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Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Adriano Puyol Abidal Maxwell – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa
Bench Barcelona: Oier, Pique, Milito, Mascherano, Keita, Afellay, Bojan
Nobody seems to have mentioned it in the comments on the previous post so I’ll just mention it.
Racing Santander have been bought by some Indian tycoon apparently, for 40-50 million. This comes some time after the Sheikh bought Malaga for reportedly 25 million. If the new owners of Santander spend wisely and on the cheap like how Malaga have so far- them getting Pellegrini was a brilliant move in my opinion btw, maybe Santander will go for someone like Juande Ramos 😀 who is currently in Dnipro Dniprovetsixenick (spelling pretty definitely wrong, equally unpronounceable either way), would be interesting wouldn’t it- but either way if they make some solid signings and build a deeper squad, good.
Sevilla seem to be regaining some form, Villareal seem to be solid and on a good foundation in both sporting and financial terms, Valencia seem stable, Malaga and Santander are going to get solid funding sources, Madrid are Madrid, and I dunno if I misheard or misread but I THINK I read somewhere that some foreign investors were interested in investing in Atletico Madrid? Not buying the whole club but investing in it. Anyone knows any more about those rumors?
a little off topic, but a question for those of you who shop for Barca gear:
i’ve been looking for the 09-10 / 10-11 away (the pink one) socks, but can’t seem to find them anywhere. I feel like they’ve just been sold out for a while now and never restocked, but if anybody knows where i can find a pair, i’ll be eternally grateful.
Eklavya, you mentioned in the previous post the friendly of Portugal-Argetina on Feb, 9. I already knew about the match, but I was almost 100% sure it would be played @ Wembley. Maybe they’ve changed the venue?
Yeah, I googled it and it was supposed to be played in London but now its changed. So thats why I wasn’t aware of it I guess, cause it must have been changed only recently.
Random but I solved a Rubik’s cube today! I know, you’re all impressed.
impressive!!- Now make a video of you solving it so we can have something better to watch when we are tempted to watch an EE game 🙂
Good idea! People will need proof anyway…
Another insane stat from the good folks @ barcastuff: Barcelona have scored 50 goals in their last 12 Liga games, something no team has done in 70 years #fcblive [via @2010MisterChip]
Now, that’s what a Barca game should look like. Kxevin, can Busi and Abidal both have 8s? Please. And can we please add a “!” to Abidal’s name? They went from the zombies of Wednesday to zombie hunters (borrowed from probably the best Ray Hudson analogy (maybe even looking for those twinkies)) today. I don’t know what was going on with Villa’s first touch though.
I’m so looking forward to revenge against Hercules next week.
Anyone hear if Puyi’s OK?
Guardiola: “Bojan-Afellay sub misunderstanding? I
forgot the Puyol sub at half-time, thought we had 2 left.”
So that explains it. But we still need a YouTube remix video of Afellay’s warming up moves! Hilarious!
I’m going for the soccermomof4, too emotionally involved version of the ratings. Go to Kxevin’s if you want them to be valid, make sense, and be relatively objective. Disclaimer, I really should watch the game again before doing this, but then it wouldn’t be the too emotionally involved review.
VV-8 a few great saves and great distribution
Adriano- 6 much better than Wed. but stop taking pot shots
Puyi-6ish mostly good but beaten a couple of times–hope he’s not injured
Abidal-8 maybe 9—the dude rocks this position
Maxwell- 6 standard just ok performance
Busi- 8 our secret weapon, awesome today but lost the ball trying to get too fancy once or twice
Xavi- 7 solid as always
Iniesta- 9- man, he is like freakin’ awesome!
Messi- 7, created 1, assisted 1, scored 1, with some of his patented runs to make the game more beautiful, but lost the ball a couple of times dribbling into 6 players
P!!- 7- way to be where you need to be, and a nice assist
Villa- 5 or 6 -involved in 2 goals and won the penalty but his first touch let him down constantly today
Pique in for Puyol- 6 solid performance, only a few scary moments
Keiteeeeee in for Xavi- 6, much more solid today
CT in for P!!- incomplete
Team 8- big surprise, our system works when we are actually awake- good to see the pressing again
Why is bojan called CT?
Oh comeon isnt that cruel. Dude’s got some steel in im.
You have to read some of Isaiah’s funnier “scenes” or the banquillas(sp?). I think they are filed under nonsense.
I think i’d feel a little aggrieved if I’d been involved in all three goals that we scored and ended up with the lowest rating of the whole team, wouldn’t you?
Likewise, although i thought he had a good game generally, Abidal could easily have cost us two goals ( the through pass he let go in the first half and the free glancing header his man got just into the second half) but he ends up equal top.
Ah, life on the BFB 🙂
Remember, this was the too emotionally involved review- my frustration factor at Villa’s first touches comes before actual logic. You’ll get logic when Kxevin reviews.
Yo! Just popping in.
–Could LB today 🙁 , but looked over it. vicsoc predicted Keita for Xavi! Nice.
–Another Iniesta goal. 20 starts in a row + 7 goals… I’m so proud. /shedssolidarytear
–While I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s been our best player this season, I agree with RayRay that Pedro!! has elevated his game to levels I hadn’t even realized he’d reached. If you watch the first leg of our tie against Arsenal last season, you’ll see P!! running around like a headless chicken. I compare him from that game and P!! today and it’s like a totally different player. Astonishing improvement.
–Speaking of Arsenal, I didn’t watch their game today and I’m not going to. Apparently, they’ve hit good form and the confidence is building for them. Perfect. It was no fun when they were writing themselves off. 😀
We’ve improved so much from last season, I could almost feel sorry for them, but I don’t. Bring on February 16!
–“Pep molding and pointing the finger at Bojan”? “(Some other nonsensical garbage he was spewing through out the match that I don’t remember at this point in time because it was so stupid)?” Can Phil just go away and never come back? It’s fun to hear him get owned by Ray, but his idiocy is now out-weighting the enjoyment of him getting served. Go AWAY.
—Messi remain the best player in the world, but Iniesta is second best for me. You’ll hear howls of laughter when Iniesta-Zidane comparisons are made (“Cules are overrating their players again. Iniesta-Zidane? Get real!”). Now, this may be controversial, and I probably won’t express my feelings here properly, but honestly, sometimes I feel people have watched way too many YouTube videos and it’s distorted the reality of some players and their performances. Yes, these people are legends but they aren’t some untouchable mythical beasts.
Why don’t you actually WATCH some of these guys play and then make your own conclusions instead of jumping on the back of popular opinion and YouTube highlights?
I personally don’t think it’s absurd to compare Iniesta and Zidane. Obviously they’re different in how they play, but I get the same feel watching Andres as I did Zidane and, truth be told, I enjoy Iniesta’s game a bit more. I absolutely LOVED seeing Zidane for France and I’m NOT saying Iniesta is a better player or anything like that, just that they remind me of each other.
— i like how we’re using the left flank more. These past two seasons made me feel like we were a little bit too much of a right sided attack, with Messi-Alves-Xavi dominating that side. Now, with Villa and a more attacking Abidal, I dare to say we’ve become more balanced.
—Villa’s touch was off today and he wasn’t all that sharp, but again, it was a good game from El Guaje. IMO.
–Adriano…. Dani, get well soon! (Though I do think we’re being a bit too hard on Adrian—*sees highlights of match*… Never mind.)
More later, because I think I’ve rambled enough, but I enjoyed this game very very much, like all our games this season. As we debate the nuances and little details that we don’t like in each game, let’s not forget this is a very very special team we may not see every again.
Know what you mean. Let me say that Iniesta is better than zinedine and the messiah together, a thousand times if not more 😛
I’ve heard Ibra say he is the best he has practiced with, same with etoo that says it all. And what is key IMO is that he and xavi just don’t miss a ball period, a thing that messi and zidane did sometimes. Infalible is the word in Spanish I believe it’s the same in English. Iniesta takes far more risks than xavi but his game looks similar they both hardly miss. Grandioso andres! Remember when most of cules thought they could not or should not play together?
Ahhh, poipoi. You’re such an Andres fan boy 😀 . But that’s good, because we need more of them.
Xavi and Iniesta’s ball control makes me go O.O at random times during a match. Messi’s as well, actually, but he’s more…I don’t know how to explain it… loose with the ball. With Iniesta and Xavi, it’s smooth (and silky in Iniesta’s when he dribbles).
Remember when most of cules thought they could not or should not play together?
Yup. There were even some that compared Xavi-Iniesta to Gerrard-Lampard. How stupid they must look now. 😛
Ha, I remember that. So silly.
Messi remain the best player in the world, but Iniesta is second best for me. You’ll hear howls of laughter when Iniesta-Zidane comparisons are made (“Cules are overrating their players again. Iniesta-Zidane? Get real!”). Now, this may be controversial, and I probably won’t express my feelings here properly, but honestly, sometimes I feel people have watched way too many YouTube videos and it’s distorted the reality of some players and their performances. Yes, these people are legends but they aren’t some untouchable mythical beasts.
That’s what I’m saying! It’s like people think every touch Zidane took was some sort of roulette or trick. Get of the damn YouTube and watch some actual matches.
I don’t care what people say, Andres is as good, if not better than Zidane. If he stays relatively healthy, people will see that.
Many will disagree with me but: I think that this Iniesta is even better than Zidane in his prime.
Granted, like you said, they don’t play in the same position and didn’t have the same responsibilities… but honestly, who would you rather have in a team: Iniesta at this time or Zidane in his best moment?
I’d for the former.
Nice game, nice result, thankfully no betis hangover. The first goal helped alot with calming me down.
–abidal never fails to impress,
–p! Is starting to have one of those goal poachers instinct -i believe he stole messi’s goal. He’s been at the right place at the right time, remember his goal against malaga
–messi cant help but try on of those single man runs
–xavi has been teaching busi and keita his 360 turn
I also think abidal! (Soccerma’s request) is our best LB and one of our best CB, do we really clone him?
Stole Messi’s goal? Oh, please. I haven’t seen the highlights, so i can’t say whether the ball would have gone in without Pedro’s help, but are you seriously suggesting he deliberately poached it? I can’t think of a player less likely to do that, except Iniesta or Xavi.
Pedro was doing once again what he has done so often for us this season–being at the exact right spot in front of goal at the exact right time to beat the defenders and knock the ball in. It’s like his trademark now.
Why am I awaiting moderation? 🙁
I don’t think it would have gone in without P!!’s touch. I’m 99% sure.
I think it was more of him ensuring it-went in which it was already- and not stealing
Hmm, I don’t think ‘goal poaching’ was said with any malice. What Pedro did was a poach. Not the same as him ‘stealing’ the goal though.
I prefer King Eric myself–or le roi de defenseurs. Or something equally cheesy.
xavi has been teaching busi and keita his 360 turn
Definitely with Busi, OSBAG. I’ve been seeing Biscuits do la pelopina (the 360 turn) more often (and back heels, which he needs to cut out when he’s not in the opposition’s half of the field).
Eric the Red came to my mind late in the 08-09 season, glad he’s corrected that blemish..
Guardiola: “Keita? We don’t have a similar player. As long as I’m here, he’s untouchable.”
😀 😀 😀
I hope he stays true on that
I’m sure he will. There’s not a harder working, more generous player on the field and Pep values him highly for it. One of my favorites!
Oh, and I hope to get Barcenal Part 2 up before our first leg on the 16th, but I’m currently swamped with work.
My goal this year is to get both the second leg of Barca-Arsenal and la manita uploaded on YT. Problem is, it takes a while for it to get saved to my hard-drive after dividing it into parts with Windows Movie Makers and then to upload it to YT (which also takes a while).
Sorry for the long wait people 🙁
Would you be able to upload it to fileserve/bitshare/hotfile? No worries if you can’t. 🙂
Barca won getting it done early and then coasting in the second half. Iniesta was the man of the match. He was everywhere today.
Villa was making great runs, had some nearly great plays, but agree with soccermomof4, his touch is shockingly poor at times.
Keita is a great option off the bench to kill a game. When he comes on, Busi has more confidence. If Busi has a bad pass, Keita is there to help win the ball back.
Valencia has been handed 3 points. Even though Malaga deserves to be winning right now. I hate the penalty plus red card rule. Probably the worst rule in football.
And now its 3-3. 9 man malaga score against Valencia. It’s no wonder people look down on la liga. The 4th place team has been scored on twice while having a numerical player advantage.
No people look down on la liga because they *want* to, if that happened with United and Wolves the EPL loves would say it shows how strong their league is because even a ‘weak’ team can pull heroics against the mighty.
What does this have to do with the alleged “state” of la liga?
I guess it means I would like the other teams in the top of the table to be better. Valencia was able to squeeze out a victory, but Barcelona smashed Malaga last week. And they had all 11 of their players.
I hope they can come up to Barca’s level, or approach it at least.
But barcelona smashed real madrid , and they too had all their players.
But 6-0 were a regular in the start of the season in epl , chelsea was smashing everyone.
Anyway, i will take a league that most teams are actually trying to play a passing game and playing beatifully to win against the one in which teams are just trying to keep up with their opponents.
Why’s that? These types of fouls should not be tolerated. What if someone does something similar to Leo but takes out his knees? If anything, fouls aren’t punished harshly enough. Another positive side of fouls being properly punished would be a reduction in diving.
This Guardiola press conference quote makes my soul ache ….
(via @barcastuff) Guardiola: “Bojan? We analyzed last game and if the team sees his movements, he could have scored 3 goals. Still growing, only 20” #fcblive
Do you disagree with guardiola’s analysis ,kxevin?
Yes. It is trying to prop the kid up. What attacking player of ours could you not say that about? Messi could have had 6 goals today. Villa could have had four. If a coach is looking for hypotheticals, he’s looking pretty long and hard.
Perhaps the players aren’t seeing his movements because they understand that right now, Krkic is where attacks go to die. I’ve only watched the match once (second viewing will of necessity be interrupted by my nap …. hard training today), but he got the ball time and again, and was awful.
he was awful indeed.
However , since i dont know what an analysis of guardiola with the squad consists of , I wouldnt try to guess it.
The most interesting thing for me is , well , since bojan has time to grow -and i agree 100% with that- but cant get enough playing time to stick with that line.
Its even more obvious now with the thiago situation.
Pep specifically said that “the kid has the qualities required to become a first teamer and add something to the squad , but has to play regularly because he is young”.
Now call me crazy but that rings a bell.
I also agree that he was awful, he has one move and that is to patiently wait as the last front man and then have a foot race with the opponents defender, which usually leads to him either being knocked off the ball or if he gets through, to take a shot on goal no matter who else is more open to take a better shot. Unfortunately, he’s any easy man/boy to mark as there is not much creativity there. I don’t get it, I don’t know why he lost it, but he did. You can see the inklings of his time being brought up through the system as there are times when he does pass, or give and go, or make smart runs into the goal area, but they are fewer and far between and as times goes on he becomes more selfish with his play and it just snowballs.
I’ve been a long time proponent of bojan going on loan or going altogether but recently I’m starting to change my mind. I find he is a whipping boy for abject performances by the team.
He often comes on when the game is won and the movement and passing isn’t as sharp by the team. If he scraps a goal then ‘the game was already won’ and if he doesn’t ‘he can’t score against a dead horse’.
He has a delightful first touch, good pace, good strength for his size and I think he would do well with Messi & Pedro/Iniesta up front. I’ll also never forget he VERY nearly won the Inter tie for us.
Unfortunately it may take someone up front being injured for him to get a chance and I really don’t want it to be like that.
He has started matches as well, however, and been awful, golden opportunities against the likes of Ceuta. And from what I saw today, the ball was put on his feet at the doorstep, and every time he screwed the pooch.
We all agree that he has talent. Lots of players have talent. It’s what you do with the talent. He would have scored the goal that helped win the Inter tie if he’d been able to head a ball into an open net. Alas, he couldn’t.
If Villa plants a foot wrong, is there anyone here who wants to face an extended stretch with Krkic as our striker? Honestly?
Point taken, no I wouldn’t *want* that but I’m starting to find faith and I’ve wanted him gone for a long time. If you recall I’ve wanted Keirrison to get a shot for ferever but I dunno I just feel Bojan is going to come good very soon.
As the first goal, Messi wasn’t going for goal, which it seemed like at first glance, so I don’t blame OSBAG for thinking it. He deliberately pulled it back, knowing we’d have players crashing the box, and Pedro!! knocked it in.
I have watchdd it all over again and i can see that though messi wasnt aiming for goal, the ball was heading for the inside net before p! Wisely made sure it was a goal
Iniesta scoring goals is something I’ve been waiting for since pep took over; we now have 4 proper goal scorers (Messi 19, Villa 14, Pedro & Iniesta) and then the rest of the squad as wild cards.
Random: wouldn’t it be interesting to see all the inside shirts the players wear after the game? If messi didn’t score we wouldn’t have know about his mum’s bday. Wonder how many lil nuggets of joy 0-0 scorelines take away?
Like iniesta ,had he not scored against netherlands he wouldnt have the chance to dedicate that goal to his deceased friend.
By the way ,has thong boy ever dedicated a goal to someone?
In fairness, and not because I actually want to, I must admit that I remember him dedicating a goal last year after some natural disaster in Portugal (can’t remember the disaster).
Yeah, I think it was dedicated to his hometown, Madeira. Floods and landslides if I remember correctly.
So, Cristiano Ronaldo shows that he can also care about others and you people hate that?
Sure, he’s selfish and whatnot… but he is not really that self-absorbed. Sometimes it seems to me that people actually want Ronaldo to be that self-centered and superficial to easily criticize him saying “LOL, he just thinks about himself and himself”.
And before someone accuses me of being a fan of him, I’m not. But I don’t hate him either nor I dislike him. He’s indifferent to me.
I’m confused. Where is the hate?
Well, he is all those things.
But I agree with you on the following point : he is indifferent to me as well and i dont hate him.
Hes a great footballer , although he stands for many of the things that i use to laugh at ,both as a footballer and as a public persona.
point taken- guilt felt- I took up for him out of fairnes but I can do it grudgingly because of his attitude. I don’t hate him but either but I’m not going to go out of my way to praise him.
Possibly unpopular opinion: CR is solid off the field. He’s just an assbag on it 🙂
On the rumor front, Citeh is said to have offered Alves 8m per season through 2016? That’s everything he wants: a 5-year contract and big, giant money. Wow.
Right. Nap time.
Messi has been a phenomenal playmaker this season (14 assists so far in the league, that’s what Xavi finished with last year(as league leader)). Personally, I think that this change (although, wasn’t he more of a playmaker to start with) has been beneficial overall. BUT—Does it seem to anyone else that Messi starts a game all happy and content to be making plays and passing balls, changes to trying to hard too score when the game is secure, and ends the game sad/discontent if he hasn’t scored enough. Maybe I’m being a mother hen about it.
too hard to score—see Kari it’s not just you with the grammar
Except with me, the whole sentence’s meaning is altered. See my “Could LB today” instead of “Couldn’t LB today
But whatever. I maintain grammar and EE are synonymous–overrated but still a necessity to have around.
Like it or lump it as he continues in this form he will eventually develop an ego. Granted it won’t be as large as most as he started so humbly but a person simply can’t be that good for this long without it going to their head.
I think Messi is always a little disappointed if he doesn’t score a couple. But it’s not to the detriment of the team, nor do I think his ego is big enough to where it will be a come a problem.
I’m sure he wants to score a couple every match, but I know he wants the team to win above anything else, so it’s no problem.
I hope that enough people value this kind of contribution and not just the goal scoring. And I hope that he does too. Hope the whole gotta keep up with TB isn’t getting him down. JUST WANT MY BOY TO BE HAPPY (where are the rocket pops).
That the point but he cant win ballon d’ors without scoring lots of goals.
Xavi and Iniesta almost did—but yes, everyone values the goal scorers more highly.
Btw, great game from Fabregas today and I don’t like Van Persie getting his scoring touch back. They’re starting to show some confidence. It could be a close game.
Who were they facing today? Club’s 3rd to bottom club on the standings? alright then :p
My daughter’s varsity team might be able to give Wigan a run for their money. Still, an in form full of confidence Arsenal is good for those of us who consider Arsenal their second team, but bad when those of us who consider Arsenal their second favorite team yet would still like Barca to absolutely pulverize them in the CL (and I hope that Ibi scores 2 hat tricks and gets tons of assists in those games and proves that Cesc is an unnecessary expenditure(at this point in time)).
I agree, Cesc was terrific. Arsenal was excellent until they subbed Arshavin in, who stunk up and down the pitch.
LOL, goal.com gave Abidal a 5.5 and had this to say:
Replaced the rested Pique at centre half, but looked far from secure, conceding possession too often, and from a positional sense he looked suspect.
And on Pique (4.5):
Came on in the second half with the match well and truly won.
Gotta love ’em. But the sad thing about the Abidal rating is that people will see this and think, “Abidal can’t play at center back” when that’s not the truth.
Were they watching the same game I was watching???
No. They don’t watch games.
I was honestly shocked when they gave Messi an 8.5 for the Zaragoza game. That was as clear a 10 as any game I’ve seen, my jaw was literally dropped by the end of that match. Sid Lowe’s article for that week was about how even the Spanish press had been so boggled they were struggling for superlatives. Remember, when he scored a hat-trick including that insane individual goal, bossed the game, and when Zaragoza scored a couple from balls over the top and it looked dangerous again he decides ‘oh this is too close for comfort’ and goes off, wins a penalty with an amazing run, and gives it to Ibrahimovic?
That and Arsenal are joint or near joint top for best attacking performance of all last season by any individual player. I was just ‘did you people HONESTLY WATCH THE GAME?!!!’
I also saw that and i was like liars he did mess up atimes but overall he was brillant
Hook ’em horns!
We finally beat you…
Woot! fellow longhorns on the barcelona blog, nice!
on another note pedro’s pace and hustle is something that all players no matter what level should watch and try to imitate. he simply never gives up. I don’t understand how one can possess that much physical energy. I was worried about our trident up front with Pedro being a solid fixture in the starting line up, but he fits in our system so perfectly. His contribution to our game makes it to where he doesn’t necessarily need to score, but he often does due to to his sheer will power and dedication to give 100% effort every time he steps on the field. I think he’s my MOTM for today.
Goal.com’s was villa
Noticed that Villa seemed to have had extra practice time with Messi this week in training. As soon as they started, you could see from their positioning that they had mapped out a plan. Messi would hang out near the wing by Villa, make a quick pass to Villa, who would then make a pass into the box into open space where Messi was running into. They did that quite a few times during the game and it seemed to work. It gave Villa the opportunity not to “over think” the play and simply position himself where he could quickly tap it to a forward moving Messi. Unfortunately, the rest of the time, Villa had a very poor first touch on the ball. It’s almost as if he masters one skill and he forgets the other. Would imagine that it all comes together in time.
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