This Is Going to be Phenomenal: Barça – Valencia

Iniesta was charged with manslaughter for his Karate Chop of Dooooom

Liga Preview: Barça – Valencia, Saturday 2pm EST, ESPN Deportes/ESPN3

I am full of cake right now, but I think I can still get a preview posted today. Lucky you.

27-year old center back Ángel Dealbert is amazing. It’s not just his footballing career we’re talking about–spent mostly at Castellon before a move to Valencia last year–but also his time spent in a popular American business cartoon in which his catchphrase is “Deal with it!” and to which Dogbert invariably reacts with a facepalm. Mighty lols ensue, of course. So yeah, I just made that up, but did I mention that I’m full of cake? That’s my excuse.

Basically, the point is that I don’t understand why Valencia is top of the league. They lost Davids Villa and Silva to other clubs. They start Joaquin. They have lots of financial worries. They start Éver Banega. They have a player whose first name is Hedwiges. Hedwiges. Like the plural version of Harry Potter’s owl. They just bought a guy named Feghouli, which I’m pretty sure is something that would get you killed if you said it to the wrong people in some parts of Brooklyn. Did I mention they start Éver Banega? I’m still shocked by their performances, by how good they’ve been. Their solitary draw was against Atleti at the Mestalla and it should have been 3 points for los colchoneros, but it wasn’t and Valencia could even have stolen the points at the end.

The obvious reason for being top of the league is that they’ve earned more points than anyone else; they’re 1 of 2 teams without a loss and they’ve scored more goals than all but 3 of the teams in the league (one of those being Malaga) and conceded fewer than all but 1. They’re better than Barça in both of those categories. I’m not as confident, however, in their chances of earning 3 points as Eduardo Alvarez over at ESPN is. Guardiola is, after all, the master of turning a bad situation–financial gloom and doom, injuries, and an absolutely absurd membership curtailing–into 3 points and a collective “Holy goddamn” from the footballing world.

Here’s the thing: Valencia know they’re good. We know they’re good. But they’ve got a problem: Valencia know they’re good. Do you come out and play, do you come out and say “Hey, we’re better than you,” and try to beat us at our own game and give us space and time and allow us to run with the ball? Or do you sit back and defend and give up your advantages? They’ve got better wingers in Mata and Pablo Hernandez so they should try to stretch us, but if you stretch yourself while stretching us and you give the ball away? Messi scores with ease. If you keep it compact and you give up a goal against us? It’s unlikely you’ll walk out with your hide intact.

I don’t know if Xavi will play, but I’m guessing he will. Guardiola says we won’t push him if he’s not ready, but he practiced fully with the squad today, as did David Villa, Pedro, and Adriano. So we’ve got 19 names to put on the team sheet and that must be a little worrisome for Valencia. Unai Emory isn’t scared–nor should he be–but if he comes out to play and we field our best 11? Lights out, FIFA virus or no.

Predicted lineup: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Messi, Bojan.

I could see Pedro starting, of course, but I’m still not betting on it. Given Guardiola’s propensity for odd lineups, I wouldn’t be surprised by something else involving Mascherano, but really I think this is our best lineup and our best approach. Time to bring home the bacon. Time to win us some Liga matches. And anyway, we’ve beaten them 13-0 in their last 3 visits to the Camp Nou. Bodes well, eh?

Official prediction: 3-0. That’s right. I’m going for it. We’re going to murderate some fools. And how. Goals by Messi (2) and Iniesta. I’ll be partying hard at Woodwork in Brooklyn if you’d like to stop by and scream obscenities at Valencia with me–I actually like Valencia, but not tomorrow–and help consume all the beer the bar has. Should be fun.

Would you like to run the liveblog? If so, please let us know in the comments.

TV: In the US, the match is on ESPN Deportes/ESPN3
Time: 10pm local/Barcelona, 2pm EST/NY, check your local time here.
Weather: ~61F (~16C), 20% chance or rain. Should be a great night for some football and any rain will only speed the field up a bit.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. Their saying if you were a member before you can rejoin anytime so I’m OK it seems. This Rosell guy seems determined to change the club for the worst. How long is el presidentes term of office again ?

  2. Guardiola: “You can’t win the league with Nolito? It also didn’t seem possible with Pedro or Busi.”

    Does that mean that Nolito will be promoted ?

    1. Not it’s not. Minnesota vs Purdue is on ESPN2. Do you mean ESPN3? It’s on ESPN3, I’m sure.

      I’ll update the post to reflect that. I was in a bit of a rush earlier.

    2. o wow really….last time for sure I believe and their bullshit……they said it was on espn2 on this article here *

      Unless that’s a typo…was really hoping for some ESPN HD goodness…GOLTV Hd has not reach me yet 🙁

  3. I’d rather give Xavi a rest and draw against Valencia than risking a long-term injury for el Maestro. From what I’ve read in the press lately, the injury of Xavi has the potential to bench him for the rest of the season if it gets worse. Don’t risk the whole season for one single match, even if Xavi wants to play.
    We can also rest Xavi against Copenhagen, let Busi, Iniesta, Masch and Thiago do the mifield work!

  4. Well, this is the second of our 3 home games in a row. We all remember the first game; let’s see if we can get our act together against the league leaders (feels a little weird to type that). It’s post-international break, but we need a win. A domination would be very, very nice, but 2-1 is alright with me…for now 😀

  5. EMD is saying that the board is saying that Llorente is not our kind of type of player? I hope the board really didn’t utter those words.

  6. I can see Keita coming in for Xavi later on in the match. Don’t think Pep will Thiago in such an important match unless we run riot again against them as we always do.
    Given a choice I would rest Xavi but I don’t think Xavi would be happy about that. Let’s hope he is smart enough.
    Don’t see us winning comfy though, with or without Xavi. Most of the big clubs will suffer this weekend due to the FIFA virus.

    1. I get the feeling that you’d need to tranq Xavi to stop him from marching out on the field. El General wants to be out there with his troops.

    2. Xavi is Iron Man


    3. I would say that I did not just squeal with glee upon the news, but that, good sir, would make me a liar.

    4. I notice you guys get really pissed when people question your journalistic integrity. Relax.

  7. Um…don’t get the mocking of Banega. He’s a class, class player. Argentina will be a much better team with him in it. He was the player they were really missing this summer, and Zanetti.

  8. can’t see why we won’t win this one. we always play well against valencia. unai emery has played us so many times and like kxevin said if you give a good coach more shots at you, he is likely to get a win once in a while. unai is not really a good coach judging by the matching results.

    the question regarding play or park is very valid. rubin kazan’s coach said there is only one way to play us, but i can’t see why unai will agree with the squad like valencia. if they come out and play, we will win for sure. Even if they don’t come out, they are not any good at parking the bus either, right? we will find the gaps and score for sure.

    Soldado is really the man who will be most likely to score against us. with pablo, mata and joaquin playing so well on wings, soldado’s efficiency is going to be a threat. but still, i don’t see any fire will burn when we have 2 firemen in the middle.

    3-0 will be my predicted score too.

  9. Don’t know Ever Banega for Valencia. He made Phil Ball and I think Sid Lowe’s La Liga XI last year. He’s an intelligent DM with wisdom when it comes to tackling. His marking on Xavi will be interesting if our maestro can play.

    ps – good to be back with the BFB family 🙂

  10. Don’t disregard Ever Banega for Valencia. He made Phil Ball and I think Sid Lowe’s La Liga XI last year. He’s an intelligent DM with wisdom when it comes to tackling. His marking on Xavi will be interesting if our maestro can play.

    ps – good to be back with the BFB family 🙂

  11. it will be interesting how certain key players will perform.

    Alves ran riot in the Brazil matches, but will he run riot tonight? PIque came off a weird performance for spain, scoring an own goal. Will Pique stink or will he take names?

    quick! does anyone remember how Pique played the next round after scoring the own goal for Osasuna last season?

    Im not sure Mascherano will play against Valencia, but he will surely play in the CL game. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing mascherano play again.

    since Im in Australia, Im going to do something I havent done in ages and do an all nighter of football madness!!!

    1. Hehe, that sounds great 🙂

      Doing an all-nighter of football madness will be tough for me, because I’m living in Europe and I’m not so much into South American club football (except of some Copa Libertadores top matches). But this will be my today’s schedule:
      4pm ManUtd-WestBrom, 6pm Atleti-Getafe, 6.30pm Villa-Chelsea, 8pm Barca, 10pm EE. If the results, particularly of the last two matches, are to my well-being, I’ll rock the night afterwards. And if not, I’ll have to buy a new weizen beer crate soon!

    2. Which part of OZ are you in Spiro?

      Got this from Pep’s blog. Made me smile so I want to share it with you guys.
      Ronaldinho: “Did I ever feel the curiosity to wear the Madrid shirt? It’s impossible to play for Barcelona and think about Madrid. Why did I leave Barça? A coach I believed in a lot had gone, some teammate too. And I decided to leave. Do I miss Messi? A lot, he’s a great friend.”

    3. Im from Melbourne, Victoria. how bout you Barca96?

      your very lucky with the time-zones there Helge, but witnessing a loss before sleep I reckon is probably the worst thing ever. But again, it beats waking up in the middle of the night. last season and the season before I used to always get up and watch Barca live and they usually played around 6/7 am which was decent. I cut down a lot this season, mainly because we now on average play earlier which sucks 🙁

  12. According to Rosell at the general assembly, we’ve increased our debts by ~80m to a total amount of 430m. And he’s smahsing Laporta over and over again. Quelle surprise, this fuckin prick is only focusing on the past!
    If he continues this way, Ramzi’s prediciton of a dark era is likely to come true.

  13. Im sorry if someone else posted this, but WTF!!! Neiis?


    1. i was just about to post the same thing. i don’t know what made moratti think that he can sign messi.

      as for the match, based on the valencia-man united, valencia seems to pay too much respect for the opponent, almost to the point of parking the bus. but we’ll see later.

    2. Cheap publicity for consumption of his own fans I’m afraid. Nothing to talk about. Mind you, it would completely eliminate the problem of the season tickets . . . . 🙂

      As for today, I really hope Pep stands firm and puts Xavi on the bench. If we need him fine , if not he sits there the whole game. The way Iniesta played during the week he is on fire.

  14. I’ve registered all the books that have been translated in the serial so far, and its just as brilliant and imaginative as the series was. Highly recommended!

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