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.


  1. jordi™
    March 2, 2011

    Adriano should play lb more

  2. 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.

  3. yuley
    March 2, 2011

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

  4. 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


      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.

  5. soccerdadof4
    March 2, 2011

    Grande Adriano!

  6. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

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

  7. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    choot de bol!

  8. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

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

    • Barcaleya
      March 2, 2011

      So did I! Predicted 3 – 1

  9. Goo
    March 2, 2011


  10. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    81:15 Now

  11. 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.

  12. Vj
    March 2, 2011

    MAxi for Adriano..

  13. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    Valencia going all out now for the draw

  14. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Well done, Adriano! Clap clap

  15. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    That was a stupid ball loss

  16. 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.

  17. Olufestus
    March 2, 2011

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

    • Miguel
      March 2, 2011



  18. 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?

  19. yuley
    March 2, 2011

    Pinto gave him a headache with all the screaming

  20. jordi™
    March 2, 2011

    Ramzi- Keita on 😀

  21. Vj
    March 2, 2011

    Keita for Iniesta..

  22. 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

  23. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011



  24. 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.

  25. Vj
    March 2, 2011

    Whoa Xavi..

  26. Miguel
    March 2, 2011

    xavi’s been watching too much urban freestyler.

    • El Tel
      March 2, 2011

      Ha ha

  27. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

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

  28. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    89:00 Now we are still up by one

  29. March 2, 2011

    Dani is so good. If they don’t resign him they are nuts.

  30. Jackieboy
    March 2, 2011

    Full time 🙂

  31. Extreme barca fan
    March 2, 2011

    And that’s it we win this 0-1

  32. yuley
    March 2, 2011


  33. Vj
    March 2, 2011


  34. Miguel
    March 2, 2011


  35. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011


  36. Barcaleya
    March 2, 2011

    Yay! 10 points! That was a difficult game

  37. K_legit
    March 2, 2011

    Priceless win..absolutely priceless

  38. El Tel
    March 2, 2011

    Yea for us!

  39. Nav
    March 2, 2011

    Thank Christ, game over, AMAZING WIN

  40. 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!

    • Eklavya
      March 2, 2011

      Good to have you back!

  41. Eklavya
    March 2, 2011

    Big victory! HUGE 3 points! Moc Moc!

  42. 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.

  43. Goo
    March 2, 2011

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

    • Eklavya
      March 2, 2011

      We’re not. We already have. 😉

  44. 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.


      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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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…

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