Postmortem: Barçelona 2 – Getafe 1

Two goalscorers

Of course I choose to volunteer to report on this game. “Oh yeah, Getafe, can’t be that bad right?” Mid-table, up-and-down, why not? Ugh. My reviewing prowess only goes so far, and it is definitely far too limited to cover all the minute aspects uncovered from yesterday’s 2-1 victory. So watch me fall flat on my face won’t you?

Let’s dispense with the quick game return right now. Firstly, our boys missed a few good chances and were unlucky, especially with Messi looking extremely dangerous on the ball at almost all times. Alves was downright deadly and dangerous as usual, but his strike was something of lure to be told again and again. 20 yards, off the volley, perfect knuckling strike. Even with the keeper taking excellent position and making a well-timed dive to the ball, it didn’t matter. That’s the mark of a golazo: cannot be stopped unless by other acts of nature (read: wind). Video of the strike is below, and it’s fucking fabulous.

The goal punctuated a solid 5 minutes and bled into 30 half-chances and a couple of genuine misfires before the half. Villa, in particular, lacked a clinical finishing touch. Oh, and or course there were 2 non-called penalties for Barça, but what are you doing to do, eh? In the second, Bojan started it off right with a nice strike after a good run-up and a nice assist from Messi (again). The game fell into the usual second half shambles around the 70th and Getafe got one back on a nice goal from Manu, but that was it, 3 points and another home win. Plus maybe Bojan took some confidence away from this. Now, on to the takeaways.

Alves:Look, Alves must be re-signed. I do not care what it takes, it’s a requirement. His defense is always underrated, but the real key here is for the offense. His passing is phenomenal and he makes better runs than any player the team has not named Messiah. You can balk and hough at the price tag until you are blue in the face, but it does not change pure fact. When Alves plays in the game, the team is better. The offensive options for both passing into the box as well as passing into space are exponentially greater. The Getafe game did not “prove” this by any means. It has been proven over the past few years, but Saturday’s game only serves to reinforce it. Alves is a key offensive component, insomuch as Messi, Xavi, or Iniesta are. They may take up different roles, but without them, the team is worse. Much worse. Kevin predicts that senior Alves’s new deal is coming on the heels of the RW signing a sponsorship deal with Adidas. Let’s hope he is right.

Missing:The problem of the team missing chances is a bit of a problem, but it’s not an epidemic by an stretch. This is mostly due to the nature of the game and sheer physics. A team cannot, and in almost every circumstance, will not score all or even most of its chances. Therefore, when the team you are watching finds 1 or 2 clear chances a game and scores 1, it feels better for the fan, but Barcelona probably generate 15 or so genuine chances on goal per game, but they are never going to score even half of those. Missing sitters is one thing, but the team is not missing many of those. Missing or over-shooting from inside the box may look bad to a fan, but it’s not. Mostly because, even if Barcelona has 15 shots on goal, they will not all go in. 8-0 is exceedingly rare. So is 5-0, hell, even 3-0 or 3-2 is highly uncommon. The simple fact is that missing chances will always happen. If the team is missing sitters and never scoring, there is reason for concern. Shanking a 15-yarder with a defender close is not.

Bojan: Finally, Bojan. Oh Bojan. Poor, sweet, beautiful Bojan. He started out slowly yesterday. But after 15 minutes he was playing well and running into space. He of the immeasurable talent, and the shortening chances. My opinion of the young man is this: He has talent. Oh so much talent. It’s apparent from the goals he scored when he had more chances as well as how he plays when he has confidence. He also wants to be at Barcelona, otherwise he would have requested a transfer last year when Pedro’s emergence was no longer in question. However, as a 20-year-old player with little playing time, it’s hard to progress to bigger and better things. Right now he’s got all the talent, but not much of an outlet, and is somehow perceived as damaged goods by fans who think that unless he starts to score immediately, he’s awful. Then again, Villa is 2nd on the team in goals and he still gets shit on regularly.

Will he break out and succeed? Hell if I know. If I knew the future do you think I’d be writing for this blog? Well, yeah I would, but still. Bojan is damaged goods and a shining star. He’s a loaner at best to someone and he’s the next great hope for Barcelona and the Spanish NT. He’s garbage and totally useless or something else. The problem here is not so much Bojan at this point, it’s the fans. We expect too much too soon. He’s 20-fucking-years-old. If you put me at the Camp Nou at 20, I’d have shit myself. Take the Getafe game for example. Bojan makes a few wonderful runs, was missed while open a few times, scores a goal, and fell down once. What review does he get: “meh.” He sucks no matter what he does. Even though Pedro couldn’t hit the ocean from the beach earlier this season, what were his reviews? “P!!!!!!!!!!” No matter what, he can do no wrong, and Bojan no right. Ah perception, you’re a dumb shit mistress. I cannot sum it up much better than Brian Phillips at Run of Play did, so I will let him do it:

[in regard to Bojan’s goal against Villareal last year] I see this, and I think: There is nothing you can say about this game. If Bojan can score a goal like that, what can’t he do? Right now Bojan is a star and a loser and there’s no telling which result will finally be more repeatable. So how long is too long to wait, and how much hope is too much?

These are only 3 of the issues that came out of the game. It seems so strange that from a mid-season game with Getafe we get 3 galvanizing issues and probably a number of others we could discuss at length: is Milito back? Is Pique faltering? How huge has the Mascherano signing been? What is the meaning of life?

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  1. blaunero
    March 20, 2011

    Many years from now we will still recall the supreme silliness of the Eto’o trade. (Yes, I went there again.) The Lion went to Italy and kept winning. We traded him and haven’t been the same since, one Clasico in November aside. Our forward line has been pisspoor this past two months. Pedro has scored only once since 1 February. Villa hasn’t scored in a month in any competition. Our stats are terrible. Only 15 goals in the last 9 games (1.67 goals per game). We had 31 goals in the previous 9 games (3.4 goals per game). That’s a huge drop not necessarily results’ wise but certainly in our effectiveness. If this doesn’t get fixed soon we might as well wave goodbye to any trophies this year. Better teams will come our way and I really doubt they’ll be as forgiving as Arsenal and Getafe were.

    • Ryan
      March 20, 2011

      You don’t know how Eto’o and Barcelona would have performed had he stayed, especially if it negatively affected the dressing room. Let’s wait till the end of the season before we claim this year a failure! EE still has to play a barrage of difficult games and plenty of teams in the CL are looking shaky.

    • outerspacedout
      March 20, 2011

      Umm, no. The offense this year has been even better than the triplete year except for the around-February dip, which also happened in the 08/09 season. We have more goals scored, fact.

      Also, Eto’o is a pure CF. He played on the wing with Inter, but for his speed and movement he would not have been a great wing-forward for us, and there is no way he’s gonna be the CF when Messi is a monster at the false 9 role.

      I’d take the current Barcelona side with Messi as a false 9, Villa, Pedro and Busquets over the one with Eto’o, Henry and Toure, recent dip in form or otherwise. Comparing the first two-thirds of the Triplete season and of this season, this year we have been offensively stronger, ground out the necessary points even in February instead of losing a couple games, and overall (when everyone is fit) stronger defensively and at keeping possession.

      You guys panic too soon. Our stats are not terrible.

      • blaunero
        March 21, 2011

        There’s no panic; simply put we’re not playing well. I’d take the 08/09 team in a second, personally. Frankly I’d be surprised if nobody else did. Yes, this year’s defense is better. Yes, we haven’t yet lost as many games as in the triplete year. Yes, this year’s possession is better. Yet even during the February crisis Barca was still scoring and how. The bench was deeper (some might forget that Iniesta and Abidal missed 2 months that season; Puyol missed 1 month; Marquez missed the last month; etc etc) and we had more versatility; we were direct, too, when we needed to be. Henry was in the form of his life. Eto’o scored by the bucketload. Messi scored when he was needed the most and assisted too. But mostly I like that Barca crop more because of the sheer joy with which they attacked, from the first to the last minute. This current team, as witnessed on Saturday and on other occasions, seems to stop attacking, inviting the opposition to make a comeback. Several times we have been punished for it; other times we got lucky.

        • Vj
          March 21, 2011

          We got lucky when Mallorca failed to convert that penalty.

          We got lucky when Ovrebo didn’t penalize Pique for that Handball.

          We got lucky when Essien scuffed that clearance straight to Messi.

          We got lucky with injuries during the crucial juncture that season.

          I could go on. Also, people were clamoring more for Eto’o’s head back then than now with Villa. And don’t rule out the open play when people hadn’t figured out that they had to park the bus..

          • blaunero
            March 21, 2011

            My recollection might be a bit hazy, but after the summer of ’08 and during ’08/’09 nobody was silly enough to question Eto’o. That is nobody except Guardiola. He scored 30 goals in the league and 4 in the CL, but above all, Eto’o was crucial to the way Guardiola’s Barca played. He was the one who most pressured the opposing defenders, resulting in more fouls than Yaya Touré. Most may have forgotten that it was his move to the right of attack, thereby allowing Messi to play as a false 9, that brought in the trophies at the end of his last season.
            Yes we were lucky on several occasions, but luck is earned. Name me one winning team that went through an entire season without one stroke of luck. A team like the one that beat Real Madrid 6-2 at the Bernabéu on 2 May 09 will never again be brought together. Yes, the victory over Madrid in 2010 was sweet but it happened in November, not during the business end of the season. If Madrid beat us (as Inter beat us last year), I can guarantee you almost everyone will completely forget the manita (as quickly as they forgot the fact that we had thrashed Inter in the November of ’09).
            And I’m not clamoring for Villa’s head. Far from it, I think he’s almost perfect for us, like Henry in ’08/09, despite his poor form of late. It’s just that I think we need someone like Eto’o for this team to be superb and deadly.

          • Eklavya
            March 21, 2011

            ^This x Yaya! Blaunero is right.

            There’s nothing wrong with being lucky, because everyone has some: it is fair.

  2. beeeef
    March 20, 2011

    Your usage of various expletives throughout the review seems particularly appropriate considering my own experience watching this game.

    I alternated between moments of “Holy f*ck/sh*t! That was brilliant!” (Alves goal, Messi runs, etc) to “JC, that was fu*cking shambolic shot/defending!” (Villa, Milito, etc).

    Admittedly I do a little bit of that every game, but I definitely hurled an extra fu*ck or sh*t or two at my television screen yesterday.

    • Luke
      March 20, 2011

      Don’t edit that shit man. Loud and proud here.

  3. ooga aga
    March 20, 2011

    “The simple fact is that missing chances will always happen. If the team is missing sitters and never scoring, there is reason for concern. Shanking a 15-yarder with a defender close is not.”

    thank you. sometimes when people berate our players for shooting at the goalie, it makes me think they havent played much soccer. ive said this many time, it is very difficult to score goals. i think people use the term “sitter” way too much round here.

    • barca96
      March 20, 2011

      Same here man.
      I always notice people complaining that our players miss easy chances our like Kxev says, screwed the pooch.
      Sometimes when I have time I explain how difficult the chance actually was but nobody ever cares.
      If you play football, you would know that its not FIFA 10 or whatever game that is. In real world there are many factors. Say a cross across. You would think that you just have to stick your leg out but its not. The cross might have curve in it, then you would have to strike the ball differently. If the velocity is high then its different. Its always different. Finishing is really not easy.

      What really bugged me was when people complained that Messi missed 1on1 chances. Try to do that yourself. Go to the park and run at the GK and see how difficult it is.

    • Jnice
      March 20, 2011

      I’m one of the most critical of our players missing chances, but trust me, I can ball in real life.

      Missing chances is part of the game. Yes, I know that. But all you have to do is look at the type of chances we’ve had. I’m not talking about shooting from 20 yards out. That’s a whole different story. The same way you guys feel some people are too harsh on players missing chances is the same way I feel when I read people excuse these players ALL season long.

      I don’t know, for me our finishing is simply not good enough at this moment in time. I’m glad we’re creating so many chances, but our failure to kill off games will cost us against some of the better teams. It costed us against Sevilla and almost costed us against Arsenal. We have Villarreal and Madrid coming up.

      Enough said.

      • barca96
        March 20, 2011

        I can ball in real life

        I thought Americans use the term ball is for basketball.
        Rappers use to say; I’m a baller. So Im sure they’re not talking about Im a footballer 😆 cause I know they despise football.

        Chances are easy to miss.
        I jsut take these two examples aite from recent games.
        Arsenal Away
        Messi missed the chip.
        It was really difficult because the GK made the goal smaller. The only option for Messi was to chip over the GK’s left shoulder. BUt that would go out. Credit has to go to the GK because he made the goal smaller. If Messi chipped over his head, then it would’ve gone over the bar.

        Villa screwed the pooch according to Kxev.
        Can’t remember which game but it was a cross from the left.
        It was a fast spinning ball into an on running Villa.
        THat was really hard. Hit too hard, ball would go over. Hit too soft, ball would go sideways across the goal.
        The safest bet was what Villa did, which was to just medium hit it towards the goal. He did well imo to get it on target. TOo bad the gk stood his ground.

        These kinds of comments made me wonder, do you guys know how hard it is to play football? To guide the ball when you’re in those situations?

        It is different than taking a shot from distance but we are not a team that plays that way. Although I would love to criticize some of our players from seriously lacking in that department ( Iniesta, Xavi, Alves).

  4. Víctor
    March 20, 2011

    “Right now he’s got all the talent, but not much of an outlet, and is somehow perceived as damaged goods by fans who think that unless he starts to score immediately, he’s awful. Then again, Villa is 2nd on the team in goals and he still gets shit on regularly.”

    First things first. I do agree that people are too harsh on Bojan. Very demanding from him. Granted, he is at the best team of the world (or one of the best 10, whichever way you want to see it), so obviously, you have to deliver. However, that doesn’t mean that he is gonna be a failure if he has a bad game or two. Give him time, you’ll see.

    Not that being demanding is bad. However, let’s cut some slack, he’s 20. If you expect him to be another Messi, Ibrahimovic (yes, people, Ibrahimovic is a good player), Podolski, etc… already… well, that’s not realistic.

    About Villa, I agree that some comments have been harsh, however, he went from scoring a goal in four consecutive games, to score none in the last 4. It can be a dry spell or whatever, but damn… he is a world class player, he’s not a youngster, he has the skill to be lethal and he has let us down in the last games. I hope that he backs to form and start playing great again… because we have the important games in this month. The games against Shaktar, against Villareal, and… of course… the two (or possibly four) games against Real Madrid. In these games you can’t take the luxury of missing important chances. He has to show, in these games, why he is worth 40M and why he is, historically, Spain’s best striker and goalscorer.

    And we need Puyol back, badly. Pique is really distracted because of his affair with Shakira (not that I can blame him, I’d be totally distracted too… 😀 ) and that can cost us in these important games. Just like scoring important chances is a must in these games… not giving them away is way too important as well.

  5. Víctor
    March 20, 2011

    Oh, and second things, second. How do you give format to the texts in here? For example, for italics, bold, underline… etc?

    • vicsoc
      March 20, 2011

      Use this format:

      [i] italicized text [/i]

      Except replace the “[” and its counterpart with “<" and its counterpart.

      Use the letter b instead of I for bold, and I think u does underline, but I'm not entirely sure.

  6. Camero
    March 20, 2011

    Bojan definitely needs time to refine his skills to a higher level which is why pep is so patient with him. It annoys me however when people compare him with pedro talent and skillwise. What more does pedro have to do to prove his talent is as worthy of being an undisputed first teamer, and not simply because he works hard. Even when Pedro is below par he can still can control, hold and pass the ball better than Bojan has ever shown on his best day. I do not think Bojan simply lacks confidence. He lacks playing time to develop a skillset that will actually work against liga defenders and for that a loan is required.

  7. justsayin
    March 20, 2011

    Bojan doesn’t have the luxury of much playing time to develop confidence, skills or whatever because he is on a world class team. That’s just the harsh facts of life. I think Pep has been more than patient with Bojan this year giving him playing time in the beginning of the season and he didn’t do much to prove himself worthy of being a starter. Lucky for him, we lack depth in the squad so between suspension and injuries, Bojan can rack up playing minutes that he might not rightly deserve.
    I find that Maxwell enjoys the same luck of lack of squad depth … his talents/skills are not Barca quality – but, we don’t have much choice in an alternate and he gets to play. Hopefully, this summer we fill a few key positions and perhaps loan out Bojan and sell Maxwell.

    • barca96
      March 20, 2011

      My wish for the summer is to get an experienced target man.
      And Fontas to be promoted and a back up but speedy CB.

      • Jnice
        March 20, 2011

        I want Fontas to be promoted, another CB on top of that, no Cesc, a striker, no Cesc, a left back, and um, yeah, no Cesc.

        • justsayin
          March 20, 2011

          Me too. No Cesc. Our midfield is where we are strongest. Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and to some extent an ever roaming Messi is what allows our defenders to appear better than they are at times because they have such superior ball handling skills that they keep the ball moving forward. We need another CB, a left back and another striker. We could probably get all 3 for what we would pay for Cesc. So, yeah … no Cesc.

          • barca96
            March 20, 2011

            I know our midfield is the strongest but yet Pep burns Xavi and Iniesta out. Even though we are cruising in the 2nd half with the win in the bag, yet he doesn’t put 3M, Keita, sMasch or Thiago in. Keita being the most used amongst them.
            That kinda gives me the perception that he doesn’t really trust them that much, yet.
            So this summer, Cesc really is coming.

        • Anonymous_69
          March 20, 2011

          I agree with everything, except if Abidal comes back strong, we won’t need a LB, and Thiago is going to be promoted.

          • justsayin
            March 20, 2011

            Xavi and Iniesta are so important to our wins that I can understand Pep having difficulty pulling them even when we are winning. However, I think he’s pretty confident with both Keita and Macherano’s abilities and they have been seeing quite a bit of playing time, so I do think that Pep does trust them. IMO, with our small squad, there still is the most back up in the midfield and that’s why buying Cesc would blow the budget and not really address our bigger problems.

  8. barca96
    March 20, 2011

    I jsut read the last part of the comments in the last post.
    In case you guys haven’t noticed, Villa always gets demoralized after so some time when he is ignored. The guy keeps on making runs in the first half’s of every match but is always ignored.
    I 100% agree that he is the kind of person who loves to run into space meaning he prefers to be released.
    Whereas Messi and Pedro prefer ball to feet. Actually all our players prefer ball to feet.
    Villa is not familiar with this. That’s why he doesn’t really know what to do with it. And now he only wants to do 1-2’s with Messi instead of trying to go for goal like he did earlier in the season.

    • justsayin
      March 20, 2011

      I too think Villa likes to be released but because we play so deep he doesn’t have the space to make longer runs which doesn’t help him gain control of the ball and make a decision as to how he wants to play the ball. Barca plays a much quicker game and Villa is having difficulty making quick decisions and that’s why I think he’s sticking with the Messi 1-2’s even when Messi is being marked by 3 defenders and another one of our players is more open for a pass. I’m so curious as to how they practice and how Pep coaches him to play. I’m going to go with the notion that they know what they are doing and hope it gets ironed out real soon.

  9. psqd
    March 20, 2011

    liked the use of sMasch as cover for what otherwise would have been a frightening centerback pairing at the moment.
    Alves was a madman! re-sign him, don’t care about the cost.

    Gonna be an interesting game and line-up in a couple weeks. Not sure if I want max to be ready for the game or not right now. and right now i think sMasch and busi have to be on the field hopefully in front of pique and puyol. really afraid of the idea milito and pique again.

    Adriano much more dynamic option and preferable option except for those 2 or 3 passes that go terribly wrong.

    interesting to see iniesta exerting more influence lately. personally glad to see it.

    second the sentiments thinking cash would be much better spent on NOT cesc.

  10. ak
    March 20, 2011

    special request to kari(and others)
    please upload complete the match video like you did for the last match

  11. mega_tajh
    March 20, 2011

    Hmmmm so sport today is going in over-drive with these transfer rumors already. First they named Cesc obviously, then either Villarreal’s Rossi or Nilmar for striker targets rounding off with Alex Sanchez for the wings.

    The only good news out of today’s is that they are confirming that Fontàs and Thiago will most likely be promoted for sure while the loanees this season will be sold off.

    I for one am still disappointed Keirrison never really got a shot considering all the hype was around him when we signed him but I guess Pep knows best. I also hope now under new guidance of Zubi and Pep we can finally sign wisely instead of repeating all these fail transfers.

  12. OSBAG
    March 21, 2011

    IMO our needs/outs for next season should be
    Maxwell out for a better lb
    A backup CB and fontas promoted especially if milito leaves.
    I know we need a quality striker and am rooting for one but I really want bojan to succeed in our colours.
    Jeffren to me looks like someone who plays football as a hobby ratther than a professional.
    Den the cesc ; pep and rosell seem obsessed with him but I feel if he comes, our midfield would be clogged and someone might have to leave and all fingers point to keita. Personally, I won’t mind cesc in my team as a squad player but the price tag has to come lower and a lot at that

    • OSBAG
      March 21, 2011

      I should ask where kxevin is and why he isn’t on this review. Nice of LUke to cover up though

  13. can_we_go_Xalvies
    March 21, 2011

    I’m liking all this transfer talk around this time, It might be a bit early, but its good that we are discussing new signings because well this is usually around the time of the season where we depend mostly on our non-starters, and its good to address the issues.

    -Firstly, I see that Maxwell is definitely not wanted anymore by the majority barca fans. Which I think is a little bit harsh coming from us, firstly his price-tag was something we were joyful about and we all half-expected he would not be “first team quality”, secondly I felt that around February Maxwell was “in form” by his standards, which I thought helped us considerably in getting by that month.

    I’m not saying that Maxwell is made of gold and should be worshiped like a god. All I’m saying is that I am satisfied with Maxwell in the squad. Sale or Not I dont care.

    ALTHOUGH, given his pricetag, and given the rumors of other teams holding an interest in Maxwell, I would agree that Maxwell is ripe for the selling next summer, and it gives us a good opportunity to Sus out possible future LB candidates.

    As for the centre of defence, I think I’ve seen enough of Abidal this season to assume that Abidal’s future in our defence is definetly going to be as a full-time CB.

    So to me if I would have to bet on which position do I see our transfer priorities land, I would bet on LB.

    CB’s looks to be abundant for next season, given Fontas, Abidal, Puyol and Pique. Im guessing we might go for another CB, but we all know Pep, and the b-team have many many qualified CBs.

    • outerspacedout
      March 21, 2011

      Not getting rid of Maxwell as much as getting a better left-back, and if his sale facilitates that in terms of being able to sell at a good price and free up a slot on the roster, all and well.

      • barca96
        March 21, 2011

        Regarding our back-line.
        I’d prefer to make some profit this summer and get a young and fast LB that could succeed Abidal. Someone who is LB by 1st choice but could also slot in at CB.
        Adriano be the 3rd choice LB and 2nd choice RB.
        Abidal would also be a 3rd choice CB along with Fontas.

  14. simple_barcafan
    March 21, 2011

    is it just me or there are a shortage of good LB’s (compared to other positions) in the world??

    • barca96
      March 21, 2011

      Yeah. After writing my wish way up there, I thought about it.
      I couldn’t come up with anyone!
      The name that is being thrown around is usually Coentrao but Ive never seen him play and he looks kinda pricey.

      I remember that I used to like Ansaldi.

      Who else is there that is fast and young for the LB position?

  15. Humphrey Bogart
    March 21, 2011

    I like Iraola from Athletic and with regards to Bayern Munichs tumultous season maybe Lahm could be interesting again.

    • outerspacedout
      March 21, 2011

      Lahm is a fantastic defender and also great in offense playing both left and right back, he plays right-back for Bayern and Germany nowadays though I think. Mostly my worry with him is lack of height though. And how very very very expensive he would be.

    • Camero
      March 21, 2011

      Lahm is quality but I would prefer someone left footed as we don’t have anyone on our left in midfield and attack.

      • Diego
        March 21, 2011

        Jeffren, Pedro, and Keita.

        Maxwell and Adriano can function as SMFs too.

  16. Diego
    March 21, 2011

    – Pay Alves

    – Loan Bojan for the first half of the season.

    – I’m not worried about missing chances, Everybody has bad days, They’re good players, If not, they wouldn’t be playing here.

    – Fontas HAS to play against Almeria, We’ll need him during the remaining of the season and we shouldn’t throw him in the fire.

    – Not Worried about Villareal, They’ve been playing bad and teams against them miss many good chances, They play with a high backline that’s easily broken, But we’ll need Puyol, I’m sure we can score but what will decide the match is our defence.

    – Players should step up the game, We almost lost it the end for no reason, Milito isn’t bad but he hasn’t been tested and will suffer with pace.

  17. vicsoc
    March 21, 2011

    Nice post mortem Luke. Three very pressing points and I have to say I generally agree with you on all points.

    Regarding Bojan: how many 20 year old players are making a serious impact on one of the, say, top 10 teams in the world? Wilshere…. and… Pato? I’m having difficulty of thinking of any others.

    The kid has a heavy burden on his shoulders. He is the youngest player ever for Barcelona, the youngest player to ever score, and the youngest player to reach 100 caps for the club – all three are records Messi had held before him. Interestingly, I sometimes wonder if his rapid progression into the first team was in some way fueled by the fact that Messi was holding all those records – we know how proud Catalans are, and it may have been a point of contention at the time that an Argentinian held those records (before he grew into the best player in the world).

    Some people think he needs to go on loan so he can get serious playing time to develop – I don’t necessarily disagree with this. My main issue with a loan is that we are already have so little depth up front that if you send Bojan on loan we are going to need to bring a player or two in this summer, unless Iniesta is going to move up to play on the wing again.

    • outerspacedout
      March 21, 2011

      Maybe it was more ‘look, a brilliantly talented 17 year old already did this, so another very talented youngster should be able to do the same too, right?’ than nationalism in itself. In the sense that usually you may wait until a player is 18 or 19 to introduce them to the first team, but Messi had been an experiment gone right in terms of precocious youngster making massive impact very quickly so the success story made people think the next-in-line great youngster could do the same? Back then people not realizing Messi was just once-in-a-lifetime type freak awesome megazord.

  18. Diego
    March 21, 2011

    My Transfer wish list :

    Out : Milito, Maxwell

    In: Fontas, Thiago, LB, CF (Give Keirrison a chance during the pre-season) , CB (Caceres, Henrique or Botia?)

    The () indicates the solution in case of shortage of money.

    • Jnice
      March 21, 2011

      I don’t think Keirrison is close to being good enough for the team.

      Tim Vickery spoke about Keirrison again on Saturday and his points were:

      -He moved to Europe way too soon.

      -He’s a striker who doesn’t combine well with players, can’t play back to goal, has a poor left foot. His combination play isn’t close to being good enough for Europe, especially not Barcelona.

      -Plays in a Santos team that plays 4-2-3-1, but barely gets a game because the 1 has to be able to combine with his teammates and play with back to goal. He does neither particularly well.

      • vicsoc
        March 21, 2011

        He is a fox-in-the-box striker, the kind of player who just kind of hangs out and then gets in the right place at the right time to score. I totally agree that he doesn’t anything to the build up, and that’s why he wouldn’t be able to make it in the team.

      • Miguel
        March 21, 2011

        txiki b admitted keirrison was an investment that went awry. he was never meant to play with the first team. he was meant to be sold in a couple of years for a profit. i don’t get why people are mad at pep that the brazilian never got a chance.

        that’s right, i italicized investment.

  19. March 21, 2011

    much like everybody says, we lacked the finishing touch to kill off the game, but the chances we created are like rain showering the buses.

    I’d rather see us miss those chances now than later as long as we keep the lead and still in all competition. The chances Villa, Messi and the other missed will be remembered and they will be turned into a bigger hunger to score. So, I guess I am being too positive but let’s hope our strike force will come back in this all or nothing period.

    Villa showed some fatigue imo. That’s why he has not been pressing defenders so much. In fact, he has been playing every game and I already forgot when he last rested from the starting XI. Same goes for Messi. So, I think we will be razor sharp again soon.

    Trash all claims about selling Eto’o is a wrong decision. It might not be the best decision, but we are scoring more goals than the triplete season, and the kind of chances we are seeing are so much ‘better’ and pleasing to the eyes. It’s true that Eto’o could have helped our relatively weaker-looking frontlines, but that’s also down to the departure of Ibrahimovic. So, don’t mix things up.

  20. Lev
    March 21, 2011

    talking about a left back, what’s the name of Deportivo’s LB who broke his leg last season? Has he returned, and how is he playing? By all accounts he’s not too bad either

    • March 21, 2011

      Filipe Luis. He came back towards the end of the season and was then sold to Atleti in the summer.

      He still doesn’t look the same since the injury. It’s great that he’s even back playing – but he’s just not as dynamic as he once was.

  21. March 21, 2011

    ESPN’s top 10 plays of the day highlights on Sports Center have become an almost thing here in the U.S.

    Players from almost every sport love to make that highlight list. It gives them a significant amount of exposure.

    Usually it’s dominated by baseketball, football and baseball. Basketball in particular lends itself to that kind of highlight format with dunks, etc.

    On Saturday night who made the very top of the list?

    Dani Alves and his wonder goal.

    It’s a small thing but a nice sign for the slow, but steady progress football is making here in the U.S.

    I’m sure this is in part driven by ESPN’s increased investment in european football coverage but it was nice to see Alves top LeBron James here in the States for an evening.

    And – let’s just stop with the charades and just sign Dani already.

    Rosell – your manager wants to play Messi in as free a role possible. To do that while still having dynamic movement from the front three you need to have a player who can man one of the flanks by himself.

    Good luck finding that player if you let Alves leave.

  22. Jackieboy
    March 21, 2011

    As for Bojan – I always said he needs to actually play some meaningful time in matches to prove himself, instead of playing the last 20 minutes of a 4:0 game. Gets lots of time against Sevilla – scores our only goal and saves us a point. Starts against Getafe – scores the winner.

    Also, check out the stats (you can generate your own reports at, just found it, it’s great!):

    Messi: 2338 minutes played, 27 goals, 17 assists, averages a goal/assist every 53 minutes

    Pedro: 1919 minutes, 13 goals, 7 assists, need 96 minutes to score/assist

    Villa: 2296 minutes, 17 goals, 6 assists, average goal/assist once per 100 minutes

    Bojan: 725 minutes, 5 goals, 2 assists, a goal/assist once per 104 minutes

    Statistically, he’s a tiny bit worse than Pedro/Villa. At 20. Cut the kid some slack, will ya.

    Oh, and:
    Pure gold!

  23. Josep
    March 21, 2011

    I was actually going to mention that Alves goal on SC. Not often are they number 1, with Rooney vs. City being the most recent example.

    Yeah, if you play (I remember hearing Kxevin hasn’t) footy, you know how difficult it is to score. I know I couldn’t score from some of the examples given, but did someone pay 40m for my services?

    He’s a world class striker for a reason, because he scores goals like the ones he has been failing to this year.
    It’s almost like he’s not used to having THIS many chances, I mean the one he shot right at the keeper, maybe he was trying to go 5 hole?

    The criticism of Villa is completely warranted. Anyways my summer wish list..

    Milito, Maxwell (if the 12m from Russia is true), Jeffren

    Fontas, VV, Thiago, JDS to bench

    Given a chance:
    Caceres! Please! Henrique probably isn’t good enough, and Keirrison is just a lost cause. Maybe sign Botia back of Caceres isn’t good enough.

    Some LB! We don’t need a starter realy, but it’d be idea. Coentrao? Our Bale rumors seem to be strong.. too strong for my liking. Diego Renan? RE-SIGN ALVES. A big, tall striker, who doesn’t mind riding the pine. Llorente wouldn’t be idea here. What about that Ukranian kid? Milevskiy? Though he has huge issues so maybe not..

    p.s. Look at Rakitic, I said we should signed him up :|. Mexes on a free this summer? Urby Emanuelson is apparently out of favor at Milan already so who knows..

    • Jnice
      March 21, 2011

      Mexes… I don’t want red cards.

      Emmanuelson… average player.

      Coentrao for me.

  24. Eklavya
    March 21, 2011

    Sid Lowe also copied my quote. And modified it a little so that he remains undercover!

    @sidlowe: Don’t argue with an idiot: he will oblige you to drop to
    his level and he’ll win because he is more experienced.

  25. Eklavya
    March 21, 2011

    Sid Lowe also copied my quote. And modified it a little so that he remains undercover!

    @sidlowe: Don’t argue with an idiot: he will oblige you to drop to
    his level and he’ll win because he is more experienced.


  26. Jim
    March 21, 2011

    Some pretty short memories around here. Does nobody remember the time when we couldn’t buy a goal for Eto’o ? We ended up with ridiculous situations where others would try to set him up rather than shoot and he couldn’t hit the proverbial barn door.

    It happens for strikers. Let’s criticise Villa if at the end of the season he hasn’t scored the number of goals we think he should have. Meanwhile, Pep, encourage Xavi and Iniesta to occasionally fire a quick ball through to him and see what happens. He’s often in position for it but we continue the slow build up.

    With regard to Alves I’m becoming more pessimistic. His goal will also not have helped matters as it will have firmed up his opinion of himself as being worth more than the club is prepared to offer. If we end up paying him the same as Xavi or Iniesta we’re storing up trouble, imo. He’s very good but not irreplaceable.

    Not getting involved in the Maxwell debate other than to say if we get £12m for him that’s decent business provided a replacement doesn’t cost the earth and it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that in the recent games where he hasn’t played our defence has looked shakier. An inconvenient truth . . . 🙂

    • Josep
      March 21, 2011

      I think the inconvenient truth is that you made it seem like it’s purely on Maxwell and not on

      1. Abidal being out
      2. Our LB playing LM/LW practically.
      3. Our LB actually moving forward in attack not backwards.

      • Jim
        March 21, 2011

        Maybe my memory is fading but I don’t remember Abidal being missing against Arsenal when Adriano almost cost us two goals ( RVP and Bendtner) and again against Sevilla. I’m also still curious about what exactly his offensive contribution has been. Kxevin answered it before in terms of pressure but what I’m seeing is more akin to a chicken without a head with awful crosses and worse shots. Any goals? Any assists?

        Not saying its just on Maxwell but I am suggesting that it could be something to do with his absence and great positional sense.

    • Tom, Dick and Harry
      March 21, 2011

      “…it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that in the recent games where he hasn’t played our defence has looked shakier. An inconvenient truth.”

      Absolutely. Everybody but Pep sees it. Not a surprise though, it’s not like he played professionally, won a Triplet in his first year as a coach or anything like that.

      He is probably blinded by the fact that teams are not able to clog the right side of our attack because they actually need to honor our LB as an attacking threat.

      Hope Pep wakes up before it’s too late 🙂

      • Jim
        March 21, 2011

        Pep is rightly giving Adriano a chance to prove himself. He’s 26 and Maxwell is 29. I’ve no problem with that. All i’m saying is he hasn’t done so to me yet.

        I think you’ll find that teams this season have cottoned on to the fact that it’s the right side of our defence which is lacking and are getting in behind Alves more often. Remember Pique getting stranded three or four times covering there? Not sure we can afford another FB who goes up the park and loses the ball then can’t get back.

        • Tom, Dick and Harry
          March 21, 2011

          Are you saying Adriano hasn’t proved himself? I agree with that. It’ll take more minutes. What I’ve seen in terms of the skill set and character makes me feel optimistic.

          No one says they both should push forward at the same time. What I am saying is that player of Adriano’s characteristics being present at LB prevents defenders from ganging up on our right.

          – If they do, Adriano can actually take advantage of it (ex. Valencia game)
          – If they don’t because they are legitimately concerned about what a player who is both fast and good dribbler can do, Alves and Messi get more room to work with

          While some teams are able to exploit the void Alves might leave (it is not as simple as his mistake, someone carries the responsibility to plug that hole), his (Alves’) time on the ball and contribution went up noticeably ever since Adriano started getting more minutes at LB.

          I am sure you haven’t missed the intervention Adriano made at the end of the Getafe game when he hustled from the far post to take the ball away from an attacker who was about to pull the trigger. The goal was all but certain.

    • Jnice
      March 21, 2011

      Some pretty short memories around here. Does nobody remember the time when we couldn’t buy a goal for Eto’o ? We ended up with ridiculous situations where others would try to set him up rather than shoot and he couldn’t hit the proverbial barn door.

      I agree with this. Personally, Eto’o was never one of my favorites because I always thought he missed too many chances and I didn’t think his first touch was good enough. That’s just me.

      I know he is a seen as a god by everyone in the world now, but when he was with us I don’t remember so many neutrals jumping on his bandwagon like they are now. Now everyone is like “Eto’o is such a beast, one of the greatest.” When he was on Barça I never saw that much praise for him from anyone other than Barça supporters.

      As for your Maxwell point, when I look at the goals we’ve conceded recently, I tend to look Pique’s way more than Adriano’s.

      • Anonymous_69
        March 21, 2011

        I agree with this completely. Eto’o is viewed as the best Striker in the world right now, but when he was in Barcelona, I remember most journalists writing that they thought that Villa, Ibra, and Torres were ahead of him. Then we bought Ibra, then suddenly everyone said Villa was the best. We buy Villa, now Eto’o is the best again. If we bought Eto’o and take Ibra back from loan, suddenly Rooney will be labeled as the best.

      • outerspacedout
        March 21, 2011

        Yes exactly, agree with you and Jim here. From one stretch I recall of Eto’o missing chances, even in the latter bit of the Triplete season Eto’o was missing a lot of chances in the league, that was when Forlan overtook him as Pichichi when six or seven games going in it had seemed like Eto’o was a shoe-in.

    • Josep
      March 21, 2011

      Haha I posted this on my FB. Pyatov, ???, SRNA, Chiggy?

      Does anyone know who the second guy is?

  27. Josep
    March 21, 2011

    My posts never get responses, its like I’m being ignored for having too amazing of points!

    p.s. jnice threatened to kill me yesterday

  28. Lev
    March 21, 2011

    i loved eto’o actually, and agree that it was a mistake letting him go, even more so taking in consideration that we still overspent on Ibra. keep in mind that even when he didn’t score he still worked his butt off for the team.

    droughts are part of the game for a striker. even van nistelrooy had ’em and that guy scored goals as if every chance was his last.

    btw 12 million pounds (what is that, like 15 million euros?) for Maxwell would be a miracle. great deal, i’d take it.

    • Diego
      March 21, 2011

      We bought him for 4.5m if I recall when he was younger. I’d sell him for less if we can.

  29. Miguel
    March 21, 2011

    nice write up, luke. short & sweet.

    there was no mention of the the xavi yellow card that leads to the midfield maestro’s missing the villarreal game, though, which i consider to be another main bitching point. it was summed up nicely in the last thread, though, i guess. is there any chance of barca petitioning for the rescinding of any of xavi’s stupid cards? anyone? bueller?

    • Lev
      March 21, 2011

      idk. is there any chance of Xavi shutting his stupid mouth? lol, of all our players he is the one most prone to whining after our losses, it would actually not surprise me if he got those cards deservedly.

      Still, I read somewhere that this season Xavi has made 4 fouls and received 5 yellow cards, LOL. That has to be a record 🙂

      Pique, however, always seems to get yellow cards for absolutely nothing – especially considering what our opponents’ defenders regularly get away with.

      • Diego
        March 21, 2011

        Pique always gets a yellow for his first foul.

      • justsayin
        March 22, 2011

        But, if Xavi is our captain during the game, he’s the mouthpiece for the team. If anyone is allowed leeway when speaking to the ref, it would be the captain.

    • Diego
      March 21, 2011

      4 for Protesting and 1 for time wasting. It’s up to him to keep his mouth shut.

      On the other hand, Messi has 4 cards but I think it’s mainly because the referee sees an honor in cautioning Leo Messi 😀

      1 for Playing the freekick too fast, 1 for Supposedly diving with Carvalho, 1 for his mother, 1 for protesting because he wanted to keep on playing instead of foul.

      • Lev
        March 21, 2011

        when messi gets a yellow card for diving it usually means we should have gotten a penalty instead…

  30. Diego
    March 21, 2011

    For LB,

    How About the Legendary Nacho Monreal ?

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