El Derbi Barceloni Post Mortem: 5-Star Day

Iniesta, in bloom

“Held to the past too aware of the pending.” The Barcelona Derby rarely fails to live up to the hype, in one way or another. Today’s match at El Prat again made for another highly impressive and entertaining match. Barcelona hit 5 again, in what I believe shows how far the team has come since the beginning of the year, and how all the pieces are coming together. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named decided to take a nice little break from scoring and instead contributed a hat-trick of assists. Future FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, Xavi, contributed a goal from a spectacular angle and at least 1 assist. Face of the organization Andres Iniesta played his heart out, in what seems to be a game that continually weighs on him more and more each year. Espanyol finally broke the high line for the first time in more than 600 minutes against Valdes and the defense. And the team played a wonderfully complete game, overcoming a defense that normally gives us fits.

I will say this up front in this post mortem, and I wholeheartedly mean it: I respect Espanyol. There are those here who despise Espanyol with a passion that I reserve for people who abuse kitties or puppies, Sarah Palin, and bigotry (which are usually synonymous), but I on the other hand see something that I admire in the blanc-i-blaus. Whereas many clubs likely view the Barcelona tie at home to be something of a must-win, to Espanyol it is effectively their Champion’s League Final every year. They play at El Prat against BarΓ§a with a force that befits a cornered dog fighting for its life. The other reason is the force with which they have adopted Andres Iniesta. Due to his continual commemoration of close friend and former teammate Dani Jarque, Espanyol seems to have adopted him with their own tributes and honors. Upon leaving the pitch today after being subbed off, Iniesta was met with a standing ovation by the rabidly anti-BarΓ§a Espanyol fans. GolTV showed fans with #21 Espanyol shirts with Iniesta’s name on them. It is to me an endearing adoption by a team of a worthy player and apparently excellent friend. A fitting tribute.

Enough of that though. Espanyol came out and showed that they were not going to sit back. They were going to foul and foul hard and they were going to push forward on the counter while playing the high line that had served them well so far this season, but that turned out to be a disastrous. Chasing Messi around all the way back to midfield may have assisted in his what-will-surely-be-momentary scoring draught, but it also pulled another defender so far forward that Pedro was effectively holding steady at the back line and outrunning every perico to the ball. Eventually the same opened for Villa with Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, and Alves acting as primary playmakers. It made for an entertaining match to be sure.

I would say “we started slow” or that “Espanyol caught us by surprise” but neither is true in any real sense. Before Barcelona could establish control and possession, Espanyol used this to their advantage and held our defense on its heels until Xaviniesta asserted itself and began immediately providing open shots on goal. To say that we have seen this outpouring before is a truth universally accepted, but it is also no less of an understatement. Putting 5 through on Espanyol is actually a feat that no Barcelona team has ever accomplished, and to do so in such a blindingly beautiful fashion on their pitch only added to the importance. In the past 2 season the Blaugrana have managed almost nothing against Espanyol, at home or away, and certainly nothing even approaching acceptable for a team with so much talent.

However, today was a destructive force that we would have been hard-pressed to find or even hope for after the Hercules loss or the Mallorca draw. But now the engines are throbbing in perfect motion. Where once we had complacency and missed opportunities there are perfect passes, defensive cohesion, and offensive imagination. Some might say it’s that Messi has come on since then, now with 17 goals and 11 assists in La Liga this year or that Villa finally started to integrate more fully into the side or even that Xavi seems to be healthy after achilles problems early in the year. I however believe the culprit is something much less tangible and focused and is more a team-wide complete integration resulting in a side that can outscore its two fiercest rivals 10-1 in derbies, captured first in its UCL group, and has outscored opponents 44-4 in 11 games since drawing with Copenhagen on November 2nd. In short, this is the type of side that can come to Espanyol, attack a rival, bludgeon them even when they are playing their best football in many years, and do something than even 6 trophy side couldn’t do.

Now moving on to the goal, since it will likely be the most discussed occurrence of the night. Firstly we must remember that any time you play a high line with as many as 7 attackers, you will be vulnerable to the counter-attack. Now, was it anyone’s “fault”? That’s more difficult to say. Mostly because establishing fault in a team sport where one player did not absolutely shit the bed is almost impossible. Was it Alves’s for taking a bad angle coming back? What about Pique and Abidal for keeping him onside? Puyol for getting masterfully beaten by Osvaldo and failing to keep up? Or Valdes for not coming out more quickly? Well it’s all hard to say on this goal, but it seemed to me to be a well-played ball that Osvaldo ran on to, that none of our players were capable of stopping. When playing Puyol we know that he is getting slower, we know that Alves takes bad angles sometimes, and the chances of Valdes reaching that ball or altering the outcome in the event that he comes out earlier are slim, at best. I give Espanyol credit for making this play and don’t necessarily “fault” one player other than our general style of play, which hadn’t allowed a goal in more than a month.

The positive of doing a post-mortem and not a review is that I can talk generally about what the match means and not just review the goals and big plays, which I abhor doing. Problem here is that we only have one more match before a short holiday break and we know our boys are wont to shit the bed after breaks. So let’s hope that is not the case here.

Oh player ratings. Well, football is a team sport, so ratings for individual players, in my opinion, are meaningless. The arbitrariness of assigning a number based on a player’s supposed performance for a game is a giant factor counseling against such a system. Do you rate Pique today as a 5 or a 7 or an 8? Well, he missed a ball that came through that led to a half chance for Espanyol but was stalwart after that, providing the class Piquebauer we know and love. What about Puyol? He’s a leader and a wonderful defender who sprays balls around, but he also got lapped on Osvaldo’s goal; 4 or 7? What about Villa? Well he had 4 goalscoring chances at least, 2 of which succeeded. Then the refrains come that he isn’t playing well or something like that, until you realize that his spacing and work with Messi have been staggering of late and he made at least 3 splendid runs on goal. However he was in and out during the first half, so 3, 5, 7, or 8? You see my predicament. The point is that without Xavi or Messi, Villa and Pedro wouldn’t have scored. And without defensive lapses in front of him, Valdes would have never been put into that position. Unless a glaring or glistening performance of such magnitude arrives that it shocks the conscience, then it’s usually safe to rate everyone as a 6 or 7 on a win and rate the team accordingly. Thus, I would say this match results in an 8.5 rating. It was about as strong as we can get, and even the goal was just one of those things that happens. It also came against Espanyol. This was simply a work of art.

Hey a crowd of people, I'll jump on it

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe

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141 Comments

  1. December 18, 2010

    Geeezz!! WHAT A MATCH!

    And did i say 5-0?! Poor Valdes! HE DESERVED THAT CLEAN SHEET SO BAD! but oh! It’s such a great great victory! Love how we smack everyone a Manita and then go home.

    VISCA BARCA!!

    • Jim
      December 19, 2010

      I love VV, Clivee, but my first impression was that he didn’t help the situation at the goal. He committed the cardinal error for a goalkeeper of coming out only to change his mind and start peddling back which had two consequences. The first was that he wasn’t able to be there to take advantage of Osvaldo’s poor touch just outside the box and secondly that he wasn’t able to position himself properly while peddling backwards so he placed himself too close to his left hand post for the angle of shot. Not saying the goal was his fault though. Check the roasting Puyol gave him after it πŸ™‚ Although what he was doing playing offside on the actual half way line I’m not sure.

      • Patrick
        December 19, 2010

        This. ^ textbook bad goalkeeping on a break. It happens. eres portero Jim?

        P.s. Hate captcha what gives?

        • Luke
          December 19, 2010

          With Valdes, it’s just like I said. He did make that mistake and it was one they taught us second day at soccer camp in high school as keepers, but people make mistakes. He also had at least 3 key saves on would-be goals. It all evens out.

        • Jim
          December 19, 2010

          No, pero he jugado con muchos que hacen eso πŸ™‚ (My best attempt using my School Spanish) πŸ™‚

      • December 19, 2010

        I disagree with that “Mistake” because that is not one. He committed to protect more of his near post, which I think is correct. It’s a one on one and to be honest, that dribble of Osvaldo was not out of control to me, he might have the ball pushed a little far from him, but that push wasn’t going toward the goal, so Valdes should not come off his line to risk.

        As mentioned, he committed to the near post, because in a one on one situation, the chance of conceding is very high, so forcing the striking to shoot a great ball to the far post instead of giving a cheap easy near post position to the striker, is very smart imo. Of cos, we all know the outcome, so its easier to say he made a mistake, but to me, he was excellent. He might have done better to stretch himself more when that far post low shot came in, but we can’t say that’s a mistake.

        my 0.02.

        no complain to captcha if it saves the blog admins time to erase spam comments.

        • Jim
          December 19, 2010

          If you rewatch it clivee, you can clearly see that he was coming off his line to intercept, decided he wasn’t going to make it and went backwards. There’s no doubt that you see him furiously running backwards. That for me was the bigger of the two errors as Osvaldo does miscontrol the ball. Whether VV would have been able to get to it first is debatable but even if he hadn’t he was right in his face and forcing him to go sideways at speed. That you don’t retreat after coming rushing out is, as Luke and Patrick say, elementary goalkeeping.

          By retreating he allowed time to control while at the same time he didn’t have time to place himself in the best position, made clear by how easily he was beaten across to the far post. He shouldn’t be lined up with his near post – he should be within touching distance to allow a reaction save not a dive. Then as you say it forces the attacker to aim for the far post and its down to luck.

          Not saying he would have saved it anyway.

  2. December 19, 2010

    Pedro!(!) showed how fast he actually is today! WHAT A MATCH! He dictated the majority of the match until the maybe 75th minute he became less active and subsequently being taken off. But his passing, running, defending, attacking and finishing were all world class. He SPEED and understanding of our game is giving us SO MUCH that I can’t even explain. This team is beyond imagination and explanation, and Pedro is playing a very important role in our front line now!

  3. Goo
    December 19, 2010

    I love this team.

    Not so long ago, other than the Messiah, the rest couldn’t buy a goal. Then Pep said, the goals will come. And they did – team goals, individual moments of brilliance, sheer hard work and pressure, and even (gasp!) a penalty. I don’t know what it is that Pep feeds them to make them continuously hungry for more. Maybe they’re out to prove they’re the best in world to the few who are still in doubt? Maybe to prove their case that it’s not an exaggeration to call them the best team ever in the history of the sport? Whatever it is, this team has an extra “something” this season that just wasn’t there the past two excellent years. It wasn’t even there when the season started.

    Maybe it’s the OOOOOOOOOOOHHHH!!!!!! factor. They’ve definitely given us cules a lot to ooooohhh and aaaahhh for. (In other old news, @3gerardpique is the best thing that ever happened to twitter. Like, EVAH.)

  4. skyislm
    December 19, 2010

    It only makes me wonder, how the pericos are able to hit their best form against us, year after year. Only this time, we were way too better and were not bogged down by that “emotion” associated with this derby. Most importantly, as Luke did, we respected them. We respected their recent form, their position in the table. And that is what brought them the doom. Remember when we played them when we were the top of the table and they were at the bottom? We came out hurting in that match, because we did not respect them. Not today! We gave them the acknowledgement that they are a real good team. And how? By taking them seriously, by playing at our usual level, and lastly, by scoring 5, like we do against all good teams these days. Also the fans showed some class when they showered their ovation on Don Andres. A satisfying game very different from the ugly ones in the past fixtures. Well done team. Thank you!

  5. rico
    December 19, 2010

    great post mortem luke. i was wondering where are our fearless leaders on this here blog? liveblog wasnt up to snuff and now kxevin is nowhere to be found. as for the match, we were brilliant. i think it was our best game of the year. yes even better than the ee pasting. this is our city rival and we are bitter enemies. plus that home crowd is amazing. i thought we were playing in south america at the start. great to see them have a real home advantage now. make for a better derby and also a better victory. lastly kudos to the pericos for the wonderful tribute to our iniesta. he truly has been adopted by the enemy.

  6. Jose
    December 19, 2010

    I have to agree with you, Luke. I respect Espanyol for coming out like that against us. They played us with more heart and hunger than any team we’ve played this year.

  7. ML
    December 19, 2010

    So we shouldnt be respected when our fans verbally abuse players from other teams?

    A team and its fans are different, though they do work together, a team shouldnt be criticised for how its fans act towards another team, this is el derbi, it isnt a normal match. Every club has passionate or over-the-top fans, thats just how the game is nowadays, whether we like it or not. Luke stated he respected the way Espanyol came to play, and the way they treated Iniesta, and i agree with him to the fullest extent. Espanyol has been the hungriest team that has faced us all season, they played their hearts out, no fear and they gave everything.

    • HY
      December 19, 2010

      Agree that team and fans should be seen separately. I also dislike the “I hate so and so team because of their fans.” logic.

      • HY
        December 19, 2010

        Hmm, I put in the the captcha code, but this still ended up at the bottom.

    • December 19, 2010

      It is generaly wrong to equal a team with it’s fans, when some of them could serve as an object for generalisation.

      However, if you’ve followed our games with the guys from Cornella/El Prat de Lobregat , you’d notice that they play their dirtiest game of the season vs us, each year.

      Iniesta treatment was great, fantastic, and i expected nothing less.

  8. Jnice
    December 19, 2010

    I respect how hard they play and the intensity at which they with, but the way they play the victim and whine, complain, and dive at every possible opportunity got old fast. Even Pochettino whined all match. The amount of times Callejon went down was disturbing.

    I also appreciate the ovation for Iniesta (nice touch by Pep to sub him), but I don’t appreciate monkey chants aimed at Alves ALL game nor did I care for the coins and what not being thrown on the field.

    Sorry Osvaldo, but you did not “sweep the floor” with our heads.

  9. Miguel
    December 19, 2010

    crowd surfing is an art. looks like sergio’s got it down.

  10. ooga aga
    December 19, 2010

    valdes 8 – i think was poorly positioned on the goal was too close to the near post, but his save early in the match at 0-0 i think totally affected the outcome of the game more than any one of the goal
    abidal 7 not his best but good
    puyol 8 not a speed merchant but a good fireman, when it was needed in defense, he usually was runnin things
    pique 7 i want fire
    alves 8 bzz bzz bzz
    bisquets 7
    iniesta 9
    xavi 8 one giveaway means he cant get a 10
    messi 10 led the rout, MOTM
    villa 7 like it better when he scores the 1st or 2nd goal
    pedro 9

    i watched on a tiny shitty screen streaming, couldnt see iniesta much but i figger bout a 9

    • December 19, 2010

      Abidal is a straight 10. Puyol & Pique rresponsible for that goal by playing them onside.

      • Victor
        December 19, 2010

        Come on, Espanyol was a good team as well… I wouldn’t hold the responsibility on anyone for their goal. Puyol, Pique and Valdes did a an overall good job…

        • December 19, 2010

          yes, u said overall a good job, but that goal was a positional decision error. If you play a highline like that, u are all for playing offside instead of position. If we only talk about overall performance, we dont have to say anything because we won.

  11. Helge
    December 19, 2010

    Just wanna let you know, I’ve been celebrating the whole night depsite the heavy snow here in Germany!

    This team is more than god-like, we should be so happpy that we are experiencing this, because it is UNIQUE, I don’t care about Brazil ’70, Milan 88-95 or whatever, not even about our mentor’s team Ajax 74-76 (?), we are simply THE BEST TEAM OF ALL TIMES ! ! ! This will never be surpassed! ! !

  12. Vj
    December 19, 2010

    He wouldn’t even have heard of the song were it not been in the Scorsese classic.. Its obvious that he belongs to the Boixos..

  13. Vj
    December 19, 2010

    Just a reminder, 5 days to Afellay!!

  14. December 19, 2010

    I respect every oponent and i refuse to hate anyone “by duty”, but The Club formerly known as our City Rival (nowadays nor is from the city of Barcelona, nor is rival) against us always plays in dirtiest fashion. I cannot respect a team like that.

    As far as the result and the game are in question, my lips are sealed. I really dunno what to say… But i know that we’re becoming an pop-cultural icon, like the Beatles. Everyone will remember this generation of Barca…

    Ooooooooooooooohhhhh!!!!

    p.s. My 5 cents on the captcha: I HATE IT! Why, guys? I have never seen any bots around…

    • Luke
      December 19, 2010

      That’s because we work hard to delete them all. It was becoming such a task to do so that our people were spending way too much time dealing with that instead of the things we need to do. We know it’s an inconvenience, but it’s a reality now that the site is becoming more popular.

      • Vj
        December 19, 2010

        Great job on doing so BTW.. I work as a System Admin at College, so I know what it takes to counter spam..

        BTW, any word on when Kxevin will be back?

  15. MoSSi
    December 19, 2010

    @ Jim, reaction to your post about Villa

    I’m not saying he isn’t working his ass of, he is. But he lost that little sharpness in front of goal he had with Valencia and the National Team, I know he has to adapt to the system but a chance is a chance, wether you’re playing for Barca or Sporting Gijon..

    I know he’s gonna get that back and if he does, we’ll be rocking!

    • Victor
      December 19, 2010

      Well, while not being as sharp as he should be… at least he is starting to get his sharpness back… from August 15 to October 28, Villa scored 4 goals in 4 different games. From October 29 to December 18, Villa scored 9 goals in 6 different games. Not to mention that he is (slowly) “getting it”, the through pass he made to Pedro in the second goal (in this last game) was nicely done… I wonder if he would have done the same back in September…

  16. Jim
    December 19, 2010

    I don’t know much about these things, Luke, but would it be such a pain to have us register then we wouldn’t have to remember to fill in the Captcha? I’ve already forgotten about four times and the comment ends up a the bottom rather than as a reply half way up etc. I know it’s not much to ask us to remember . . . .

    edit: LOL. I’ve just done it on this post again πŸ™‚

    • Luke
      December 19, 2010

      It’s certainly something to consider Jim.

  17. Diego
    December 19, 2010

    Frank Bagnack, Juvenil B del FC BARCELONA!

    ***http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKPbhc-VB00

    • December 19, 2010

      For Christ sake, at least put a warning note Diego, of the content that follows in the video… πŸ™

    • Vj
      December 19, 2010

      OOH God Diego S. you’re heartless!

      That is one frightening injury..

  18. Blow-Grenade
    December 19, 2010

    It was a little discomforting to see that a lot of people had very negative feelings towards Espanyol in the blog postings. They are a worthy opponent and deserve respect. I loved their playing style, and was very impressed by how they controlled the middle of the park.
    Regarding Oswaldo’s goal, I think Puyol and Valdez did the best they could, but he was just too fast and accurate for both of them.

    • mei
      December 19, 2010

      Admire the passion they have against us.

      Totally despise of the fact that their fans were racist towards alves ,constantly throwing things into the stadium aiming for our players and their players were mad at officials even when the decisions were wrongly favorable for them .
      Like they were owed a priviliged treatment from the referee because they played at home against rivals.
      I mean be passionate , push the referee but draw a limit somewhere.
      Their players should have had multiple cards shown against simply because they were angrily protesting too much against every decision.

      • Luke
        December 19, 2010

        I did not hear about the Alves comments until after I wrote this, and I certainly would never endorse such a thing. If that is true, it’s awful and wrong.

        • Victor
          December 19, 2010

          True, but idiotic fans at stadiums are everywhere… while, obviously, their fans could have had a better behavior… I don’t really hold a grudge against them… besides, they praised Iniesta even when Barcelona was crushing their team… of course, Iniesta totally earned it. However, it’s also good to see that Espanyol fans can recognize it…

  19. mei
    December 19, 2010

    Van gaal lost his mind.From barcastuff :
    He says barcelona and bayern are the only ones that play football and if ribery and robben were fit they would be on par with us.
    Delusional much!
    Oh and he also says that barcelona DOESNT have that many creative players(xavi iniesta and maybe dani alves).
    Old man is gonna get a reality check if we meet him in latter rounds of the cup , if we get passed arsenal.

  20. K(legit)
    December 19, 2010

    lol Del Nido..a past-master big mouth
    //http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2010/12/19/2268235/it-is-sacrilege-to-compare-cristiano-ronaldo-with-lionel

  21. soccermomof4
    December 19, 2010

    Hey y’all,
    One of these days the casual football fan is going to realize what we already know and they will no longer be surprised when players like Busi, P!!, and Abidal do excellent things. Are they our secret weapons? Underestimate the less esteemed guys, focus too much on our “stars”, and it’s gonna come back to bite you. The rest of the team are pretty well recognized as the best/ one of the best in their positions but as far as I’m concerned Busi is redifining DM, Abidal > Evra, and P!! is, well I don’t actually know how the define what P!! is becoming but I like it.

  22. soccermomof4
    December 19, 2010

    Hey, The stuff on totalBarca is still calling it a manita, SO the gravatar goes back up!

  23. GREECE BARCA
    December 19, 2010

    Ooooh i forgot that we have a cup game in tuesday!The holidays for our players will be only a week i guess!No good!The good is that we have an easy schedule in january!

  24. Miguel
    December 19, 2010

    *http://www.atdhe.net/31141/watch-barcelona-b-vs-ponferradina

    or

    *http://www.fromsport.com/v-0/14/34/v-143546.html

  25. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    Luke, you biased idiot!
    .
    .
    .
    Nope, it doesn’t have the same ring to it. I miss Kxevin. πŸ™

    Great post-mortem, actually. I made my points in the previous thread so I won’t repeat them here, but you have given me nothing to argue with. πŸ˜€ I particularly agree with your last paragraph.

    Oh, and I would like to thank vicsoc again for stepping up and organizing a LiveBlog, we all appreciated it.

    • Vicsoc8
      December 19, 2010

      No need to thank me, I enjoy it as much as the next guy (or girl)

  26. Miguel
    December 19, 2010

    *http://www.firstrow.net/webmaster/Soccer-Tv/42289/2/watch-barcelona-b-vs-sd-ponferradina.html

  27. Guano
    December 19, 2010

    Does anybody know…
    Xavi’s Achilles is really better? Or just subjective reports by watching his play? Has anyone actually hear him speak of the nagging injury?

  28. soccermomof4
    December 19, 2010

    Time to put on my purple #52 Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens)jersey and become a typical America football fan. I find, though, that I am getting so impatient with American football. 3 minutes of commercials for every minute of action.

    • Vicsoc8
      December 19, 2010

      Don’t get me started on how much I hate American football right now (I’m a Bills fan)

    • ooga aga
      December 19, 2010

      it’s even worse that that. the average amerikan football game actually contains only 9-12 minutes of action. though TV time is 3.0-3.5 hours. so you get one minute of action for every approx 15-20 minutes of (yawn)

      *http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281204575002852055561406.html

      • soccermomof4
        December 19, 2010

        I’ve heard that too. And the more I watch real football, the more impatient I get with American. BUT these are my Ravens—I Bleed Purple! (or at least bleed purple for a couple of hours on weekends, blaugrana the rest of the time). I don’t watch any other Am. football, NFL or college.

        Ravens up 21-14 at the half but looking shaky.

        • blitzen
          December 19, 2010

          It’s OK, Blau plus Grana makes….purple!

          • soccermomof4
            December 19, 2010

            ooooooooooooooh! You’re right!

            —oops, I promised I would do that!

          • soccermomof4
            December 19, 2010

            meant to say wouldn’t do that

  29. Victor
    December 19, 2010

    Rumor says that Barcelona is planning on getting Fabregas and Fernando Torres. I, of course, do believe that Barcelona plans on getting Cesc, but I doubt that Barcelona would make an offer for Torres. At least not a big offer. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but I doubt that it is in Barcelona’s plans to spending around $100M.

    • Vicsoc8
      December 19, 2010

      No need for Torres at the moment, especially with the capture of Afellay.

      I’m also of the opinion that there is currently no need for Fabregas. I can see us needing him in 2-3 years, but I just don’t see where he gets minutes at the moment.

    • soccermomof4
      December 19, 2010

      I doubt that Torres is willing to sit on the bench as much as would be required.

      • stowe
        December 20, 2010

        just play him until he gets hurt and then villa plays until he’s healthy (villa is getting a little old anyways, 2 or 3 years left (perfect!))

  30. Vicsoc8
    December 19, 2010

    The thing that still amazes me about this game is how enjoyable of a game it was. For those of you who don’t remember the game there past season, it was horrible. There was a lot of fouling and diving and time wasting and the boys let it get into their heads and really put on a poor performance. While you would have to pay me a lot to watch that game again, I will be enjoying yesterdays game again today.

    The team seems a lot more mentally tough this year compared to last year. Last year they were grinding out wins for much of the season, and often looked lethargic or uninterested in the process. They look to have rekindled the fire from ’08-09 and that is fantastic news.

    • PM
      December 19, 2010

      The current resurgence has a lot to do with Messi playing centrally and Villa/Pedro using the empty space with their pace and movement. I don’t wanna sound like beating dead horse, but put Ibra in the mix, suddenly it doesn’t work anymore. I can’t wait for the time when Villa starts showing his full potential.

  31. mardia
    December 19, 2010

    (newbie posting, been a long-time fan of the blog)

    Last night’s game was a joy to watch, seriously. This club is ruining me for all other teams. As much as I appreciated the tribute by Espanyol fans to Iniesta, and thought that was incredibly touching–I wish the fact that there were racist chants against Alves was something that wasn’t seemingly swept under the rug. From all accounts, Guardiola seemed to brush this off in his post-match press conference, and I wish he hadn’t, seeing as racism in football is a problem that has yet to be eradicated (for proof, see Serie A and the Russian leagues as well) and it shouldn’t be ignored or excused.

    Context: //http://twitter.com/barcastuff/status/16242477858033664

    • vicsoc8
      December 19, 2010

      Welcome! Good to see you posting (especially so it doesn’t look like I’m talking to myself here at the moment).

      I agree by the way. I think Barcelona is trying to cultivate better ties with their cross City rivals (and succeeding), but it is still a bit disturbing that something like this was seemingly ignored. On the other hand I didn’t hear any of the chants during the game, so I have a hard time understanding how widespread it was.

    • Victor
      December 19, 2010

      I think that Guardiola brushed it off because there’s no case with starting a controversy and a dispute over that. What good would it make to the team (and Alves) to give more attention to those racist remarks?

      • mardia
        December 19, 2010

        You can also ask what good it does to *ignore* the problem. I get not wanting to stir up controversy, and I get that the Spanish media’s not always fair to Barca, but racism is a long-running problem in football, and I believe that ignoring the issue simply doesn’t do any good.

    • blitzen
      December 19, 2010

      I have to admit I didn’t notice anything during the game, my feed didn’t pick up on it. I did notice a moment where Dani stopped to speak to Espanyol’s (Cameroonian) keeper, I wonder if it was regarding that?

      • vicsoc8
        December 19, 2010

        I remember being confused as to why Dani was talking to Kameni, as it seemed he went a long way out of his way for the talk. It would make sense if that is what it was about.

        • Jnice
          December 19, 2010

          I heard it throughout the match.

          Regarding Dani and Kameni, they only spoke because Dani was called offside, but still shot the ball and Dani told him he couldn’t hear the whistle.

          • soccermomof4
            December 19, 2010

            Does Kameni get any grief from the fans? This really doesn’t make sense. Then again, racism never has.

          • Jnice
            December 19, 2010

            Kameni has also accused his own fans of racially abusing him. In 2005 he was quoted in one newspaper as saying β€œIt is understandable if the fans complain when the team doesn’t play well, but they can’t do these racist acts again and again. I’ve had enough.”

            *http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2008/12/31/racism-alive-and-well-in-spanish-football/

  32. vicsoc8
    December 19, 2010

    Mourinho” “I would give myself an 11 out of 10. I won every championship I played in last season and we currently have lost none of our chances to win titles at Real Madrid. The league is very open still.

    “We’ve qualified for the last 16 both in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. We also were the best side in the Champions League group stage. This season has been perfect for us so far.”

    Dani Alves: β€œTo respect the way Mourinho assesses and values self achievements, I would therefore give Barca a 12. 11 is outstanding so I give my team the maximum. With 12, we’re better than him.”

    Hilarious

    • K(legit)
      December 19, 2010

      With all due respect Alves should keep quiet and not get into a verbal spat with Mou, as he will not who against the Portuguese.

    • PM
      December 19, 2010

      Dammit Rosell! Give Dani boy whatever he wants. He knows how to get under the skin of MouMou :D.

  33. Dave
    December 19, 2010

    Liking the look of Lukaku, he scored again today

  34. vicsoc8
    December 19, 2010

    Afellay received a phenomenal sending off from the fans and his teammates in his last game with PSV (you can see the videos on barcastuff).

    It’s really great to see that he has such a great relationship with the fans and everyone involved with the team. It speaks a lot about his character, which will play a large factor in how he adapts.

    • blitzen
      December 19, 2010

      I have decided I am going to call him “Flay”, after the character from Gormenghast. None of this “Ibra” stuff for me.

      Looking forward to seeing him play for us!

    • December 20, 2010

      Though you’d not understand a word that’s written, you could still check the videos on the blog that i run πŸ™‚

      **http://blaugranamk.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_20.html

  35. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    I bet Marca will say that Espanyol “rolled over” for us. LOL. Anyone see today’s paper?

    • Jnice
      December 19, 2010

      I think they actually acknowledged we are beasts.

    • Vj
      December 19, 2010

      Real F’n Madrid rolled over for us..

  36. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    I love Ian Holloway:

    *http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Ian-Holloway-s-hilarious-rant-against-FIFA-and-t;_ylt=At6OvOgdM0ldaGsgjJP2tG35NQU6?urn=sow-297555#comments

  37. Jnice
    December 19, 2010

    Llorente and Amorebieta out for the match against us.

    *http://www.as.com/futbol/articulo/llorente-amorebieta-estaran-barcelona/20101219dasdasftb_10/Tes

  38. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    Wow! Anyone who is interested in Youth games should check out Rojadirecta. Today there are a ton of Barca matches:

    FCB Alevi B vs. UE Ribes
    FCB Cadet B vs. Prat A
    FCB Juvenil A vs. Lleida

    I won’t be downloading them myself, but it’s very cool that someone took the time to do that.

    *http://forum.rojadirecta.org/forumdisplay.php?15

    • Jnice
      December 19, 2010

      Thanks. I’m downloading the Juvenil A game now.

  39. GREECE BARCA
    December 19, 2010

    For 90minutes the stadium was full of “whore barca”and “whore valdes” and other
    nice things.I do not respect the other team of city and i hope now they ll go to hell.

    • tarik
      December 19, 2010

      odds of there being a link to the stream?

  40. Colby
    December 19, 2010

    Must not watch Madrid game… Must not be tempted by 0-0 scoreline…

    • blitzen
      December 19, 2010

      I’m watching it, but I’m not a jinx like Kari.

      Kari, stay away!!!!

    • Ryan
      December 19, 2010

      Yeah, plus the Xbox360 ESPN app has the game in HD, so why not? Sure wish Navas was healthy and able to torment the EE though.

  41. jaymin
    December 19, 2010

    my team of destiny trails by 12 in th emoney game. john effing kitna is having the game of his life, surely cognizant that he faces me, not just the whoever the hells. sing an unforced olΓ© for tom brady and the new england patriots defense. i am prostrate before you, goodwill per favor.

  42. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    CRonaldo just got pwned. Tee hee. πŸ™‚

  43. Colby
    December 19, 2010

    Ugh. Negredo just had the best chance of the match and put it over the bar (1 on 1 with Casillas basically). He was also slightly offside, but the flag stayed down.

    • blitzen
      December 19, 2010

      That’s actually about the third great chance Sevilla has wasted. So frustrating!

  44. Colby
    December 19, 2010

    And Di Maria gets a yellow for diving in the box.

  45. Ryan
    December 19, 2010

    Good to see Carvalho getting sent off the field. The dude can’t defend without fouling!

    • jordi(TM)
      December 19, 2010

      He and Alonso have an invisibility cloak when it comes to fouls.Dont get me started on Alonso and handballs ! >={

  46. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    Carvalho off! And how come Casillas never gets a card for leaving his area? Is it because he is captain so he is allowed?

    • blitzen
      December 19, 2010

      Oh Casillas did get a card! πŸ˜€

    • Ryan
      December 19, 2010

      I could’ve sworn Iker got a yellow for that.

  47. jordi(TM)
    December 19, 2010

    Oh EE down to 10? Sevilla to lose 2-0 then…

  48. jordi(TM)
    December 19, 2010

    Btw where is Kanoute? Dont trust Negredo to score at all.

  49. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    Gah! They keep giving the ball away!

  50. blitzen
    December 19, 2010

    I knew this was going to happen. Grrr.

  51. beeeef
    December 19, 2010

    it really is kind of pointless to hope that other teams will help slow down EE for us but damn, the way sevilla are playing you would think they were down 1.

    • blitzen
      December 19, 2010

      It just pisses me off that RM can play so mediocre and come out with the same 3 points we get for playing brilliantly.

      • beeeef
        December 19, 2010

        that’s a typical Mou team for you. defensive, uninspiring, often mediocre, but they grind out the wins and get the points. at home, always. guy’s never lost a home match since 02? what??

        • blitzen
          December 19, 2010

          The fans aren’t happy with it, though, you can tell. Madrid fans always want exciting football, and this ain’t it. I predict Mourinho “decides” to move on to a “new challenge” (read: is invited to leave) at the end of the season if they don’t win either La Liga or the CL.

        • PM
          December 19, 2010

          Thi is why there’s another clasico. Barca will piss on his record with another manita πŸ˜€

      • Victor(2)
        December 19, 2010

        Yes, but we know the quality of our wins in our hearts. I mean, winning against Sevilla by only 1 at home? That’s gotta smart, a little.

  52. jordi(TM)
    December 19, 2010

    No one went to cover the line.How basic is that? Anyway 2-0 like i said

  53. jordi(TM)
    December 19, 2010

    lol cant wait till AS blow the villarato trumpet

  54. mardia
    December 19, 2010

    Re: the RM-Sevilla match–really, Sevilla? REALLY? I honestly wasn’t expecting Sevilla to come away with the win, but by the 75th minute, I did think there was a shot of them not conceding. Bah.

    It’s probably not healthy or productive to watch a match solely in the hope one team will lose, but that’s always what I find myself doing with the RM matches. Well, that, and hoping I get the chance to watch Mou or Iker throwing a fit on the pitch.

  55. Nick
    December 19, 2010

    Sevilla are pathetic. Also, has anyone seen Luis Fabiano on the pitch tonight?

    • Jose
      December 19, 2010

      You know why DiMaria scored that goal and Sevilla looked impotent all game? “Unfair TV contracts.” πŸ˜›

  56. beeeef
    December 19, 2010

    hypothetically speaking, if RM win zero trophies this year, will Mou be out?

    since there are even examples of managers winning titles but being dumped by their management anyways, it’s hard to say.

    would the special one get special treatment?

    • December 20, 2010

      Hypothetically, no. Mourinho started his EE career aknowledging everyone that he needs one year to make a team.

      But do not foget that he put an option of breaking his contract with EE after the end fo each season. Which is so Galactico… πŸ™‚

      Poor thing…

  57. Victor
    December 19, 2010

    It is really something curious… Mourinho’s teams seem to improve when the ref sends off one of their players.

  58. Diego
    December 19, 2010

    Real fans are probably happy about the 3 points but they should really think about how their team was playing.

    I felt they were playing the match just so they can get a penalty, Di Maria dove everywhere. I was annoyed even though I wasn’t playing, I can only Imagine how Sevilla players felt. Negredo missed the 1-on-1 that would have changed the match.

    **P.S : After Di Maria’s diving for the penalty, A Friend texted me saying “I fell that Di Maria will score tonight.” πŸ˜€

      • Eklavya
        December 20, 2010

        Hahahaha, the original one is better! πŸ˜€

  59. vicsoc8
    December 19, 2010

    I’m bored… so I looked up our recent form

    10-0-1 since the start of November. 43 goals for, 5 goals against.

  60. Jnice
    December 19, 2010

    Guarantee Sid is going to write about Madrid and Mourinho with his list of “13 errors” of Clos Gomez tomorrow. Sigh.

    Dude whines about referees no matter where he goes, but the press eat it up.

  61. barca96
    December 20, 2010

    I’m so sorry to bring this heated topic back up.
    But I was too busy when this topic was brought up.

    For all those people that were condemning FIFA for choosing Qatar and not raising doubts about Russia should condemn FIFA for choosing Russia too.
    Yesterday or the day before, there was a huge rally in Moscow.

    I’ve always found it unfair for people to only raise doubts of Qatar.
    I, personally, would feel safer attending matches in Qatar rather than Russia. I would rather see women forced to wear moderate clothes( less skin) in order to respect the country (Qatar) rather than people(with colors) fearing for their lives in Russia.
    There are more racial violence in Russia than there is in Qatar.

    In Qatar you just gotta behave in public which is really do-able whereas in RUssia, there is nothing to prevent you from getting into trouble as they target your skin color and ethnic background.

    Once again, apologies for bringing this up but the situation in Russia is not that ideal either.

    • Josep
      December 20, 2010

      I’m sure its because a lot of us are bitter Americans and we lost the bid to Qatar. I don’t know who here is from England, who lost to Russia.

  62. Helge
    December 20, 2010

    I like the comments from Del Nido. First, he criticized the comparisons between Messi and Crynaldo, and now he added this after the match:
    Del Nido (president Sevilla): “I keep on thinking you just can’t compare Barcelona and Madrid, but if they continue to be this lucky…”
    That hits the nail on its head!
    I just can’t believe it; how many times EE played poorly this season but still won! We’ve been playing waaaay better than them, but still only sit 2 points ahead. This really p***** me off!

    • barca96
      December 20, 2010

      Yeah. It was the same last season.
      And in 06-08 too.
      We couldn’t buy a goal in those years and were leaking goals and at the same time played beautiful football.
      They’ve always come away without playing good.

      THe last time they played good constantly were in the early parts of this millennia.

      I didn’t watched their match against Seville though but what did EE win a soft penalty again?

      • blitzen
        December 20, 2010

        No, they didn’t get a penalty, but not for lack of diving trying. EE played wretchedly, but Sevilla just couldn’t convert the many chances into a goal.

  63. blitzen
    December 20, 2010

    Apparently the crowd at the Bernabeu was booing their own team because the football was so lousy.

    Felling the heat a bit, Mourinho? πŸ˜€

    • Diego
      December 20, 2010

      Yeah, They started at the 30 minute mark and kept on booing the team with every chance they waste till they scored, The fans kept cheering when their players were wasting time. πŸ˜€

  64. blitzen
    December 20, 2010

    Bojangles has extended his contract til 2015. Kari can breathe easy!

  65. December 20, 2010

    BFB!

    I am surprised that you guys are asking for donation. Can you give us a rough idea how much it costs to run a blog? I think many of us are unwilling to see this wonderful blog vanish in the cyber space because we obviously have love for this community, but if we have a better understanding of its finance situation, we certainly would find it easier to measure how much we should offer. Again, thanks for running this blog, because we all know you guys don’t get paid to do this. Not sure how much ads could generate, but please let us know more details.

  66. stowe
    December 20, 2010

    Bojangles? we need to extend ALVES. I like Bojan too, especially with the way the team is playing now with Messi playing as a Ten in the middle more

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