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?