I Want Revenge! Hércules – Barça

Liga Preview: Hércules – Barça, Saturday 2pm EST, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, GolTV

In my world, venganza is a fun word. I don’t adhere to the notion of vendettas (especially not V for versions–was that the worst movie of all time? It was certainly close) or blood feuds, but I do love some serious gearing-up-for-a-revenge-showdown because it just adds an edge to what might otherwise be, you know, a regular, boring Barça-induced heart attack. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is about venganza. It’s about teaching poor Hércules a lesson about our house and the back of our net. Both are sacred ground. Tread on either with special care. And be prepared for absolute mayhem to be unleashed the next time we face your Roman demigod ass.

I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve spent most of the day staring at Al Jazeera’s online feed, which has been covering the turmoil/revolution/mass protest in Egypt. I haven’t exactly done my homework on Hércules or Barça, though there are certainly things to report other than I can’t believe they set another building on fire. First, there’s the little matter of revenge, which I have discussed, and then there’s repaying them for beating us at the Camp Nou. Wait, those are the same things.

El Mundo Deportivo, that paragon of journalism, has gone ahead and prepared for the match by comparing Lionel Messi to Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Yes. Of course. That’s totally reasonable. Messi, after all, assists and also scores. Which is just like Magic and MJ. I think. But then, wouldn’t like a Stockton-Malone freak baby be a better comparison? And Jarl Stocklone passes to himself and dunks it home! Deliver that. The point is, I think, that me barely writing coherent sentences about ripping Hércules’ heart out while humming the theme to Rob Roy is right in line with people who are actually paid for doing these things. So, uh, shouldn’t I get paid for this?

Dani Alves has returned to the squad list, which is good news as I was getting a little tired of Adriano totally screwing up our right side and making it so hard to win matches. Manita? What manita? Oh right, yeah, that one. But still, yeah, Alves is better and Adriano can play again on Wednesday against Almeria in the return leg. I was thinking the other day–perhaps just yesterday–that these small injuries in the middle of the season can sometimes help a team reach the end of the season without being too fatigued. But you can never really know, right? So anyway, Alves is back:

Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Adriano, Piqué, Milito, Fontàs, Abidal, Maxwell, Mascherano, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Afellay, Messi, Villa, Pedro, Nolito.

Bojan remains at home with a “stomach bug” (that’s a very specific medical term, mind you), Puyol remains sidelined by his knee injury, and Jeffren has the curse of Jeffren, as per usual. This means that Fontàs and the Hunchback of La Masia Nolito get to travel to Alicante, though they seem unlikely to take part. I think there will be a CB pairing of Piqué and Milito with Abidal on the wing, but I’ve been wrong about these things before and I don’t really expect to be right this time either. For those of you who thought that Abidal should start against Almeria to combat Piatti and Crusat’s quickness, shouldn’t you all be arguing for Milito to combat Trezeguet’s aerial toughness? Unless, of course, Abidal has simply taken over as the 2nd choice LCB, which is fine by me, but which does leave us with Maxwell on the wing and I’m always more comfortable with Abidal out there. That man better not age.

For their part, Hércules get the good news that Nelson Valdez is fit, which was in doubt. Their full squad is: Calatayud (GK), Vethuizen (GK),  Unai Alba (GK), Peña, Sarr, Cortés, Rodríguez, Abel Aguilar, Farinós, Cristian, Rufete, Fritzler, Tiago, Valdez, Kiko, Tote, Trezeguet, Sendoa, Portillo.

Points are important for Hércules, who have 22 points and have lost 2 straight by a combined scored of 5-0. Those were both on the road, however, where Hércules have been dreadful, except for that one time at that one stadium, where they won. They’re 1-3-7 (3GF, 19GA) away from home, but at home at the José Rico Pérez they’re 5-1-3 (19GF, 12GA). They haven’t, however, beaten anyone above 7th at home (they have yet to host Espanyol or, obviously, Barça) so that doesn’t bode well going up against a side that has yet to drop a single point on the road.

That’s right, in case you forgot, Barça is 9-0-0 (33GF, 4GA) on the road and is looking to extend their league winning streak to fifteen. Whoa, that’s a lot of wins, eh? So let’s keep it going and keep our lead at the top of La Liga (and, in fact, provisionally expand it to 7 points). There’s no reason to let Hércules get away with more of our points, is there? Lay the hammer down, boys.

Lineup: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Milito, Abidal, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Messi, Pedro

Official Prediction: 0-3. Sorry, Hércules, but you must go down in flames.

Obviously it’s more than just showing up. Obviously it takes hard work and careful planning. That or some individual brilliance from Jarl Stocklone. Oh whatever, you’re tired of reading my thoughts…so listen to them:

A SPECIAL NOTE: I’m seeing the game listed as on both ESPN Deportes and GolTV, but I am not sure how true that is. Do not be mad if it is on one and not the other.

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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.


  1. Sam M
    January 28, 2011

    Time to clean out Hércules stables…

  2. Jnice
    January 28, 2011

    After Puyol and Pique, Abidal is definitely next in line at center back. As for Milito combating Trezeguet, I don’t know how much of a leap Milito has on him these days. I think Pique is enough to combat Trezeguet’s aerial prowess.

  3. soccermomof4
    January 28, 2011

    0-3? That’s not revenge, that’s just a convincing win. Agreeing with Kari(scary how often that happens) revenge is a dish best served with manitas(does sound like a lovely alcoholic beverage, like the kind you get with a little umbrella, mine on the rocks please, no salt). Besides manitas are our thing, I’d like to keep my avatar up longer, and if EE can beat them, why not!

    BTW, Isaiah, if you jinx us again on Wednesday by writing a remontada that won’t happen post, so help me……

      • soccermomof4
        January 28, 2011

        Yes, that’s what people say. But people also say, “Do not meddle in the affairs of new moderators for they have edit buttons and you do not.”

  4. January 28, 2011

    It’s on GolTV-Canada, so it’s not on GolTV in the US.

    ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com are right though.

  5. BA
    January 28, 2011

    i too want to bitchslap Hercules with a manita. put a lid on and put behind us the kind of slapdash resistance they offered in the first half of the season while we were on mental walkabout. is that too ruthless?

  6. soccermomof4
    January 28, 2011

    Prudence requires that we give Hercules a lot of respect, but we are a totally different team than they saw in week 2. Our Spanish internationals hadn’t had a real preseason, they had just come back from qualifiers and 4 days prior to the Hercules fiasco, 10-11 of our guys were all the way in Argentina for a meaningless friendly (correct me if my recollection is wrong). At that time only Messi was finding the back of the net with any consistency and Abidal was new to the CB position (at least in our system). The Hercules loss shocked us out of complacency and we’ve been playing the purdiest football ever since (until Isaiah jinxed us before the Betis game).

  7. tntyau
    January 28, 2011

    You know, I don’t know that I’d be satisfied with a manita for this occasion. How about we break that record for biggest away win in the history of La Liga? 0-9, then?

    Or 0-10, and soccermomof4 can put *two* hands on her icon…

  8. Extreme barca fan
    January 28, 2011

    Hercules at home are a tough nut to crack, they are very dangerous on counters, Pep knows it, that’s why he said this is one of the toughest away matches we have yet to play.
    But i think we will win, not by a big margin, sure ill be happy if we score 8 or 9 but i just dont see it happening this time.
    Alves is back thank GOD, so expect messi to do his THANG, because seriously, with alves bombarding the right flank/wing messi gets more support and freedom to go on with his usual routine of doing the impossible.

  9. January 28, 2011

    Isaiah, great preview! BUT V for Vendetta is an awesome movie! But I’m a comic book nerd so I guess my fanboy vote doesn’t count. Otra manita por favor!!!!!

    • Extreme barca fan
      January 28, 2011

      I also like V for Vendetta, Hugo weaving is incredible

  10. Helge
    January 28, 2011

    Well, Hercules are obvioously a strong side at home, having won their last 4 matches with 13:4 goals.
    I’ll take any win tomorrow, even a dirty 1-0. It would increase the pressure on EE who have to travel to the infamous Reyno de Navarra on Sunday evening.

    If you look at Hercules away form this season, someone who didn’t watch the 2nd playday of this season would call you a maniac for telling him that THIS Barca lost 0-2 to THAT Hercules at the Camp Nou. Note that Hercules away form is almost as bad as ours is good, nonetheless they took 3 points from us. Vice-versa, we might drop points on their pitch…
    Pep is right, this will be one of the toughest away matches left. That’s why I’ll take this as a succesful revenge as long as we go on a 15 wins in-a-row streak!
    The players shouldn’t think of revenge at all, they’ve never had such feelings when dismantling all the other teams with a manita.

  11. Jnice
    January 28, 2011

    Ha, Liverpool confirm that they’ve received a transfer request from Fernando Torres, but they’ve rejected it.

    Guess Torres will end up staying like Tevez and Rooney.

    • January 28, 2011

      Why the flip would Torres want to go to Chelsea of all places? Seems fishy to me. Perhaps he’s actually headed elsewhere come the summer…?

      • Jnice
        January 28, 2011

        Because Chelsea is the best club in the world. DURRRR. Nah, seriously, I have no clue.

        • blitzen
          January 28, 2011

          He is desperate to win a trophy. He followed the other Spaniards to Liverpool when Rafa still seemed like he knew what he was doing, but it’s going to take a couple of years at least to rebuild Liverpool into a team that could win the EPL, much less the CL.

          ManU has plenty of strikers, they won’t buy him. City can afford him but has personnel problems, plus he would have to play second fiddle to Tevez. Arsenal might be a good fit, but probably wouldn’t want to pay what he is worth. That leaves Chelsea. Drogba is still playing well, but he will be 33 in a couple of months, and they really don’t have a top-class striker to replace him. Anelka is no young bunny, either.

          As a Liverpool fan and Chelsea-hater, I don’t want this to happen AT ALL, but I can’t really blame him.

          *sigh* 🙁

          • mardia
            January 28, 2011

            Ugh, as another Liverpool fan, DID NOT want this to happen at all (and I honestly didn’t think it would). Mostly I’m just kind of tired and depressed over the whole thing.

  12. RayHUDSON
    January 28, 2011

    Ohhh I am telling you man, these fairies in blaugrana spacesuits ar’ gunna turn the schoolboys from hercules inside-out so as they die from frozen kidneys. You betta get out yer sunglasses Phil b’cos Barcelona are flamin’ hot at the moment! Hercules won’t know what hit them after everyone including Andres Iniesta’s lovely mum has put one in the back o’ the net.

    I gotta take me Valium or I will neva sleep before a matchup like this one… oh wait Ohil, i forgot about the possibility of 4 clasicos in 16 days… Jesus Christ man Phil, This might well be the end of me, ther’ is only so much i can take, only an infinite amount of adjectives in the universe to abuse…. Oh my hat Phil, this is gonna be great…

    • outerspacedout
      January 28, 2011

      LOL I know Kevin invited Phil over to this space on Twitter and was hoping any of the two real commentators would come over here. I doubt this is really Ray though but anyway.

      • soccermomof4
        January 28, 2011

        I’m always sad when a game’s on ESPN3 instead of GOLTV. I miss my Ray fix.

    • soccermomof4
      January 28, 2011

      Yay, Ray’s back! I feel like a fish who doesn’t need a….or maybe that’s a canary…no, I definately feel like a zombie hunter covered in eyes looking for a twinkie!

      We love you Ray! Shame the games on ESPN3.

  13. mei
    January 28, 2011

    thanks god we got the registration system.
    There would be many arsenal trolls after what xavi said in that interview.
    Oh , V for Vendetta ROCKS!

  14. January 28, 2011

    Whats really awesome is that Hercules is going to come out to “score” and you know what happens when teams dont park the bus, I would actually predict a manita !

    • mei
      January 28, 2011

      actually , theres no chance in hell theyll come out to score.

    • Jnice
      January 28, 2011

      I don’t know, I’m quite nervous about this match lol.

      • Helge
        January 29, 2011

        I can feel you, me too 🙂

        But the majority seems to be very positive about it.

  15. Barcathegreatestever
    January 28, 2011

    Watched the first classico again today. I highly recommend it as a tonic for the nerves. I think Benzema had a manita too; that is the number of times he touched the ball. Madrid looked no better than Almeria that day. And Adebayor is gonna fix that?

    Hercules caught the team post marathon. It didn’t look like they even liked the game the first couple of weeks.

  16. barca96
    January 29, 2011

    Is that really RayRay commenting up there?

  17. January 29, 2011

    is drenthe really not gonna be in hercules’ line-up tomorrow? revenge on a full strength outfit would’ve been that much more sweeterer. sucks to be him.

    what time is that barca b game on? hopefully they don’t overlap :^\

    so sick right now. ):

    • Jnice
      January 29, 2011

      12 PM EST, I believe.

      Without Nolito, I don’t see us winning the match. Besides Soriano (he has his moments), the rest of the frontline are clueless.

      • January 29, 2011

        cool. the games’ll run into each other.

        yeah, i read that barcastuff stat, too. ;^) they’re also w/out their captain fontas but have bartra back. when are etock & deulofeu gonna get a chance to play w/the big barca b boys? how old are they both, 17? i know celta’s no joke, though, being in second place.

        • Jnice
          January 29, 2011

          I think Gerard will be promoted next season. Etock I’m not too sure about. Maybe in a couple? And yeah, they’re both 17.

    • outerspacedout
      January 29, 2011

      Hey Miguel, how’s it back there?

      • January 29, 2011

        egypt, right? i saw that tutomate gave a shout out to me saying he hoped i was ok. i’m fine. i live in los angeles, thankfully. i think he meant that guy diego. hope he’s ok. i’m sure it’s pretty scary, man.

        • tutomate
          January 29, 2011

          I did mean Diego sorry man its just that your constantly on my mind. Lol

  18. Olufestus
    January 29, 2011

    Vendetta!Vendetta!Vendetta, nothing but Vendetta,their coach said they can beat us twice.he must eat those words in BARÇA’s name

  19. outerspacedout
    January 29, 2011

    Okay I only just realized that Kevin’s avatar isn’t Kevin but Thuram.

  20. barca96
    January 29, 2011

    Pique’s phone rand while they were in the dressing room while he was at Man U. And Keane didn’t take it too lightly. Holy shit. I can’t imagine what he said to young Pique back then 😆

  21. OSBAG
    January 29, 2011

    I hope we scored early like we did last match, so they dont pack the bis though i know we have gotten better at driving them off. I see a hard 3-0 here and Abidal starts again no way s Milito starting.

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