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.

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Written by:

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.

369 Comments

  1. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    OK, lets hope the martians return Kari ASAP
    Meanwhile Go BARCA

  2. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    We had better score before I leave work at 4:30! I won’t be able to handle the tension!

  3. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    “bienvenido a su casa.” that’s nice of the valencia fans.

  4. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Wow I hate this lineup, Pedro rested but Bojan still not getting a start 🙁

    • March 2, 2011

      Do you in your heart of hearts believe that Krkic has earned a start?

  5. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Alves had a week’s rest he wont stop running today

  6. BarcaOwl
    March 2, 2011

    Looking forward to a good time. 😀

  7. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    didn’t isaiah say he was gonna name his kid “stankevicius?”

  8. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    Kari, you only have to give the Martians, name, rank, and serial number.

  9. March 2, 2011

    Very interesting line up Valencia is playing. Don’t know if they’ve played this way this season.

  10. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Adriano is playing in Iniesta’s place, and Iniesta playing LW, i dont like this

  11. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    intense start to the match by Valencia.

  12. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    So Busi is playing CB? Where is Adriano playing? (I can’t watch it.)

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 2, 2011

      he is in Iniesta’s place

  13. BarcaOwl
    March 2, 2011

    Hmm, at least they’re coming out to play.

  14. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    i haven’t seen pep yet. is he in the dugout?

  15. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Guardiola standing up, he seems pale though

  16. BarcaOwl
    March 2, 2011

    Pep just came out. Hope his back’s better.

  17. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    JESUS CHRIST MESSI HOW DID YOU NOT SCORE THIS?

  18. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Messi just had a triple missssssssss, should have passed to Villa

  19. christoskurios
    March 2, 2011

    Any other links besides the rojadirecta one? Sorry. Newbie…

  20. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Messi just went one-on-one, hit the keeper, got the rebound, it went past the keeper but bounced of a defender, got back to Leo, and he hit the keeper again.

  21. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    Thanks for the stream, SoccerDad. I’ve got my GolTV back!

  22. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    No way Valencia can keep running for 90 min like this

  23. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    we get it, phil. they’re comfortable on the ball. shut up.

      • Miguel
        March 2, 2011

        yeah, you forget they’re a packaged deal.

        • Noslehcimretep
          March 2, 2011

          if they weren’t RayRay would asphyxiate himself with all those similes.

  24. Cam
    March 2, 2011

    Today’s formation looks like 3-5-2 or maybe 3-1-4-2 or sometimes 3-1-5-1. Pep has been watching his videos of Chile again.

  25. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    weaksause, adriano. hike up your skirt next time you shoot.

  26. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    (barcastuff)

    ball possession valencia (after 10 minutes): 54%

    Wow.

  27. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    we are starting to control and maintain possession

  28. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    look how congested the midfield is. sub pedro in already.

  29. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    Half a chance for busi from the corner

  30. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    whew, Alba scores but is called offside. Pinto hurt.

  31. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Pinto injured, Mino warming up

  32. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    it’s “tiki taka” not “taka taka.” you so crazy, ray ray.

  33. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    Phil still blathering about how Valencia weren’t offside

  34. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Valencia hasn’t left space for Alves at the right side a single time yet.

  35. Olufestus
    March 2, 2011

    Watz happening,it started like this in 1st leg

  36. March 2, 2011

    This season Valencia has started to play a highly fluid formation that’s very difficult to characterize.

    At times they will overload the middle of the pitch and width on their team has to come from their backs.

    That’s what they are doing now. Their nominal “wingers” are actually drawn into the middle.

    Unfortunately, the way Barca is set up is playing exactly into Valencia’s formation.

    Barca has no width. Iniesta is not playing as a real winger. He’s playing his usual position.

    Pep has the team set up to where all of their width has to come from Alves and Adriano.

    And it’s not working because too much is going through the middle.

  37. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    messi the only one in the front line to put pressure on Valencia

  38. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Put Buis back in the DM, Smach out now

  39. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    Alba owning the right side of barca

  40. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    jessica alba’s a valencia youth product? i thought he was one of ours?

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011

      my bad. che through & through, although he was born in barcelona.

  41. March 2, 2011

    reading barcastuff live tweets, no chance to watch it live.
    are we still 4-3-3 or ?-?-?

    • Jackieboy
      March 2, 2011

      Looks more like 3-1-4-2, with Abi, Pique and Busi in defense, Masche as DM, Xavi and Iniesta in the middle, brazilian wingers and Villa-Messi up front.

    • March 2, 2011

      No. Not really. It’s more like a 3-1-4-2. Something like that.

    • Cam
      March 2, 2011

      Busi between Pique and Abidal at the back. Masch, Xavi and Iniesta flanked by Adriano and Alves. Messi free. Villa central.

  42. Jnice
    March 2, 2011

    I knew the game would be like this. Just like last time.

    • Eklavya
      March 2, 2011

      Me too! Valencia out busted our possession last game.

  43. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Noooooooooooo, Messi with another miss, Pass to Villa

  44. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Messi missed another one-on-one, after stealing the ball. Lobbed it over the goal.

  45. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    Messi should have squared that..no contest

  46. soccermomof4
    March 2, 2011

    um…Messi…Villa’s on your team now. Remember?

  47. Jnice
    March 2, 2011

    Messi… if you are going to ignore Villa, hit the target man.

  48. March 2, 2011

    Should be 2-0, and game over. Instead it’s still in the balance. Sorry, but Messi is kinda killing us right now. Our game needs goals to work.

  49. March 2, 2011

    There’s so much space between the midfielders and the attackers they aren’t building up play

  50. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    the goal’s will come, i’m not worried.

  51. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Kevin are at work watching the game??

  52. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    I dunno why villa continues to tries to pass to messi when he can take a shot himself

  53. March 2, 2011

    Can’t believe Messi missed those two chances, especially with Villa wide open on the second.

    Amazing play to disposseses the ball. But they had to score there.

  54. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    that’s not villa, messi. don’t pass to adriano.

  55. March 2, 2011

    Just popping in on a live stream while waiting for someone else to do something, then back to the grindstone. But jeez, Messi, be a team player, right?

  56. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Valencia looks as if they’re getting tired.

  57. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    I need a break..don’t think we’ll see us score either

  58. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    Meesi doing a post-miss Ronaldino impersonation with the hands

  59. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    OOoooooohhhhhhhhh, Villa almost scores, from Adriano’s cross

  60. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Great low cross from Adriano, Villa hits straight at the keeper from 7 meters out.

  61. jordi™
    March 2, 2011

    Surely los che have to tire at some point..,

  62. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    The ball hit the keeper, he didn’t know anything about it

  63. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    Yeah sure opposition keeper having a blinder again..bleh shot by adriano

  64. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Thats it for the 1st half

  65. March 2, 2011

    Adriano is playing well. His pace on the left has been very dangerous.

    And he’s being counted on to do a great deal this match.

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011

      i’m impressed by him. if pedro were to come on in the second half it’d be a shame if it were for the brazilian. i think we’re doing well. a goal will come.

  66. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    And Adriano kills another attack..we should be killing them

  67. BarcaOwl
    March 2, 2011

    Halftime. Pep better give the team a little talking to.

  68. March 2, 2011

    Pep needs to make adjustments. They need to get some real width on the pitch in advanced positions.

    That’s going to open up the middle of the pitch more.

    • soccerdadof4
      March 2, 2011

      It seems to me though that the issue has been one of decision making rather than tactics. Namely Messi’s strange inability to make a correct decision infront of goal today.
      Not to mention that the width provided by alves and adriano has been intriguing to watch.

  69. Goo
    March 2, 2011

    Por favor, Pep. We need Pedro! out there.

  70. March 2, 2011

    Now rather than getting tired, they have a chance to regroup and play for the draw (or win) at home, rather than being down 2 or 3-0.

      • March 2, 2011

        Oh, I mean them. There isn’t a side in the Liga that wouldn’t take a 0-0, Valencia included.

  71. Jnice
    March 2, 2011

    I can only shake my head at our (Messi’s) finishing. Sigh.

    No surprises in how hard Valencia worked us, though. I said they would do exactly the same thing they did at the Camp Nou, so I don’t know why the team didn’t look ready for it.

    That said, we created plenty of chances and due to selfishness, lack of accuracy, and outrageously poor passing, the match is still 0-0.

    Stupid.

  72. Lev
    March 2, 2011

    sup guys…
    we should be up by 2, 3 goals….or down 1-0 bc valencia’s goal was not offside imo – got lucky there

  73. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    “ball possession barcelona: 61%”-barcstuff

  74. March 2, 2011

    How the hell are we not leading this game. Very selfish play from Messi today. Villa would have had 2 easy tap ins. I am not happy.

  75. March 2, 2011

    Masch and Busi are not working this match because it’s an extra player in the middle. Valencia is overloading the center.

    They should pull Masch, move Busi forward and put in either Pedro or Afellay on the wing.

    And finish their chances.

    • TeamNike
      March 2, 2011

      I don’t like how Adriano plays. Comments?

  76. March 2, 2011

    Further, why not just bang it past the keeper, low and hard? Why does every goal have to be for the highlight reels? Augggghhhhh!

    • TeamNike
      March 2, 2011

      Exactly! They want to make every play beautiful but sometimes they just need to play simple.

  77. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    The one good thing is that messi has always been selfish in front of goal..so nothing’s new there

  78. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    I am still pissed this match is on a weekday!

  79. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    i don’t like how this second half has started.

  80. March 2, 2011

    In a match where the defense is putting this much pressure on, it’s just very unfortunate that Busquets has to play CB because the club lacks depth at that position.

    • TeamNike
      March 2, 2011

      That lost ball almost cost us a goal! I saw that.

  81. March 2, 2011

    All of Valencia defenders are in the middle of the pitch and they keep playing the ball into the middle.

  82. March 2, 2011

    And that Soldado chance is why you take care of business in the first half, as we should have done.

  83. March 2, 2011

    One of those is gonna go in, and this is going to be a very different match.

  84. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Busi should go to DM, Smach out, Or what Euler said, LOL

  85. March 2, 2011

    Barca are just setting this game up to lose.

    Pep needs to make a change. The way they are playing makes little sense.

    • TeamNike
      March 2, 2011

      I don’t know what he’s waiting for, he needs to change something. Barca is gonna realize they need to step it up when it’s too late if no change is done soon.

  86. March 2, 2011

    I noted on twitter before checking any site that people are most probably complaining against Messi 🙂

    – He was amazing in the first half in every aspect.
    – He did one of two possible right things in some occasions. And he was just unfortunate.

    Big credit for Pep who used both Busquets and Mascherano in this match. Great decision.

    • TeamNike
      March 2, 2011

      I don’t think it was a good decision, obviously they are not playing well.

      • March 2, 2011

        Thats not obvious for me. Especially when I remember some other games where we played one DM against Valencia on the road while not being perfectly in form.

        That was a brilliant decision in my books, and Valencia were containable in the first half. Now we can go for more risk and finish the game.

        • TeamNike
          March 2, 2011

          It’s not obvious to you that Barca is not playing well? We must be watching a totally different game. With Pedro in now Busquets can go back to the midfield where he should have started.

          • March 2, 2011

            Yeap. We are. I saw a club that earned enough possession and generated enough chances with a relatively secured defense. All against a great selection. Thats a good first half for me. A 5-0 is not a must for my satisfaction.

            Note how dangerous Valencia counters are getting since the Pedro sub. Now imagine a fresh Valencia in the first half doing so.

            Mascherano-Busquets did perfectly well off the ball closing the spaces existing now.

    • March 2, 2011

      Sorry Ramzi, but you can’t defend his actions when it counted. He should have passed. Period. Villa has at least one tap-in, and we’re off to the races.

      • March 2, 2011

        I am not defending his actions. I am explaining it. For me he did the right, less predictable thing for the defender and the keeper at a glance of a moment. The pass would have been right as well, but cant fault him. If it was a goal, there would be no complains. He has to live with that.

  87. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Strangely Guardiola is not showing intents to make a substitution

  88. March 2, 2011

    No idea what Pep is doing just watching this.

    It’s disaster waiting to happen.

    Their is too much pressure for the full backs to create all of teh width with no true wide attackers in the match.

  89. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Messi with another bad shot

  90. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Goal.com is saying Pedro is on the pitch.

  91. March 2, 2011

    Finally Pep makes the change it was blatantly obvious needed to be made at half time.

    Don’t know why he won’t make changes until 60 minutes are over.

    • Eklavya
      March 2, 2011

      This is why I wasn’t sad with the news of Pep missing the match. Last season, we were awueful during the first half and Tito valnova (pep was suspended) took out Bojan for Henry at half time and BOOM – 3 goals.

  92. March 2, 2011

    There we go. Ridiculous shot from distance, rather than looking for an open man. This is killing me to watch. So wasteful.

  93. Vj
    March 2, 2011

    You know we’re getting desperate when Xavi shoots..

  94. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    Hi guys,
    Sorry I’m late 🙂
    why aren’t we leading yet?

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011

      because you & pedro are late for the party.

  95. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Aww, Pep looks as if he’s hurt.

  96. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    “Sittin’ on a razor blade” – Ray Ray

  97. March 2, 2011

    This is feeling like a draw/loss to me, folks. It’s just killing me to watch us right now, so I’m going to stop.

  98. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    I cannot turn my eyes away from the horror

  99. TeamNike
    March 2, 2011

    Abidal has been the best player today.

    • Jackieboy
      March 2, 2011

      Except for that terrible misplaced pass he just made 😉

  100. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Reading the comments while NOT watching the watch is pretty comical.

  101. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    This is painful to watch. When we’re shooting from afar, our passing game isnt working. Ugh

  102. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Ohmygosh, Barcelona. What are you doing?!

  103. March 2, 2011

    It’s as if the team is just ignoring how Valencia is defending.

    Terrible turnover by Abidal.

  104. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Maxwell warming up? To replace who?

  105. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    And Their best player is Messi

  106. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Messi is one yellow from suspension. Youch.

  107. Goo
    March 2, 2011

    Dani has been all alone on the right several times, but we insist in playing the ball through the middle.

  108. jordi™
    March 2, 2011

    When will their sterio- err stamina, wear off FFS.

  109. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    ok, f5 sucks…

    and we don’t look *that* bad.
    I can see a goal in our immediate future…

  110. March 2, 2011

    When Barca was playing brilliantly earlier this season they attacked from wide positions wonderfully.

    For whatever reason, they’ve stopped doing that recently.

  111. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Pep looks pained. As he should from how we’re playing…

  112. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    Iniesta should have shot — my son just reminded me that Iniesta scored the WC winner

  113. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    Poor Pep.
    I don’t think that score helps his back at all

  114. March 2, 2011

    Watching Messi play today – great decision to ask him for his permission to be substituted out over the weekend.

    Well done there.

    Why not continue playing meaningless minutes and look horrible in a critical mid-week match.

    • Jackieboy
      March 2, 2011

      Great timing on that comment 😉

      • March 2, 2011

        He’s played a very poor match – the goal doesn’t change that.

        • Jackieboy
          March 2, 2011

          Well, it certainly does put the poorness of his performance in a different perspective – he’s scored the (hopefully) winning goal. Plus, he did make a lot of interceptions in their final third and created a few scoring opportunities. Granted, he did follow them with very, very bad decisions.

  115. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  116. Goo
    March 2, 2011

    Gooooooooooooooll. That took a long time coming.

  117. March 2, 2011

    Finally. Unbelievable.

    Great pass from Iniesta.

    And a great, great play for Adriano.

    No surprise that the goal came from an attack off a wide position.

    Just look at how much space Adriano had to attack off from.

    All the defenders are playing centrally.

    Thank goodness.

  118. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    10 points from EE is the best drug for sweet dreams 🙂

  119. March 2, 2011

    Now we need Keita in and I tip my hat to Pep for one of the rare tactical matches that perfectly satisfied me!

    • BTTFCule
      March 3, 2011

      Ramzi,

      Do you think PEP used that formation with Valencia’s usual formation in mind ? Valencia did use different one for this one IMO. They normally play with a target man with a support striker.

  120. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    can we please keep the ball now if we don’t score another?

  121. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    I predicted a 1-3 win, it should have been so

  122. jordi™
    March 2, 2011

    I cant wait to see the back of the MEstalla for another year.

    • Ryan
      March 2, 2011

      You’ll have much less than that I’m afraid – we’re playing the Copa del Rey final there.

  123. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Valencia going all out now for the draw

  124. March 2, 2011

    Adriano was terrific this match. Just wonderful today. He was all alone on the left flank today and had to play the entire flank.

    He should be the first choice LB when Abidal plays in the center.

    • March 2, 2011

      One of the reasons he was brilliant is the existence of Mascherano-Busquets combo. I’ve been talking about it since two years now.

      • March 2, 2011

        But we have only has Masch for like 6 months, and Busi has only ben first choice for about a year and a half?

    • Nik
      March 2, 2011

      ^Agreed. If Puyol isn’t going to be starting the Arsenal match, I hope Pep starts Adriano at LB in the matches before to get him the needed reps.

  125. Olufestus
    March 2, 2011

    Goaal! I will like to see a white girl bleaching…

  126. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Why does Pique wait for Pinto to rush out and then kicks the ball out just when P is about to grab it? Playing some silly jokes or what?

  127. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    Pinto gave him a headache with all the screaming

  128. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    another standing ovation for ini! woo!

    • Barcaleya
      March 2, 2011

      Yes, it’s heartwarming to see everyone give him standing ovation

  129. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    I KNOW IM LATE:

    GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!!!!!

  130. March 2, 2011

    Alright…As I promised in a previous comment, I tip my hat for Pep. Perfect selection, tactics and subs. Now he can only count on the players to finish the job.

  131. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    xavi’s been watching too much urban freestyler.

  132. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Xavi has been losing balls like crazy! I don’t believe it

  133. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    89:00 Now we are still up by one

  134. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    And that’s it we win this 0-1

  135. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  136. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Yay! 10 points! That was a difficult game

  137. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    Priceless win..absolutely priceless

  138. March 2, 2011

    Havent been that satisfied for a while now. Pep tactical chaos against Arsenal in the second half is forgiven after this one.

    Great step toward the title!

  139. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Big victory! HUGE 3 points! Moc Moc!

  140. soccermomof4
    March 2, 2011

    Thank you Lord!

    And someone get Pep some good meds. He looks like he’s in agony.

    • Goo
      March 2, 2011

      He can’t even stand up sometimes. Our injuries must be contagious.

  141. Goo
    March 2, 2011

    I still can’t believe we’re going to take 3 points from this.

  142. March 2, 2011

    Very fortunate win.

    The finishing and decision making was terrible. And they opened themselves up to dangerous counters over and over.

    The way Barca played tactically today fit exactly into how Valencia was trying to defend. Pep saw that but didn’t try to change it until the 60th minute.

    Glad that’s over.

    • March 2, 2011

      Absolutely extremely completely disagree. But will forget it all and celebrate!

      • March 2, 2011

        Ramzi – yeah. I think we are going to fundamentally disagree on this.

        I thought they played a very poor tactical match. Valenica has played this way over and over this season. They pinch their wide players into the middle of the pitch to defend the middle.

        Barca obliged that tactical defense by stacking so many of their attackers in the middle and playing the ball through there over and over.

        In turn they weren’t able to develop link up play along the flanks well. All they had were linear runs from Alves and Adriano. They didn’t utilize the open space they had.

        Barca had no true width in advanced position. And that’s exactly where Valencia were most vulnerable.

        I have to watch the match again – but that’s what I saw this match. Didn’t think Masch and Busi was the right combination for the way the game unfolded.

        Regardless, we’re both happy they won and that’s what matters!

        • y2k156
          March 2, 2011

          Euler, I completely disagree with you as well.

          I think this was excellent tactical match from us.

          • March 2, 2011

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

            Lev,

            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.

        • March 2, 2011

          Sorry – misplaced my comment above – was meant as a response to Lev below not to y2k156’s post.

      • Miguel
        March 2, 2011

        you guys are awesome. i’m taking a nap.

    • blaunero
      March 2, 2011

      And yet we still won, and Valencia shot only once on target. You may disagree and you’re welcome to it, but I though we were fantastic today. Not in the abstract sense of, say, the mauling we gave Real in November (the otherwise splendid Messi missed too many easy chances for that), but in the psychological sense. This was the toughest and most important away match in the league so far, against the third top team, in a stadium where Guardiola had never won; and Valencia played their hearts out, like their lives depended on it; Xavi, Iniesta, and Villa weren’t great; and still we overpowered them. In Italy we would say that these are the games that make champions our of mere pretenders.

  143. Olufestus
    March 2, 2011

    Valencia 0-1 barcelona aka-“MESSI HAS BEEN FORGIVEN”

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      Kxevin’s not gonna do that—

      He’ll do:

      Valencia 0-1 Barcelona aka Messi still gets a 2!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        March 2, 2011

        c’mon, Kev… not 2, at least 5, please?

        he made a very crucial goal for us…

      • soccermomof4
        March 2, 2011

        Rewatched game BG_Indo. I’m hoping he gets better than a 2 also now. Despite the obvious brain farts in front of goal and with some selfishness, he was very important in this game, hustled, and won a lot of balls. Kxevin watches these things closely, be encouraged…maybe.

  144. mardia
    March 2, 2011

    Very glad that’s over and we got the three points, but oh my God, somebody has to GLUE Messi to the bench against Zaragoza. Sid Lowe said this after the Bilbao match and I rolled my eyes a lot, but seriously, we can’t play like that against Arsenal. We just can’t.

    • Jnice
      March 2, 2011

      I agree with Messi having to be bench, but you have to put this match into context.

      How great have Valencia been recently? Undefeated since December, 8 wins, 3 draws. We were at their house, a place that we have found it difficult to play.

      Against Arsenal, we will be at home…

      • mardia
        March 2, 2011

        Jnice–that’s a very good point, and I’m not trying to underestimate Valencia at all, but I guess because it doesn’t feel like we’ve been firing on all cylinders lately that I’m still concerned.

        I’m not expecting manitas against every team, especially against a team as strong as Valencia, but the fact that the score was so close primarily because of mistakes we made…I don’t know. Again, I’m glad about the result, but I hope we’ll be stronger against Arsenal than we were today.

  145. blaunero
    March 2, 2011

    These are the type of games that define a season. None of our players were any good on the night; the opponent was formidable; the pitch was austere. They say great teams can win ugly when it counts most. And this was such an occasion.
    I think this was Guardiola’s Plan B. He sacrificed suffocating (and what I think would have been pointless) ball possession for a more solid formation, and he got it spot on. Valencia had 40something% possession but only one shot on target. I think that’s the way to beat teams that play counterattacking football.
    This result is HUGE.

    • justsayin
      March 2, 2011

      Bingo! I agree. You have to beat the best to be the best. We beat RM impressively and we beat the 3rd place team who really wanted it, in their home field because we were simply more talented at the moment. The fact that it didn’t include our precise passing, our over the top ball possession, our full first string, our typical Messi finishes and we still won says it all.

  146. y2k156
    March 2, 2011

    Great win for us.

    I read in quite a few comments above that Messi was terrible. Maybe we were watching different matches. For me, he was absolutely fantastic. He maybe could have done few things differently but as Ramzi said above, he took one of two correct choices and some of them he could not execute. In first half, he was superb and quite good in second too. For me, if people are saying that he did not play well, well i completely disagree and i think you are bonkers.

    Also Pep made good tactical decisions in this match. Loved Masch Busi combo and it was quite useful to us. Also liked the subs.

    It would have helped if we could have scored one early as that would have opened the match but we have won now in ground where we did not for last three years. For me, this is already good enough.

    Adriano was good but still tries too many times to shoot. Lesser then before. Overall though, he was quite good. We do have to remember that he had Abi covering his back.

  147. Humphrey Bogart
    March 2, 2011

    Hugh, hugh win on a ground where we could not win for two years in row, hence last year we could not even score a goal. Good preparation and tactic from Pep if you take into consideration who did Valencia win most of their last games: mainly in the second half and that was what I feared: some kind of Arsenal II that we get tired at the end and they make their pace count. But Pep did start more conservative and brought Pedro later on to keep them occupied. We may not be back to our sparkling best, but we have just left behind our nightmare month and come back from the Mestalla with three points. I am officiallly dlighted.

  148. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 2, 2011

    can’t believe we won for the first time in Mestalla! amazing!

    wow, it was a very very very tough game…

    can’t say much right now… pheww…

    sooooo relieved… not good for my heart, that match…

  149. soccermomof4
    March 2, 2011

    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?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 2, 2011

      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… 😛

      • soccermomof4
        March 2, 2011

        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.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          March 2, 2011

          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…

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

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

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        March 2, 2011

        exactly! so glad we’ve broke “Mestalla Curse” before CdR final!

  150. Kariyanna
    March 2, 2011

    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 🙁

  151. Jnice
    March 2, 2011

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

    NOTE (from Pakman):THIS IS NOT A FULL REVISTA SHOW, THEY DONT SHOW REVISTA WHEN THERE ARE MIDWEEK GAMES ON. THIS IS THE PRE MATCH OF THE VILLARREAL V. HERCULES MATCH, THEY DO COVER THE WEEKEND GAMES INCLUDING BARCA/REAL/VALENCIA/VILLARREAL/HERCULES, NOTHING MORE THOUGH…

    http://hotfile.com/dl/108360707/539f939/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_02-03-11.avi.html

    http://www.fileserve.com/file/2KGRfzj/Revista De La Liga – 02-03-11.avi

    http://bitshare.com/files/p7dv7whb/Revista-De-La-Liga—02-03-11.avi.html

    http://www.filesonic.com/file/145585251/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_02-03-11.avi

    Credit to Pakman at fbtz.com

  152. Jnice
    March 2, 2011

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

    NOTE (from Pakman):THIS IS NOT A FULL REVISTA SHOW, THEY DONT SHOW REVISTA WHEN THERE ARE MIDWEEK GAMES ON. THIS IS THE PRE MATCH OF THE VILLARREAL V. HERCULES MATCH, THEY DO COVER THE WEEKEND GAMES INCLUDING BARCA/REAL/VALENCIA/VILLARREAL/HERCULES, NOTHING MORE THOUGH…

    *http://hotfile.com/dl/108360707/539f939/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_02-03-11.avi.html

    *http://www.fileserve.com/file/2KGRfzj/Revista De La Liga – 02-03-11.avi

    *http://bitshare.com/files/p7dv7whb/Revista-De-La-Liga—02-03-11.avi.html

    *http://www.filesonic.com/file/145585251/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_02-03-11.avi

    Credit to Pakman at fbtz.com

  153. Lev
    March 2, 2011

    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?

    • March 2, 2011

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

      Lev,

      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.

    • blitzen
      March 2, 2011

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

      • Miguel
        March 2, 2011

        nice! i must admit i had to google that, though. 😉

        • blitzen
          March 2, 2011

          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

          • Miguel
            March 2, 2011

            i so picture you as one of the golden girls now. =^P

  154. blitzen
    March 2, 2011

    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.

  155. xavi
    March 2, 2011

    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

  156. March 2, 2011

    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.

  157. Blaugrana
    March 2, 2011

    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.

    • soccermomof4
      March 2, 2011

      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.

      • soccermomof4
        March 2, 2011

        Who else is looking forward to seeing Valencia play EE?

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          March 2, 2011

          meeee!!

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

          crazy schedule for them…

      • Blaugrana
        March 3, 2011

        I’m glad someone agrees with me. I don’t think he deserved a 3.

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011

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

  158. Artur
    March 2, 2011

    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 🙂

    Artur

    • soccerdadof4
      March 2, 2011

      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.

      • Artur
        March 3, 2011

        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.

  159. March 2, 2011

    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?

    • Artur
      March 3, 2011

      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)

  160. Jim
    March 3, 2011

    Trust me. If Puyol can hop on one leg he will be playing !

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