Mon Dieu! Valencia – Barça

Liga Preview: Valencia-Barcelona, Wednesday 4pmEST, GolTV

Let’s start this off with some morbo:

I’m not huge on hate, but after this weekend’s elbowfest against Athletic Bilbao, David Navarro is rightly getting some attention for his dirty play. He may  not have gone exactly Elizabeth Lambert on either Llorente or Javi Martinez, but  what he did to Messi in the above video is proof enough that he has, at the very least, made mistakes in the past worthy of pre-match warnings and extra in-match scrutiny. That isn’t to say that he’s some sort of a monster whose every move should be documented and every foul rewarded with a yellow card, but he has obviously committed infractions that are outside the bounds of fair play. Naturally, Barça should be held to the same standard and despite my barroom zeal for Milito’s ankle-breaking tackles, the worst possible thing would be for those tackles to become Bruce Bowen-esque attacks away from the ball. Go in hard, but fair. And don’t stomp on Messi’s ankles, you sonofaboudoir!

I’ve just started re-reading The Count of Monte Cristo (in English, before you ask–my Français is worse than my…err…understanding of soccer?) and so revenge is certainly on my mind. Danglars (played by David Navarro) and the treacherous Catalan, Fernand (the convincing Sandro Rosell) will have their evil deeds dearly repaid when the beautiful yet misguided Mercedes (Barça) and her all-conquering hero, Edmond Dantes (Lionel Messi). In what could prove to be a scintillating adaptation of the original, normal director Pep Guardiola (The Dream Team and Triplete) will tomorrow night be replaced by his understudy, Tito Vilanova. The supporting cast would, in any other production, be the superstars, but such is Lionel Messi’s stage presence that even brilliant thespians such as Xavi and Dani Alves–recently returned from hiatuses–is overshadowed by the little Argentine’s masterful oratory.

The final verdict is far from in, however, on this whole production as it gets ready for the second half of its dates. Can everything in this fierce drama be held together or will it lose its luster down the stretch? Dantes must be made to seem human, even fallible, and that, perhaps, is Messi’s only failing: his heroes come off as supermen, such is his confidence on stage. It hardly matters most of the time, though. The whole production brings down the house even when they fluff a few lines.

The full cast: Pinto, Miño, Alves, Adriano, Milito, Piqué, Abidal, Maxwell, Busquets, Mascherano, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Afellay, Bojan, Villa, Pedro, Messi.

With Valdes, Puyol, and Jeffren still out, it’s good to see Xavi back and Alves’ suspension over. I have faith in the midfield we put out against Mallorca, but Valencia is not messing around. They haven’t lost in the league since December 4 when they visited the Bernabeu. That’s 11 matches, of which they’ve won 8. They also haven’t lost at home since going down 1-2 to Mallorca on October 23, their only home loss of the year. They have, however, drawn 4 times and have yet to face RM, Villarreal, or, obviously Barça at the Mestalla. Barça, of course, has only drawn once away (Sporting Gijon, 1-1) and won the rest in blistering fashion: 39GF vs 4GA, but they too have not played RM, Villarreal, or, obviously, Valencia away.

So it’s a tricky match for Barça and given the almost certainty of Madrid besting Malaga on Pellegrini’s return to the Bernabeu, getting that psychological boost of stretching the gap between the two clubs (albeit briefly) to 10 points will be important going into the weekend matches and then Arsenal’s visit in midweek.

Oh and David Villa is returning to the Mestalla for the first time as an enemy combatant. That is, in fact, quite interesting, especially given the personal circumstances surrounding his inability to travel with the team. He’s expected in court in Aviles, on the northern coast near Gijon, to contest charges that he owes his ex-agent, José Luis Tamargo, €6m as a part of his transfer from Valencia to Barcelona. Joan Laporta, Txiki, Manuel Llorente (Valencia’s president), and Javier Gómez (Valencia’s VP) will all also be there to give testimony. In order to get Villa to the Mestalla in time for the game (10pm local time), Barça has hired a private plane. I’ll assume that the same people who complained about getting Messi back from the Americas on a private plane will complain about this little sortie as well. Right? Whatever, you can read more about Villa’s situation here and here. Hopefully he’ll be fully ready for the match despite the travel time and possible delays in getting to the stadium and warming up. And it will be a big day for him since he spent a few years at the Mestalla playing some wonderful football. Some of it can be seen here, including a goal he scored against Sporting Gijon while with Los Che.

Anyway, thanks to the aforementioned court case, we could feasibly see a lineup using Busi as a CB; Mascherano, Xavi, and Keita as midfielders; and a front line of Iniesta, Pedro, and Messi. I prefer Iniesta in midfield, so I’d gamble on Maxwell on the left over that, but sky’s the limit for Guardiola’s plans, even if he’s not in the stadium itself. He, of all people, is injured with a back problem. That must be one tremendous back pain to keep Pep away from the sideline.

Official Prediction: 2-2. I think this one will be pretty intense, but they’re on a hot streak (though if they play defense the way they did against Athletic Bilbao, it’s lights out and early) and I can see it being a bit much for us to come away with all 3 points. Guardiola has never won in the Mestalla and Unai Emory has never lost to Barça there, as I understand it, so why would either start now?

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

151 Comments

  1. El Tel
    March 1, 2011

    I miss my Gol TV subscription. But there are always the Interwebs!

  2. Artur
    March 1, 2011

    I really hope Villa can overcome his emotions and be a big asset .. playing without Xavi will be hard enough.

    Going to be a great game, I hope both sides choose to attack and make the game more interesting compared to Premier League game today that I don’t want to talk about

    3-2 for me Messi (2) Pedro (1)

  3. blaunero
    March 1, 2011

    This will be a tie, and that’s ok; we’ve yet to win at the Mestalla vs Valencia under Guardiola. The 7pt sure is handy for matches like this one.
    Navarro has been, is, and will continue to be a piece of sh–, but what is most unforgiving is the fact that his teammates spoke in his defense. How can they defend the indefensible? They speak and they speak but even they know he’s a douchebag, so why don’t they take a stand for something? The Llorente incident was so disgraceful it made my blood boil, not only because I have a soft spot for Athletic but also because the sport itself, and the image of the league in particular, took a beating with Navarro’s theatrics. Any other sport in the world would have banned him, for both diving and for trying to injure a colleague, and and any other non-football team would have kicked his ass out the door and not even pay his wages–but what do Valencia’s players do? They defend him. They lost a big chance to stand up for something–or at least keep your mouths shut lest they all appear like complete imbeciles.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      I still think this is a crucial match, and I really hope we get 3 points…
      it’s tough, I know…

      cause I’m worry about Zaragoza too…

      I think we’ll rest some of our key players against Zaragoza,
      and sometimes teams like Hercules, Mallorca, and Gijon can hurt us,
      especially when some of our key players get rested…

      and about Navarro, I agree…
      he’s such a disgrace! Messi and Llorente incindent really annoy me…

      • blaunero
        March 1, 2011

        It will be a crucial match if we somehow manage a victory, for the point difference will still be 7pts and we’ll only have to travel to Sevilla and Villarreal before facing Real at the Bernabeu. I’d be completely happy with 4 out of 6pts from Valencia and Sevilla and a 5pt lead over Real by April 3, when we face Villarreal. Our schedule gets easier as Real Madrid’s get harder.

  4. Kariyanna
    March 1, 2011

    I believe 2moro we will go all guns blazing and win 3-1, with MVP scoring our goals again. Also considering Pep might not be on the touchline we might get our 1st win over at the Mestalla with Tito 🙂

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      girl, your gravatar… it breaks my “fangirl side” heart…

      you’ve hlebbed me…

      Ooooooooooooooooohhhh!! moc moc!!

      • Kariyanna
        March 1, 2011

        lol me to 🙁

        I for one disapproved of Shakira and Pique but since he looks genuinely happy with her my fangirl side looked the away. Like weren’t there rumors of her “hooking” up with Rafa Nadal earlier this year. After Pique my “fangirl” alliance now currently lies with Abidal 🙂

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          March 1, 2011

          they are very hot and beautiful,
          but I just don’t see any good effect from their relationship…
          I mean, good effect as a football player…

          his performance has been erratic for a while,
          too much media attention for him,
          the commentator just keep mentioning Shakira during the match… *annoying*
          and this is the worst —> he’s no longer tweeting like crazy…

          my fangirl list after Pique definitely goes to Xaviiiiiiiii….

          we can discuss it more but this thread will turn into tumblr girl page…
          so we can stop now, Kariyanna… 😛

          • Kariyanna
            March 1, 2011

            OHHH yes yes. Most definitely Xavi comes in for me to since Abidal is married (I think) 🙁 but yes we shall continue this another day…..

            BTW on that note has there ever been a WAGs profile post on our current players? Like who is married and whatnot?

            p.s – Am I getting to personal with our players outside of football??? 😉 lol..You can tell me to stop anytime as I tend to be in love with all our players and can ramble fangirlish non-stop about them!!!!!!

          • Jnice
            March 1, 2011

            and this is the worst —> he’s no longer tweeting like crazy…

            LOL

          • SoccerMom
            March 2, 2011

            Shakira’s a South Park Succubus!

            Waka waka those hips off the field and park your cute patootie next to local wags Malena and Sara C.

            This SoccerMa don’t take kindly to cuchi-cuchies out clubbing with the club cuties.

            Get a clue!

  5. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 1, 2011

    will Pep travel with the team?

    hope he’ll make it…

    we need his charismatic and energizing character…

  6. Kariyanna
    March 1, 2011

    So ummm question? I usually used to watch Revista De Liga off Andres youtube page from the Madrid Offside but since I’m officially part of the community here I was wondering how do you guys usually get to watch it or download it?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      sorry, never watched it…

      maybe Jnice knows… 🙂

    • Jnice
      March 1, 2011

      I copy the links over from fbtz.com and post them here. Single links, so there should be no problems downloading.

      No Revista today, though, due to there being La Liga matches midweek.

  7. Kariyanna
    March 1, 2011

    Also to note-On this day, 1 st of March our ex-player Quini was kidnapped at gunpoint the same night he scored 2 goals for us. He was reportedly held for 25-days until a ransom was paid.

    This was shockingly new to me so I decided to do some research into it and discovered that Cruyff was also a victim of a failed kidnapping attempt on his family while playing for Barca in 1977.

    After reading all this, I can only give thanks to GOD that non of our players have suffered from the evils that is out there in our society and can only hope that no-one experience what Cruyff,Quini and many others have.

  8. beeeef
    March 1, 2011

    For the team’s sake, I wish they didn’t have a mid-week game, but as a fan I love the extra dosage of Barca.

    I wonder if we’ll see the same tactics from Valencia to negate Alves’ offensive game, like at Nou Camp earlier this season. Mathieu was excellent in the 1st half keeping Alves back, and even delivered several quality crosses into the box.

    They will be without Albeda and Aduriz, so hopefully our defense and midfield can take advantage of their absence, and really work to maintain possession from the get-go.

  9. Kariyanna
    March 1, 2011

    Anywho over my fangirl mode now back to the game at hand 2moro.

    I’m not that knowledgeable in the area of tactics of our team but if Villa is not playing I was wondering why can’t we go with a lineup of

    Pinto
    Adriano-Pique-Abidal-Maxwell
    Xavi-Busq/Mash-Iniesta
    Alves-Messi-Pedro

    If I recall Alves played up front in el classico no less (right?), he can surely play there again. Or is that lineup pushing our luck to far against serious opposition in Valencia? Just a clueless assumption please go easy on me in disagreeing :).

    p.s- Miguel you seem to have a pic/glif/link for every situation!!

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      I think if Villa unavailable, Pep will put Lil Bo a.k.a Cuddly Toy a.k.a CT there…
      or maybe Afellay… whoever, both are are cute… 😛

      yes, the last time at Santiago Bernabeu, Alves played as a right winger… (am I correct?)
      so that line-up is not impossible…

      yay for Miguel… 😀

      • Kariyanna
        March 1, 2011

        If Bojan do in fact start I hope to see the Bojan who ended last season with a high and not this seasons’ Bojan.

        I mean I know for a fact the kid got talent I saw him live when my boyfrie ummmmmm I mean “significant other” took me to the Villarreal match last year when Bojan scored this

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBOATA6Lh_E&feature=related

        Seeing Lil’ Bo now and the Bojan of that match makes me feel the Cuddle Kid I saw that night is not the one right now but an impostor.

    • Miguel
      March 1, 2011

      awww. i thought it was just a broken right foot?

      i’m depressed now. 🙁

      • blitzen
        March 1, 2011

        They thought it had only minor injuries but it went into shock and died. Small animals with high metabolisms are especially susceptible to shock.

  10. poipoi
    March 1, 2011

    Partidazo, OMG one of the best of the season. EE still has to go there right?
    I’m really pumped up, mestalla will be on fire and valencia are a good combo of muscle and skill. Who knows but a tough game is what I want. Time for Iniesta to show his dark side! 😛

    Have you heard mediapro president’s words for the “excused one”? Even ex-showman Xavier sarda had some beef for mou, he said ” he is the best actor, he plays the role of the *sshole in an excellent way” wow

  11. Lou
    March 1, 2011

    What I find weird about the reaction to the Busi dive, is that it isn’t that people are mad that he dived: after all lots of players dive. The problem was that he did such a terrible job of it. I get the feeling if Busi was a “better” (i.e. more subtle) diver, then no one would have been that offended.

    Strange. Either way I’m glad Busquets has been doing less acting this season.

    • Jnice
      March 1, 2011

      Yeah, Busi has hardly embellished much this season (same with Dani), but that Inter dive is all people talk about when you mention his name.

      • blitzen
        March 1, 2011

        ITA. I was majorly unimpressed at the time, and I admit it did spoil my appreciation of his game, BUT he has matured a lot over the last year. In fact I have noticed this season that he has been a major target for fouls and usually just gets up and brushes it off (lost his temper on a couple of occasions, with justification).

    • blaunero
      March 1, 2011

      That dive basically handed victory to Inter. At the time and for much afterwards I could not stand Busquets (he still annoys me with his prissy attitude–he is a liability, mark me words, and it will hurt us when we need him the most) and couldn’t believe that we were basically getting rid of Yaya to let Busquets take over CM.
      Honestly I kinda wish Busquets had been a failure after that disgraceful act, for cheaters like him and Navarro deserve the worst of luck in their careers, so as to be like a warning for all divers.

      • beeeef
        March 1, 2011

        Busquets has largely curbed his tendency to dive and play act since that game. Remember that he’s only 22. There are plenty of players who have been around longer and still make a habit of diving.

        As for him being a liability, he has bad moments like any other player, but I think his trophy haul in the last several years speaks for itself. Remember he’s on a 24(?) game winning streak in the Liga. That’s not a coincidence.

        And Busquets is an angel compared to Navarro.

        • blaunero
          March 2, 2011

          He still looks for the foul by falling to the floor at the simplest challenge where he should have just passed the ball along. That’s fine in the league, esp. with Spanish refs being what they are, but in the CL… Trophies don’t matter and players don’t change unless the fans, the media, the coaches, and even their colleagues stand up to to all divers regardless of club allegiance.
          Comparisons to Navarro won’t do. Di Maria is an angel, yes, to Navarro too and he always always looks to get players red carded.

      • Jnice
        March 1, 2011

        Prissy attitude? Don’t see one.

        Liability? Not the case anymore. He’s top 5 DM in the world, IMO. One of the only consistent players in that Arsenal match.

        Disgraceful act, yes, but let’s not get out of hand and lose sight as to what he brings on the pitch.

        • blaunero
          March 2, 2011

          At the earliest opportunity he’ll accentuate a fall to get a player booked. He can bring whatever he wants to the pitch, excellent control and vision etc, but that doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a diver, and we as fans have to make him accountable for it. Xavi is the best midfielder in the world but you don’t see us trying to justify his diving by saying he’s skillful because he never dives.

          • Noslehcimretep
            March 2, 2011

            I agree with all your points blaunero, we have an incredibly talented midfield that is going to bring their skill onto the pitch, but we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for any cheating as well. That does their true footballing skills a dis-service.

            Also comparing Busi to Navarro is silly. Cheating is cheating, and there is more than one way to get a member of the opposing team off the pitch by foul means. Otherwise it could be argued that Busi’s peekaboo was worse – it got Thiago Motta wrongly sent off, while all Navarro’s stomp on Messi’s ankle accomplished was raising his ire.

      • Jnice
        March 1, 2011

        And yes, cheating is cheating, but to compare a dude who attempted to break players noses, stood on Messi’s achilles, and feigned injury to the point of being stretchered off and seriously worrying some fans and family members all because he wanted to escape the sanction he deserved, is ludicrous.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        March 1, 2011

        naahh…
        yes, he made a horrible diving and that pick-a-boo scene against Inter will be remembered for all his career…

        but I think he’s grown up a lot this season…

        if you watch Informe Robinson Spain NT Team Edition, you will know that he is a very humble and hard worker person…
        even Pep Reina said he couldnt believe there are people who has doubts about Busquets…

        also, it’s not coincidence that everytime we lost points (Hercules, Mallorca, and Gijon),
        Busquets didnt play (or start? I forget)…

        and c’mon… you can’t be serious to compare Busquets’ disgraceful act with that brutal Navarro…

  12. jaymin
    March 1, 2011

    I’m an arsenal fan, and if every DM in the EPL wore a common flaw, I would rather it be histrionics and twofacedness than proclivity to violence and eagerness to injure. we meet you beautiful turds without walcott because of a stoke chimpanzee (i’m no racist: he was white, and had lower simian tendencies to violence) who decided to roll over his ankle after a challenge. We are always assaulted. The bullshit theatrics your latins lay out on us may result in red or yellow cards, but they will break no bones. Summation: fuck de jong, fuck van bommel, hatef*ck Shawcross, Busi’s okay.

    • Vj
      March 2, 2011

      So we do have a JMean. Or jaymin. Whatever..

  13. jaymin
    March 1, 2011

    And if you advance in place of us, please don’t beat United too badly in the first leg; if that scottish-american amalgamation of drunken philosophizing and cutting edge commercialism is encouraged to fight in an ultimately fruitless UCL (you, and Real, would destroy them), well, our league challenge picks up a few km/h in the final 4 miles of the marathon.

  14. March 1, 2011

    So I’m watching David Luiz and thinking “That boy is good, and we’d almost have to play he, Puyol and Milito, just for a while, to have the all-hair team. Those wondering why we didn’t get him should know that Chelsea paid 25m POUNDS for him from Benfica. That’s way too rich for our blood, at almost EUR 30m. Heck, we paid that much for Alves!

    • jaymin
      March 1, 2011

      He’s like..well… 1/2 of an Ibrahimovich… Your misers would never pay that for something worthwhile : )

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 2, 2011

      that’s also the problem for Milan, money…

      Milan is very interested with David Luiz – Thiago Silva duet,

      unfortunately, the boy is too expensive…

  15. jaymin
    March 1, 2011

    Shit scratch it. Less than 1/3 an Ibrahimovich. My bad.

    • March 2, 2011

      Two things: 1. Language. We have young and old cules here. Hate to have someone’s parent looking over their kid’s shoulder and blocking them from Barca goodness because of a lack of linguistic elegance. (I agree that sometimes, an expletive is the only option. But those times are rare. Thanks.)

      2. Given what we are producing in La Masia (Montoya, Fontas, Muniesa, Botia on the buy-back), we don’t really need to overspend for defenders or midfielders. (Strikers are quite another matter.)

      Alves was a rarity, in that he is an attacker as well as a defender, making him a bargain at 30m. Is David Luiz as good a defender as say, Fontas will be in a year or two? Or Muniesa? Good question. But we can afford to wait.

  16. Sheena
    March 1, 2011

    I think that this game will a complete different story from the game against them earlier in the season.

    Back then, Valencia seemed to be genuine title contenders. They were top of the league, and hadn’t lost a single match.
    They came out all guns blazing at the Camp Nou, and the only players that seemed to be functioning in the first half were Busi and Keita, who were snakelike in midfield and robbed Valencia’s attackers of the ball on countless occasions.

    We were lucky to head into halftime only a goal down (remember when Pablo fired his shot directly at Valdes when he had the entire goal to shoot at?).

    Of course in the second half, we woke up, and Xavi and Iniesta combined for a neat goal, which was promtly followed by the winner from Captain Caveman.

    Basically I think that they’ll play far more defensively this time ’round. They’ll be playing for the draw, fully aware that we’ll be intent on exploiting whatever space they give us.

    I expect us to pull through though. I’m usually pretty nervous about these games, but I have a good feeling about this one. Then again, I could be wrong.

    Visca Barca!

    • jaymin
      March 1, 2011

      you’ll win 5-0. accustom yourselves to the margin, the next several years will be a fruitful aristocrat fox hunt b/w you and madrid.

      • Jnice
        March 2, 2011

        Not really a comment worth posting, jaymin.

        Anyway, I hope you’re right Sheena, I just have a feeling they are going to be really intense.

  17. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    A win against Valencia will be a HUGE step towards retaining our title..I am still plugging for a win because I think that is what we’re gonna get..0-2 and a Villa brace

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 2, 2011

      yes, I’m hoping for goals from Villa… 🙂

  18. hammeronmessi
    March 2, 2011

    thank you barca girl indo.

    Lets see their strength.soldado,mata,pablo.i m more worried of the left side then the centre cause of joaquin.he is in terrific form.no offense to maxwell and jim,but why not play adriano as a LB,to give some attacking impetus and i think he is as good as maxwell in defense.

    Anyway 1 3 to us.messi 2 villa 1

    about CT.in this season abi is simply a monster in defence for us.the previous season he was good.but b4 this 2 seasons he was the weakest link in our defence.(even ramos skinned him in the 2 6 game).but since he is not a star or a golden boy he was given time and now look at the results.

    CT is just the opposite.in the end days of rijjkard he was the shining light.during pep s 1st year he was usd spordiacly.but suddenly we won the hexa,and sky has become the limit.then came BANGS,we r all very excited with him but it was him who crossed the hurdle for us,not BANGS.Now when he played there is always expectation cause u r a damn no 9 in the greatest team of the world.so u have to be amazing whenever u play.the tag of being a prodigy,a catalan playing for barca is already too much,even more so when u r playing very little.with all these factors taking account bojan is also culpable for this.i wonder what would have happened if that goal was allowed against inter?all being said it is better for him to leave the club to play regularly,cause with increasing reps he can be villa when he is 24,then we can buy him back.it is so difficult for a true 4ward like bojan to be integral 4 this barca at a young age.

    Sorry to all for this epic

  19. hammeronmessi
    March 2, 2011

    amazing.last night(in my timezone)when i went to sleep there were 72 comments in the dani scene post.woke up at 8 am(went to sleep at 2 am)and i found that there were 169 comments and another 42 comments in the new preview post.so in only 6 hours there were 1 new post and139 comments.but from 8 am to 4 30 pm(my time zone1)there were only 21 comments.the previous comment is also mine which happened 70 mins ago.damn you timezone.have to watch todays game at 3 am in the morning and then i have an official meeting at 9 am.sigh.u lucky timezoners,and i m stuck in this zone.sigh

    • blitzen
      March 2, 2011

      At least you get to watch the game, even if it is on at an inconvenient time. Most of us in North America don’t get to watch midweek games live because they are smack in the middle of the workday.

  20. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    just got back from brother’s 21st birthday party bar hop. oh my. somebody hold my hair back. xoxo. wake me up in time for game tomorrow. thank you.

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      Drink water, ur dehydrated. And NEVER take ibuprophen (Tylenol) if there is still alcohol is you system. Feel better! And *gives stern mom-like glare* behave next time. 🙂

      • soccermomof4
        March 2, 2011

        my bad- never take acetaminophen (possibility of liver damage in combo with alcohol- had a friend die of liver failure from this)

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011

      i think i have a doppelganger.

      ban this person’s url immediately! 🙂

    • K_legit
      March 2, 2011

      its tribalfootie so I’d take it with a pinch of salt..that been said that was some verbal smackdown by Tito if it was true

    • Para
      March 2, 2011

      That last line about him acting the way he does because he was never a football player sounds very familiar to me–I think I read that someone else had said that at some point this summer. Because the article is quite recent, it makes me think it’s not true.

      • Cule
        March 2, 2011

        “That last line about him acting the way he does because he was never a football player sounds very familiar to me”. Remember when he celebrated Ronaldo’s goal against Villareal as if he scored it? First thing I thought of when I read that quote.

  21. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    GENERAL WARNING!

    Goal.com has a corrupt link on their site that just tried to download a trojan onto my computer. Stay away for your own good, especially if you are using Internet Explorer.

    • March 2, 2011

      Careful. That trojan makes you stupid and incapable of seeing matches for what they are.

      • blitzen
        March 2, 2011

        Oh, noes! Will it make me think the EPL is the Best League On The Planet (TM)?

  22. hammeronmessi
    March 2, 2011

    my condolences to all the north americans watching barca.

    I m the lucky dog.yay

  23. soccermomof4
    March 2, 2011

    GOLTV at 4:00 EST ya’ll (Yay! We get Ray for this one!).

    I’m predicting a manita…ok, reality check… 1-2 (Messi, Iniesta)

    • El Tel
      March 2, 2011

      Wahhhh! Must … get … Gol … TV … back

  24. Pyro
    March 2, 2011

    Haha! I’m really lucky actually. School ends at 2:28 for me so I usually make it home around 2:45. Once I go to college maybe the story will change.

    • SoccerMom
      March 2, 2011

      Yes you can arrange your class schedule around Champions matches.

      • Kariyanna
        March 2, 2011

        lol yess,thats what I did for my first 2 years of College. Always took morning classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It gives you time to see the UCL matches but your other days would be pretty hectic if not balacned properly.

      • beeeef
        March 2, 2011

        I try to leave the 2:45pm slot open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during registration, but the scheduling almost never works out. I wish I could feel better about giving precedence to academics over sports, but it sucks to miss some of the big games live.

    • Andres
      March 2, 2011

      You’re from Ann Arbor, right? I remember high school letting out at 2:28…

      And yes, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons are a no-class zone 🙂

  25. Diego
    March 2, 2011

    2-1 Goals by Jeffren and Bojan.

    It will be a hard fought match with a draw or a narrow victory, Goals from Messi and Villa with conceding one by Soldado.

  26. Diego
    March 2, 2011

    A big welcome to Kariyanna and Soccerdadof4.

    You practically joined us when we had our pitchforks sharpened and the torches lit. 😀

    • Kariyanna
      March 2, 2011

      Lol yeah I know. I’m glad I wasn’t meet with the cold reception soccerdad got(although he did at a point had the avatar pic of soccermom).

      All I want now is for Kari to return and feel relieved that all this was cleared up.

      **Note- I believe Villa has arrived in Valancia and has joined up with the team so he should be fine to start….or unless he’s jetlagged.

    • soccerdadof4
      March 2, 2011

      Thanks Diego! It took me a while to understand why everyone was being so cold. Glad we got that outta the way though!
      Now since everyone is doing it, here’s my prediction for this match:
      3-2 for the good guys
      Messi probably scores all three

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      Pitchfork wielder dittos this! And to hammeron also (even though he scared me at first) 🙂

  27. Artur
    March 2, 2011

    barcastuff: Villa had an emotional court hearing today and asked at some point to leave the room during his ex-agent’s testimony

    FUUUU

  28. SoccerMom
    March 2, 2011

    Madison’s mad-as-hell SoMa warms to nothing more than a midweek match …

    I like Soldado. I do. Diego Mata is such a cute little pug of a player, and that Joaquín Sheen … will he light up the Mestalla like a one-man mascletá or once more crash and burn? Tune in to find out!

    Unai Emery is more embarassing than a soccer mom cheering on her aimless six-year old to kick the ball into that big basket over there. Or Ali Syed.

    Scorched-pitch policy at the BatCave!

    • blitzen
      March 2, 2011

      Awwww, I like Unai! SoccerMean! 😛

    • K_legit
      March 2, 2011

      booo Ali Syed ftw! huge fan of the guy..such a refreshing change from stuck up frogs (I am looking at you Lendoiro)

      • SoccerMom
        March 2, 2011

        Ah, you’re right Diego! Maybe I was dreaming of you and got my first names crossed!

  29. March 2, 2011

    This is feeling like a draw to me, mostly because of our back line complexities. I’d be a lot more confident with Captain Caveman in the house. It’s Pinto again, but if we do our jobs right, he shouldn’t have much to do. Putting the boot in early over the weekend helped a lot, as we could cruise, and conserve some energy.

    Alves and Xavi should be daisy-fresh, which will help us wreak havoc. I’d love to see an early goal or two, to get them to open up, but I don’t see it happening. I’m also figuring that the refs are going to have a very close eye on Navarro, so I don’t figure there will be any major issues there.

    But Valencia are on a rich spell of form right now, and we’re just coming off of hell month, so we’re still trying to round back into form. We’ll see.

    P.S. I feel a little guilty. An Arsenal blogger was crowing about wearing a Captain Fabregas t-shirt in Barcelona. I had to make sure it was understood that nobody really cares all that much, and that an EE shirt would have been much more of a complex statement. And further, one supposes those t-shirts will never come in silver.

    • Nik
      March 2, 2011

      I bet he was surprised that the locals didn’t try to use their seductive Spanish to force him to give up the shirt.

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      Back line complexities! UGH! I wish there had been a safe way to work Milito into some of the games. I still feel that we’ll need him at some point (he’s sure to play against Zara, don’t you think). I wish Fontas had gotten a few more reps. Abidal’s our monsterback, I feel secure with him back there but then we miss him at LB and the man hasn’t had a rest in like forever.

      We have some things going for us. They are on a great run but we are the better side. They had a tough game, in the rain, against a very physical opponent on Sunday. This gave us an extra day of rest. Valencia also have half their brain focused on Europe right now same as us. I’m a bit worried about Villa playing after a court appearance, poor guy.

  30. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    My feeling is that the back line will be Alves Pique Abi Max. Abidal’s speed will make up for Pique’s slowness, and I think Maxwell is fine for this game.

  31. March 2, 2011

    I like Soldado too…

    But we will win hands down.
    Our best (available) lineup is still looking hot and on top form, especially Pinto. Maxwell, too, will kick out the jam like last match.
    We will dominate possession as always, and the bats will get tired after 45 mins. That’s when we hunt them one by one.

    3-1, i predict.

    • K_legit
      March 2, 2011

      isn’t that a home win for Valencia?

      Obvious troll is obvious :p

  32. poipoi
    March 2, 2011

    Last night when I went to bed I started thinking/dreaming of xavi, seriously… it was pure heaven. Many good words came to my mind, I only remember “oxygen guy”, “synergy master” now. Like in that commercial where the guy is having a massage done and he starts dreaming of a BMW or Mercedes.
    Am I loco? Estic boig? 😛

  33. March 2, 2011

    To me, Milito is gone. Forget about giving him courtesy minutes. We will just buy Botia back this summer.

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 2, 2011

      Well we agree on the predicted score 1-3, but i was thinking that if Milito is to play against Arsenal then it is essential he gets some reps before that, i dont think any player should get courtesy minutes, no exceptions

  34. March 2, 2011

    Will Vilanova be coaching for us today? Is Pep’s back still hurt? I think his burden is too much for him to bear alone and that’s why his back hurt…

    anyway, if tribal football is any accurate, then this must be the best thing Vilanova had said:

    “I can only imagine that a coach (Mou) acts like this because he has not experienced the feelings of being a player. He wanted to be a player, but wasn’t able to.”

    HAHAHAHA 😀

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      OK, I had to get this from the Castilian part of the official site because it’s not up on the English part, and my Spanish isn’t great, but it appears that the team, Pep, and Villa are all in Valencia and ready to go.

      “El Barça ya está concentrado en Valencia. Guardiola, que no estuvo en el entrenamiento del martes por una lumbalgia, ha viajado con el grupo. Villa, que esta mañana acudía a un juicio en Avilés, se ha unido al grupo al mediodía.”

      http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/castellano/noticies/futbol/temporada10-11/03/02/n110302116043.html

  35. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    Apparently Mourinho had a bit of a tantrum at today’s press conference. According to LLL:

    Mourinho’s presser on Wednesday ahead of the Málaga game mainly featured the Madrid manager moaning about the fixtures and aiming insults at those who disagreed with him, journalists (one was called a hypocrite) and Manuel Pellegrini. The current Málaga boss had said that he had a record at Real Madrid to be proud of with history allowing him “to have the best campaign” in the club’s history.

    “If Madrid sack me then I won’t go to Málaga, I’ll go to a big club in England or Italy,” scoffed Mourinho in reply, managing to wind up the opposition manager and team at the same time. Which may have been the Special One’s cunning plan.

    Anyone have a good link (Spanish or English) to what Mou said about the journalists?

    Ahhhh, Mourbo! 😛

    • PhepheSa
      March 2, 2011

      That’s a disgusting thing to say, very disrespectful. What the hell is wrong with him. I can take the whining and arrogance but to actually insult one of the best coaches there is for no apparent reason is just crazy. I really don’t understand why respected journalists don’t call him for who he is.

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      Makes you appreciate Pep all the more!

  36. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    what was that, a note to myself? nuts. i need a crime scene reenactment team, stat. 😉

    “Picture: Ready for a mosaic http://yfrog.com/h8584uj“-barcastuff

  37. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Hi Everyone! I’ve been reading this blog for months now and have truly enjoyed all your comments and passion for the team. I’ve been supporting them for over a decade although I only get to watch the matches sporadically. Happy to be updated with all the news through here. Reading the liveblog also makes my day, so I wanted to know if we have one for today? Thanks!

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 2, 2011

      Welcome Barcaleya, good to have you here
      And Really guys is there a LB today or whatttttttttttt??????????

  38. merge
    March 2, 2011

    Disconnected from internet for some days, just finished reading what seemed like 100(?) posts…

    I see you’ve been unpleasantly busy. I’m so sorry Kari, I wouldn’t have liked it a bit if it had happened to me. Sigh. Come back soon, will you? Ánimo!

    Footy now: I should be nervous about this match, I know, but I’m strangely calm. Time for Valencia to lose some points and for Guardiola to break another statistic.

    I’m curious about how Pep will behave on the bench. I bet he’s going to be glued to his seat! Backaches are really annoying.

  39. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    Official lineup:

    Pinto – Alves Pique Abidal Adriano – Xavi Mascherano Busquets – Iniesta Messi Villa

    No Pedro? Iniesta on the right? Adriano on the left? What is Pep doing?

  40. Josep
    March 2, 2011

    Nooo Iniesta starting on the wing. Adriano rewarded for last match starting at LB, must mean Maxwell isn’t that good to Pep, and to everyone.
    Except Jim.

    Draw.

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 2, 2011

      For me Maxwell is good enough, i agree with Jim

    • March 2, 2011

      😀

      Told ya Adriano had a good match last time out! I like the “none shall pass” midfield, too. Mascherano will also free up Busquets to be Iniesta. It also means that Guardiola is thinking that either rest will be the cure for Pedro!’s form, or that he wants a match-changer able to come off the bench, in case he needs it.

      I think we all agree that right now, Krkic ain’t it.

      I think it also means that Iniesta will be going crazy on the left, and Alves will be pushed up like crazy. The pace of Mascherano and Abidal should be able to solve most problems that arise, in theory.

      • soccermomof4
        March 2, 2011

        Gandalf at the bridge midfield.

  41. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Ooooooooooh a “WTF” lineup! I was thinking it had been a while since we’ve had one.

    Mascherano and Busi play together – YES! Good for both of them!

    Adriano – I hope he does well. With Abidal and Adriano both (and Alves) we have pace.

    Iniesta – Noo! Why is on LW? Where is Pedro? Was he moved up to accomodate Mascherano in the lineup?

    • blitzen
      March 2, 2011

      barcastuff just added:

      note: line-up isn’t clear, busquets could play at centre-back too, adriano could play in midfield or as winger, iniesta in midfield

      Clear as mud! 😀

      • merge
        March 2, 2011

        Yes, It’s the same they said on tv, they just try to guess Pep’s line-up!

        • blitzen
          March 2, 2011

          At least we know where Pinto and Alves will be playing!

          • soccermomof4
            March 2, 2011

            Alves in goal, Pinto CF, Messi CB (bet he could do it)? Remenber it’s Pep! In Pep we trust!

  42. March 2, 2011

    Pedro looked to me like he was injured in that last match. Not surprised he’s not playing.

    May be why he has had some off games recently

    Valencia has played an odd formation in attack this season oftentimes where they pull their wide players into the middle of the pitch. In turn this means that much of their width has to come from the full backs.

    Wonder if this is why Pep wanted Masch in midfield today.

  43. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    i wonder if leyton orient is still going to vegas?

    i think we’re gonna miss pedro.

  44. March 2, 2011

    Also – really hoping Adriano has a good game on the left.

    He’s a very good athlete and being able to partner him with Dani on the right when Abidal has to play CB would have significant benefits.

  45. March 2, 2011

    But as noted above, Pedro! might be the match changer if we have to chase things, which is a real possibility against an on-form Valencia side. Who do you want coming off the bench if you need a goal? Krkic or Pedro!?

  46. March 2, 2011

    No LiveBlog today, folks. Sorry. We’re all working for a living and stuff. But there will be a match comments thread, which will have to suffice. Apologies.

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011

      i’ve got the day off but i’m clueless when it comes to that sort of stuff. 🙁

    • BarcaOwl
      March 2, 2011

      I’ve no idea how to run one or I’d offer to help out since I’ve already woken up anyway.

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 2, 2011

      Too bad. we made the following preparations for the LB
      Iniesta brought his aaaaaaaaazo with him
      Eklavya got some PEANUTS
      Blitzen had the Beers
      I had my pre-goal celebration ready

      • blitzen
        March 2, 2011

        I’m at work, anyway, I wouldn’t be able to have any beers. 🙁

    • Barcaleya
      March 2, 2011

      Just when I was ready to join in the fun. Anyway, we’ve got a weird line-up but I still think we’ll win. Visca Barca!

  47. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    Navarro not starting for Valencia. Excellent.

  48. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    At last i can see the game on my tv..yayness..and comments post means i can stay active here too..i vote for a comments post

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