El Clasico 2011: The Day After

So. 24 hours later and how do we feel, kiddies? …Yeah. Just moving along, folks. Nothing to see here.

I bring to attention two videos. One is about a team playing electric football; the other, a team playing like it is a training match. Before commenting on the latter, I’ll let you watch it first (both videos are credited to MessiBarcaNL):

So. You have watched our tiki-taka against EE without the emotion of a live game. Why do you notice? I dunno, you can discuss that in the comments, but I’ll tell you what I see: a team not looking to win, but to control by possession. Going forward, but with no real urgency. Bark, but with not enough bite. One pass forward only to go two passes back. An energy conserving performance, team going half-speed. This is what second-gear Barca looks like.

Now, am I saying this to be negative or pessimistic? No, I’m trying to put this into perspective, which is why there are two videos. The below is the Barca we’ve seen, and been spoiled by, for the majority of this season.

Again, I ask the question: what do you notice? I noticed a team going forward with purpose and intent. And faster. Much much faster. Small, incisive, deadly passes at warp-speed. A team looking to score.

So what is the point of this post? That conclusions on how the other 3 Clasicos will go can’t really be made based on yesterday’s game. Why? Because that wasn’t the Barca we, and the world, are used to. In my opinion, we got more from that game than EE did. Why? Because we’ve seen the “surprising” change early, and it’s playing Pepe at DM while keeping Ozil on the bench as a game changer. There are more than that, but that’s the change that stuck out for me. What has EE learned? Villa is in a scoring rut. Xavi likes to mouth off to refs. They can kick us to all hell if the ref decides to play on instead of dishing out a yellow (see 6:53 in the first video).

Okay, the last sentence is my bitterness talking (although I do believe Pepe did similar things the whole match. And yes, I know it was Ramos who did it, but I’m just sayi—nevermind. Moving on), but you get the point. It’s nothing they didn’t know already.

Pep is really underrated. I’m serious. People keep talking about how much “Mou” has learned without taking into account what Pep has seen. That also works in our advantage; indeed, don’t be surprised if we get Pep’d on Wednesday and see Afellay as a LB. (I’m joking. I think.)

Madridistas will point at the fact their team can tie the best team in the world with 10 men. Cules will point to the fact their team can play half-gear and dominate 80 minutes at the home of their bitter rivals. In the end, this match is just a set-up for a bigger one on Wednesday and the biggest ones in the CL.

And I think we have the edge.

In any case, discuss!

Categorized as El Clasico

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Unlike Guardiola, Mourinho is snarking about the referee. He shouldn’t. Slickhead’s call gave his side a draw. On aggregate, refs usually cock it up equally for both sides in a match.

    1. It’s just daft. Why in the heck would you complain about the guy who salvaged some of your pride? #fail

      The thing about the Ramos challenge, and the reason I highlighted it, was because he did something similar to Henry on during the 2-6. Villa could have been really hurt then, but the ref just waved play on and, crucially, didn’t book Ramos after. He seemed quick to dish out the yellows when people talk back, not that I’m condoning dissent (we need to cut that out), but the fact he’s more concerned about people’s words, and his ego, than persistent fouls.

      I know, I know. This is nothing new and we’ve gotten used to this kind of treatment, but it still irritates me. Ref favortism? Que? I see why Xavi gets so many yellows trying to point this out #stillbitter

    2. Or about the guy who let your fans focus on refereeing instead of your team’s inability to produce one shot, on target or otherwise, the entire match?

      The world’s a funny place. 🙂

    3. Laporta smirked LOL. I called my dad and he was screaming all types of stuff. Made me feel like I was in trouble or something.

  2. Nice post Kari, we need to move on
    these videos confirm what i said in Kevin’s review, we allowed RM back into the game, and i dont give RM the credit that a lot people do.
    Cup and Cl games are much different from liga games, these r knock out competitions, lose and your out, simple as that, so we can expect more heart and effort from both teams.
    After the Cup final, we play host to Osasuna immediately after RM away game to Valencia, i think we can rest some players then, so our guys will be all out or nothing this Wednesday.
    Although i’m not a fan of any player but it sure is great to see Puyol back, his presence just made me feel much better and did wonders to Pique’s game.

    1. Osasuna was the fixture where it was going to be postponed, then it wasn’t, then it was, then it wasn’t, and then P!! ran all the way there and Barcelona won, right?

  3. I will utter a continuous a lowfrenquency cule bleet-meh until I get my tika-taka-wham-slam-1-2-what-just-happened-in-your-face GOLAZZZO fix…may it come Wednesday.

    1. Oh its coming, in spades, ill be supporting barca as always, but the cup just isn’t my cup of tea (pun intended)

  4. Also, that EE played with 10 men was the result of their own stupidity, stupidity that we forced. #justsaying

    1. “Confused”? How about disturbed? O.O

      It was kinda funny seeing Juanjo Brau point out the camera though. 🙂

    2. He’s learnt well from Balotelli. In fact, isn’t Balotelli technically Ghanian? #itallmakessense #notreally

  5. EE is happy with a useless draw. We are not. I’m very glad they are happy with the tactics employed on Saturday, it just means when we go “for serious” on Wednesday they’ll be left wondering what went wrong. (and blaming everyone but themselves of course).

    1. yes, we all hope so… I’m trying to an optimist here… 😀

      my friend (who completely neutral, not a La Liga fan… he prays for Schalke to win the UCL, coz he hates the other three) texted me :

      “RM celebrated the draw as if they were champion… you’re Real Madrid, yet so happy with a draw… so obvious they were the one who under pressure”

      so it wasn’t just me…

    2. yes indeed, they’ve lost 5 in a row and they “won” a meaningless one. Great. I, like your friend, want Schalke too. Throw in Raul’s face again.

  6. It’s too early to make a call which coach out-played the other coach.

    We couldn’t play such great football as seen in the 2nd video against Inter either. Maybe it’s also a little bit down to Mou that we looked like playing in 2nd gear only.

    1. Dunno, yesterday, I felt we held our selves back. Against Inter, I thought we tried to go past 2nd gear, but we just weren’t able to. First leg, we were clearly more fatigued than usual, 2nd leg, I think we tried our best, bit were a bit unlucky.

    2. We did when Iniesta played and we beat them 2-0 though.Anyway Inter is not Real Madrid.Lucio,Samuel, Zanetti and Cambiasso take a collective dump on any defensive structure EE can offer.

    3. Normally, I’d consider that, but I just don’t buy it.

      “Mou” isn’t the one telling Busi to try to dink the ball half-assedly to Xavi. Mou isn’t the one telling Maxwell to trot instead of pressing the EE player. Mou isn’t the one telling our players to walk around instead of creating space due to constant movement. And Mou certainly isn’t the telling our players to not boot the darn ball out of danger.

      I’m not saying anyone has out-coached anyone, just that our team deserves more of the benefit of the doubt than it’s getting.

      Re; Inter ties: Not the same. Those, well the second leg, was a must-win. We already had 8pt lead, and could afford to lose. The difference is intensity.

      In any case against Inte we did pummel them in November 2-0. For the first leg, one word: Volcano. Second Leg we’d have gone through had Bojan’s goal been allowed, but if you have that match handy, watch it again and compare it with yesterday’s. Different.

      And EE is =/= Inter anyway. One prioritizes defense, the other does not.

  7. Round one was for the league and meant nothing, in practical terms. What I think Mourinho did was to prove to himself and prob his players that they can indeed stand their ground against us, and in that sense it was a victory for EE, esp since it came with ten men. Naturally he will build a siege mentality among his players, citing inexistent refereeing conspiracies and what not. They did indeed sacrifice the league, but it was already a forgone if not a mathematical conclusion after we won at the Madrigal. The real ramifications of yesterday’s game will be felt in the more important game we have Wednesday (and it is important because I’d really hate it to hear Mourinho’s being called a genius again). Mourinho will play one of two ways, I think. He will either field his team in the same matter that he fielded Inter in the San Siro leg of the semi last year, where he did indeed attack us and with great effect, taking us completely by surprise. Or he will play like Inter did in the final vs Bayern and again like yesterday. With Pepe in the center they do sacrifice flair but they’re solid, and we will find it terribly hard to bypass them without resorting to punting. Still despite the lack of creativity in the midfield they were as dangerous as we were. Unlike us, however, they don’t only have one player scoring the goals. We need Villa’s goals, and Pedro’s too, if we are to win the Cup and get to the CL final.

    1. Naturally he will build a siege mentality among his players, citing inexistent refereeing conspiracies and what not.

      Color me skeptical. I know that’s his shtick, creating an us vs. the world mentality within his squad, but I don’t see it actually working with these players, club and the fans.

      RM is not the kind of club to foment a victim’s mentality. It’s not Chelsea, where the club was widely criticized and disliked for seemingly buying its way to competing with the traditional clubs. RM isn’t Inter, a club largely derided in Italy for it’s “non-Italianness”. RM is the most popular club in Spain, and one of the most storied football clubs in the world. Trying to build such a siege mentality has to seem disingenuous, not only to outsiders but to madridistas themselves.

      I just don’t see how Mourinho’s shenanigans would work at Manchester United, or AC Milan, or Bayern Munich. When your club is easily the most popular club and historically seen as the “establishment” club in the league, it seems to me that playing the victim would mean conjuring up some very strong cognitive dissonance.

    2. The thing I’ve learned about every club that has hired Mourinho since his first year with Porto is that all of them, esp. Chelsea, Inter, and now EE, had won nothing at all in European competition for years prior to his hiring. I don’t think Moratti really cared that the ‘zero tituli’ rant or that the the shackled sign in front of the San Siro was derided in some circles. Mourinho brought him the CL that he so wanted. That’s the thing with corporations, which is what these football clubs really are. No matter their claims to being above rowdy behaviour and corruption etc, what is really at heart is the bottom line of results. Case and point. Yesterday Madrid achieved a 1-1 draw against us their eternal rivals, playing basically like I tell my pub team to play against a more talented team. And the reaction in Madrid? Overall overjoyous, like they’d won a historic victory. It won’t matter one bit to Perez, I think, that Mourinho goes on long and overplanned tirades against refs, not one iota, if he wins the Copa and CL. He will be tolerated and approved of no matter how low he brings them, because they care for the bottom line. Trouble arises, of course if he doesn’t win the coveted trophy. Abramovic kicked his ass out of the club. A lesson the Portuguese learned well at Inter.

    3. I guess a shorter thing to say about Mourinho is to call him Machiavellian. Everything with him is a plot about something else, and there are no lows he might stoop to to achieve results. But as any student of the Prince will tell you, the person who does such things to bring results had better bring those results, or else. Take a look at Holland. Van Marwijk basically sold their souls to defeat Spain. And still he brought no trophy.

    4. 😀 That’s just cause you’re a nice guy. To think, I was thisclose to adding the accent and make it José to show some camaraderie with SoMa4, but she changed her name back.

    5. I think the ‘siege’ mentality Mou use is ‘Barca thinks they’re so much better than us, they’re the darling of the press and the refs always favour them — look at that penalty call, and we’re always down 10 men!!’.

    6. I agree with Jose as well!
      I don’t really see how this would work for them either and even if does have some effect especially on the very new players, RM will be a veeeery confused club lacking identity when mou eventually leaves and it will take some time for them to reconstruct their “grandiose” identity style. A mentality which-lets be honest- has helped them win some matches especially against lesser sides. So I believe this will eventually backfire on them…
      It would be funny if Raul was still on the side how he would deal with all this “please feel sorry for us” mentality…

  8. off topic…
    I fell asleep during at half time, Arsenal vs Liverpool…
    it turned out to be a completely chaos…

    Carra got a bad injury… Liverpool equalized in 100th minutes from penalty…

    wow…Arsenal is one of the most unlucky team I’ve ever seen…
    bad luck after bad luck after bad luck…

  9. I have a question that i hope u guys could help me with.

    Not that my english is bad or anything but im getting a bit comfused about the use of the word ‘dominate’ or ‘domination’ esp with regards to a football game.

    When 2 teams are playing footy, what qualifies one as the team being dominant? Is it the team with the most clear chances or possesion or what?

    Since the aim is to score (most of the time) for most teams, if a team has 80 percent possesion in a game but creates no threat whatsoever in addition to looking far less dangerous than his opponent who has all the shots and chances and wins the game 5 – 0, would the losing team be considered dominant?

    1. ya know I tried to explain this and re-wrote two different explanations I was not happy with.. so you’re around the right answer, I just can’t explain myself.

    2. The way I see it, the word ‘dominate’ can be used in different contexts, and therefore is often open to interpretation. What one person perceives as ‘domination’ may not be domination to another.

      In the circumstances you describe above, it would probably be said that ‘Though team A dominated posession [therefore applying the term dominated to a specific aspect of the game], team B had the majority of chances and went on to win the game.’

      Ultimately that word, like so many in the english language, can be construed in many ways. Though it may be true that Team A is dominant, it seems misleading to describe them as such and then not go on to explain the rest of the circumstances, considering the fact that the ‘non-dominant’ team won 5-0

  10. To be honest, the first video showcases exactly what Kari has said. 90% of what I saw was slow passing, back and forth, noone really trying to get forward. They were almost lulling RM into complacency. The couple of times Messi used his burst of speed to get forward, a chance was always created. The poor finishing might have cost us but, in my opinion, this result gives RM no edge psychologically.

    1. I’ll tell you why I think it does. I might well echo Relano’s editorial on today’s AS here but it’s well worth to repeat it.
      We were winning 1-0 against a team that was playing with 10 men. For entire chunks of the second half it seemed we would score the second goal. But we didn’t. Mourinho brought in Oezil, Adebayor, and Arbeloa in the last 20 minutes and Real tied the game. It doesn’t matter how. What does matter is that they snatched a draw near the death against a supposedly superior team and in numerical inferiority. If, say, the reverse had happened, the blow might have been catastrophic on Real. But it was they who tied the game and were looking more threatening in the end. Thus they are confident that they can grab a result against us. We didn’t have too many ideas against their 4-3-3, and they looked even better with 10 players. If that isn’t psychological advantage, then I don’t know what is. And it is entirely our fault. If Villa weren’t in such a miserable scoring form (I’d tell him to kick himself, but he’d most certainly miss) we would have won and Madrid would have been tired and psychologically vulnerable. Now though, I think the reverse has happened.

    2. Why cant it be a psychological stale mate? Why cant they be over the moon with their “victory” while our team is satisfied, with achieving its own objectives :getting out with no major injuries and league in the pocket. The only time I can see a team having a psychological advantage over us is if they smash us repeatedly by 5 goals or if they snatch a win from us after dominating them more than once.In that no matter what we did we couldn’t beat them.Since when is 1-1 away from home shattering?If our world champions cant pick themselves up from this “defeat” , then it begs serious questions.As it were, this is a bit like Switzerland using the same tactics to get a win in the group stage of the world cup.Just like Spain didn’t crumble then, I dont expect Barcelona to crumble either.Maybe if in the next 2 games EE win the copa, and win at home they might have doubts, but after yesterday? Unlikely.In my opinion anyway.

    3. Since when is 1-1 away from home shattering?If our world champions cant pick themselves up from this “defeat” , then it begs serious questions.

      my thoughts exactly.

    4. They’re gonna get a boost. I’m pretty sure of that. The hopeless feeling that Ed mentioned Madrid players commenting off the record as they left the pitch after last year’s 2-0 at the Bernabeu- ‘they’re too good, we can’t beat them’- that’ll be off for them.

      But on the other side, we’re not gonna be psychologically affected by this one bit. We played an off game, we know we’re much better, we drew while playing at 70%, and the only real effect it had is the team being irritated, like Alves mentioned, and motivated to prove a point the next game. There’s no way we’re gonna feel any doubt or worry, only increased desire. And whenever we’re irritated and trying to prove a point a la Arsenal last season or Sevilla recently, we usually go medieval on the opponent’s asses.

    5. No offense blaunero, but echoing AS doesn’t really hold much water with me. They’re an EE mouthpiece.

      We halfassed that match, and were still a man-style clearance away from winning it. Watch the home CL tie against Arsenal, by way of most recent example, then watch yesterday’s match. The difference is immense.

      If EE supporters wish to claim some psychological advantage in playing their hearts out against a team playing in second gear, let them. Not sure how you can claim a psychological advantage in a performance that essentially lost you the Liga, but whatever.

      AS, like Marca and the Barca-centric dailies for that matter, aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, in my estimation.

    6. during the game, I was like, wow, once again, Mou has found a way to stop us!
      because Barça didn’t play like their usual self…oh, we’re screwed…!

      but few hours after the game, when I think more clearly and calmly,
      they weren’t THAT great…yes, they were a better side than the last November, with better defensive play, no doubt…and yes, they came back from a lost with 10 men…
      but looked how we played after 0-1, that’s just meh… I just knew they will equalized…

      like Kari said, “ Going forward, but with no real urgency. Bark, but with not enough bite. One pass forward only to go two passes back. An energy conserving performance, team going half-speed. This is what second-gear Barca looks like.”
      spot on.

      yesterday EE showed no more than Sevilla, Valencia, and Villareal, imo…
      in fact, I think the other three caused more real dangers to us in open play than EE…

      that’s just my opinion about yesterday’s El Clasico… of course, we still have Wednesday… hopefully, no more second gear Barça in CdR final…

    7. I didn’t think it Mourinho being tactically brilliant as much as ‘they are actually pressing and running! Even Ronaldo!’ and realizing that Madrid coupling their extremely talented individuals with a high workrate was actually a very formidable side, second best in the world, and thinking ‘okay we have to make sure they don’t make the final cos they’re gonna beat United if they couple their talent with this kind of intense workrate and I think I’d be physically sick if they got the la Decima’.

      Never felt we couldn’t easily step it up a few notches and blitz them in other games, though, just not by huge scorelines. When we bring our A-game only brilliant defensive units can have a chance at stopping us and Madrid just isn’t built to be a brilliant defensive unit a la Chelsea or Inter.. and even against Inter we were missing pretty much the entire offensive left flank in Abidal and Iniesta being replaced by Maxwell and Keita. We were conserving this game. Messi didn’t even have his Serious Face on.

  11. Blaunero pretty much summed up how i feel, but I’m gonna watch the game again in 10 minutes from now so that i will have a better idea of how we played.

    1. Makes sense to say they were only training at the Bernabeeww and testing Mou’s lineup! 😀

  12. In other news across Europe, Stoke made the FA Cup final beating Bolton 5-0. Assuming City stay in the top four, which is very likely, that means Stoke are definitely going to be playing Europa League football next season. Should be fun to see how they play against some perennial European teams- there’s always a few that don’t make the CL that season, probably the likes of Roma, Sevilla, Juventus and co.

    1. too bad Stoke won’t make it to the big boy tournament. Then we could draw them and show them that Messi still has magic on a rainy night in Stoke.
      Will be interesting to see how the other European teams do against them. Go Europe!

  13. hmmm… this is the second time in a row I order from kitbag and they don’t give me my FCB member discount! The first time they said that they didn’t because the products were already on a large discount…and I believed them.
    This time although the t-shirts I ordered yesterday were not on offer, my 10% membership discount has again gone missing!
    Has anyone else faced this problem with Kitbag?!

    1. Pep: He could… prevent goals from happening?

      Mou: The dark side of football is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural

      Pep: … Is it possible to learn this power?

      Mou: Not from La Masia.

    2. Pep: I tell you, amigo, it’s all about controlling possession in the opponent’s half.
      Mou: Nah brah, a strong defensive organization is where it’s at.
      Pep: Possession! Possession is the key. The more you have the ball, the more you control the game!
      Mou: As long as you are good in defence, possession does not matter. All it takes is a quick counterattack.


  14. barcastuff:
    Madrid player Pepe spat at several Barcelona players during a discussion in the players tunnel after Saturday’s game.

    What. A. Douche.

  15. barcastuff : Madrid player Pepe spat at several Barcelona players during a discussion in the players tunnel after Saturday’s game. (md)

    If that’s true, I don’t know what else to say about this disgusting human being…
    and he said Messi was crazy?

  16. MD (so take it with a pint of salt) report that Pepe spat at them of our player in the tunne. Should this turn out to be true, I would hardly be surprised. Not only after the Getafe incident or yesterday I had the opinion that Pepe is one of the dirtiest player and biggest thug in the game. And second chances or not after the Getafe incident he should never have been allowed back on a pitch.

  17. Found that on Twitter:

    Di Stefano’s criticism of Real Madrid today is quite scathing. Stunned at the severity of his attack to be honest.

    Has anybody more infos?

    1. Di Stéfano has accused this Real Madrid of having no personality,
      and that their counter-attacking approach has no gains.

      Most scathing of all, is Di Stéfano’s claim Barça are the lion, and Real Madrid are simply a mouse/rat. 😀

    2. Di Stéfano also declares an admiration for Barça, and their way of playing. Underlying context, he wishes Real Madrid had a philosophy.

    3. His original column is in Marca, but I don’t have a link to it. Apparently Sport and MD have sensationalized some of what he said, but I his underlying point remains the same.

  18. We play away, and Messi is pissed at the end of the game, cause we did not win, while they were happy with a draw

    It says alot bout the two teams.

    Guti of all people said “real was like a racing santander playing away at the Nou Camp” he was ashamed.

    I have a question bout Mourinho that been buggin me.
    All this talk and moaning, is it really ALL Tactic and well planned plot or is he really just to much into him self and is a cry baby
    always being the victim?

    Cause am seriously starting to think, that its just the way he is
    more then a well planned plot. I just think he is that stupid
    and self center,


    1. maybe he is a self center person…

      I see him protecting and loving everything/everyone around him (that’s why his players love him), and at the same time, attacking everything/everyone on the other side…

      did you see his facial expression after Albiol got a red card?

      and I will never forget his cynical/evil smile after the referee gave them a penaly call…

    2. The biggest problem i have with Mou is simply
      the attention wh**** that he is.

      Makalele said it after he retired, Mou wants all the spot light on him, and i dont think its only to protect his players
      But more like, what our couches said about him never ever playing at top level and has live this Status the players get

      My friend who know nothing bout football said the other day

      I hear you guys are playing your arch rivals mourinho,
      She lyriclly thinks its a team called mourinho rather then real madrid.

      Its more of a Barca vs Mou more then Barca vs EE

    3. yeah… El Clasico always been and always will be a bloody battle between two eternal rival… a HUGE event in football…

      but Mou’s arrival has taken it to a new level, for the media at least…
      now it isn’t just about Barça vs EE, unfortunately, it’s Barça vs Mou….

      Mourinho, the Barça killer, they called him…

  19. Have you ever tried going to sleep after listening to ‘Mou, Res!’? Don’t.

    Stuck.In.My.Head. Argh.

  20. Hleb is desperate to get out of Birmingham, comes over all Hlebby about it:

    “Barcelona is the biggest club in the world but it is difficult when you are not from Spain. It has happened with everybody [not being picked], with [Thierry] Henry, everyone. Josep Guardiola [Barcelona’s manager] picks the Spanish players. I’ve not had a lot of chances to play there. I prefer to stay in the Premier League.”

    Damn that Guardiola and his pro-Spanish bias! Guess that’s why Abidal and Afellay haven’t had any playing time!

    He follows this with a not-veiled-at-all plea for Arsenal to rescue him from the long-ball hellhole that is Birmingham:


    Which is about as likely to happen as me winning the Golden Ball. He does know we still own him, right? So where shall we send him next? Turkey? Greece? Toronto?

    1. so he’s trying to Hlebbing Pep Guardiola?

      I say Turkey… Turkey has some nice foods…

  21. he is under contract but I hope we don’t “own” any human being, Blitzen… 😉

    saw the match again yesterday. still can’t share the widespread optimism on display. we had control of possession but Madrid was the team looking dangerous going forward.

    A lot of people say that we were playing in 2nd gear as if that is supposed to reassure us. It is irrelevant, because there is no guarantee we can switch to 1st gear in the matches to come.

    1. of course there is no guarantee…

      but this team has showed us what they able to do when they really wanted it… I believe they can switch to 1st gear when they really want it…

      do I feel optimist? not really, but I prefer not to be negative at this moment…

      I’m with our captain :
      “A final is always different……it has nothing to do with previous games or either club’s current trajectory”

  22. The tiki-taka video’s and the style video’s are a little misleading. Like Pep said, it takes 3 touches for Real Madrid to be able to put the ball in the back of an opponents net. That is what this match proved. It always looked likely that Madrid could score from a corner. And given that, it is beyond my understanding how the Barcelona midfield took their pedal off the gas after the first goal.
    Secondly, everything changed when Adabayor and Ozil came in. Madrid could just hoof the ball up the field, and Adabayor, almost always won the ball in the air, but his subsequent touches were a little off. This caused at least 2 barcelona defenders to be dragged out of position. Which created holes in the defence which Ozil, Ronaldo, and subsequently Marcelo exploited.
    Here is the thing that will make the upcoming match interesting, if they start Adabayor along with Ronaldo in the front, and Ozil supporting them from midfield, CDR final is going to be very different from the last match. But I believe that Mou had an upper hand tactically in the last match and was playing to defend for 70 minutes and give barca the sucker punch in the last 20 minutes. I dont believe Pep got his tactics wrong, just that Mou was able to surprise Pep with allowing Barca possession in the first 35 minutes, and turning the heat on in the subsequent 10 minutes before the break. Unfortunately Raul got sent off, or, the way Mou had planned, Madrid had a game plan. Who knows how it would have turned out had 11 players stayed on the pitch.
    I believe, tactically it will be a beauty to watch how Pep will handle the ball being hoofed to the front, and Adabayor holding it up.
    On the flip side, I believe Pepe had a very poor match, contrary to what the press and analysts are claiming. He was constantly being dragged out of position by Messi, Xavi and iniesta. Pep will easily figure out how to drag him out of position, for example, playing Pedro next to him and make him run circles around Pepe, which can easily cause him to mistakenly mark Pedro, which can give Xavi Iniesta and Messi the room to roam around.
    Anyway, look forward to the CDR final.

    1. yeah, I think Mou will play the same tactic…
      try to defend for 70 minutes and give barca the sucker punch in the last 20 minutes.

      but now it won’t be a surprise to Pep anymore if he’s gonna do that, right…

      and if we can score early, it might change their game plan…

    1. Alfredo di Stefano :
      Barcelona simply played brilliant at the Ber-Nah-Be-Eeeww… The whole world saw their superiority…
      Barcelona’s football shouldn’t be watched with the eyes but with the soul…To see this team play is a delight for all…
      Messi is the best player in the world… His football is spectacular, and he’s an example of profesionalism…[marca]

      so typical arrogant cule, huh? 😉

      I LOVE what he said about watching with the soul, not with your eyes…

  23. Guardiola, to the players:


    IF we respect the rival

    IF we don’t fall in their provocations

    IF we stay faithful to our style.”

    I love Pep Guardiola… 🙂

  24. To hell with all that stuff. Abidal came to practice to do some running and ball drills. No, he won’t be back this season, but it almost certainly means that the tumor was benign, though no official word has ever come down about it. That makes me very happy.

    In other injury news, Puyol says that he is feeling better and better by the day, even if I don’t think he should play in the Copa. The Krkic news posted above is also excellent. Young’uns heal fast, right?

    1. Wouldn’t it be nice if Abi was fit enough to come on for, say, the last five minutes of the last home game of the season? Just so the fans can see him?

  25. Here’s Sid Lowe’s piece in Guardian as to how critics are now turning on Mourinho’s “tactics”:

    A comment made by someone on twitter just summed it all up for me. “Di Stefano’s comments couldn’t have come at a worse time for RM. Just when they were trying to use that draw as a psychological springboard”

    Di Stefano just called out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes, to RM’s ridiculous spin on the draw and tangential referee complaints. Will be interesting to see the reaction.

  26. Laughing at all cules continuous pessimism.
    Rofling at the ways it can manifest into too.

    Madrid , the second best team in the world right now with a bigger squad than us plays defensively in their home , forgetting dismissing any chance they had to win the league and “fight back” to earn a draw.
    Whats the last time they played defensively in their home looking for a draw?

    The key issue here is expectations.
    Barcelona must win every title because they are the best team by a landslide.
    No referee interference , no bad luck , no bitching about the height of the grass ,not even crying about the squad depth and injuries.
    You have a distinct style and win comfortably most of the time?
    Get the titles.
    No excuses.

    Madrid can and will lay a potential failing to win any titles on being a young team , necessity for better gelling within the squad , playing against a historic team , being unlucky and mourinho having his better result in his second year of each club.
    They also have no escape route because…
    Well because mourinho was their escape plan last year.
    They will blame it on anything but themselves.

  27. GOOD DAY
    Real Madrid, Barcelona (see also Bad Day)
    A glorious moral victory for Real Madrid in the face of refereeing bias once again! Proof positive that the Catalan machine can be stopped in its dastardly referee-assisted tracks through the use of longer grass! A superior Real Madrid even when the side were down to 10 men! Spirits higher than ever in the camp ahead of Wednesday’s Copa clash!
    The league title in the bag for Pep’s Dream Boys! Barcelona as solid as a rock and refusing to stoop to Real Madrid’s evil spoiling tactics! Leo Messi showing fire and spirit for the Catalan clause by pinging balls into the stands!


  28. One of the few, no, actually the only thing I appreciate about Madrid is their insistence on playing attacking football. Their firing of Capello because trophies without beautiful football aren’t enough. It’s awesome that Di Stefano blasts them for starting with 7 defensive players.

    The majority of the fans just want to win though, and more so because if they don’t WE will win.

    Right now it whatever Di Stefano and assorted others think of their style of play is meaningless. Should we beat them in the Cup and CL, however, it might lead to Mou getting sacked.

    1. Even though i could care less about the confusion that Di Stefano’s comments might bring, i must say that all those criticizing real madrids approach to play are just being hypocritical and are still living in the past where the EE could stand toe to toe with us esp on a technical level.
      Seriously our team is so good its not even fair. They cant touch us any other way, at least not ATM.

    2. Let’s do the boasting AFTER we’ve won and brought all the titles back home at the end of the season.

      I think you mean “COULDN’T care less” by the way.

  29. Well, apparently Mourinho will choose the following line-up (according to AS):
    Arbeloa, Ramos, Carvalho, Marcelona
    Khedira, Pepe, Alonso
    CR, Ozil, Dive Maria

    So, the same as on Saturday with the exception of Ozil playing instead of Benz.
    I think with Ozil they’ll be a lot more dangerous on the counter-attack, because he can play the deadly pass in the run of CR, Marcelo or Dive Maria.
    Pepe will once again foul and play dirty as much as possible and Real will probably play 70 min. in full-defense mode and then try to hit us on the counter. But even in full-defense mode, one pass by Ozil to CR and Co. could be costly for us.
    I think it’ll be a very tough match that requires patience and full concentration over the whole 90 min.

    I’m not that confident, I would be if Pepe wasn’t there. But he pretty much stopped all our attacking moves and was MotM in the Bernabeu imo. I suspect he could do it again. He’s their best defensive weapon against us… and Ozil will increase the risk of counter-attacks.

    1. I am not afraid of Özil, Sergio had his number in the Semi-Finale and in the last classico, one reason why özil looked so good were the forced substitutions and therefore Keita as DM because Sergio had to play CB.

      With regards to Pepe, he could do what he did due to a lenient ref, and that comes in a home game, but is entirely possible that he will get an early yellow in the CdR when they are without their home advantage and a normal ref

    1. Note to Hleb (part 2): take a cue from Ronnie:

      “Guardiola es una gran persona”, aseguró Ronaldinho. “Se merece todo lo bonito que está viviendo con el equipo. Me hace muy feliz que pueda disfrutarlo”.

      Coming from a player whom Guardiola gave no chance. Not one game, not one minute. O-U-T the moment Pep took over from Rijkaard.

  30. Re-watched the match today. I understand the frustration, but Messi kicking the ball at the crowd really bothers me. During the game, I thought it hit the boards, but it actually went into the crowd.

    1. It’s ok for the crowd to constantly point laserbeams at his eyes, which btw could damage his sight, but poor little spectators when big bad leo shoots a ball at them!

      i thought it was awesome. but then i am one of those misguided souls who hates Madrid 😉

      after yesterday’s hilarious conclusion of Arsenal-Liverpool I googled the phrase “Wenger blames ref” and came up with 9,080 hits, which is about 1,500 more than ferguson. Can anyone think of a coach who is more pathetic?

    2. I definitely think the laserbeam pointing is atrocious too–and Pepe trying to convince Messi he was the crazy one made me chuckle to no end. I don’t think it means he’s an atrocious human being, or that he needs to be vilified for it, but it irks me.

    3. I don’t see why it should bother u. Messi is no saint, he is human and at the time he was exhausted and frustrated with the quality of a pass. Kicking the ball into the stands was ill-advised, but like i said, hes human and i doubt it was intentional.

    4. hahaha you don’t accidentally kick a ball that hard into the closest group of madrid fans instead of letting it run out. Ill-advised, yes, but also definitely intentional.

  31. Oh man, i thought we had seen the last of the janbulani but apparently it will be used in the CDR final, nicknamed the speed cell aka ‘beach ball’

  32. UEFA might suspend Iniesta for another game for deliberately provoking a yellow card at the Shakhtar game?

    You have got to be kidding me!

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