Liga Preview: Villarreal – Barcelona, Saturday 4pmEST, GolTV
Time: 22:00 hours, local.
A captain stands on the bridge with his first mate. They look at the sonar, focusing on a particular blip in the morass of other greenish blips. Being familiar with such highly sophisticated technology, neither the captain nor the first mate were distracted by anything other than the location and movement of their target.
Captain Guardiola: Take us to periscope depth, First Mate Tito.
First Mate Tito: Aye aye, Captain.
Guardiola: This does not take long, does it?
Tito: No sir, we’re already there. Ballast technology has been redesigned recently and takes but a moment.
Guardiola: Up periscope! [a screen in the front of the bridge turns on and he can see the lay of the land…er water.]*
Tito: They’re dead ahead sir.
Guardiola: I can’t really see anything.
Tito: Villarreal isn’t a port city, sir.
Tito: Yeah, it’s a bit inland. It has a port and everything, but it’s technically not in Villarreal.
Guardiola: So why…
Tito: They’re yellow. It’s a Beatles joke or something.
Guardiola: [looking around] This was a pretty absurd expense now that I think about it.
Tito: Yes, sir. And painting it blaugrana doesn’t really conceal it either. Stealth, sir, is the purpose of—
Guardiola: Yeah, I got it.
Tito: Right, sir.
Guardiola: I guess we should return to Barcelona?
Tito: The city’s been quarantined, sir.
Guardiola: What? Why?
Tito: A severe outbreak of the FIFA virus has been detected.
Guardiola: That’s worse than Legionnaires, you know.
Tito: Uh, well that might not be exactly true—
Guardiola: It is known as “Ebola of the Alps”.
Tito: No, sir, I don’t believe—
Guardiola: It is!
Tito: Yes. Yes it is.
Guardiola: Can we zoom in on this place?
Tito: No, sir. It’s a periscope, not a telescope.
Guardiola: Fine. Fire some torpedoes, engage the caterpillar drive. Do something with this thing.
Tito: Yes, sir. [turning to the crew] Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, ramming speed, dive dive dive!
Crewman: Should we take lunch now?
Guardiola: [slumping in his chair] Yes, that’s probably a good idea.
*I know nothing of nautical terms or situations and apparently I think submarines are the Starship Enterprise. Forgive this landlubber, all you sea dogs.
So here we are, with a monstrous test of our abilities and it’s right after we return from another FIFA break in which Messi played 90 minutes in New York, got lightly injured, and while he should make the game tomorrow, isn’t 100%. Oh and Xavi played like 360 minutes or something over 2 games. That is how intense he is. And Bojan got injured with the U-21 team. Puyol’s fitness is still a major concern and he won’t make the match and probably not the first leg of the Shakhtar tie at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Fortunately we have some quality substitutes in Afellay and Jeffren (assuming he’s healthy) along with Thiago and Fontas. They may be young, but that just makes them hungrier or whatever the reigning conventional wisdom is. Perhaps they’re simply, you know, good? Whatever the reason, if they have to play this weekend they’d better be on top of their game.
All that despite Villarreal haven’t been at their best recently, having won their last match, tied their previous, and lost the one before that. Before that, they’d gone 4 matches without a win against Levante (0-1), Depor (1-0), Malaga (1-1), and Racing (2-2). At home they’ve lost just once (that 0-1 defeat to Levante), though they’ve yet to host Real Madrid and, obviously, Barça.
Thing is, though, Barça isn’t firing on all cylinders either. The gaudy stats that characterized the first half of the season (an 0-8, 4 manitas, and 2 4-goal games) have largely receded and only twice in the last 5 matches have Barça scored more than 1 goal. Granted, they’re still scoring (and have failed to score just once), but the wins aren’t as convincing as they once were. If the team is primed to explode, perhaps now is the time to push down on that detonator. It’s only the 3rd placed team in the league with a brutal month ahead, after all.
I like Gnarls Barkley quite a bit, I have to admit, perhaps mostly for this Puma ad, so now I’m humming along and thinking of Danger Mouse instead of Danger Men. Nevermind: Giuseppe Rossi has been on fire for Villarreal. He’s got 15 goals this year and can easily notch some more against us given our CB depth problems. Or do we really have CB depth problems? I doubt Fontas will start since Milito will probably get the call and that’s fine with me. Get some steel all up in their backside, says I, and Gabi is the best one for that.
Not that I’m actually advocating violence in this game between them purty ones because first I hate violence and second, it would probably just get Gabi sent off. Especially if he takes “steel” more like someone from the 18 century and actually attacks with a sword. That is, I think, an automatic yellow.
So this one is a bit short because 1) it’s Friday, Friday and this decision about which seat to take is freakin’ killing me. Hey, you kids started it in the comments. And 2) I wrote this using Google Motion and it’s a bit time-consuming since I don’t know all of the commands yet. Gnarls Barkley was the hardest one, I can assure you.