Liga Preview: Barça – Villarreal, Saturday 4pm EST, ESPN Deportes & ESPN3.com
He’s 6’2″, 183lbs and he’s going to be dynamite. A signing that makes up for a ton of other losses and depth issues. Cost, of course, doesn’t really exist in these circumstances. You can watch him in action tonight–yes, on a Friday!–against, drum rolle please, Longwood. And yeah, I’m talking about Josh Selby and the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team. Because what else could possibly matter on the day of the first game of the season? Were you wondering why I thought Ibrahim Afellay was so tall and built? Pssh. You and your misplaced priorities.
It begins again, then, this juggling act of mine between the two loves of my sporting life. It’s November, so the basketball games aren’t particularly important, but I’m still going to watch all the ones I can get my hands on, even if it’s just Longwood University from Farmville, Virginia. At least this week the games aren’t on the same days, which they won’t be for at least 3 more weeks. Good news for me! All that hard work by Baby Jay (most adorablest of mascots in the whole universe!) above shall not be in vain!
So apparently this is rolling into the port of Barcelona this weekend and it’s kind of a big deal:
[insert obligatory Beatles song reference here]
Because I don’t know anything about the Beatles, really, all I can do is talk about Villarreal and how good they are: they’re really good. The submarino amarillo nickname comes from the canary yellow jerseys they sport, and they’ve even got a mascot that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before: Groguet. A more artistic version can be found here. Whatever, Baby Jay totall pwns Groguet.
And last time we met them, we totally pwnd them too. Especially Bojan. My favorite part of that video is how simple it all looks for Bojan and how the commentator remarks, casually, “Que bueno es Bojan.” How good he was, indeed. How slick, how brilliant, how confident. And I can’t wait to see that Bojan again. But of course, that he plays so well in the Madrigal is basically meaningless since this one takes place at the Camp Nou. We’ve drawn them 1-1 and 3-3 the last 2 times we’ve met them and the time before that they beat us, 1-2. Bojan scored that year at the Madrigal, of course. That goal, in the 24th minute, was Bojan’s first ever goal for the first team.
Giuseppe Rossi. Nilmar. Santi Cazorla. Borja Valero. Names that will no doubt be on everyone’s lips tomorrow as they scream profanities before and most likely after them. Rossi has 7 goals, Nilmar 6, Cazorla 3, and Valero 2. They also have Spain’s starting left back, Joan Capdevila, so they’re not slouches at the back. Losing Diego Godin would seem terrible, but they’ve only conceded 1 more goal than Barça.
It’s going to be a mega match between some massive punchers (2nd and 3rd in the league) and I expect more of an open game than a tight, closed one. Villarreal won’t want to run and gun like we do (like a certain Roy Williams team of old…sigh), but they won’t be sitting 10 behind the ball either. The question is our defense. The difference between me and a lot of others is that I take what Guardiola has done in the past and then accept that he’ll do that again. That’s sometimes really stupid, but as always I’ll argue that I’m right.
Some are saying Mascherano will start in defense. Wrong. It’ll be Abidal at CB with Pique suspended and Milito injured. No Bartra or Fontas either. I can’t find an official squad list, but here’s my starting lineup:
Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Abidal, Maxwell, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Messi, Pedro.
Good bang for your buck there, sesame. Mascherano could be a CB, but I don’t see why we’d ever experiment like that when we’ve gotten good results from Abidal this year in that same position. Granted, Guardiola is batshit crazy with his lineups, so we might just see that.
Official Prediction: 94-60. Leading scorer: Markieff Morris with 26. Oh, Barça? 2-1. Tight game, goals by Messi and Villa. I’m so excited for this game, actually, that I think I’m going to have to stop writing now and go run around the block 60 times.
Time: 10pm local, 4pm EST.
TV: In the US, it’ll be on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com
VISCA LOS JAYHAWKS and ROCK CHALK BARÇA!