Postmortem: King’s Cup Finale

Le Sigh

These games are brutal for a number of reasons. Your team loses the Cup final. To its biggest rival. A week before playing that same team in a two-legged tie to decide a berth in the European final. So many implications, and yet, still very few. There is not much to say here other than a few brief takeaways and to get ready for Osasuna and the Champion’s League semis.

1. David Villa was dreadful. I hate to pile on any player, I really do. I am still in the “Fernando-Torres-can-pull-it-out-and-get-back-on-track” camp. However, Spain’s leading national team scorer and Barcelona’s key summer offensive signing has been sputtering for over a month now. Could the culprit be a lack of confidence in his game right now? Possibly. I tend to think it has to do with playing so many games now (Barcelona plays many more than Valencia typically did/do) and being asked to adjust his role. Can he get back on track? Of course, he’s a trust talent, but he needs either a breather or a confidence boost. Which leads us…

2. A lack of depth. Pep likes to carry his small squad, and I don’t usually tend to question the manager who is on a historic 4-year run for the club, however, the injury to Bojan has killed the depth even more, and there is no help in the reserve. It is hard to comprehend now, after the Liga has basically been wrapped up with said lack of depth, but in these trying cup ties, it becomes much more apparent. This means a summer signing is needed up front. Either on the wing or a backup 9 to provide a change of pace.

3. It’s only one game. It was the finale, and yes it was a hard knock, but it is only one game. Losing to Madrid sucks, big time, but that’s the way it happens sometimes. And today, it fell their way. However, with the Liga all but assured, it means that this is not leading to some historic Madrid treble or any such thing.

4. Pep hopefully learned a lot from the second half about what was working. In the past 2 games, Mou has used the Pep midfield situation to a tee, and he might do it again in Madrid (being that Carvalho is suspended for that game, he might not be able to). But the second half flowed better and the offense moved through Xavi and things were looking up until Extra Time. If the team comes out stagnant like the 1st half again, it’s going to be bad. A defense that plays that high cannot rely on some of the best players in the world missing or having a bad touch to get by.

5. Madrid earned it, or Barcelona lost it, I can’t decide. One way or the other, the team that deserved to win, did win. The first half was dreadful, the second half was better, and the goal was perfect. No keeper would stop it, no defender except Pique could have defended it (and he was in position guarding Adebayor). It hurts because it was Ronaldo and because it was Madrid, but it happens sometimes. Losing to Real Madrid, aside from being their arch enemy, is not shameful. They are the 2nd or 3rd best club team in the world, it’s not the worst thing ever.

6. Losing this game does not take away the other good things from this year and the past few. Closing in the Liga, a load of trophies, the best player in the world, and the best club in the world. The Copa del Rey is not a loser trophy or something minor, it is a worthwhile cup that any team in the RFEF would love to win, and winning it would have kept another treble hope alive, so it’s not something small, let’s not act like small fans. Congratulate them for winning a game and then move on for Osasuna, the CL, and the Supercup of Spain next August. Let’s not be petulant.

7. Best players of the night: Pique, Pinto, Xavi (2nd half), Messi (2nd half and when he could touch the ball), Busquets (aside from his theatrics, which I thought we were past), and Mascherano. Sometimes the team has an off game, it sucks that it happened in a final.

Sorry for the brevity here, but I have little else to say. We will be along later in the week with more updates and the preparations for Osasuna!

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179 Comments

  1. Miguel
    April 20, 2011

    We should be proud of our boys. They played their little blue and red hearts out. It stung to see Real celebrate as they did but they deserved the win. Both teams played really well.

    Atleast this means we’re almost guaranteed another season of Mourinho’s derangement and theatrics! 😛

    ¡Listo para la Revancha y el Doblete!

    So. Hung. Over. Right. Now.

    • Miguel
      April 20, 2011

      As Jose said to try and console me:
      It’s gonna be ok, Miguel. The Copa del Rey doesn’t write this team into the history books. La Liga and the Champions League will. Chin up. 🙂

          • Andrew B
            April 21, 2011

            “5. Madrid earned it, or Barcelona lost it, I can’t decide. One way or the other, the team that deserved to win, did win. The first half was dreadful, the second half was better, and the goal was perfect. No keeper would stop it, no defender except Pique could have defended it (and he was in position guarding Adebayor). It hurts because it was Ronaldo and because it was Madrid, but it happens sometimes. Losing to Real Madrid, aside from being their arch enemy, is not shameful. They are the 2nd or 3rd best club team in the world, it’s not the worst thing ever.”

            This.

      • Miguel
        April 20, 2011

        There’s a difference, though. It’s a lot easier muscling your way through the day knowing you had a great time earning that hangover. 😀

      • beeeef
        April 20, 2011

        Yes.

        To echo the sentiments of Isaiah, Ramzi, and others: La Liga takes precedence over all!

        Everything else is a bonus.

        • Ian
          April 20, 2011

          “BONUS.” Le word will help me get by, thank you very much

  2. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 20, 2011

    the lost against Arsenal made me feel 5x worse than today…
    because we looked very dreadful and uninterested at the Emirates…

    but last night, I really can’t be mad or complain to our team…
    yup… the first half is terrible…
    but after half time they played their hearts out…

    EE is the second best team in the world, imo…
    and they played well last night… losing in the final against them is not a humiliation…

    we just need 3 more wins to get La Liga trophy, right?
    correct me if I’m wrong…

    just remember this guys, La Liga >>>>>>>> Copa del rey 😀

    • Ian
      April 20, 2011

      True about the Arsenal case! Before the second leg I couldn’t live my usual day. This copa final didn’t get anywhere near my horror then!

      As for the league, three wins is enough, but four consecutive wins will make us unreachable leaving the last two games technically useless. Not that I’m expecting us to smooth-sail like that after two Clasicos tho xD

  3. thechaikid
    April 20, 2011

    i’ve been following this blog for so long (and am a huge fan of it :D) haha so i think i’ll finally comment (:
    first off, yes it’s an upsetting loss (especially since it was to madrid >_> ) but we shouldn’t forget that barca won the most titles for the copa del rey (:! that’s something we can always look back at and barca will add on to their 25 titles in the future and will always have the most haha(: ! and plus they did well today. i can’t ever forget the 2nd half. that was a beyond beautiful play by them!

    barca gave us a beyond amazing season (:! we are already safe to call the league title! and we still have uefa semi finals against the white shirts.

    lastly, i want to say this is one the best blogs i’ve been following. not just as a sports or football/soccer blog but as a blog in general(: amazing writers, articles, and community!

  4. xavi
    April 20, 2011

    As much as Pepe has damaged our flow(I know that **** deserved to be carded more, and who knows how much less of a help he’d have been for them if he’s rightfully punished for all his ****ness but he did indeed disrupt our play)… he wanders way too much, so much so that we could easily cash on it if it weren’t for those numerous timely interventions from Carvalho! I think they should miss him in the CL first leg. But it is ultimately down to our players how much they utilise that aspect though!!

    Putting aside Pepe’s influence in disrupting our play, it was motm performances from Carvalho & Ramos that made the trick really. So hope we could cash in on Carvalho’s absence in the next match.

    • April 20, 2011

      I understand everyone is upset, but please watch the language.

      This is one of the aspects of football that’s just so unnecessarily innappropriate. Supporters just get carried away and somehow feel the license to use vile language.

      This is not goal.com or soccernet. Please don’t do that here.

    • April 20, 2011

      Edited. Emotions are high and all, but please try to watch the language–and I know you will!

      • xavi
        April 20, 2011

        Yes Kari, of course I will 🙂

        Btw Ramos drops a cup from the bus and it gets run over 😀

  5. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 20, 2011

    by the way, it’s been 210 minutes we failed to scored from open play against EE… wow…

    we desperately need David Villa to be David Villa…

    either Pedro or Villa need to get their form back…
    both will be great…
    at least we need one of them to help Messi…

    • DontPanic
      April 21, 2011

      Doubt he will become “David Villa” again. He is to exhausted. So is Messi.

  6. April 20, 2011

    I agree with Luke regarding performances from today.

    Pique was excellent. Really outstanding (as was Masch).

    Pique is finally back to the form which made him one of the elite CB in the world. Not sure what happened with him for much of this season but these past few weeks he’s been great.

    Good sign for the CL.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 20, 2011

      yes, Pique was really excellent in the last 2 El Clasicos…

      calm, composed, aggresive, good positioning…
      the real Gerard Pique…

      EE could score more if Gerard didn’t perform well…

      hope this continue to UCL…

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2011

        I really liked his attitude, he is not only a player for Barcelona F.C. he is also a true cule, from the last hair to toe. I am sure that one he will wear the armband, and rightly so.

  7. Miguel
    April 20, 2011

    Barca press probably won’t be taking this one on the chin tomorrow. Which is always fun to see.

    Plenty of boy racers in madrid sticking their heads out of speeding cars waving flags. Decapitations ahoy!
    -LLL’s twitter

  8. CuleFromLiveBlog
    April 20, 2011

    Rumantadas: The Definitive timeline.

    May 7th 2008: The Guard of honor= 5 wins in a row against the EE.

    February and early March 2009: Losing to Espanyol and Psuedo EE’s = Lyon’s demolition.

    May 10th 2009: Andres limping off with an injury vs villareal = remuntada in rome as he dominated the UCL final with his partner in crime to cap off a wonderful season.

    August 2009: coming back from a defeat against Bilbao in the super cup with goals from P ! and xavi.

    Also: Winning the European super cup in a dramatic fashion with an amazing finish from P !

    Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRhVGSKVYMU

    April 28th 2010: Losing to Inter. One of the worst days of my life, without a doubt, but raised memories of a great comeback aka winning the league.

    Summer 2010: Mourinho to Madrid, mou-tivated our players enough to put five goals past casillas and producing one of the finest footballing displays of all time.

    We. Can. Pull. Off. Another. Remuntada. and win the doblete.

    Well that was all off the top of my head, my memory is not stimulated enough i guess.

    My point is, Pep can get our players back on track. period.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 20, 2011

      you forget the 1st leg defeat in SuperCopa against Sevilla and 1st leg UCL against Arsenal! 🙂

      August 2010 Supercopa —> 1st leg : 3-1 , 2nd : 4-0

      Feb – March 2011 —> 1st leg : 2-1, 2nd : 3-1

  9. xavi
    April 20, 2011

    @Miguel & @Euler

    Don’t worry guys that’s the farthest I generally go, moreover I didn’t know that word was forbidden here. Will keep it in control hereonwards 🙂 thanks for the timely reminder

  10. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 20, 2011

    via barcastuff :
    in each of the 5 official games Barcelona have lost this season, Carles Puyol did not play…

    if our Captain Caveman healthy and fit for UCL, we’re gonna be okay, guys… 😀

  11. Pyro
    April 20, 2011

    I’m just worried because it seems MOU MOU has us figured out tactically. We need to surprise him in the Bernabeu with some crazy formation with Alves as a forward or something. Last two games, he had us completely figured out.

    • Jose
      April 20, 2011

      I agree, it does seem that way. And yet having figured us out, they have only been able to manage a 1-1 draw at home and a thin 1-0 win in extra time at a neutral venue.

      While that may be mildly encouraging, adjusting to their tactics is a must. While our second half was good today, Pep’s answer to Mou’s strategy can’t be to just play harder, play faster.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 20, 2011

      what do you think Pep can do to surprise them? and at the same time still able to play well?

      I mean, he had try a different and unusual formation against Valencia,
      and yes, we won…but we didn’t play well, our players’ movement was awkward, and our ball possession was low…

      • beeeef
        April 20, 2011

        Not sure given the late point in the season coupled with limited options on the bench could see us change tactics drastically, if at all.

        If anything, with Carvalho out of the 1st leg, Madrid might be the team that does some re-shuffling of their starting XI.

        If Barca can return to some semblance of the form we saw earlier this season, I think we can get the W. I really don’t wan to see Mourinho celebrate another CL final berth at the Camp Nou.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 20, 2011

          my thoughts exactly… too late to change our strategy drastically…
          we really need to exploit Carvalho’s suspension…

          I’m fine today… I accept this lost…

          but if I have to see Mou and his team (worse, this is EE, not Inter) celebrating on our Camp Nou pitch for two years in a row, I can’t imagine the pain…

          that’s too hard to swallow…

    • Neel
      April 21, 2011

      Exactly my sentiments Pyro. While this loss is not wrecking my sanity, what causes a few heartbeats to stop inside me is that I thought yesterday we never really managed to take EE out of their comfort zone. Despite stepping up few notches in the 2nd half, I dont think we dominated the flow of the game ever. Even in our loss to Arsenal we were controlling the flow of the game. But yesterday was continuous hard work without much bargain for FCB players.
      This for me really turns the CL ties into a more delicious affair. My heart says we are going to witness atleast one if not two amazing displays by Barca over the CL ties. But there is concern, serious concern.

  12. xavi
    April 20, 2011

    Btw i’d like to give rest to Alves in the next match, he’s been too lazy with his passing upfront tonight

    VV-Montoya-Puyi-Milito-Maxwell-Masch-Thiago-Keita-Jeffren-Villa-Afellay

    I’d play Villa because I’d want to bench him come next classico, in the mean time try and get him to scoring ways against Osasuna. I so hope Messi is suspended for that match(he got a yellow tonight) because I know there’s no way he’s going to rest otherwise

  13. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 20, 2011

    Marca is reporting Sergio Ramos dropped the cup and their bus ran over it…

    Oh. My. God. I’m literally laughing… he is so silly… 😆

  14. Ian
    April 20, 2011

    Barca didn’t win, but Barca didn’t lose either by keeping true to the team’s traditional philosophy. I share the views of kinukinu in the previous post. Even if the result was dreaded, it was a good game. Even if the good moments only lasted shorter than they should, Barca (at second gear at that) still played so beautifully that you can never not give them credit.

    Thank you Luke for the review, its briefness is all I can hold ATM. Let’s hope the Liga lifts us up higher than our rivals xP

  15. kinukinu
    April 20, 2011

    Pedro’s goal got disallowed because he was offside by a hair…Pepe’s shot hit the bar…Casillas’ fingertips barely stopped Inesta’s shot, Pinto’s fingertips barely didn’t reach Ronaldo’s game changer. Such minute differences could have yielded very different results, and it made me think of Al Pacino’s brilliant “inches” speech in Any Given Sunday:

    “You know, when you get old in life; things get taken away from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game life or football the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too early or too late and you don’t quite make it. One half a second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game; every minute every second.
    On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s what gonna make the f****** difference between winning and losing. Between living and dying. I’ll tell you this in any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m gona have any life anymore. It’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what living is. The six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You have to look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes. Now i think your gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it; your gonna do the same for him.
    That’s a team gentlemen. And, either we heal, now as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is.
    Now, what are you gonna do ?”

    Here’s hoping the CL inches go our way…

    • momo
      April 20, 2011

      This ^
      Epicest thing I’ve read in while…

    • Ian
      April 20, 2011

      I am now officially a fan of your posts, kinukinu :worship:

      • kinukinu
        April 20, 2011

        Thanks for the love y’all–you’re making a rookie blog girl blush 😛

    • April 21, 2011

      Oh,man. (or lady,as it may be).

      That is one of the best monologues I’ve seen,and really,the text does NOT do it justice.

      Let’s have it again for those who haven’t seen it – enjoy, folks!

      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4tIrjBDkk

      Just a question to mods-are we able+allowed to post videos in the comment threads? I guess its possible to put in the embed codes and that might work,but…just asking!

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      Your comment single handedly pwns everything else on this post.

  16. Víctor
    April 20, 2011

    Apparently, Madrid’s bus crushed the cup. Hahahaha…

    • Ian
      April 20, 2011

      It jumped off Sergio’s hands on purpose because it wanted to go back to Barcelona lol

  17. April 20, 2011

    A bit of analysis, as I only just watched the goal. Wow. Kinda craptastic, actually. Team goal.

    –Messi gives it away, lazy-asses chasing it down.
    –Busquets stood there and watched Marcelo take the pass instead of shutting him down/contesting it.
    –Alves WAY too loose on DiMaria, who gets a full head of steam instead of having to battle for the possession/space.
    –Adriano lets TB sky over him.
    –Pinto guesses wrong and corrects, but in that nanosecond, the deal is done.

    It was also a goal that almost certainly doesn’t happen in regular time, because legs are fresher. It goes back to my review where I cited the “Oh, somebody else will do it” attitude that I have been seeing all too much this season. Messi figured somebody else would shut it down, Busquets figured Messi would chase it, Alves thought Busquets had Marcelo, Adriano showed why he’s a second-string LB.

    It happens. The biggest question now is what have we learned?

    As someone else noted, the battle for this match was won by Mourinho who, with his “Poor us, we never get to play them with 11,” ensured that his side would have a license to stomp, that players that might or might not have deserved it, weren’t going to get sent off.

    And still, we have to play through it. We have in the past, right? I love that Guardiola isn’t saying a word about the refereeing, because he knows. Barca-centric papers saying that they should have had 3 men sent off. Like that was going to happen. Ridiculous.

    I’m sure that our players will watch the tape of that goal, remember how it feels to be getting the second place medal for a change, and resolve to kick ass and take names during the CL tie. As Guillem Balague noted, it was just a little bit of extra movement on the offensive and defensive ends that would have turned the trick for us. It’s correctable, beginning with rest.

    • BA
      April 20, 2011

      in fairness to Adriano, he could have busted both legs trying to reach that ball; he’s just no match for Ronaldo in the air. he’s 5 inches shorter, and it’s not his game. Puyol or Abidal doesn’t let that ball reach Thong Boy’s head, but they’ve both been shorn from the team.

      as for rest, well, i have to say it still comes down to not having a deep enough squad. Euler rightly pointed out that not only do we have a long-term problem of Villa, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi playing unprecedented numbers of games that inevitably causes fatigue, but we have precious few options off the bench. other teams have players on the bench to turn to when they’re 1-0 down with 15 minutes remaining; we don’t, and haven’t had for some time. Guardiola’s lack of rotation this season has been starkly illuminated in some tough games late on this season when we look more than a bit lifeless.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 20, 2011

      are you gonna make player ratings for KRS’ sake? 😀

    • April 21, 2011

      I don’t think judging Adriano as a 2nd-string LB on the basis of losing a header against C.Ronaldo makes sense,because as BA has pointed out,it’s almost physically impossible for him to win that header. Besides, he was one of our very best players against Madrid in the league the other night, was consistently attacking today,and only once did he really get owned by Ronaldo,and that was in the end when he had to give up a yellow.

    • Dalmar
      April 21, 2011

      So far Mourinho’s ultra defensive approach worked cuz he only needed to defend and be patient. In the Champions League he does not have the luxury to sit around and be patient. The main thing for Mourinho is that he cannot take 0-0 draw to the 2nd leg; he has take some risk which would definately open up the game. In the return leg with crowd behind them Barcelona only needs to score 1 goal to undo Mourinho trivote/double fullbacks tactics. Once that heppens 2,3,4 goals can follow.

      For me this is not about Barcelona vs Madrid. It more about the beautiful modern football vs Mourinho’s anti football tactics.

  18. OSBAG
    April 20, 2011

    TI had an odd feeling after the game, I wasn’t mad or sada, no feeling of disappointment whatsoever. I was just glad and grateful that I have been a part of this season of. AWESOMENESS from a team that feels to be as more than a team. Our team have stuFfed us full with enough good. Football and wonderful memories to last a decade. I close my eyes and smile as the memory flows through. More kudos…

    This classico was pretty much played the way the last was played. So I expected pep to have had a second plan to outmanuever them. There I was disappointed. Last match at least we tried chipping the ball over the defense and it did create some chances. we were only trying to play the ussual way we do. Creating run ins behind their backline; something they made heavily clear they could handle last match.
    Even our corners weren’t pickin out anyone. Someone should tell alves to leave free kicks alone. We have to make the most use of setpieces.I would hope that pep would be able to develop an alternate plan for the CL.

    It pains me that Thong boy scored as he would be picking up the highest goal scorer award.

    LoooOoooooooooooooOng live Barca….

  19. OSBAG
    April 21, 2011

    One thing goes without sayying now, we need a bigger squad. While mourinho was bringing in players, I loooked at our for somene who could make a difference and found none. EE was playing with such a good team while still having kaka Benz and higuain on the bench.

    Games like this show the defects in our team. One that needs to be corrected. We should bring in players not just to sit on the bench but to rotate. Imaging we having five quality forwards on which we could formulate different plans to suit each games. substitute midfielders that can make a difference.I want a more matured bojan and kanoute to be the extra two strikers.
    Our startin eleven is the best in the world but the bench
    . Maxwell. Milito are not worth the team. Affelay has not found his feet. Bojan stutters. even keita isn’t much help. Jeffren doesn’t even make the cut nowadays. adriano and sMache appears to be our only real help on the bench ithough I see affellayand bojan joining them next season.

  20. Dani_el
    April 21, 2011

    It was an all-emotions match for me, the first time we clearly didnt have our entire minds on the pot, while I phoned my brother (also a die-hard fan) to tell him what happened, I loved the play where Pinto controls it really far from his usual place, and then he passed (coldly) to Mascherano who in turn passed to Pique (I think) and made a sombrero (putting the ball in the air) to Sergio Ramos who ended up touching the ball with his hands, what a play!! For plays like those I love this team, Kxevin and many others are so right, how coud we doubt this team, something Pep says very often: “I cannot doubt this team”. I liked how well we played on the second half, but I recognize the tactics of Mou, I hate the way they came on to the ball, sometimes with high probabilities of hurting one of our players (arbeloa and pepe shouldnt have ended the game on the field) but the tactics worked for them, I hope Pep and the team play their magic next wednesday, and to end my ramble, I really think we need more reliable subs, I really really like Ibi, but he can’t be our only offensive line sub, I hope Rosell acknowledges this, and gives Pep a good striker, that can start from the left, gives a good competition for Villa, can make many goals, use the space well, and that can fixate the opposite team central defenders, being a little taller than our average player. Visca el Barça!! A por el doblete!

  21. ElJefe
    April 21, 2011

    I have no regrets here guys. Sure, it hurts, but regret nothing. No Heart of a Lion (Puyol), no La Liga MVP#2 (Abidal), we have the respect to play Pinto the whole way through the CDR, and he shows it was well deserved….and EE sends out their full starting lineup…in the CDR, borderline desperate.

    We had one game we could lose of 4, this was it, and we lost it. Make no mistake, last weekends game was a straight up victory, for La Liga.

    Our non-goal is a goal in 90% of calls, and without Casillas in the 2nd half its 3-0 at 90 minutes. The bigger concern is we’ve been playing like poo-poo for the 2nd half of the season..and the 2nd half of this game may have fixed that. The real futbol starts next week.

    Some observations:

    – Adriano had a few hiccups discussed above, but the fact is he’s playing like he’s been in the starting line-up for years. Fearless, and regularly playing against the opponents top players. I would rate him 2x Maxwell.
    – We have an embarrasment of riches, but we need to get a long distance set piece threat to squeak out a few 1-0 games in situations liket his, and in the Champion’s League. Alves comes close, but just isn’t getting it done. 10 & Xavi have us covered from close/mid-range, but a Jujinho is a CL game changer.
    – You can crap on Villa all you want, but we’re simply not playing him to his strengths. Did no one watch the World Cup or his Valencia highlights? He’s at his best attacking from the wing, with the ball at his feet. He is great for the occasional run as well, but with no size up front, we are easy to defend with him playing traditional #9. And for every attempt he blows for being offsides, there are 2 where he is open if they pass early enough. Perhaps its because he’s not playing well so lost confidence of his comrades, but no one has done a great job feeding him recently. Just because Alves & Adriano can play great on the wings feeding the center doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have Villa out there more often.
    – 10 is causing far too many counterattacks by forcing passes to often when he’s in attacking mid position. We’re going to get burnt eventually. Also, we are virtually never making full cross field passes, with which dual Brazilian greyhounds on each side, should benefit us greatly.
    – Outside of Casillas, Higuain is the only EE player in the last 3 years to scare me whatsoever…I am now adding DiMaria to that list. We simply can’t match his pace, Abidal would be our only hope.

    • outerspacedout
      April 21, 2011

      And his performing skills too are worrying.

      • barca96
        April 21, 2011

        You meant Juninho? The former Lyon free kick specialist?
        What’s the point of having a player who is only good in free kicks?
        But I know what you meant.

        Xavi really pisses me off man.. He is almost retiring and still doesn’t know how to shoot the damn ball!! It’s pathetic. Embarrassing at times.

        You can crap on Villa all you want, but we’re simply not playing him to his strengths
        You are damn right! Our players are too slow in feeding him the pass. He makes runs after runs in the 1st half of every match but is always ignored.

        Once it the 2nd half last night, when Messi was making a run, Villa did make a beautiful diagonal run and took three players with him and Messi passed to a wide open Pedro on the left.
        Now that was good even though he didn’t receive the ball he created space for another player.

        But what usually bugs me when he makes a run and takes players with him, Xavi eps. will not make use of the free space and instead hold the ball and pass back wards and thus killing the opportunity.

        He’s at his best attacking from the wing, with the ball at his feet.

        Disagree with that. He is best running on to a ball.

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      Good point(s) about Villa. However, we’re not Spain NT, so will we ever play him to ‘his strengths’?

  22. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 21, 2011

    what will Pep do in the next 2 El Clasicos?
    experimenting a different line up?

    – rest Villa, put Afellay there?
    – move Iniesta as a winger, and put Afellay/Thiago in midfield?
    – move Alves as a right winger, and use Puyol as a RB?
    – move Adriano as a left winger, and use Maxwell as a LB?
    – move Messi to the wing? if so, who’s gonna be the CF? Villa? Pique? Fontas?
    play Jeffren as a starter?

    or just simply put the usual line up (Villa-Messi-Pedro) and hope we get our November-January performance back?

    too many questions mark in my mind… meh…

  23. outerspacedout
    April 21, 2011

    I hope that, thinking of years down the line, whoever we’re grooming as a long-term replacement for Puyol is pacy and fast. Having fast defenders makes playing a high lines so so much less risky. Abidal provided that earlier on, and Adriano is rather fast as well, but if we get more fast defenders that job would be made even better than if we get a slower defender.

    Ah how I will miss Puyol when he has to retire! Who else in the team seems like they could be a lion-hearted passion-filled willing-to-die-on-the-pitch-and-you-all-better-do-the-same-or-else driving-force radiating-inspiration Leader of Men striking fear into the heart of opponents and wringing the best performance out of everyone in the side?

    Somehow it’d be funny if Iniesta broke out of his quiet shell when the mantle had to be placed on him and we see the pale-faced King Leonidas Spartacus and enjoying it side of him. Don’t think so though. Honestly though after Puyol retires who will be our Puyol?

    • barca96
      April 21, 2011

      Pique certainly doesn’t fit the;
      lion-hearted passion-filled willing-to-die-on-the-pitch-and-you-all-better-do-the-same-or-else driving-force radiating-inspiration Leader of Men striking fear into the heart of opponents and wringing the best performance out of everyone in the side

      I don’t see anyone from the current batch who has those skills.
      Pique is always too busy provoking opponents.
      Xavi is too busy complaining to the referee.
      Iniesta and Messi are quiet.
      Valdes is the only one who’s a bit more vocal but he too can be a maniac at times. And he is not an outfield player.

      I really turn a blind eye whenever those thoughts come to my mind because we will lack a leader once Puyol retires.

      • outerspacedout
        April 21, 2011

        Yeah right now Pique isn’t quite mature enough either. And I couldn’t think of the lead-the-charge type of guys. Not being pessimistic or anything, and nothing to do with the result, just wondering for the future.

        We’ve seen we have tons and tons of talent, players only 23-26 who are already the best in the world and will be getting better. But Xavi for his irreplaceable ability and Puyol for that sort of monster inspiring leadership I don’t see anyone else having right now, are the long-term worries we need to address. We’ve especially seen how much we can miss Puyol’s presence in big games. All five of our losses this season has been without Puyol, and all five were arguably games where his presence might have made the difference.

        Villa is also aging, but talented forwards will be on the market and we can afford to splurge. But if we don’t have someone within who can take up the mantle, there is no way we can buy someone to be what Puyol is. That’s my worry. It’s literally irreplaceable except from inside the club. That, and the fact that no other player in the world has exactly what Xavi does, but even that’s something where some solution may be found, Thiago? Grooming Fabregas? Someone else? It’ll be not quite the same but still can be patched up to some extent. The leader problem though…

  24. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    What do we do in the next one. That is the question.

    I think we obviously need to change something. Do still play Villa? Start Afellay in his place? We could do with some directness and long range shots. Give Thiago some time?

    I’m fairly certain Mou is going to play similar if not the exact same lineup as yesterday.

    • Ian
      April 21, 2011

      I was almost convinced Pep would start Thiago in the CdR when he announced that Pinto starts. I was disappointed not to have seen him for the whole 120 minutes. I hope he can play against Osasuna and some tiny minutes against EE, even if it’s a UCL. In Messi’s name we need new players and a new approach to that team.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 21, 2011

      you ask, I ask, everyone asks the same question…

      what should Pep do? any idea, guys?

      Euler? Ramzi? Kari? Somo4? Jmean?

      I’m clueless…

  25. Helge
    April 21, 2011

    Wow, sooo many comments to read, and all that through blurry eyes 🙁

    I was crying yesterday, desperately.
    And now, after reading some chosen comments from Euler and Kxevin for instance, I have once again tears in my eyes. Although they are intended to spirit me up. Thanks for that.

    But for me, this loss against EE, and the way we lost it in extra-time through a goal of the-one-who-shall-not-be-named is simply too much to take.
    I will re-transform into lurker-state, only a CL final could bring my heart back to life.

    Courage, my heart, take leave and fare thee well!

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      I’m sorry but LOL, Helge is a really an emotional person

      • barca96
        April 21, 2011

        😆

        I bet Jnice is in lurker mode too.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 21, 2011

          aagghhh, NOOO… Jnice is okay, trust me…

          we’re are strong, and proud of ourself! we rock! yeaay! 😀

        • Jnice
          April 21, 2011

          Haha, I’m cool. Like I said on twitter, I’m proud of myself because I was able to take this one on the chin. I’m not even angry or sad. I was angry after the first half, but the second half performance made me proud.

          Win or lose in the CL, I’m just looking forward to the summer and who we bring in to strengthen the team.

          • Jnice
            April 21, 2011

            However, I should add that the one negative this match has left me with is the fact that doubts are now creeping into my mind.

            Before these matches with RM, I had no doubt we would advance in the CL. Unfortunately, after witnessing the effectiveness of their tactics and our inability to deal with them properly, I now have doubts about whether we will get to the final.

            I’m still confident, but this was an eye opener. The fatigue in our team is more prevalent than I thought it was and our strikers’ lack of form is troublesome to say the least.

            I truly hope our coaches and players work harder than ever before to figure out how to be more effective against this Madrid side. I’m sure they will.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 21, 2011

      oh, Helge… 🙁

      everything’s gonna be okay… at least, I hope so…

      we won together, we lost together… *group hug*

  26. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    Few more points:

    – There was the same green laser on Messi. And people still moan about the sprinklers.

    – We need some home turf now. Some fan support. We just played at the Bernabeu, Mellesta was almost all infested with EE fans and now we play them again in their house.

    Is the Osasuna game at home, or away?

    • barca96
      April 21, 2011

      It should be a home tie as we played at their stadium already.
      So hopefully Pep will rest Messi, Villa, Iniesta, Pique.

  27. 145culegirl
    April 21, 2011

    It was not a good game and made us all sad but we should take this in our stride.The better team won today and my congrats to all Madridistas.We didnt convert our chances.Ladyluck did not smile upon us.So what?.All’s not lost.We know how our boys are feeling right now and they’ll come like a bang.
    I think times like these brings us more closer to the team we so much adore.Bandwagons dont feel that and they have no right to support Barca.
    VISCA EL BARCA AND ONCE A CULE,ALWAYS A CULE.

    • outerspacedout
      April 21, 2011

      Lev’s roommate is gonna send you letters too… Hahaha.

        • Eklavya
          April 21, 2011

          I didn’t get the (original) Lev’s roomate joke. Explanation??

          • outerspacedout
            April 21, 2011

            SoMa4 was thinking about changing her handle to culemom instead to avoid confusion with the poster SoccerMom, Lev (I think) mentioned that it sounds like a name certain… exotic actresses would have, and that his room-mate knew such things very well. Something along those lines.

            Seeing where the nickname ‘cule’ for Barcelona supporters originally came from it makes more sense..

  28. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2011

    Definitely a home game. I would rest Iniesta, Sergio, Messi and Pique for sure, maybe Xavi.

    I am not decided on Villa and Pedro: should we play them both so than get some goals and break their deadlock and in Pedros case also get back match fitness.

  29. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    For Osasuna, my XI:

    VV, Alves Fontas Milito Maxwell
    Thiago Mascherano Afellay
    Jeffren (Nolito) (Pedro)

  30. chillipod
    April 21, 2011

    Hello all,
    been an avid reader for some time, and frankly, been a bit too in awe of the depth of interest, knowledge and fanaticism to post until now (despite the warm welcomes always given to newbies).
    This blog really does rock!
    So, last night, I was more upset/worried/nervous at HT than I was at FT. At HT we had been out-thought, played, muscled, but in the 2nd half we were ourselves again.
    ET was like 2 heavyweight boxers who were on their last legs trying to see who could outlast the other.
    Fair play to EE, great goal and they ran themselves into the ground.
    Like the majority of you, am a little down that we didn’t win, but in the grand scheme of things this was a distant 3rd in the priority list. Top priority is within our own control and the 2nd is up for grabs.
    Statistically, we cannot win every game. More so, when so many are against the same – high quality – opposition. The run of results against them has been dream like, and if it had to end (as beautiful dreams always do) I know where/when I would have preferred it to.
    Will it boost them? Will it demoralize us? We will see shortly. Might it tempt JM to force the issue next week and try to get a multi-goal cushion? Was/Is he stung by Di Stefano’s words…so many questions, and limitless answers. Fascinating times.
    The main points have all been made by more regular posters already, we’re short in depth up front, and Villa and P! are currently highlighting that for anyone who hadn’t noticed. As a result, EE can man mark (manhandle?) the Messi-ah and are counting on more profligacy from elsewhere. (That’s a misguided ploy to stick with, I think P! moved up a gear last night…). Carvalho will be missed next week. Caveman will return, Pique has upped his game. Masch gets better with each game.
    With our 1st choice XI in place we are better than them, the world knows it. The run is over, so let’s start a new one. I can’t wait for the final 2 installments, and I know Pep & the Boys won’t let us down. ¡Visca Barça!

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      Welcome Chillipod (great name lol)! Keep commenting, otherwise it gets boring!

  31. April 21, 2011

    ah that Pedro goal…we screamed so loud when that went in…it took us like a minute to realise it was cancelled…and after that just like Euler I just knew that thing were going to end badly…
    After EE scored I was resigned, I just couldn’t see us finding the strength to creat a chance…

    oh and there was this horrid EE fan aplauding arbeloa on his stomp on villa…and I’m not about about some kid, he was somewhere in his forties, that little,little pathetic slime…

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 21, 2011

      you resigned after they scored?

      you better than me…
      I threw up (literally) after second half whistle… 😛

      so I decided not see the extra time…
      my heart and stomach can’t handle the pressure…

      to be honest, like Jnice, I’m trying to be positive, but my mind is full of doubts right now…

  32. poipoi
    April 21, 2011

    Oh damn yesterday after the game I kicked the wall all frustrated, so hard my ankle is hurting a whole lot I can’t walk today. How can we let the game reach overtime? How do we let the 1st half be all theirs… besides mou had like 5 great players in the bench. We had little. We played in such a stupid way. Only xavi showed some personality in the pitch IMO. Iniesta zero personality. EE showed their personality and dictated the pace of the game much respect.

    Pep has probably learnt that OUR SQUAD IS A BIT SHORT and maybe he learned mou outcoached big time. Any changes in our line-up/system? they did some changes made high pressure and defended really well. They could have been up by one or two easy in the 1st half… Pepe almost scored omfg while Iniesta was sleeping. 0-1 we let it happen. EE played really well they deserve the win.

    Just wanna say if we don’t go through next week I can get my satisfaction… superpep will have won his only cl with Samuel Etoo I miss him so much ye had so much personality. mama’s boys lost

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      Do you have tickets for the return leg or not?

      • poipoi
        April 21, 2011

        Long story … may NOT … and the guy that has to fix it is in Mali right now! 🙁 don’t think my heart could take it, a game of fouls defending & losing time a la inter. Yesterday I could not watch overtime, head between my knees literally … people in the bar thought I was crazy. What a game awful all about mou a nightmare

  33. outerspacedout
    April 21, 2011

    For the resting MVP question, I would say rest Villa for Osasuna, he looks so exhausted. Rest Messi too. Play Pedro though, he’s not going to be that tired cos he’s gone some games without playing some time back but he’ll need the match to step up a further gear in match-fitness. He looked improved last night as well.

    As for the rest of the team, I’d like some of the fresher first-teamers to start along with our reserves. Afellay in midfield, Thiago or Keita in, Fontas in, etc.

  34. poipoi
    April 21, 2011

    funny how cules still say we day best Madrid the worst… we play football they don’t even after loosing. Funny how they only look

    • poipoi
      April 21, 2011

      Sorry… at themselves their beauty and don’t even realize the bad state in which we have been lately. All players have been falling short to their expectations, or at least to me, in the last months. Specially the important ones.

  35. xavi
    April 21, 2011

    Regarding the leader we’d be missing once Puyi has retired, I think Pique is a good shout. I know his play isn’t yet so much matured or hasn’t got as much energy as Puyi’s does but I’ve seen him rally the team during the absence of our beloved captain. Constant shouting, constantly passing on the orders, etc. And the way he marshalls up the pitch when we are in desperate need for a goal, that is really a sight to behold… Now imagine how inspiring it would be for the rest of the team when he’s officially become the captain!! Pique isn’t yet there but he is on the right path IMHO

    Regarding the next liga match, as I’ve already mentioned I’d rest most of the starting players… VV-Montoya(Yeah I’d rest Alves too because he seems to be very lazy with his passing in the attack and my feeling is that’s mainly because of the lack of rest)-Puyi(so he gets proper match fit and won’t have to leave midway again like last time… only one half though so as not to risk him to an injury)-Milito-Maxwell-Masch-Thiago-Keita-Jeffren-Villa(mainly because I’d bench him in the classico while in the mean time try and get him to scoring ways against Osasuna)-Afellay
    Subs : Irrespective of the score I’ll bring Fontas/Bartra for Puyi at half time. If we have a 2 goal lead or some thing, sub off Masch for JDS

    Regarding the upcoming Classicos, the more I think about them the more confident I’m getting. I wish we have success for the beautiful football sakes at least if not for us(team/fans)

  36. soccermomof4
    April 21, 2011

    I saw the second half late last night. It was hard to do already knowing the score but I’m glad I did. That second half displayed everything I love about Barca. We were uncontainable but for the fact that Casillas was an absolute beast. Congrats to EE, that was a beautifully played ball and an astounding header(shame it had to be TB) but it’s good to see that we can still play like we did that second half. Onward to the CL, love your team, trust your coach!

    Lineup for Saturday:
    VV
    Montoya, Fontas, Milito, Maxwell
    Thiago, JDS, Keita
    Afellay, Nolito, Jeffren

    Everyone else goes to whatever the European equivalent of Disney World is, forgets about football for a couple of days, and comes back ready to kick EE’s butts!

  37. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    ZonalMarking has a very throughout analysis of the game:

    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/04/21/real-madrid-1-0-barcelona-copa-del-rey-tactics/

    Real went closest to scoring. Their main tactic was to quickly hit the ball wide and try and catch Barcelona out in the full-back positions – and this resulted in their best chance of the opening period.

    […]Angel di Maria got past Alves and lofted a cross to the far post, where Ronaldo produced a powerful header back across goal. It was very similar to Pepe’s effort in the first half, and has been a route of attack all season for Real

    It’s fairly simple. Our main offensive breakthroughs come with Alves running down the right flank, with most of the times Xavi passing the ball to him.

    Real’s offensive breakthroughs (in Clasicos, at least) come with DiMaria running down our right (their left) flank.

    We were talking about Ronaldo being displaced and DiMaria being played there instead to neutralize Alves, but in the end DiMaria got the better of him. I think for the next Clasico we should/could use the same tactic as previous season with Puyol playing RB and Alves as RW.

    With Puyol on the right, we can leave DiMaria to him which frees up Alves to better link up with Xavi and Messi.

    I have the following XI in mind:

    VV
    Puyol Pique Mascherano Adriano
    Xavi Busquets Iniesta
    Alves Messi Pedro

    With Puyol and Mascherano playing together we have a stable defense, we close down that route and we also give Pique a bit more license to go forward and help out in the midfield.

    Yesterday, Real cramped out our midfield, especially Pepe who played much higher/further ahead than in the 1-1 match. At times he was the furthest ahead player for RM (e.g. his header that almost went in). I’m fairly certain that Mourinho will go out with the same midfield for the next match.

    Thus, by freeing Pique he could also help out with possession and most importantly: push up the play.

    Yesterday, we didn’t manage to get on the other side of their 3 DM-midfield until Messi dropped deep and helped out. But that made him play even more centrally and made him much more easier to mark.

    By pushing up Pique slightly, we prevent Messi from dropping deep.

    This is what is looks like.

    *http://this11.com/boards/1303387894242413.jpg

    With Carvalho suspended, Ramos will probably play CB with Albiol, right? That means Marcelo and Arbeloa will be on the flanks.

    Our width will basically come from Alves and Adriano. Puyol, Masch and Busi will handle the defense. The rest is built so that Xavi & Iniesta can help Messi thread balls to Pedro and break through their 3 DMs (Pepe-Alonso-Kheidira).

  38. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    ZonalMarking has a very throughout analysis of the game:

    *http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/04/21/real-madrid-1-0-barcelona-copa-del-rey-tactics/

    Real went closest to scoring. Their main tactic was to quickly hit the ball wide and try and catch Barcelona out in the full-back positions – and this resulted in their best chance of the opening period.

    […]Angel di Maria got past Alves and lofted a cross to the far post, where Ronaldo produced a powerful header back across goal. It was very similar to Pepe’s effort in the first half, and has been a route of attack all season for Real.

    It’s fairly simple. Our main offensive breakthroughs come with Alves running down the right flank, with most of the times Xavi passing the ball to him.

    Real’s offensive breakthroughs (in Clasicos, at least) come with DiMaria running down our right (their left) flank.

    We were talking about Ronaldo being displaced and DiMaria being played there instead to neutralize Alves, but in the end DiMaria got the better of him. I think for the next Clasico we should/could use the same tactic as previous season with Puyol playing RB and Alves as RW.

    With Puyol on the right, we can leave DiMaria to him which frees up Alves to better link up with Xavi and Messi.

    I have the following XI in mind:

    VV
    Puyol Pique Mascherano Adriano
    Xavi Busquets Iniesta
    Alves Messi Pedro

    With Puyol and Mascherano playing together we have a stable defense, we close down that route and we also give Pique a bit more license to go forward and help out in the midfield.

    Yesterday, Real cramped out our midfield, especially Pepe who played much higher/further ahead than in the 1-1 match. At times he was the furthest ahead player for RM (e.g. his header that almost went in). I’m fairly certain that Mourinho will go out with the same midfield for the next match.

    Thus, by freeing Pique he could also help out with possession and most importantly: push up the play.

    Yesterday, we didn’t manage to get on the other side of their 3 DM-midfield until Messi dropped deep and helped out. But that made him play even more centrally and made him much more easier to mark.

    By pushing up Pique slightly, we prevent Messi from dropping deep.

    This is what is looks like if I draw it on this11:

    http://this11.com/boards/1303387894242413.jpg

    With Carvalho suspended, Ramos will probably play CB with Albiol, right? That means Marcelo and Arbeloa will be on the flanks.

    Our width will basically come from Alves and Adriano. Puyol, Masch and Busi will handle the defense. The rest is built so that Xavi & Iniesta can help Messi thread balls to Pedro and break through their 3 DMs (Pepe-Alonso-Kheidira).

  39. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    Damn, 2 comments I just wrote went into moderation, even if I removed put the asterix before the links.

  40. Eklavya
    April 21, 2011

    Official: Adriano has a thigh injury and is expected to be out for the next 4 weeks.

    • Ian
      April 21, 2011

      Somebody hold me, I’m on the verge of passing out. Our defenders are being eaten away WTH don’t the FOOTY GODS have MERCY? /wail

    • Whatever
      April 21, 2011

      This is VERY bad news.

      Pep will probably play Alves – Pique – Mascherano – Puyol.

  41. psqd
    April 21, 2011

    a few thoughts…

    the middle freed up when messi dragged his entourage out to the right and came across or when he had them out of the middle and AI and pedro could work it on the left.

    AI seemed the only guy who could beat his shadow one-v-one regularly.

    villa was asked to play in the middle with 10 stormtroopers constantly, but his first touch has let him down when he wasn’t offsides.

    everybody’s passing was below par, i.e. many more intercepted and off passes than usual.

    alves and adriano had big recovery tackles!

    somebody saying adriano is out 4 weeks. there were troubles covering runs, with the fastest guy left, at LB. what is gonna happen with max out there? and don’t think mou hasn’t noticed that when max has been on the field you don’t even have to defend him.

    given that and busi’s play last night, have a hard time not seeing sMasch in for at least the away CL game.

    would have liked to see afellay sooner for sure.

  42. April 21, 2011

    Some thoughts, after a few convos on Twitter last night:

    –Note for the record, re the comment about us not playing to Villa’s strengths, nobody was saying that about Henry or Ibrahimovic, except for a few of us. Both were (particularly the latter) castigated for not fitting in with the midgets, and playing like they came from La Masia. If true, the same should hold for Villa.

    YouTube the Coppa Italia goal that Ibrahimovic scored against Palermo. That goal was the kind of goal that could have been scored yesterday. We need that type of big, mobile striker. Not sure where to find him, but I would buy Llorente before I buy Fabregas.

    –The way we play wears people out. Messi is a lion when he loses a ball. Had he been last night, they wouldn’t have scored. But he’s tired. In Cup years, a short bench can be fatal. Guardiola’s biggest tactical error might have been mafe in the transfer windows.

    –I’m not rating Adriano a second-string LB solely because of his poor positional defense on TB on the goal. He IS a second-string LB in fact. A natural defender plays that better by getting inside TB’s body. Even though Mascherano is shorter than Adriano, he wouldn’t have allowed as free a header. Adriano has been brilliant. But he is a Swiss army knife. We got caught. Our system only works if everybody does their job.

    –The treble year required immense luck. We were also coming off a trophyless season, so everyone was well-rested and ready. This season is very different. Lots more miles on the legs, less injury luck. It happens. It’s why depth is crucial. We don’t have it.

    –The biggest tactical change Guardiola can make is to rest players, starting this weekend. Villa and Messi should rest. So should Xaviniesta. Chances were there, sufficient movement wasn’t.

    • barca96
      April 21, 2011

      – Who fitted us better between all those 3 of us? Villa was until the past few weeks.
      I think it was fair for a lot of us to criticize Ibra. I didn’t criticize Henry cause at least he did a lot of pressuring and defensive work unlike the former. However Villa didn’t do any of those last night except for making runs after runs only to be ignored.

      That goal? WHy are you pointing out to an Ibra goal? There are many other examples out there. Like the one Henry scored recently. Why do you have to bring Ibra up again?…

      -Adriano had no chance of beating Ronaldo on that one. Not sure what sMasch would do though. You’re just bringing up your assumption.

      -I agree with you that we should rest Villa, Messi and Xaviniesta but then we would risk dropping points. If we drop points, it might bring the momentum back to EE and we in turn might break down mentally.

      -Not sure if this has been posted. But here’s the Cup that Ramos dropped haha
      http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v402/V0iV0d/RMcup.jpg

      • Jim
        April 21, 2011

        No doubt in my mind that Villa is still the best fit for our game. We just don’t suit the big number 9 style ( unless they are prepared to come on in the 65th minute if we’re struggling.) I agree that Villa makes the runs and we do need to get better at finding him more quickly at times. Hate to say it but Xavi is pretty cautious at times with the ball. I personally wouldn’t make the Ibra comparison because I don’t think he worked half as hard as Villa does, either in offence or defence.

        Have to disagree on the Adriano / Ronaldo goal. Thought Kxevin’s analysis was pretty good. Just as I praised Adriano last week I have to say this was partly down to him. He was caught ball watching, hadn’t a clue where Ronaldo was and allowed himself to get into a position where he couldn’t affect Ronaldo’s jump. Don’t know about Masch as his positioning is often not good but no way that was a goal with Puyol and I doubt if Maxwell would have lost it either as he is good in the air – fairness forces me to concede that he probably wouldn’t have even been quick enough to foul Ronaldo though when Adriano was booked.

        we have to rest legs at the weekend and only Pep knows who. If maxwell is to play LB though he needs at least half a game to get back into things. Can’t use much by starting Thiago either. I might be tempted to start him and Iniesta and encourage them to hit quicker through balls to Villa and Pedro. Tired though Villa is, lack of goals will worry him more than fatigue and if he could get one at the weekend it would set him up nicely.

    • psqd
      April 21, 2011

      agreed, and obviously, if everyone is fit abidal slots in ahead of adriano.
      i wonder how much of the no transfers is pep’s wish for a small team and how much he just says that cause he hasn’t got the cash available right now anyway.
      rest is definitely on order and i will be dumbfounded, although maybe not surprised, to see messi, villa, xavi, iniesta, pique, etc on the filed this weekend.
      i look at how ferguson has managed manU this year. he has got his key guys coming fresh and good towards the end of the season after resting them early. so much so, that berbatov, his leading scorer due mainly piles of goals against lower sides, isn’t making the squad. he has managed hernandez’s minutes so that he is fresh to go now at crunch time, versus villa who is exhausted, which has to undermine his confidence.

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      Note for the record, re the comment about us not playing to Villa’s strengths, nobody was saying that about Henry or Ibrahimovic, except for a few of us. Both were (particularly the latter) castigated for not fitting in with the midgets, and playing like they came from La Masia. If true, the same should hold for Villa.

      Great counter argument!

  43. mohit
    April 21, 2011

    Tactically, this is the way we play and will keep playing on. I don’t think that’s where the game was lost. A very long season and short squad might be big factors, but complacency is an issue as well. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Alves, Pique (in the first half) were loose while controlling the ball or making passes. We came off from a huge 5-0 win and 1-1 draw. There were reasons to feel more confident than usual and we paid for it.

    But now, we’re the underdogs again! And this role is what Barcelona is used to. They like the pressure and they like to prove a point. It’s the same scenario prior to the 5-0 match. Everyone was talking about how Real Madrid was the best and etc etc. But look how that match turned out. Infact, prior to almost every classico under Guardiola’s reign barring the last one at Bernabeau, we have been the sort of underdogs (due to Real’s unbeaten league runs in the past seasons) and we have come out with nothing but a win.

    Overall, there’s nothing to be worried about. Tactics, they’re not going to change. We’ll attack and defend the same way. What I hope and will change is the players’ alertness over ball control, movement and passing. That hunger to win is there now. They have to prove a point now. And that is what this Barcelona team is usually good at.

    • barca96
      April 21, 2011

      Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Alves, Pique (in the first half) were loose while controlling the ball or making passes.

      I couldn’t believe my eyes what happened. It looked like the first few games in this season. Busi too had many turnovers. Pique really pissed me off, running all the way to EE’s side only to give the ball away.

      • mohit
        April 21, 2011

        Pique was terrible going into their half. I don’t mind his dribbling, but if he expects to dribble all the way to Casillas and score, that’s stupid. Dribble to the half line, pass the ball, move back to your position.

  44. April 21, 2011

    Well I’ve been wondering if Pep has kinda given de-motivating pre game conferences ahead of important matches lately. For example i think the “we are so gonna get crushed by Shakhtar” speech made our players kinda panicky in that game…

    In the final pre game conf he said that all those who say that this team is writing history are over the top, while trying perhaps to take some anxiety of the team…
    And my question is why??? Our players haven’t shown they suffer from anxiety attacks, they’ve won final after final! Most of them just won the world cup!
    I say let the players feel they are chasing greatness it can be very powerful motivator!

    • mohit
      April 21, 2011

      I disagree here. Chasing greatness can be a big mistake. Look at Roger Federer chasing that ever-elusive Roland Garros title. He knew he was the best. He kept on chasing that title for glory and greatness only to be stopped by Rafael Nadal every time. The time he won the title, he wasn’t the No.1 and he’d relaxed his attitude over making history.

      • messi_fan
        April 21, 2011

        And he didn’t have to play against Nadal 🙂

  45. 145culegirl
    April 21, 2011

    One more bad news.Adriano is out for four weeks.:(
    Oh God!Why does all the unpleasant news come at once?.He is exceptionally well especially against EE and now this!!!
    Now Maxwell is gonna cover him.It’s making me even more frightened that it’ll be Ronaldo vs Maxwell in the semis.OMG!!!!!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2011

      That is really crushing, with regards to Injuries we are really at the bad end of it this year: at the beginning it was Xavi and his tenderitis, then Puyol, then Abidal and Puyol, then Abidal, Puyol and Bojan, Jeffren all the time, then Pedro and now Abidal and Adriano.

      But we can not change it. In the CL I would rather prefer Puyi as LB and Smash as CB, than Maxwell. Maxwell would be easily outrun and outfoxes by Crynaldo, Puyi is a whole different matter.

  46. Ian
    April 21, 2011

    I’ve read around that Pep has used Puyi as a LB before, so I have a bet on an Alves – Masch – Pique – Puyol lineup, tho I confess I have no idea how he did in LB cos I wasn’t around yet then please pardon me

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2011

      It is not his natural position, but he can play everywhere in the backline, in the CL finale he did play as a RB (I think) and he was phantastic, like always.

    • mohit
      April 21, 2011

      He played as LB in last year’s classico at Bernabeau as well. I guess Pep will play him there. It could be a good thing as well, since he can counter Ronaldo quite well.

      • Ian
        April 21, 2011

        Awesome. I’d prefer a defensive backline with Puyi and Masch in it than Puyi and Adriano, ‘s why… Hope Adriano’ll be back soon tho 🙁

    • soccermomof4
      April 21, 2011

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but when we got Adriano this summer, Pep said it was to add depth at the FB positions because Puyi was finding it harder to fill in at FB.

      Then again, desparate times…

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2011

        Yeah, but you could already see on Saturday that he still has the pace at the moment, and I know that his heart and the wish for revenge will push him to the limit. I think he will burning for these matches.

        • soccermomof4
          April 21, 2011

          Yep, fear our midgets, for they will be angry now 🙂

          Puyi will be in full caveman mode wherever he plays, I only fear more injuries.

          We need a deeper/better bench— Give the #4 jersey to Busi,take the 40 million they were planning on using for Cesc(plus a little more from the sales of Milito, Jeffren, and Maxwell) and spend the money on some depth, more defenders, a plan B striker who doesn’t mind being called in off the bench (I’m thinking Kanoute, he’s getting up there and might not mind a little bench time), and maybe a Rossi type striker. Do you guys think we could ever get Eto’o back?

          • soccermomof4
            April 21, 2011

            Guys who follow the B team more closely than I—when will Soriano be ready for the “big time”?

          • mohit
            April 21, 2011

            IMO, Soriano is already 25 and past the period when he can make his mark in the first team. Although, he’s been playing good this season.

          • soccermomof4
            April 21, 2011

            Really, he’s that old? All I knew is that he’s the segunda pichichi and so I thought he’d be the heir apparent to…um…the successor for…well that he could slot into our almost strikerless forward line eventually.

            Want Eto’o back!?!

          • soccermomof4
            April 21, 2011

            Mind you, I’m one of the few here who like Villa.

  47. MemoryLane
    April 21, 2011

    Villa was awful last night (has been for some time now, considering his reputation) I was hoping Pep would sub him for Ibrahim Afeelay in the second half the argument regards to the short squad I can see the benefits and in my opinion it out weights the negatives.

    But our squad depth simply doesn’t cut it, people make the argument regards to when Barcelona won everything in the 09 season (my opinion that was the best team under Pep and even in the history) but lets looks at the squad of players we had than:
    Marques
    Sylvinho
    Busqeuts
    (Yaya Toure who could play as a world class CB and anywhere in midfield)
    Keita
    Bojan
    Cacferas
    Hleb

    The bench was solid and had players that could make a difference at CB and Midfield if required, now our bench is subbing in Keita to protect a lead which has backfired a few times on us.

    The forward line which consisted of 3 legitimate world class forwards that were a genuine threat to defenses, now we have a super Messi if he doesn’t score than we got a problem.

    Some Barca fans give Henry a lot of criticism for his time at Barca but he was a menace on that left side of attack in the triple winning season and scored crucial goals.

    The replacements of Etoó and even Henry you could say are are not up to par and it’s not fair on Messi to have the responsibility of creating and scoring.

    Not to take anything away from Pedro but in my humble opinion he should be used as a sub who can make a difference of the bench in big games.

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      I’m sorry but how is a bench of the people you mentioned better than what we have now?

      -Marques: OK, he was reliable at that time.
      -Sylvinho: Good but only used when there was no one else.
      -Busquets: He was still “hated” at that time, and used to give away the ball a lot.
      -Yaya Toure: He was a starter in 08-09, so how is he on the bench.
      -Keita: He hardly did anything in his first year with us.
      -Bojan: Not what I call “depth”
      -Caceres: Same
      -Hleb: Never played.
      -Gudjohnson: Time wasting sub.

      I agree with you that we’re don’t have enough depth, but our bench today (Mashcerano, Thiago, Afellay, etc) is still better than the bench we had before in 08-09.

      • mega_tajh
        April 21, 2011

        Eklavya I Have to disagree with you on some parts, the bench we had then were reliable in playing games were we could’ve rest players.

        Gudjohnson: Time wasting sub?? To me he played his role well especially in the CDR and league even start quite some games.

        Hleb: Never played?? True he hardly saw mins but he still contributed in few league and Copa games when called upon. Best I can remember is away to Valancia when I think we had Iniesta injured,Eto suspended and Henry in the middle. We were also going through that round of playing Sevilla, Villarreal.Valancia,EE, in which when games were put to bed Hleb got mins to rest certain players.

        Keita: He hardly did anything in his first year with us?? He started the CDR final we won in 09 and even gained praise from Pep as the most technically improved player that season.

        The rest I pretty much agree, as now we have SMash(who played CB really well last night)to replace Yaya. Both Maxwell and Adriano for Sylvinho, Affelay for Hleb(big improvement). The only place we’re missing right now is a solid CB to replace gone Marquez as Milito is over the hill with us and a striker

        Skill and talent wise yes we have a better bench than 08 but that treble team played together for years before thus making everyone knowing their specific role in the team. Say like if we subbed on Guddy for Iniesta we still could’ve played smoothly or replaced Puyol with Marquez we still had a really strong defense. This year we have many new comers who are now kinda finding their way in the team and Pep is now figuring out how each of them can contribute in their own way ie Adriano, Affelay.

        • Eklavya
          April 21, 2011

          I disagree.

          Gudjohnson, Hleb, Caceres were all useless at that time.

          There’s a difference between quality depth and just plain numbers.

          Who did we have who could come off the bench and make an impact? Hleb?? Gudjohnson? Caceres??

          And yes Keita didn’t do much for us in his first year. He’s one of the best examples of why we should give players more than a year to adapt. He only started picking up his stride towards the end of the 08-09 campaign. His best match in that season was when we drew 3-3 with Villareal. If you don’t believe me, please you in the offside’s archives and re-read the reviews.

          That time we were better equiped with defenders but had few quality midfielders. Now it’s the other way round.

          “Say like if we subbed on Guddy for Iniesta we still could ’ve
          played smoothly or replaced Puyol with Marquez we still had
          a really strong defense.”

          Not really. Guddy hardly made any impact. If we subbed out Iniesta for Thiago and Puyol for Masch THEN we’d continue playing smoothly.

          We were calling for depth then, and we’re still calling for it now. It stems from the fact that Guardiola doesn’t like big squads and also because we waste too much of our time messing with Cesc.

  48. Sheena
    April 21, 2011

    Did anyone notice that on the official site, it says that “FC Barcelona are still in the hunt for the league title, in which they are eighty points ahead of their immediate rival, Madrid.”

    I giggled.

  49. Josep
    April 21, 2011

    its so hard to keep up with the amount of posts and responses I haven’t read yet.

    1. lets not be sore losers, yes Pepe, Arbeloa, and I say Alonso could’ve possibly been sent off.

    2. why is this a tercera trophy? lets not be ignorant. when its part of our treble, its a thing of grandeur, but when someone else wins it who cares? pretty bullshit if you ask me.

    3. i’m almost happy Madrid won. this adds soooo much to the competition. I love domestic cups and they’re clearly dying, especially in England. when we win it, it’s a good thing, lets not discount their victory.

    4. I don’t like the responses from most writers about madrid “deserving it”. if pedro’s goal was on, would we have deserved it? two inches of leaning changes who deserves to win? I find that hard to agree with.

    5. ugh, adriano. poor guy. I’ve said it before pep may seem like a great manager but he’s always had rotation problems and not trusting his squad. iniesta, and henry almost missed the cl final because of his bad rotational skills.

    6. I love this club so much.

    7. Pep needed to bring Thiago on. needed. not afellay. we needed someone that could change it up a bit, I thought thats what he is?

    8. we learn a lot about our team. I said it in the LB post, this loss, not madrid’s win, will give US the edge. just like the manita gave madrid the edge psychological as a big club to erase that mark. we have the edge of losing a final to them.

    9. mou is a great coach, but overrated. most of his tactical choices are not so much obvious, but he gets praised for things he doesn’t do. “mou” didn’t win. it was good to see cristiano track back finally though.

    10. I can think of more, but I’m killing these tamales right now.

  50. y2k156
    April 21, 2011

    We played well in second half. Madrid were equal to us in match and they won the match fairly. Mourinho did what he has been doing for so long and won the match. About Mou, nothing special but Madrid’s players are to be commended as they were willing to work like dogs. CL will be the same and to win, we have to be at our best.

    As for us, i sympathize with the players. They gave their all.

    Some one above, think it was kevin wrote about how the goal happened and named players who did not do their job. So what. Any goal which is scored can be traced back to someone not doing anything. It is unreasonable to expect that we will never concede a goal. And same goal, if we have scored 3 or 4 would not have merited a mention. So for me, i do not blame our players.They came up against tough opposition, gave their all and lost.

    CL would be equally cagey i guess.

  51. Miguel
    April 21, 2011

    Inda has successfully mimicked the approach of the Catalan press on Thursday morning, who are in pouty, arms-folded, “we’re not playing any more” mode, with Sport’s headline pointing out that Madrid “have the cup, but we have the league”. “In two matches, Barça must show why they are the most admired team in the world,” wrote Johan Vehils with another nauseating smug-fest among a series of articles that rambled on about anti-football and all the usual guff.
    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2011/04/21/barca-left-with-five-days-to-find-a-way-around-madrid-s-rearguard.aspx

  52. Roz
    April 21, 2011

    Tough loss. The second half was all us but when we dont take our chances I think we get more and more desperate. Anyways very proud to be a Cule.

    Whenever I/Barca lose at something the first thing I do is listen to this…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txlXcJDtDwM
    You got to lose to know how to win

  53. footballfan
    April 21, 2011

    Out of topic, who is wearing the #4 jersey this season? Nobody?

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 21, 2011

      Nobody, the story goes that Pep is keeping it for Chesc, because when Chesc was still at La Masia Pep gifted him one number 4 shirt from himself and said to him that one day he would where it for Barca.

  54. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2011

    It is really sad with Adriano and our injury situation, but I ask everybody to think back on the CL-Finale in Rome. We were with our back to the wall and half through due to injury and suspenions and we had to face Manchester United, the best team at that time, who could play to full strength:

    Our line up was: VV in goal, Puyol as RB because Dani was suspended, the CB was Pique, and not today Pique a WC-Winner but just back from United without any experience Pique, next to him the Yaya, our midfield engine, and as LB 35year old Sylvinho

    Our midfield was Sergio Busquets-Who is that guy, next to Xavi, next to One-Leg-Iniesta, our forward line was One-Leg-Henry, next to Messi and out of/in new position Eto.

    The english press, like the Madrid press today, did not ask, if we would loose, but to which margin, and at the end we did show the whole world, what we are made off.

    So, yeah the situation is difficult with the injuries and all this psychological-Mou-Ref-we-have-the-advantage-now-war, but I know that these guys will bounce back, like they always did. Even when we lost to Inter last year in the first leg, we were one wrongly disallowed goal from going through

    So my advice for all the depressed cule who are bathing in their mud of negativity: try to get the CL finale and see with your own eyes, what our guys are made of.

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      “The CB was Pique, and not today Pique a WC-Winner but just back from United without any experience Pique”.

      Dare I say he was better then? Infact he was at his peak then. We’ve never seen a better performance than the 6-2 from him, and I doubt we’ll see it soon…

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2011

        Yeah, but in the 6-2 we played with our usual backline with Puyol-Pique as CB and Abidal and Dani as FB, against Manchester he was on his own with the Yaya as partner, and like I said everybody expected him and the others to fail big time at that night Rome, but instead they covered our club in glory.

        • Eklavya
          April 21, 2011

          Then that’s what you should have written 🙂

    • blitzen
      April 21, 2011

      I love how he runs away in horror afterwards! 😆

      • April 21, 2011

        *LOL* I’m in the same situation although I’m already starting to shout it out loud..:)

        Really madrid were SHAMEFUL in that department and it seems they have totaly endorsed the mentality of their coach, they want to win even if they need to stomp,punch and kick the players of the opposite team. They will do ANYTHING in order to win…and that my friends is a SICK mentality…
        In my book some lines CAN NOT be crossed..

        One of the reasons I was not so gutted with Inter last year it was that card of Busi, I felt that I was cheating my way into a win…hated it. I don’t want to imagine how I would feel if I ever saw our players kicking the sh*t out of the oponent or doing what Arbeloa did…and of course I’m not talking about 2-3 hard fouls in the heat of the moment, I’m talking about deliberate actions that aim to either injure or piss off the other player…

        And that will always be another BIG difference between us and real madrid..Because when things were bad for us, when we were doing passillos to them and Jose Mourinho was free and waiting his glorious comeback to FCBARCELONA we said NO and did not whore ourselves for silver…

        …Soon after the mourinho deal broke down I applied for membership .
        …*proudcule*…

      • Nik
        April 21, 2011

        I rarely “hate” players, but, man, I hate Arbeloa. That guy is pure scum with his constant dirty fouling and thuggery.

  55. beeeef
    April 21, 2011

    Unfortunate news concerning Adriano’s injury. His pace tracking bad will be sorely missed, but hopefully Puyol can make up for his absence. I know lots of people don’t rate Maxwell very highly, but I’m comfortable with him filling in at LB. He can be overly conservative with his offensive play sometimes, but that might not be a bad attribute to have against a team like Madrid.

    If Carvalho wasn’t suspended for the first leg, I think a starting XI with Iniesta on the wing in place of Pedro/Villa, and Keita filling in at midfield would be ideal. However, Barca should do all it can to blitzkrieg Madrid’s back four and take as many away goals back to the Camp Nou as possible. Which is why I imagine Pep will field the same lineup next wednesday (with Maxwell taking Adriano’s place of course).

    Man oh man though. The stage is set for two truly EPIC European nights. If we advance to the final, the euphoria will be immense. If we lose, Mourinho/Madrid will celebrate a CL final berth in our own backyard.

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      What if the winner of our semi-finals loses vs the other semi-finalistes?

      • beeeef
        April 21, 2011

        I’m not discounting that possibility in the least! But to make the CL final in of itself is a major accomplishment. I’ll be very, very, happy just to see us lineup against ManU/Schalke at Wembley in May.

  56. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2011

    For me the problem with Mou and the tactics of Real Madrid is the following: where will it leave the game at the end? What is it when even the big teams only play defensive, sit deep and wait to counter-attack and are not willing to take any risk anymore. Will we end up with two teames facing each other in the middle and every team throwing the ball to the other team and say: hey make you the game, we will just sit back and wait to counter-attack. Youl could see this already in the WC: a lot of boring games, because nobody wanted to take a risk any more, teams like Holland and Brazil with the only objective to be solid at the back. Yesterday Arsenal and Tottenham played out a fantastic game, but what did the commentar said: what for tactical naive idiots both teams are and that is this Mou-thinking. Will this be the future, a endless line of grinted out 1:0?

  57. April 21, 2011

    @ Josep: The Copa is a tercera trophy because it is third in importance, behind Liga and CL. If the only trophy that this group won was the Copa, t’would be a dusappointment. Simple as that.

    EE is so thrilled because they beat us, not because of the Copa. Think any of their olayers would have been so careless with the CL or Liga trophies? No way.

    –Ibrahimovic: He still bothers folks. No idea why. I brought up the Palermo goal because that is the exact kind of goal that we needed, by a player making the exact kind of run people said that he never makrs, that’s why. It’s an illustration. Does anyone want Ibrahimovic over Villa? No. But that type of player sure would be nice as a plan B.

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      I don’t know if anyone wants Ibrahimovic over Villa but the latter could use the former at the moment to generate some space.

      Remember, the only game in which we saw a forward of Messi-Ibra-Villa? They had worked well together..

  58. gowtham
    April 21, 2011

    When you guys talk about a so-called “quality” bench, what exactly do you mean when you define quality?
    Do you want a bench in which the players can each play 2 or more roles. players such as Adriano, Abidal, iniesta, Masch
    Or do you want a star studded bench with the likes of Llorente, Fabregas, Neymar, and Sanchez.
    I don’t like the idea of spending over 200 million dollars for players who are going to sit one the bench. What we do need is versatile players, players who would cost less, aren’t arrogant, and love to play. Affelay, Masch, and Adriano are great players, but think about this. Do you think these players would be on the bench in a team like Madrid or Man utd: HELL NO!
    We have a good bench, it’s just the injury worries that are against us. If Puyol and Abidal were to come back next week, this is what our bench would look like:
    -Adriano: (starter at Sevilla for 4 years)
    -Mascherano: (3rd captain at Liverpool and captain of Argentina NT)
    -Affelay: (Captain at PSV)
    -Milito: (Starter for Arg NT)
    -Thiago: (Straight up, the world’s best young prospect)
    -Bojan: (Kid who scored 1000+ goals and managed to bench as world class player such as Ibrahimovich)
    -and Probably Maxwell: (Starter at Inter)
    Case in point, we have a good bench, it’s just that fact that since we have such a star studded XI, we can’t really afford a star studded bench.
    It wasn’t Guardiola’s mistake, it was the club’s as a whole for wanting Fabreagas and not wanting any other cheaper players…We have a good team, you just have some very edgy fans. Other than that VISCA BARCA BABY!!
    …just my two cents

  59. Humphrey Bogart
    April 21, 2011

    From Barcastuff:

    Seems that we are closing in on Rossi (Gazetta dello Sport)

    1. Is this a reliable source?
    2. Good, bad, I do not care?

    • Eklavya
      April 21, 2011

      In January, 2011, he signed a contract extension with Villarreal until 2016.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 21, 2011

        Yeah, but this could only be a mean to get a higher transfer fee for the club.

  60. Víctor
    April 21, 2011

    Madrid is thrilled because they defeated us in a crucial match. They don’t really care about CDR that much. They are just happy because they could finally defeat us after 6 matches of not being able to. This is also a psychological boost for them. Now they think that they have a good chance against Barça in CL Semifinal. To be honest (and this can seem arrogant) I still maintain that they have no chance against Barcelona.

  61. vicsoc
    April 21, 2011

    New post! Come on over and argue with me without the italicization!

  62. Dave
    April 21, 2011

    Hey all, great work. Been a while since I was here.Shame about the loss, but we will move on. For me the lack of depth and the lack of variety have been the major problems. The fact some are bemoaning the loss of Bojan says it all. Milito, is having a Marquez-like final season. Maxwell seems to have gained an 80 year olds legs in one year. Thiago is promising but still pretty rough. Fontas the same.
    The Abidal loss was really a calamity.

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