Valencia v Barca Match Comments thread

This is in the absence of a LiveBlog, since Kari has been stolen by Martians, and the rest of us are actually buried in the real world. But you all can natter away here. The starting lineup is:

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

The combinations and permutations are still to be sussed out.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. We beat the Mestalla demons so I can’t complain too much. I couldn’t do anything in the last 20 odd minutes but pace, pray, and peek at the TV. Sometimes the games aren’t going to be beautiful but the 3 points are. I get to watch this game again with hubby when he gets home. That’s a good thing since you don’t get to see much of the game while pacing.

    Major questions:
    Are we developing Busidependencia (in midfield)?
    Are we developing P!dependencia on the right?
    Will Messi try to force a 5th yellow soon?

    1. oh my, Iturralde just loves giving Messi yellow cards…
      that’s the 2nd card from him to Messi… LOL…

      Messi’s are collecting ridiculous yellow :
      for “diving” in El Clasico, taking a FK too fast, gave his mom a birthday wish, arguing with the referee…

      and that urban free styler from Xavi, I laughed at it…

      he is so cute… 😛

    2. Yes, they have been ridiculous cards now that you’ve reminded me). On the bright side, if he forces a 5th at an opportune time (or heaven forbid get another at an inopportune time), Pep will finally have to rest him.

    3. maybe he should gives another birthday wish to force a 5th yellow card at the right time…

      that’s the only way to sit him on the bench…

    4. Beating the Mestalla demon will be important for the Copa final. We’ve proven we can win there!

  2. lol I’m new here and I can instantly see that both Euler and Ramzi are the tactical geniuses around here..It feels like I learn by just reading their comments!

    Anywho what a tough away game. Glad to see the team can get all 3 points by not playing 100%. Adriano impressed me immensely today in not only his attacking display but also in his defensive work. I believe this has to do with the fact Abidal was all over the place covering for him as well.Adriano to me certainly looks to have overtaken Maxwell at LB.

    Messi was sooo selfish today in numerous plays. Still can’t believe he didn’t pass the ball for Villa, not only once but twice. Glad he came back to make up for his mistakes so he can be slightly forgiven.

    p.s- I feel sorry for SMash. He always get subbed off early in games only to see the team going on to win without him 🙁

  3. Revista De La Liga – 03-02-11 – HTTP


    Credit to Pakman at

  4. Revista De La Liga – 03-02-11 – HTTP



    * De La Liga – 02-03-11.avi



    Credit to Pakman at

  5. I’m usually one for complaining after we have been screwed by the ref, so let me be the one to say that we were very lucky for Valencia’s goal to be judged offside.

    Adriano played well but was helped by the fact that no-one really defended him.

    Messi was selfish when he chipped the ball instead of passing it to el guaje but like the commentator said what can you say to a guy who leads the league in assists?

    1. Adriano played well but was helped by the fact that no-one really defended him.


      I know you’re exaggerating but your underlying point is absolutely spot on.

      Adriano was the player with the most time and space on the ball throughout the match. He wasn’t aggressively guarded because Valencia wasn’t set up tactically to defend him.

      In many Barca matches it’s the holding player who has the most time and space on the ball. For example, in the weekend match against Mallorca just go back and look at how much space Busquets had to make that pass to Villa for the goal.

      But today Valencia structured their system to make sure that the Barca players in the middle would be marked, pressured and closed down.

      But you can’t guard everywhere on the pitch. So by prioritizing the middle Valencia left both flanks largely open.

      This is why Adriano and Dani were so dangerous throughout the match.

      But Barcelona didn’t take full advantage of this space because they really only had one player on each flank attacking and that player also had significant defensive responsibilities. There was not way to create link up play or form triangles along the flanks.

      If Barca had kept two attacking players wide in front of Adriano and Dani they would have exploited open space and forced Valencia to drag defenders wide. That would have opened up the middle more.

      But credit to Adriano. He did what you’re supposed to if you’re are the player with the most space on the ball – he made himself dangerous. He also had the pace and stamina to make runs forward and track back to defend.

      Pep’s decision to play the more athletic, pacy, dangerous player at LB was a terrific decision against Valenica. The lack of wide advanced strikers for 60 minutes- not so much.

    1. The article is brilliant. I am pretty sure the title is the Coronation Street theme music. 🙂

    2. I wouldn’t have thought it was on your cultural radar. Longest running soap in the world -50 years! Been watching since I was a kid! Not for 50 years, obviously…:D

  6. This comments threads is hilarious! Sounds like the match was a roller-coaster ride. 3 very important points and one of the toughest games of the season behind us. Phew.

    I am not usually into in-depth discussion of tactics, but with Pep opting for such a different formation in this game, there is plenty to gnaw on. I would love to see a special head-to-head post from Euler and special guest Ramzi, since they seem to have such opposing views.

  7. Excellent win, Valencia had given a really tough game for us.

    As expected Emery shuts down our right flank playing to defensive minded yet really good attacking fullbacks. Plays his wide players more centrally, meanwhile blocking our mid field… in the process leaving our left flank totally free. I’d say Pep has done a really wonderful job playing Adriano on the left flank, who did a really good job considering the fact that he had to provide width and cross the ball to midgets in the centre. So the point to be noted is [B]These are precisely the kind of games where a CF/targetman kind of striker instead of Villa would kill the opponents!![/B]

    P.S. Busquets was awesome

    P.S.2 Jordi Alba has got really reeeeally good pace and is a player to be kept a note on

  8. All that matters is win baby win.

    Not every match is gonna be fireworks. But this is the type of match that defines champions. We shouldn’t act surprised that we struggled against a top team in the league in their stadium when they played us hard. But still we won, barely, but we did. This is a stadium Pep has not one in since he became coach. I’ll take these three points, even if it wasn’t our best game, because all that matters in the long run is silverware. And these points get us closer to that finish line.

  9. I think that this is the best type of win. A hard working won. We worked our butts of in order to win the game. I wasn’t very impressed with the tactics and lineup by Pep.

    With the Messi issue, I don’t think he played that poorly, so I hope he doesn’t get a 2 or a 5. He should have passed to Villa those times, but I don’t think that he did it in a selfish way; I think he was trying to fool the GK. Passing to Villa is what everyone thought he would do, so why not do what they don’t think he’ll do? He was our best forward.

    Messi, Alves, and Adriano were really the only ones putting pressure on Valencia. I’m not happy with most of the cards in this game. I didn’t like the referee what-so-ever. With all of the cards he was pulling out, I was actually afraid Leo would get a second yellow for no reason.

    I hope Pep feels better soon; he looked like he was in a lot of pain. I’m curious what kind of lineup Tito would have used, and if we would have won by a bigger margin.

    I also hope Puyi gets better soon, because Geri needs to get his act together. He was a tad bit better today, but he has definitely played better.

    1. I rewatched the game when hubby came home from work. Messi’s brain farts in front of goal, the goofy yellow card, and the couple of times he didn’t pass were infuriating, but he really didn’t have that bad a game. He stole balls, made good runs, fascilitated posession, and ran his butt off. I’d give him a 6, but Kxevin judges more carefully than I so who knows.

    2. meeee!!

      EE calendar :
      Bilbao (San Mames), El Clasico (home), CdR final (Mestalla), Valencia (Mestalla)

      crazy schedule for them…

    1. i completely forgot about crackovia. watching it now. i love how pique comes to practice in a tuxedo.

  10. What an amazing game!

    I watched this game all alone, streamed online with spanish commentators, so hopefully my opinion is fully mine and is not influenced by others (I see you guys quoting Ray and Phil quiet often)

    I’m really surprised how many of you haven’t really given the credit Valencia deserved… They were astounding! Has it been any other team in the world they would have had at least a goal in the first 20 mins! I’m extremely proud to have this great team in La Liga and hope they continue their great form.

    Now about us.

    I was really iffy about our formation … Adriano on the left wing ?? 3 defenders against such a dangerous team with the world class wingers?? In fact I was a bit scared going into the match, why try out new tactics now?

    But oh man was I so (happily) surprised…. Sure the first 20 mins were rough … how often do we get a quick goal? We ALWAYS take a bit of time to get into a rhythm, which Valencia took full advantage of, but not just for 1-5mins they were dominating for full 20 mins and full credit to them. We did nothing wrong, Valencia was just amazing and anybody who says otherwise is … well a bit arrogant in my opinion.

    Messi was brilliant and anybody who says otherwise clearly was only watching his missed chances and not each tme he recovered the ball, ran back deep, made runs, created chance after chance. Some may argue he looks “tired” while I disagree, he was NEVER outran by a single defender on the pitch and only time where he is “walking” his positioning is perfect anyway. I believe Messi had 2nd most recovered balls after Mascherano first half (unsure about second).

    Adriano was amazing too, MAN this guy surprised me!! Up until now I really thought he was just an average back up player who can play at multiple positions, I thought he was a smart buy but even after he scored a goal for us he didn’t impress me. But this game opened my eyes and clearly showed his skill and danger in the box. 2 problems though: he gets tired real fast and he’s worse than Dani at shooting… I believe the only reason he was subbed out is because he simply couldn’t run anymore. He’s better than Maxwell in EACH and EVERY aspect! The fact that he gets tired so fast, by the way, means he’s a pretty crappy option for an attacking LB… Dani is a machine who can run up and down the flanks and still outrun recently subbed in fresh players. I believe id Adriano plays he has to play on the front wing or completely defensive right or left back. Basically stay on one side of the pitch, or expect to be subbed out before match ends.

    Xavi had an off game, he lost a lot of balls, didn’t really make the Xaviesque passes he usually does, part of it was because of Valencia defenders pushing up into midfield and crowding it up, and part of it could be due to recent injury, I don’t know. By the way, to all the people who said Xavi shooting was a sign of desperation … uhh I couldn’t DISAGREE with you more… When you’re right outside the box, unmarked, with all of your teammates in front of you double marked … if you do anything other then take advantage of it and take a shot you’re doing it wrong. That simply tells you about his instinct and experience. Don’t forget that this man is still our first/second choice for free kicks, do NOT underestimate his long shots!

    Our entire backline was a 7/10 for me, solid performance apart from a few bad passes here and there (mainly Abi) Dani came in to save on multiple occasions as his instincts guided him to, they really had their hands full the entire game (I don’t think Valencia got as tired as a lot of you think but we got into our game as game went on) If they can withstand that kind of pressure, I see absolutely no way Arsenal can score next Tuesday.

    Mascherano was necessary for our formation. He played a key role and every single time he does a perfectly timed slide tackle, rolling the ball to a teammate, jumping up right away and assisting in the attack it just puts a huge smile on my face, there’s a reason why he’s trusted with the captain band of the Argentinean national squad. I believe the sub was only made because we needed an extra pair of shooting legs up front, otherwise he would have stayed on, had we had the lead.

    Btw this same formation with Pique/Puyol/Abidal in the back with Busi in front of them … Abidal being able to maraude up the left flank if needed, Busi holding possession in midfield … and Puyol/Pique … well being Puyol/Pique … have I mentioned we get to have an extra winger/attacker in the box with this formation ?? Makes me drool just by thinking about it.

    Player who I believe played the most poor was Villa. he didn’t beat a single defender, each chance he took was blasted directly at the keeper and even his 1on1 keeper was able to read him too well. Obviously part of it is due to his old teammates knowing him well and his tricks etc, but this also goes the other way around as well … so it’s just as easy to be “unpredictable” as it is “predictable”. I honestly think he only played the full match because Pep really needs him to be match fit for next week’s flash against Arsenal.

    All in all, this was one of my favorite games of the season, and like I mentioned before I really hope this formation and tactic to be repeated in the future 🙂


    1. I must disagree with you Artur in your opinion about the tactics used today. Sure it was refreshing to see a different formation from a very philosophy minded coach like Pep, but you need to look no further that the Pedro substitution to see the difference.
      As Euler mentioned during the game, our unusually low possession stats (61%) were mainly a result of lack of width in advanced positions.
      The congestion in midfield was one of the main reasons Xavi and Iniesta were so subdued in the first half. So IMO the 4-3-3 and its variations is where Pep needs to experiment.

    2. Lack of possession and congested midfield is all due to Valencia as well as a few mistakes on our part. I do NOT see how formation had an impact on that.

      I never noticed “lack of width” after we got into the rhythm (after 20 mins in to the game) there was ALWAYS Adriano available on left and Dani has constantly been left alone on the right. I do however blame the midfield for not taking advantage of the available players on both flanks often enough, which again can be credited to Valencia for being so well organized in mid.

  11. So RVP is out, Theo is doubtful, Cesc is a game time decision/probable & Koscielny has a hammy….Am I missing anyone? and if Puyol going to be back for Tuesday? I would love to see us at full strength. I am thinking 3-1 or 2-0. I doubt we will be held scoreless, and I am fairly confident that we can keep a clean sheet. I know Bendtner scored on a hell of a hustle play, but I am less concerned with him leading the line than RVP. Also will the Captain be back for the match?

    1. I’d love to have Puyol back for Arsenal clash, but honestly how often do you see a recently injured player play well their first game after an injury? I highly doubt he will play both due to lack of form/training with team and danger to worsen the injury.

      Unfortunate that RVP will miss the clash, I really don’t see Arsenal’s front like nearly as threatening as with him being there (in top form that is)

Comments are closed.