All Kinds of Shipshape: Villarreal – Barça

Liga Preview: Villarreal – Barcelona, Saturday 4pmEST, GolTV

Time: 22:00 hours, local.

Latitude: 39°56′16″N

Longitude: 0°6′5″W

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.

Guardiola: Really?

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.

Le sigh.

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.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


    1. If sporting pulls this off I vote we send them a nice thank you note along with a 2 million check for Botia. We should even throw in first choice on any youngsters we are looking to loan or sell (with a buyback clause of course) this summer.

  1. Just waiting for Di Maria to go down and demand a penalty. You know it’s gonna happen.

    1. Well, at least Mou Mou will not have to complain latter about not enough minutes added 🙂

  2. yes.they did villareal time.

    Btw,the SB pitch is horrible.kindda like a mud field.

  3. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  4. The headline at AS: SPORTING KILLS LA LIGA!!!


    Sure thing, dead and buried La Liga is, buried in Barcelona Trophy Room 😀

  5. Well, THIS certainly cheers me up after hearing about the Liverpool loss. Damn. I was too afraid to look up a stream, does anybody know wtf happened at the Bernabeu? I’m thrilled for Sporting Gijon (and for us, obviously) but seriously, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

  6. India wins.

    Barcelona B wins.

    Real Madrid loses. At home.

    One more triumph needed to complete today.

    1. I don’t mind Arsenal in the EPL, at least they can play.

      But yes if Barca wins today I’m not sure what I’ll do.

  7. Had to check my date to make sure this wasnt an April fools joke

    FECK YES!!!!!!!!!!!

    😀 😀 😀 😀

  8. The Minute I turn on the match Gijon scores.

    There were acres of space in the Madrid defence, and the goal was good, Iker could’ve done nothing about it.

  9. how fitting is it that preciado gave moumou his first home defeat? you couldn’t write this shit.

  10. Wait didn’t Mourinho have a go at Gijon’s coach about giving the game to Barca?

    1. He did! Preciado was really pissed about it too, and apparently he retorted to one of RM’s assistant coaches that he hoped Barcelona would “put five past” Real Madrid. Right before the “manita” Clasico.

    2. And Preciado even headed the out of bounds ball to an EE player, rather than what most coaches would’ve done and time wasted. The guy’s pretty classy, eh?

    3. yeah.

      In a lesson that everything eventually returns to bite you on the backside one day, there is no little tension between the managers of these two clubs after José Mourinho suggested Sporting weren’t trying in a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou earlier this season. Unfortunately there was no response from his counterpart Manuel Preciado after Madrid’s slightly less impressive 5-0 botty-smacking submission on the same ground.
      The Sporting boss had originally responded to Mourinho’s claims by calling the Madrid manager a scumbag and suggesting he should be sent to the stands to sit among the rowdy locals for their clash in Gijón in November. Tempers flared after Madrid’s 1-0 victory, with accusations of childish finger gesturing and bottle throwing meaning that had a request from Mordor come through for a fixture rejig, it may have been a very terse reply back. With some added swear words if the potty-mouthed Preciado was delivering it himself.

  11. for a moment I thought they had extended April fools day. pple were not even commenting on the EE match until Heehaw scored.

  12. I’m so happy for Preciado. He should have given the “Peace sign” with his hand meaning that they’ll end second. 😀

    Of all people to end Mou’s record .. Football is too AWESOME. 😀

  13. Ok I am officially banning myself from watching Madrid games.Third time I missed their game(due to cricket) and they drop points!!!! YAY Kinda sad Pep wasn’t the one to break Mou’s records but Hey!!!!! THEY DROPPED POINTS @ HOME!!!

  14. Sid Lowe: Mourinho went to Sporting dressing room to congratulate them.

    I know I complain enough about the main,b ut credit where credit is due- that was a pretty classy thing to do.

    1. Yeah, but he didn’t seem to make much attempt to shake hands on the pitch at the end – at least not on Sky.

  15. Right now on they are listing the Villareal – Barcelona game as 1:0….

    Man the lows that Marca hits sometimes are unbelievable 🙂

  16. Barca B won, EE lost and BEST OF ALL INDIA WON THE WC AFTER 28 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So happy!!!!!

    1. Congrats Eklavya on winning the world cup. I’m so mad i missed it had important stuff i had to attend to. Was hoping S. Lanka would win it. Feel really bad for them, losing two finals in a row must be devastating. The only thing that makes me feel better about the India win is that it makes you very happy and a happy cule is… well i don’t know.

      Can’t believe EE lost i’m still in shock!

    2. Thanks! I really thought we were going to lose after Sehwag got out at only his second ball! Sri Lanka played really well, especially that crazy haircut bowler, Mangli. But we did an epic comeback! 😀 😀

    3. I don’t like Dhoni. Sorry guys i know he’s a rock star in India but i don’t know, i just don’t feel him. Love Tendulkar though.

  17. Me, I’ll wait until this afternoon’s game at the Madrigal is over before I can exhale a sigh of relief. There’s still a lot of games to go and cannot afford to get as complacent as our President.

    1. I live in Vancouver, so the game will be at 1PM pacific time. I should have specified.

    2. This is what sports is about man, it’s entertainment. Yeah, if we lose it will suck, but for now it’s frigging awesome. 🙂

    3. I liked the game a lot. It’s times like these that I’m glad to be a footy fan. But I don’t want to get me hopes up.

  18. *In Tears*


    Sporting puts the icing on the cake..

  19. Is there an elaborate April fools conspiracy going on here, or, has the Evil Empire really collapsed.

  20. Here’s a fun fact.

    EE after International break : 88.3% Win

    EE normally : 75.5% Win

    1. They finally get a whiff of the Fifa Virus: they actually had more players playing for Spain than Barcelona did!

    1. I know Zlats is crazy but my God this season he’s just angry. Hope the Barca move didn’t mess him up badly because he’s a very talented player all thing considered.

  21. Barcastuff: Barcelona line-up (unofficial): Valdes – Alves Pique Busquets Adriano – Keita Mascherano Thiago – Iniesta Villa Afellay #fcblive [cat radio]

  22. My beloved Milan have actually scored first vs the hated Inter. Let’s hope we thrash them.

  23. Man is it just me or is Milan playing so much better without Ibra? Inter looks so shocked, can’t even get a couple of passes together.

    1. EE without TB and Milan without Ibra play as teams, Not the usual give the ball to him because He’ll do something with it.

  24. Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Alves Pique Busquets Adriano – Keita Mascherano Thiago – Iniesta Villa Afellay

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