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. orangerie
    October 30, 2010

    great review, as always!

    one question, what was puyol’s yellow for? i didn’t see any reason for it

    • Jnice
      October 31, 2010

      It was a bogus yellow. Ref told them to stop jostling or whatever in the box and wanted to assert his authority, so he handed out yellows. Silly ref.

  2. Jnice
    October 31, 2010

    Agree with mostly everything except the part about Bojan’s running. If you watch Messi’s goal again, you’ll see that Bojan opened up TONS of space for Messi to get that shot through because he dragged a couple of defenders with his diagonal run. Pep even gave him a thumbs up for it right after the goal.

    And Mascherano did lose the ball that time which led to a Sevilla attack, but he ran back and deflected Negredo’s shot out for a corner, so credit to him.

    Before this match, I asked that we finished our chances… and we did that. I hope we do it again midweek in Denmark.

  3. October 31, 2010

    Sigh, that was a great game. I’m not sure the defense was really tested today, though, especially after the red card to Konko, and that’s why I can’t be confident looking ahead to El Clasico. Like it or not, Di Maria and Ronaldo are on a red hot run of form, but then again so is Messi. I would rate Alves higher than Pique today – he was just EVERYWHERE, and refusing to celebrate was really classy. I didn’t watch the first 25 min of the game though, so that might explain the discrepancy. Good to see Pep make a substitution before the 89th minute too! By the way, @barcastuff tweeted earlier today that Messi has 61 goals in his last 61 games, which is scarcely believable…but then you see him jogging past four defenders and rolling the ball into the opposite corner without stopping, and you understand.

    • Stephen
      October 31, 2010

      I wouldn’t worry about those EE kids… they were nothing to a good Hercules in the first 45mins, we run the entire 90mins unlike Hercules and make THEM chase the ball like dogs, they can be in marathon form, doesn’t matter.

      • Culer_Than_Thou
        October 31, 2010

        I dont want to sound pessimistic. But dont want this space to be bathing in complacence either. More of realism.

        We’re back in the groove. But EE too is in good form, you can’t deny that. The raw pace of their attack is very threatening. But their defense still sucks. Who’s better face-to-face? Too tough to say right now, but you can’t just write them off like that already.

        And to give due credit to Hercules, WE too were nothing to a good Hercules for both the 45 minutes (for whatever reasons is out of the discussion).

  4. Stephen
    October 31, 2010

    I agree, def. treble season performance, Loved that he took Xavi out, we need him midweek. Villa found the net, hopefully for good this time ! and man did he find it, his first goal was beautiful. Alves not celebrating but rather seemed apologizing about his goal? That didn’t feel right, it deserved one of those “who’s your daddy?” type celebrations… shame. oh well.

    • starbyfudge
      October 31, 2010

      who’s your daddy? are you serious sevilla was good to him plucked him from obscurity and turned him into a superstar.. it was a classy move. dont be a dick.

      • ballbeav
        October 31, 2010

        i agree it’s nobodys place to say (other than alves) whether it “feels right” to act this way or that way after a goal. maybe stephen doesnt know alves used to play for sevilla.

        • Stephen
          November 1, 2010

          I knew he did, but who cares? its a beautiful goal, had it been any regular goal then whatever but it was class and he deserved a celebration. Just saying, don’t pop a blood vessel about it.

    • karo
      October 31, 2010

      alves was crying when he left sevilla.

  5. starboyfudge
    October 31, 2010

    what pedro did to konko no grown man should do to another, it was so nasty.. cover your kids eyes rated R nasty.. i think as a man as a footballer to salvage your pride you almost have to foul the guy.. you dont want to be part of the highlight of a goal where someone turns on you and blows past you like you were standing still.

  6. TrueCule
    October 31, 2010

    That was surely our best performance of the season, so far. It seems JoMo’s attempt to ‘motivate’ Benzema by comparing him to el Guaje worked in favour of Villa itself. He never lacked any, though, but his confidence damage infront of the goal must have been repaired through self-motivation to show what class he is.

  7. Goo
    October 31, 2010

    So happy that Villa got back at Mou for spewing bile all over him. That’s how you shut em up, with a golazo of a shot for his first goal.

    It also has to be said, Xavi’s backheel flip was the most awesome of all backheel passes I’ve seen in the history of backheels. And if he can make those passes, maybe that Achilles is getting better.

    • stowe
      October 31, 2010

      what about the one he had to villa in the world cup? didn’t see the one this weekend though

  8. stowe
    October 31, 2010

    what’s with the bold font? am i the only seeing that? not liking it personally

    • Culer_Than_Thou
      October 31, 2010

      Yeah, i have that problem too, and i thought it must be something with my computer.

      Not liking it at all. I’ve already pressed ‘ctrl+A and ctrl+B’ on autopilot mode a couple of times.

    • October 31, 2010

      Someone forgot to close the bold code. I am trying to close it here, though not sure it work this way.

  9. momo
    October 31, 2010

    Correction, the wonderful xavi backheel found Villa not messi.
    Great review

  10. Mido
    October 31, 2010

    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.
    Priceless
    -anyway,is it just me to think that you have been a a bit harsh on Alves lately as he deserves a higher rating IMO but anyway Awesome review,great ratings,The team was fantastic tonight,didnt see the team that good since we faced the gooners,will be interesting to see whether Villa can manage to continue to score in the next few games or not,great to see Pep using many tactics today,using Abidal as a 3rd centreback then giving him more freedom after the match was too easy to use 3 CBs,Moving Villa to the right just before he scored his golazo,Messi playing in a free role and then

    • Mido
      October 31, 2010

      *and then moving to play as a false nine,it was hard to describe our formation today but its obvious that Pep tries new tactics every game,dont think he is experiminting but its just every game needs a unique approach,a unique tactic and different players,I am sure that against Kobenhagen we will not see the same team there,as Xavi said before,Pep is obsessed with tactics

  11. extreme barca fan
    October 31, 2010

    great match, great review, great messi, great villa.. etc
    we played the perfect game and we deserved each and every goal.
    villa 1st was pure OMG.
    i can take many positives from this, but ill stay quite and see how we do against an in form copenhagen side.

    • Soto
      October 31, 2010

      I want that trumpet player at every game.

  12. Flyzowee
    October 31, 2010

    The guy with the trumpet – just awesome.

  13. October 31, 2010

    trying to close the bold font again…(if it doesnt work, Kxevin will deal with it later)

  14. Spiro
    October 31, 2010

    maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m right but I have to say. In our last game Villa showed a little spark of Eto’oness (which is good), there was one point in the first half when Messi was rolling up with the ball from the right and he slotted Villa a little pass, now on a normal play, it would be the usual little one-two Messi and co do. But now as Messi passed the ball Villa’s marker thought he read the play and straight away he ran towards the direction of Messi’s path to intercept teh one-two, Villa decided to do an Eto’o thing and completely out turn out smart his marker and if he was a little luckier could of scored probably the contention for goal of the season.

    Now, just that one play, opened my eyes to when in future what possible damage Messi and Villa could do if they both start to meld their game together. PEOPLE! there is no messidepencia anymore, we are starting to see the real potential threats Villa and Pedro pose on the pitch, and they are not that far from Messi’s level.

    • poipoi
      October 31, 2010

      besides you can see the chemistry between villa and his teammates, eto’o had it ibra didn’t, maybe if he had more time. ((( … had had more time?)))

  15. poipoi
    October 31, 2010

    wowow what a fine game we played everyone but krkic maybe, I thought masche more than okay. And villa, omg güaje!! setting stadiums on fire like he used to. I have photos from the game, from my phone… they are awful. How can I send them to you? or post them or whatever. You’ll see how far my tickets are, the farthest in fact 😉 almost out 🙁

    “If you can win a race by a nose, why win it by four lengths? It’s just wasted energy.” true, true, but people pay to see them play and sometimes accidents happen with a 1-0, even with a 2-0 sometimes.

    …Maybe we cannot play with xavi but I don’t see why he has to play like this. It even hurts to see him but he tha best… LEGEND.

    • poipoi
      October 31, 2010

      lol … play withOUT xavi … didn’t mean that blasphemy sorry

    • November 1, 2010

      “why win it by four lengths?”
      I think Kev was referring to the entire La Liga year
      …and even there accidents happen! I remember a 12 point lead once…

      • Vj
        October 31, 2010

        Can I try some more? Sorry for spamming but there are 19 ‘<strong>’s and 18 ‘</strong>’s ..

        After ‘Until then’ a ‘<strong>’ is not finished..

      • Vj
        October 31, 2010

        Of course, I can’t write into the source file.. And the comment publishing ignores tags other that <b> etc.. So hopefully one of the mods corrects the problem I mentioned..

  16. Eklavya
    October 31, 2010

    Man this sucks! I had unexpected guests over and they wouldnt leave till the game was over! XD

    Ill have to download it I guess…

  17. GREECE BARCA
    October 31, 2010

    great review of a great game!i like a lot as kxevin said the atmosphere in the stadium!that.s what the team needs!noise!poipoi do you made noise??hehe!lucky you!

    • poipoi
      October 31, 2010

      I usually make way too much noise, compared to my neighbours. Last night I tested my ability to shut up while drunk, and I really did! 😀

      this one time everyone around turned to look at me ’cause I shouted “what are you doing? pisalo pisalo!” (step on him) a la bilardo, ’cause the other player was loosing time lying on the grass. I was really embarassed 🙁

  18. Jim
    October 31, 2010

    So good to see Iniesta back where he should be. With those two there, 70+% possession is almost guaranteed and that doesn’t leave the opposition much time to do anything with the ball. I actually thought Sevilla did well on occasions to hold the ball for as long as they did ! Xavi also needs him there, especially if we want him to go easier in games. On a side note, didn’t like the deliberate way Sevilla were targetting his ankles from the back. Any word on how Xavi felt after the game?

    Hopefully we’re seeing the benefits of a week of uninterrupted training for the top players. For me, I’d put Xavi on the bench for Copenhagen and bring in Masch along with Busi. We’ve no need to chase this game and I’d like a practice for going to the EPL sides later in the competition.

    With regard to the EE, they are playing their all action style pretty well ( although I thought they were poor yesterday) but it’s a style that relies on getting lots of the ball as they give it up quite cheaply. They may have to wait a bit longer to get it back if they do that against us 🙂 Looking forward to it already but the first 20 minutes Xaviniesta is (are?) going to have to withstand an assault on their possession. A fit Xavi and Iniesta will be huge in deciding that although we need to watch we don’t wrap Xavi in too much cotton wool as he also has to be match sharp and half games won’t do that.

    • Soto
      October 31, 2010

      You are absolutely right, Jim. Iniesta plays much better when he lies behind the forward and moves inside. His control and passing were much more devastating yesterday than last week, where he got lost on the far left sideline. I am suspicious tha Guardiola will continue to experiment with Iniesta on the wing, but I wish he wouldn’t. Clearly Iniesta works best lying deeper and inside working with Xavi. The question I have is whether when Xavi is not playing, can Busquets or Mascherano play the Xavi role and feed Iniesta. I have not seen Guardiola test that set-up.

  19. Helge
    October 31, 2010

    Wow! What a match 😀

    And here is a crazy statistic from Pep’s tweet:
    Guardiola: “Messi 61 goals in 61 games this year? You can’t believe it. At his age..”

  20. Cesc Blanc
    October 31, 2010

    good report just…

    “and a late-night snack from some place on La Rambla.”

    No one gets a snack from La Rambla except for tourists! La Rambla is a rip-off! Although, given that many visitors might be tourists, they may have gone there.

    But for anyone else visiting Barcelona: Don’t eat, talk to women at night and buy anything at La Rambla!!!!

    • Cluless(John)
      October 31, 2010

      kev, a taxi from the camp to la rambla… And a snack there????? Forget any crazy people comments here today, this is the most dillusional thing posted on this site EVER lol.

      • Cesc Blanc
        October 31, 2010

        May recommend “El Cargolet Picant” for before and after game snack.

        • October 31, 2010

          Sorry, but when everything ELSE is closed, as is the case after the 10 p.m. matches, and you’re hungry, there is nowhere else in Barcelona to go. Yes, the earlier matches offer lots of other options, and I always dine before the 10 p.m. matches.

          But still ….

          Everybody has lots of gustatory options at 9 and 10 p.m., but at 1 a.m., when you’re ravenous from screaming your head off?

          • Clue(less)
            October 31, 2010

            There is a tapas bar a few blocks away from the camp, by the metro….I think the are open super late.

  21. GREECE BARCA
    October 31, 2010

    oh how do you rate caceres perfomance?no bad for me.but i believe if he stayed with us now he would be a better player!

  22. GREECE BARCA
    October 31, 2010

    haha goal.com always make me laugh!!after afelay,rooney,torres now we want modric for 40m!haha!

  23. Auld Super
    October 31, 2010

    Never take any notice of goal.com although tribalfootball.com are much worse. Fantastic game and the goal machine is off and about time too. I still don’t see why we spent 25m on Masch though, he is not Barca quality, having said that we did so we might as well make the most of him. It’s when you see him that you really appreciate Busquets.

  24. Spiro
    October 31, 2010

    Well I defo wana see more of SMasch, so far he is more then what I expect he has enough to be Barca material thats for sure

  25. blitzen
    October 31, 2010

    Kxevin, you biased idiot! I…oh wait…huh. Actually I agree with everything in your review. Never mind. 😀

  26. GREECE BARCA
    October 31, 2010

    i like the black in my mobile phone!hehe!

  27. jhargrid
    October 31, 2010

    I am so jealous of everyone who actually got to see this match. I can’t wait for the download to finish so I can see the team play a lovely one. I’ve been holding out for Villa to finally accomplish some good in front of goal. Now just for Bojan to really pick up his form…

  28. Louis
    October 31, 2010

    I agree that Abidal played very well attacking and providing width. However, his crosses almost never (if any?) got into the box. That’s something he has to work on. Although, I’ll take his ball-hunting, tackling, and position over Maxwell any day on the defensive side.

  29. Jim
    October 31, 2010

    I’m only seeing one pessimistic post so far …… 🙂

    Seriously, sailor, we’re fans. That’s what we do. After the Liveblog which tends to capture tension and doubt most posts in the comments are fairly measured.

  30. ballbeav
    October 31, 2010

    fan = fanatic. i agree with you in one sense, sailor, but on the other hand, if people didnt get ridiculous, none of this would be happening. what drives someone to purchase a knock off soccer shirt displaying (in most cases) a corporate logo? the same that drives all sorts of bile spewing in this and other fora. its this mania that can bring a sport to even the most remote corners of the world for you and others to enjoy.

    that said, people are very dramatic….feels good i guess.

    • ballbeav
      October 31, 2010

      and it’s true that you can find much, much worse in other fora. far from a graveyard, this is more like a fun trip down a road lined with trolls.

    • Kari
      October 31, 2010

      And Cules are infamous. Seriously. Xavi once said, and this is paraphrased: “If there’s one thing I admire about the EE side of things, it’s their overconfidence; that even in a crisis they’re so confident. In Barcelona, one result goes wrong and there’s a witch hunt.”

      • Humphrey Bogart
        October 31, 2010

        Xavi is not only on the pitch a genius. He always sees things from the right perspective

  31. BA
    October 31, 2010

    anyone have a link to an English-language download of the match? the Sky coverage perhaps?

    • Eklavya
      October 31, 2010

      Perhaps you should check in the previous post’s comments! 🙂

      • Jim
        October 31, 2010

        Me or sailor? The previous post’s comments are about as measured as we get, even on a good day :0

  32. ballbeav
    October 31, 2010

    villareal tied and we’re alone in second.

    AND barca B got 2 goals in the last 10 minutes to beat Alcorcon 3-1!!! keeping pace with the top of the table.

  33. Kari
    October 31, 2010

    Repost, but this is so awesome!

    I just found this guy on YouTube that’s downloaded some full matches of us, almost all in English and amazing quality!

    /http://www.youtube.com/user/EmperorAtahualpa#g/p

    Some games include: 2-6 Clasico ( glorious HD, but in Spanish), 1-0 Clasico (Ibra’s goal), that Zaragoza match, Atleti loss at Calderon last season, Atleti win this season, Hercules loss, Valencia game this season…

    I dunno if he’s uploading all of our matches this season, but he’s got a chuck of them and he even put the dates! I think you can ask for some games on his page as well.

    Ex. Zaragoza vs Barca–March 21, 2010

    /http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=E066A6BBFAFF1D0E

  34. October 31, 2010

    Did you notice that after yesterday’s game we became much bolder? 🙂
    (crappy humourous attempt from me…)

    The moment of the day for me, as Kxevin noted, was not Villa’s and Messi’s brace… but Villa’s resistance to pull out an “Inzaghi” on the line for the first goal… At that moment Maravilla just proved out that he indeed IS a Blaugrana material.

    Great article! Bold comments! A ganar! 🙂

  35. Jnice
    October 31, 2010

    LOL, that Andres kid at the Real offside is such a joke. His comments consistently make me laugh. Not many have that ability. Kudos to him.

    • Kari
      October 31, 2010

      He’s just a Mad Madridista. Sometimes he’s so blinded by his intense dislike of us that he says ridiculous things, even moreso now because they haven’t won anything and we’re winning everything ;D .

      On his day though, he says insightful things and is probably one of the harshest critics of EE over there when things are going wrong (but also incredibly overconfident when things are going well). Meh.

      Still think Bassam is the best writer/commenter over there though.

      • Jnice
        October 31, 2010

        The overconfidence is what kills me. It’s almost the same thing week in, week out.
        It’s as if he doesn’t stop and take a breath when he talks. “At this rate we are unstoppable and will destroy all in our path including the cules who won’t know what hit them with our fast strikers who have gelled and are the best in the world.”

        Or something like that. Then that silly comment will get 10 “well said” and tons of likes. I just don’t get it.

        I like Bassam, Labomba (sp?) and the dude named john they used to have over there who would come over and talk with us at times.

        What also had me smirking was how a lot of them were hating on Hercules for parking the bus or whatever and complaining that they hate parked bus teams, which is all good and dandy, but when a cule says you guys don’t face parked buses like we do, they say, “What? Teams play defensive against us to.” But you can tell when a team really parks the bus against them, like Murcia and Hercules, because after the game they will complain and act like they never saw that before.

        Barça genuinely faces parked bus sides EVERY week. Madrid don’t and that’s very clear.

        But enough about them, I just had to get that off my chest.

        • blitzen
          October 31, 2010

          Hercules didn’t park the bus! Did you watch that match? They were very brave and attacking all the time. Now, Murcia, they parked a fleet of buses.

          • Jnice
            October 31, 2010

            I didn’t watch, but many complained about a bus being parked.

    • Jose
      October 31, 2010

      Definitely agree with you on the comments over at that place. I’ve said it before: the blog content at the EE offside is solid, but the most of the commenters come off as teenage boys in the crest of puberty. A lot of petty, juvenile trash gets posted there (that Andres kid being the prime offender) and it’ll get 9 likes and 5 “well saids”.

  36. Kxevin
    October 31, 2010

    Had to set the record straight over at EE Offside. They alleged that Sevilla “rolled over” for us. As I noted, if you don’t have the ball, you can’t play. Simple as that. I also had to remind them that we didn’t put a clause in Caceres’ loan deal that precluded him playing for us as they did with Drenthe. His not being on the pitch and Valdez going down injured in the aftermath of a Carvalho challenge saved them as much as anything else.

    And why the hell are the comments in bold?

    Whoops! Stray bit of HTML code. All better now.

    • Jnice
      October 31, 2010

      Andres says the same thing every week. We rarely get credit for playing well.

      According to him, “they trashed Sevilla in the super copa as well this season but what happened after that ? they went on to play like crap so i wouldnt worry about them.”

      Whatever. Can’t wait till El Clasico.

    • Jose
      October 31, 2010

      Kxevin, thanks for saying the things that need to be said, in the places that they need to be said, in the situations in which doing it myself would made for a frustrating a futile endeavor.

  37. Austin
    October 31, 2010

    Interesting article in the Guardian claiming we run the 1930s-era W-W (aka 2-3-2-3). Good for discussion, at least:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/oct/26/the-question-barcelona-reinventing-w-w

    Also, Kxevin – in the liveblog you mentioned that you think Alves is gone in the summer. I seem to remember a comment from you in earlier in the week that you were confident we would quickly extend his contract – why the change in opinion over the last several days?

    • October 31, 2010

      Austin, I did note that Alves said that he was confident that the sides would reach an agreement. I don’t share his optimism. Fiscally, the sides are very far apart, which usually indicates one of two things: 1. The team is undervaluing the player; 2. the player wants a deal that is outsized in the context of his value to the club.

      1. I think is hard to believe. Everyone has been very clear about Alves’ value to this club, and we have never been shy about compensating valuable players. But it only takes a big offer, or the rumor of a big offer from the likes of Citeh and Chelsea to make an agent’s eyes start to dance.

      We don’t know numbers, but all sources that we see, say that the sides agree on the duration, but not the money. I suspect that the vultures are why. Krkic and Busquets will renew. Of that we can be sure. Both rightly feel they are in heaven, for two very different reasons.

      Alves, however, is ambitious and hungry. That’s good, except at contract time. Yes, I had a bit more faith in the sides reaching an agreement, before his agent started negotiating in the media. Usually when that happens, it isn’t a good sign.

      • Austin
        October 31, 2010

        It makes sense. As top 3 RB, he knows all the big teams will be calling. As he’s not a graduate of La Masia he has no sentimental ties to the club, and in his time here has already helped the team earn 7 (8?) pieces of silverware. I suppose it will come down to what Citeh will eventually offer him (150+ K a week wouldn’t suprise me) and what our counter would be. The more I think about it, the less optimistic I am.

        • ballbeav
          October 31, 2010

          guardiola said after the sevilla match that alves is “fundamental for us.”

    • Vj
      November 1, 2010

      Wasn’t Kxevin the one who told us to leave all negativity at the door? 😛

  38. GREECE BARCA
    October 31, 2010

    Rochina,carmona and tello the scorers!!i want to see rochina in a full game with barca b!today i could not see the match!great win in a very difficult opponent!

  39. October 31, 2010

    This space isn’t pessimistic. Far from it. Does it have a tendency to overreact? Yes. As does every fan site. As one who is here every day, trust me. It ain’t pessimistic.

    Only a fool would say that “we suck.” And sorry, but Krkic sucked yesterday, as he has for most of this season. That doesn’t make it pessimistic, only analytical.

    Note that this space will analyze individual matches, and within a given context yes, the side can have much suck, or a player can have even more suck. But as a function of an overall trend? The indicators are clearly going up.

    • Stephen
      November 1, 2010

      Thank for pointing that out Kev, I think we just demand excellence, you can call that “pessimism” if you want, I call it not settling for mediocre futbol knowing your team’s potential, the whole “we’ll get them next time” just makes me sick. Besides this is a blog, to vent, give your opinion, not just all sit and shake our heads in utter agreement, what fun would that be?

  40. October 31, 2010

    Also, there were a few pessimistic Mascherano comments, which I don’t understand. For me, it’s very clear why we spent 25m on him. We saw it during his last two outings before this one, in which he owned the area from sideline to sideline.

    He is the best ball winner on the club in a straight-up situation, period. Busquets is the starter because he fits the system better. But I would hope to see, for example, some of Mascherano against EE. I think his skill set would be extraordinary, and disruptive against the likes of Ozil and Jughead.

    Keita and Busquets steal balls, but if an attacker gets on the wrong side of them, look out. Mascherano just stands up the attacker and takes the ball, or does a slide tackle to win it. We haven’t had that in some time, and it’s long overdue. I do hope that sMasch doesn’t become this season’s Ibrahimovic. “He’s only been with the side for two weeks, but already he isn’t Barca material.” That is impossible to discern, just as it was last season, on the pitch, with Ibrahimovic. Heck, the whiplash from the Villa turnarounds has been bad enough. 😀

    • Jnice
      October 31, 2010

      I don’t get the pessimistic Mascherano comments, either. Especially from Sid Lowe, who I would think would know better than to say “Mascherano is not a Barcelona player. Yet.”

    • Jim
      October 31, 2010

      I’m happy enough with what he’s done so far. There’ll be times this season when we’ll be glad we have him. Don’t see him as a regular starter though.

    • blitzen
      October 31, 2010

      Seriously? Masch has been terrific. His first couple of appearances were a bit wobbly, as you would expect, but since then he has fit in seamlessly. He has great communication with the other players, has made very few mistakes, and when he has, he has practically killed himself fixing them (see yesterday’s match). And he hasn’t been carded in how many matches now?

    • Soto
      October 31, 2010

      I have been very excited about Mascherano. As a Liverpool fan, I never thought much of him, since he only exhibited an enforcer quality. But I have been amazed at how quickly Guardiola has brought out other dimensions to Mascherano. Sure, he’s still dominating the straight-up defensive encounters with the strength and confidence of an enforcer, but he’s also linking up the play in a very Barca-esque style. He’s showing passing and positioning that I don’t remember seeing at Liverpool (this was probably due to Benitez rather than Mascherano).

      I have been happy with our signings this summer: Villa, Mascherano, and Adriano.

    • poipoi
      October 31, 2010

      he’s already good and will get better IMO. dude knows football, period 😀 una maquina!

    • Culer_Than_Thou
      November 1, 2010

      Angel di Maria = Jughead Jones

      Winningest nick name. EVAAAAH !!

      ROFL

      I actually googled both their images – and guess what, they’re the same.

  41. sab
    October 31, 2010

    can anyone provide me a link of 2 6 against EE with english commentaray?

    HD is always welcome.

    plz anyone

    • Jnice
      October 31, 2010

      What kind of link do you want? Torrent or HTTP? And seeing as it will be in HD, there will a lot of HTTP links, so do you have a premium subscription to hotfile, rapidshare, megaupload or anything?

      • sab
        November 1, 2010

        torrent jnice.

        will be awesomely appreciated

  42. October 31, 2010

    Oh, I also liked Caceres. Just not for us. His skill sets make him a very good last-ditch defender. He still hasn’t progressed all that much to me in reading a play, that keeps him from needing to make a last-ditch challenge. But he is physical and aggressive, and will work very well at some other club, like Sevilla. He has pace, and is improving at positioning, which was one of his Achilles heels with us.

  43. sab
    October 31, 2010

    generous rating but great review.

    iniesta deserved a 6,not a 9 IMO.alves deserved 8 IMO.

    • Kxevin
      October 31, 2010

      Well, that’s the very definition of “IMO,” right? So provide support for your “O.”

      • Ciaran
        October 31, 2010

        As far as I am concerned Iniesta was fantastic in the middle third but his end product was seriously lacking last night; instantly remembering the balls he ran straight out past the endline and another that ran into too many defenders.

      • sab
        November 1, 2010

        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

    • Jim
      October 31, 2010

      Wouldn’t agree with either but let’s hear why.

  44. Helge
    October 31, 2010

    Remember the commercial and the general optimism of the Atleti fans at the beginning of the season?
    I bet they will get slaughtered by the EE next weekend, they’re playing so poorly once again.

    • Stephen
      November 1, 2010

      I think they purposely want to get killed by EE, they stepup and play like real men to us, but just bend over for EE, its so sad.

  45. Hilal
    October 31, 2010

    I find it quite bewildering that anybody has negative comments re Mascherano. Lets remember this is a player coming from a different league and from a team that played a completed different style of football. The fact that he is adapting so well and with such little playing time should be impressing the hell out of everyone. Just look how long it has taken Villa who is coming from the same league and who has already played with the majority of ~Barca players in the national team. He has also had a hell of a lot more playing time to gel with the team. He didnt exactly slot in did he? Offide much. Yet Mascherano isnt Barca material? Come on. Get Real. He has already adapted to the less aggressive nature of La Liga by toning down his agression. His passing is just fine, he may not be Xavi or Iniesta but his passing is good enough. His reading of the game is excellent and his ability to break play is frankly second to none. How exactly is he not “Barca quality”?!?! Please somebody enlighten me..

  46. Flyzowee
    October 31, 2010

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

  47. 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.

    • 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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*

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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!

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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

  57. Culer_Than_Thou
    November 1, 2010

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

  58. 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

  59. 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!

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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 😛

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    Excellent dissection over at Zonal Marking today, folks.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

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

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