Tracking one player, aka “The curious case of Adriano”

Eduard Omedes/El Mundo Deportivo

Here Adriano is, No. 21, celebrating with his teammates during the victorious Champions League outing against Arsenal.

But does he deserve to?

There has been a debate raging about just what the hell Adriano did, anyhow. One astute and respected commenter, Jim, demanded evidence of something that Adriano did that affected the match, besides his heart-stopping giveaway in the 87th minute, a gift that was, thankfully, rejected by Bendtner.

So, with Jim’s challenge in mind, and to give people an idea of what went into Adriano’s match rating, I decided to track Adriano and only Adriano for the entire match, to see what was what. The results were interesting, to say the least.

First of all, here’s his match rating:

Adriano: 8. I find it rather difficult to imagine how Maxwell must have felt watching this display. He was a left-sided Alves, something we haven’t had in some time, charging up the pitch on slashing runs into their box, intercepting balls in our end and stealing passes in midfield. Except for a couple of positional errors and that silly, silly pass that could have changed everything, an utterly convincing match.

I discovered that to chronicle every touch and move of Adriano, I needed 5 sheets of notepaper. I will spare everyone the blow-by-blow chronicle, just because it just ain’t worth typing it all out. But here are the relevant highlights:

–Adriano touched the ball, counting throw-ins, 85 times in this match.
–He had 14 defensive plays that turned possession, either interceptions, outright steals or plays that facilitated another defender stealing the ball.
–He had two crosses that deserved a better fate.
–He had one “What the hell was that?” shot.
–He also hit the post, on a shot that had more of a chance than people gave it credit for.
–He fed Afellay with a brilliant diagonal pass over distance, that only excellent defensive work kept from becoming a goal.
–In a 10-second stretch, he outran Rosicky, then Sagna to stray balls.
–He owned Rosicky on that side of the pitch.
–He had two giveaways, both in dangerous positions. The first led directly to the Van Persie red card incident, the second to the Bendtner chance.

In effect, he earned his 8 with an extraordinary match at left back, a match that found him going forward on the attack repeatedly, yet still being able to get back on defense. He outran Arsenal attackers to balls, and battled them for possession, also winning balls. I’d be happy to note the exact times if people feel that’s necessary, even though it’s a lotta, lotta typing.

Bottom line is that it’s very interesting to track a single player for the entirety of the match, and note everything that he does. What I usually do during my viewings, is that the first viewing will be the “What the hell happened,” and general impressions viewing, with some notes on player performance being taken, in preparation for the second, more analytical viewing. It is here that match ratings are solidified, and real impressions of a player’s performance become concrete.

This now the 5th time I have watched this match, and I wouldn’t change a thing about Adriano’s rating. He isn’t a full-time, starting left back for us, because we already have one and even if we didn’t, he isn’t quite there. He’s still a Swiss Army knife, who can fill in where needed. I will say that his pace and physicality, the ability to get up and back, make him a very interesting option, and one that I rather imagine will be around for a while.

And there we have it.

P.S. I paid special attention to the Van Persie incident this time, and it’s important to note three things: 1) In the 29th minute, Sagna was booked for picking up the ball and walking away with it, establishing a precedent that Busacca wasn’t going to allow time-wasting; 2) Nasri is off on a break with the stadium going nuts, and he stops as soon as he hears the whistle; 3) when Van Persie is breaking for our goal, the Camp Nou is quiet. You can hear the whistle loud and clear on TV, from a vantage point (for the TV coverage microphones) that is vastly inferior to that of a player.

Given that Busacca’s view on time-wasting had already been established, and if Van Persie really didn’t hear the whistle I don’t see a reason why he wouldn’t have kept on going toward Valdes and put the ball in the back of net, all lead me to believe that while the card was still harsh and stupid, it was within the context of how the match was being called.

Rock on.

By Kxevin

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

203 comments

  1. Thanks for this, Kxevin.

    In the 29th minute, Sagna was booked for picking up the ball and walking away with it, establishing a precedent that Busacca wasn’t going to allow time-wasting

    I don’t know if I mentioned this on BFB, but I said this exact thing to my friend. Glad you noticed it too. Precedent had already been set.

    As for RvP, like I said before, I’m totally convinced he heard the whistle and I rarely believe strikers anyway. They are some of the worst liars.

    Also, when I spoke about Adriano, I forgot to mention how many times he intercepted or took the ball of an Arsenal player. He did well.

    1. the precedent was established, but like kxevin said, it was still a bad call. i’ll say it again. if vp wasn’t the petulant angry little b**** he was all match, he’d have gotten away with it.

    2. I’ll spare a long rant (I saved that for the mods), but Arsenal are now on par or just below the pericos on my hate list. Yep, they’ve pretty much lost all my respect.

      The post-match whinge from all things Arsenal was and is pathetic.

    3. Yah, I completely agree.

      I even might be rootig for ManUtd in the EPL title race now… (although I actually hate them!).

    4. Can’t quite do that, but it’s getting very hard to keep liking them. It was a style of play thing for me, but that certainly went out the window on Tuesday!

  2. Heh heh heh. You know what you have done, don’t you? People will now be demanding that you do single-player analyses for every match. Hope you have a lot of free time!

    I have three things to add:

    1. The two crosses you mention that “deserved a better fate”. Yes. They were good shots that Messi or Villa or Pedro or anyone should have been there to receive but for whatever reason didn’t make that run. No blame to Adriano for that.

    2. The post shot. I truly don’t think it had a chance of going in from that angle. Nice try, though.

    3. The first and last thing I will say on the RVP incident: He may or may not have heard the whistle, but IT DOESN’T MATTER. Whistle or no, the flag was up and he knew very well that he was offside. Everyone else certainly did.

    1. “People will now be demanding that you do single-player analyses for every match.”

      hey, shut up.

  3. this is awesome! can this be a regular fixture in your reviews for say the top & the flop of the match? a.k.a abidal & bojan, respectively. 😉 maybe a follow up comment or something.

  4. What’s even more interesting is that I think if we’d had a player such as this against Inter last season, we might have won that tie. Recall how easy it was to compress into the center against us, leaving Messi to make his Quixotic runs because the left wing was an attacking dead zone.

    His full-speed overlap with Villa, that led to the post shot, was seriously cool, and what the left side of our attack has been missing.

    1. Yes, that play with Villa was amazing (even though he hit the post) and speaks volumes about how well both of them have adapted to the Barca model. Can you imagine the Villa superstar of Valencia making that pass instead of trying to shoot the ball himself?

  5. Whoa! Fabiano leaves immediately??!! I mean, he wasn’t going to play against us anyway, but dang. That’s a big cut for Sevilla, who I didn’t realize were shopping him. Heck, that would have been quite the winter buy for us in the window.

    1. Nah, Adriano’s time in European football was up. He hasn’t even looked close to the player he was in previous years. Combine that with his temperament and I don’t think he would be a good buy for us at all.

    2. or we can just bring back our own Brazilan, you know that onw guy…Kermit???? Kalamari….Kkinkerton?……Ohhhh thats right Kerrison!!!

    3. yeah, come on. who else goes back to brazil in what should be the peak of their career? i’ll answer my own question: adriano(l’imperatore), ronaldinho, robinho, elano…really anybody that ends with an “o.”

  6. I’m working on my tactical review of the match (will be up tomorrow) and after having watched the match multiple times often in frame by frame stop motion there’s no question that Adriano was critical to this match.

    I completely agree with Kxevin’s evaluation – spot on.

    Just for example – got back and watch the context for how goal 1 was scored. There’s a reason why Fabergas tries to back heel the ball (outside of only poor judgement).

    That entire first goal sequence started with Adriano attacking off the left flank. That attack dragged Arsenal – who were trying to stay compact and narrow – completely out of shape.

    That sequence led to the very dangerous chance Xavi had which was ultimately blocked.

    When Arsenal recovered the ball they were completely out of position to build play. And given Barca’s press Fabergas tried to just get rid of the ball before he gets dispossessed.

    That was a great example of how Adriano helped made the pitch functionally “large” to thwart Arsenal’s ability to make the pitch “small.”

    And one of the key’s to that was Adriano’s direct style of play. He used the ball to make dangerous runs while Arsenal continued their tactics from leg 1 – which was to overplay the pass.

    He was immense that match.

  7. My God Kxevin. You really didn’t have to watch the match and use 5 sheets of notepaper just to evaluate his match just because somebody didn’t agree with most of us. That’s a lot of hard work although I didn;t really mind doing it as it’s not really “work”.
    Thanks.

    Why does Alves force defenders to make mistakes? Pressure.
    Why does Adriano force defenders to make mistakes? Pressure.

    1. It was actually something that I promised to do earlier. Jim’s comments just made me remember that promise. I guess that another aka title could have been “View to a rating.”

  8. As i mentioned earlier, great write up, Kxevin. I was argeuing with a couple of posters on my board about how at Madrid we concentrate our play through the left, hence why Marcelo sees more of the ball than Ramos. Well, if i am not mistaken, this is very similar to you guys.

    With an attacking fullback like Alves, and with a team like yours that centers their play mostly around the right flank were Pedro and Messi roam a lot, it’s really hard for Adriano to make an impact on the game. That does not mean he didn’t have a good game though. As Kxevin notes, he had many interjections and many touches of the ball. Not to mention, with Alvez attacking the right so much, the gaps that are left at the back are to be filled by the 2 center backs and the left back. Yes Arsenal never had a chance, but that not due to inability but rather superiority.

    Anyways, I purchased this CL app for my iPhone, and despite thinking its expensive, i went through with it. So i thought i would share with you guys the statistics for the players during the game:

    http://yfrog.com/h0zdogqj

    Glad I’m putting my investment to use. I mainly purchased it thinking life wouldn’t be so cruel that it would let me buy an app for just one game! Hence, Real Madrid MUST go through 😀

    1. In the Madrid system, Marcelo functionally acts as an attacking midfielder in many ways. The ball is played through him so much because that’s the most direct way to create link up play with C.Ronaldo.

      As you note this is how Guardiola originally utilized Alves, though his role has evolved differently because of Messi’s free role even when he played on the right.

      In many ways this is the logical conclusion of the process which has seen players like Messi and Ronaldo – classic 10’s in the past who would have played in the center of the pitch – to the flanks to avoid the fortification of the defense through the center of the pitch (“destroyer,” “double pivot”).

      This is also why Ozil is such an appropriate player for the RM attack.

      In many ways RM have “emptied” out the advanced center of the pitch and periperhalized the dyanamics of the match. It’s a very interesting tactical innovation given the degree to which they’ve pushed the matter.

      By doing this RM have made the holding players for most clubs redundant defenders who don’t really mark important attackers.

      The trade off is that there can be vulnerabilities to build up play and defense in the middle of the pitch and a great deal of pressure is placed on Alonso.

      One note however on how Barca play – the thrust of Alves on the right is designed to balance the assymetric formation on the left. Iniesta plays center left and that’s where much of the build up occurs on the left flank.

      That was a major reason why barca became so right sided last season. In addition to problems at LW, Iniesta was injured which damaged circulation to the left flank.

    2. Agreed. I have talked about this many times. The reason this over dependence on the flanks, especially the left one emerged with the lack of a replacement to Zidane, who primarily used to rick the role that Iniesta plays right now. A false LW that drifts to the center and through which the play is originated and made. \

      Kaka was thought to be a replacement, but I never believed he fit a system that the team was building nor the spanish game. FloFlo played him once in his Fifa formation on PS3 and got convinced that he was needed. Both Kaka and Ronaldo require a place right behind the striker. If you see from the article, i call for a Trivote, in which Granero or any player can sit right above the double pivot (which creates a huge gap between the front four and back six), offering that extra option in the middle.

      Although, as you said, our system currently abolishes that oppositions “stacking” of the midfield, it does create a problem. The player that is on the other wing is usually gone missing. The lack of that man in the center makes it problematic for the team to switch from one flank to another.

      I was very intrigued with Messi being used as a False 9. It was a stroke of genius. A player of Messi’s abilities can do, and is doing wonders with a free role. It was also interesting to see Villa adjust to that left wing role. He rarely, if ever, played that role on the left with Valencia, and for him to start playing that right away with a new team is really impressive. I know Kev has been giving him low marks in rating, but he has been doing well adjusting. Lets not forget, to give freedom to Messi you have to take freedom from another player. I think in this case its Villa who is giving up. This is an example of the conservation of energy for you science nerds.

      I have always agreed with many of the people here on how important Abidal is. Not only is he rock solid at the back, but he plays a huge role in allowing Alves to run forward with that much freedom.

    3. FloFlo played him once in his Fifa formation on PS3 and got convinced that he was needed.

      First off – nothing I write can possibly top this sentence!

      Agreed that Kaka was very ill thought. He’s really a shadow striker as you point out. That was his role at AC Milan and that system was so particular hoping he’d work alongside C.Ronaldo was a major risk.

      For me you guys are in a bit of a quandary of sorts. Alonso is terrific at what he does. However, I think your team would be better off only playing one holding player. That would allow Ozil to play advanced left and then add a central midfielder to direct play in an advanced position.

      However, Alonso alone really isn’t a promising option for defensive reasons and pace. He needs another holding player alongside/ deep to him.

      You almost need a player like a Schweinsteiger to pair with Alonso. But those players are hard to find.

      I do like Granero. I like his passing. That said, I actually like Khedira as well. I don’t think he’s allowed to move forward enough in the current RM system, however.

      Thanks for the article. I’ll most definitely take a look.

      Also, if you’re interested I wrote a fairly extensive 4 part tactical preview prior to the Clasico. It was largely focused on RM as I wanted to give the readers here some detail on how you guys play.

      Below if the link for the 4th part. It contains links for the prior 3 parts. Part 1 and 2 touch on what we’ve been discussing tonight.

      Always nice to have you stop by. Very good tactical discussion.

      Also – Ozil is turning into a fantastic player. I watched Germany play Argentina in Johannesburg during the WC and his movement was remarkably intelligent. He’s been great.

      http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/5215/tactical-preview-el-clsico-part-4-madrids-defense-bara-exploit-weaknesses/

    4. Khedira is limited in going forward due to instructions by MouMou. With that said, he seems awkward when the ball is with him. I have seen him play before, and he never seemed that way. I think his first touch is sometimes letting him down as it seems he puts too much effort into controlling the ball. I like Granero more there as he is one of the best in the team at holding on to the ball. Something that you need in a holding player/Central midfielder.

      To play Alonso alone, you need Ramos to stick to his position and not venture forward unless its smart to. Especially, as you noted, with the lack of pace from Alonso.

      Ozil has been fantastic for us. His stamina got in the way at the start of the season, but he is overcoming that and turning into one of our most important players. It will be interesting to see how useful is passing gets once Higuain comes back, who is becoming an expert at off the ball movement.

      I will certainly take a look at the articles. Always great to have a tactical discussions. It puts all the games that i watch into good use.

  9. /glass in hand

    To both sides, I am not sure focusing on a single game is a way to go about credible analysis.

    1. To properly evaluate a player one needs to look at the whole body of work. The ability that had been displayed (speed, dribbling, passing, tackling, crossing) over the period of time. This because the circumstances vary. ‘Our’ lineup, quality of opponents and the way they choose to defend.

    Adriano has superior skill set. Being as fast and comfortable with using both feet is extraordinary, I can’t stress this hard enough.

    2. Not always players have to do something. A player of certain skill set draws attention of the defender. By forcing the defender to ‘account for him’ is taking some defensive options away from the opposition.

    3. The two players, in this particular case Adriano and Maxwell, are not at the same level of development. Minutes played and the familiarity with the system. One plateaued while the other has plenty of upside left.

    4. As for questionable defending, remember how poor Busquets was. During his ‘learning process’ he gave away a bunch of balls. Shortsighted and less educated fans were calling Pep nuts for sticking with him.

    All in all, the way Maxwell plays is very good…if at Deportivo or Gijon. Not at this team though. A virtual zero in terms of offensive contribution. Adriano’s defensive flaws are offset by his offensive contribution more often than not and, as such, worth the risk.

    The said flaws can be easily corrected in a timely manner by giving him more minutes (confidence level and adjustment to ‘game speed’) and extra sessions in the film room.

    1. “4. As for questionable defending, remember how poor Busquets was. During his ‘learning process’ he gave away a bunch of balls. Shortsighted and less educated fans were calling Pep nuts for sticking with him.”

      Good point. Another example was at the beginning of this season, when the topic of King Eric filling in at CB came up. Time has made those cries of revulsion that arose then seem pretty humorous.

  10. Using ESPN’s game analysis, (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/gamecast?id=310993&cc=3436), the average position of Adriano, when compared to Iniesta, appears that Adriano played a lot of his time behind Andres.

    In comparison, Maxwell often runs down his wing over-taking Iniesta, and invariably passes back to Ini who always stands behind Maxwell, forcing Maxwell to pass back. Without fail, 98% of the time, Iniesta will pass to the right – either to Messi, Xavi or Alves. In the meantime, Maxwell is making deeper runs further up the left sideline looking for the passes back from Iniesta which never come. The ball has gone right.

    I also noticed in the Arsenal game that Adriano came in to the center-field a lot more, thereby by-passing Iniesta, or forcing the #8 to go more central or to go left.

    You can see this when comparing ESPN’s individual heatmaps of Iniesta and Adriano. I really would like to see Iniesta pass back to Maxwell from time-to-time to create some left-hand plays.

    Maxwell is more than capable of beautiful crosses and goals. Among them, he scored a lovely goal against Ceuta in the early rounds of the CdR, and a wonderful cross for Messi’s header against Atletico Madrid which was denied by de Gea’s superb save.

    I just believe that he’s not supported enough when all the plays go right for Messi, Alves, Xavi and Pedro. Adriano is more of an individual play-creator in that respect.

    Which leads me to the next thought – maybe Villa is also suffering from no play coming from the left for him?

  11. There was a conversation a couple of weeks ago, I think, about people traveling to Barcelona buying tickets through the official site, and I was hoping someone could clarify for me how the season ticket holders releasing their seats works? The ticket purchase page says:

    “Buy your tickets on the Internet and make sure you have your place reserved to watch the most exciting spectacle in the world. It’s the most comfortable way to choose your seat. Don’t worry if you can’t find the exact seat you are looking for right now, because as the game gets closer, the club will free up more seats released by season ticket holders, who can put their seats up for sale for a game and allow fans who want to watch the match to come along and see the Barca team.”

    When they say “don’t worry if you can’t find the exact seat now”, but seems to imply buy tickets now, does that mean I should purchase whatever seats are available in the section I’d like to be, and if seats are freed up later in that section and/or the same pricepoint, I could have them switched? I’m wondering especially because it seems most of the available seats are not together, so even though there seems to be a lot of tickets, the I can’t find a selection for two people together.

    And timing of tickets being freed up, that’s at random as the seat holder decides to contact the club, or does the club collect that information and then release all the freed-up seats at a specific time?

    Anyway, any insight would be much appreciated, thanks in advance!

  12. anyone have any thoughts on Christian Eriksen, I guess he is the new Ajax phenow, and he is not even 20. He also said yesterday that he would reject a move to liverpool and would only leave ajax for us. Maybe Cryuff and Afellay can tell him to come. Forget about Cesc. Eriksen and Thiago along with Ibra are plenty!!!

  13. Μy thoughts are with Japan…this is so awful..
    courage to them all…
    Even at these dificult for them moments, they are an example for eveybody…I can’t bare to imagine what would have happened if this has happened somowhere else..

  14. Wow, you really put a lot of devotion in the analysis of the match / players. I already was convinced of Adriano’s performance before this article, but now it’s even more clear. Thanks!

    When I was talking pre-match with my friends, I told them the only line-up that will make me confident is exactly the line-up that Pep gladly chose. They didn’t agree with me, saying that Maxwell is definitely the better option compared to Adriano. I guess Adriano is being underestimated by many people, and somehow they all thought that Adriano is too slow. To be honest, I think that Adriano is our 2nd-fastest defender (behind Abidal).

    1. Exactly! And although it wasn’t the league’s fault, we were forced to play for our CL lives this Tuesday after only two days rest (without complaining). We took risks with squad rotation on Saturday in order to do this (for goodness sake, Mou, you have tons of talented, expensive players for this squad rotation (Granero, Canales, Leon) play them occasionally and you don’t have to complain about the schedule). If you want to remain active in all three competitions, this is the price you pay.

    2. Nor do the stats suggest Madrid have had it easier. Over the course of the season, Barcelona have had to play after just two days’ rest 18 times. That’s twice more than Real Madrid. Barcelona have had to play three games in just seven days six times; Madrid only three.

  15. I kinda hate when we play on Sundays, but at least Barça B plays today.

    That extra days rest will come in handy against Sevilla, though.

    I know we’ve won 6 out of the last 7 meetings, but tomorrow’s match is a dangerous one. Madrid will have already played and our lead will most likely be cut to 4 points by kickoff. This has the potential to add extra pressure on the players.

    Sevilla is erratic, but since winter break, Sevilla have only lost once at home (to Espanyol). I hope our team shows the same energy we showed against Arsenal because I think we can score some goals against Sevilla. Especially if we win the ball back consistently.

    It would be huge if we can keep our 7 point lead until the Villarreal match (we have Getafe in between.) And keep in mind that not only is that match against the Yellow Submarine away, this match also comes after an international break, which usually spells disaster for us.

  16. @Kxevin’s
    “What’s even more interesting
    is that I think if we’d had a
    player such as this against
    Inter last season, we might
    have won that tie. Recall how
    easy it was to compress into
    the center against us, leaving
    Messi to make his Quixotic
    runs because the left wing was
    an attacking dead zone.”

    Maxwell was the one who assisted Pedro for the away goal though

    1. Good point. But didnt all of their home goals come from the right flank? Going to have to look it up on youtube to make sure.

    2. That was one of the actions he did(not) take. One needs to look at the whole body of work during his time on field. Offensively and defensively.

      If to judge a particular situation, the questions are:

      1. Has the player created the situation with his own skill or was it gifted to him by someone else’s mistake

      2. What would another player do in such situation? Would he be most likely able to achieve the same outcome (assist to Pedro) or would do even more.

      What had happened can be qualified as a defensive breakdown. Maxwell practically jogged into the box. The defenders have not accounted for him obviously thinking he is not capable of hurting them in a serious manner.

      Considering the amount of scouting The Clown’s teams usually put in, a telling sign about Maxwell’s value to ‘our’ team.

  17. What scares me about the Villareal match isn’t that it’s after an international break, it’s that it’s only a few days before the first leg of the CL quarter finals.

    Infact, our schedule goes like this: Sevilla, Getafe, International Break, Villareal, 1st leg CL quarter finals, Almeria, 2nd leg CL quarter finals, Clasico (Liga), Clasico (Copa), Osasuna.

    ghdsigjskgiurgjkfjsijut40kfgijds

    1. If Puyi and Xavi go play for their NT with all the problems they’ve had this year….

      Actually, I’m starting to feel guilty about having tickets for the US V Argentina game. But if Messi is gonna play anyway, I might as well enjoy it :-D. Sadly/fortunately, I don’t think he will have to work as hard against us as he did in previous games. (BTW, I am hoping for a 4-3 win. That way I can be patriotic and still hope for a Messi hat trick(with Masche getting all 3 assists!))

    2. Messi will definitely play, most-likely the whole 90 min.
      Isn’t the match against the US before the one against Costa Rica?
      Maybe Messi will get some rest against Costa Rica.
      Anyway, I just hope that nobody gets injured, because the matches right after the international break are sooo crucial!
      Even a minor injury could cost us heavily 🙁

      So I count on you to at least make sure that our Argies come back healthy!

    3. I’ll run on the field and drag them off by the scruff of their necks if I sense any danger to our guys! 🙂
      You bailing me out of jail if I run on the field?

    4. No really, I’ll just sit there and pray the whole time they’re out there. The US plays a much more direct style and can be more physical, and there are so many important games right after the break. I just don’t know what my reactions are going to be. I’ll be rooting for the US, but how am I going to keep from screaming my fool head off for Leo? sMache will “take care” of anyone who threatens our favorite flea.

  18. He had two crosses that deserved a better fate
    He had just received a pass from our front line, and he proceeds to run forward and put the ball into the box. That was zero tactical awareness for me

    i am still not sold on adriano. he’s got a blistering pace but he needs to learn to dribble with his face up. Maxwell may not pose too much of an attacking threat, neither is he necessarily a better defender than adriano, yet his crosses, though rare, are way more accurate, his play much more precise

  19. This is awesome Kxevin! You rock!

    I think his shot that hit the post was pretty similar to that of Van Persie’s goal in the first leg. I think it sent out a message that they need to guard their right (our left) flank better this time around.

  20. This field looks way too waterlogged. They should’ve called the match off like they were going to.

  21. It’s all Barca so far, but they can’t control the ball the way they would like because of the wet.

    On the plus side, boys in wet shirts. Wish the picture was better. 😀

    1. the rain in spain…
      arsenal man utd looks pretty boring so far, although i only watch during lulls in the barca b game, to be fair.

    1. Nolito corner to Soriano, who was well back from the box. One touch to control, then smacked it in. Really nice. But a better team would have had someone covering Soriano.

    1. Dang. Very nice one, too. Arsenal seemed to be dominating up to that point. Hope this doesn’t knock the stuffing out of them.

    2. Dunno. I like Rafael, Fabio, and Hernandez and it’s hard to root against them. Harder to root for Arsenal recently (gee, I wonder why!) too. I’M CONFLICTED!

    3. BTW, did you happen to look at the Inter offside the day we played Arsenal? Talk about hate… lol. You would think we were the ones who advanced to the CL final and not Inter.

    4. I like Chicharito, he’s got mad skillz, and Rio is great, but other than that I can’t stand ManU. I still like Arsenal, although I am a lot less fond of Arsene Wenger than I was, the big whiner, and I have always disliked RVP.

    5. 1) Inter and their fans can keep hating because everyone know that even though they won the CL, no-one gives a crap about them 😀

      2) I don’t like Man Utd, either TBH. I like them more than Arsenal right now though. Chelsea are still tops on the EPL hate list.

      Maybe I’ll just bandwagon on Spurs or something…

  22. Soriano would do well with the 1st team I think, JDS has a bright future…jeez the B team is good.

    1. As well as he’s doing with Barça B, I don’t think Soriano would do well with us at all.

    2. Not as a starter, but I think his finishing and movement would work better coming off the bench than Bojan.

  23. Wouldn’t it be great if Messi would win the Pichichi in the first and Soriano in the 2nd league?

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