Barca 5, Sevilla 0, aka “Witness the power of this fully operational Death Star”

Perhaps the problem is that this team needs a challenge. Hercules doesn’t do it, Mallorca doesn’t do it. This team needs a reason to bare its teeth, and go for the jugular. Like a victory addict, it needs stronger and stronger juice to make the thrills more acute.

So rolling into this match, with one and all questioning who we are and what we do, nattering about a “resurgent” Sevilla and predicting all kinds of stuff, we do a flashback to the all-attacking, all the time Barca, and destroy them. This was the best, most complete display we have offered this season. Valencia got only a half of football, and that was enough. Sevilla got the full deal, and it was grim. As Sevilla’s coach, Manzano, said after the match, “There was never a game.”

Guardiola rolled out with our best lineup, Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro! and Villa, and the message was clear that this was to be a statement match. And when the ball rolled out, it took less than a minute for us to threaten their goal, and less than four to notch our first goal, a busted play that was nonetheless a thing of beauty, because there were four men in the box. Gone were the days of one player rolling in with a scoring chance, only to have it go begging with nobody around for the follow-up.

So Villa smacked a shot that caromed off a Sevilla defender, Pedro! darted left for the rebound and fed it back into the mixer. Villa sprinted where P!’s cross was headed, but it was intercepted by Sevilla’s keeper, who knocked it away. The ball fell to Messi, who whipped a shot with his left foot that made no mistake, and less than 4 minutes in, it was 1-0. Showing his extreme class, Villa backed off the ball when it was clear that it was going in, rather than knocking it in himself to claim the goal. That would have been spectacularly cheap, and I think that everyone’s respect rose about 10 levels for him after that bit of graciousness.

And we didn’t stop attacking. Every pass, every move, every time Sevilla had the ball we unleashed wave after wave of mids, forwards, defenders, ball boys, everybody working with one goal in mind: get the ball back and return to the attack. It was a truly amazing display. Someone mentioned that this display harkened back to the treble season, and that was right, because that was how the team played every match. But there isn’t the depth or energy for that any longer. Nor, frankly, is there the necessity. If you can win a race by a nose, why win it by four lengths? It’s just wasted energy.

But against Sevilla, a for-real Liga contender, in a week of doubt by any, all and everyone who had an opinion, it was time. There was, really, only two real shots at goal for them, one from Fabiano that didn’t have a real chance, and one at Valdes that was easily stopped. And neither shot featured the imbalance, the scrambling that denoted a defense in danger. The first was an unfortunate series of caroms that found Fabiano loose, the second a hopeful volley off a cross. And that was that.

Part of why those shots were rushed, and didn’t have anyone around to try to follow them up, or be available for a defense-gutting pass, was because this was a team effort that found every Sevilla attacker locked down. The man who had the ball, had to shoot it because passing lanes were closed or clogged. It really was a brilliant display by a club that, every now and again, feels compelled to say “You know, we really are still the best side in the world.”

The second goal was the one that caused an immense sigh of relief, as Messi casually slid a ball to Villa, and was almost certainly expecting the return pass. Villa, however, found himself in space, decided “What the heck?” and unleashed a high, hard curler that found the far upper 90 and left the keeper, us and the Camp Nou stunned. Que golazo, indeed. If you are going to get the monkey off your back, what a way to do it, in a week where JoJoMo referred to Villa with comments in defense of Benzema. It was a shot that said “This, THIS you sonsabitches, is why this club paid 40m for me. And don’t forget it.”

Once they went down a man, thanks to an amazing bit of skill by P! that drew a second yellow card on one of theirs, the second half came and we settled into a mode that was more like “Don’t vex us, and we won’t kill you.”

And then came a third goal, yet another bit of gloriousness spawned by our incessant attacking. One of Sevilla’s thugs headed a simple ball back to the keeper that had a little too much lift on it. Alves, like a rocket, leapt into action with a balletic toe stretch that lifted the ball over the helpless, hapless keeper for the 3-0 lead. Alves didn’t celebrate, out of respect for Sevilla, the club that put him on the map. But he didn’t need to, really. The goal spoke for itself with an eloquence that could have filled volumes, because it was a microcosm of our entire match: speed, opportunism, precision and execution. Alves made an absolutely insane goal look easy as pie.

But we weren’t finished sending the message. Sevilla got the ball and thought “Hey, let’s try attacking them for a change!” They got to midfield, where the terriers descended upon them. Messi worked the ball loose and went off on a mazy diagonal run, before snapping a shot back across the keeper, for number 4 for the club, and his second goal of the match. Messi was accompanied by a flotilla of Sevilla defenders, but created so much space because of the threat of his running forward that he had space to spank the shot. That he did it off the dead run made it even more impressive, and more difficult to defend.

The fifth goal was one of those “Hey, I can do that too” moments as the omnipresent, indefatigable Busquets slid a ball to Villa who cut across the face of the defense, just like Messi, and smoked a shot into lower far corner, just like Messi, only with more velocity. Same result. A goal. It was 5-0 in a match so one-sided, the ref didn’t even run any added time, a fact that outraged Sid Lowe of The Guardian. I considered it a humanitarian gesture. Nothing else was going to happen. Sevilla weren’t going to score. The only thing that could happen with more time is some fluke, such as an injury. Let them get off the pitch and head back home to analyse what happened, and let the Camp Nou folks scramble for taxis, and a late-night snack from some place on La Rambla.

And speaking of the Camp Nou, there is a different attitude this season, as I’m sure people have noticed from the broadcasts, or for those lucky enough to have attended matches this season. Crowds are up, as almost 82,000 attended today’s match. But there is also NOISE, and lots of it. Screaming, chanting, singing, even today’s trumpet dude, blaring battle cries and a brassy Himno. It’s very cool, and befits the best club in the world. Here’s hoping it continues, as it is a welcome change over the quiet, almost blase approach that was the Camp Nou calling card in past seasons.

Team: 10. This was the match of the season, beautifully played in every facet of the game on both sides of the ball. It was all-out attack with energy and virtuosity, and Sevilla didn’t stand a chance.

Guardiola: 10. Don’t know what he said to them, but it worked. Right subs as well, getting Xavi off quickly so that he could rest up, and getting Krkic some time in a favorable situation (no pressure, nothing on the line in a decided match).

Valdes: 7. He probably would have played to a better rating but really, he only had to deal with two shots, and play sweeper keeper, all of which he performed excellently. Killer save on the Capel shot.

Alves: 6. Drifted in and out for me, and was kind of stinky early, before playing his way into the match. His goal was amazing, as were his contributions to our all-out attack. He was a constant bundle of energy out there.

Pique: 8. Piquenbauer in full effect, as everyone was deputized to help in the midfield, and Pique took full advantage. Made some key stops and interventions on defense as well. He plays so much better with Puyol out there.

Puyol: 9. Speaking of key interventions. That should be his middle name. After the Fabiano shot, you could see him coming down on the guys like a ton of bricks, saying in effect “Dudes, what the HELL!” It was a captain’s performance in every facet of the match.

Abidal: 9. Pace, power and control were his hallmarks today, not only of his side of the pitch, but of the ball. He has a great first touch, and is demonstrating increasing fluency in an attacking role. Maxwell has made him better, just as he has made Maxwell better this season.

Busquets: 9. This was a crazy match for a player who was everywhere, all at once. Interception after interception, well-timed passes and pressure defense were just some of the indicators of his play today.

Xavi: 7. Not quite himself, but he didn’t need to be as we had the midfield on lockdown, with the ball moving around and players moving up and back with like elevators. He had a number of amazing passes today including a wondrous backheel to Messi, and he has that knack for materializing at the exact spot he needs to be.

Iniesta: 9. Wow, what a match. Even when he wasn’t overtly influencing things, he was opening space with threatening runs. And what ball control and passing! The attacking threat that he brings to our side as Xavi pulls the strings, makes our midfield, when it’s on, unplayable. But he needs to be more selfish.

Pedro!: 7. He’s still learning how to play now that he’s being marked like a real threat, instead of some B Team dude. But you could see him in a much more controlled game, taking advantage of space that he was offered and constantly hustling to support the cause. Think about how many players would have just let that ball that he knocked back in, run out for a corner.

Messi: 9. Another Man of the Match performance for our Small Wonder, as he got two goals, some steals, tracked back on defense, moved and created and did pretty much everything. His first goal was pure opportunism, his second pure quality.

Villa: 8. This started out like another one of those matches for El Guaje, as he got a ball tangled in his feet, and created space to spank a weak shot at the keeper. Then he got it going, and couldn’t be stopped. He’s getting better and better, and is learning how to play with Messi, which is huge. Their mutual space creation can only benefit the side.

Substitutes

Mascherano (for Xavi): 5. Nice, solid performance except for that one time he slipped a bit, lost the ball and sent Sevilla off to the races. Not cool. Again, he contributed little Xaviesque moments to facilitate our ball control game.

Krkic (for Pedro!): 2. Had a few touches but precious little influence. Lots of running, to little effect.

Adriano (for Puyol): 7. Excellent play in attack and defense, with some exquisite passes and hustle plays as he roamed up and down the pitch.

So. Next up, on Tuesday, is a trip to Copenhagen with a simple mission: Win and advance to the Champions League knockout stages. And after the mood buoying the team in the wake of this thrashing, they will probably just float to Denmark. Until then,

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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.

171 Comments

  1. Flyzowee
    October 31, 2010

    Whaat!
    If mash aint barca quality then dat trumpet dude in da stands yday is christinas brother.

  2. blitzen
    October 31, 2010

    Just finished watching the match again, so a few more random thoughts:

    –Kxevin, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the big change in our lineup, with Villa playing on the right instead of the left. Is that all we had to do to get him scoring? It worked! Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed.

    –Busquets really took a beating in this game! He was taken down at least six times that I saw (and none of them dives!), plus an elbow to the nose. Did he do something to piss off Sevilla before? Is that why they were targeting him?

    –Pedro! I actually vote him my MOTM. He may not have scored, but he was *massive* on the left side of the pitch. He was always at the right place at the right time, his passes were perfectly timed, and no one, NO ONE fights for a ball like Pedro. And Dani Alves? THAT is how you get a man sent off, by pwning him.

    –Xavi tackled someone! He hardly ever does that! That was pretty cool.

    –I am in favour of horns in Camp Nou, as long as they aren’t vuvuzelas. The trumpet was awesome.

    –Dani Alves wasn’t great in the first half hour, but really stepped it up after that. He had that beautiful move to deny the Sevilla player a shot on goal, plus the goal he scored. That was an amazing run into the box–how did he know that headed ball would fall short like that? Please please please re-sign him!

    –Oh, Bojan. It’s not like he did anything wrong. He made some nice runs, and he won us a corner. Very good. But…you can feel he just doesn’t have the urgency and drive of Pedro. His passing is fine, but he takes too long to decide what to do with the ball at his feet. It’s like he is thinking too much about what he should be doing, when he just needs to relax and play. You can see his talent, it’s all there, he just needs to stop overthinking things.

    • Diego S.
      October 31, 2010

      Agree on the last paragraph.

    • poipoi
      October 31, 2010

      the trumpet was really weird, the hymns played were very spanish sounding… too spanish sounding some think, not me. it just wants to make you shout

      • poipoi
        October 31, 2010

        makes you want… viceversa also I guess

    • Kxevin
      October 31, 2010

      Villa’s played on the right before. He roams all over the front line, as is his wont. His second goal came from the center, after all. That didn’t strike me as anything that noteworthy, and he and P! allow Guardiola that kind of positional flexibility.

      The Villa differences for me, I think, are in his fitness, and confidence as it relates to that fitness. I also think that he is learning to take advantage of the space that Messi creates with his movement, as he drags big bunches of defenders around.

      It’s why when people credit Krkic with creating space for others with his movement, I have to disagree. You have to be a viable threat to move defenders around. Teams playing us do their homework, and understand that the danger from Krkic is minimal.

      The P! for MOTM thought is interesting. I didn’t think that his overall influence was as great as Messi, who was omnipresent on offense and defense, so much so that he ran himself a little tired toward the end of the match.

      The Alves question is an interesting one. We might have to break the bank to re-sign him, something I don’t think that we will do. Although a few more losses to Premiership minnows, and Alves, who likes to win, will be crossing Citeh off his shopping list, eh?

      • Jnice
        October 31, 2010

        But if you look at the 4th goal, you can’t deny the space Bojan created for Messi, no matter if you think he is a viable threat or not. There’s a reason Pep gave him the thumbs up for the run in game.

      • Kxevin
        October 31, 2010

        I think that Guardiola is trying to build his confidence, and will praise absolutely anything positive that he does. There’s nothing wrong with that. We will need a functioning Krkic if we are to make anything real happen this season, assuming that ZubiZa’s assertions of no January purchases is true.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        November 1, 2010

        Good point regarding Villa, Fitness and Confidence. Miro Klose once told in an interview that he needs 100% fitness to get goalscoring and that one important reason why he scored in the WC and not so much in the season was that during the preparation time for the WC he gained full fitness (and loosing some kilos) and felt absolutely confident because of that.

  3. Diego S.
    October 31, 2010

    Part of why we’re playing so good recently is the new plans Pep has been trying.

    We play the VV-VV gameplan in some matches, In Other matches he puts Villa in the centre with Pedro and Iniesta on the wings and Messi drops as in Zargoza. Last Night, Villa played on the right with Pedro on the left with Messi as a false 9.

    Teams know our style of play and have been studying it for 2 years. It’s good to see Guardiola capable of changing the shape while maintaining the system.

  4. Jim
    October 31, 2010

    Yayyyyy! From Barcastuff :

    Xavi: “I felt really good against Sevilla, almost 100%. I was suprised to almost feel no pain. I could have played for 90 minutes.”

    • Kari
      October 31, 2010

      Great news! *breaths sigh of relief*

  5. Flyzowee
    October 31, 2010

    Can we really afford to loose alves? Really?

    The mans intensity is contagiously fundamental to our play.
    We may be able to adjust to his absence by tweaking the system a bit, but to find a DIRECT replacement – no way! (forget Van der weil).

    Didnt our overall wage bill drop like 5percent after shipping out 4 players?

    This is almost a risk free investment – the guy neva gets injured and his general consistency is up there with the likes of xavi for christs sake.

    Pay the Man.

    • Jnice
      October 31, 2010

      I don’t think we can afford to lose him.

      The thing I love most about Alves is his availability and willingness to make that run that stretches the opposition out, time and time again. He never hides.

    • barca96
      October 31, 2010

      We had to change our salary system due to the NOSE, why can’t we do the same for “our” Alves? I said our because he is like a player who grew up here.

  6. hedgehog
    October 31, 2010

    anyone know what the fight during half time was all about????

    • Jnice
      October 31, 2010

      Busquets felt Romaric elbowed him in the face during the free kick we had right before half time. So words were exchanged, teammates got in the way and people all of a sudden became bolder than they normally would be.

      • barca96
        October 31, 2010

        And Pique had to get into the thick of the action as usual!
        It was purely accidental. No way the big guy did it on purpose.
        But Busquets was brought down too many times last night. Looked as if they wanted to take him out. Did he dive the last time we played them in the Copa? I missed that match

      • barca96
        October 31, 2010

        Bloody hell! Somebody already took my username at rojadirecta.

  7. barca96
    October 31, 2010

    Pleasant review.

    I must say that Iniesta received a high rating. He didn’t do anything of note yesterday. Notice the amount of times he dribbled into nowhere and twice to the back line. He was definitely off last night for some reason.

    If I was Pep I would’ve subbed Thiago in for Xavi, sMasch for Busi and Adriano for Puyol. I really don’t feel that Bojan should get anymore playing time at the moment. Pedro was playing really well.
    Time for other players to get some time who actually deserve it, like sMasch, Thiago, Adriano & Maxwell.
    I was always giving him the benefit of the doubt and never critisized him, but after watching the match against Cueta 2 days ago, I really thought, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!
    He couldn’t even cut it against those players. Lost the ball way too cheaply and was selfish at times. He doesn’t look focussed. He needs to take a vacation and sort things out or see a shrink.

    Now move on to better things.
    Notice how well Villa is connecting with Messi now. He always knows when and where Xavi or Iniesta wants to pass the ball but now with Messi too.

    • barca96
      October 31, 2010

      -Oh, and Pique should get a lower rating too. He needs to stop trying to play difficult long balls when there are more than one easy options in front of him. He lost the ball at least on two occasions.

      -Another Oh, I thought the reason why sMasch joined us because it was his dream. But apparently it was because of the American owners over at Liverpool.

  8. GREECE BARCA
    October 31, 2010

    i can.t understand the alvez talk.how much money he want?6m is ok for me.xavi earns 7.5 i guess.and i agree about pique.stay back dude.you are a defender.puyi is not in best form and sometimes pique is so front that if we lost the ball we are dead!

  9. October 31, 2010

    Don’t wanna see Alves go at all. He is the only player providing a magical chemistry with Messi on the right side all the time. Adriano doesn’t know how to play with Messi that way and judging from his skills and style, I doubt if he’d ever will. If we let him go, I think we are stupid. But this is not new in our club under Rosell anymore.

    Oh yeah, Pep said Alves is our key player too, so I think he is gone in the summer.

  10. jnelson
    October 31, 2010

    AWESOME. Way to go, team. I kind of take offense to Evil Empire references, though. Let’s say that its a fully operational Blaugrana, DeathStar destroying laser, or something to that effect.

  11. jnelson
    October 31, 2010

    Oh, and since that post on the official site about us not saying stupid crap came out, I guess that means Puyol never said Sergio Ramos was his heir apparent at Barca then, right? haha

  12. Culer_Than_Thou
    November 1, 2010

    There’s no way Alves is going. No way. The club can’t afford letting that happen.

  13. Spiro
    November 1, 2010

    its interesting how many players we left out of the copa match mid week and then we come out of the weekend with one of our best 90 minute league performance of the season. looking forward to the second leg of the copa, we have enough of a lead to rest our key players once again, unlike in contrast with EE’s campaigne, they still have to finish business in the second leg, that requires spending energy from their best players mid-week.

    well if we move that situation into the CL, again, hopefully we can capitalize our lead in the group and put an effort against the Danish so we can qualify, then travelling to Greece wouldn’t be much of a problem for us.

    I just like to remind ourselves that even though we have a small squad. The level of quality between out first tier and second tier players are so high, and the squad is so very competitive, it seems that we seem to be able to still overcome ‘fatigue’ and at the same time keep the same level of intensity and competitiveness.

    Maybe people in general, even non-fans seem to consider Mourinho being such a good coach/manager will expect Madrid to have an advantage with winning the league. But right now, I wouldn’t write ourselves off, to me, tactically in the long term, Pep seems to have been making the right moves, especially when it comes to building our squad that is so very good at using enough energy and intensity at the right time during the league campaign. Pep knows all too well that the league will not be won on the classico matches, it’ll be won on which team lasts the longest.

    just a thought

  14. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    Random quotes from Twitter (@barcastuff), mostly:

    –Xavi: “This is the Barça we all want. I think we’re playing at the same high level as in previous years.”

    –Mundo Deportivo notes that every time we have started with our “best” lineup (Panathinaikos, Sevilla) we have bagged 5 goals.

    –Romaric (Sevilla): “We tried to come out but we couldn’t complete 5 consecutive passes. And then it’s difficult to get something.” [Sevilla F.C. TV]

    –Costacurta (ex-Milan, and apparent dimwit): “Guardiola is driving a car built by others while Mourinho builds teams from nothing. He’s a born winner, more than Guardiola.”

    –Pique: “Do I pull most jokes on Bojan? Yes, because he deserves it. He’s very young and needs toughening up.” [fcbarcelona.cat]

    • Helge
      November 1, 2010

      lol, what a hilarious comment by Costacurta 😀

      I just wonder how a Milan legend can heap so much praise on Mourinho, it’s like a former Barca player would have cheered for Capello after he won the league due to direct comparison!

  15. justsayin'
    November 1, 2010

    Disagree with Pique and Iniesta’s high rating (8 and 9 respectively). Pique, needs major points deducted for his passing skills. Yes, he does his job well (defending), but if he’s going to get extra points for moving the ball forward – he needs to be able actually get the pass to his player. Lately, he’s been missing the mark … ALOT.
    Iniesta, love him and he’s a solid player but didn’t do anything spectacular to merit a 9 on Saturday. Otherwise, good review.

  16. GREECE BARCA
    November 1, 2010

    i agree!mourinio build teams from nothing using young players from academies and never ask expensive transfers!hahaha!ok is a great coach but we are not stupids mr costacurta!be logic!

  17. Blow-Grenade
    November 1, 2010

    Monster game!!! But it was over in the first half. The second half was of no consequence. I wanted to see a full 90 minute game!!! Dammit.

  18. Alexinho
    November 1, 2010

    I have to agree, best match of the season. The first five minutes had me guffawing, as Barca so overwhelmed Sevilla; it was as if Barca was Mike Tyson, and he finally pounded the goal in the hard way.

    I can’t begrudge Messi MOTM status, but now was as good a time as ever to award it to Busquets or Pedro, as both of them, by their standards, played the best match of their season (grammar check for once in my life??).

    Pedro’s effect on the team, Kevin, makes me think of your subject in a recent post warning against having “too much” natural talent. When he plays like this, he looks like the hardest-working player on the pitch, whether he’s tracking back to defend or he’s trying to dribble past his man. It’s no wonder that the man who fouled his way to a sending-off was the same player trying to contain Pedro.

    As for Busquets, well, I always feel inclined to award MOTM status to a midfielder, whether he plays a direct role in the goals or not. And for me, Busquets was our best midfielder today. In the first half, especially, you could see that he is gaining more freedom in the side, and that his presence gives others more freedom. He drops back fluidly in defense, and notice that he wasn’t just between Puyol and Pique in these moments, but on the left, the right, and performing the necessary duties in those situations flawlessly (see Alves high-fiving him in the first half when Busi played a bit of right-fullback). And then, he’s as efficient a midfielder as you can find in the world, and he’s getting more confident, with increasingly ambitious passing. Finally, don’t get me started on his attack-stuffing–about half the time a Sevilla attacker turned to face our goal in the midfield he caught himself looking at Busi’s chest, and getting bowled over more from the shock than any physical play (read: clean tackles). With Xavi beginning the rest of his career of being withdrawn with 2/3s of the game gone, Busquets really does look like a successor. More tangible is the supposition that Yaya’s departure has not hurt us at all, because Busquets shows us something Yaya never did, and perhaps never could: a one-man show in the midfield that lets everyone else go about their business elsewhere.

    • Kxevin
      November 1, 2010

      P! and Busquets had extraordinary matches, but neither of them had the influence that Messi had.

  19. Alexinho
    November 1, 2010

    Kevin, I’m surprised you didn’t point out the one thing I fully expected you to emphasize: Villa plays best when he does not lead the line. Here is my understanding of the tactics: when Xavi was on the field, and clearly well-rested by his standards, Messi was the true leader of the line, and Villa was playing off to his right. In that time, I don’t think he was caught offside once, and, of course, he scored “that” goal, the type that Villa is famous for (and what Henry was famous for, I would argue). Then Xavi was withdrawn, and Messi played somewhat deeper, as the team switched back-and-forth between a Masch-Busi-Iniesta midfield and a Masch-Busi-Messi midfield. Villa played more centrally. What happened? He got caught offside EVERY TIME he was the furthest man forward.

    I suppose this also speaks to Messi’s uniqueness, as even in the first half, he was capable of both leading the line and engaging in a midfield triangle of Xavi-Iniesta-Messi in which he was the critical man.

    • Kxevin
      November 1, 2010

      I’ve long been saying that Villa can’t and shouldn’t lead the line, that he is more effective from the wings. But people were too busy calling me an asshole Villa hater to realize the truth in the statement. I don’t even bother any more.

      Like I’ve magically gone from hating Iniesta to loving him too much and overrating him. Whatever.

      • Eklavya
        November 1, 2010

        Negativity at the door please 😛

  20. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    We are appealing the Pinto ban. It won’t succeed, but at least we will have made the effort.

    Looks like Fabregas’ hamstring is going to be the equivalent of Xavi’s tendinitis. Between the two of them, we could have had one attacking mid.

    Sport is also reporting that we lunched with reps from Benfica today, with the subject on the table being one Nolito.

  21. sab
    November 1, 2010

    @kxevin

    supported by your theory of “contribution and players starts from 0″.by this theory even a player who scored the only goal in a game he can earn a rating of 5, whereas another may get a 9.

    i watched the match.iniesta was good,good passing and movement.but did he contribute like the flea or el guaje?no.
    he had some excellent dribbles which resulted facing 3 /4 defenders or getting the ball out of play.now if the same thing messi or some dude performed then i m sure u will cut some points for this.u told in many posts that a barca player should be as close as perfect and as close as 100% efficient.paleface was perfect in his control but not in his contribution therefore he was only 10% efficient (2 me ).u mentinoned about threating runs which opened space,if that enabled him 2 get a rating of 9,then messi should get a 9 in every game(except the game against los che).

    alves.1st half he was so so.but 2nd half he was awesome.and the way he anticipated the ball and threw himself 2 score that was truly fantastic.he deserved more than 6 for ur theory”cumulating points from 0″.

    so i provide my support for my “O”.

    good review though

    • Kxevin
      November 1, 2010

      So now ask yourself, what is Iniesta’s job, particularly in light of a diminished Xavi, then ask yourself if we would have been as effective without the match that he played. Messi and Villa have very different jobs, so to ask if Iniesta contributed like Messi and Villa isn’t the right question.

      The right question is, as noted above, how would our match have gone had Iniesta not had the match that he had. His contributions to the ball control and midfield attack, as well as the destabilization when he moved forward were crucial. Yes, he had moments where he did that silly thing that he does where he dribbles himself out of play.

      So here’a another question. When Villa has good passing and movement and gets a low rating, I’m a knucklehead for not giving him full credit. When Iniesta gets a high rating for having good passing and movement, I’m a knucklehead for giving him too high a rating.

      Hmmm….

      Players are rated according to their jobs, and how they perform them. If Villa has good passing and movement, but doesn’t put the ball in the net, he hasn’t done his job. If Iniesta has good passing and movement, he has done his job, irrespective of whether he scored or not. You can’t use the same evaluative template to asses the matches of Messi, Villa and Iniesta.

      • justsayin'
        November 1, 2010

        Correct, player are rated according to their job, so Villa and Iniesta can perform similarly but be rated very differently due to what they are out there to accomplish. With that being said, I checked your rating for Xavi (7) v. Iniesta (9) since their jobs are abit more similar though not exactly alike. I think they both had comparable matches and executed their duties at a very similar level. Perhaps an 8 for both, Xavi certainly did his job passing the balls to the front line to create goal scoring opportunities and I feel Iniesta did pretty much the same. Both players had their moments, but they did disappear sporadically during the game. However, I think this was more because the other 8 players were playing so well that Xavi and Iniesta weren’t needed at all moments to create passing chances at goal.
        Just want to add that I appreciate the respectful & intelligent back and forth between Barca fans on this forum.

      • Kxevin
        November 1, 2010

        Thanks, justsayin’. It’s part of what (we hope) makes us so addictive.

  22. sab
    November 1, 2010

    now ask urself what is the most important facet of a football match?if u say scoring then i must say whenever how little a player contributes as long as he scores he deserves a rating above 5.

    i say iniestas rating can not be as same as messi or villa.

    finally i said this rating generous because of your above mentioned theory.

    The right question is, as noted above, how would our match have gone had Iniesta not had the match that he had.

    there is lots of ifs,well i can remind that we thrashed sevilla 3-2 without him.what if i ask u what will happen 2 bojan if that goal against intermilan is allowed 2 stay.neither u nor i can say that.so its better not 2 ask these hypothetical question.ur question reminded my final term exam on powerplant engineering.i misunderstood a question,so i get an A-instead of an A.what if i dont misunderstood that question.

    Players are rated according to their jobs, and how they perform them. If Villa has good passing and movement, but doesn’t put the ball in the net, he hasn’t done his job. If Iniesta has good passing and movement, he has done his job, irrespective of whether he scored or not.

    to me (i dunno know about yours)barca play total football.so its important for eveerybody 2 contribute in almost everything(even VV sometimes play as a sweeper).thats why i found P s rating always perfect(cause when he isnt contributing in attacking he makes contribution in our defense,).now i m not sure, u defended IBRA a lot when he was not scoring saying that he contributes us in other ways.isnt that contradictory?

    sorry i m not a good writer like u,thats why i cant properly express my feelings.but u r not knucleheaded by me.i merely say u r generous(which happens everytime we won awesomely,i checked ur review of the villareal game last season)by giving paleface a rating equal 2 messi and villa.

    moreover messi drops deep fequently in this match to minimize the diminished xavi effect.

    no grudges bro.

    now kxevin u didnt answer about alves.waiting for that

    • Kxevin
      November 1, 2010

      Alves’ aggregate score adds up to a 6. He had much suck, then played his way out. When Ibrahimovic got a good rating, despite not having scored a goal, it was usually because of the midfield control efforts, the passing, the tracking back and defending on set pieces. As you note, total football. Villa, for me, needs to start playing the whole pitch with more regularity. Pedro! for me, still drifts in and out of the match too much. So he’ll have this amazing sequence, even two, then you don’t hear from him for a while.

      And this isn’t a comparison, but Messi, when he’s on, is never out of a match. He’s defending, battling for possession in midfield, passing, getting water, you name it. P! is getting there as he learns to deal with being a marked man. But he ain’t there yet.

  23. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    Excellent dissection over at Zonal Marking today, folks.

  24. ooga aga
    November 1, 2010

    kxevin tries, but cant respond to everyone and everything. he has a day job bro. cut him some slack.

    just wanted to remind everyone that europe changed their clocks yesterday so the game tomorrow against Copenhagen will be an hour later here in the states than normal. 3:45pm eastern.

  25. Josep
    November 1, 2010

    Whoa thats interesting. I guess I’ll take my break at 2:45 instead of 3 and catch the first half.

    I’d also like to point out that jnice (or someone using a very similar twitter name) leads @barcastuff’s prediction ratings.

    Yay jnice! I have yet to get anything correct, I was close with my 4-0 Saturday.

    • Jnice
      November 1, 2010

      Haha, thanks, Josep.

  26. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    And in case people aren’t hitting refresh, new post up.

Comments are closed.