Copa del Rey Update: New Foe Emerges

King's Cup Champions!

Quick note here: The new Copa draw is out and our boys play Athletic Bilbao on December 22 and January 5. If we progress, we play the winner of Getafe v. Real Betis.

Enjoy your day people.

Categorized as Barcelona

By Luke

We calls 'em likes we sees 'em.


  1. Hmmm with Real in the final. I think that someone in RFEF is smart and they want Real and Barca in final. I know it’s kind of conspiracy theory but hey have you read Sid Lowe article about CdR on What do you think 🙂

  2. Im with Kevin on this one. There is so much talk about Alves being key in our system, and no other rb can fill his huge role. What no one is questioning is this- Is it even optimal to give alves or a rb such an important role in our team? Dont get me wrong, alves skills would be above average in most teams, but not in ours. Since messi has moved to the middle, the number of successful attacks down the right has diminished. The crossing threat is now close to zero and Alves has recently been quite poor at threading through balls to anyone but Messi. Our attacks down, even though less frequent seem to have better final balls.

    Dont get me wrong, I understand Alves role in stretching the field, in our curretn system. But I think in a team as talented as ours, we should rely on Alves’ temperamental style too heavily. And when he is bad, he really does kill our attacks like no-one else. We will have to change our game slightly, simple as that, and I think we could actually benefit given Alves’ record of having off days in big games.

    1. Disagreed. Magic happens with Alves. He is a perfect fit. Pep didn’t say Alves is a key player without reasons.

      It’s much more than just goals, it’s the combination and the threat that Messi and Alves impose on the pitch.

    2. Agreed about Messi and Alves, but not so much recently. I think his effectiveness has generally declined the past season which is why we should think about changing. In the first season he was phenomenal! And I can’t stand how he ignores Pedro. His idiosyncracies create alot of chances but also waste alot. Our left side does not have alves but it creates a lot of chances as well. I can accept a change.

    3. Diasgree as well. Maybe he doesn’t always directly get assists, but ask Mascherano or Xavi about the outlet Alves provides. Ask Messi and Xavi about their little triangles on the right side. Against Getafe Alves showed what I am talking about with all his runs and combinations with players.

      He is always AVAILABLE. That in itself is more important than it seems. No one else has his energy or can get up and down the pitch.

      I can’t accept change.

  3. You can’t replace the energy Alves brings to the team. That guy plays like a windup toy, wind at the start of the game, and he keeps going till the end.
    All players are obviously replaceable. But it it happens, it is going to be felt for a while like the Eto’o transfer.

  4. On a different note, I just want to say that what happened to Mario Balotelli yesterday during the Italy-Romania game was disgraceful. I am beyond sick and tired of how racism like that is still tolerated in our beautiful game. FIFA and UEFA and the other football associations can run all the “Anti-Racism” campaigns they want, but nothing is going to change until real sanctions are enforced against those fans and the clubs they claim to be “supporting”. /rant

    I don’t even like Balotelli, but his statements after yesterday’s game made me respect him a lot more than before.

  5. I totally agree with Kxevin’s philosophical response to Alves’ contract extension issue, and it makes even more sense if we think about how great players will always be leaving at the end, that will put things into a more club-centric perspective, and I personally think it’s right to do so.

    However, we are undervaluing Dani Alves’ service. I said it before and will say it again, Alves’ ability is way beyond a right back. He is an attacker, passer, runner, space creator, playmaker…etc. He defense maybe questionable at times, and the way he left out of position could hurt us when we don’t play well, but he is overall the best right back in the world, and he understands what kind of football we are playing.

    We saw many goals he created for Messi. That is not something we can easily replace with just anyone. When we talk about fitting into the system, being able to maximize the ability of Messi is a key element. We complained about how Villa, Pedro or maybe Adriano who struggled to know how to play with Messi, and when we have something already available, we tend to take it for granted. Alves’ chemistry with Messi is something we always forgot, or neglected.

    Complain about the wayward crosses Alves often does lately, he did lay a pretty damn nice cross against Villareal last time for someone on our team, and that teammate of ours headed the ball nicely on target. You tell me who that was.

    About the wage he is demanding, I don’t see any big problem with that if we have a correct understanding of his value. I doubt if the club see it. Certainly Pep does, and I will bet he would never want to see Alves go if he can control it, because he “is a key player”. The key is that we will suffer from a lack of option when we can’t find our way to attack. Of course, anyone can potentially be better than Alves, but we don’t know until we lose Alves on our team.

    Don’t wanna see him go. But if he does, I vote for Maxwell to be his direct substitute. Yes, not the both-footed Adriano, but Maxwell. He is our direct Alves substitute despite being left-footed. We have yet to see Maxwell’s attack in its full potential. We saw it once last season when he featured as a right back. He was clearly instructed to go and kick asses up there, and he did. The combination with Messi was also sublime. Only you won’t see the crosses to the stands.

    1. I just don’t see Maxwell as having the stamina/speed to cover the ground Alves does. I don’t think a direct Alves replacement is coming through the team, and certainly if we sell we’d spend atleast some of the money to get a new player for the position.

      But I’d have to say Adriano would be more useful Marauding up and down the right wing and playing in with Messi… he can either cross from wide or cut inside as well. Who knows, he’ll have to be given the chance first.

    2. I agree with Josep. Maxwell doesn’t have the stamina nor speed to do what Alves does. I think that match last season was a one-off.

  6. There is so much talk about Alves being key in our system, and no other rb can fill his huge role. What no one is questioning is this- Is it even optimal to give alves or a rb such an important role in our team?

    This really depends on whether or not you want to continue running an asymmetric tactical formation that best suits Iniesta’s skill set and Villa’s comfort playing on the left while also playing a right winger who is able to cut centrally and position switch with Messi.

    If you do then you need a right wing back who can man the entire right flank by himself both in attack and defense. There are 2-3 players in the world who can do this.

    Every year Pep asks Alves to do more and more. This year Alves has even more responsibility than the prior two.

    At some point it’s just not feasible to keep asking one player to do so much. This is much of the reason why Alves has had an inconsistent year so far this season.

    Alves makes it possible for Barca to play in the odd, rather impractical fashion that Pep wants them to. That’s why they paid so much money for him from Sevilla. Pep knew what Alves would allow him to do.

    It very well may be the right business decision to hold the line and not meet Alves’s demands. It may be the optimal time to sell him this summer given his age.

    But they will need to adjust their system if he’s goes unless they can find another player who can play the entire right flank on his own.

    1. Great point. I think the arguments above for keeping Alves–and I am very much in the middle on this issue, mind you–all make that “ceteris paribus” assumption: that if Alves leaves, everything else will remain the same. Thus, if there is no right back that has precisely the same qualities as Alves, he cannot be replaced. However, make no mistake, if Alves goes, the role of the right-back will change accordingly. I, for one, have the confidence in Guardiola (should he stay!) or any competent manager to come up with a new winning formula.

  7. jeffren got the “alta medica” today. so he is recovered from his shoulder injury or whatever. when will we see him in action again?

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