Where the Pegasus Come Sweeping Down The Volga: Barça – Ruubiiiiin

CL Preview: Barcelona – Rubin Kazan, Tuesday 2:45pm EST, Fox Deportes, DirecTV

I’m sick. Not just of the Balon D’Or nonsense that I could give a pool noodle about, but also in the actual sense. Stupid weather. Stupid immune system. Stupid bottles of cava this weekend. You’re all to blame, but none of you are as guilty as Rubin Kazan. That’s right. I’m talking about you, you big third-place lummox. 10 points out of first with the season already complete. Thank goodness we don’t have to visit you because if I think NYC is cold right now (it’s 38F right now, but it feels like -400), well it’s 18F in Kazan and I’m not the least bit interested in visiting. Not for all the Alsou in the world. Yeah, I freaking know that’s the third time I’ve mentioned her in previews for games against Rubin, but if you can find me a better Tatar to link to, I’ll gladly update this post with her. Or him.

Okay, so they’re coming sweeping down the Volga, heavily armed with Nike ProCombat gear and freaking crazy cool jerseys. Pegasus on a jersey is badass. I don’t care what you say. Even if you say “Isaiah that’s not a Pegasus it’s some kind of jungle cat with wings.” I don’t care. Obafemi Martins wearing winged (pronounced wing-ged) creatures is a terrifying site to behold. Especially if you’re Andreu Fontas and you’re making your CL debut.

Did you ever think you’d see a miniature version of our squad going up against Rubin Kazan? Well with Marc Bartra, Andreu Fontàs, Thiago Alcántara, Jonathan dos Santos, and Víctor Vázquez all included in the lineup, you’re about to. I didn’t know we could get smaller. It’s important to note who is left out of the squad entirely: Alves, Xavi, Villa, Pedro, and Keita. That ruins my thinking for the midfield, but gives JDS a chance to step in and play a big match with the first team. It also ruins my thinking about the forward line where now we’ll see Messi getting the start. Hmm.

I had originally posited that we would be starting Pinto, Adriano, Fontas, Milito, Maxwell, Mascherano, Keita, Thiago, Bojan, Pedro, Jeffren, but now that Milito is still out with an injury and Pedro and Keita aren’t in the squad list, here’s some radical thinking:

Pinto, Adriano, Fontas, Bartra, Maxwell, Mascherano, Thiago, JDS, Jeffren, Bojan, Messi.

That’s one regular starter among them, so I could see Pique replacing Bartra, just to provide some backbone. You could see Busi in there instead of JDS, of course, but I think Thiago gets the start and I’d like to see Johnny Two Saints pick up some minutes as well. It would serve everyone well, I think, even if they’re smashed to pieces. Copenhagen would cry foul, but they just have to win and they’re in 2nd in the group. Rubin is required to win and have Copenhagen slip to a draw or defeat. If Rubin draw and Copenhagen loses, Rubin goes through on goal difference (they’re currently tied), so you know Rubin is going to come out to play hard.

And considering that they took all 3 points off of us at the Camp Nou last year when we started a first team squad (or something very close to that–plus we had The Yaya), there are no guarantees we won’t get our asses handed to us. That brings up an interesting question for Pep: do you try to maintain as much form as possible by starting as good a lineup as you can while still recognizing that this is a completely meaningless match for us? That would mean starting Busi instead of JDS, Iniesta instead of Thiago, and Puyol and Pique instead of Bartra and Fontas. You could also say Maxwell up top instead of Jeffren and Abidal at LB. There are possibilities there, of course, but I think the lineup I gave is worth a shot simply because it’ll give more players a taste of the big time.

Not that many of you will be able to watch. For those of you here in the US without DirecTV, the game is only available on Fox Deportes (or whatever the current name is). Lucky for me I’m sick because I might get to watch it live, if I’m not well enough to go to work. Problem is, though, my Kansas Jayhawks are in town for the Jimmy V Classic against Memphis tomorrow night and I have tickets. Must get better. Send good immune systems my way, please, to replace this run-down apparatus I’ve been relying heavily on throughout the last 2 fairly sleepless weeks. Or don’t and watch your previews die. Mwahaha.

Official Prediction: 1-2, goal by Bojan. Kid is unstoppable.

And thus this is another short preview that fails to touch on their tactical approach (3-5-2, I think) and how to counter it or the results of our trip to Russia (1-1, Villa PK). Whatever. I’m going to go drink warm liquids and fall asleep on my couch. Oh and if you’re into the whole buying-gifts-for-Isaiah thing, you should totally get me Compendium 1 of The Walking Dead. And don’t send it to Luke because he made fun of me for being snotty early. Then I called him poor.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

141 Comments

  1. GREECE BARCA
    December 6, 2010

    Isaiah i disagree..they are not ceuta..they are a very good and strong team..i prefer that:valdez(pinto is suspended)adriano,puyol,abidal,maxwell,mache,iniesta,tiago,bojan,messi,jeffren.

    • December 6, 2010

      Wait, Pinto is still suspended? I thought that was over already.

      I also never said they were bad. I said they were very good, but what do we care if we lose? We’re assured of 1st place. Get rest for the team and get some young players some time. That’s my point.

      • December 6, 2010

        The full squad list, as I thought:

        Valdés, Pinto, Piqué, Puyol, Iniesta, Bojan, Messi, Jeffren, Mascherano, Sergio, Maxwell, Adriano, Abidal, Thiago, Fontàs, Bartra, Víctor Vázquez, Jonathan dos Santos.

        Pinto is included.

        • ballbeav
          December 6, 2010

          pep clearly said in the press conference today that pinto will start

  2. momo
    December 6, 2010

    Official prediction:
    ——Pinto——-
    —-Pique–Fontas—-
    Adriano———-maxwell
    ——–masch———-
    –Busquets—-iniesta
    -jefferen——–Bojan
    ——–messi—–
    1-1
    messi 35 min

    Subs:
    Thiago 45
    JDS 60
    Barta 70
    Mark my words…

  3. GREECE BARCA
    December 6, 2010

    Hm..i believe pinto is suspended..and sory guys but i want a WIN against them!!3-0,messi 2,tiago!

    • Ryan
      December 6, 2010

      Here’s hoping we get to see some Messi-Thiago magic; it was great watching those two against Ceuta.

      • Jnice
        December 6, 2010

        Messi needs to sit his ass on the bench and like it.

        • Nav
          December 6, 2010

          Sigh, tell me about it. I’ll so pissed off at Pep if Messi is injured in this match.

        • Ryan
          December 6, 2010

          Maybe he could do like the Ceuta match and just come in near the end to give the youngins some experience playing with him?

        • IS
          December 7, 2010

          Yup… I think he’ll come on in the second half ‘for the fans’..

  4. GREECE BARCA
    December 6, 2010

    Jnice if messi sit on bench who will be our triplete front??We can.t play iniesta left,we need him in midfield!

    • Jnice
      December 6, 2010

      He might play Victor Vazquez on the left wing like he did against Espanyol in the Copa Catalunya.

  5. vicsoc8
    December 6, 2010

    Messi will start because he is well, Messi.

    I would also like to see Abidal start in the center of the defense. With Milito injured he is our legitimate third choice CB, and therefore he needs to log some time playing there. When better than an unimportant Champions League game? The best thing is he doesn’t really need to be rested in this game, because we have Maxwell to play on the left if needed.

    • Stephen
      December 7, 2010

      Agree, plus I think Abidal needs to continue to be on the field, he’s been great lately, why lose pace?

  6. soccermomof4
    December 6, 2010

    Poor Isaiah! Get well soon!

    BTW, FSC is carrying it here in the States, but not live. They are showing it at 5:00 EST (For some reason they chose to show the Spurs live). That means I have to go searching for a feed because I’m too impatient to wait for my fix.

  7. Kari
    December 6, 2010

    I’m going for:

    Pinto
    Adriano – Bartra – Fontas – Maxwell
    JDS – Mascherano – Thiago
    Pedro! – Bojan – Jeffren

    Subs: Iniesta, Victor Vazquez, and… err (glances at squad list) anyonenotnamedMessiPLEASEPEP

    Yeah.

    • Jnice
      December 6, 2010

      No Pedro for tomorrow. I think we could see Victor Vazquez on the left like against Espanyol this past week. Or I could be dead wrong and Messi could play. Boo.

    • soccermomof4
      December 6, 2010

      I like your line-up. I think we may see Puyi or Pique in with one of the youngsters so they get get some experience in pairing up with one of the big guys should the occasion arise. SADLY, I doubt you’ll get your wish with Messi. Hopefully it’s just a quick Ceuta-esque run-out to—- a. see how he and Thiago do together again—b. for the fans that show up to a meaningless game—c. because TB will probably be playing in EE’s meaningless game to rachet up his goal count.

      I want him to sit out too (I want him fully rested for THAT team), but I don’t see it happening.

      • soccermomof4
        December 6, 2010

        Oops, I was wrong. THAT game( Espanyol) is two weeks away. We have R. Sociedad first.

        • Kari
          December 6, 2010

          Yeah, Pep’ll probably play Messi so he can get his and/or Bojan’s goal count up. Sigh.

          I want us to be fit and ready for those darn Pericos, so Pep will come in for a verbal beating if Messiniesta get injured.

          • soccermomof4
            December 6, 2010

            So if the Xaviniesta shirt bears the number 68, the Messiniesta shirt would be a 108. The last thread had someone inventing Xavinistamessi…

          • Jnice
            December 6, 2010

            Xaviniesta as one: *http://l-userpic.livejournal.com/104850368/21639309

          • IS
            December 7, 2010

            Jnice, that Xaviniesta pic was awesome… too weird, yet so familiar..

          • soccermomof4
            December 7, 2010

            Wow, Jnice!

            “Please let us play, mister.”

          • soccermomof4
            December 7, 2010

            Really, Isaiah! My mind can’t quite handle those names before coffee!

  8. jhargrid
    December 6, 2010

    A 1-2 final seems possible with our youngsters against Rubin’s last chance for CL glory. I’ll say we end up 1-1, because I’m more cautiously optimistic.

    Pinto, Thiago, sMasch, and Bojan are all definitely starting. I’m fairly sure our backline is going to be Adriano-Bartra-Fontas-Maxwell. That leaves two spots open. I don’t think Pep will risk starting both Iniesta and Messi in a throwaway match. I’d guess Messi and Jeffren get the last spots. I see Messi exploring more of his false-9, roving, attacking midfielder-striker-cyborg role. Meanwhile, Pep seems to be warming to Jeffren of late, probably since his Clasico goal. I think Pep will want to see how Jeffren performs given more time.

    I’m not *too* worried about Messi. Like I said, I think he’s more likely to drop back and put himself on cruise control, helping maintain possession in midfield. I don’t think he’ll be looking to put himself in too many dangerous situations. I hope.

    Good luck to our boys tomorrow, even if I do kind of expect them to take one on the chin.

  9. vicsoc8
    December 6, 2010

    I’m not going to lie, I’d really like to see a midfield of Busquets – Mascherano – Thiago tomorrow, with Busquets playing more advanced than he usually does.

  10. Eduard
    December 6, 2010

    I think Barca would be doing themselves a favor in taking Rubin out of the competition. We don’t want to meet them in the semis.

    • momo
      December 6, 2010

      My thoughts exactly. Although I don’t think they will get to the semis. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a strong team, it’s just that they’re pretty much unspectacular when they’re not playing us. Reason for that of course is that they’re expert bus parkers, which is why I’m really looking forward to how they will play when they have something to fight for.
      Like I said earlier, this one’s got draw written all over it.

    • soccermomof4
      December 7, 2010

      My thought too. Fear the prayer beads!

  11. Josep
    December 6, 2010

    I wouldn’t mind Messi playing in reserve mode atleast a little. It’s unrealistic for our youth players to expect to play in the first team without Messi. :DD

    P.S. Don’t mess with me in FM, I’M ALL ABOUT THE MIND GAMES

    |http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/8857/josephpivoriunasnewsinb.png

    • Jnice
      December 7, 2010

      Ha, Tito is still your assistant manager? I dropped him long ago.

      • Zain
        December 7, 2010

        You know, i took my own personal revenge on that thug S. Ramos in FM2011 with an evil plan !! 😀

        He was transfer listed for 10m because of a fight with Mourinho. Before the Clasico, i didn’t even think of having anything to do with him. But his antics pissed me off so much that i bought him ! Sounds strange ? But wait…

        Then i put him up for a loan to buy. Naturally many big clubs were interested. I loaned him to Man Utd in January with them paying whole salary and a future fee of 30m.

        But here’s the twist ! Before loaning him, i gave him a sub appearance with my Barca team. And now, after going to Utd he can not play for 6 months because he has already played for 2 clubs in the same year ! Thus effectively ruining his career while making a little profit of my own !! 😀

        Also, this happened !!

        |http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/4053/zainsiddiquinewsinbox.png

        Pretty realistic, huh ?? 😀 😉

        • Jnice
          December 7, 2010

          LOL too funny. Reminds me of the time I took the Spain job and kicked all of the Madrid players off the team and made Gerard Pique captain. I then quit a few days later and even after the new boss came in, Pique remained captain. 😀

          I’ve also caused injury to players who weren’t being professional by turning their strength training all the way up. 😀

          Random, but I’m in January 2014 and Seedorf is the manager of Wolfsburg, Lampard is the manager of Aston Villa, and lolol Borriello is the manager of Palermo at age 31 because he was out of contract with Roma and couldn’t find a team so decided to retire. I love FM.

          • Jnice
            December 7, 2010

            BTW, Pep just got fired as Man City boss, ironically my 4-1 one drubbing of his side was the final nail in the coffin and Jose Mourinho was hired in his place. 🙁

          • Josep
            December 7, 2010

            Haha I don’t change the backroom staff often. I was busy and holiday’d from August – January second season and we’re like 6 points back :|. But still alive in all competitions. Too many good players get listed this year.

            Messi is unhappy with Puyol being a captain for some reason. That makes me sad 😐
            I’m grooming JDS for Xavi role and Thiago for Iniesta, but it seems Biscuits plays well as a deep lying role so he could be my new Xavi hm..

            One match vs. Sevilla I had something like 16 shots-10 on-8 CCC and 4 goals. Against their 6 shots-4 on target-1 CCC and 3 goals 😐

            I wish teams progressed in stats better on the B team. Mine is full of unhappy players like Aron Gunnarson. 😀

        • soccermomof4
          December 7, 2010

          Son #1 is getting both Fifa 11 and PES for Christmas—I’m gonna hafta learn to play if it’s half as fun as you claim.

  12. Miguel
    December 6, 2010

    everybody out, he’s got immunities!!!
    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7qEgs1BHa0

    big ups to soma for her last two posts. been too office partied-out to comment.

  13. December 6, 2010

    Lineup prediction:

    Pinto
    Adriano Fontas Abidal Maxwell
    Mascherano
    Busquets Iniesta
    Messi Bojan Jeffren

    by the way, i just love how classy Guardiola is. Saying he is happy with third behind Mourinho and Del Bosque, and I think it will be like that and it’s ok. We will play well and win CL again.

  14. barca96
    December 7, 2010

    Is there a limit no. of reserves we can put in or doesn’t it matter at all as long as they were registered early in the season for CL squad.

  15. Kxevin
    December 7, 2010

    There’s a 4 p.m. CT (do the math for your own time zone) rebroadcast on Fox Soccer Channel, as well.

  16. barca96
    December 7, 2010

    Pinto
    Adriano-Pique-Fontas-Max
    Keita-sMasch-Thiago
    P!-Bojan-Jeffren

    -I never liked that midfield combo and I don’t think we ever played good with that midfield but that’s the best B-midfield.

    -Fontas should come out for Bartra in the 2nd half if the game hasn’t been won which I think what will happen. Otherwise, put Pique out for Bartra. And JDS in too.
    -Messi took a knock from that d**k head Ramos last week, he should really rest. So do the likes of Puyol, Alves, Busi & Villa.

      • barca96
        December 7, 2010

        Yeah. Just read the post.
        Was too busy to read the post so I just list my
        line-up 🙂

        Now there is a chance for JDS & Thiago to play together.
        Future Barca midfield maestros.

  17. Extreme barca fan
    December 7, 2010

    There is one thing im sure of, that rubin will attack (not very sure, it seems they never attack) but they will be desperate for the three points so i guess at last we will say what they can do in open play, hopefully peps rests messi and iniesta because its really dangerous and you never know when injury hits

  18. December 7, 2010

    “If Rubin draw and Copenhagen loses, Rubin goes through on goal difference ”

    Isnt it head-to-head first? I completely forgot this detail and too lazy to check it out.

    • IS
      December 7, 2010

      As I recall, CL is goal difference – La Liga is head to head…

        • December 7, 2010

          Here is The Truth:

          1. higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
          2. superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
          3. higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
          4. superior goal difference from all group matches played;
          5. higher number of goals scored;
          6. higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.

          I misread that yesterday, mistaking #2 for #4 (the word “all” is very important). Oops. Nice catch, Ramzi.

          • December 7, 2010

            But as Greece Barca points out below, it doesn’t matter because I’m still right because of the results between the two clubs (1-0 wins for each at home) and their GD at the moment (0). If Rubin draws, they’ll have a GD of 0 and if Copenhagen loses, they’ll have a negative GD of some value.

            I am always right, even when I make mistakes.

    • K(legit)
      December 7, 2010

      I don’t get the joke..I get that there is a MFckin’ game but not the two 60’s ladies

    • soccermomof4
      December 7, 2010

      um…

      btw, don’t y’all ever sleep?

    • barca96
      December 7, 2010

      Bloody hell.
      Messi isn’t a machine.
      If he get’s injured, I’ll be so damn pissed at Pep.

      • Jnice
        December 7, 2010

        I guess we’ll see him on reserve mode. A couple of nice runs, but that’s about it.

    • Para
      December 7, 2010

      In the totalbarca post with Pep, he said “Pinto will play. I was going to rest some of my players but as I don’t want to disturb the B team preparations, I don’t think I will be able to do that. Other than that I can’t confirm much more,” which to me sounds like he’s not going to be playing the B team players for the full 90. Or is that in reference to the fact that he’s included Messi and Iniesta in the squad list?

    • Helge
      December 7, 2010

      Ehm.. whatever?
      Barca B cannot get promoted, and they are too good to be relegated, that’s for sure. So why not call up either Nolito or Soriano?!?

      If Messi gets injured, I’ll never forgive Pep.

  19. GREECE BARCA
    December 7, 2010

    Ramzi first is head to head,but rubin and copenhagen have the same result.1-0 wins.So next is the goal difference.Rubin 2-2,Copenhagen 4-4.So if rubin draw and copenhagen wins the russians are second.

  20. mei
    December 7, 2010

    i hope copenhagen goes through.
    Because if they wont I can see uefa fining us and suspending pep for fielding a weaker team .

    • Jose
      December 7, 2010

      But it’ll be Pep’s perfect comeback to the Copenhagen coach over that kerfuffle from last match 😉

  21. GREECE BARCA
    December 7, 2010

    Why?Arsenal last season played the last game of the group against olympiacos with the b-team.Nothing happened.There is no rule who say that we can.t rest players.

    • Stephen
      December 7, 2010

      ooo but everyone’s looking for something to screw over with, didnt you know? It barça vs the world apparently these days.

  22. K(legit)
    December 7, 2010

    My two cents on the Ballon D’Or
    The Ballon D’Or award, as I know it, is given for the best INDIVIDUAL for that whole year and not for the best team or not for how many awards that particluar INDIVIDUAL’s team won.

    I’ve always felt Sneijders part in the world cup was way overrated. Most of his goals were flukes and not because of his talent, he didn’t have that much impact on the overall play either and as it is the dutch played crap football. He was mediocre at best in Serie A the whole year. He was good in the champions league semis and against Chelsea that I agree with. But don’t forget this season he has been crap for Inter, so I don’t see all this fuss about him deserving it more than Iniesta and don’t even start comparing him to Messi.

    As for Iniesta he has been brilliant this season, our best player after Messi. He missed most the second half of last season (Jan to May), yes. But it was due to injury and not because he played crap like Sneijder is now doing (Aug to Nov), and in the World Cup he was Spain’s best player alongside Villa closely followed by Casillas and Ramos. He was a constant threat even when most of his teammates were content with the 1-0 scorelines and although he also had 2 goals and 2 assists, he’s the kind of player whose real impact on the game is not shown in the stats which is precisely I laughed my ass off when the Madridistas were comparing Ozil to him by showing some stats before the classico.

    • Helge
      December 7, 2010

      Absolutely right, Sneijder was definitely overrated for his WC performance.

      But some media, for instance German renowned football magazine ‘Kicker’, were not as blinded as all the Interisti who think Sneijder carried the whole Netherlands through the tournament.
      The average rating on ‘Kicker’ tells you that Sneijder is with 3,35 (from 1 to 6) way behind Robben with 2,75. Stekelenburg, Mathijsen, van Bronckhorst, van Bommel and Huntelaar also got a better rating than Sneijder.
      Messi’s average is 2,7, Xavi 2,57, Iniesta 2,42 Forlan and Schweinsteiger 2,43 (because they’ve featured in 6, as compared to Iniesta’s 7 points, such a small difference becomes possible).

      • jordi(TM)
        December 7, 2010

        Further his “I expect to win it” BS was pure arrogance.It reminded me of Ronaldo saying hes the 1st 2nd and 3rd best player in the world.If one of our players said either of those things imagine the hate we would get.Also Denis Bergkamp never won one so who the hell is Wesly Sneijder? Give me a break.

        • Helge
          December 7, 2010

          Haha, those last 2 sentences could have come out of the mouth of RayRay 🙂

  23. Eklavya
    December 7, 2010

    For Helge:

    After announcing the nominees he says that he got 2 of them right but he’s surprised that Sneijder is missing. He also deserved to be in the top three. Also, a bit surprised to not see Forlan, who was the best player of the WC – here someone mutters “he’s in the 23”, probably meaning that he was there on the 23 nominees although there won’t be a whole list this time – and also won the UEFA cup. But really basing on what we last year, the three players amply deserve to be here.

    • soccermomof4
      December 7, 2010

      I may have missed something,Eklavya. Who is “he”?

    • Helge
      December 7, 2010

      Thanks, Eklavya.

      @soccermomof4: He = Papin, the man who announced the Ballon D’Or Top3 candidates yesterday.

  24. Huckleberry
    December 7, 2010

    I guess

    Pinto
    Adriano-Fontas-Abidal-Maxwell
    Iniesta – Mascherano – Thiago
    Jeffren – Messi – Bojan

    Pep sure puts some backbone in the squad. Playing but substitutes and youngsters would have no lerning effect.
    Perhaps Puyol instead of Abidal.

  25. Vj
    December 7, 2010

    I don’t know if it was posted earlier, but Nasri scored a couple of scorchers against Fulham the other day, magnificent..

    ||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75_43bPXs2Q

  26. Kxevin
    December 7, 2010

    So, had I been drinking coffee, I would have spit it out laughing at the “Citeh is coming with 70+m for Iniesta” rumor that’s been floating around. We wouldn’t sell him for that. Nor would he ever want to leave Barca. I mean, we even have special lights installed for him at the Camp, so that his forehead doesn’t blind teammates.

    I know that this is the time of the season when things start ramping up to full-on silliness, but at least gin up stuff that might have some remote possibility of happening, yo!

    • Vj
      December 7, 2010

      At least we’ll bask in some Afellay goodness!

    • Josep
      December 7, 2010

      I don’t know, if he continues to sport that stupid Faux-Hawk I’d take 5 million for him. 😀

  27. Helge
    December 7, 2010

    Wow.
    If Pep plays Messi from the beginning, it is an undeniable mistake.
    This match is absolutely meaningless for us, but it’s do-or-die for Kazan (if Copenhagen doesn’t win). How can you risk Messi in this match? Why is Pedro rested, but Messi has prolly to play for the whole 90 min?
    I think nobody can tell me a reason for that decision which satisfies me!

    Kazan is a physical team, Messi has played pretty much every single match for Barca and Argentina over the full distance, playing about 60 matches this year. Why don’t they give him a rest?!? This makes me mad, really mad, I could explode.
    Even if Messi doesn’t get injured and scores a hattrick, it will still have been the wrong decision.

    There is not even a fourth striker in the squad! WTF!?!

    What’s going on in Pep’s head? 🙁

    • Whatever
      December 7, 2010

      Messi wants to play and Guardiola has to obey that. He simply wants to play, to score more goals, to enjoy. And Pep cannot deny him that. 🙂

      • Jose
        December 7, 2010

        “Messi wants to play and Guardiola has to obey that.”

        It should be the other way around. 😛

        • soccermomof4
          December 7, 2010

          It should be the other way around, Jose,?

          Guardiola wants to play and Messi should obey that?????

          Just messin’ with you!

    • Stephen
      December 7, 2010

      I don’t think Guardiola’s going to face this match as ‘meaningless’ he’ll go in careful. I see Messi starting, no longer shocks me, but who else leads the frontline if not Messi? God knows Bojan can’t. So unless we’re doing them a favor in letting them win, then we are in it to win it, plus the weekend match might just be the game to rest Messi. Maybe.

      • December 7, 2010

        Our next match in the Liga will be against R.Sociedad who just crushed Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in the Basques battle. Messi has to play that one for sure.

      • Helge
        December 7, 2010

        Now, this match would be the one to rest Messi, but certainly not against RSSS who are in a great form right now and have more technical abilities than the other Basque teams (Osasuna and Athletic). Maybe they are actually the toughest opponent, aside from Villarreal?

        • Kari
          December 7, 2010

          We have those damned Pericos after the Sociedad game too… Away from home might I add 🙁

        • Jnice
          December 7, 2010

          Toughest opponent will be Espanyol, no doubt about it. La Real will be tough next week too. If we come out of both those matches with 3 points, especially against the Pericos, I’ll be elated.

      • Stephen
        December 7, 2010

        Messi not starting… I lose.. 🙂

    • Josep
      December 7, 2010

      It’s not absolutely pointless. We have never beaten Rubin. Remember when Wolves got fined for playing a B-Team vs. United? haha that was such a farce.

    • blitzen
      December 7, 2010

      You need to stop acting like Messi is made out of delicate crystal. He is 23 years old, healthy, strong as an ox, in probably the best shape of his life. The best “rest” for Messi right now is to keep active and playing. He will have several days to rest before the next match, with no travel. I’m sure if it starts to look like the Rubin players are out to injure him, Pep will pull him out. He’s not an idiot.

  28. Roz
    December 7, 2010

    Bs.com is an absolute disgrace. They wrote an article saying that Abidal wasnt sure if he was going to extend his contract.
    *http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2010/12/07/2250089/eric-abidal-unsure-if-he-will-extend-barcelona-contract

    According to Barcastuff he said “I’ve heard the club wants to renew my contract. I for sure want to continue here.”

    Oh and they also call him the “Former French international”What a day.

  29. Jnice
    December 7, 2010

    No Messi in the starting 11 I love it.

    Pinto – Adriano Pique Fontas Maxwell – DosSantos Mascherano Busquets – Jeffren Bojan Thiago (via barcastuff)

  30. Kari
    December 7, 2010

    Thiago at LW?! Busi LM?! Pique at CB–oh wait, he always plays there.

    Wow.

  31. Helge
    December 7, 2010

    Wow, I have to apologize.

    Pep, you are THE man! Shame on me…

  32. Kari
    December 7, 2010

    Well, looking at it on UEFA’s min-by-min, it looks like Thiago is playing the centrally (obviously)

    /http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/matches/season=2011/live/index.html?matchday=6&day=1&match=2002911

    • Jnice
      December 7, 2010

      I think they are just guessing. I doubt they really know, do they? Either way, this game should be interesting.

  33. Kari
    December 7, 2010

    Yeah, shame on you, Helge! Doubting the Master 😀

    I got 8/11 players right! It would have been 9/11 but I didn’t get Thiago’s position quite right.

  34. K(legit)
    December 7, 2010

    4-1-2-1-2 methinks

    ———-Pinto

    Adriano— Pique—– Fontas——–Maxwell

    ——————Masche—————–

    —-Busquets———————-JDS———-

    ——————Thiago—————-

    -Jeffren————————-Bojan—–

    ?

    • Josep
      December 7, 2010

      I’d like to point out that I think I named this whole lineup last post? I probably put P! in like an idiot though.

      Also the inclusion of other VV is awesome. I see a
      “Pinto
      Adriano Pique(regain form)Fontas(amazing vs. Almeria)Maxwell
      -sMasch
      Thiago JDS (First time lined up together on main team)
      Bojan, Jeffren, P!”

      I then doubted Thiago/JDS would start but it happened! if I swapped P! for Biscuits I would’ve been perfect 😀

  35. ooga aga
    December 7, 2010

    a meaningless game made exciting by a novel lineup. love it.

  36. Jose
    December 7, 2010

    //http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/rank?versionId=1&listId=886#topOfList

    Soccernet running a vote-based ranking of Greatest Football Team of All Time. Even if the results are skewed toward the present, it’s still nice to see 🙂

    • Helge
      December 7, 2010

      Ajax (’69-’74) only on 9th place?!?

      I voted them third place! Brazil ’70 4th, Milan 2nd.

  37. Kxevin
    December 7, 2010

    So Thiago plays as crack, with Krkic and Jeffren as the attackers, and the “None shall pass” midfield. Awe-Some.

  38. vicsoc8
    December 7, 2010

    About a month ago I was calling to see Thiago in the front three, as I thought he had the directness and boldness to play there, plus it would fill a spot in the team where we are relatively thin. It will be interesting to see how he does, and as a result what that means for Afellay when he comes.

    • Josep
      December 7, 2010

      No matter what happens with Thiago Afellay is still the first sub in a game for us up front, or in midfield, unless we’re up 3-0 or so. He’s going to be the impact guy when he comes.

      I read an article that claimed that this weekend Thiago was confirmed as promoted in January. Anyone hear news on it? JNeezy already said its not true but it was strange to see.

      • Vicsoc8
        December 7, 2010

        Going to have to disagree with you there. At least at first Bojan will still be ahead of him up front (while he adapts), and two of Xavi, Iniesta, Mascherano, Busquets, and Keita are typically on the bench, and I don’t think he gets a sub ahead of any of those players.

      • Vicsoc8
        December 7, 2010

        And as for Thiago, he has already been de facto promoted. He practices and travels with the first team all the time, and has for much of the season. Judging from the clause in his contract where he gets extended if he is promoted, I think it is only a matter of time.

  39. Kxevin
    December 7, 2010

    I sure wish Afellay was here right now. This would be a perfect match for him to see some time.

    • K(legit)
      December 7, 2010

      When’s the CDR game against Athletic again? He could play that no?!

    • Vicsoc8
      December 7, 2010

      That’s one thing Pep does that irks me. Bojan is young and doesn’t need the added pressure of the captains armband. Plus there are other players on the field more suited to wearing it. I guess he is currently highest on the list of all hose players for a future captainship (based on time with the first team and Catalan-ness) but it doesn’t make sense to me to throw out 20 year old captain.

      • Josep
        December 7, 2010

        Agreed. I think Pique should be the captain, I mean Puyol’s time is running out (though weekly he proves this wrong). I don’t know if Pique is verbal enough, but he’s worth a shot as future VC. Xavi taking over as Captain.

      • jordi(TM)
        December 7, 2010

        Its just about who played the most games and was in the 1st team longer.I do dream of the day Pique straps that beautiful armband on though :/

        • Jnice
          December 7, 2010

          Yeah, it’s all about tenure. Not that serious yet.

  40. Josep
    December 7, 2010

    Kxevin, JNice, and I seemed to have all predicted 1-1 with @barcastuff’s prediction game. I’d like to point out I SUBMITTED MINE FIRST

    • Kxevin
      December 7, 2010

      Not likely. Nobody has raised their hand, and I’m earning my daily bread.

      • vicsoc8
        December 7, 2010

        *Raises hand*

        Email coming your way in a minute or so.

  41. sdn
    December 7, 2010

    stream – sportstream24.com/champions_league_football/watch_online_3

  42. Josep
    December 7, 2010

    Whoa.. Bojan is now the youngest captain in CL history.

    And apparently we’re playing a 3-4-3

    Fontas-Biscuits-Pique
    JDS-Masch-Thiago-Maxwell?
    Adriano-Bojan-Jeffren

    wtf?

  43. December 7, 2010

    But you do get a match comments post, above this one, only so that I don’t get carpal tunnel with scrolling on my mobile device. Rock on.

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