Then those same same some accuse Kevin for having double standards.

    I say lets rest that case. People who last season were saying we should have bought Villa instead of Ibra can in worst scenario say we should have kept Eto’o in the first place(as this is the only argument that no one can prove wrong anymore unless we go back in time and change things).

    Those who think that Ibra was the best option because -if we put scoring goals aside- he can add more to the team than the bunch of skillful talented identical-s need to just forget about it as it is just crying on spoiled milk. Barcelona’s coach was not capable to enrich the system in that direction (that’s if we want to believe all what we read AFTER the transfer and forget what was said BEFORE it by all parties). Anyone was tempted to change Pep instead of selling ibra? Not me. So it was a sacrifice that worth going for. Done and dusted. New chapter.

    Last season it was so annoying to repetitively read about eto’o and Ibra, now its Eto’o, Ibra, and Villa. Just stop this annoying snowball from getting bigger and bigger crushing any opportunity for calm analysis for the CURRENT situation.

    When someone talk about Villa, let it be about Villa. If someone dont like it, make a respond on the first comment by talking about Villa.

    Let the talks about Ibra aim to learn lessons rather than “I told you so”. If it make anyone feel better to know he/ she was right from the beginning, I sign a confession (that I am not convinced about but dont mind signing it).

    Turn the page, and look forward to the future.

    • Bill
      September 26, 2010

      It’s amazing to me how Ramzi keeps on insisting that he’s done with discussing the players of the past…only to come back and launch into a discussion of the players of the past…and then he re-assures us that he is done discussing players of the past…

      • September 26, 2010

        Thats how you understood the paragraph? Cute…

      • September 27, 2010

        Ramzi, and you still see Ibra haters as rational people?

  5. Lev
    September 26, 2010

    @Kxevin
    I never felt you judge Villa based on Ibra – as you very eloquently explained, they are two very different players, and they both have positive and negative attributes.

    Apart from his STUPID red card, the thing that has been most missing from Villa is scoring more. As it is he has scored 3 out of 7 and missed a whole lot of chances.

    There are two criticisms on Villa that I do not quite agree with.

    One is that you say he fails to make the right runs. Sure this is true sometimes, yet I do not feel it is quite fair because on the contrary he gets open / creates chances on a very consistent basis. This was the case both yesterday and against Atletico Madrid where he played a big part in a very dangerous offense, and against Sporting Gijon, a pedestrian affair in which almost the only player who put himself in threatening positions (and so scored the winner) was no 7.

    Nor do I think he is lazy. I think it is great that Pedro busts his gut for 90 minutes, but not every player will be effective that way. One of the greatest who ever played for Barça was Romario and he ran only when he wanted to which was about 1.5 times per game, usually resulting in a goal, lol (I shudder to think of the ratings you would give Mr. De Souza Faria, who as I witnessed from the stadium was absolute garbage on days he did not score). It is kind of unfair imo when Villa is being treated as lazy when the person he is effectively replacing was shown to run less than Victor Valdes.

    Just to be clear I don’t believe you gave Ibra a free pass, though I understand why you understood my comment as such. I do believe that in general you appreciated his positives more and his negatives bothered you less. Fair enough, I feel the same about Villa but the other way round. For example it doesn’t bother me the least that he does not defend set pieces or does not drop back to provide link up play. Whereas I do agree that we sometimes miss a no 9 who can play with his back to the goal. It did bother me greatly that we had a striker who tried to ninja-heel crosses into the goal in a CL semifinal instead of heading the ball, who at times acted as if the world (and our team) had to revolve around him. That is not to say we don’t miss Ibra, it is a big problem that he left, especially without adequate replacement, but I would rather have Villa than Ibrahimovich.

    Anyway I’m sure we are united in hoping that el Guaje will convert more of his chances and thus will receive higher ratings from esteemed reviewer.

    Btw could not agree more that it would be stupid to rush Messi back from injury. It is already bad enough that AFA is sending him to Japan shortly, let’s not make matters worse. We coped without Messi (and Ibra) for a stretch last season, we have enough quality in our team to cope again.

    • Lev
      September 26, 2010

      “When someone talk about Villa, let it be about Villa. If someone dont like it, make a respond on the first comment by talking about Villa. ” sorry Ramzi I sent my comment before reading yours, lol

    • Kxevin
      September 26, 2010

      Nothing is ever “always,” Lev. Villa doesn’t make runs that he should. Obviously he does other times, because he gets into position to score. Frankly, I wonder if it isn’t a fitness issue.

      Oh, and see above for some discouraging words about Ibrahimovic, courtesy of Bill. I’d also suggest the passage:

      “It did bother me greatly that we had a striker who tried to ninja-heel crosses into the goal in a CL semifinal instead of heading the ball, who at times acted as if the world (and our team) had to revolve around him.”

      For me, we knew when we bought the dude that he wasn’t going to do stuff an ordinary way. And I don’t care if a striker is such a flaming asshole that he sets the curtains alight when he farts, as long as he does his job and works within the team. When he does that, he gets a high rating. If Romario were to run two meters, then put the ball in the net, rock on.

      I apply the same standards to all. It used to bother me a lot that others didn’t see that, but now I understand that usually, it’s impossible for people to see that. No insult or disrespect intended, but when you like a player and what he does, discouraging words are hard to hear. When Messi gets low ratings, for example, I’m usually the Wicked Witch of the West. I’m okay with that, as long as people understand why I gave him the rating that I did.

  6. September 26, 2010

    There was a question above about the Away Kit. The club can choose what to wear as log as the colors of the visitors are not similar (or close) to the home team which may create confusion. Thats when they will be forced to change.

    I watched a part of Kazan’s game on Saturday in the league. I left them 1-1. Two interesting observations is that even in the league they are still the same team that count on long balls and counter attacks (especially number 61 I think). And secondly, the weather was ok and no snow. Thats a good thing.

  7. Kxevin
    September 26, 2010

    Hercules uo 2-0 on Sevilla in the 68th. Whoa! How long before the “surprising” modifier stops being used with Hercules?

    • Ryan
      September 26, 2010

      Giant killers indeed!

  8. Lev
    September 26, 2010

    “I don’t care if a striker is such a flaming asshole that he sets the curtains alight when he farts”

    hahaha brilliant!

    As for his ninjaheels, one has to choose his moments. More power to him for putting one in the net at the Gamper, but having lost 3-1 away, the 2nd leg of the semi-final against Inter was not one of those moments, and the resulting airball instead of what could have been a pretty straight forward header was disgusting, and a typical example of how “the great Zlatan” felt himself mes qué Barça.

    However I do agree that we knew this beforehand. I am pretty sure if we go back to the comment section of when we bought Ibra last summer that I expressed the exact same criticism regarding almost never heading the ball in favor of his ninja-heels.

    And, brilliant analogy aside, the problem is that he was such a flaming asshole that he screwed us one week before the season. Which, fair enough, has nothing to do with the ratings, which, fair enough, are your ratings not the rest of ours, which, fair enough you work hard for and only decide on after watching the match twice.

    Also take into consideration that not everybody who follows football might be used to seeing players receive 1s, 2s or 3s in ratings. In my book a player almost needs to score two own goals in order to get the 1 which results in a “WTF is this dude crazy?” feeling when seeing a mostly unfortunate Villa receive said low rating. Had you given a 4 or 5 I for one might disagree, but would not voice my disagreement so strongly.

    Anyway rock on dude, rock on.

  9. Cesc Pistol
    September 26, 2010

    I’m generally surprised when I see Kxevin defending not just his viewpoint but also defending himself.

    I think it goes without saying Kev, that everyone here respects you and your opinion and that is exactly why anyone argues so strongly. Because they love the club and strongly respect you. So when they have an opinion different from yours they will test it against yours to see if it holds weight.I hope you don’t consider any of this as a personal attack.

    For example, regarding the Bojan issue, after seeing your response I realize that your perspective is different from mine rather than judgement on performance. I still think I am correct in my viewpoint as I know exactly what the purpose of having youth players was when we took up the program and weighing the advantages of people like Bojan or even Villa give them a far greater margin of error than those like Ibra. It may not be something we agree on but I still respect your opinion.

  10. blitzen
    September 26, 2010

    Just finished watching the second half again, and I have a few more points to add:

    –We talk about Messidependence and Xavidependence, but what about Alvesdependence? We showed in this game that we can still score plenty without Messi (who needs strikers? We have striking midfielders!), but we really have no one to replace Alves if he goes out. We are way too dependent on letting Dani make one of his rampaging runs on the right to get the ball up the pitch. It is amazing to me that opposing teams let him get away with it time after time. They should be sitting on him and shutting him down, something they can rarely do. But sometime, somehow, an opposing team is going to figure that out, and our left side just isn’t strong enough right now.

    –I swear I don’t have a thing for Bojan, or anything like that, but I think a 3 is a bit harsh based on the 10 minutes he played. He actually had a couple of very good runs, got fouled twice, and had a nasty slip on the grass. Actually at that point everybody was falling about on the pitch, so you can’t dock him for that. I’d give him a solid 5.

    –Pique’s yellow card was not deserved. There was minimal contact, and Llorente had slipped and was going down anyway.

    –Villa’s red card was absolutely deserved and he should have been able to keep his temper. But he had just been completely interfered with and impeded right in front of the ref’s eyes. If the ref had called that, the red card would never have happened. Not excusing his behaviour at all, but at least I can understand why he was so pissed off.

    –Does Pedro! think he is 6 feet tall? Or is he like one of those terriers that harries you and nips at your heels until you give up what he wants? Watching him bully defenders a foot taller than him is fun. 😀 (And I think Bilbao is the tallest team we have played so far this season.)

    –Can we have more rainy-day matches? Our teams looks really good wet. Yes, I went there. 😉

    • Flyzowee
      September 26, 2010

      I dont think bojan shuda got a rating tbh. He was on for far too little time and the red card meant he couldnt do much goin forward.
      If villa got 1 over 90min and bojan got a 3 in lyk 10 well u can draw ur own conclusions

    • Diego S.
      September 26, 2010

      We played the UCL final against ManU without Alves. We have 3 more players who can play RB (Puyol, Maxwell, Adriano).

  11. BlaugranaDOOM
    September 26, 2010

    Ha nice review Kxevin.

    I agree that Keita crashing the box gives us a great dimension in attack. If he keeps it up, he could snag 10-15 goals this season.

    People get really touchy when they disagree with the ratings. That’s pretty funny.

    Two stupid red cards. One could have snapped Iniesta’s leg (um straight on cleats first tackle on a wet ground?!? Just look up youtube and Ramsey). If you go in and get the ball, its probably a foul and maybe a yellow. If you miss…

    Villa…isn’t he almost 29. I mean the ref was standing right there.

  12. Vj
    September 26, 2010

    What ppl hav to understand is that the KRS starts by rating the player 0, and then adding/subtracting pts depending on solely the players performance. I’m serious – obviously the conversion factor will be > 1 if you want to convert it to other ratings..

    Okay so Villa might probably be banned for 2 matches – same as Ujfa – given the general dislike against us from the RFEF.. I hope Messi isn’t rushed back due to this.. Mallorca @ home would be tough without them both, and I’d be worried if we weren’t getting it on 😀 ..

    And I hope they appeal Pique’s yellow.. there was literally no contact with Llorente, whom I’ve struck off in my transfer wish list..

    • Kxevin
      September 26, 2010

      But you can’t dim your desire for Llorente because of exposure to our feed-starving defense. 😀 Most strikers are only as good as their service, which is one thing that makes Messi such a thing of beauty. Just give him the ball and turn him loose.

      Llorente has height, and a fair bit of creativity. Recall his move that snagged some space for that snap shot at Valdes. Now, think about that striker with service from us.

  13. Jnice
    September 26, 2010

    For puchanamano and anyone else that wanted HD links…

    Sky Sports HD Broadcast

    Torrent: *http://www.sporttorrent.com/index.php?page=torrent-details&id=5db0b66fce520858ce3156c87a0b8d26d295a409

    or HTTP:

    *http://rapidshare.com/files/421508758/433-ll100925athvbar.720p.hdtv.x264.part1.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/421508964/433-ll100925athvbar.720p.hdtv.x264.part2.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/421509194/433-ll100925athvbar.720p.hdtv.x264.part3.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/421509368/433-ll100925athvbar.720p.hdtv.x264.part4.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/421509610/433-ll100925athvbar.720p.hdtv.x264.part5.rar
    *http://rapidshare.com/files/421509825/433-ll100925athvbar.720p.hdtv.x264.part6.rar

    Courtesy of Ignite at fbtz.com

    • Jnice
      September 26, 2010

      Another HD option…

      JSC Sport English Broadcast

      First Half: *http://hotfile.com/dl/71809560/689ae65/ath_1st_fcb-regmo.blogspot.com.mkv.html

      Second Half: *http://hotfile.com/dl/71794826/2cbe0cc/ath_2nd_fcb-regmo.blogspot.com.mkv.html

      Courtesy of J-Reyes at fbtz,com

  14. Kxevin
    September 26, 2010

    Jnice FTW!! Thanks for the eternal vigilance. Your links are just another feature that goes into the collecive whole that makes the space irresistible.

    Oh, and regarding Krkic: 10 minutes on the pitch is about the minimum time I think a player can be out there and get a rating. Look at it this way: What if Krkic had come on and scored two goals in his 10 minutes, and I did the “no rating” thing that people are advocating. Then I’d be getting stick for not loving Krkic because he was only on the pitch for 10 minutes, but scored two goals! And I’d be accused of being evil and hating Cuddly Toys. 😀

    Everybody knows I start from zero. He made some runs, had some nice movement, and worked his way up to a 3. Simple as that, and nothing else can be inferred from that rating, or how it relates to Villa’s rating. He was also on the pitch for what turned out to be a fairly crucial time in the match.

    To get a N/R or no rating, a player has to be a time-waster, such as when Guardiola will sub somebody on with 2 minutes or so left in injury time, just to disrupt the match flow.

    • Ciaran
      September 26, 2010

      Interesting that Bojan’s run out to the left wing dragged the last defender over to that side of the pitch and thus played Pedro onside for the goal.
      Pedro was just barely inside the Athletic half and so if it were not for Bojan’s run he would have been called offside and Athletic could have launched one last long ball.

    • blitzen
      September 26, 2010

      Yes, but Thiago also had only 10 minutes on the pitch, and he got a 5. He had some lovely moments, but you yourself noted that he was less effective when Bilbao had possession. I don’t see any difference between his performance and Bojan’s.

      • Kxevin
        September 26, 2010

        He was less effective, yes. Krkic was almost completely ineffective, except for the noted runs. Thiago also helped with the possession game, which was very important, particularly in the aftermath of the Villa sending off.

        Frankly, we could flog every player’s rating to death after every match, but they aren’t going to change. If you have your own ideas, this is the space for them. But for me, no way in hell did Krkic play to the same rating as Thiago. As Ciaran notes, and I as well, he had some very nice runs.

  15. Diego S.
    September 26, 2010

    Barcelona B defeated Numanica 1-0. Nolito scored. I think he deserves a call to the A team. It’ll be a nice boost to his confidence.

  16. September 27, 2010

    Kxevin. By giving a Villa a “1”, Where you saying that we (A) should sell him immediately? or (B) that he just played like ass today, didn’t do his job and made a stupid decision that cost us during this match, as well as upcomming matches?

    I interpreted (b), but apparently a lot of people here are acting as if (a) was implied, so I’m second guessing myself.

    • Kxevin
      September 27, 2010

      Sell, of course. He sucks! 😀 I hate him SO MUCH!

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