I don’t even know what to say, really. Other than things like Holy mackerel and a sprig of clover, Batman! Statements that don’t even really make sense. Another manita? Yup, that’s just Barça bein’ Barça. That’s just the blaugrana stringin’ a few passes together and beating the pants off of poor Almeria, who came in without having failed to win a Copa match this season. Adios to that, I should say.
Minute 30 and it was 4-0, though that was a harsh 4-0 on Almeria, whose backup keeper, Esteban, let them down. And by the time he’d collected himself and started making simple saves, it was all over except, you know, the final 60 minutes and of course the bleating of the Barça crowd. And 5-0 was harsh on Almeria, but it was also light on Barça, who could have had 8 or 9 if they’d really turn the screw. But they didn’t, which, at 5-0, you can say “okay, sure, understandable,” but this is a 2-leg deal and as much of a cushion as possible is always helpful so while 8 goals is totally crazy absurd to demand, I’m demanding it because I’m totally crazy absurd.
And then there was the defense, which gave up a few shots on goal that it shouldn’t have because it got lazy. Lazy like me on warm summer day. Or a cold winter day. Or any of the days in between. Our defense was busy shoving potato chips into its face while watching Judge Judy berate some poor slob. And it was chuckling, of course, because that could never be it on that TV, being charged with breaking someone’s fridge by accidentally slamming an El Camino loaded with paintballing gear through the backside of a double wide.
Eh, I don’t actually care that much about the defensive lapses. I’m too thrilled with our fifth 5-0 win of the year. A manita of manitas, if you will. 9 matches with over 5 goals scored (2 of them against Almeria) and a total of 97 goals in 33 competitive matches (20 league, 6 CL, 7 Copa). That is, by my math, more than 12 goals per match! Hallelujah! Guardiola and company are bringing home the friggin’ bacon, one manita at a time. And yeah, I know Kevin’s rule about “we’re not proven until we bring home silverware” (and I do believe it’s not just Kevin that says this, but lots of people), but right now, I don’t much care. We’re fun to watch. And that, ladies and gentlecats, is why I watch this sport at all. Because it’s fun. Because it’s joyful, because I like smiling and I like celebrating (and yes I like screaming and hating, but not a tenth as much as I like liking).
And so, this is team is awesome. Lovely, wonderful, amazing, sensational, even magical. They come in on their flying carpets with the goal genies and they produce masterful crap like Pedro heading the ball in from a set piece. That’s not even humanly possible! Once I scored a header with Messi in FIFA and I laughed because video games make a mockery of reality! And then I scored an own goal to appease the gods of the game. Because that is what must happen in FIFA or you get a visit from the Loss Monster. Speaking of, maybe Barça should up the competition level from Amateur to like Professional or even World Class, just so there’s something of a challenge. Just sayin’.
I’m generally not a fan of Maxwell, but in this game I only once said “get back on defense!” and that was quite early on, when it was 0-0. After that I had no reason for complaint, so well done, Maxwell Smart, old chap. And you missed a goal by that much to boot. And yes, old timers, I really did just make that reference. As for Adriano, if he’d had shootin’ boots instead of just runnin’ boots (which were tireless), it would have been a different matter altogether, but he put contrived to put the ball out of place or right to a defender about as often as I contrived to roll my eyes. Perhaps there was some sort of a correlation, but what do I know, I’m no math major, just some schmuck with a keyboard.
And as some schmuck with a keyboard, it’s up to me to say, once again, Holy cowbell, Batman that was some sort of a show from Lionel Messi. And, given that he was instrumental in making like a bajillion perfect passes, also Xavi. Which means, because they’re some sort of a Bob and Bobette tag team super show (how’s that for a reference, my francophone friends?), Andres Iniesta gets a mention too. Cause slam bam thank you ma’am that third goal was as delicious as a warm pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.
Abidal passes it out of the back, hard, and Xavi is able to dummy it for Pedro, who slides off a short pass to Iniesta. Already, within 5 seconds, the ball is from our box to their half. Pedro then makes a mad dash down the center as Xavi and Messi roll up the right wing. Villa is the obvious pass on the left, but his defender shades over and because of Pedro’s run down the middle, Xavi and Messi have only 1 defender between the 2 of them. So Iniesta turns the ball and puts the ball over to the right, where Messi gets it and, in classic Messi fashion, takes the defender who has moved over to cover him and makes him look like a training cone. And Pedro is there for any rebounds.
The (literal) icing on the (figurative) cake (say what?), though, was the gilt-edge pass from Messi to Keita for the 5th and final goal. Oh holy sassafras that was brilliant. And did you know that sassafrases is the longest word in the English language that you type entirely with your left hand? Well it is, and then if you put sweet in front of it, it’s even more so. So Milito has the ball on the wing, taps it to Messi, who turns his man and then there’s an open Keita to chip the ball to. And what a chip it was, but wait a minute, how did Keita get so damned open in the middle of defense? Simple: Pedro made a great run to the near post, pulling his defender with him into the gap opened up by the other CB stepping towards Messi, meaning Keita had space to move into and his defender, who wasn’t really supposed to be defending Keita, but rather the overlap from Adriano, had no shot in catching the Malian. And then the finish was just superb. Great take down, great space, and a great turn of the body to smack the ball beyond the keeper.
So, really, my biggest praise is for Pedro. Great galloping Galapagos galleons that man moves purty. And that, really, is all you need to hear from me on that subject.
Oh and hey, Afellay was pretty good too, but nothing super special. He’s adapting and that’s good and I like it. But no, I won’t sing his praises for not screwing up, much as I won’t sing anyone’s praises for wackin’ them some par holes.
So there ya go, folks. A review. Hope you enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy your evening (or morning, wherever you are). I’m off to do the manly stuff around the house. That’s right, prepare some things to be mailed.