Fight Fire With Fire: Copenhagen 1 – 1 Barça

First, all credit to Copenhagen for a stellar performance that against almost any other side in the world would have earned them 3 points. And sure, I thought it was over when Messi scored, but of course under 60 seconds later it was back to even and that thought went out the window. No one was particularly bad for us, but Copehagen—or FCK, if you prefer to giggle like a 10 year old getting away with saying naughty things…and you know I do!—was particularly good. Like in the first leg, they proved their worthiness of playing in the CL.

Second, Bojan was horrible. His movement was completely lacking. He’s really got to step up and play better if he wants to make this team.

Thing is, despite all the melodramatic gnashing of teeth that an away draw in the Champions League can cause some of us, we had our chances and we simply didn’t take them. We didn’t take advantage of their defensive mistakes and, in a sense, we paid for it. If you’d paused the play right after Iniesta flicked the ball on for Messi, leaving him 1v1 with the keeper, you would have said we were going to score. You’d have been wrong because, like with almost everything Barça did today, the move was overthought. “I’ll simply place it with my left to the side of the keeper and then I’ll—oops, I lost the ball.” Use your right foot, Leo.

Our midfield was often overrun and Busquets had a fairly torrid time; his positioning suffered because Xavi wasn’t his usual self, el motorcito de Terrassa actually running less than both Dani Alves and Busi. Odd, but that’s what ankle problems will do to you. Keita wasn’t as effective either, but that’s probably because he didn’t have anyone to constantly harass. They didn’t actually have any midfield creators, not really. Claudemir and Bolaños can hardly be accused of being creative, at least not today, and most of their movement was based on getting behind Dani Alves (repeatedly).

What worked so well against Sevilla worked basically not at all against the two solid banks of defenders and a blistering counterattack using strong wingers. Sevilla, then, was perhaps only missing a solid left back (Navarro) and a winger (Navas) because they had the midfielder harassers, just no way to really make any impact if the ball ever fell to them. Copenhagen had Jesper Gronkjaer who, at 33, defies some of the age-ist stereotypes and Bolaños, Vingaard, and Kvist were all looking for space on the wings whenever possible.

Abidal, it should be noted, had probably the best match of anyone. His side was shut down utterly and completely. Dani was pushing too far up and not getting back in time to give Pique the cover he needed, basically stranding Gerard in no man’s land time and again as Puyol was dealing with runs from N’Doye or whoever was coming in behind him. Copehagen was playing a 4-4-1-1, basically, with the whole team dropping very deep on defense. The only time they didn’t, N’Doye nearly died because Valdes took exception to his incursion. What was interesting was that they played our game and did it very well for most of the match. In the end, Barça had 67% of the possession, but couldn’t really do much with it except hit the post on occasion.

Our goal was sort of a garbled mess that can happen at any time, so I don’t really want to talk about it too much (the approach was pretty, but the end result was merely the ball falling to Messi). Their goal was the result of a terrible no call in midfield that left Barça reeling; Keita was fouled it was off to the races for Copenhagen when there was no whistle. Whatever, Dani was still caught out and made some atrocious moves to let the ball in behind him, Valdes couldn’t punch the ball away, and Claudemir took a great shot. He took merely took advantage of what fell to him. Odd that both of the goals were sort of crap when the rest of the play was so scintillating, no?

I’ll leave you with this: we need to shoot more with our less desired feet. Iniesta and Messi both blew good chances because they don’t use “that other foot”—even I know, as my high school coach said, to use the peg leg to tuck the ball away. Whatever, we looked good for stretches, terrible for others. Our midfield was off, our touch was off like we had never played with that ball before, and Copenhagen were good. We’ve got 8 points, FCK 7, Rubin 3, and Panathinaikos 2. We’re not out of the woods yet, not with a visit from Rubin and a trip to Greece in store, but we’re looking good.

This weekend it’s away to Getafe, then Ceuta comes to town to face what I assume will be a young lineup. Then it’s Villarreal at the Camp Nou, at Almeria, at Panathinaikos, and then el clásico is here. Plenty of matches, so don’t get too crazy, especially considering they haven’t released the date of the match yet. I’m guessing Saturday, November 27.

I do not do ratings. Instead, you get this:

Please stop. I do not like your dance moves.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Thanks for pointing out Abidal’s work, he’s been my favorite since the treble season, he seems to be in great form almost the entire game every game this season, he did his share jittery things today, but all in all fine.
    Very puzzled by Guardiola’s late sub, and only sub. Pedro would’ve done a great deal of good had he been in sooner, I think. Lots of things went south for us, coming from a beautiful game over the weekend, its a bit of a let down. here’s to hoping a great match on Sunday AND that el clasico be played on a Sunday the 28th.

  2. Full credits to Copenhagen, really. They are really strong in almost every aspect of the game. Even their passing and teamwork is on par with a lot of big clubs.

    The tactics they got was right, right from the start. I do not think they are a regular bus-parking team, especially in the first half. Many of us found it boring to watch because we can’t see the usual Barcelona Tiki-Taka stuff. Instead, we lob long balls after long balls to their side. They are still parking it, but they park it high. What I mean is that they played a really high defense line and then a more advanced midfield harassers. Needless to say, the physical way they are so good at playing plus the aggression, we often found our midfielders crowded by 3 or 4 Copenhagen players. They outplayed our midfield for a long stretch of time, and that’s why they could attacked us so much.

    When we kind of find our rhythm and slowly moved the ball forward, they still keep the same compact defense. The high defensive line they played may look risky, but really, their speed compensated it.

    Not to say they were perfect, as they were far from it. But their tactics worked really well.

    Guardiola: “In my 2 years at Barça, no team played this intense against us.” – Barca Stuff

    Not even Madrid pressed us that well, not even Rubin Kazan. Copenhagen fully deserved to advance imo. I hope they do well and make a name for their nation.

    Will talk about our team later…

  3. I was pretty satisfied after the match, given how well FCK played. According to @barcastuff, Pep said no one has played us with such intensity since he was coach, and while I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration (Chelsea 09, Inter 10, Madrid first clasico last year), it’s not far off.

    I thought Keita had a decent match — his runs constantly pulled defenders toward the middle, affording Iniesta acres and acres of space on the left REPEATEDLY. Pity Iniesta didn’t do anything with that space, or that Pep didn’t put Pedro on earlier to do something with it, but those are the breaks.

    I just read the comments on the other post and am surprised people thought Leo played well — I thought his passing was off today and he was just off the pace. And Xavi looked injured — why he played 2 consecutive matches when he should be nursed is beyond me. Couple of bizarre decisions from Pep today, that’s for sure.

  4. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. When Guardiola took over the club I was sure that Abidal would be gone within two seasons. Lets just say that this is one of the rare times I’m happy to be wrong. He has continually impressed me in his ability to adapt to the role that Pep gives him. I never thought of him as a strong attacking fullback, bu his contributions going forward are measured and effective. Here is to hoping he can continue to evolve into a long term substitute at center back (I know he has played there before, but I mean be a good center back), and eventually as a backup left back.

    1. Good question. I’d say that Maxwell has improved more than Abidal, but Abidal is still the man, so to speak. Both are important to the cause, but Abidal is my choice for the foreseeable future.

      Maxwell’s value is when we have Mascherano in the midfield, and need our left back to be a midfield possession/passing presence. But Abidal has also improved that aspect of his game.

      Short answer? Abidal.

    2. Short answer: Abidal

      Long answer: I think they each bring something tactically unique to the team. Abidal generally gets the nod because he is a more solid defender, and his attributes are more varied tactically. By this I mean he can function as a left back playing like a third center back, and he is also capable of getting forward, providing width, and making endline crosses when needed. Maxwell on the other hand is better when he moves more centrally when getting forward, acting like a wide midfielder. Look at the goal he scored in the Copa – his run was fairly central, and not the touchline run Abidal makes. This is also why Pep has had no problem employing Maxwell in the midfield when needed.

      The real question for me is: what role is Adriano ultimately goingto fulfill on the team?

    3. If yuo would’ve asked me(which you didn’t 😆 ), I would say Abidal all the way. I’d select Abidal over Max any day.

    4. Without a shadow of a doubt, Abidal is 100% better. Maxwell, does not have the presence & positioning of Abidal. For me, he’s been rock solid.

    5. Abidal has been rock overall for a long time. He was always one of my favorites even when some were damning him his first season. Hes got the pace to keep up with most top wingers and is deceptively strong. I just hope Ronaldo plays on the right against us.

  5. Oh, crap! So to preserve the integrity of the KRS (luckily I took copious notes, just to keep in practice):

    Team: 7. Stood strong and played our game. Almost pulled it out at the end. Individual players were off, but the collective was strong.

    Guardiola: 5. Wrong starting XI, but then you didn’t rectify it. I would have loved to see Mascherano for Xavi and P! for Villa a LOT earlier.

    Valdes: 5. Nice one, butterfingers. Solid before and after, but the error was costly, especially on a corner bound for nowhere.

    Alves: 1. You were owned all night, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a cross, and almost put your side a man down via petulance.

    Pique: 3. When not being stranded by Alves, was caught dwelling on the ball, and the feet were in quicksand all night.

    Puyol: 9. Monster. Full-on monster. Pace, presence and a haranguing influence in trying to tighten things up at the back.

    Abidal: 9. His side of the pitch was closed. Nice getting forward on overlaps, as well, and strong passes in possession and attack.

    Busquets: 4. Bad time for Bad Busi. Face front and keep the ball moving. A fast-moving attack shows up his pace and positioning deficiencies related to that lack of ultimate pace.

    Keita: 5. Uncertain, in part because this wasn’t his kind of a match. Sometimes when he’s invisible it’s because he’s brilliant. Not tonight, when he was a t’ain’t, as in t’ain’t no real attacker, and t’ain’t no real defender.

    Xavi: 4. Started strong, then tailed off as his ankle started bothering him. Caught in possession uncharacteristically, more than once, and slow with passes, which hurt us. Get used to this, folks. Our Maestro is damaged.

    Iniesta: 6. Whenever he got away from the wing, good things happened. On the wing, he just dribbled into waiting Copenhagen defenders, who ran the other way when he fell down. Not cool. Amazing pass to set up the spurned Messi chance on the doorstep.

    Messi: 7. Wonderful at spots, pancake-flat at other spots. As Isaiah notes above, if he just finishes with his right foot, we win. Killer passing, too, by the by.

    Villa: 3. Back to being lazy about getting back onside, and only playing a quarter of the pitch. Could have had more chances with better movement. More passes should have found his runs. It was almost like he gave up at points, thinking “I won’t get the ball.” Started off brilliantly, then tailed off dramatically.


    Pedro!: 7. And was playing his way to a higher rating. Instant energy, and almost scored a stunner of a goal at the death. He turned out to be just what the doctor ordered against an unbalanced Copenhagen defense.

    The starting XI I would have loved to have seen:

    Alves Pique Puyol Abidal
    Iniesta Xavi Mascherano
    Pedro! Messi Villa

    Ah, well.

    1. Thank you for pointing out the Mascherano need, I said it in the blog, if the two defenders aren’t doing their thing (Alves and Pique) and the motorcito (Xavi) isn’t really working either, place someone who can hold their attack in the middle aka Mascherano, that even helps the others. He’s been doing beautifully for us would’ve loved to have seen him out there.

    2. I didn’t want to see Xavi on the field at all tonight. It may mean I’m a worrier, but Xavi needs as much rest as possible upfront. Wouldve loved to have seen a Ineista – Mascherano – Busquets midfield in a game like this.

    3. Hmmm. Iniesta/Mascherano/Busquets….not bad. I just think that Mascherano would have been able to stop so many of their runs, and turn defense into offense like he does so well.

      But all that said, a draw was a very fair result. I rather think the Footy Gods knew that, and steered Pedro!’s shot into the post.

    4. Great ratings Kxevin, but you forgot to give Bojan a zero 😉

      Pique intercepted one VERY dangerous part at the very beginning of the match, right after it Copenhagen hit the crossbar. Nonetheless, if Piqué didn’t stretch his leg, a Copenhagen player would have been through, 1vs1 against Valdes. So maybe I would have given him a 4, cuz it was crucial.

      Props to Copenhagen, I think they played almost like Villarreal mostly does against us, maybe not pressuring us as consequently, but they did a great job!

    5. 100% agree with the rating. Puyol and Abidal for me were outstanding. There was one scene when I thought they would pull the trigge and then Abidal was coming from his side of the pitch over to cover for Danis and Piques mistake and blocked the shot.

      I would have taken the same line up. I mean this was our chance to put this CL stage to the bed, so why did we not turn up with our best line up.

      Regarding Xavi I hope it is not over yet. I can not stand the idea of Barca without him, that literally hurts so much

    6. keita t’ain’t exactly tall. but i would have gone with the busquets/masch/iniesta line-up

  6. Isaiah, how does Bojan come in?

    Also, did no one notice that Messi actually did score with his right foot? And that it was an incredible first touch from Messi that enabled that goal? Look at it again – running in at pace, he manages to control an attempted clearance, switch feet, and shoot with the weak foot past the keeper, all in virtually one motion. Give him some love, that was an amazing goal!

    Abidal got pwned by Gronkjaer a couple of times, it has to be said.

    I was actually pretty happy with the way the game turned out too,because I don’t think we played particularly badly – indeed our play was even better than that against Sevilla at times – but it’s just that Copenhagen played a hell of a game. They were aggressive and physical and weren’t afraid to use those attributes, and good for them I say. They outworked us, and that sums it up for me. They just played really, really well. A lesser team would never have been put together some of the passes and combinations that they did.

    1. The Krkic thing was a joke, Nabeel, aimed at people who are blaming Krkic for global climate change. 😀

  7. I didn’t watch the match but why on earth wasn’t sMasch playing from the start or even as a sub? It sounded like we really needed him.

  8. Strange thing is that i find a lot of disagreement with KRS this time, of course, with my points here:

    Firstly, I would jump in defense of Dani Alves. We undervalue this player, by a few miles. Pep gave him a forward-going role to play. partner with Messi and creates good combination with him which ain’t easy to find. Especially when asked about how new players don’t know how to play with Messi. He work rate was stunning. Imagine the coach tells you to go forward to attack but when your teammates did a poor pass, you would be blamed by fans for being out of position.

    He didn’t have a great game, especially when we look at the goal they scored against us which found him committed too easily or too early. But he made a lot of last-ditch tackle in the same situation before(which nobody really mentioned as we focus on his errors in both attack and defense), just not this time. Of course, his attack wasn’t as sharp as we want him to be. But these things are sometimes hard to measure. It is easier to remember a couple of crosses that found nothing but the corner flag or row W, but to remember a few midfield hard work and forward harasses.

    It’s clear, Alves did not have his best night, but he is a 4 to me.

    Isaiah was right, Keita had no one to harass tonight. But he did a lot of dirty work. He was a box to box fighter tonight to me. Helped out on the wing, bomb box for header, show up around the box and made 1 shot after Messi went down without whistle, and made an all-important last ditch tackle when Puyol let that lose ball slipped thru his legs. And in general, he made all the wise decisions on the ball. To me Keita deserve at least a 7. It wasn’t a game for him to shine because he is not particularly creative and fast. In a game that saw the other side played a perfect tactic against us, how can he not be that invisible?

    Xavi was off song in the first half because when he drift around the circle, he saw 5 FCK players around him. If he dribble forward, he would be trapped inside and will force to lose the ball. Again, tactic worked against us. He was forced to start from behind, and slowly move forward, but his calmness maintained.

    He was sort of back to himself in the second half. More because Copenhagen dropped deeper into their box and let us play a more regular tiki-taka type of football. Xavi’s ball protecting ability was in full effect, and at the end completed the most passes. Some of which found Iniesta and Alves which lead to some good attacking movements. A 4 or 5 could be right, but I don’t think Xavi was bad at all.

    and I am ok with the other ratings. Again, I think we are really undervaluing Dani Alves. He deserves to be evaluated differently. If we look at him as a traditional right back, we will see a lot of errors in him, but I don’t think he is a regular right back.

    1. That’s funny, because I’m usually surprised when I agree with all of Kxevins ratings, but I did tonight.

      Not going to dive into ratings too much, but Xavi reall didn’t impress me today. I still think he doesn’t look fit. I may be wrong, but I go the impression that Xavi ran abou half as far as he does in a typical noninjured game for him.

    2. I agree Xavi wasn’t at his best either, but I’d doubt if a fully fit Xavi would play a lot better against a tactically right and physically strong team like FCK tonight. The number of Xavi didn’t matter much to me. It might be the slow in passes comment which I think was actually a good thing in the thick of such physical and fast pace game they were leading us to play. They forced us to make quick decisions and caught us in between thoughts and thats why we had to clear balls after balls. That’s why I view Xavi’s game/tempo controlling skills was of great use tonight.

    3. Whoa. In one day, we have had TWO FIRSTS;
      Greece Barca starting a sentence with a capital letter and
      you disagreeing with KXevin.
      At times I thought you were Kxevin and vice versa 😆

  9. bravo!!!

    i don’t get player’s inability to use their “weaker” foot. back when i used to skate(bit of a style snob) i used to be all about switch foot/nollie shit. brazilian cats i used to play futbol/ride with taught me that you can’t think in front of goal/when you’re skating. you just program yourself to be ready no matter what & that’s that. why i appreciate pedro so much. & sneijder, too. boo inter.

    & i’ll say it again: bale sucks. he’s quick. he has that dummy move he uses over & over again, but he sucks. i’ve seen every tottenham game played this year(really, spurs fan’s, you pick “saints go marching in” as your battle cry?) & i can definitively tell you today’s market price for him would be way inflated. he doesn’t look up when he crosses, can’t pass, can’t defend & is more preoccupied w/his hair than his position on the pitch. only reason to watch tottenham is for the modric-van der vaart partnership.

    1. Overhyped? Yes, but I like his pace. I’d rather have Bale then Defoe if I had a choice. Defoe is so predictable.If I could choose a player from Spurs. the player I would get is, Crouch and Modric.

      A few days ago, Nani claimed that he is one ofthe best players at the moment. It made me so sick that I actually got fever! It’s so unbelievable how these players from the EPL think. Just because you score a goal, and all of a sudden you are good? Sick Sick Sick!!

    2. He is overhyped but he is also awesome, he absolutely took the piss out of Maicon and could do the same to any right back.

      Some of his goals are phenomenal golazos and I would have him over P! if he had two feet, but he doesnt.

      He’s like a better version of Robben IMO.

      & Nani is crap, he thinks he is (virus)ronaldo, and always does that thing (virus)ronaldo does where if his team are tied or losing, he takes it upon himself to be savious of the team and shoot from everywhere, try to dribble in, fall over screaming, rise miraculously to blast in a free kick, no matter the distance.

      Passing? Whats that?

      Humility guys, thats what its all about. You don’t hear Messi going around talking about how he is the best in the world, but he is. End of Story.

    3. Bale was immense yesterday. He is still very raw. Bale does have some of the fastest acceleration I have seen in a top flight player.

      But, there are many players that if you put them one on one, they will destroy you. When was the last time you saw someone put a defender out on an island against Messi? They stopped doing that after Messi destroyed del Horno’s career. I bet people don’t make the same mistake again.

      Benitez made some terrible decisions yesterday, especially since Bale just did his team for three goals not two weeks before. But Benitez making bizarre tactical choices is hardly news.

  10. Its true Pep made a mistake. Starting Xavi is a good idea but keeping him for 90 minutes is catastrophic. I think that Pep afraid to withdraw any of the player because he didn’t want to break the attacking rhythm. But at the same time we need a goal to score. Replacing Keita with Pedro might be useful around 60-65 minutes of play. Keep option of Bojan for Villa at the 80th. If we scored one goal then it should be time for Mascherano to come in for Xavi to stop the counter attack. Who said we can’t play without Xavi. We scored three goals last week minus his inch-perfect passes. BTW, FCK played good football…

  11. could someone please enlighten me abt wat happened b/w their coach and pep?? (sergio coming and defending pep…wow!!)

    1. solbakken said pinto deserved a 4-match ban, and pep wouldn’t stand for it… the exchange got heated, and busi stepped in (prob not a good idea bec he might get a sanction, but i give mad props to him for defending his manager)

      solb said afterwards that it was a norwegian joke (huh?) and that it was his bad.

  12. Mmh… some really bad news from Pep’s twtter:
    “Xxavi has ended the game with a lot of troubles, it looks like he won’t play against getafe on sunday”

    The bad thing about it: Xavi was supposed to be nearly 100% fit, so said the doctors and himself. Xavi didn’t play against Ceuta and just one hour against Sevilla. How shall he be able to play fully fit in a regular 2 matches a week rhythm. I doubt it very much, and obviously a Xavi playing through the pain isn’t half the Xavi. Don’t wanna paint a bleak picture, but we will need Xavi to compete in CL and la Liga.

    1. Well atleast up till the Clasico, the fixutres are pretty mercifully spaced out. We play Getafe, which Xavi will probably miss, then we play Ceuta, a match in which he will definitely not play. After that, we’ll probably need him for the game against Villareal, and we can rest him for the Almeria game. The big question I think, is weather or not Pep will use him for the game against Panathinaikos. On one hand, the Clasico is 2 days after the Pana game, so Pep would want Xavi 100%. On the other, since we didn’t manage to pick up maximum points against Copenhagen, the Pana game is pretty much a must win game to ensure we finish first in the group.

    1. If Bale can own Maicon, there may not be any other right back left on this planet who he cannot own.

  13. iniesta was left alone all the time.he was looking for abidal 2 push 4ward.only once abidal did that.look at the result when he did push 4ward,a chance for messi 2 score.but all the other times it pushed iniesta to go through the middle which exactly FCK wanted.

    pique was abysmal.and his long range passing, when there is simple options in front of him,sometimes disrupted our possesion.

    abidals attacking was minimal,and he was toasted by gronjkaer(this danish names are so hard 2 spell),who BTB is 33.

    keita was so KXEVIN said,i prefer masch in this kind of games.

    busi was horrible,why didnt pep subbed him is beyond me.i think this was his worst game ever.

    xavi was off.

    alves,his energy was limitless.but OMG he needs 2 work on his crosses(h can u blame him when we have only 1 mean in the penalty box). it a bird ?is it a plane?no it is a sphere shaped saucer.

    caveman,what a match.despite all our artistry of his fellow blaugrana,he is the heart of this team.

    messi.on off on off on off.mostly off. villa run.good link up with messi sometimes.2nd half he looked frustrated.

    iniesta.if he got the support of abidal i think he will get the MOTM award.

    PEP-3. 2 late 2 make the sub.and not the proper line up IMHO.should subbed bus with smash.

    finally a tribute 2 FCK.they played awesomely and prssed us like a madmen.kudos 2 them

    and finally well done FCK,well done

    1. Even against Seville Pique kept on trying the long balls which always resulted in a long of possession while there are multiple options right in front of him. Really frustrating!
      He’s really off form at the moment. Too much modelling I guess 🙂

    2. I wish Pep would tell Pique to chill with the long balls. It’s so freakin’ frustrating to see him lob those crosses to no one, when he’s got a team mate right next to him. What is up with that? It’s like he’s now known as the Piquenbauer and feels like he’s gotta be a play maker at all times, but the key is to pick the right opportunities, Gerard. Sheesh!

  14. Good result.

    Can anyone give me a valid reason of why Xavi wasn’t substituted in favor of Masch ?

    Off to Getafe, It’s a tough stadium we won our last 2 games there 2-0 and 1-0.

  15. haha, I just realized that the picture at the very end of the post has been manipulated. Or am I wrong? But as far as I remember, FCK had ‘Carlsberg’ on their jersey.
    Also note that, since Carlsberg isn’t the sponsor of FC Liverpool anymore, they’re going through the toughest time of the last decades, whereas Copenhagen kicks ass with Carlsberg on their chest 😀
    I actually like Carlsberg (as a drink) and for me, it was part of FC Liverpool because they’ve had this sponsor since I am following football.

    1. It would be, but it’s an incorrect “catch”. Copenhagen have no CL sponsor on their shirt. Feel free to watch the matches again. I don’t know if it’s because their sponsor is a beer company competing within a Heineken-sponsored tournament or if they simply couldn’t come to an agreement about wearing that sponsor.

      There are lots of teams currently without sponsors, which is fun. Hercules, for instance. It’s a nice change of pace.

    2. Hey, it was a correct “catch”. I can prove it:
      Pause at 0:43 in this video and you can definitely see the Carlsberg logo on Gronkjaer’s jersey!

      Maybe they had to change their jerseys during half-time and your picture is from the 2nd half, but they surely played with Carlsberg advertisement in the first half.

    3. Why do they have one in this pic?


    4. Well, just watching a re-live of the match, they also wear Copenhagen on their chest in the 2nd half. Either, this is a very good photoshop picture or it is from the first leg and Spain has different regulations than Denmark ?

    5. Yay, that’s the solution to the mystery!

      Isaiah left us with a 2 weeks old picture, cheater 😉

  16. You never come (that far) out when your defender is battling for the ball with an attacker. Obviously, VV hasn’t learned that yet. Very sloppy on that cross too. Great saves elsewhere but perhaps he needs better competition than Pinto?

    1. VV could have gotten a red for that bit of dangerous play. Would have made the game even more interesting.

  17. Fair result kxevin?Why?We were not good but we had the best chances.Their goal was just bad luck hitting in Abidal.And i will tell again his name!Fabio Coentrao.The best L.B now in market.

  18. For the love of all that’s holy, please Pep … move Andres back to midfield! He is in way too deep in the corner and he does not function well there. He can’t help perform poorly when his options are so limited with his skill set. He’s good in midfield right outside the box so he can distribute balls to Messi, Villa, P!. When he’s playing deep in the corner, what’s he to do? He can’t cross, due to our vertically challenged players. He can try to dribble past a few defenders but he then needs a little space to make the the pass forward and there just isn’t any more space when he’s already deep in the box. He’s not known to shoot at goal, so he in the end it’s pretty much ineffective in that position.
    If his counterpart Xavi is not playing up to par, we have no midfield control,our game breaks down and if our opponent has come out to play like FCK (he,he) did, they are half way there.

  19. They chocked us by our middle yesterday. The midfield strugggled. Busquets had yet another bad day against a team which presses really hard in the midfield. Saying that Busi struggled because of Xavi not playing well is ridiculous. He is the DM of the team and in a three man midfield the most important piece. He is supposed to ease pressure of the attacking midfielders, not the other way around. Its always his problem and this is going to cause us dearly against a team like Chelsea. Think about Essien and Obei Mikel presssing him, he will be simply over run.

    The biggest mistake was to take Iniesta out of midfield, especially when we know that Xavi is going to struggle. I know there are many Keita fans here and he is probably the most hard working player. But he is no good in creating spaces or getting out of challenged. He is a very good semi defensive option in the midfield, but against a team like Copenhagen we need two attakcing option in the midfield.

    I think I saw a diffrent match from many of us here. I mean we were terrible in Second half. If they had one decent striker or play maker, they could have put atleast two goals past us in the second half. Our midfield were out run by everyone of them. For heavens sake Guardiola, stop experimenting with Iniesta. Against tough teams he need to play in middle.

    As far as Guardiola is considered, he is back to what he is. Really stubborn. Why he is not using the 3-4-3 formation against teams like this. That will give us more option in middle and control. Anyway in yesterday’s match Alves was non-existent and so efefctively we had only 3 man defense for majority of match. Somebody explain to him that UEFA allows to substitute players anytime he wanted, he don’t have to wait till the match is over. And there is no bonus given for unused subs.

    1. It is really interesting when you say Pep didn’t pick 3-4-3 and then Alves is non-existent because he is the number 4 midfield player yesterday stealing ball and putting pressure on FCK in the midfield. Very interesting…

      Alves did a Keita yesterday, but a more creative one. He saw a lot of the ball and that’s why he had the chance to blow them. Call him ineffective, and I wouldn’t disagree, but the work rate was sky high. We left with a 3 man defense and he was always returning to make tackles.

      Alves is not a traditional right-back

  20. In 15games away in C.L we have 4w-9d-2l.In spain we had 13-3-3 record the 08-09 season.13-5-1 09-10 season.and 4-0-0 until now.It s pep choise i guess but is a poor record for a big club.

    1. Great, you keep writing with capital letters at the beginning of a sentence. Thanks a lot 🙂

      The statistics are alarming, but the only away performance that I can still worry about was @ San Siro in the semis last year 🙁
      The rest isn’t a joy to read, but in the end the draws (or even losses) didn’t have any bad effect on our team.

  21. hercules mallorca valencia and copenhaghe all gave us lots of trouble. keita started in all of those games. we also lost 2 points vs kazan, where I believe andres went up and sMasch took keita’s place. In all of those games Andres played up, I thought after rijkaard AND the world cup everyone agreed that xaviniesta the bomb, a true wonder. We score 5 goals vs panathinaikos and 5 more vs sevilla and after that pep always goes back to playing andres up in the wing wide open and keita as a second def-mid of-mid box-to-box mid however you wanna call it. “huh-what?-mid” can be a good term for him, always looking from side to side and acting in response of his teammates, filling the gaps that those who really attack and play the ball leave. He’s like the typical unskilled but willing guy every barbecue team has, not FCB. That guy should be superskilled here and able to do stuff, create offensive plays with the ball in his feet. Maybe, I hope, masche is that 3rd mid or busi is but keita is too standard, not his workrate or personality in the pitch but his talent. I think and would love to show that Keita makes us suffer in the pitch, he brings a false sense of safety to the team IMO. Safety is goals and having the ball, and you score by being unpredictable and agressive, and taking risks going up when you have to. If he plays andres has to go back to move the ball a little and we play with 2 forwards then, but when andres plays wide and we play more 4-3-3 we suffer and balls don’t reach the attack. And now messi is also acting more as a 10 comin back to the center so sometimes it’s a 4-5-1 if keita plays pedro! doesn’t and iniesta & messi are free. I_M_H_O xD

    1. Pretty good points. I too love to see Iniesta in the middle. There, he is a very good outlet for people, and Iniesta is never rushed off the ball. His work on the left couldve been done by Pedro, or even Bojan!

  22. I give credit to FCK. They were fast, they were physical without being dirty, and they were not bothered by having to chase the ball all the time. Plus their players took risks in trying to clog up the passing lanes and they didn’t lose their composure in defense. They did their homework well. Sometimes you have to give props to the other team for their effort.

    The only problem I have with us was that Xavi had no business playing in this game. An achilles is a dangerous thing for Pep to gamble with. It can ruin Xavi’s career if it becomes a long term thing. The only real remedy to it is time to rest it. We need him more in february than in the knock out stages.

    1. Bill makes an excellent point: Copenhagen didn’t chase the ball. That’s huge. Defensive discipline goes out of the window the first time a player chases the ball, rather than playing as they are told to play.

      And with us, when you chase the ball, you are always going to lose. The way to beat that system, if you’re us, is first off to have a lot more energy than we had. You also need to switch the pitch frequently, so that you move the defense around. It takes advantage of the acres of space they were allowing us on the flanks, because we score from the wings about as often as Halley’s Comet rolls through.

      A player such as P! would have fixed that complexity, and almost did, even in the brief time he was in the match.

  23. In retrospect, I’m not so surprised that this match ended up a draw. With only a day between the Sevilla performance and the CL leg and recovery being a primary issue with our short-handed squad, we should have expected some sluggishness. Too many players were misfiring yesterday. Alves and Don Andres stick out to me. Alves was simply invisible for the most part, and being far up the right side to support the attack (which rarely made use of him) often led to our right side being open for a counter. Iniesta, on the other hand, wound up being something of a dead end too often. He just didn’t seem to know what to do with himself on the wing. FCK seemed to catch on and left him more space so that they could better cover the players who might actually want to shoot.

    I think we’re going to have to accept that we don’t really have Xavi anymore either. Even when he does play, he seems a bit slower and more cautious. The tendonitis is cutting into his effectiveness directly or indirectly. He certainly shouldn’t have been out for 90 minutes after only a day’s rest. Frankly, I don’t know that he should have been on the pitch at all.

    And of course the late sub also bothered me. Why only one? Why that particular substitution? I’d have liked Pedro in for Xavi at 60′, dropping back Iniesta to midfield. If Villa’s still dragging at that point, yank him and Busi and put on Bojan and sMasch. Or something like that.

    One of the articles on the FCB webpage is titled “Domination without Victory”, which has kind of summed up our season thus far (Sevilla and Panathanaikos excepted) – matches that have been dominated in terms of possession but provided frustratingly few goals. Hopefully this was just a small hiccup, and the Barcelona we saw on Sunday will start showing up to more and more games.

  24. Messi was dropping way too deep yesterday. Would have been better if Iniesta was there instead.

  25. These are all good points y’all are making, but the main thing for me in every match we have dropped points in so far except for Hercules, maybe is our missed chances.

    We had great chances in the first half and the game should have been put to bed by then. Even against a defensive Rubin, we had 3 great chances we didn’t finish. Same against Mallorca in the 1st half, and even against Hercules, if Bojan taps in that cross early in the game, it’s a different match. Even against Atletico and Valencia, we should have won by more goals.

    That’s our main problem, I think. Because even on our worst days we create great chances (at least this season), but our players just aren’t finishing and it ends up costing us points.

  26. I realize a draw in this game is not that bad, considering FCK played an amazing game and that we were just days out of the an epic demolition of Sevilla…

    But, Pep screwed up big time. Iniesta as a “forward” or as the 4th most attacking midfielder on the left, just doesn’t work. I only get to watch about half the games because I don’t get GolTV and my internet is so poor that I can’t watch games online because of the lag, so I could be wrong — as it seems most the games I watch are when we are in our normal 4-3-3 with 3 strikers. It kills our width because Iniesta doesn’t cross or shoot from out there. Teams have nothing to worry about besides marking the guys in the middle. If Iniesta is playing that role, we have to have Maxwell in to provide that attacking width on the left, and too make the defense think about legit crosses coming into the box.

    And Pep clearly got the subs wrong.. waiting so long to put P! in. We desperately needed his energy and (at times) his recklessness against FCK.

    And finally, boy how sad is it seeing Xavi out there looking like a ghost? I hope he can rest and get back to his normal self.

  27. i think abidals lucky cos v ve got alves so with alves bombing forward we do need a solid defender and none come more solid than abhi,if v had a ivanovich than maxwell would get more chances

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