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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. footballfan
    April 21, 2011

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

    • blitzen
      April 21, 2011

      The ghost of Cesc.

      • Eklavya
        April 21, 2011

        ^That.

    • 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.

  5. 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! 😆

      • blitzen
        April 21, 2011

        Oh my lord, will the ridiculousness of that man never end? 😆

        I can’t wait to see what Crackovia makes of him dropping the cup!

        And it’s too bad there are no avatars on here right now, because I made a nice one of the Madrid bus running over the cup. 😛

      • Miguel
        April 21, 2011

        *lurking over at ONTD 😉

      • 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.

  6. 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.

    • beeeef
      April 21, 2011

      Watching keepers make outfield players look like fools never gets old, haha!

      • Miguel
        April 21, 2011

        Did I forget to close the whatchamajigs?

      • Eklavya
        April 21, 2011

        Fail?

      • beeeef
        April 21, 2011

        lawl

  7. 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?

  8. 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..

  9. 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

  10. 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.

    • blitzen
      April 21, 2011

      I heart Jordi Rios! 😆

  11. 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.

  12. vicsoc
    April 21, 2011

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

  13. 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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