Gladiators! Getafe-Barça

Scene: A bus pulls up in front of a small stadium. A group of men emerge from the bus.

Gerard Piqué: It doesn’t look old enough to be Roman.

Xavi: It’s just called a Coliseum.

Bojan Krkic: No wonder I couldn’t find an Emperor Alfonso Perez…

Piqué: So there are no lions?

Gabriel Milito: Thank God for their sakes. [adjusts fur coat]

Xavi: [turning to camera] Alfonso Perez Muñoz was born in Getafe on September 26, 1978. A striker, he grew up in the Real Madrid youth ranks, eventually making the first team, where he played for 5 years before moving to Betis. He is one of the few players to play for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, having moved to la ciudad condal in 2000 as one of Joan Gaspart’s major signings. He lasted just 2 years, though, and returned to Betis, where he ended his career in 2005, the year Getafe debuted in the first division. Because of Alfonso’s fame, Getafe named their stadium after him despite his having never played for the team.

Piqué: Who the hell are you talking to?

Xavi: The camera.

Piqué: [looking around] There’s no camera here…Xavi, you sure they shouldn’t call you “inflamed cerebro”?

[A wind gust blows a tumbleweed by the group]

Bojan: This place is kind of creepy.

Carles Puyol: Don’t worry about it, little guy, nothing is going to happen—

[a blur smashes into him]

Puyol: What the hell?

The Burger King: Who wants to save some cash!? [shoves money into Puyol’s pockets]

Dani Alves: I’ll save you, mi capitan! [kicks BK in the face, dropping him to the ground.]

Lionel Messi: You de Jong-ed King Radical! In the face!

BK: [gurgles, blood gushing from his nose and mouth]

Alves: Wait, that’s not a mask?

BK: Gah! Ith my faysh.

Alves: Oh man, I’m really sorry. Uh, I guess now is bad time to ask for a cheeseburger.

Messi: I totally thought he was King Radical?

Bojan: [looking a little green] Míster, should we call that man a doctor?

Pep Guardiola: Let nothing distract you! Focus!

Bojan: Okay, I won’t. I will not focus on my need to vomit.

Guardiola: [stepping over the bleeding, groaning BK without looking at him] Okay, boys, let’s get into the stadium to warm up.

Alves: I really want a burger now.

Piqué: Bojan had one before the trip. I think you’re about to get it…

[The team moves into the stadium, Bojan holding his stomach]

A trip to the capital. A trip to Getafe, to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. They’re 10th in the league at 4-1-4 (14GF, 13GA), but they’re 3-0-1 (10GF, 3GA) at home. Their lone home loss was a 0-2 defeat by Málaga on Jornada 4. And their second home loss? Coming right up, fools!

Getafe lost Pedro Leon and Roberto Soldado to transfers and I think they’ve suffered because of it, despite bringing some reinforcements in Mosquera,  Javier Arizmendi, and Adrian Colunga. Those players simply cannot replace what was lost and that will cause a dip. I’ve pegged them to finish 11th and I think that’s about right with where they are now.

Barça comes in off a tough draw in Denmark and could be looking to put a hurting on someone. The squad list is: Valdés, Pinto, Adriano, Maxwell, Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Milito, Abidal, Busquets, Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago, Keita, Pedro, Messi, Bojan, and Villa. So it’s another chance for Thiago to get playing time, though I don’t think he will. Just along for the ride, as usual. Perhaps if we’re up 4-0 he’ll get out there, but I doubt it.

So then, my preferred lineup: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Villa, Messi. There’s no reason to save anyone for the Copa match, which is a 2-0 lead going into the home game. So put out the big lineup and kick some serious patootie. And if that silly Burger King gets in the way, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

I know I’m not at 1,000 words yet, but interestingly, I haven’t seen a single Getafe match (how has that happened?) so I can’t speculate as to how they’ll come out against us.

Official Prediction: 2-0.

TV: Here in the US, the match is on ESPN Deportes and
Time: 7pm local/Getafe, 1pm EST/NYC, check your local time here.
Weather: 55F (~13C), cloudy, 0% chance of rain. Take your sweaters, boys.

By Isaiah

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


  1. I like the King. I DONT like his face on the inside of a Getafe shirt. That’s just weird. I remember this match last year. Headed goals. Great stuff.

  2. I’d encourage anyone still clamoring for Gareth Bale to watch Spurs go down 4-2 to Bolton today. He didn’t do anything that P! or Abidal couldn’t, and vanished without a trace for giant chunks of that match. Not impressed, but as with any English footy star (Welsh, but plays in the Prem, to be clear), he gets inflated because the footy press is, to a large extent, English and England-based. I say we keep our 50m, FWIW.

    The reports about the Welsh scout who advised Txiki to keep an eye on him have somehow morphed into “I told Barca to buy him years ago! Now look!” I’m sure that we took a look, compared him to P! and Jeffren and sat pat.

    –If we had Ibrahim Affelay on Barca B, people would be screaming for his promotion. He plays for Ajax, so he’s just some Eredivisie flash in the pan. I wouldn’t spend crazy money for him, but that dude has got pace galore, and a serious skill set that would fit right in at this club. Anything less than 10m and it’s a no-brainer.

    –Speaking of Barca B players, I want me some Thiago tomorrow. It’s time. Team him with Iniesta, and let’s see how it happens. Xavi needs the rest. I’d also give Mascherano a run out, so:

    Alves Pique Puyol Abidal
    Thiago Mascherano Iniesta
    Pedro! Messi Villa


    1. Yes, but Pique has been less than his best the last couple of games. He needs to get his head together.

    2. Whoever he plays for in the Eredivisie. My point was more the dismissive attitudes about a very talented player.

      –And speaking of January, I’d bring Keirrison home for a serious look. If he doesn’t work out, loan him again in the summer, and what’s the harm?

    3. And why doesn’t anyone note my perpetual brain cramp of doubling up on the wrong consonants, whenever I type Afellay’s name? Or is this a “one mistake at a time,” thing? 😀

    4. Affelay is not good enough.

      And btw is not in Barca b , he is in PSV , thats a huge difference.
      If he were in barca b he would be familiar with our system and could be intergrated much more easily than playing in a different country.

      The real problem is that newspapers and subsequently people that follow them/or just happen to read them , are trying too hard to match a player with us.
      Well thats just not how it goes.
      Just because someone is over 1.80 , has pace ,plays in an attacking league and happens to be affordable doesnt mean that he can work in our system .

      Promising youngsters from other leagues , working under much different systems will never be given a chance under guardiola from now on.
      They would never have the time to ride that learning curve, and display what difference ,due to their skillset, can they bring to our game – through our system.

      Even world class talents and players(like villa), or even player coming through our cantera(hiya bojan) have such problems, promising youngsters?thats a no-no.

    5. Disagree. Completely. By your logic, who is good enough? At some point a club has to say “We have a need, and should take a chance on a player’s skill set meeting that need, after a period of adaptation.”

      Because he has pace, is taller than 1.8m and is a good attacker is precisely why he’s worth a serious look.

      And with the comment about promising youngsters from other leagues never being given a chance under Guardiola. This sounds like you’re counter-arguing FOR Afellay, yes?

      NFL clubs often draft the “best available athlete,” the notion being that you can fit that person into your system if the skills meet a need that you have. I think we’ve gotten a little arrogant about what exactly “Barca quality” means. Lots of players who are loved don’t have it, lots of players who are gone had it in spades, if we’re talking about such a quality manifesting itself on the pitch, right?

    6. I agree with the resting of Xavi. We need others to stand up. Whatever, let’s make sure Iniesta plays in the middle. Then, if we get ahead, get Bojan on. We’re bound to need him soon. I’d also be tempted to try a midfield of Masch, Keita and Iniesta. We’ll get a better chance to look at Masch then and see how he handles it without Busi ( who could maybe do with a little rest) there. Mind you, with Chelsea sniffing round Busi it might not be the best time to hand him a place on the bench even for a rest.

      Bale’s on a hot streak just now but that won’t last. If all you have is pace opponents just start giving you an extra yard and that’s you sunk. Mind you, he does hit a sweet cross with that left foot. So inviting but maybe not £30 m worth.

    7. indeed, look at Theo Walcott, full of pace, hot at times, but hasn’t turned into much. of course, he is young. Iniesta in the middle for sure. rest Xavi i say.

    8. I did not clamor for Bale, but merely praised him. On a more general note, I don’t think expensive transfers provide any “silver bullets.” Read soccernomics and you will see that expensive transfers based on player hype are always economically irrational moves: the best way for clubs to manage and cultivate talent is through academies and nurturing allegedly mediocre players to their full potential. Economic irrationality, however, never seems to stop people hoping that an unbeatable juggernaut can be built out of money alone. EE is the living embodiment of this, but Barca has also made its own mistakes. The one who shall not be named is simply one of the most egregious ones.

  3. I really really hate to post a link to tumblr, but there is a lovely translation of an interview with Xavi here:


    Some excerpts:

    Talk about the issue (his tendinitis) , but try to keep us from worrying…

    It’s not at all worrying. They’re saying it’d be ideal to stop for three months, but I don’t want to. It doesn’t guarantee anything. I can say that I’ve played in pain a lot. From the time I was operated on for the sprained ligaments I’ve always had something, a hamstring that was bothersome, a groin injury, plantar fasciitis… And I’ve sucked it all up. I’m not eighteen, or twenty anymore.

    And what does a veteran do with so many changes?

    He keeps learning. Sometimes I don’t realize that I’m moving badly and it’s Pep who lets me know. For the double pivot, for example, it just so happens that because of generosity you want to move in on the opponent with Busquets, the both of you. Then the coach yells at us not to do that, that one of us needs to stay behind, he corrects us. We chat a lot with Pep over what’s best for the team, which things can be retouched. The only thing that stays the same is the philosophy of play.

    What conclusion did you come to after that night against Inter?

    It’s a team who won the Champions League without adding anything to football. Mourinho is a winner, but years will go by and he still wouldn’t have brought anything new into the football world. Nothing. He hasn’t innovated. He’s won, yes, with the best footballers, in the best clubs. Tactically he’s worked really well, but we’re looking for something else. Something different, romantic. Inter won the Champions League, but the football world continues admiring Barça. We, Barça, will leave a mark on football, just like Pep Guardiola or people like Alex Ferguson, who will leave a legacy. Then you have to ask yourself which is better: our way or the others’, who wait for the opponent to make a mistake to win.

    It’s definitely worth checking out.

    1. This is a GREAT interview. Avui (the source) does very nice work. It’s a newbie, but has been kicking out the jams right from the start. This publication is also (duh) pro-Independence.

      Speaking as a journalist, a Q&A is only as good as the questions asked.

  4. 2-0 means we lose right? Cut to 2007..


    eerily, it was on the same weekend as tomorrow’s match..

  5. Lineup prediction:

    —-Pique Abidal Maxwell

    Pep will let Xavi play as long as he feels ok and the medical says the same. Xavi is having a very strong will at the moment and will probably play until he can’t. Thiago come on as a sub for him and possibly some sMasch if not Thiago. Depending on how things go. Keita deserves a rest after that hard fought battle in Copenhagen, so is Puyol. Pique is young and I think he can still play. Milito is another option, but not likely until we meet some serious underdogs. Right now, Getafe is not looking too bad, not at home at least. Maxwell is ready to kick some butts and sat for a number of games, too. So, I expect him to start.

    1-4 over Villareal in their house! what a big win! I can totally smell the scent of some double champions gold. i can’t even imagine how it’s like to win the liga and segunda in the same year, just can’t imagine. it will be too glorious to be true… but let us all hope!

  6. by the way, I love how Xavi plays the lecturer role in this post very much. I tried to picture him talk in Spanish like he does in interviews, vividly funny! Great job and effort, Isaiah. Love this style of preview!

  7. Meanwhile, I wonder how The Yaya feels about his move to Citeh now? Three losses in a row, the most recent to Lech Posnan??!! Mancini downplays rumors of money-related team infighting, even if nobody else is. When you watch them play, it sure doesn’t look like a team, is all I’m saying.

    Too bad, because they have a ton of talent. Too much and too expensive, it’s looking like. With that many chefs ….

    It really does put our club into perspective. A small club is a blessing and a curse. The curse, obviously, is that everyone plays too much. The blessing is that there is none of this nonsense, though it should be noted that there was precious little of it when we had a bigger squad, as well. I rather like that. The one person from whom we heard it most vociferously, The Yaya, got his wish granted. He deserves better.

  8. Out of context here, but I was thinking tonight that its pretty much a fucking disgrace that xavi does not captain the national team regularly,him or puyol.

    1. Why? It’s based on the number of appearances, isn’t it? Casillas has been part of the NT since he was 19. Xavi is second captain anyway. Neither he nor Puyol has a problem with Casillas being captain, so why should you?

    2. Exactly, blitzen. Captaincy is usually a component of tenure and quality. And quite often, the captain isn’t the best player on a side, because a captain’s qualities run much deeper. You could see the different reactions in the aftermath of the World Cup win to understand something of what a tenured captain feels when his side finally makes it happen, right?

    3. I dont think that its mainly based on the number of appearances.

      For me captaincy is about whose presence is an example on the field , which character is dominant enough and inspiring amongst teamates etc.

      Goalkeepers hould be the last people given the armband, because most of the time they are away from the play anyway.
      Yeah I know goalkeepers are underrated and should be given credit when due but whatever the above remains accurate.

      And btw Xavi is a part of the spanish national team since the 2000 too , anyway. Puyol too.

    4. I also always preferred an outfield player to get the arm band. I never had a GK as a captain since I was young. How can he command from the back?

    5. And to take the armband off Casillas to give it to Xavi, Puyol or Xabi Alonso now would just be weird. It’s going to cause some dressing room problems I guess.

    6. “Goalkeepers should be the last people given the armband, because most of the time they are away from the play anyway.”

      You know who would would disagree with this? Pep Guardiola, that’s who. Pep has always stressed that goalkeepers have an enormous influence on how their team plays. Ask Valdes. The keeper is responsible for making sure his defense is doing what it’s supposed to to. You do know that Valdes is the 3rd captain on Barca after Puyol and Xavi?

      And if you are talking about an example on the field, Casillas has that. Don’t let your anti-Madrid feelings bias you. He is a great keeper and and an inspiration to his teammates. Xavi considers him one of his closest friends. I understand your love of Xavi, I share it, but you must give credit where it is due. Casillas has been a terrific captain and the whole NT team recognizes that.

    7. He is a great goalkeeper , and seems like a great person for his teams. Quite the professional too.
      Its not about antimadrid feelings, its about some actually out of context thoughts that I had today, rewatching some xavi moments.

      I mean the guy is the greatest reference, presence and reason the spanish team play the way they do(barcelona too) and Im not talking about results.
      Hes been a regular since the 2000’s.

      And while you are true about goalkeepers presence on defence, thats one part of the game out of three.
      And if you are playing in spain or barcelona , you know that this is the part of football your team will spend less time on it.

      Goalkeepers should not be captains , thats where i stand and this has nothing to do with casillas or valdes, sorry that i was not clear on it.

    8. Casillas is also the reason they can play with an offensive mindset, because if they suddenly get beat on a counterattack, he’s got the quality to save their asses. Again, let’s not sell his qualities short.

      I understand that you don’t think goalkeepers should be captains, but the head honchos in charge of Spain respectfully disagree. Maybe he’s not running around up front with the rest of the squad, but I’m sure he still makes his voice heard both off and on the pitch as any good captain should. And to their credit, whatever they’re doing seems to be working.

    9. I always thought the reason Puyol or Xavi didnt take the armband is because they were Catalan, And maybe they didnt want to. In iindsight I think the number of caps decides who the captin is though.

  9. I’d take Puyol snd Xavi out of the game and bring Milito and sMasch in.
    We always had it tough at Real..oops it’s Getafe. So it’s not a good time to experiment with Thiago. So;

    Affelay, like someone above mentioned, every year we thought it’s going to be his year but with injuries and inconsistency it never happened. He hardly plays for NT. Only recently he got a start.
    But all that said, I wouldn’t mind taking a gamble on him for 3mil.

    If we don’t like him we can always sell him at a profit. Although I don’t think Thiago and his restless Dad would be too happy with the arrival of Ibrahim Affelay.

    1. Thiago’s dad is the biggest gamble for this boy’s future.

      I was reading pep’s twitters and he is quite the puzzler.

      If the quotes were accurate , which they should since pep’s the man, mazinho in a single radio interview told that

      his son should remain in barcelona , its the best place for him to be and he should be patient.

      However the next quote was that they eagerly wait for a contract contact with the club , his son could not play for barcelona B next season and other clubs are interested in him 😀

  10. Ah the above comment section was closed.

    Kxevin I was specifically talking about promising youngsters.
    Affelay is a kind of that , since hes not a wonder boy , has not exploded in any way and is playing in a lower league.
    This was not an argument solely against affelay , but against him , bale ,pastore and so on.

    Im not doubting anyones talent or promise of the above mentioned players but it has quite a lot to do with how we play.

    The fans , myself included and i think you too would say :
    I dont care if you are lightning fast, stong as an ox or if you can manipulate a football like hendrix did a guitar ;
    can you display this in our system?
    I could care less about players that do wonders outside our style of play. Barca quality , that phrase doesnt mean a lot to me.
    A player of “barca quality” and worth to take a look at is someone whose attributes hint that could fit in our system and provide us with something that we lack , something that he can do better than our current players that already know the system.
    Mascherano does. He is a world class player(not promising youngster etc) who is amazing mentally , quite a passer and reads the game very well.
    Is affelay , by that standards worth a shot?You tell me.

    1. Yes. Midfield attacking pace and shots from distance are a couple of things that, potentially, Afellay could bring that we don’t now have. He can also transition to the wing, and bring those same attributes. Don’t forget that people said Mascherano wasn’t “Barca quality,” which is why I take all such pronouncements with a grain of salt. My reaction was “Let’s see when he plays for us.”

      That’s the same reaction that I will have when and if Afellay comes. Let’s see it on the pitch.

      We know talent. By those standards, Afellay is worth a shot. Good players rise to the level of those around them, and sometimes rise above it. What would Xavi be at Xerez? Good question. Would Botia be better as part of our back line than part of Racing’s? Another good question.

      Any player as talented as Afellay is, who plays in a league with similar characteristics as La Liga, deserves a shot if the price is right. There is no such thing as a sure thing.

  11. Mascherano speaking Engrish with Betfair:


  12. Many might have missed it, but Ramzi popped in to Luke’s “Schadenfreude” post with a comment, of which I have excerpted a bit:

    I passed on the match review, and let me make a shocking remark: Abidal had a horrible match. Only one stupid moment from Alves in the second half gave the Brazilian the edge to be the worst player of the match over the french. Especially in the first half where the french barely made one right pass and damaged the buildup throughout the 45 minutes. Beside poor positioning, and fragile defense. Shocking performance,to say the least…

    But I noticed lot of comments praising him, which is weird but still fair enough for all the good reputation he made game in game out so far.

    So I went back and watched the Copenhagen match, with an eye on Abidal. I’m 40 minutes in and there is one errant pass, whacked a little too hard to Iniesta. His defense is more than rock solid, in that he is always keeping himself between the ball and the goal, never mind the steals that he made (including one where he stole the ball then slotted a perfect ball to Villa).

    So I am very curious as to the evidence of this horrorshow Abidal match. I’ll watch the second half as well, because with a big-ass TV, people can get lost on it. But from everything I have seen so far, Abidal did nothing to warrant anything other than praise for his performance.

    1. Agree on Abidal’s level of play vs. Copenhagen. He was rock solid and I didn’t quite understand where the bad review was coming from. Sometimes, while watching Barca play I get distracted with Xavi’s amazing passing ability, or the way Iniesta gets away with the ball in the tighest of spots, or how Messi dribbles the ball through 5 opponents and can still take spectacular shots on goal and miss the good work done by an Abidal. But, even I had to sit up and take notice that he was just all over the field that day, doing just about everything right. Not only was he great defensively, he pushed forward for some good goal scoring opportunities.

    2. Yeah … fortunately and unfortunately Alves always catches my eye. Love his level of play, his aggressiveness, his never die attitude, his defensive plays, his offensive runs down the line … but, those crosses lately …. please Dani, look up before you cross that ball!!

  13. Abidal has been really solid this season but his crosses leave something to be desired. In the last league match (I think), Abidal did end 5 or 6 attacks with some really and balls into the box, none of which were in the air, probably as per pep’s direction. But if offensive quality, especially getting good crosses in, is the most important attribute in Pep’s system, then Adriano or even Maxwell woul be preferred. But since Abidals defensive ability is so far above the others, he gets the nod. At least for another season, at which point we should consider looking at a player like David Santon or Fabio. Also call Shaktar and give give them €13-15 million for Douglas Costa. We need young, talented and fiscally efficient players in the system, players who do not command huge salaries and bonuses. Van der Weil, Costa and Afellay all fit this mold, with VDW being on the brink of to expensive. But if he can lock down the RB position for 5-7 years, it is an enticing option to say the least. A question: If you had €15 million to buy a forward, based on promise and a high ceiling, who would that player be?

    1. So I tracked Abidal for the entire first half, noting every action of his when it involved play. He had two incompleted passes (both to Iniesta, curiously enough) and one defensive play where an attacker got on the wrong side of him. A squared ball would have had us in trouble.

      He was present for the goal, but I’m not sure about culpability. He was tracking No. 15, and No. 6 (eventual scorer) comes ghosting in from midfield. He was in a damned if you, damned if you don’t situation. Not sure that any back line player isn’t expecting a midfield leaker to get picked up by (AHEM!) somebody tracking him from the midfield, like Busquets or Keita.

      And the good vastly outweighed those few negatives. He even got forward on an excellent overlap, perfectly crossing for Messi to result in that shot off the post, late into first-half stoppage time.

      I’m the first to admit that I don’t have the grasp of full-on tactical nuances like the likes of Hector (sighhhh, whereforeart thou!) and Euler. But I can tell when somebody is stinking out the joint. And Abidal kicked ass and took names, until somebody proves to me otherwise.

  14. Once again, all I ask of this team is that tomorrow we take our chances. Getafe away is always dangerous.

  15. game can be seen on espn3 (web) at 12:55 eastern standard… 11:55 if u live in Cabrini Green (Kevin)

    1. Actually, given the cultural indicators and racial stereotypes linked to life in Cabrini-Green, not to mention generations of hopelessness that went with growing up in public housing, I’m not sure that quips can ever be made about it, in any sort of context.

      For those who don’t know, Cabrini-Green was a Chicago Housing Authority development that, despite the best of intentions, went horribly awry as conditions (worldwide, it must be said) developed that are attendant to having mostly desperate people stacked atop each other: crime, rampant gang activity, lack of education, etc. Entire generations were lost in the maw of public housing.

      For years, gentrification passed it by until the sudden realization that it sat atop some of the city’s most expensive real estate smacked some people upside the head, and it came time to do something about Cabrini-Green. It’s residents were scattered to the winds, some in other public housing, others in city-sponsored low-rise developments. And without that giant specter of failure looming on the horizon, the Halsted Street corridor flourished.

      And who the hell knows what became of so many people, the good along with the bad.

      Sorry Clue(less), but that just isn’t very funny to me, particularly as one whose family spent some time IN Chicago Public Housing (Ida B. Wells), and whose mother worked like a dog to get them out, because she understood what could happen. I’m now ensconsed in a wealthy North Shore suburb, and every time I see a well-intentioned husk, thank the stars for hard work and good fortune.

    2. That’s some deep stuff. I feel happy for you and your Momma.
      Btw, public housing like the Cabrini are called projects right?
      Like Marcy projects etc. I have no clue about it, just hear the rappers repping their projects all the time so I guess it’s their neighbourhood.

    3. They are, barca96, in both good and bad senses of the word, i.e. “He lives in The Projects.”

    4. I’m not so sure that Cabrini Green was well-intentioned. Boss Daley was perfectly o.k. with crammed-in, blocked-off, stacked-up hi-rises for poor African Americans. With one-way streets to impede traffic. Then allowed suburbs an hour away and no public transportation to lure industrial employers with cut-rate taxes. Equals giant economic crater right smack in downtown and generations of desperately poor, isolated and vulnerable families with few avenues out. Thanks, Daley Jr., for the *&%$# trees on Michigan Ave. That was a huge improvement. Signed, a cynical SoMa with serious Namaste to Kxevin’s mom. IdaB is no Trump Tower either.

    5. Just throwin out a Chi town reference, obviously did not mean anything in a cultural or racial context, plus they got tore down a few years ago, so obviously no one lives there. I hope you know that I would never say anything deragotory or inflammatory towards anyone on the board, I could just has easily said if you live on the corner of Sheffield and Waveland. I just thought about Chicago and Cabrini Green was the first thing that popped up. Again I am sorry bud, I really didn’t mean for it to be taken in such a way.

    6. No offense taken, Clue(less). Just offering up a little cultural perspective. It’s weird traveling, and having Chicago morph from “It’s dangerous, no?” to “Yes! Michael Jordan! He is very good, yes?”

      I knew a few folks who lived in The Green, and it forced me to reexamine my perceptions and biases every time I’d go to visit them, for so many reasons.

      As the saying goes, tragedy+time=humor, but I always throw in the addendum “It depends on who you are.” S’all good.

    7. Again I am so sorry if it came off offensive….for anyone who is not familiar, here is the wiki link to Cabrini Green which would be a difficult place for anyone to live, regardless of the color of their skin, especially because gang violence in Chicago is so prolific that the city was the United States murder capital two or three times in the last decade, whit many gangs (gangster disciples, vice lords, Latin kings) all using state sponsored project housing, such as Cabrini, as a home base of sorts.

  16. I expect us to win, why? because we are very good and then because getafe played stuttgart on thursday, that two days of Rest/preparation for us in hand.
    However it will be a tough match, getafe is a team that can actually Play, and on their day they are a good team. i hope xavi gets rested For this one. and we roll with iniesta / busi and smach in the Midfield, or maybe play messi in the middle. just a thought, However pep knows best and he will invent something, he always does

  17. Kxevin, If in the first 45 minutes Abidal played no wrong passes, then we watched different matches.(Now that I dont have time to re-watch the match and give minute by minute demonstration). I can safely say that he played at least 3 wrong passes for Iniesta alone, and some bad passes with no quality that the players’ skills made it containable.

    The goal conceded is just one little demonstration (though not the most disastrous). He checked a man and slept walking instead of communicating with the center backs. He didnt notice the man attacking the far post (the fullback responsibility). He is the second man to take responsibility for the goal conceded (taking the stupid defending of Alves on the man at the flank). Which sums up the fullbacks performance for the match.

    I can remember at least two incidents where Valdes shouted on Abidal in this match. Now keeping in mind that Valdes is not Toldo and barely point fingers, one can only imagine the situation.

    After each flop I was thinking “Will Pep sub Abidal? Hope not, may be the second half he does better”. So, yea,I disagree with you all. Abidal was Horrible.

    1. Nobody played horrible to me. Just OK.

      Getafe’s GK is so right. He says that we play better but Madrid can win even when they’re not playing well as in the case of the whole of last season(Madrid).

      Now what is up with Puyol? This is just so not cool. I always hate it when girls make their lips like this but PUYOL????

    2. I’m more than happy to break down the completeness, because I have it, touch-by-touch. And as noted above on the goal, I presume that he is to defend two men, yes? You can see that he tracks No. 15, and does so effectively. If he leaves him for No. 6 ghosting in, then the man that he leaves is uncovered, in a defense that was already lopsided to the right and could have used some tracking back from the forwards to control late runners.

      And if the shouting incidents happened, they were in the second half. Nothing of the sort occurred in the first half.

      But, just a few examples:

      :40. Picks up errant Puyol pass, distributes
      2:30. Covers loose attacker during long shot sequence
      4:11. Completed pass to Iniesta
      4:42. “” to Keita
      4:50. “” to Busquets
      5:00. Physical play to force errant pass from FCK
      10:13. Steal, perfect pass to Villa, who miscontrols
      13:12. Completed pass to Puyol
      15:30. Covers attacker when Pique is beaten for pace
      17:18-:40. Completed passes to Busquets, Puyol, Busquets
      18:41. Completed pass to Iniesta ….

      I could go on and on. His two bad (overhit) passes, both to Iniesta, come at 20:09, and 42:53.

      So as I say, all that I can do is watch the match and the player, and chronicle his efforts. And aside from the two bad passes, there are two instances where he forces bad passes from them, one where he covers for Puyol after he was outmuscled by N’Diaye, two steals, 3 interceptions (one to stop a break), and two passes that in a better world are converted into goals (Villa, Messi).

      I find it hard to see how that characterizes a player having a horrible match.

    3. I didn’t think he was awful – he seldom is – but I did think he had a difficult game. To me, he is always a liability positionally but offers us the pace that none of the rest of the backline have. However, on this occasion he had me worried whenever Gronkjaer ran at him. Again, I’m not sure if it was pure pace or Abidal’s starting position but that was a constant threat. Wouldn’t blame him for the goal. My order of culpability would be Alves, whoever should have tracked the central attacker ( because that caused Abidal’s indecision), Valdes (what was that flap – and it’s not the first this year ) and finally Abidal.

      Been thinking about both him and Alves as I find myself often quite hard on both. Watching both the Copenhagen and Sevilla games again ( FF through them at least) it strikes me that they do need the wisdom of Solomon to decide on their positioning because of the high natural position we ask them to take up. If they get that decision wrong they’re not just slightly out of position – it’s more like twenty yards. I’m not sure why, when we’re playing the double DM we can’t ensure that one of them covers behind the FBs if they go up. Mind you, they’re probably also covering for both CBs who are up raiding 🙂

  18. Getafe is 11th in la Liga and 4th in his Europa League Group.

    They just lost 3-0 to Stuttgart at home turf. If we score an early goal, the match will be a lot easier. I don’t them causing trouble, but We could make it harder for ourselves.

    1. Dunno, I still feel that this will be a tough match. They may be 11th place and not doing so well in Europa, but they know how to play.

  19. I didn’t think Abidal had a bad match. But there were mistakes on his flank and in areas where the full back traditionally covers. Alves had a poor match. But even with him tactical issues were very much in play.

    We often talk about the “barca system” but there is no one set system. It’s constantly changing and evolving.

    This season, Pep has placed even more responsibility and pressure on the full backs as he’s playing an even more dynamic formation that is theoretically very different on attack and defense. The full backs are “defenders” anymore. They are more wingbacks like you’d have in an old 3-5-2.

    It’s clear that the backs have been instructed to get even further up field and to stay there to provide width (which was last year’s big problem.)

    This works fine when Barca has the ball and the other team is defending deep.

    But if the other team is going to press aggressively and work fast transitions like Copenhagen did then that’s going to pose a problem because the “wingbacks” are often going to get caught up field to far.

    Copenhagen was very smart to play balls down the flanks or diagonally into the space vacated by the full backs. That was clearly their tactical plan and they executed it well.

  20. Kxevin, Again, I cant tell the exact time during the match where Abidal played the bad passes that I remember so well. The passes where I wondered if it was better to have Adriano there because Abidal was not showing his defense quality that puts him ahead of both Maxwell and Adriano, nor he was having any mercy on his team when it come to buildup. Maybe later I will put the minutes list (and it is long) after I watch the match and then I can go on and on -as you say.

    So because-predictably- you will say “post the minutes”, and because -as I mentioned already “I have no time now”, I will just completely disagree with you, without further inputs on that detail.

    Going to the goal conceded -and not the first time we disagree on Abidal’s responsibility in some goals- I think I can comment because I can see the goal on youtube, so as everyone. You say:

    “I presume that he is to defend two men, yes?” Well…first of all, we need to clarify that he was trying to check one player, but in the end he was not defending any player at the due moment where both players were able to score. Number 6 scored because he was the one received the ball. If the ball went toward number 15 he would have scored as well. This is the match highlights:


    Pause it on 5:21 because that is the moment of truth regarding Abidal’s defending in this goal. Yes he tracked back (Thank you, we say), true he was trying to check the player closer to the goal (Thank you again, we say), but the moment where he was needed most-defensively- he wasnt there, whether to check 15, or 6 nor his body positioning angle would have offered him any chance to close any of the two players’ path to score as he was giving his back to both of them (body angle is one of the defending coaching lessons for a reason).

    Admittedly, Valdes played a big role in the goal conceded, but the same as Alves naive defensive approach in this goal caused a mess, Abidal’s lack of anticipation (not the first time it beats him) made him even unaware of the players positions around him. He didnt even notice number 15 fake-step-back that released him from Abidals marking. He had no idea number 6 was there as well, which explain the lack of aggression to close the angle for the player taking the shot. It was a bit surprising but if you notice the ball projectile since Valdes touched it, there was enough time to read the moment much better (almost three seconds, which is a long time in football defending). Thats where Alves or Maxwell would have at least tried to tackle or ran toward the player instead of staring with disbelief.

    And I cant even consider it the worst moment of Abidal in this match. Not even close. Luckily the opponent’s coach was more concerned to force Alves back than attacking Barca’s left flank, and that’s why -espetially in the second half- he decided to use Gronkjaer more often as a left wing (facing alves) rather than on Abidals flank where he was torturing the french every time he was there.

    I am just pointing out that -even if we avoid talking about horrible performance, giving him the benefit from the over all performance of the team- it is completely astonishing to say he was Abidal the great, who had an amazingly strong match. Never mind giving him a 9 on Kxevin’s rating.

    1. Then we’ll agree to disagree, because as I said, I tracked every thing that he did in the first half, and I just didn’t see “horrible,” or even “bad.” As others have pointed out, culpability for the goal is on the team, but as individuals, Valdes, then Alves, then (for me) whomever let No. 6 stroll in unchecked. Should Abidal have checked him? That’s where we differ. He’s caught in between two players, wondering if one was going to be picked up. He wasn’t. And it isn’t the first time our defense has been victimized by a player rolling in from midfield to take advantage of a loose ball or pass. To lay that on Abidal would be, in my opinion, unfair.

      But it does explain why different people rate players differently. Iniesta’s great match is another person’s average one, and so on.

    2. True, all the defenders carry responsibility there. Yet, Abidal was the only defender who made a series of mistakes based on the alphabetic of defense. So unlike others, he had more than one chance to fix things, but he failed.

    3. Very true, Diego. I’ve noted that when you give Abidal choices, he often hesitates, a cardinal sin for a CB. Even if you make the wrong choice, make a choice. So you either track the ball, or defend a man/space. Two men AND a ball, and you have quite the quandary.

  21. I hope all we North-American-types remembered to change our clocks last night. Wouldn’t want anyone to miss the game!

  22. It looks to me like Abidal was covering the man making the run into the 6 yard box, which makes a bit of sense but really that has to be on of the two CB’s responsibility, Pyuol should have assisted Dani, and Pique should be on the first runners body, Abidal needs to look behind him and see if someone is making a back post run, because as a LB that is naturally his responsibility. He does not look back until the ball is over his head, so he does mess up a bit. Plus the man that he was covering checked his run about 10 yards from goal, something both Puyol and Abidal failed to realize, so if the cross was dragged back to the primary runner, on the ground, both Abidal would have been beaten anyways. when that goal went in, Abidal was not within 3-5 yards of an attacking player, that is a mistake no matter how you slice it. Plus he ducked away from the shot, instead of trying to put his body in front of it, reacting the same way Ballack did on the Inastazo. So for the record, I think Abidal was covering a man, albeit the wrong one, and the goal was at least partially his responsibility. Kevin argues that he was in no mans land needing to cover one of the two defenders, but I would ask Kevin, who’s responsibility is the man on the far post, is that not Abidal’s first responsibility, or do you think that the primary run looked more dangerous, therefor Abidal was right in electing to cover that man instead, which is also a very valid argument.

  23. I don’t care who else starts, but I want to see Maxwell and SMasch in. I’d like to see if SMasch can handle the Busi role of essentially being the Third CB with both the full backs pushing up the pitch.

  24. I sweet talked my cable company (time warner) into turning my cable back on (they turned it off for non payment last night. I am a poor college kid who is waiting on his refund check : ) I told them I needed to watch my Barca game today and they gave me a 14 day extension!!!!!!! Also Torres scored for Lpool against Chelsea and Baliotelli has a brace for city so far today.

    1. thats great for you!
      I mainly watch ’em on the net , with the exception if a barca match is being played on a saturday night , they broadcast it live here on that occasion.
      However getting it on hd the very next day is always a pleasant choice, although it doesnt beat the live thing.
      Oh and Arsenal was defeated at home early.

    2. Torres just scored a beatiful 2nd goal.
      However hes been literally walking during the vast majority of the match.
      Other than that..
      god the english rugby version of football is burning my eyes.
      I put it on to have something to kill time until the barcelona game put its brutal

  25. OMG give me some Fernando Torres right now, he is back on his game something serious!!!!!!! Scoop him in January, loan the kid to Liverpool for a year or so as a make weight.

    1. Man,I just love Torres!!!! I always wanted Us to sign him up but i have given up on seeing him in our colors doh….The time has just passed I believe….Unless Sandro work his links as rumors are to be believed.

      BTW now finished watching the Man City game..2 goals scored by Balotelli and a double booking Sending off for kicking out at a player. I truly seeing a lot of Ibra in that kid in the terms of skill and attitude.

  26. Torres on his day is one of the best strikers in the world. The problem is that he seems to be quite injury prone which means those days are few and far between.

    His 2nd goal was ridiculous though. Almost a replica of Villa’s 2nd vs Sevilla but on the other side.

    1. Iniesta was once injury prone as well but our new medics fixed that so with Messi, who I believe have not suffered any muscular injury on his own since 08..

  27. We should get Torres to increase our chances against Chelsea. He embodies all their nightmares 😀

  28. Today is a good day! Liverpool up two over Chelsea thanks to Torres. 🙂

    And I am wearing my red pre-match Barca shirt and getting ready for our game. 😀

  29. Can anyone recall anything useful the new ref behind the goals did since they were added to the game? During Bari-Milan match, Milan’s keeper almost killed the forward inside the box.

  30. Torres is having one of his games no doubt. And it worth repeating the quality broadcasting of the EPL. La Liga cameras usually broadcast from a thousand mile distance away from the field.

    1. Not best in the world but his game 2day showed his class…His work rate, his desire ….things I admire in a footballer..

      Coming from the lost of form he had surly takes a lot of class to dust yourself off…get back up and work as hard as he did is things one must comment on.

  31. Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Maxwell, Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi y Villa .

    Thiago didn’t make the bench again. SIGH.

  32. Was the outcome at anytime in doubt? That’s why La Liga is sometimes so pointless, always a 2 horse race. Might as well go straight to El Classico. It’s so dull even you guys have to talk about the Liverpool/Chelsea game in a post about Getafe vs Barca.

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