View from the Top

If you are an international billionaire like me, you may find the recent economic downturn a real downer. Once-pleasant occupations, such as ‘heir apparent to wealthy dictatorship / shady investment firm / big-city mayoral office’ are no longer promising. But that’s no reason to lounge about the VIP lounge. We’re playboys, right? So let’s play something!

Soccer is the world’s sport, and the world is our oyster. Why bother with those FaceSpace FIFA apps on your palm thingie? Sell your shares in EA Sports and get in the game with a real, live La Liga team! It’s frugal, it’s a franchise, and it’s a helluva lotta fun. Why, just ask our friend Ali Syed de Santander here:

 

Ownership comes with certain obligations (none, thank goodness, unduly onerous). First, you must enjoy a lingering, lovely Spanish luncheon with your opponent’s owner. Do not refuse a second helping of bull’s balls, or the chef will chide you for disrespecting his cocina. Just order another bottle of cava, and down the gilded hatch!

 

Once the tables are cleared, you may proceed to the stadium with your new friend. You must behave cordially, even warmly, with each other pre- and post-match, even if your captain has just keyed his coach’s Ferrari in the stadium lot. With all the cava you two have just imbibed, the bonhomie will flow freely. We’re all rich guys here, anyhoo:

 

 

Now, if you are indeed of royal lineage, it is advised that you leave off imperial accoutrements, no matter what the King of Burger does:

Although quirky headgear may endear you to your fans …

… come in handy should you lend a hand in stadium shower renovations …

… or even improve international relations (just don’t forget to don some decent threads over your BVD in your haste to make nice with your hosts):

Once the match is over, boogie down with your club like you were back at your favorite club on the Côte!

Your high spirits, business acumen and personable personage promise you a bright future in sports. Or politics. Or beyond!

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SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.

294 Comments

  1. poipoi
    March 6, 2011

    Ozil is good, weak & shy to shine more than thong boy but there’s so much football in his boots. I heard he is second to messi in assists

  2. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 6, 2011

    so I will shamelessly copied Eklavya’s lineup for Arsenal clash :

    VV
    Alves Abidal Busquets Adriano
    Xavi SMasch Iniesta
    Pedro! Messi Villa

    I don’t think my heart is strong enough to see Milito in the lineup…
    but who knows, Pep may want to give us surprise…

  3. blaunero
    March 6, 2011

    Since it seems evident our midfield works better with Busquets there, why then not try Mascherano or Keita in defense beside Abidal? Makeshift defense or not it would certainly work better than having Milito’s pace or lack thereof and clumsiness there and expose us to rapid counters, I think.
    Hate to admit it but at the moment Real Madrid is playing better than we are. They played well even vs Deportivo though they only drew. They are scoring more goals and even Benzema is starting put it in the back of the net with regularity. What I think it comes down to is better squad rotation and a deeper bench. I consider us quite fortunate indeed to have such a healthy lead over Real at this stage of the season, for I fear they would be able to beat us.
    Also crucial is our schedule. From 5 Feb to 13 March we will have faced Atletico Madrid(h), Sporting Gijon(a), Arsenal (home and away), Athletic B(h), Mallorca(a), Valencia(a), Zaragoza(h) and Sevilla(a). That’s 9 games in barely over a month, 5 of which were in tough stadia to get points from; only once did we have a week uninterrupted by matches wherein we could train. (We could also say that this demanding schedule has been in force since January, but the opponents back then weren’t in truth as demanding and some of those games were in the CdR.) Real have faced as many opponents as we but their toughest game was vs Lyon in the CL (maybe even the Depor game, where they could and should have won). They’ve had fewer important injuries–Ronaldo’s is the first really, since Pepe’s–and above all they know that it doesn’t depend on what they do. I know it’s a doubleedged sword but I feel there’s more pressure on the leader than on the chaser.
    I’m not trying to justify our dip in form, but perhaps that’s what has been happening. I believe that as soon as this coming week comes to an end we’ll be able to get back some of the sparkle we’ve been missing. Maybe bring back Puyol and give Messi a breather. All that we can say is that if, and it’s a big if, we somehow by 14 March are in the quarters of the CL and still have a 7pt lead over Real Madrid, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll be halfway there.

    • outerspacedout
      March 6, 2011

      We always dip a little around this time of the season, we usually peak around the time for both Clasicos (around November and around April) with a dip around February. Not worried much, no team can maintain spell-binding form forever and for now all we needed to do was get through that rough patch grinding out results.

      And as you pointed out we played very very tough games with little rest. Atletico, Arsenal away, Bilbao, Mallorca, Valencia away, are all very difficult games. And we got results in all of those league games, while still being in a rather good position in time for the return Arsenal leg. If we follow the trend from previous seasons we’re going to start picking up form and barreling towards spectacular again soon, hopefully we will get through the Arsenal game unscathed (I expect us to). If we get past Arsenal then we would be perfectly set, with everything still to play for as we start getting back into spectacular form- with the league still safe, in the final of the Cup, and hopefully in the quarters of the CL.

    • blaunero
      March 6, 2011

      That’s me hope too, that this is merely a dip in form, like the one we had in ’08/’09. Only time will tell but we can’t get complacent. It is a hard enough thing to win the CL; it is nigh impossible to do so when the media etc say you’re the best team ever and hands down favourites. We have to remain humble and take what comes at us one game at a time.

    • Jnice
      March 6, 2011

      I saw Madrid against Deportivo. For 70 minutes, they were average and no better than we were.

      I saw Madrid against Lyon and for most of the match and especially the first half they were average.

      How are they playing better than we are? Before this match, they struggled to score more than 1 goal a game away from home.

      I’m afraid you’re giving them way too much credit.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 6, 2011

      MTE… if EE were better, they won’t be 7 points behind us…

      (take a note we’re drew against Gijon, so they should’ve been have exactly the same point with us)

    • blaunero
      March 6, 2011

      Goals hardly tell the entire story in this case. Real hit the post twice vs Lyon and twice vs Depor, they had more possession, and in the Depor match in particular they ended having 5 offensive players plus Xabi and Ramos. We played poorly vs Gijon (due to their defensive tactics), lost vs Arsenal because we thought we’d already won, barely beat Athletic B, and fought Valencia blow by blow. That’s not playing well. That’s being a great team, for it is the great teams that win no matter how they play.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 6, 2011

      we cannot maintain our brilliant play during November – Desember for the whole season…
      there’s always a dip along the way…

      not just Barça, but also other teams…

      look at Villareal, at the end of January, they were so close with EE, only 6 points gap… that’s amazing…
      but now, they are 17 points away from EE…

      meanwhile, Valencia is unbeaten since Desember until they met us…

      every team has a different graphic…

    • blaunero
      March 6, 2011

      The fact of the matter is that Real is at the moment playing better than we. Whether this is down to a dip in form on our part or indeed because Real’s players are finally jelling it doesn’t much matter. True, we can’t keep that same November-form for the course of an entire year, but we mustn’t make excuses for ourselves. Maybe we will pick our form up; maybe we won’t, and the 2007 nightmare might be repeated. The most important thing is not to get ahead of ourselves. One game at a time.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 6, 2011

      yes, just like before El Clasico, everyone said EE played better than us…

      (which maybe true, cause they were on top of us in the table, unbeatable in all competitons, produced more goals, and conceded less than us back then)

      I don’t know why, but I feel Barça’ll be in their top form again on April… Let’s hope I’m right… 😀

    • Jnice
      March 6, 2011

      But it’s not a fact.

      If I look at their recent matches, this game against Racing is the best they have played from start to finish.

      I don’t even know what your issue is here and why it is necessary to compare us with Madrid when we have picked up the points we’ve needed to in our last few matches.

      Sorry, but you make little sense.

    • Jnice
      March 6, 2011

      And you can count that Malaga match if you like, but it was apparent from the get go that Malaga weren’t interested in playing that match. Their manager subsequently admitted as much.

      Anyway, my focus from today is on Arsenal and not if Madrid is “playing better” than us. When, we’ve played better than them for most of the season and are picking up the points we need to right now. If you want to give them the style points, you can.

      I’ll take the 3 points.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 6, 2011

      they lost some players (including their main goalscorer), but they played great and looked like a team…wow…

      maybe Bassam will share his opinion about this…

      btw, your prediction is *almost* correct, Jnice… you predicted 0-3… 😛

    • Kariyanna
      March 6, 2011

      Jnice you didn’t have to be so harsh on blaunero. He’s just worried like any devoted fan would be when you see your rivals winning while also remembering the 07 season.

      Everyone has his/her certain amount of faith in the team, that guides them in being confident or worried.

      I for one knows the strengths our team can reach so I’m not so much worried but certainly I doubt we would see another 5-0 against Madrid this season. Their performance today showed that certain players can link up well when given space and time.

    • Jnice
      March 6, 2011

      It’s not harsh, Kariyanna. He is making very little sense.

      Yes, Madrid are winning, but are we not winning as well? I don’t understand the concern about how they are playing compared to us when we have a 7 point lead and are winning our matches.

      It makes very little sense to me. This is just me being honest.

    • blaunero
      March 7, 2011

      There’s nothing wrong with comparisons, and saying that one team is playing better than another, for the moment, doesn’t mean that there’s an issue at hand. I don’t think there’s anything to make sense out of either–my words were simple enough: Real is playing better, whether we like it or not. Will they be able to keep that up? I don’t know. Will we be able to play scintillating football again? Most probably. Otherwise there’s little or nothing to get excited about.

    • poipoi
      March 7, 2011

      I still think we the best but paranoia is not that bad when you talk about EE. better watch out.

      The fact, or at least to me it is a fact is that during this month ee has grown (improved, incorporated adebayor well) and barça has been going down (they don’t win as easy and they suffer in the pitch, playing worse than they usually do). If we play 100% and keep improving little things I don’t care how much ee grows they won’t even see the ball, but we haven’t been looking very good. Another thing is that our players know each other too well already, theirs are getting to know themselves. Both things have good and bad aspects IMO BUT besides that, the team facing us knows everything about our system and our players’ moves… when I watch di maria, ozil or benzema I don’t know what they are going to do because I’ve hardly seen them, I don’t know all of their moves. cr? is another thing he only has two: bike and shot 🙂 …. You have to agree they have more space for improvement while we are almost on top already (or were, now we aren’t). I think a good thing to do would be make Afellay sMasch and Keita play more games for some variation, not all tuesday though.

      tuesday we have a real test, all people talking about how nice we play how great we are but if we don’t go through some will laugh at us for all that talk. such a big game, messi xavi and iniesta have to be on fire

    • outerspacedout
      March 7, 2011

      Poipoi- of course when you watch them play you’d be less likely to know what Benzema, Di Maria or Oezil would do than what a Barcelona player would do, cos you watch our games regularly but for those Real players you say you’ve hardly ever seen them. That’s not necessarily cos our game is inherently more predictable, or our players more predictable.

      As for the worrying about our form. Honestly. Real are playing better than they were before yes. We are just having our regular temporary dip, a dip during which we still dominated every match and won almost every match, where we have had two games a week without almost any rest in a long, brutal stretch of Atletico, Gijon, Arsenal, Bilbao, Mallorca, Valencia and others. We’ll be back in top form in a couple weeks, we just have to hope that by then we’ll be as safe and dry in the CL as we are in the league and Cup as of now.

  4. outerspacedout
    March 6, 2011

    Ps. I saw some time ago back when I could read stuff from my phone but not really post much that Barca96 mentioned to a newbie poster over here that I was Bangladeshi. I’m not, I’m Maldivian, which is an island nation in the Indian Ocean.

    http://www.southasians.info/images/southasia/South_asia.jpg

    It’s down there in the South-West corner of the map, the city with the star labeled Male’ in the set of islands down there. I moved back to Malaysia again this week though.

    • barca96
      March 6, 2011

      Apologies outerspace.
      I always confuse the two countries.
      I had two close friends back in high school who were from BD and Maldives. Always confused them back then either.haha

    • outerspacedout
      March 6, 2011

      Yeah I didn’t mind, just being informative cos Maldives is so small some people on this blog might not have heard of it before.

  5. barca96
    March 6, 2011

    I’m so sorry. I don’t mean to be rude.
    But why is there a new post up so quickly after Kxevin spent hours preparing his review?

    • SoccerMom
      March 6, 2011

      Hi Barca96, Just popped in to make sure post went up.
      Because mine are not published neither quickly nor rudely, but scheduled days in advance with prior approval from the mods.
      Kxevin’s wonderful review is available for you to read and comment on our home page.

    • barca96
      March 6, 2011

      I see. So it’s the mods who give a go-ahead.
      Im sorry. I don’t know how it works.
      I guess we have a lot coming within these few days since they pushed yours right after the review.
      They couldn’t wait any longer for your beautiful post.

  6. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 6, 2011

    I get this video from a forum :

    YouTube – Mascherano vs Arsenal – Last game for Liverpool (15.08.2010)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je79snTnhkY

    I remember that game too, sMasch was just brilliant against Arsenal…
    still regretting why Pep didn’t put sMasch in instead of Keita… 🙁

  7. xavi
    March 6, 2011

    So you guys what’s your opinion on playing Bartra at CB? I know it’s a huge match and there isn’t tiny bit of possibility he’s going to start but he’s not going to be any worse than Milito now is he? And no to Fontas because he’s left footed too like Bilal… I am strictly against starting Milito not because he’s left footed and might not be compatible with Bilal, come on they are professionals at international level they could easily overcome that hurdle, but because he’s really been susceptible at the back this year. Looks like we are out of options because playing a kid is not at all an option for this match and we sure have to sacrifice the comfort of having Busi in the middle… But let’s hope we come out victorious and qualify for the quarters 🙂

    • Jnice
      March 7, 2011

      Bartra is not an option since he hasn’t even trained with the team recently. This wouldn’t be a good match to throw him in, anyway.

      Had he played more minutes with the first team this season, he could’ve been a viable option, but as it stands, he’s only played against Ceuta and Rubin Kazan, I believe.

  8. Kariyanna
    March 6, 2011

    Hmmmmmm so apparently MouMou has been watching our games more often now.

    After his team played so brilliantly well today he just had to comment on us and how we can win without playing well since we were supposed to have ten men but continued with 11 since Milito didn’t get sent off. He says Madrid have to play well every game to catch us since we get “help” even when we don’t play as good.

    I just love it when he thinks about us 🙂 Makes me know that other people think our team is special enough to pay close attention and detail to!!!

    • Jnice
      March 6, 2011

      That’s just an example of his ridiculousness. How many matches have Madrid won without playing well this season?

      I’m so very thankful he isn’t our manager.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 7, 2011

      LOL…
      as if EE never played bad and get a “help” from the ref…
      is there any person in football world that I dislike more than Mou? I’m not sure… 😀

      of course he always think about us,
      that’s why Perez signed him, because he is the so-called “Barça Killer”…

    • poipoi
      March 7, 2011

      he’s the definition of… shameless

  9. Víctor
    March 6, 2011

    Call me crazy, but I think that Puyol will play against Arsenal. This official news is just a tactic to make Arsenal feel “safer” and more “confident”…

    • soccerdadof4
      March 6, 2011

      Interesting theory but to be honest it seems unlikely.

    • Jnice
      March 6, 2011

      That’s not how we roll. We don’t put out reports to confuse opponents.

      Puyol isn’t playing.

    • Vj
      March 7, 2011

      I remember Abidal being ruled out against Inter in the CL group phase. Unlikely, but Puyi would be a massive boost..

  10. Kariyanna
    March 6, 2011

    Nasri: “If we beat Barcelona, my dream would be to play vs Marseille in 1/4, then Tottenham in 1/2, then Chelsea in the final”

    I always thought the reason players love playing the UCL was that you get to play other teams from all over Europe why would you wanna play 2 teams from London if you do make it through the 1/4.

  11. Kariyanna
    March 6, 2011

    So I was bored and decided to look at some old articles in the BFB archives. I noticed this one article written by Luke in July 2010

    http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/3806/20102011-la-liga-calendar/#comments

    Apparently people or should I say Madrid trolls were still commenting on it 4 months after it was original published. I wonder how many old post are still receiving comments after months of its original publication.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 7, 2011

      duh! what the hell was he doing there?

      I’m happy now we use a registration system…

  12. Kariyanna
    March 7, 2011

    I wonder how accurate the whos.amoung.us stats are.

    Apparently most of the readers here come from North America and North West Europe around England,France,Germany,Poland etc.

  13. xavi
    March 7, 2011

    Apparently Song might not make it too for the clash… IMO if it really happened this would be the biggest flow for them. I mean they have replacements for RVP as well as for Walcott in Bendtner/Chamakh and Arshavin but for Song there’s none! Although he should have been sent off in the first leg, he was the reason they had a chance to come back and put a fight in the first leg…he kept on harassing our mid fielders and cut out many chances for us!! Sure would be a big blow to lose your defensive mid fielder in the modern game

    • Ian
      March 7, 2011

      The only thing I know about Song is that in the first leg he was subbed off for Arshavin, and the latter was more damaging. Arsenal have a good arsenal themselves and one player down like Song might not make that much a difference.

      More like instead of letting their squad rotate, why don’t Barca just play better and end it there… xp

    • Sheena
      March 7, 2011

      In the first leg, he was subbed off to make room for an attacking player, and that destabilized our defence. (That and well, us playing incompetently)

      This time ’round Arshavin and probably Bendtner (or Chamakh) are going to have to start to fill in for RVP and Walcott, so it’s a rather different situation.

      And to answer your second question, it’s fairly impossible for the same group of players to play at their absolute peak week in and week out without a rest. Don’t forget that when we went on that crazy winning streak where we were banging in goals five at a time, there wasn’t a single midweek match. We played Panathinaikos before the Clasico, and that was that until we faced Bilbao in the Copa.

    • Ian
      March 7, 2011

      Thanks for the clarification, apparently I haven’t watched any bit of replay of that loss since, even in my immature mind lol… Yes yes I know… XD

      And about that second question, of course I knew all that! I was being rhetoric ‘s all, didn’t mean Barca had to play every game and get a manita (if I ever sounded like that lol). I am always observant of the matches and player conditions, and if I want to be realistic I’d simply say there’s nothing that will guarantee us a win. So yeah, I perfectly knew/remember what you were talking about 😀

    • Ian
      March 7, 2011

      Oh and the new situation you were talking about, how do you think Barca would/should manage that? 😀

    • Helge
      March 7, 2011

      Well, there’s still Abou Diaby and even Jack Wilshere can play as a half-defensive midfielder.
      Plus, I don’t trust these injury-news anyway^^

  14. ooga aga
    March 7, 2011

    soma, you are the best. thank you thank you thank you for sharing your humor with us.

  15. barca96
    March 7, 2011

    Where is Mr. Skywalker(Luke since you guys love Star Wars)?

  16. flyzowee
    March 7, 2011

    Assuming milito does start this match, are we gonna play him on the right covering a high flying alves or are we gonna play our best LB in a CB Position facing the wrong side of the pitch and covering alves at the same time?

    • messi_fan
      March 7, 2011

      Very good question

  17. Diego
    March 7, 2011

    Valdes
    Avles-Busquet-Abidal-Maxwell
    ———-Masch
    ——Xavi——Iniesta
    Pedro—–Messi—-Villa

    As a Sub, We can put Adriano for Masch to make more width and Busquets pushes forward.

  18. Diego
    March 7, 2011

    Xabi Alonso thought they won 4-1 and wrote it on his facebook page. 😀

  19. Helge
    March 7, 2011

    I wonder how Mou feels about this:
    The league match against Sevilla will be on Sunday, 21:00 CET. Sevilla is without Luis Fabiano for the next 3-6 weeks.

    I think tomorrow’s match will be the most important of the season (well, maybe there will be another as important or even more important CL match – but for me facing the Gunners is a bigger challenge than Real Madrid in la Liga, for instance). There will be other huge matches in la Liga, but at least the players can rest 4 days before playing in Sevilla, and another week after that. The Arsenal match comes at the end of a very long midweek-games run, if we qualify against them, we will have survived the toughest phase of the season.

  20. Olufestus
    March 7, 2011

    I will like to see kxevin asking who JACK WILSHERE is…WE ARE WINNING TOMORROW!LET THE HOSTILITIES RESUME @ THE 98,000 IMPOSING STADIUM

  21. barca96
    March 7, 2011

    I was restless for the past few weeks ever since I saw a dude wearing a next seasons Barca jersey before it was even finalized.
    Barcastuff confirmed that it was a fake jersey.Pheeuw.
    I thought I was either seeing stuff or I fell into a coma and woke up next season. Some X-Files s**t going I thought.

  22. March 7, 2011

    Busquets will very likely play at the CB position, not ideal, but that’s kinda the only choice.

    I personally think playing Mascherano at DM is almost as good given they will be exchanging positions from time to time to allow the most attacking Busquets to play further up the pitch. Mascherano is definitely more defensive, and lack attacking flair. That’s why playing them will make the most sense.

    Interesting opinion such as Keita in CB won’t happen as we won’t do unnecessary experiment in big game such as this. It will, and shoulda happened in the game against Zaragoza if Pep saw the option. So, it’s unlikely to happen now.

    Given Adriano has been kinda good these days, he will most likely feature on the left instead of Maxwell. Maxwell has been very dependable, seldom put a foot wrong, even less to cost us goals. But since we are gonna play to win, I don’t think it’s wrong to use our most attacking lineup available to play Arsenal. Plus, I trust Adriano’s defending as well. The most likely trade off is to see Mascherano drop deeper in our half and play almost like a CB to push Abidal to cover more of the left flank. Allowing Adriano to push, much like Alves on the right. It will give us huge flexibility and options.

    The goal Adriano created for us against Valencia speaks volume for his form and actual ability. He inserted and provided what we have been looking for in Maxwell. Thus,

    Adriano should play.

    • barca96
      March 7, 2011

      And we shouldn’t worry too much about the left side as Walcott is out.

      Has Keita ever played at CB? I don’t think so.
      I remember he was asked to stand in at CB 2 seasons ago but he refused and Yaya accepted it. And that was the end of it.
      And I don’t really think Keita would do well at CB. He is a runner.
      The guy runs non-stop. Playing him at CB would reduce his usefulness(cant find the perfect word 🙁 )

    • Cule
      March 7, 2011

      Think he was asked to play LB, and that was in the cl final..

    • outerspacedout
      March 7, 2011

      ‘Would not be the best utilization of his skill set’?

    • momo
      March 7, 2011

      Meh, I’m not worried. We always doubt this team in situations like this and it constantly proves us wrong by raising its game.

      Tommorow will be no different.

    • momo
      March 7, 2011

      3-1 for the good guys tommorow.

    • Helge
      March 7, 2011

      Seriously, I KNEW this. I actually expected Walcott to be fit, too – but it seems that he is really injured.
      Don’t know which one of the two is more dangerous right now, Walcott got the pace, but RvP is in the best shape of his life and he is scoring more than 50% of all Arsenal goal’s lately…
      I would definitely feel more confident without RvP, and now don’t tell me that we should play against the strongest possible Arsenal line-up, our whole central defense is screwed and we have to play another 2 players out of position due to the injury/suspension. Sucks!

  23. March 7, 2011

    Ha! It wasn’t just me. From Sid Lowe’s Guardian Liga wrapup:

    Barcelona beat Zaragoza 1-0 and it was very, very, very dull. Above all, it was more evidence of a new trend. The difference has become so great between Madrid and Barcelona and the rest that we are now seeing a revolutionary tactical approach – teams defending 1-0 deficits.

  24. March 7, 2011

    There’s been a lot going on in my absence, so briefly:

    –To say that EE is playing better than us right now is comparing apples to oranges. The question is always, “Compared to what?” Common opponents? They beat Racing 3-1, a side that we beat (twice) 3-0. Deportivo, who held them to a scoreless draw? We hung 4 goals on them in their house. So define “playing better than us.”

    –Puyol being out is a loss. Huge. Particularly if Van Persie plays. No Pique, no Puyol. Ouch. Frankly, I don’t know what the hell Guardiola is going to do. I know what I would like to see, and that’s Mascherano at CB. He almost plays there anyhow when he’s at DM, and a strong tackler in our high line wouldn’t hurt.

    But it’s a mess, frankly, one that I don’t see an easy solution for, except to get 2 or 3 fast goals, then tika-taka the time away.

    –SoMa IS a mod, and doesn’t need approval from anyone to grace us with her bonbons. We strive to have at least a post a day, sometimes two. I’ve said it before and will say it again: A new post doesn’t kill its predecessor.

    –I’m very nervous about tomorrow. Guardiola needs to pull something out of his butt, stat. As Euler has noted, squad depth is killing us. Whoever thought that we’d be rolling into a crucial match with out CB options as two left-footed players? Yikes.

    Yes, if our system works the way that it’s supposed to, the back line rarely sees the ball. But all it takes is one goal to completely change the tie.

    • Blow-Grenade
      March 7, 2011

      Playing Busi as a defensive midfielder is essential tomorrow, just because he can turn the ball around so quickly. In the last few games Ive noticed a new side to his game, providing the killer pass.

      Abidal is a rock, I dont mind having Milito and Abidal as two centre backs tomorrow, mainly because Van Persie is a left footed player.

      This tie is different compared to the one in Arsenal, Barca is playing at home. Barca will be attacking much more than they did at Arsenal. Also several key players are rested.

      The main difference maker will be how our wing backs are going to play play and spread the field. Alves and Adriano/Maxwell are crucial to the tie. We are well set in the midfield with Busi, Iniesta, Xavi combination. Based on his performance in the last match, I would like to see Adriano on the left wing.

    • momo
      March 7, 2011

      Not sure about Milito mate. He’s been in dreadful form this season. I still think Pep is going to formally place Busi at CB and Masch at DM, but they will alternate during the match kind of like the Valencia game.

    • March 7, 2011

      I think you’re right. Jim thinks we’re both wrong, however. 😀

      Actually, my ideal player is a Maxwell/Adriano hybrid. Maxwell is rock-solid positionally, but he risks getting caught out if the direction of play shifts abruptly. Adriano isn’t as solid positionally, but has gobs of pace, which gives him more attacking flexibility. He’s also a better attacker than Maxwell.

      So my ideal player for that side would be …. hey …. Abidal! But he’s our CB.

    • Tom, Dick and Harry
      March 7, 2011

      “Adriano isn’t as solid positionally…”

      That can be easily fixed with more minutes on field (to gain confidence and get used to the game speed) and extra sessions in the film room.

      More often than not we can use an attacking minded player at LB. Adriano is superior in that department comparing to the alternatives.

      The physical condition and tactics are an easier issue to fix as long as the player is of average intelligence (or better).

      The mind set and level of comfort with using both feet is more complex and harder to address at that age. Players are far up on the development curve and had built up a sizable ego. Few will be ready to understand the constructive critique and put extra work.

    • soccermomof4
      March 7, 2011

      I’m kinda thinkin’ that Adriano gives Arsenal more to worry about coming at them from the left. Opponents have had the luxury lately of clogging our right side and ignoring our left. Busi with Abi at CB and Masche as the DM is the best thing that Pep can pull out of his…..um…..repertoire and although I’d love to have Busi at DM, maybe he and Mashe will switch up with each other as the situation evolves (this is total football after all?!?). If only we had tried Mashe at CB earlier in the season (or invested in a CB). Scared to death of tomorrow 🙁

    • poipoi
      March 7, 2011

      I’d go with adriano, tuesday or any other time. If he gets full games and stays injury free he can do very good for us. He is a real threat not just runs upward like maxwell.

      I am only afraid of the one that learned to play foot under our concept… who will mark hewhoshallnotbenamed? I’m seeing him free with a lot of space in camp nou. To calm down I think about valds

    • Eklavya
      March 7, 2011

      Thanks for the giving an image that’ll be hard to forget Kxev.

  25. Humphrey Bogart
    March 7, 2011

    Now that the game comes closer I really get angry again that we wers so wasteful and complacent in the first leg and have brought ourselves in this situation. Puyi out is a blow I do not know we can take in the state some of our players are in. Then the CB situation: taking Busi out of the midfield means less fluidity, but playing Milito means to giva away a goal at least, and if that happens we have to score three.

    And what is this with this Mou-Like-Mindgames from Wenger. First RvP is out, now he is in. Will Walcot and Song also make an appearance tomorrow?

  26. Artur
    March 7, 2011

    All this debate about our LB and CB… Choosing the right players for missing ones… No matter who plays tomorrow one player who will make or break the game for us is .. Iniesta… Yup you heard me. Xavi/Messi/Villa will be all double or tripple marked, I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal park the bus either, however if we have a ruthless Ghostface marauding the field punishing Arsenal for not considering him a big threat, it’s goodbye Gooners and helloo quarter finals. I sincerely hope the little rest he had will be enough for him to do his thing tomorrow.

    And don’t forget.. It’s not Arsenal vs Barcelona tomorrow… It’s Arsenal vs 98011 tomorrow.

    In pep we trust and may the better team win tomorrow!

  27. Eklavya
    March 7, 2011

    Bad news:
    Van Persie is in the squad?! WTF!

    Good news:
    No Song! Yay! That means much more space in the midfield! Yes!

    • blitzen
      March 7, 2011

      Wenger: “It wasn’t a trick, the game’s too important for that. Tomorrow the doctors will decide, he’ll play if he’s 100% fit.”

    • Eklavya
      March 7, 2011

      Wenger’s 100% and our 100% is not the same.

    • blitzen
      March 7, 2011

      Good stream, thanks.

      Off sick today. Too bad I can’t be off tomorrow.

    • Miguel
      March 7, 2011

      🙁 feel better.

      i’ve got the day off tomorrow, luckily.

      i’d post the line-up but i can’t find it. fontas, bartra, muniesa, dos santos, & soriano are playing, for sure.

    • Miguel
      March 7, 2011

      nolito, montoya, oier…

    • Miguel
      March 7, 2011

      sergi roberto, abraham

    • blitzen
      March 7, 2011

      No Thiago.

      So all those people calling for Fontas or Bartra to be called up for Arsenal tomorrow should know that there is no chance of that if they are playing today.

  28. Miguel
    March 7, 2011

    a school of octopuses in the stands.

  29. soccermomof4
    March 7, 2011

    Aw! Adriano just had a baby boy! Congrats!

    “Barça utility player Adriano Correia became a father for the second time at the weekend, his wife giving birth to a healthy little boy named Azhaf. Speaking on his twitter feed, the Brazillian said, “We just had my second child [who] was born and I’m happy everything went well thanks to God. Mom and Azhaf are fine.””

    Read more: http://www.totalbarca.com/#ixzz1FwIRZPJ7

  30. blitzen
    March 7, 2011

    Gol!!!!!!

  31. Jnice
    March 7, 2011

    Edu Oriol, I still don’t like you!

    • Miguel
      March 7, 2011

      ha!

  32. blitzen
    March 7, 2011

    planetagoles2011.blogspot.com/

  33. Josep
    March 7, 2011

    Clearly our lineup will be this

    VV
    Peter-Bjorn-And-John
    Busquets
    Belle-Sebastian
    Messi-Messi-Messi

    • Josep
      March 7, 2011

      jnice subs in for And in 1st minute due to red card and scores a perfect hat trick.

    • Jnice
      March 7, 2011

      LOL, I had a lot of potential once.

    • Eklavya
      March 7, 2011

      What happened to it?

    • Jnice
      March 7, 2011

      I’m 23. It’s over now lol.

    • Eklavya
      March 7, 2011

      Same age as Messi…

  34. jordi™
    March 7, 2011

    Busi says hes offered to play CB.God i love his attitude.He’d volunteer to play in goal if he had to.

    • Jnice
      March 7, 2011

      He’s great.

  35. Miguel
    March 7, 2011

    ouchies.

  36. Helge
    March 7, 2011

    Why, oh why does Pep not trust in Fontas and/or Bartra?
    What if one of our defenders gets injured, then there is only Milito left. And to be honest, Milito simply doesn’t have the skill, pace, positioning or anything else that’s needed to play against Arsenal. Milito has become slow as a snail. He was our weak link against Zaragoza. If Milito plays tomorrow, Arsenal’s chances raise by 100%.

  37. blitzen
    March 7, 2011

    Golito!!!!

  38. Miguel
    March 7, 2011

    golazo!!! what was bartra doing all the way up there? that was beautiful.

  39. blitzen
    March 7, 2011

    A CB rushing the box and setting up a goal–that’s the Barca way! 😀

  40. Jnice
    March 7, 2011

    What a run by Bartra.

  41. Josep
    March 7, 2011

    Who is #3 that run was sick that was jnice-esque

    • Jnice
      March 7, 2011

      I wish I could play pick up with y’all, you would see what I can do lol.

    • Josep
      March 7, 2011

      I rarely play indoors in a gym where I’m the only one who speaks English.

      make Kxevin play with you and I this summer

    • Eklavya
      March 7, 2011

      Lol, for some reason I’ve imagined how it would be playing real life football with you guys. Kxevin is Thuram, Isaiah is Jorequa and I’m Messi. Jnice can be The Yaya or Thiago.

      Am I forgetting someone? Oh yeah Josep is the ballboy lol 😀

    • Eklavya
      March 7, 2011

      Ramzi and Euler are the two team’s coaches.

    • Josep
      March 7, 2011

      haha why do you get to be messi? of course jnasty is Thiago. I’m glad i’m the ballboy I’m pretty garbage..

      although the local Sheva did call me Ronaldinho’s son.. I think it’s because I have ugly long hair. I could pull off being Puyol.

    • Jnice
      March 7, 2011

      I kind of play like Thiago… I think that’s why I like him so much haha.

    • Josep
      March 7, 2011

      JNice you play like Nii Lamptey

  42. Humphrey Bogart
    March 7, 2011

    Bartra did a Messi

  43. Jnice
    March 7, 2011

    Was that not a red card type challenge by Luna? Looked like it to me.

  44. Humphrey Bogart
    March 7, 2011

    One thing Mou said before the El Clasico I really liked: no matter what happens tomorrow will still be tuesday. To see our lads from the B-Team now just gives me that feeling. We may go out tomorrow but there will be a next saison, new guys to come and guys to get promoted, to guess who will make it to the first team, to follow Bartra/Fontas or Muniesa and hopefully see them succed. I was extremly anxious today with regards to our game tomorrow but this game now somehow cheers me up so much, I can hardly explain it.

  45. blitzen
    March 7, 2011

    Pretty full stadium for a Segunda game! Guess there isn’t much else to do in Tenerife on a Monday night. 🙂

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