CL Preview: FC Barcelona at Panathinaikos F.C.

Through 4 games in the 2010-11 Champions League campaign Barcelona has been moving along in a rather up-and-down fashion, roughly the equivalent of a season of “Mad Men”: never terrible, occasionally missing its stride, but brilliant the rest of the time. Simply, unequivocally, brilliant. In our first foray into continental competitions this year, the boys brutally decimated Panathinaikos 5-1. Then a trot of 1-1 at Kazan, 2-0 to Copenhagen, and 1-1 to Copenhagen leaving us top of the group with 8 points and holding tiebreakers over second-place Copenhagen, who sit on 7 points. A win here and we are one step closer to qualifying in 1st for the Round of 16. So without further adieu, let’s Preview.

By way of full disclosure, I am doing your preview today as Isaiah has been on one hell of a bender lately and was at one point declared legally dead this weekend after 4 zombie jager bombs, a drink we recently invented that involves jager, Red Bull, and tequila. It attained the name “zombie” because it actually kills the drinker for a short time before resurrection. Nice week for you to go down Isaiah, nice. Seriously though, these will not be as long as normal because my finals have sucked the life out of me, so I hope you can fend for yourselves for the time being.

Anyway, this Panathinaikos game is a pickle to predict because of the team’s historical impotency in CL road games under Pep and the Greecian’s historical steeliness at home. Yet, the boys are hitting on all cylinders right now and Messi has decided that playing god was not enough so he had to become the creator of all things and destroy all in his path (including the Brazilians). The team also seems to be bucking some trends recently. As has been noted, Barรงa rarely scores much at Almeria, then again, we decided that 8 goals were just enough to salt the earth on the way back home. Combine this with Pana’s complete lack of offensive prowess in the CL (they have scored exactly 1 goal this year in Europe, on a keeper punt and poor defense to open up against us in September), and we have ourselves sort of a conundrum.

This is just his normal look.
Until we look deeper. Look, I am wrong about a great many things, but our boys are playing their best right now. After grinding out one against Valencia 2-1, we’ve rolled off scores of 2-0, 5-0, 3-1, 3-1, and 8-0 in all competitions. That’s over a month of solid play with our offense finally getting the goals it needs and capitalizing on chances. Villa has found his touch and has 6 goals, Messi we have already discussed, even Bojan has gotten in on it of late, and Pedro has come on as well. This combined with the apparent regeneration of Xavi’s achilles and Alves doing everything on the field at once means the boys are more formidable across the board and are getting solid contributions from as many spots as possible, and others are continuing to learn and grow before our eyes (I’m looking at your Biscuits and Pique). In short: we need to put this one away early, hold the lead, and continue the stellar play before that other game on Monday.

Of course the team is not carrying its full compliment of players. Pep is bringing 20 guys to Greece including Valdes, Mino, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, Abidal, Adriano, Fontas, Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago, Mascherano, Biscuits, Keita, Villa, Bojan, Messi, Jeffren, and Pedro. Good to see Fontas and Thiago getting more burn with the big boys. Missing from this list are Milito, injured, and Pinto, whistling. Not crushing blows, but hopefully we wouldn’t need them anyway. Tactically we should be looking at doing the exact same things we always do, though Pep may decide to rest a couple of guys looking ahead, even though it is not his normal style. I’d like to see Fontas and Thiago start, but I doubt that happens either.

We will see if any huge changes are made to the starters. As much as Pep and everyone in the club really wants to say that no one is looking ahead, that’s a load of crap. Real Madrid is looking like the biggest game of the year by far now that both teams are in stride and an injury to any player, even a role player, would be harmful to the efforts. This has to come into effect when Pep is determining starters. Then again, this is Pep, so we may have Valdes playing DM, Puyol in goal, and Messi at right back, weaving his way up the pitch. I am going to predict a strong lineup to go out and stomp this one out early and then early subs for Xavi, Iniesta, and Villa. We will know how Copenhagen fared by game time since they play early in Russia. With a loss or a draw there and a win for us we will clinch 1st in the group.

Predicted Lineup: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Messi, Bojan

Final Score: 4-0, goals by Villa (2), Messi, and Busquets (why not right?)

Game time: 2:45 EST. Right now, the only TV I see showing up in America is a replay at 5:00 EST on FSC, but I may be missing something on one of Direct TV’s 3,000 channels.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe

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277 Comments

  1. November 23, 2010

    Nice to watch that 5-1 highlight again… because that was indeed the most ridiculous game we’d played so far this season. Look at all the goals we scored… I mean, from build up to finish, we had them in our hand and we decided how to slaughter them nice and slow.

    We won’t be playing our first team, for sure. But you will see Messi playing 90 minutes. Xavi to play 45, Villa 60-70.

    my predicted lineup:

    VV
    Alves Fontas Pique Adriano
    Busquets
    Iniesta Xavi
    Messi Villa Bojan

    Puyol has been playing all games and deserves a rest before the big match next monday. Both Maxwell and Abidal played last game and especially Abidal is a little injured, Maxwell needs rest too. Busquets rested last game and should feature to get the match fitness back. It’s a little risky to play Bojan again as we might see him go back to slump after a confidence boost last time, but it can absolutely go otherwise, and lets hope so.

    4-0? after a 8-0 victory? Let’s just be a little more generous about the goals we allow their fans to watch. 6-0! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. blitzen
    November 23, 2010

    Good preview, Luke! You really think Bojan will start over Pedro?

    What do we all think of Panathinaikos’ new coach, Jesualdo Ferreira, who was recently at Malaga?

    I doubt if Thiago will get any playing time unless we are at least 3 up by halftime.

    Prediction: 4-1, Messi (2), Villa, Piquenbauer.

  3. soccermomof4
    November 23, 2010

    Has anyone else noticed in the CL games that the one FSC guy can’t EVER bring himself to say anything positive about Alves?

    • Jnice
      November 23, 2010

      YES!

      It really is pathetic, somo. He unnecessarily picks on Alves all game long for silly things that aren’t that bad. And then when Alves does something well he is silent. Truly awful commentary. One time he suggested Alves usually is the weak link in the Barรงa starting 11. Seriously?!

    • BA
      November 23, 2010

      you mean Andy Gray? because he’s the world’s biggest tool.

  4. Louis
    November 23, 2010

    I actually don’t see this game on FSC, FSD, or the regular FS (wishful thinking anyways, since it’s the only one I get in HD), all day.

  5. GREECE BARCA
    November 23, 2010

    If rubin beat copenhagen with a win we are top of the group.The same if rubin and copenhagen draw.My prediction depends in how pep will decide to play the game.I say 2-0 win with goals by pedro and iniesta.

  6. Jnice
    November 23, 2010

    We’re in great form, but I still see us drawing in the end. Players will want to impress their new manager, the fans will be very loud like they always are in Athens, and our players might subconsciously be playing not to get injured.

    You know when Messi plays on reserve mode at times? I think this might be one of those matches.

    By the time we kick off, we’ll know the result of the Rubin-Copenhagen match, so maybe that will alter our approach somewhat.

    • Luke
      November 23, 2010

      You might be right about Messi, but I have been expecting that for about 2 weeks now and it still hasn’t come. Maybe he got past that?

    • Eklavya
      November 23, 2010

      Yeah yeah, you predicted low scored for the last few matches as well and look how they turned out ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Jnice
        November 23, 2010

        Haha, you’re right. BUT…. I am right this time!

      • Diego S.
        November 23, 2010

        Eklavya got rid of his funk and we’re back to winning ways when He’s watching. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Diego S.
      November 23, 2010

      I agree. A draw seems more likely.

      We could give Jeffren, Adriano, Bojan a run before the Classico. Just in case.

  7. Jnice
    November 23, 2010

    Forgot to say, I like the Mad Men reference in your preview, Luke. Good job.

  8. Soy Culรฉ
    November 23, 2010

    I agree with Jnice about this one. I think they’ll all have el derbi in the back of their mind, and play somewhat ‘reserved’. I know they should focus on Pana first & foremost, but it’s very difficult not to think about Monday, especially considering that EE will not only get an extra day’s rest, but they’re already through, so they won’t play many of their top guns.

    I’m not sure we’ll trash ’em, but I do think we’ll win this time out.

    And BTW, I checked Fox Deportes’ schedule, and they say they’re showing the game live tomorrow at 2:30/2:45 EST. I know a lot of you use Livesoccertv.com, but sometimes they can be pretty unreliable.

    • Soy Culรฉ
      November 23, 2010

      /http://msn.foxsports.com/fse/tvschedule

      They always show the Spanish teams, eh

  9. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    Oh man I forgot all about that Xavi pass to setup the first goal. Look at that pass!
    JNice, me and you both agreed the Villareal match had us nervous and we predicted I think 2-1 wins over Almeria. We’re off. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I see a 2-0 or maybe a 3-0. I said last post that it should be Fontas and Pique. Puyol needs the rest, and Pique hasn’t played in two matches. Abidal should see the bench and maybe, Thiago should start.

    Cuddly bear will probably start on the wing with Villa and Messi.

    Valdes
    Alves-Fontas-Pique-Maxwell
    -Biscuits-
    Thiago-Iniesta
    Messi-Villa-Bojan

    Or if Pep wants to prove a point that he isn’t thinking about el clasico, he’ll roll out the first team. I still see Bojan starting though.

    • Jnice
      November 23, 2010

      We are off, BUT, I’m still the leader of the barcastuff prediction game. ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Bill
    November 23, 2010

    These are the games I really hope players like Iniesta are benched. I’d actually love to see Iniesta, Xavi and possibly Puyol on the bench, due to injuries, with Messi anchoring the midfield with any combination of keita, Mascherano and busquets. Then, depending on how things are going after 60mins, take out 3 more veterans (messi, Villa, Alves) or add the 3 from the bench.

    My line-up would be:

    Valdez
    Alves,Fontas,Pique,Maxwell
    Mascherano, Busqueta
    Messi
    Pedro,Bojan,Villa

    • K
      November 23, 2010

      a 4-2-4?
      surely you jest?
      That is the stuff of wet dreams friend

      Don’t tempt me..

      • Bill
        November 23, 2010

        Well, not if messi’s role will primarily be in anchoring the midfield then crushing the box when opportunity arises

  11. K
    November 23, 2010

    1. Pique HAS to play this because he needs match practice pre-Clasico.

    2. I look forward to see some Adriano and Fontas again with Puyol and Alves getting a rest/half.

    3 If Masche starts as I think he will..we’ll see him in a bench role against Madrid which makes me kinda sad as I want to see him get under Crynaldo’s greasy skin/synthetic mousse.

    4. Is anyone as psyched as i am for this Clasico. The prospect of Mou Mou and Daddy Flo eating crwo (again) is making me dizzy.

    5. I remember over at the old offside blog there used to be this regular contributor called Genis- this professorial type who I believe Kxevin met. What happened to him?

    End.

    • Kxevin
      November 23, 2010

      Good question, K. Genis just dropped off the face of the earth, kinda like Hector. E-mails and texts are returned and ultimately, who knows? Genis was awesome people, and it was so cool to meet him in person, particularly when I was working on a story about Barcelona. He informed and altered the direction of that story in a very good way.

      My wife has his wife’s e-mail. I should have her reach out, because I am definitely curious.

    • Kari
      November 23, 2010

      Genis just disappeared one day. I don’t think Kxevin knows why either.

  12. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    Greece Barca lives in Athens, right? So, how are Pana playing right now? Hopefully they are experiencing a loss of form right now….

    – Agree with K and anyone else who says sMasch will start. This is a good game for him to play and he’s definitely not starting in el Clasico unless Busi gets a mysterious injury.

    – Xavi also doesn’t start this match IMO. So that leaves Iniesta all by his lonesome, meaning Messi moves back closer to the mid. to help him out.

    – As for the defense: I’m the least sure on this one. I agree that Pique needs to start, but I want Puyol to get some rest as well. Abidal is reportedly coming back from injury (against England. WTF?!) so I’d want him to come on as a sub at most.
    So I’m going for:

    Pinto Valdes
    Alves – Pique – Puyol* – Maxwell
    Messi – Mascherano – Iniesta*
    Pedro! – Bojan – Villa

    Depending on how the match goes: subs *Fontas for Puyol, Thiago for Iniesta (don’t wanna see Ghostface get injured, since they seem to kick him a lot).

    I’m gonna miss the first half, but I hope to see a lead.

    • Jnice
      November 23, 2010

      I could see a midfield of Keita-Mascherano-Iniesta, but who knows.

    • mei
      November 23, 2010

      I live in athens too.

      Panathinaikos is actually in a bad shape.

      Last game they were two neil down on their home ground vs a considerable weak team , but they scored 4 after that.
      They had a caretaker coach in charge , but after that game they signed the former coach of porto and malaga(i think) named fereira.

      Its his first match in charge and he said to the press that the match against barcelona is an excellent start for him since he can watch his team perform in the toughest challenge available.

      He seems to take an extra interest in defence in training.

      Panathinaikos is not really in a good shape recently since he has had a couple of bad results , he fired the coach that won them a double last year after quite a few years of having won nothing and govou is being considered an outcast by the directors of the club for not performing up to standards and having a nasty reputation of not living the life of an athlete outside of the sporting obligations.

      However they will be looking to bounce back and make a good impression on their newly signed coach.
      Theres also the rumour amongst the fans that barcelona squad will not be fully focused after the big away win of last game and with the clasico coming up next.

      • mei
        November 23, 2010

        oh and the team is staying at a hotel 2 miles away from my home.
        Should I pay them a visit ? :p

        • Kari
          November 23, 2010

          Do it. Do it and try not to get arrested. <– I am totally not making any assumptions as to what you'll try to do. Just honest advice, Really.

    • K
      November 23, 2010

      Didn’t they like just hire a new coach or something?

      Yeah: Jesualdo Ferreira the ex-Maulaga guy.

      Mind you the first few games under a new coach generally result in victories and such what with the players wanting to prove themselves to the new guy etc..

      And Pep will as usual mindf**k us all and teleport Gudjohnsen to Greece and play him in midfield ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. Kxevin
    November 23, 2010

    Oh, and we are apparently going to make another offer to Alves. The club is trying to find “innovative solutions” to the problem of the club’s austerity program, coupled with the need to keep Alves happy and in the colors. And so it goes. Talks are ongoing, the player and his agent are reportedly calm and still optimistic.

    • Bill
      November 23, 2010

      Do they let players get a percentage of the image rights or shirt sales?

    • November 23, 2010

      I thought we stopped all negotiations with all players (including Busquets,Pique, and Bojan) till after the classico. Strange…

  14. extreme barca fan
    November 23, 2010

    I think we will attack from the get go, especially if Ruben draw or beat Copenhagen, because then we need to a win to settle the 1st place issue.
    Most probably the boys will have the EE game in the back of their minds but pep will kick that out of them. so after all clears up i think we are too good for pana so my prediction is barca winning 3:1
    by the by Isiah get well soon, and i wanna have what you are having

  15. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    You know, when I’m thinking about our starting XI when looking for players to take out/rest, I’m glad we got Afellay. I could take P! or Iniesta out and put Afellay in.

    Oh, and this is for Kxevin: /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcRPtTVTtkM&feature=related

    It’s an interview with Pedro! with Revista de la Liga on SkySports, where he says where he’s improved the most. WC really did do him a world of good (pun semi-intended). There’s also some discussion on Afellay at the beginning of the video.

  16. November 23, 2010

    1) Draw is not an option. Barcelona need to win, or else they will end up second in the group.

    2) Busquets didnt start against Almeria, so I think he will play in this match.

    3) Abidal is not fully fit yet, so his inclusion is not certain.

    4) There is no need to start Iniesta, unless if Keita is not fit. Either him or Xavi need to rest.

    Here you go, I briefed my preview ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kari
      November 23, 2010

      Keita… mayhaveslippedmymindsoIforgotabouthimanddidn’tincludehim(shhh!).

      So that’s what I think about point 4.

      • November 23, 2010

        same here, Kari!

        VV
        Alves Fontas Pique Adriano
        Busquets
        Keita Xavi
        Messi Villa Iniesta

  17. K
    November 23, 2010

    How’s about a Busi Keita Masche Gandalf stand in the mines of Moria type midfield then? ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Bill
      November 23, 2010

      I’d prefer one of them to start from the bench. that way messi can start in midfield and give it more fluidity and possession valve release in case of trouble. Like I said, if we are 2 or 3 up by the 60th, then Thiago, keita and Adriano can come on for messi, Alves and Villa.

    • soccermomof4
      November 23, 2010

      I WANT that in the clasico! AT least Busi w/ sMasche

      YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!

  18. November 23, 2010

    “this is Pep, so we may have Valdes playing DM, Puyol in goal, and Messi at right back, weaving his way up the pitch”

    I lol’d. But somehow, knowing Pep, this would probably work.

  19. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    Is it just me or does this board seem to have a specialist for every league?

    Greece Barca knows the Greek league, I forget who but someone tells us a lot about the Eredevisie, anyone with a TV knows about the EPL, I probably watch the most MLS.

    Its kind of cool to see how broad the horizons are of these fans and how we all have valid input towards everything.

    Also Spartak are dominating OM and find themselves down 0-1 at half. Every French team is insane. One day you’re in 3rd, and two straight losses wil drop you into the relegation zone.

    • Jose
      November 23, 2010

      I am an expert in Caribbean national teams… that must count for something, right?

      Oh, and I can tell you guys about Real Salt Lake when we meet them in the Club World Cup on December 2011.

    • Benj
      November 23, 2010

      I can do the A-League (Australia)!!!

      Huge Perth Glory fan (That’s where Robbie Fowler now plays by the way).

      Not that it will have any effect on our players or their fixtures (highly unlikely to see a game in my lifetime between an A leaguer and Barca…

  20. Helge
    November 23, 2010

    From sport.es:
    “No estamos clasificados todavรญa y queremos clasificarnos y ser primeros de grupo, asรญ que pondremos al mejor equipo posible”, manifestรณ Guardiola en su rueda de prensa de este martes en Atenas.

    So tomorrow we will know which is the best possible line-up according to Pep ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. GREECE BARCA
    November 23, 2010

    Pana is not a danger team.They created little chances against kazan and copenhagen at home.Their leader karagounis will not play.No fear my friends.An easy win.Their defense is tragic.

      • Kari
        November 23, 2010

        Thank goodness for that. I’m sorry, but I hate Karagounis. He’s such a jerk.

  22. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    What a blast by Loic Remy! Two posts and in, similar to Messi’s.. I mean Pedro’s goal except it stayed in.
    OM get another somehow. Wow.

    I adjust my lineup.
    Valdes
    Alves Pique Fontas Maxwell
    sMasch Biscuits
    Keita
    Messi Villa Iniesta

    Xavi gets a rest but can come on if needed. Puyol needs it a rest. P! Can come on if we need to secure the result. Thiago can come on if the result is secured. I want to see Thiago more, and maybe chosing Fontas is wrong..but theres a lot of season left. Pep wants to get a result, if el Clasico wasn’t Monday we’d see Thiago more. This is one of those games where you get the W, don’t worry about blooding anyone in.

    Besides if we can clinch here Thiago will play 90 in the final match day.

    • Kari
      November 23, 2010

      No! No! NO! No LW Iniesta! For the love of all that is good! *curls up into a fetal position*

  23. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    I’m probably going to watch the Braga v Arsenal game and scout the enemy on the side (that’s EE btw) since both games are on my TV, I might as well.

    I hope EE do semi well against Ajax so they lower their guard, come in overconfident, and we kick their asses. But what will most likely happen is Ajax play well, miss chances and then get punished by Higuain.

    Suarez should at least bite someone. Perferably an EE player. That looks like he has the mother of all wedgies at times before he takes a free-kick.

    • Jnice
      November 23, 2010

      “That looks like he has the mother of all wedgies at times before he takes a free-kick.”

      Too true.

    • HY
      November 23, 2010

      Higuain wasn’t called, but looks like Ajax just got punished by Benzema.

      Agree 100% on Suarez.

  24. GREECE BARCA
    November 23, 2010

    Karagounis will not play cause of suspension!Yeah kari i agree with you about him.

    • ooga aga
      November 23, 2010

      the word “goon” is in his name

  25. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    I put on the biters vs. divers match and literally the first thing I see is a stepover to nowhere and CR7 go down in the box. in his defense it was close, but with the extra official RIGHT THERE. Literally, he couldn’t have been closer, not awarding it. It looked close, but he was right there he had to get it right. of course CR7 thought he was wrong.

    And theres CR7 blasting one from 30 yards out nowhere near goal.

    When discussing his goals we should count how many are earned from dives then FKs, and dives then PKs, by him or his teammates. The PK for ramos was quite soft the other day.

  26. Clue(less)
    November 23, 2010

    The only interest I have in the EE game today is seeing if Gregory VDW gets a shot at Greg Louganis, and if so, can he handle him?

  27. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    Wow, what a dive by Pedro Leon. Doesn’t get touched, and the Ajax player gets booked. And what happens.

    A GOAL FROM THE FREE KICK.

    • Josep
      November 23, 2010

      God that pisses me off. Leon dives, a FK given. The FK leads to a goal. Who says Barca dives?

      • Josep
        November 23, 2010

        Okay, so a defender climbs CR7 to make a header..CR7 heads it off and goes down clutching his eye..
        It doesn’t look like he got touched at all this is getting bad!

  28. soccermomof4
    November 23, 2010

    I’m watching Braga v Arsenal and my poor little mind can’t handle the fact that Braga looks so much like Arsenal in their red kits. So confusing!

    • Kevin O
      November 23, 2010

      I know right!!! I was wondering if it affects the arsenal guys and their passing..

  29. ooga aga
    November 23, 2010

    how does madrid look otehrwise?

    • Kari
      November 23, 2010

      Ajax are sh*t. No really. Like Almeria sh*t. They can’t even string simple 10 yard passes together. Johan Cryuff is shaking his head in shame.

      Pedro Leon is diving -insert explicative here-. He didn’t even make the “most of it” like Busi/Alves do. There. was. no. contact. Ajax player gets a yellow, and from the resultant free-kick, EE score an admittedly nice goal. Back heel from Ozil to Benzema who put the ball into the top corner.

      All in all, I’d say same as usual.

  30. Barcamancini
    November 23, 2010

    Off Topic: Is anyone that lives in DC going catching El Classico?

    • Ryan
      November 23, 2010

      I live nearby, but I’ve yet to check out the Washington DC Penya. With luck I’ll be able to catch the next big game there. (gonna be on a plane during this game tho, bah. Who puts el Clasic on a Monday?)

  31. Ethan
    November 23, 2010

    Really…REaly?!?!? CR7 is such a bitch. Just watched him act as if he was smashed in the face and his eye is swollen. He went over to the sidelines and got tended to as if he fucked his eye up. Well the replay came, he was touched no where near his eye…can’t explain my disgust for a player like that. and honestly been watching the game, EE blows. sorry. they really do. they wont get anywhere near the ball, their work ethic sucks. the ball movement sucks. all they have is counter attack, and sorry, that really isnt that great either. they havent played a difficult team all year. and watching Ajax control the ball with ease at times, and have no difficulty defending them, even though it is now 2-0. two bad lapses on defense that wouldnt be seen by us. we dont ball watch near our goal, or even ever. we attack attack attack. and they wont be able to handle it. can;t wait to see our dismantling of them.

    • Josep
      November 23, 2010

      Yeah, I saw that and posted about it. And throws up his hands in disgust at no call. How can people defend this type of player??

      Madrid have looked eh. They’ve controller possession, but it seems every Ajax attack gets called offsides or for a foul. That shot by I think it was di Maria was insane, but it took a wicked deflection.

      What we must be wary about is Marcelo. With Alves roaming down the wings, Marcelo will get his time to get forward. And I think he’s a great talent, he can dribble very well and his link up play isn’t too bad.

      Benzema is channeling his inner-CR7 and is becoming quite the whiner too.

    • Kari
      November 23, 2010

      ^ This may be slightly biased ๐Ÿ˜€

      I don’t wanna be overconfident coming into El Clasico; that’s an EE-thing. We’re vulnerable to counter-attacks, so it’s definitely not a good thing that they’re that kind of team.

      That being said, Thong Boy is selfish. All forwards are, but this will come in handy. They were a better team last year IMO. Kaka was a better player THEN than Ozil is right now. If they couldn’t score last year, this year will be even more difficult.

      I’m obviously going for a Barca win, but really, it could go either way.

      • K
        November 23, 2010

        *gasp* either way?!
        Stop right there
        Blasphemy
        *pitchforks etc*

        • Kari
          November 23, 2010

          *shugs* Meh. I’d like to be diplomatic. As much as I hate EE with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, I admit they are a pretty strong team. Not stronger than ours, but strong nonetheless.

          And either way is true, because if Itturalde Gonzalez (the ref of El Clasico) has a momentary lapse in judgement and falls for one of Thong Boy’s dives, we’re suddenly down a goal.

          • K
            November 23, 2010

            yeah I get what you mean.

            Blind optimism however is a stimulating drug..

            You should try it sometime ๐Ÿ˜€

            For example: I know Crynaldo is going to spontaneously combust in his bathroom tomorrow.
            It makes me happy!

          • Kari
            November 23, 2010

            Oh, I’m definitely gonna get into the Morbo spirit–I’m got my (other) .gifs and YouTube videos ready–but because we still have another, pretty important match to play, I’m gonna put it off until after it.

            As for (blind) optimism, just ask Jnice how optimistic I am/can be ๐Ÿ˜€

          • Jnice
            November 23, 2010

            Her optimism is off the charts! Wish I could be more like Kari. I’m like the complete opposite ๐Ÿ˜€

  32. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    LaLigaLoca Special offer! Free with “Ronaldo’s Top 100 Penalty Claims” it’s “50 great face clutches” if you order before 5 Dec. Get dialing!

    Hahaha.

    • Diego S.
      November 23, 2010

      ๐Ÿ˜€ Very True

      The Pedro Leon dive pissed me off too. Couple of minutes later, He elbows a player. That just makes me more relaxed. With all the diving lessons Marcelo and Pedro Leon receive from Cr. It’ll come back to haunt them at some point.

  33. K
    November 23, 2010

    My god I hate every Real Madrid player so much..I am literally shaking with rage..

    Is it alright if you wish for some greasy haired kitten huffer to get shredded in a wood chipper? Should I seek professional help?

  34. Jnice
    November 23, 2010

    Seems like you people just need to stop watch Madrid. It’s making y’all too angry lol.

    Revista De La Liga 11-23-10

    *http://hotfile.com/dl/84514919/958456d/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_23-11-10.avi.html

    or

    *http://www.fileserve.com/file/aEgw8d6/Revista De La Liga – 23-11-10.avi

    Courtesy of Pakman at fbtz.com

  35. Helge
    November 23, 2010

    What has become of the once so great and proud Ajax ๐Ÿ™

    Another bad match from Real, resulting in a comfortable victory.

    I do share your hate towards them, and I don’t know what will happen if we lose to them on Monday. I couldn’t bear it!!! They are so bad actually, we just have to beat them ^^

    • Diego S.
      November 23, 2010

      I hope they defeat Ajax with a big score, and Us winning by 1-0.

      They come to us extra-mega-ultra-super-very- confident.

  36. Diego S.
    November 23, 2010

    I want to stop watching EE. I just can’t !! If there’s anyone going to be bitten by Suarez, It’s gonna be the ref.

    • Diego S.
      November 23, 2010

      The English Commentator was ripping Cr into pieces.

        • Josep
          November 23, 2010

          I’ve got a turkish feed I think.
          That was a brilliant move by CR7 though. He played the defenders momentum perfectly and was through on goal, but it was saved.

          See, I can respect when he does great things like that, no diving needed. He did whine a lot when he didn’t finish, but I think it was directed at himself.

        • Diego S.
          November 23, 2010

          He was saying things like :

          “Yes He is a very good player, but Messi is the best, He doesn’t whine, He doesn’t dive, He doesn’t ask for free kicks, He doesn’t Argue with the referee”

          “The defender was nowhere near him, yet he falls and asks for a free kick”

          “Probably he’s mad at Arbeloa, saying “Why couldn’t my freekick be like that?”

          Among Others.

  37. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    Random: Nicknames I hate, no–despise:

    LM10, CR7/9, PR17, another initial/number combo.

    They aren’t cars for freakin’ sake.

    • Diego S.
      November 23, 2010

      What about PR17, DV7, and AI8 ? ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Kari
        November 23, 2010

        I should have correctedsaid any other initial/number combo. *shakes fist*

      • Josep
        November 23, 2010

        I’ve never seen LM10, don’t know about PR17.

        I prefer CR7 to be called Cronaldo.

        My friend was wearing his C.Ronaldo United jersey and some drunk guy waiting for the train yelled “HEY CRONALDO” and it stuck.

        • K
          November 23, 2010

          I like Cryfuckface which I read in this space some time ago..

          What especially annoys me is that Gooners take this for granted so they have TV5, NB52 and the like

    • extreme barca fan
      November 23, 2010

      Agree, when someone here says CR7 its like we are greeting/glorifying that bastard, i say lets leave that to the EE fans, however its easier than writing the whole name

      • Josep
        November 23, 2010

        I refer to him as CR7 mostly because its easy. I don’t feel right calling him thongboy or Cristina. its just eh, don’t like those.

        • Kari
          November 23, 2010

          You can call him what you like, Josep (even think of a new nickname, wink-wink, nudge-nudge). Just know I despise that nickname.

    • soccermomof4
      November 23, 2010

      Makes one wonder about signing guys who are doing sell in the Dutch league.

    • November 23, 2010

      I see some flashes of goodness such as athleticism or pace from him, but not sure if his potential is really there to grow as a brighter star in the future.

  38. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    another soft penalty for EE. and CRonaldo pads his stats with another PK goal.

  39. Josep
    November 23, 2010

    Haha Xabi alonso just saw a second yellow for delay. that was kinda harsh.

  40. Hilal
    November 23, 2010

    It is unreal how much help those ***** get from the refs. It seems its not just in Spain either. That dive from Pedro Leon that led to a goal was absolutely disgraceful. I just really hope the clasico doesnt come down to a ridiculous decision.

    • November 23, 2010

      i hear you.
      they dive all the time and the ref just call it like they are partnering on the field.

      “fall down now! i will call”
      “whistle”

  41. November 23, 2010

    I have a feeling that the ref is protecting EE all the way… soft calls in their favor all night.

  42. November 23, 2010

    Braga just scored a magnificent goal against Arsenal. Arsenal really need to strengthen their defense, don’t they? I mean, they are b team, but still…

  43. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    Oh and I have a new hated (even more than usual) player on EE: Pedro Leon.

    He’s -insert not nice word(s) here- diver. And he’s not even -insert preferred stereotype here-. (I was thinking Italian).

  44. Jnice
    November 23, 2010

    LOL, looking at the comments, we seem kind of whiny. (Just a tad)

    THIS IS WHY I DON’T WATCH MADRID MATCHES ANYMORE PEOPLE!

    • Kari
      November 23, 2010

      Yup. We even get spam when we watch too much ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Josep
      November 23, 2010

      Yeah I felt the same way, but madridista helped justify it. Look at that quality post.

      @Madridista,
      I’m being honest. What were your thoughts on the first goal, from the Pedro Leon goal? We can admit when our players dive, and its bad. We get on them about it. But what do you think?

      Also what do you think about CastorOil Ronaldo’s constant diving? Surely, he’s getting fouled every single time he goes to ground right?? He wouldn’t think to dive, and should’ve had 3-4 penalties tonight!

  45. ooga aga
    November 23, 2010

    no le hagamos caso al madrid por favor

  46. madridista
    November 23, 2010

    WAAAAH WAAAAHH WAAAAH MADRID SUCK WAAAAH WAAAH Wahhh THEY GET Help from the refs WAAAH WAAAH WAAAH …………WHAT AM I CRYING ABOUT ..UH O YEA WAAAAAH WAAAH MADRID SUCKS THEY NEVER DESERVE TO WIN , THEY ALSO WIN BECAUSE THE OPPONENT SUCKS OR BECAUSE THE REFS HELPS THEM WAAHH

    GROW UP PEOPLE

    • K
      November 23, 2010

      You have been beaten nay bitchslapped 4 games in a row by us..If I were you I’d have a bit more grace before I start mouthing off yeah?!

      • Kari
        November 23, 2010

        Don’t reply, K. It’s not worth it. You’re just going down to their level.

        Thanks for coming by, madridista. Please come back when you have something useful to say.

        • madridista
          November 23, 2010

          well Leon took a dive , a shameful one ( no one denies that ) and the ref fell for it it happens Barca players dive too and get away with it many time these are part of the game
          if you went to the Madrid blog you would see that we too complain about the fact that some of our players love to dive but the diving claims arent the one that i find ridiculous here , it is the constant ” Madrid played like crap ( when they didnt , Ajax for example never had a chance to win ) that i laugh at , its not everyone here though but the li

          • Josep
            November 23, 2010

            Lets count Madrid’s goals.

            1. Dive and FK leads to goal.
            2. EXTREMELY fortunate bounce for a goal.
            3. The defense gifted possession to madrid, twice.
            4. A penalty. It was soft, but was a penalty.

            Now to say Ajax would capitalize is incorrect, they were never in the match but it definitely could’ve finished 1-0 or 0-0.

        • madridista
          November 23, 2010

          Something useful like your constant whining and delusional posts ?

      • madridista
        November 23, 2010

        what does those result have to do with what i have said ? just because Barca won the last 4 clasicos ( you won win them forever so you should follow your own advice ) doesnt mean i cant point out how much of a delusional bunch some of you are

        • Josep
          November 23, 2010

          Madrid fans bring up the past more with their Europeon championships from the 50s when only a handful of teams played. I mean, if you want to talk about “delusional”

          • madridista
            November 23, 2010

            who is talking about the past ?
            anyways arent records kept so they could be talked about in the future , why couldnt your team win when there were only an handful of teams playing for the european cup ? anyways that is another topic for another day
            you’re kidding yourselves if you think that this current Madrid team has no merit and are only winning because of refs or crap opponents

        • Benj
          November 24, 2010

          Hey Madridista….

          6.

          Thats right

          6.

          In one season…

          Pep’s first season no less…

          Come back when you do that…

          I guess we wont see you for a while.

          Oh and PS they have no merit. They are a gang of mercenaries working for the mercenary king. There is no honour, no reality about R*** M*****, it’s just a kid with his playstation going ‘if I buy him, him and her (Cristina) I’ll win for sure!’

          This is why we are Mes Que Un Club

    • MoSSi
      November 23, 2010

      I REALLY REALLY REALLY can’t wait for monday..

  47. Euler
    November 23, 2010

    Ajax took an enormous financial gamble by deciding to not sell players and instead to try draw revenue from qualifying for and advancing in the CL.

    The situation is a mess at Ajax. They are in very serious financial trouble. And on top of that, they just aren’t a very good team.

    They are a particularly poor defensive club and that’s a particular problem because they have to defend as a team with their system.

    They are unlikely to even qualify for CL football next season. They are going to be under significant pressure to sell off a large number of players.

  48. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    And hopefully the Mad Professor aka. Itturalde Gonzales doesn’t fall for EE’s dives. Thong Boy is back to throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get the (rare) calls for his exaggerations.

    It may be my blaugrana-tinted glasses, but EE aren’t that good. Yeah, they’re scoring goals by the boat load, but something is missing. A soul, maybe?

    Seriously though, it can’t be that all teams that face them are that crap…can it?

  49. Nav
    November 23, 2010

    Man this classico is going to be amazing.

  50. Clue(less)
    November 23, 2010

    Ever since his AC Milan dive he will forever be known as Greg Louganis. It is the perfect fit, he dives, and is clearly a homosexual man….not that there is anything wrong with that AT ALL!!!!!! (Being gay I mean, there is something really messed up with his form of diving)

    • Josep
      November 23, 2010

      I hate to feed into your ideas. As I hate being sexist or anything of the like, but I have to upload and post this.

      |http://yfrog.com/0ccr7kg

      • Clue(less)
        November 23, 2010

        OMG, thank you for feeding into my idea!!!! (Again, the gay part was secondary, Louganis was just the only famous diver I had ever heard of so I started calling him that, then I wiki’d him and it says he is openly gay, just to easy to pass up.

    • blitzen
      November 23, 2010

      Just don’t see why you need to add the gay part. Adding disclaimers doesn’t make it any less offensive.

      ๐Ÿ™

  51. K
    November 23, 2010

    From barcastuff
    Sneijder (Inter Milan): “I’ve told Inter that Afellay would be perfect for us. Unfortunately, Inter decided not to listen to me.”

    awww too late cue-ball

  52. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    Since El Clasico is soon going to be upon us, I’ll just take some time to say:

    Let’s keep it clean, people. The jabbing and excess of Morbo aside, we should keep personal insults and degrading out of it. Madridistas will come by; some with something to say, other talking out of their asses. Talk to the ones that matter. Ignore the others.

    I don’t want another Arsenal experience, for those that were unfortunate enough to witness it.

    • K
      November 23, 2010

      I had a fair bit of disagreement with some Arsenal fans at a different site after the Messi show at the Camp Nou. It was fun for me but apparently not for them as they started to threaten me with bodily harm ๐Ÿ˜€

    • madridista
      November 23, 2010

      Relax Kari no one is here to start a war , i just find your constant whining about Madrid funny , if anyone is talking out of their asses it is your fellow cules who are implying that Real Madrid did not dominate Ajax today.
      Now i fully understand the intensity of the rivalry between the two teams but lets call a spade a spade from time to time shall we ? Madrid have won the games they have won because they were better than their opponents period , denying that makes you just delusional

      • Josep
        November 23, 2010

        off the top of my head, Madrid were not better than Sporting last week.

        • madridista
          November 23, 2010

          yea Madrid werent better than sporting …..at kicking and diving. anyways you are right Madrid didnt deserve to win any of their games they are just lucky and get help from the refs

          im out of here have a good day

          • Josep
            November 23, 2010

            Madrid WEREN’T better. The match was very even and thats just one example.

            Or are you a box score Madridista? Look at the stats and determine your team dominated. I watched most of the match and Sporting may have drawn, or even won on a different day.

            I never mentioned them being lucky but they do get some ref help.

            You can’t just associate 1-2 posters or Barca fans with EVERY one on a specific blog. It doesn’t work that way.

            Just because you use the word delusional doesn’t mean I think every Madrid fan is delusional ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. poipoi
    November 23, 2010

    rant: they go to amsterdam, start a team with only 2 youth players Arbeloa and Casillas (1 of the 10 players that play with their feet, arbeloa… 0 if you count players that play with their feet and are from madrid the region not the city) against THE youth player team aka Ajax. They go also with all their new EE players and their millions don’t even try to play nice and win 0-4 (by now) … I said before I really wanted รถzil but don’t care anymore I start to be glad he’s in EE. They win they spread fear ok (not to me I have xaviniesta puyipique all world champions) ๐Ÿ˜‰ but the image they give is horrible horrible, many people all over the world not only cules dislike them.

    Football is a beautiful sport, not just the emotion and the supporters every sport has that, but the sport itself really IS beautiful IMO. I’m not catalan and I think the beauty subject is the reason for me supporting FCB. I have always played football and to me playing in a certain/distinctive way and doing it with home players will always be more respected anywhere than what these other dudes do. Besides it looks like we have been doing well. We have won the sextete like that. I gotta say I care about the outcome of el clasico but I feel like Mourinho is THE last shot for EE to try and stop us. It’s all about mourinho now and he had not put a step in valdebebas before this summer. What would they do next? They should be afraid of the outcome of el clasico and this season. Maybe mou will stay one more year if things go “not-ok” but what after mourinho? … Visca el barรงa, it feels so nice to have a football identity when you see the kind of display I saw today in Amsterdam. Not talking about respect and good manners that don’t hurt either but enlightening the sport which is what I think we do, play by play, player by player. It’s cool to have such a nasty rival but this is no tale it’s reality they may win!!!

    • Momo
      November 23, 2010

      I hate to say it but as you can question their life after Mourinho inevitably moves on, they can say the exact same about Pep.

      • poipoi
        November 23, 2010

        not many years before pep we played 4-3-3 possesion football, won a CL and were applauded in bernabeu amongst other things. and luis enrique is the man!! ๐Ÿ˜€

        • poipoi
          November 23, 2010

          thiago jds (cesc) ESPINOSA rochina muniesa fontas bartra sergi roberto … any many more … madridista just asking, do you know the players from your “B” team?

  54. November 23, 2010

    smelling the morbo already, love it.

    madridista gets mad when we tell the truth, just ignore them.

    • madridista
      November 23, 2010

      LMAO you are telling the ‘truth’ alright , anyways you wont need to ignore me im out , keep the delusional comments going ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Eklavya
        November 23, 2010

        You need to stop using the word ‘delusional’ so often, mate.

  55. Jose
    November 23, 2010

    Dare I say, some of the whining in here is almost as bad as your average Barca-related post at the EE Offside site.

    That is to say, unbearably childish.

    • Clue(less)
      November 23, 2010

      Actually I kind of agree, EE just beat a decent side away in the CL by a few goals, dare I say we could not do the same in Copenhagen????? Shudder 3…2…1….F**K it, we are gonna blow the roof off them in a few days!!!!!!!

      • Jose
        November 23, 2010

        WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!

        *howard dean scream*

  56. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    Sigh. Getting back to what matters here:

    – Abidal’s been given the green light. Still don’t think he’ll play.

    -Pep says that the team will be cautious because we don’t know how Pana will play due to their nouveau coach.

    -Busi admits the obvious and says the team was worn out because of WC, but that’s all in the past.

    -Possible Lineup according to rac1: Valdes – Alves Pique Puyol Maxwell – Xavi busquets Keita – Iniesta Messi Villa

    source: barcastuff

  57. November 23, 2010

    Saying it the way it is, you guys sound like someone having a panic attack or something. RM played, won, good for them. In fact I think it is for the best of the Liga that they win by a margin so people start realize it is a two horses race because the big two are strong, not because the rest of the Liga teams are weak.

    We will deal with Real Madrid when we meet them, and let the best in that given day win.

    The rest are details. Including diving, ref, or Ronaldo penalty goals. I cant care less.

    • Nav
      November 23, 2010

      Pre-game nerves I think.

      I agree with your comment re: two horse race as well. But yeah, may the best team of the day win on Tuesday.

  58. barca96
    November 23, 2010

    What do you guys think of Van der Wiel?
    I saw a part of 2nd half before I went off to work.
    His positioning was really off and he didn’t really look too comfortable on the ball even though he wasn’t pressured so much.
    Ajax midfield was non-existant. Horrible.

    I say it once again, Di Maria has a good work-rate. Really impressed by him. I’d say, Ronaldo-Di Maria-Alonso-Marcelo are the players that we need to keep an eye on next week.

    Did you gusy know that Sergio ramos was the 1st Spaniard that scored for EE last weekend this sesason? They are just like Arsenal

    • November 23, 2010

      Regarding Van Der Wiel, it is really unfair if we take their worst match to evaluate a player. Everyone was off for Ajax, so was Van Der Wiel. More importantly, the tactics Ajax used was completely different from what we play, so it’s even harder to compare.

      However, we can still see his skills in both defense and offense, and frankly, I don’t know if he is really at a level that we are willing to offer him a contract or will he ever be. It’s hard to tell, but right now, I don’t see his potential, not in his off day. Let’s look at a better game of Ajax to evaluate things again.

      Meanwhile, the club is finding a “creative way” to offer more money to Dani Alves, according to barcastuff. Let me guess, free Audis or free houses? Or maybe give him free memberships to anyone he chooses? Bartering with players will be one hell of a funny way to pay salaries. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • November 23, 2010

        I think if Pep offer him to run 20 more laps after every training session, he will sign the new contract.

  59. jhargrid
    November 23, 2010

    I think we’ll see a comfortable victory tomorrow in the wave of energy building up towards the Clasico. I’ll be hoping for two goals for Villa, who could use an extra bit of confidence leading up to the big match.

    EE’s late time-wasting send-offs were just bizarre to me, but the team is nonetheless extremely dangerous. I think they absolutely earned their win over Ajax, and we can look forward to an extremely exciting Clasico come Monday.

  60. Kari
    November 23, 2010

    Alright, let me just say my final thoughts now:

    I thought Ajax were Almeria-esque in their horribleness. Absolute sh*t. They couldn’t string simple 10 yard passes together. This is the first time I’ve actually watched a half of EE football this season, so they could have been excellent or average for all I know. I honestly couldn’t tell because Ajax were just so horrible. That’s not an attack on EE. If anything, it’s against Ajax.

    I thought Pedro Leon’s DIVE was horrible and I’m not going to take that back. If Busi/Alves did it, I’d be on them like pale on Iniesta. No joke. Especially since it lead to a goal.

    I gave Madrid credit where it was due (i.e. their goal), though I doubt anyone noticed. And I also said that I wanted to focus on tomorrow’s match before getting into the El Clasico fever.

    Sigh.

    I just hate that someone would come here and say they aren’t trying to”starting a war” when it’s obvious they want to provoke a (negative) reaction with finger-point galore. Defending your club doesn’t have to mean attacking another. Yeah, there were some provocative comments on here; rise above it. You’ll get more respect that way. Calling an entire blog “delusional” when talking about 2/3 people is not the way to get it. I don’t really like this trend of trollers that claim they are fighting against bias/ignorance, but attack people instead of defending their club.

    I agree with Jose and Jnice that there were a couple of overzealous comments. Not cool guys. There’s a limit to personal attacks on players. We call out/giggle at the Madridistas that do it over at the EE Offside (which, by the by, I don’t post on or go to often), so when we do the same childishness, it should be that same. If we want to maintain a standard, we should start with ourselves. Word.

    I love the rivalry between the team and the jabbing and Morbo–I also have the many times mentioned .gifs and YouTube videos. In fact I posted a .gif not that long ago.– but I don’t want it to get ugly.

    Arsenal tie was bad enough.

    /possibly dramatic rant.

    • Jose
      November 23, 2010

      I say yay, Kari, yay for more giggling and less childishness ๐Ÿ˜›

  61. November 23, 2010

    -http://espn.go.com/espn3/index/_/sport/soccer-futbol

    Confirmed ESPN will air the Clasico.

  62. soccermomof4
    November 23, 2010

    oh no, not espn3. It tends to get all glitchy when I watch on espn3
    why can’t they have such an important game on espn or espn2 UGH!

  63. VicNZ
    November 23, 2010

    Just left a message on Villa’s facebook, about the New Zealand Miners. Wonder if he replies. I know he has a soft spot for the mining community.

    • barca96
      November 23, 2010

      I don’t think his jersey can reach the miners though.
      The robot got stuck. The Australian robot will reach there later.

      • VicNZ
        November 23, 2010

        To be honest im not even sure if there still alive…
        its been 6 days now and nothing. Its preety heart wrenching for the families. They have sent another robot in but it hasnt found anything.

        • Nav
          November 23, 2010

          Latest news is that they think there won’t even be a rescue operation :/

          • VicNZ
            November 23, 2010

            I know, its preety sad really. They say the gas levels in the mine may never go down, its just too risky for them I guess.

          • VicNZ
            November 23, 2010

            its been confirmed that they have died … ๐Ÿ™

        • Nav
          November 23, 2010

          BTW vicnz you’re in NZ/Wellington right? How are you gonna watch the Classico?

          • VicNZ
            November 23, 2010

            Ima jafa haha i have no idea where im goning to watch the game yet. Itll be tuesday morning for us ay?

          • Nav
            November 23, 2010

            Ah okay. Any Wellingtonians want to get together, skip work, and watch the match instead then?? (long shot ๐Ÿ™ )

          • Nav
            November 23, 2010

            And yup vic it’s on Tuesday, 9am to 11am.

          • VicNZ
            November 23, 2010

            youd be lucky to watch it with any Cules. Iv found most Kiwis lean towards Madrid more… just go to a bar in town. Theres usually a good atmosphere.

  64. soccermomof4
    November 23, 2010

    Oh good, GOLTV’s site still says it will air El Clasico. I can’t wait to hear what Ray says this year.

    • Jose
      November 23, 2010

      I think this means ESPN will carry the other clasico, soccermom o’ four

  65. soccermomof4
    November 23, 2010

    it seems bot GOL and ESPN will carry it. more choices are good.

  66. Kxevin
    November 23, 2010

    Good lord that Arsenal match was crazy. Braga has around 30% possession and wins 2-0? What a crazy game we love.

    I wouldn’t let EE supporters wind us up. It’s all partisan stuff. Some people enjoy getting the goats of others, and the morbo is flowing hot and heavy right now. It’s probably hard, but I’d just let it pass. As Ramzi notes, the players will settle it on Monday. Everything else is just nonsense, that comes down to the childhood “Did!” “Didn’t!” games that we all played.

    Dig?

    • soccermomof4
      November 24, 2010

      Arsenal game—so sad—and after this weekend—-how do I face my hubby (Chelsea fan) and my son (Man U) fan—must hide in shame from family.
      At least we all agree on Barca in this house!

  67. Kxevin
    November 23, 2010

    Abidal has medical clearance to play if we so desire. Go Greyhound!

    • blitzen
      November 24, 2010

      Nah, I think they should save him for the Clasico. No point taking a chance on him getting injured in this game.

      • soccermomof4
        November 24, 2010

        SAVE HIM, REST HIM, we’ll need him

  68. Kxevin
    November 23, 2010

    On a more serious note, I made up the Thong Boy nickname for Wrong Ronaldo. It was because of the funny way he stands when he is preparing to take a free kick. It has absolutely nothing to do with his sexuality, or insinuations about his sexuality.

    For the record, I don’t care who a player does or doesn’t screw. His free time is his own, whether it’s Valdes, Messi, Xavi or TB. Whatever. There is a certain, to me reprehensible quality about the homophobia present in our beautiful game. Like racism, it’s unspeakably vile, because it damns someone for something over which they have no control.

    It would be my preference that such nonsense not rear its head in this space. I’ve seen him labeled “Gaynaldo” a few times, as if that is somehow a slur to be called gay. Though I suppose in the dimwittedly macho worldview of too many players, coaches and supporters, it is a slur.

    For the record, it’s awful. I can’t tell someone how to think, but I can police these pages. My moderating hand hasn’t been at all heavy, and it won’t be. But I simply will not tolerate any kind of hate speech here, be it racist, sexist or homophobic.

    Sorry to get all heavy, but I felt it needed to be said. Thanks.

  69. Vj
    November 24, 2010

    @madridista

    Come back when Isaiah posts one of his wind-up posts.. It’ll be fun!

  70. extreme barca fan
    November 24, 2010

    Speaking of gay. today (nov.24th) marks the 19th anniversary for the death of the great freddy mercury, RIP

  71. K
    November 24, 2010

    1. I am sorry but Arsenal cannot cut it much in the CL if they continue to play they do..I mean the only clear chance they had was that penalty shout on Vela (which I felt was a stonewall one)

    2. Two amazing finishes by the Braga dude..the 2nd one was a true golazo

    3. Cesc looks absolutely exhausted..maybe not physically but mentally. The “transfer” saga had an effect on his psyche?

    4. I did not see the Madrid game and thus saved some of my brain cells from bursting (thanks Jnice)

    5. I want an easy win maybe a 0-2 or 0-1 so that the Mierdas can go on about their goal-scoring record and then we annihilate them at the Camp Nou.

    6. Crynaldo spontaneously combusts in his bathroom in three hours ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Vj
      November 24, 2010

      Cesc spent more time injured than Xavi.. Maybe sitting on the bench here will do him good in that respect..

      • K
        November 24, 2010

        I’ve heard many Gooners say that perhaps his heart is in Barcelona.
        No shit geniuses..that is his home ya know!

  72. sab
    November 24, 2010

    dont know about others,but i think we should really keep an eye on marcelo.
    And saw the rm games.they attack pretty quickly.nd lets call a spade a spade.madrid was always on cntrol,never even hit top gear.
    This classico is vital.they hired the special mouth just to beat us,if they cant then their spirit will be broken 4a lng time.mou is their last resort.so its essential that we beat them 4the lng trm.
    Regarding classico,i m optimistic we beat them 2 1,dnt fear them but i respect them in this match.
    Masch should start in CLASSICO above biscuits IMO

    • Josep
      November 24, 2010

      I actually stated this earlier in this long post but its easy to miss. We must be wary of Marcelo, he’s their Dani Alves on the other wing..

      But likewise, they must be very wary of Alves. Alves will be finding the space Marcelo leaves behind, and is a much better player. I think this might help us more in the end.

  73. Diego S.
    November 24, 2010

    Luis Suarez has received a 7 match ban after his “biting” incident.

    • Kxevin
      November 24, 2010

      I don’t think the ban is long enough. I believe that some acts of violence (stomping is another one) should warrant at LEAST a 10-match ban. Suarez’ bite is one such incident.

      For me, “Barca quality” isn’t just on the pitch. Suarez isn’t Barca quality by that standard. Given the kicking and other abuse that our players take, it is imperative that a Barca player be able to hold it together. And from the WC handball incident to this latest episode, Suarez has all the qualities of a player whi can’t handle mental pressure.

      I imagine that, if he was ever on our serious list, that he’s just been crossed off.

      • K
        November 24, 2010

        Crossed off? I think he’s been crossed off, the crossing off’s been bleached and the page burnt and later the hands washed and disinfected

        • Josep
          November 24, 2010

          For as talented as he is, he certainly is another Cronaldo. Cry, cry, cry. Bite, bite, bite. and he’s saying how he’ll not move here cuz pep’s brother is his agent.

  74. Kxevin
    November 24, 2010

    Hmmmm …. interesting. I donn’t think that Guardiola will seriously consider starting Mascherano over Busquets, but you can certainly see the logic in it.

    What sMasch gives that Busquets doesn’t is the quality of a pure destroyer. As I noted in the Almeria match, Mascherano makes everything so hard. He’s always there as a disruptive force.

    But he hasn’t earned that consideration, he would be the first to tell you. The way he has seamlessly gone about doing his job on the club is impressive, btw. He is a world-class DM who would start for almost any club on the planet. True class all the way.

    • soccermomof4
      November 24, 2010

      I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by Mascherano.
      Start Busi today because he was rested over the weekend.
      Start Busi and Mascherano together for clasico to make CR’s life miserable.

      • Kxevin
        November 24, 2010

        But if you run out sMasch and Biscuits, whither thou goest, Iniesta?

        • K
          November 24, 2010

          Oh man not Ghostface left winger again!

        • soccermomof4
          November 24, 2010

          4-2-3-1? kinda like a Spain thing but not?
          VV
          Alves, Pique, Someone (love to rest Abi AND Puyi), Maxwell
          Busi, sMasch
          Messi,Xaviniesta
          Villa

          Pedro in for a DM as needed

          • soccermomof4
            November 24, 2010

            Oh My I mixed up my dream lineups for today and Monday—need more coffee
            EL CLASICO
            VV
            Alves, Pique, puti, Abi
            Busi, sMashe
            Messi, Xaviniesta
            Villa
            Pedro in for DM as needed

            Today
            Alves, Pique, Someone (love to rest Abi AND Puyi), Maxwell as a back 4

            SORRY- been up since 5:30 backing for tomorrow

        • soccermomof4
          November 24, 2010

          Spelling
          Puyi
          baking

          I need a nap

  75. Josep
    November 24, 2010

    Apparently in Marca they’re saying Madrid will go with a 3 man midfield. Ozil out, and Lass in.

    What’s everyones thoughts on the Madrid red card fiasco? I had not the slightest clue it was a big deal, but the papers are blowing it up. It’s all over twitter. And apparently they might see punishment.

    I find that really, really harsh. What Ramos and Alonso did was smart. Apparently, only the Spanish league does this. All the english writers are baffled by this technique and don’t know what to do.

    What confuses me more, is the Liga and the Champions League must have different rules. Pique picked up his one game suspension yellow, then picked up another giving him a red card ban. Instead of a 5 yellow ban. I gues in the CL its the same thing because they picked up two yellows, and theres no red card ban? Hm.

    Barca play today, all my bosses are out of office, and the MLS expansion draft is today. Oh yeah!

    P.S. Whoever posted that messi ‘deal with it’ .gif is amazing. It’s always been my favorite meme and I just kept looking at it and laughing yesterday.

    • blitzen
      November 24, 2010

      Re: the Alonso and Ramos red cards. It’s not the classiest thing to do, and if I was a ref I would resent being dicked around with like that. I understand the reasoning behind it, but even though Barca would likely do it too I find it a bit cynical and disrespectful. I can’t get too worked up about it, though.

      • Josep
        November 24, 2010

        Disrespectful? Hardly.
        Pique tried to do this last weekend. Alves did it last season, it’s a smart move!

        They do it in a smart way, mostly time wasting. It’s a lot better than say, going in late on purpose. It hurts no one, and it’s a smart move to clean the slate. I don’t see it as cynical or disrespectful, it’s just a smart, smart move. It’s great micromanaging by the players to know this as well.

        • blitzen
          November 24, 2010

          If I was a ref I would find it disrespectful to have a player messing around wasting time deliberately trying to provoke me into carding him instead of getting on with playing the game. The ref is there to assure fair play, not to be an unwitting participant in a player’s or manager’s agenda. It may be “smart play” in terms of benefit to the team, but I don’t like it when Madrid does it, and I don’t like it whan Barca does it either. That’s just my opinion, and you can disagree. That said, I’m not getting my panties in a twist about it.

    • jhargrid
      November 24, 2010

      It sounds like a whole lot of silliness to get worked up over. The incident was bad sportsmanship, sure (time-wasting in a 4-0 blowout, twisting the suspension rules), but instituting an exceptional punishment is just arbitrary.

  76. K
    November 24, 2010

    A scorned Gooner sayeth to me:
    And trust me, Barca would do worse than Arsenal if you was in the PL.And even in La Liga, most of it is coz of one player from Mars whose really messy to play against.. So respect what we have achieved in the PL..

      • Kxevin
        November 24, 2010

        It’s a pointless argument. The two clubs aren’t of like quality. Every one of our starters was with his NT for the World Cup, and is acknowledged as one of the best in the world, hence being capped. Our club would do well in any league on the planet, because class will always out.

        Now, those English winter trips to the likes of Wigan and Bolton would certainly wear on a side, but without question, we have the quality to deal with them, parked buses or no.

        The question is, however, academic.

  77. sab
    November 24, 2010

    masch should start in classico,coz its an octane match,rm will play with high speed.masch is adapted to this,he can get under their skin by some destroyer type tackle.for all his attributes biscuit is not suited for this octane match(im 1st leg,classico@camp nou).another thing his passing range is much underrated.if special mouth marks xavi,then he can do that.busi IMO cant do that both.
    About consideration,i think he has earned that,and he nw seriously fits the barca system.his passing is more crisp w r t his early games.
    Or both can play,in dat case ini has to play as a lw,which i think will not favour us in classico.if we can stop marcelo in the left flank of rm with alves nd messi then the game is ours.
    I think messi should play as a rf to bring havoc @left flank.their cb pairing is gr8,so we should surprise their cb by playing pedro in the middle,coz he is fast,2footed,has gr8 shot.that way villa can occupy ramos.
    Todays lineup should include VV
    ADRIANO PIQUE ABI MAX
    MASCH
    BISCUIT PALEFACE
    P WBP V

    • November 24, 2010

      “another thing his (Mascherano) passing range is much underrated.if special mouth marks xavi,then he can do that.busi IMO cant do that both.”

      From the deep depth of my Mascherano bias, I still have to disagree. I agree that Masche-can, but I disagree that Busque-can’t.

    • Kxevin
      November 24, 2010

      If all else were equal, I’d do something like:

      VV
      Al Pq Py Ab
      Msc
      Ms Xa Ini
      Krk Vil

      Yes, that’s right. Starting Krkic in El Clasic. The reasoning:

      VV: Starting keeper. Period
      AL: Starting RB, but with instructions to play more controlled.
      PQ: Should be rested and brilliant
      PY: The stength of ten in El Clasic
      AB: Get him loose with a few minutes today
      MSC: sMasch smash! Also the safety if Alves gets caught up
      MS: Will raise more hell on the wing
      XA: Duh
      INI: Double duh, with the addition of destabilizing, space making runs
      KRK: Should be riding high and full of confidence, and his quickness and creativity should get ’em soft for Pedro in the 2nd half
      VIL: Tell him to go all out for the first half, sub for Busi, plan on a P!/Krkic/Messi front line for second half, with a lineup that morphs into:

      VV
      ALV PQ PY AB
      MSC XA BSQ
      P! MS KRK

      • Vj
        November 24, 2010

        I’d do something like this if I were Pep:

        —–VV
        —-PQ PY AB
        ALV BUS KTA
        —–XA
        MS INI
        —–VIL

        • K
          November 24, 2010

          so basically no width on the left at all?

          I love Villa but he’s no Henry to stick to the left wing and raise hell

          • Vj
            November 24, 2010

            ||http://twitter.com/barcastuff/status/7251057704964096

            Silva says otherwise..

      • November 24, 2010

        If we are starting a creativity battle then, here is my candidate for the big prize (lets hope the lines work):

        ————-Valdes———–

        —-Pique—-Puyol—Abidal—

        Alves——Mascherano—-Adriano

        ——–Xavi——-Iniesta——

        ——–Messi——–Villa——–

        And if you think this is defensive, think again. RM will not even know what will hit them.

        • K
          November 24, 2010

          Ramzi I don’t think that’s defensive at all..its very attacking is what I feel

        • Momo
          November 24, 2010

          Maxwell instead of Adriano though…

        • Cesc Pistol
          November 24, 2010

          Nice formation Ramzi but I don’t think the triangles look tht good in this sort of formation? Aren’t those two flat lines of 3?

  78. K
    November 24, 2010

    From barcastuff:
    Barcelona have only lost 1 of their last 14 away games in the Champions League

    Pity it was against That Guy

    • Vj
      November 24, 2010

      Hmm let me recall the some of the away games in the Champs League:

      FCK 1-1 FCB
      Rubin 1-1 FCB
      Arsenal 2-2 FCB
      Stuttgart 1-1 FCB
      Rubin 0-0 FCB
      Inter 0-0 FCB
      Chelsea 1-1 FCB*
      Bayern 1-1 FCB
      Lyon 1-1 FCB

      We don’t win a lot away do we?

      *You know why..

      • K
        November 24, 2010

        yeah its a Pep thing I guess..it stretches till the treble season where we annihilated teams at home

        When was our last away win anyway?

        Shaktar 1-2?
        or Lisbon 2-5?

  79. Jeff
    November 24, 2010

    What was the lineup for the 2nd Clasico last year? The one where Alves was pretty much a RW?

    • Diego S.
      November 24, 2010

      VV

      Puyol-Pique-Milito-Maxwell
      Busquet
      Alves-Xavi-Iniesta
      Messi-Pedro

  80. Kxevin
    November 24, 2010

    Whoa! R/T to BCN right now is just over a kilobuck. So if I can snag a match ticket on Friday, I am SO going to El Clasic, probably for a Friday-Wednesday thing, or something.

    • soccermomof4
      November 24, 2010

      What are the chances of you getting one?

      • MoSSi
        November 24, 2010

        What’s a kilobuck ? 1000 dollars?

      • Kxevin
        November 24, 2010

        The second draw for socis is on Friday a.m., and I figure I’m due. Here’s why:

        –During the first drawing for match tickets in September, I had a ticket in the same awesome place I was sitting last year for El Clasic, and the system crashed as I was paying for my ticket!

        –But because my flight would have been booked for a Monday return, I would have been scuh-roood, since the match was moved to the Monday, and Iberia charges crazy rebooking fees, we would have had to find a new place to stay for a day, etc.

        So I figure I’m due this time, because a few days ago, the air fares were in the thousands. Now, when I check on a whim, they’re $990? And nobody in my group in on vacation for that period. It’s gotta be fate. Could she be that cruel twice in a row? So I have the flight on hold, and we’ll see @3 a.m. on Friday. (Fingers crossed.)

        • y2k156
          November 24, 2010

          Luck mate!

          I do want Masch to play in Classico. He is quite quick and against quick counters from EE, could be quite useful.

          I’d go with Ramzi’s suggestion as well though most probably would have maxwell instead of adriano.

  81. K
    November 24, 2010

    RK 0-0 FCK
    13 min

    Hoping it stays that way

    • soccermomof4
      November 24, 2010

      hoping RK’s coach’s beads work against teams other than us

  82. hamzawi
    November 24, 2010

    my recommendation for el classico line up is

    VV
    Aves-Puyol-Pique-Abidal
    Mash
    Xavi -Biscuits

    Messi-villa-Iniesta

    Off the topic ,this is a new very good barca fan blog that worth following,http://www.barcablaugranes.com/

    • Auld Super
      November 24, 2010

      Ya that looks about right, I just hope Masch won’t get too excited and get himself sent off.

  83. Jnice
    November 24, 2010

    Official Lineup: (barcastuff) : Valdes – Alves Pique Puyol Adriano – Xavi Mascherano Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa.

    Serious lineup. We need these 3 points.

      • Kxevin
        November 24, 2010

        Actually if Rubin wins, we are in great shape.

        • K
          November 24, 2010

          yup got it..Time we beat Kazan no?
          Haven’t beaten ’em yet!

  84. john
    November 24, 2010

    It’s “without further ADO”. “Without further ADIEU” makes no sense.

  85. blitzen
    November 24, 2010

    Cast your vote here for the 2010 BBC African Footballer of the Year.

    I voted for Eto’o.

    *http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/9185598.stm

    • Jnice
      November 24, 2010

      Had to support my Ghana boys and vote for Gyan.

      • blitzen
        November 24, 2010

        I love Gyan! He was great in the WC. But I think Eto’o had a better year.

  86. messi_alves
    November 24, 2010

    stream – sportstream24.com/champions_league_football/watch_online_18

  87. ooga aga
    November 24, 2010

    FT Rubin 1-0 FCK

    if we win we clinch the group

  88. blitzen
    November 24, 2010

    I hope we get a match comments post. This one is getting really long!

    Kxevin? Isaiah? Luke?

  89. ML
    November 24, 2010

    Is there going to be a liveblog? Match comments post?

  90. November 24, 2010

    @Cesc Pistol

    On papers, the selection look like a flat dual lines. In practice, this is as far as it can be from being flat. I consider this selection (3-3-2-2) more triangles-generator than current Barca tactics.

    Pique’s (initial) position here is to create a diagonal cover to Alves and Mascherano. Moving the ball forward from the back, that’s a triangle.

    The fact that you have Puyol to make a second cover means that Alves will not need to play behind the ball in Barca’s half. Moving forward means that Alves start the initial triangle with Pique+Mascherano, then he push forward to create a flanked triangle with Mascherano+Xavi (with Alves being in front of Mascherano-not on the same line). Then he continue to reach a triangle with Xavi and Messi.

    The same structure happens on the left.

    With Alves and Adriano/Maxwell moving forward together (now that they are covered defensively), and with Xavi-Iniesta in the Center behind dynamic Messi+Villa moving the ball from one side to another and forward thru the flanked triangles will go smoothly, and the way the flanks stretch the opponent lines (or else they get too lethal to contain) will create spaces in the center for the central triangles to work. And if you look at the players employed in the center, there are ultimate level of triangles there. Starting from defense to midfield to offense.

    If Pep try this once, he will make it one of his favorite options.

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