European Roulette: A Look At Potential Champions League Opponents

Every year when the time comes for the Champions League quarterfinal draw I spend countless hours thinking about who I would like Barcelona to face. There is usually a distinct line between the teams I would like to face, and the teams I would rather avoid – the blanks and the bullets, respectively. This year is a bit different as Barcelona is accepted in many circles as the clear favorite. This doesn’t mean we are looking at a gun full of bullets – anything can happen in the Champions League and it would be foolish to take any of our potential opponents lightly. With that said, let’s take a look at the teams still in the competition.

Barcelona: Suffice to say, we are the bullet in this year’s edition of the Champions League.

Tottenham: Tottenham is an interesting team. They denied AC Milan even a single goal in the last round, yet they have only maintained a clean sheet in 5 of their 28 Premier League games. A Tottenham – Barcelona draw would certainly be exciting; Tottenham has an attacking mindset and they score goals, but they also sport a notoriously leaky defense. Against Milan they looked to play the ball wide and make crosses to the 6’7″ Crouch lurking at the back post. Van der Vaart has been successful creating in the hole behind the strikers and according to Capello, Bale is the best player in the world. Harry Redknapp has certainly crafted a successful and entertaining squad, but the team lacks experience at this stage and that will ultimately prove to be their kryptonite.

Schalke: When you look at this list of teams Schalke stands out as the weakest. Schalke is currently lounging in 10th in the Bundesliga, and although they knocked out Valencia it was a closely fought affair. If you stopped me on the street and asked me to name Schalke players I could give you Raul and Huntelaar. Raul has been rolling back the years with 13 goals in all competitions, including 3 in Europe. Huntelaar has added another 3 and Farfan is leading the team with 4. Looking further back Neuer is a beast between the posts and he could certainly cause our forwards some headaches – especially if we are as profligate as we were in London.

Shakhtar Donetsk: Ahh, the undeniable dark horse of the competition this season. Lucescu has built a really cool team that relies on the grit of their eastern European players and the flair of the many Brazilians at the club. Their intriguing style and the fact that they are the home of the ex-Barcelona player Chygrynskiy has me hoping they do well (aka we don’t draw them). They score goals from all over the field; with 18 goals in Europe this season and not one player with more than 4. Having won the last UEFA Cup in 2009 they are no strangers to the European stage. They haven’t lost at home since October 22, 2008, despite moving to their shiny new Donbass Arena in that period. That is not a home record to be trifled with. Their recent 6-2 aggregate win over Roma was reminiscent of how we were beating teams in ’08-’09, and on their day they could beat any team left in the competition.

Inter Milan: My blood pressure still rises when I think about Inter knocking us out last year, and I’m torn between wanting revenge and thinking it is too soon to see them again. Although they limped through the first half of their season, they have been much better since the winter break (and the departure of Benitez). Samuel Eto’o, a man close to my heart, is their obvious danger man and with 8 goals in Europe he is tied for the lead with our very own Messi. They like to play a physical, fast brand of football and this is they type of football that can cause us trouble. While they had trouble with Bayern, the fact that they were able to pull through when it counted is a testament to their mental strength (who said tough men don’t cry?) The team is hitting form at the right part of the season and they have the quality to make a serious push for the trophy.

Manchester United: Although currently leading the Premier League, United isn’t the feared powerhouse they were only 3 seasons ago. Their long unbeaten run in the league covered up some of their weaknesses, but the cracks are starting to show. Rooney has been a shadow of himself, their center midfielders are either old or not of the highest quality, and their defense has cracks whenever Ferdinand or Vidic is out. It’s not all bad for United though, as Hernandez has an eye for goal like I have a nose for freshly baked brownies. They also have the mental toughness of a battle hardened Marine, and it is this quality more than anything else that makes them so dangerous. They know how to win even when they aren’t the better team on the day, and that separates the winners from the losers in the Champions League. Despite this, their lack of quality compared to United teams of yore will cause them issues this season.

Chelsea: Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea. Here is a team that causes us trouble pretty much every time we play them. It’s been a roller coaster type of year for them, both in terms of results and because they spent a ridiculous amount of money on Torres and Luiz in the winter window. The squad boosts some big names but they are rapidly aging in some key areas (Terry and Lampard) and Ancelotti seems to be having trouble finding the right formation to effectively fit in all those big name players. Anelka has been their danger man in Europe with 7 goals in 7 appearances. A comfortable 2-0 aggregate win over Copenhaven doesn’t tell us much about their prospects, but all the other evidence seems to suggest they are at the beginning of a rebuilding period. I’m of the opinion that they missed their window to win a Champions League and may have to wait a year or two for the window to open again.

Real Madrid: For the first time in 7 years we have the chance to face Real in the Champions League (ohhh burn!). As it is hard to not follow their result in La Liga and we have already faced them once this season (with two more already guaranteed), I’m not going to go into detail about how they play other than to say I think they are a better team when Ronaldo isn’t on the field. Although the possibility of a manita of wins against our bitter rivals is enticing, I would prefer not to draw them. The longer they remain in contention for the Champions League, the more worn out they will be in the league race. It is also just more fun to play a team that we aren’t guaranteed to play at least twice every season.

My personal blanks: Tottenham, Schalke, Manchester United, Chelsea

My personal bullets: Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Real Madrid

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144 Comments

  1. Lev
    March 17, 2011

    I am more interested in who meets EE than who meets Barça, and the only reason I want us to meet the weakest team possible is so that EE does not get the weakest team possible. Reason being is that I do not want to play them in the CL.

    Also, what Capello actually said was that Bale is the best player in his position, and I even believe it was it was in relation to his age.

  2. Jnice
    March 17, 2011

    Nice post, vicsoc.

    Like I said before, I would prefer we draw Schalke for obvious reasons.

    I’ll put my money on us drawing Inter, though.

    Oh, and according to a British journalist currently in Nyon, in the rehearsal draw, we were drawn against…..HALA Madrid.

  3. blitzen
    March 17, 2011

    I already mentioned my picks for the next round would be Tottenham (great game potential), Schalke (weakest link), or Inter (Schadenfreude factor).

    I will just add here that if we meet Inter and for whatever reason we lose, somehow, some way, Mourinho will manage to take the credit for it. You know it’s true.

  4. Extreme barca fan
    March 17, 2011

    The only team i want to avoid is Shaktar, just because its a long flight and Eastern European teams are too physical, i would be very happy with any other team, but i’m really hoping we get Madrid

  5. lovelymofo
    March 17, 2011

    I hope we get Shalke. And I hope EE gets Chelsea. With all our troubles at the back, I really want a relatively easy quarter final.

    I’d also like to see Tottenham v Inter.

    And can someone explain to me how its not Friday yet? 😐

    • lovelymofo
      March 17, 2011

      Ugh, I spelled Schalke wrong. I hate typos. Frowns. 🙁 I am totally made of sunshine today.

  6. Lev
    March 17, 2011

    I would love to play Tottenham. Just think they would be two really fun games.

  7. Alex
    March 17, 2011

    Check one two one two, gravatar working?

  8. blitzen
    March 17, 2011

    Valdes on Fontas:

    “Fontàs has more than shown his quality and his level. I personally remember his great game against Almeria. He doesn’t need to demonstrate anything as we all know him here at the Club from the games and the training sessions he has taken part in with us. The fans can rest easy”.

  9. March 17, 2011

    The problem with Madrid is that just like last year, if you give someone enough chances, they’ll beat you. Especially Jose.

    It took Jose three matches to finally beat us. And after that, he couldn’t do it again.

    If we keep playing Madrid, Jose is bound to get a win, and that’s something I’d hate, no matter if we still advance. I don’t want to lose the Copa Del Rey because Jose finally got lucky and wins his first match this season against us in a big way.

    I want Tottenham so we can continue to mute the english skeptics who speak hogwash about the toughness of England. I understand it is still the best league in the world, the personal self-pleasuring that occurs in English TV punditry is nauseating.

    Beating Tottenham would just be another shrunken EPL head on our tribal spear of conquest.

    • Lev
      March 17, 2011

      I don’t think we will “prove” anything to mute the English skeptics by playing Tottenham. Nobody but the most hardy fool believes the Spurs would stand a chance against us.

      Your reasons for now wanting to play Madrid sums up my feelings exactly, though. Play them enough times in one season and we will lose.

      • Extreme barca fan
        March 17, 2011

        Disagree, we are a much better team than last year, there is no volcano this time around (yet), Iniesta is fit, Ibra is gone, messi getting better and better.
        Also the Madrid set of players is much different from that of inter, Madrid play a much more open game and could never defend they way inter did last year, and thats a compliment to Madrid not a criticism.

        • Lev
          March 17, 2011

          Uh we might be a better team, but do you need reminding that for more than a month now we have just been getting by. We were almost out of the CL courtesy of Whinger and Co. drew against Sevilla and Sporting and the rest of the games we mostly won 1-0. Also the rock of our defence might not play this season, let alone the QFs.

          • Extreme barca fan
            March 17, 2011

            No reminding needed, i know we were just getting by lately, but i’m an optimist, i think its a phase that will go away and that we will be back to our best very soon.
            Also “Whinger and Co” s a catch, very nice

  10. March 17, 2011

    I’m all for drawing Schalke. Considering we have away games at Villarreal, Real Madrid and the cup final in those 2.5 weeks apart from the 2 quarter-final games, and considering there isn’t much likelihood of player rotation (yeah right!) in that time window, I’d really prefer an easy draw for once.

    Still waiting on news about Abidal, wish someone would just let us know how it went.

    • March 17, 2011

      barcastuff: The operation of Abidal has finished. The club is expected to publish a statement soon. [sport]

      Keeping fingers crossed for Abi.

  11. March 17, 2011

    I don’t believe in looking to “make a point” for the quarterfinals, so I am all in favor of drawing Schalke. The fact that they just recently switched managers and have more problems domestically to focus on means that they would be the “most straightforward” draw.

    I don’t want any English teams because frankly I am nauseated at the idea of getting the same massive exposure in the English media that we got from playing Arsenal. I don’t even want Spurs, though we could do Arsenal a favor if we knock them out.

    Shaktar is a menacing option, and I’d like them to take down a giant, but not us. There’s a bit of morbo with Inter, but I’d rather avoid that little ball of hate, even though I know we can beat them (with that defense).

    And no, god no, I do not want EE. As fun as manitas are, play a team enough and they are bound to beat you once. Besides, if we lose to any of those possibly 4 matches, then they would claim it to be a successful season for them (particularly the CdR). That club can be allowed no happiness.

    So bring on Schalke, please 🙂 We already beat the best of the group runner-ups in Arsenal, we should get a gimme for this one, right?

  12. Eklavya
    March 17, 2011

    From the best possible choice for us, to the worst:

    1. Schalke
    2. ManU
    3. Shaktar
    4. Inter
    5. Tottenham
    6. Chelsea
    7. Real

    I’d rather draw ManU than Tottenham. We are having sort of a defensive crisis and Tottenham have the advantage of exploiting our weakness. They have 2 Walcotts in Bale and Lennon. Both are horribly fast and ,unlike Walcott, have better passing skills. They’d probably park the bus and hit us on counter.

    ManU on the other hand, don’t look to scary. Seems like Valencia is back from injury though but I can’t see them hurting us too much without the ball. Their defense and offense are average this season.

    I’d rather not draw Chelsea, especially if we have to play the first leg at home. We’d get a crazy hostile reception at Stamford Bridge. Yikes.

    As for Real Madrid, I have to agree with JMo. I think if we play them too often Mourinho will manage to brew up something.

    It’d be nice if Real got Chelsea, Tottenham got Inter, we get Schalke and ManU get Shaktar.

    • March 18, 2011

      We’re going to play Madrid four times in 15 days. And depending on the locations, we may have to play Madrid away from the Camp three times in a row before finally getting them in our fortress.

      FOUR TIMES IN 15 DAYS!

      Essentially, that period of time is going to be the best ever, or the worst.

      I’m just glad Abidal can be healthy by the time we get to EE, barring a victory of Shakhtar.

      I usually think having the second leg at home is the best thing, but when it’s against an inferior team, (IMO Shakhtar are clearly inferior) we can stack up the goals at home and not have to stress too much away.

      No disrespect to Donestk, but I’m fine with playing at home in the first leg. Had it been Real, MUFC, or Chelsea, it’s another story.

  13. soccermomof4
    March 17, 2011

    From Barcastuff:

    Official: Abidal had surgery for 3 hours. The tumor has been totally removed. He could leave the hospital in a week. #fcblive #animsabidal

      • soccermomof4
        March 17, 2011

        🙂
        Now we pray that the pathology results are benign!

  14. Para
    March 17, 2011

    From barcastuff:
    Official: Abidal had surgery for 3 hours. The tumor has been totally removed. He could leave the hospital in a week.

  15. March 17, 2011

    Also, seeing as these draws always manage to “randomly” produce media storylines, this is a likely draw:

    EE vs Inter, aka Mourinho faces the club he just won the UCL with!
    Chelsea vs Spurs, aka London derby toward the London UCL Final!
    Barca vs ManU, aka 2009 UCL Final revisited! Battle of Liga leaders versus EPL leaders!
    Shaktar vs. Schalke, aka Well… there always seems to be one QF tie that send through a team that might not hav made it to the Semis otherwise!

  16. Eklavya
    March 17, 2011

    From the official site:

    http://www.fcbarcelona.cat/web/catala/noticies/futbol/temporada10-11/03/17/n110317116354.html

    “The player has been operated on this afternoon’s team doctor Jose Fuster Obregón in Barnaclínic, Group Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, ​​the tumor in the liver.

    During the operation, which took approximately three hours, he could practice, laparoscopic, the complete removal of the lesion, without incident.

    Depending on the clinical outcome, the player could receive discharge within approximately one week.

    By the express desire of the player, the Club requires the utmost respect for the right to privacy and confidentiality.”

  17. blaunero
    March 17, 2011

    I have a feeling we’ll draw Chelsea or Real, both teams I’d rather not face at all. At this moment I doubt there’s a team around to take down this Real Madrid. And we always struggle against Chelsea. Inter I’m not so sure about. I hoped Bayern could kick them out so we could face the Bavarians, for I think they are a terrible team in defense. Alas Inter took advantage of that weakness and will now feel confident.

    Manchester UTD – Schalke 04
    Shakhtar D. – Chelsea
    Inter – Tottenham
    Real Madrid – Barca

  18. mardia
    March 17, 2011

    The teams I absolutely don’t want to face are Inter and Real Madrid. Real Madrid because even if we beat them every time, it’ll be horribly draining on our players, having to get fired up for a Clasico FOUR times in one month. No.

    If I had to pick, I’d choose Schalke. Frankly, I don’t want any of the English teams, as I’ve had more than enough of the British press crawling over this club, looking for quotes to twist. (Headline: Guardiola calls Gareth Bale “crap”, thinks Hernandez is “overrated”. Never mind that Pep’s not interested in insulting people.)

  19. beeeef
    March 17, 2011

    Whatever team we get, I hope we finally get it together and start performing better away from home in Europe.

    From a purely sporting view, it’s great to see a high stakes 2nd leg CL knockout game at the Nou Camp. But such games take a visible toll on the squad both mentally and physically, as we saw this past weekend. And remember, our win over arsenal only guarantees our spot in the quarter-finals. We still have a long way to go.

    I’m tried of seeing this team start well and grab the lead away from home (Arsenal twice, Inter), but than implode and end up conceding two or more goals. We have to play a great game, and stay focused for the entire 90 minutes. If anything, a good 1st leg result will alleviate some of the pressure surrounding the league and other competitions we’re involved in.

  20. March 17, 2011

    Wonderful news on Abidal. Fingers crossed it all goes for the best. He seems like a wonderful person. And though I know I’m biased, I do think he very much in the conversation as the best defender in Eurpoe this season. It’s hard to think back to last summer and the world cup. I actually now think that CB is abidal’s best position.

    Regarding the draw – given the teams injuries I would love a draw against Schalke.

    Shakhtar is a very dangerous opponent. Not only is the geography a major issue – that is just a very talented football team now and one that is well coached.

    • Para
      March 17, 2011

      I’m sure I’m telling you things you already know, but I was reading an interview Abidal did from some time ago, and he said that he actually prefers to play in the centre, which is where he started, but that when he moved to Lyon they needed him to play out left, so he did.

      • March 17, 2011

        Para,

        I remember reading that as well and thinking to myself – what the heck is he thinking.

        In the past he just hasn’t been very good at CB, to put it kindly.

        At the WC he was just awful – but then that was such a disaster that it was probably just impossible to actually function under DomDom’s insanity.

        Abidal once again demonstrates how deep Pep’s understanding and vision of football is. He really is just a footballing genius. I don’t think there was much doubt in Pep’s mind that Abidal could anchor the center. And he has.

        Just like Pep seemed to always have a sense for what Busi and P!

        The way Abidal has played this season is pretty close to ideal for the Barca system. His skill set is fantastic (outside of a few errant backpasses deep).

        The more I’ve watched the backline this season and Pique play the more I think that Barca is going to need a player with pace to play CB in the future.

        Headed to next season I would like to see the club explore options at LB and move Abidal to CB to set up a three man rotation at CB between Abidal, Pique, and Puyol.

        Anyway, I’m getting ahead of things now but it’s very nice to think about Abidal next season as I hope and believe he’s going to be fine.

        • Miguel
          March 17, 2011

          “The more I’ve watched the backline this season and Pique play the more I think that Barca is going to need a player with pace to play CB in the future.”

          -exactly. & exactly why i’d like to avoid tottenham in the champions league. what bale did to maicon & benitez’s backline was just comical.

          “play a team enough….” that’s exactly why pep wants to avoid shakhtar & i’m sure real madrid.

          i haven’t seen enough of inter under leonardo so i can’t really comment on them. the fact that they came back to beat bayern like that a couple days ago scares me, though. man utd & chelsea could easily pull a result like that out of their asses, too.

          i’d prefer schalke.

  21. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 17, 2011

    I know that in a Cup game, every team can knock us out…
    but if I have to choose, it will be Schalke…
    it will be nice to have Raul Gonzalez a.k.a Prince of Bernabeu in Spain again… 😛

    if not Schalke, I’ll take Tottenham Hotspur…
    I know, I hate all British media hype and they have an incredible pace,
    but I just don’t want any more “revenge” drama…

    but if UEFA wants more “revenge” drama for us, it will be between Inter Milan, MU, Chelsea, and of course, EE…

    and Donetsk, nah uh… the weather is terrifying me…

    the team I want the least : Haha Madrid a.k.a Evil Empire…
    4 El Clasicos in a month is just too much… yikes…

  22. mega_tajh
    March 17, 2011

    So who else is excited for Villarreal this year in Europe? With both Mancity and Liverpool out of it I believe they have a genuine shot at winning it this year(once they avoid the Portuguese teams for now). It would certainly help them in terms of keeping players like Rossi and Borja motivated to stay with the club. Also hahah to all those EPl fan boys 😉

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      I am very excited for the Yellow Submarine, as they are my second favourite Liga team! They have struggled for form lately, though, so I hope they can get their mojo back.

      • mega_tajh
        March 17, 2011

        Yeah I noticed their drop in form to but they seem to pull it off in Europe for some reason. Playing 2 games a week seems to be affecting their La liga games in terms of fatigue.

        I must admit doh Rossi is such a big game player, he always scores for them when needed. I think he leads the scoring charts in Europa League with 7 goals.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 17, 2011

      Meeeeeeee!

      I’m really excited for Yellow Submarine!

      I hope they’ll win Europa League… 😀

    • Ryan
      March 17, 2011

      I love seeing them do well in Europe, especially after seeing them push us so well earlier in the season. Here’s hoping they keep their players and do some damage in the CL next season!

  23. blitzen
    March 17, 2011

    Relieved that Abi’s operation went well. Now we just have to wait for the biopsy to see what he is dealing with. I have every confidence that he will make a fast and complete recovery.

    Today I booked off a couple of vacation days–I’ll be watching the Copa final live from home, manita in hand. 😀

  24. mega_tajh
    March 17, 2011

    My personal take for 2moro is seeing a Madrid vs Chelsea match up and a Barca vs ManU match up. I know we have nothing to prove in the quarter-finals but taking out a giant such as ManU would surly confirm us on the heights this team can reach this season. Shakhtar vs Inter Milan would also be fun to see how far Inter has really grown under Leonardo and finally Spurs vs The Germans for at least one underdog making it to the semis.

  25. March 17, 2011

    I think everyone is under estimating Man utd. The reason why they don’t seem their best right now is because of all the injuries. When they are in full health, they could be real trouble. Don’t under estimate the experience and level headedness players like giggs bring to the team. With that said, at this point, most of the teams are good. There is usually one or two teams that you would prefer to play against (Schalke and Tottenham this year) while the rest are all strong.

    I am surprised you guys want to avoid Inter Milan so much. Leonardo is not the best tactician in my opinion, and their defense is not as strong as it was last year. Plus, aside from a couple of players, they are not the most talented bunch. And you won’t see Eto at left/right back this time around.

    When writing an article about this for my blog (you can see it by clicking my name), i went with Inter as the second choice. Tottenham was my first. Schalke was between 3rd and fourth (I chose Man utd in 4th). Yes Schalke are easiest to beat, but the possibility of Raul scoring against us brings tears to my eyes.

      • blitzen
        March 17, 2011

        Evil Empire my ass…. LOL. 😀

        I think I can speak for most people on this blog when I say that gesture from RM and Lyon players was very much appreciated. Football has its rivalries, but some things are just more important than that. I hope we would have done the same for one of your players.

        But your team is still evil… 😉

        • March 17, 2011

          Didn’t have my hopes up of changing your mind on it… It’s what makes this rivalry so special 😉

      • March 17, 2011

        Hey Bassam, I really appreciate RM’s gesture at the end of the match. Maybe they aren’t that evil after all 😛

        Anyhow, I think we can agree that we don’t want RM and Barca to meet in the quarters. Later, perhaps, hopefully in the final (!), but not yet. Could you imagine having FIVE Clasicos in one season? And one more chance for RM to overcome a FIVE point deficit? And all to play for too… there are, after all, still FIVE matches to play in the UCL, if one makes the final.

        • blitzen
          March 17, 2011

          This post was brought to you by the number FIVE. 😛

          • March 17, 2011

            Holly shits and stones. This just blew my mind hole. Five is in fashion these days. I hope tomorrow is an exception though. The psychological effect that five Clasicos can have on the players and the fans is just too much. Too much I tell ya. Too much!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        March 17, 2011

        btw, your team is still an Evil Empire… sorry… 😛

        but really, thanks to all Madrid family who give Abidal prayers and supports… 🙂

      • Nav
        March 17, 2011

        Man why are official club websites always so crappy looking (FCB included)…

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 17, 2011

      I don’t…

      I prefer Hotspur than MU…
      MU are not GREAT this season, but I can say, they are stable…
      mentally and defensively strong…

      I saw them against Arsenal, played with 7 defenders with limited players, but still managed to win 2-0…
      and SAF, like Mou, is a genius coach…

      Inter is not as great as last year, that’s true…
      but without Abidal and we still don’t know when Puyol will be back,
      I’m worry to face any team with a player like Eto’o…

      btw, Bassam…we really appreciate your post about Abidal…
      both fans (Cule and Madridista) visit each other in our forum and was quoting your words… thank you so much, Bassam… 🙂

      this is me in Madrid Forum :
      http://www.kaskus.us/showpost.php?p=387211946&postcount=2769

      this is also me in Barcelona Forum :
      http://www.kaskus.us/showpost.php?p=386450054&postcount=994

      and this is a Madridista comes to our forum :
      http://www.kaskus.us/showpost.php?p=387700455&postcount=1260

      • March 17, 2011

        Oh wow, this is cool. Thanks for posting it! What is the language btw? Looks really interesting! Its nice to see both Real MAdrid and Barcelona fans working together on this. And thankfully with all the good vibe seems to be working in Abidals favor 🙂

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          March 17, 2011

          like my name, BarcaGirl_Indo…
          Kaskus is the largest Indonesian forum…
          it’s Indonesian language…

          the supports for Abidal is amazing…

          usually we only visit each other at the end of the season (when Barça/Madrid win something) or after El Clasico…
          it’s a very rare thing to see cule and madridista in kaskus have a conversation in peace like that…ha! 😀

          so to see them visit us and give Abidal support, wow…
          humanity above rivalry! 🙂

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 17, 2011

      I don’t…

      I prefer Hotspur than MU…
      MU are not GREAT this season, but I can say, they are stable…
      mentally and defensively strong…

      I saw them against Arsenal, played with 7 defenders with limited players, but still managed to win 2-0…
      and SAF, like Mou, is a genius coach…

      Inter is not as great as last year, that’s true…
      but without Abidal and we still don’t know when Puyol will be back,
      I’m worry to face any team with a player like Eto’o…

      btw, Bassam…we really appreciate your post about Abidal…
      both fans (Cule and Madridista) visit each other in our forum and was quoting your words… thank you so much, Bassam… 🙂

      this is me in Madrid Forum :
      _http://www.kaskus.us/showpost.php?p=387211946&postcount=2769_

      this is also me in Barcelona Forum :
      _http://www.kaskus.us/showpost.php?p=386450054&postcount=994_

      and this is a Madridista comes to our forum :
      _http://www.kaskus.us/showpost.php?p=387700455&postcount=1260_

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        March 17, 2011

        huh, double posts? sorry… 🙁

  26. Víctor
    March 17, 2011

    Call me arrogant, but I don’t think that any of those teams can defeat Barcelona. Unless a miracle happens… like a volcano erupting, players with injuries and overall bad luck for Barca.

    Really. Of all of those teams, I think that just Inter may give us trouble… and that’s a maybe. Others could put a challenge for a while, but eventually will go down.

    If I had to choose, I’d choose Manchester United… here in Mexico the match would be great… many people in here would like to see Chicharito play against Barcelona…

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      Actually, I wouldn’t mind Chicharito playing for Barcelona. Just sayin’.

      • Barcaleya
        March 17, 2011

        I agree. He’s quite good in finishing. Which is sorely lacking from our team lately. I’ve seen some of their games in fact and given all our injuries and recent lack of form (in front of goal, at least) – I don’t want to play Man U either.

        Having read all of the informed comments here, I think that our safest opponent would be Shalke. I also agree with your comment under that a bad call or a bad pass can undo all our brilliance especially when we don’t score many goals for insurance.

        I can only hope that our team will work harder to make up for our makeshift defense and our lack of scoring prowess lately.

        • Víctor
          March 17, 2011

          Totally agree, guys. I think that Hernandez would be a good addition to the team. He is quite dynamic and has good finishing and he’s young… and, even better, he’s a humble man. Like most players, he’d need time to adapt, though.

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      And I should add, that any of those teams can defeat Barcelona on the day. We should not let the brilliance of our team blind us to the fact that in football anything can happen. A bad call, a bad pass, a moment of genius from an unexpected quarter. That’s football. We are all saying, oh Schalke would be an easy draw. But on the day, what happens will happen.

      • March 17, 2011

        A perfect example of this is Greece in euro 2004. Were they the best team? Far from it. But they won the tournament.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 17, 2011

      if I’m not wrong, Tottenham only have ONE shot on goal in 2 legs against Milan…
      but that 1 shot on goal is enough…
      just like us against Chelsea in the semifinal at Stamford Bridge…

      and remember, Arsenal was that close to quarter final when Bendtner almost scored in 87th minute…

      the best team in the world? I believe that…
      an invincible team? definitely not…

      • Víctor
        March 17, 2011

        Not denying anything of that, BarcaGirl. Barcelona, at the end of day, is human. And, obviously, we aren’t invincible.

        That’s why I said “call me arrogant”… because I know that we haven’t won anything yet (the most important statistic so far)… and obviously what happens on the pitch is what matters.

        However, even when analyzing the eight teams in a “cold way” I don’t see which one could defeat Barcelona under normal circumstances. (Iniesta, Messi and Pedro injured, a totally bad reffing, our players being on a bad day, etc…)

        If you ask “which team you definitely don’t want to face?” to the fans of the other 7 teams, I bet that the answer #1 will be: Barcelona.

        And I think that most people would agree with that… even when being said would sound arrogant.

        At the end of the day, though, whichever rival we draw… we should respect and take it seriously. If the players come out to the pitch with the “we already won” attitude, then we may be in for a big surprise.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          March 17, 2011

          and I won’t deny anything you said either…completely agree… 😀

          like vicsoc said :
          “we are the bullet in this year’s edition of the Champions League.”

          in normal circumstances, with the right mentality, with a full squad, no bad referee decisions,
          yes, it’s hard to see anyone could beat us…
          not arrogant, just being realistic here…

          but unfortunately, the “X factors” can kill us…
          like injuries, suspensions, bad referee, and of course, volcanoes…hehe…

  27. Barcaleya
    March 17, 2011

    From Sergio Ramos – “We feel a bit jealous when we see Barcelona players are everywhere applauded while we are whistled.”

    This is a testament to the brilliance of the team and the all in all “good” and humble nature of most of our players. Very proud of the team and hope we get our “manita” form back to win all the cups this year and more in the coming years.

    • mega_tajh
      March 17, 2011

      I think the continuous whistles Madrid gets are all down to the Mou Factor.Since his spat with Preciado and the “infamous” List of Refereeing mistakes, crowds have rallied around to stop madrid so to speak( i.e-the 2 ball time wasting trick)

      Also it doesn’t help when you have CR7 in your team who is hated in Spain by various teams. But in all they do have some respectable players like Iker,Xabi(despite all his on field kicking),Arbeloa,Ozil,Higuain etc.

      • Barcaleya
        March 17, 2011

        I wish all the whistling will stop them from playing well. But it doesn’t. Ugh. Ozil has been fantastic lately and so is Xabi.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          March 17, 2011

          well, sometimes it works…

          for example against Osasuna, the atmosphere was incredibly hostile towards EE…

          and don’t ever forget the horror atmosphere at Camp Nou on November 2010…
          before, EE were doing great at that time, until they met us and 98.000 cules…

        • Víctor
          March 17, 2011

          Ozil is a great player… but he has yet to have a great performance in an important match. Not saying that that won’t happen, eventually he’ll have to… but it’s mainly in the most important and crucial matches where you really see the potential of the players.

  28. Lou
    March 17, 2011

    I hope we don’t play Madrid, partially because I agree with posters above that if we play Madrid four times in a month we won’t win every game.

    But mostly the Champions League is where you want to meet other great teams and see how your club matches up to them. We already get to play RM 4 times this year. I’d like Barca to be paired with team I haven’t seen them play before. So bring on Spurs or Schalke.

  29. Benj
    March 17, 2011

    I dont get why Manure are doing that well in the EPL, when you look at their squad, even at full strength, I think they are far below alot of other sides.

    GK: Van Der Sar – Very decent Keeper.
    LB: Evra – Decent. Fabio – Rubbish
    CB: Vidic – Good Defender. Ferdinand – Too old n slow. Smalling and Evans – Too young, inexperienced and not that good.
    RB: Rafael, O’Shea, Brown – All absolute rubbish.
    CM: Scholes – Too old and a hack. Carrick, Fletcher, Park, Anderson – Just not that good really.
    Wings: Valencia and Nani – Good quick tricky wingers. Giggs – Great, but cant really play full games. Obertan – Sucks.
    FWD: Berbatov – Lazier than Anelka. Rooney – Couldnt score in a brothel…. oh wait!… Hernandez – Still getting the hang of it but looks good.

    Compare that to our full strength lineup and wow.

    I’d love to play ManU and give them a right hiding…

    • barca96
      March 17, 2011

      😆 @ Rooney.
      What you meant to say is, he couldn’t score a young chick.

      I don’t know about Rafael. I read good comments about him everywhere.

      • Benj
        March 17, 2011

        Rafael has some pace but can’t tackle without getting carded and is too argumentative with both the ref and other players.
        Massive liability for any backline

    • ak
      March 18, 2011

      i disagree. even though i don’t like united at all, especially their manager and their playing style, your notes above are very incorrect.
      vds, evra, vidic and valencia are best in their postions in the premier league
      ferdinand is like a more experienced version of pique, only much more consistent(but he’s probably out for the season)
      the rest are all world class players
      even after losing ronaldo and with a supposedly average team, arsenal still weren’t able to touch them in their game recently, even though they have managed to retain all their players over the years and who have supposedly gained a lot of maturity
      but the thing i admire most about them is that they are probably THE most fit team in the world. if they are ever drawing or losing a game, their last ten minutes of the game are very, very intense

      • Benj
        March 18, 2011

        Personally I rate Reina over VDS as a keeper, far better shot stopper and has amazing distribution (has his off days but is let down by a shaky defense). Evra is great, but not as good as Abidal 😀 Vidic is probably the best CB in the premier league, but who does he have to compete with? Terry? Vermaelen? Carra? Lescott? And Valencia is definately not the best winger in the league, I’d take any of: Bale, Nani, Lennon, Nasri, Arshavin, AJohnson or Kalou before him.

        I am a bit biased because I hate United, their players, manager, style and (most of their) supporters.

  30. ak
    March 17, 2011

    it’s been a long time since i got some quality time on my pc

    so firstly, good to know that abidal’s surgery went great, can’t wait for the return of the king

    and specifically on this post, i would like barca to face united. simply because they are having nearly as many injuries at the back as we are. it would be a shame to have a match without the full teams, but it would possibly ensure a level field

    • barca96
      March 18, 2011

      At the end of the day, people are not going to say,
      “Oh, Barca won because the oppositions have a depleted squad” cause how many times can you face a depleted squad in the CL?
      I’d rather take the easiest route. And the end of the day, who lifts the trophy will go in teh record books.
      Nobody cares who came 2nd, 3rd etc.

  31. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 18, 2011

    @barcastuff :
    People at the Spanish football federation think that Puyol might not play anymore this season. #fcblive [el confidencial]

    🙁

    • Helge
      March 18, 2011

      T_T I read that, too. Thatv would seriously reduce our title chances, imo…

  32. Anonymous_69
    March 18, 2011

    It’s true that Barcelona haven’t exactly been at their manita best in a while, and tiredness might be a factor, but it’s mostly a mental thing. The tie to Sporting and loss to Arsenal created a lot of unease and discomfort, and the overall media pressure during our February madness was definitely something the team didn’t need. Then the players were distracted because of Pep’s injury, and it was something that obviously affected the player’s motivation. The seven point lead twice being dropped to five probably is also on the player’s minds, and the overall average 1-0 wins, after being in brilliant form prior, creates a little tension. The win against Arsenal helped relax the players, but the controversy with the ref (it wasn’t too big a deal, and I still believe is was the right decision to send RVP off) angered some of the players like Adriano and Mascherano. The doping problem and then the “random moment” doping check on the players wasn’t good for the team moral. Then the draw against Sevilla showed everyone some problems. The front line is missing too many chances, Pedro is in bad form, ect. The fact that five players got injured and are all still a doubt for the Getafe match is also worrying the players and giving the team a headache. Then the absolute worst – Abidal’s tumor. He has been the team’s savior this season, and the team will miss him a lot, but that’s nothing compared to the depression it must have created. Even Xavi said it is the worst ever moment in the dressing room, and the players didn’t want to train. All these problems, with the general fact that the team really has been for a while struggling for results, is almost doubled when you think that they have to get through everything without Puyol’s leadership, which is a big deal. For once, the international break will be good for Barca. What the players really need right now is to get away from club football and club pressures and worries for two weeks, team up with old friends from their nation, relax a bit, take a mental break, play hard to represent their countries, then come back more motivated as ever, hopefully with all injured players back, more positive info about Abidal, and Puyol knocking Pique into good form.

    • barca96
      March 18, 2011

      Hi,
      the doping checks are always random in all the sports that I know off, football and cycling.

  33. 145culegirl
    March 18, 2011

    I am new to this site though I’ve been following this blog for sometime.I think Schalke would be a good option to us following the difficulties we have now.I would certainly want to avoid Chelsea or Real as the former would be looking for a revenge and the latter too.
    Four el clasicos in just in one month is too much for the Barca fan’s health.Chelsea would park the bus which is also disastrous for us.
    Do we play the first leg at home?I badly want the second leg at Camp Nou.

  34. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 18, 2011

    talk about the worst possibility…

    are you guys optimis we can get trophy/trophies IF both Puyol and Abidal out for the rest of the season,
    while we only have under perform players (Pique and Milito) and a new promoted Barça B player (Fontas) in CB spot?
    and Busquets, of course…for emergency situation…

  35. xavi
    March 18, 2011

    Apr 24, 2011 : Valencia – Real
    Madrid
    Apr 20, 2011 : Copa del Rey : Barcelona
    – Real Madrid
    Apr 17, 2011 : Real Madrid –
    Barcelona
    Apr 10, 2011 : Athletic Bilbao –
    Real Madrid
    Apr 3, 2011 : Real Madrid –
    Sporting de Gijon

    Apr 20, 2011 : Copa del Rey : Barcelona
    – Real Madrid
    Apr 17, 2011 : Real Madrid –
    Barcelona
    Apr 10, 2011 : Barcelona –
    Almeria
    Apr 3, 2011 : Villarreal –
    Barcelona

    Considering the fixtures list of both the clubs we should be hopeful of us facing a weaker opponent, if there were any of course! And we should be even more hopeful that Madrid shouldn’t face that opponent!! As you could see from the fixture list, although Madrid have a theoretically simple fixture ahead of their quarter final 1st leg, once past that they have a real tight schedule. Between the two legs of quarters they have to face Bilbao away, a must win game against us following the second leg, the final next which is followed by a tricky trip to Mestalla. So if they were to face a tougher opponent in the CL quarters, they will just give up on the league instead concentrating solely on the CL and the cup final. So I’d hope they are not drawn against Schalke. And since Raul needs to welcomed back to Spain, I’d like us to do the honours. It would be good to see old friends huh each other too. I know there are never an ‘easy team’ in a cup competition but if one couldn’t beat this Schalke which is in such a crisis situation then they don’t deserve to lift the CL, nuf said!!

    Also let’s consider our opponents before the 1st leg. Villarreal are standing 4th with a comfortable lead over their nearest opponents, them being the stinky espanyol. They’ll be facing Bilbao this weekend, who are just a point below espanyol. So people do pray Villarreal do beat Bilbao this weekend because that would ensure the fight for 4th position is put to bed since espanyol and Bilban are yet to face each other. A positive result against Bilbao would hopefully make Villarreal not go crazy against us because they too have continental match to take care of in the mid-week after they face us… Also if the CL place is virtually confirmed they don’t have anything left to play for in the league and they can go full-on for Europa

    Conclusion : Hope madrid gets Chelsea or Inter for the quarters, us Schalke and Villarreal learn from their previous mistakes, avoid European hangover and who against Bilbao this weekend

    • Helge
      March 18, 2011

      I’d like Real Madrid to meet Inter, Chelsea or ManUtd, and us to play Schalke, Spurs or Shakhtar.

  36. xavi
    March 18, 2011

    @Luis Enrique: “Since
    1996, I have a romance with
    Catalonia, and even more with
    Barça. I hope to keep on living
    here for many years.”

    Dude whatever but Espanyol… I respect his feelings towards Catalonia but it would huge if he signed for Atletico Madrid! Not only do they have resources to challenge the big two they can also pose good challenge in Europe thereby raising the prestige of the league. Also it would be nice to see Atletico not bend over to Madrid once for a change.

    I can honestly say I see good things for the league if Lucho signed for one of the bigger clubs like Atletico or Sevilla

    • barca96
      March 18, 2011

      I would like him to coach Villareal but that is not possible I think.
      But I thought he was going to coach Sporting Gijon? Wherever he goes to, he should take Bojan and some B players with him. On-loan of course!!

  37. xavi
    March 18, 2011

    He’ll mostly go to Gijon… Which is good in Barca perspective, like the kids could go to a first division club where they can be 100% confident they’d get their chances. Like in case of K9, Crosas, etc., we were really run for ransom. Sending players to Lucho would reap benefits like it does for Madrid sending their players to Getafe, in which case even if the players can’t get into Madrid team they generally go on to have a decent-to-excellent career elsewhere!!

    But I think he has got what it takes to manage a big club(he seems to have good tactical knowledge and is a real tough nut towards players sometimes, which is good most of the time) and he is totally capable of a Sevilla or Atletico. Villarreal already do have a good coach, so they don’t really need him me thinks. Also him getting field practice at these clubs would mean our plan B, if Pep decides to leave, is gearing up for the hot seat 😉

    • xavi
      March 18, 2011

      Also is it really a mere coincidence that Lucho announces he is ready to move on, that he hasn’t got enough challenge with the ‘B’, within a week after the claims that he would be considered as plan B in case we were to lose Pep!? That really hard to believe for me!!

    • barca96
      March 18, 2011

      If he does go to Gijon, we could always loan out the players who are currently in B-team that are too good for the 2nd division but not good enough for the 1st team.

      If I was a B-team player. I would only be 80% motivated knowing that you wont get promoted.

      A long time ago, I suggested in another forum that we have a satellite club in Holland or Belgium where we loan out our youth players.

  38. Eklavya
    March 18, 2011

    Bla Bla Bla We just want to talk bla bla bla

  39. Miguel
    March 18, 2011

    real tottenham!

    i think i overdosed on green dye number three.

  40. Miguel
    March 18, 2011

    barcelona shakhtar…fuck. could’ve been worse.

  41. Eklavya
    March 18, 2011

    BARCA VS SHAKTAR! YAY! Not bad.

    Just my luck my internet went down went our name was about to come up.

  42. March 18, 2011

    Note we play at home, then away against Shaktar.

    WE would play at Bernabeu/London, then Camp Nou if we make it to semifinals.

    AY CARAMBA

  43. Eklavya
    March 18, 2011

    PHEW! We didn’t get Real or Inter. OK Draw. Can’t be annoyed.

    • Eklavya
      March 18, 2011

      Stop copying me, you biased idiot.

  44. Eklavya
    March 18, 2011

    If we go till the finals we will get to wear our home kit. Yay!

  45. Roz
    March 18, 2011

    We have home field advantage in the finals then?

  46. March 18, 2011

    We go to Ukraine in midweek, then fly back for the back to back Clasicos….

    • Miguel
      March 18, 2011

      that’s what i’m worried about…& not waking up this morning. 🙁

  47. March 18, 2011

    New post up, folks, aka a perfect place to debate/worry about Shakhtar.

  48. Goo
    March 18, 2011

    We get to play EE in the semis if we both go through? Poooh. I might implode, or something.

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