Real Sociedad vs. FC Barcelona Preview

2:00 pm EST Saturday, GolTV

Hey Gerard, can we go get some ice cream after training?

Oh hello there. Perhaps you meandered to this space looking for a story about the 4 clasicos in 3 weeks? Maybe you saw El Clasico III (Return of the Messi) and thought that you would come to the Barcelona football website of record (trademarked name, don’t try to take it) and spout off about how you think so-and-so is a diver, or you, like me, have been imparted with the knowledge that Lionel Messi is not actually a human but is actually the living embodiment of the great old one Cuthulhu, risen from his slumber, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, riled up into an angry fit after it heard lowly mortals naming false gods? Either way, you are out of luck. Cause we’re talking about the real show here, this Saturday’s match against Real Sociedad. Get excited!

As you surely know now, La Liga is coming upon Week 34 of 38, meaning that there are 15 points left to be had, including Saturday, and an 8-point lead for the good guys (9 technically when you could head-to-head). Sociedad is sitting on 38 points, 3 points out of relegation, yet still 12th in the Liga. Iniesta and Puyol are definitely out, Puyol I think is precautionary, and there is this minute little detail of El Clasico IV, The Footballening, on Tuesday, which means there is a good shot that this weekend will feature a number of the kiddos, including but not limited to, the young man featured in the above picture.

The usual suspects will be present including all the first-teamers available from the weekend (except Puyol) along with the normal bench guys, as well as Montoya, Roberto, and young Gerard Deulofeu (who will be wearing #41, which has always been my number in every sport). For those of you who might not know, Deulofeu is currently situated on Juvenil A, but recently made his first team debut with Barça B and is called up for his first match with the big guns. He is a forward/wing player and is getting a ton of hype from both the lower level managers/coaches as well as the Spanish national press for being the wave of the future with the national team. He’s 17 and if he played, it would certainly be a shock, but it would also be great for a lot of the young guys to get some playing time and rest players. Specifically Xavi and Messi. Messi, as you may know, has been the subject of some speculation this week because he originally had a “muscle strain” that was really just some bruises from the game, but apparently the staff are still trying to trick him in order to keep him off the bench. Our crack investigators here at BFB went undercover to hear what the training staff had to say to Messi:

Messi: I’m ready to go for the game this weekend sirs!
Staff: Um, Leo, don’t you remember when Ramos threw you down in the game Wednesday and your arm broke?
Messi: That was what? 2 days ago? It already healed after me and Bojan played Kinect and had juice boxes last night.
Staff: How does that heal a broken arm, don’t you use your body to control it?
Messi: *is distracted doing 500-piece kitty puzzle*
Pep: *apparates from thin air* You cannot play this weekend, you have a muscle strain
BFB Investigator: *sends anonymous text to Sid Lowe about it*
Messi: But coach, my legs are fine, and look, I can do the monkey bars
Pep: Lionel, please get down from there, look at all those bruises on your legs
BFB Investigator: *sends anonymous text to Isaiah about it*
BFB Investigator: *text message noise*
Messi: But Mister Guardiola, I really want to play
Pep: Lionel, I know you are 8 goals away from breaking the modern-day goal-scoring record, and 12 away from the all-time record, but you are injured
Messi: What are goals? I just want to play with my friends
Pep: *shakes head* I know, I know, that’s why we let you play in goal for the B team last weekend
Messi: But I want to play with the big kids again, plus Sergio said I was a cotton-headed-ninnymuggins, and I’m not, I promise
Pep: D’oh! Ok Lionel, let’s go look over this chart *gives signal*
Shadowy Figure: *chloroforms Messi and drags him off to Bojan’s Lego playroom dungeon*
Pep: *turns to the shadows* You, BFB Investigator, let no one know what you saw here *shoots poison-tipped dart*
BFB Investigator: *death rattle*
Luke: *watching via hidden video cam stream* Excellent

Prom pictures!

So basically, it is going to be a typical late-season FC Barcelona game under Pep: lots of young guys, probably sloppy, and hopefully a lead so the old guys can rest up some. Probably looking at Valdes-Alves-Pique-Fontas-Montoya-Keita-Thiago-Xavi-Afellay-Villa-Jeffren. I would love to see Sergi Roberto start as well, but I doubt Pep goes that young, that’s why I have Xavi in there. I also think it will be tied at the half and we will see Messi come on in the second half, just so the team does not drop points. I hope not, but I am realistic. Best case scenario: early goal for Villa and 2-0 at the half with Roberto, Montoya, Fontas, Jeffren, and Deulofeu getting a lot of time before a comfortable win.

My guess is 1-1 in the end because it is tough for the young guys to come in and meld so quickly, but securing Tuesday is a lot more important in the long run methinks. A draw will not be the worst outcome here.

Photo 1: FC Barcelona
Photo 2: Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe

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203 Comments

  1. Helge
    April 29, 2011

    I will be satisfied as long as Deulofeu plays for more than 10min and we don’t lose 🙂

    Real Sociedad is a basque team, right? So it’ll be very tough to win their. I remember for instance, that EE won their due to a goal of Crynaldo – according to Marca – and Pepe according to everyone else. But it was a very tight and hard-fought match in which RSSD deserved better.

  2. beeeef
    April 29, 2011

    If Jeffren starts, he’s bound to get injured around the 20th minute mark, at which point Deulofeu will make his debut, impress immensely, and in several weeks time score the winning goal against ManU in injury time with a magnificent scorpion kick from 25 yards.

    cuz he’s like, la masia material right?

  3. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 29, 2011

    LMAO at the conversation… 😆

    imagining Messi plays 500-piece kitty puzzle

  4. Miguel
    April 29, 2011

    Bojan’s Lego playroom dungeon

    @@ ??? That sounds scary.

  5. blitzen
    April 29, 2011

    Messi: What are goals? I just want to play with my friends

    😆

    Luke, honey, why don’t you come by here more often? We miss you!

    • Luke
      April 29, 2011

      Law school finals + moving soon = not a lot of time for blogging sadly.

  6. Víctor
    April 29, 2011

    These days have been quite long. Now, to enjoy another Liga game. Hard opponent, but Barça should make it through.

  7. stowe
    April 29, 2011

    “But I want to play with the big kids again, plus Sergio said I was a cotton-headed-ninnymuggins, and I’m not, I promise”

    ha! that’s great.

    How do you guys do all that fun stuff with italics and bold and strikeout?

    • Using codes:

      For bold, it’s [b] words [/b]*, italics: [i] words [/i], strikeout: [strike] words [/strike]

      *Replace the [ and ] with <> .

      If my babbling doesn't make sense, go here: http://www.tizag.com/htmlT/htmlbold.php

      On the left hand side, scroll down to "formating codes" and you'll see all of them.

    • outerspacedout
      April 29, 2011

      You use:

      i for italics
      b for bold
      strike for strikeout, i think, or was it just s?

      In between > and < (but the other way around).

      You enclose whatever you want to italicize between i in those greater-than/less-than signs at the beginning and /i at the end, same for bold with b and /b, and so on.

      Can't show the exact symbol cos then it'll be invisible here and just become formatting, but try it out.

  8. Víctor
    April 29, 2011

    Italics: use and between the text that should be italics.

    like this

    Bold: same, but use “b” instead of “i”

    like this

    Strikeout: I’m guessing is “s”…

    like this?

    • outerspacedout
      April 29, 2011

      XavIniestAbidaLeoKari explained it more nicely than I did, now that I see she’d commented before me.

  9. Víctor
    April 29, 2011

    or is it “strike”

    real madrid EE lost 2-0…

    😀

  10. Víctor
    April 29, 2011

    Crapola… it didn’t show properly.

    Italics: for italics use and

    bold and

    strikeout and

    • Víctor
      April 29, 2011

      OK… fine… I give up. XavIniestAbidaLeo explained it properly…

      • It was a valiant effort, Victor. /pats back comfortingly

        I’ve failed many times trying to explain coding, so you’re in good company. 😀

        • stowe
          April 30, 2011

          thanks guys for the help
          i think i figured it out
          programming class was so helpful 6 years ago

  11. mega_tajh
    April 29, 2011

    Is it just me or does Gerard looks like he’s texting and juggling the ball same time??

  12. Dani_el
    April 30, 2011

    I copied Kari’s (I think) explanation, I hope soon I can use it properly.
    About Puyi’s image, really..that guy sole presence gives us a lot of focus and strength for our team, I don’t see anyone like him, eve Xavi, and he’s our philosopher inside the field, Who would be captain in a few years? Lio? Piqué, Cesc?
    And…what did Pique do to deserve that! lol

    • EvaDaniu
      April 30, 2011

      He is not from La Masia but i really think masch will be a good captain.
      His press conference was just about class and he has something similar to Puyi.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 30, 2011

      it will be Cesc of course, take a note, I say it first… 😆

  13. poipoi
    April 30, 2011

    I did something I had never done I went over to check ee’s official page …because all of the video controversy on pepe’s red. Just take a look please it is too much. Headline of the homepage “why was pepe sent off?” I could not believe my eyes. Had to check it was in fact the official page. Makes me wanna cry and laugh at the same time.

    I need a regular game so bad, two teams that won’t excuse themselves if they loose and congratulate the winner. A por la liga!

    • Try not to troll there. If you don’t like it, don’t comment. Leave them be in their post match bitterness.

      I’ve already decided to stay clear from it until this whole thing blows over, so my opinion of the blog doesn’t go down.

      • mega_tajh
        April 30, 2011

        Kari he was referring to RealMadrid official website, which I must say has joined the bag-wagon in backing their coach to the fullest regardless.

    • outerspacedout
      April 30, 2011

      That was the foul that saw him get a 10-match ban right?

      • 145culegirl
        April 30, 2011

        I guess it was a 12-match ban.I wonder what would Mou’s reactions be if he was incharge of EE in that year?.

  14. Dani_el
    April 30, 2011

    He should’ve been banned for life.

  15. outerspacedout
    April 30, 2011

    Dani_el, yeah been wondering the same thing. Who do we have in our current squad that’s as inspiring and fearsome and bleeding Barca as Puyol?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 30, 2011

      I can’t see anyone who as great as our Captain Caveman, honestly…

      if we’re talking about a captain for 5-7 years from now,
      I only can see Pique wearing the armband…

      he is a Catalan, a natural leader, strong and fearless, willing to fight until the end…
      Sid Lowe wrote that an insider said “Piqué, has got ‘future captain’ written all over him.”

      of course he’s NOT mature enough now, but he’ll probably mature enough when the time has come…

      I mean, who else? Messi or Iniesta? they’re too quiet…
      and don’t tell me it’s gonna be Busquets… *sigh*

      • Dani_el
        April 30, 2011

        I actually thought of Masche too, el jefecito of the argentinian national team, has a strong personality, but really, I think it needs to be someone catalan, of the Masia as Puyi, as Guardiola or Jose María Bakero (I think..)

  16. Helge
    April 30, 2011

    barcastuff quotes Pep that the rules didn’t allow to call up Jonathan Soriano, thus they chose Deulofeu.

    Is it because Soriano played yesterday? Or is he not allowed to play for the first team the whole season? Because I was wondering several times why the heck not calling up Soriano, since we are short on strikers.

    • Eklavya
      April 30, 2011

      It’s because of his age. Apparently someone that old cannot make his debut with the A-team so late in the season at such an age.

  17. Eklavya
    April 30, 2011

    My XI:

    VV
    Alves Pique Fontas Montoya
    Xavi Masch Thiago
    Jeffren Villa Afellay

    Later, sub ou Xavi for Deulofeu and bring Ibi back to the midfield.

  18. Eklavya
    April 30, 2011

    yfrog.com/hsk7crgj

    Dani Alvespiderman

  19. hammeronmessi
    April 30, 2011

    Irrevelant,
    regarding world famous,
    the world consists of seven continents of which north america is a part.so if somebody in N A doesnt knoe bout messi it doesnt mean he is not world famous.

    my country has 150 million people,i can assure u almost every one of them know who maradona or messi is but few of them know who MJ is.

    just my few cents on world famous.

    • EvaDaniu
      April 30, 2011

      In this case,
      i wonder which MJ you are talking about ?
      Michael Jackson or Michael Jordan ?

      it’s off topic but i’m just wondering.

      • hammeronmessi
        April 30, 2011

        Offcourse michael jackson,no disrespect but basketball is not as popular as in usa.

        Believe me i knew of jordan only in 2003,.

        By the by who is better, lebron or jordan,i mean individually?

        • barca96
          April 30, 2011

          Jordan of course. But I you could only take my words for it if it was said in the year 2005, the last year where I followed NBA. Im sure Lebron has improved a lot by now.
          But just the thought of him moving to a team with another super star in Dwayne Wade and got another super star to move there too, sounds like he is not so sure of his ability to me.
          In Basketball there are 5 players in each team, so he is in a team that consists of 3 super stars. Just to let you know.

  20. barca96
    April 30, 2011

    Haha this GIF
    http://i54.tinypic.com/2znwy80.gif

    clearly shows that Pique is a wannabee bad boy but when Puyol is around, he put Pique back in his place. I saw a similar thing happen last year. They were in the stands (stadium) and Pique was fooling around, Puyol grabbed him and shouted something at Pique. Hilarious.
    Pique- wannabee big man. He’s like those side kicks 😆

  21. hammeronmessi
    April 30, 2011

    Sorry,
    should be written like below

    basketball is not as popular in the world as it is in the usa

  22. Helge
    April 30, 2011

    According to AS.com, Mou will be banned for 4 UEFA matches, including the match in Barcelona (confusing though that, acoording to the report, UEFA will not publish their verdict before May, 6). Nice! 😀

  23. soccermomof4
    April 30, 2011

    I love Isaiah’s scenes!
    Now I love Lukes, too!
    Please do these more often, both of you. Pretty please!

    Pinto (can’t risk VV because Pinto won’t be around for backup in CL)
    Alves, Fontas, Milito, Montoya
    Xavi, Masche, Thiago
    3M, Messi (because juice boxes cure everything?) or Villa, Jeffren
    1-2 (Messi, 3M)

    One proven starter per line, except in the case of the midfield were Masche in there counts as a second because he’d start on any other team in the world. Traditional midfield name fusion causes a little problem here but I’m gonna go with…Xajavialcantarkariago

    • soccermomof4
      April 30, 2011

      BTW- how did the Messi loves lego thing start?

    • outerspacedout
      April 30, 2011

      Always wondered that too.

      And as for the whole Berbatov and him wearing mayonnaise-filled gloves and all that, I always thought it was just a series of jokes on Dirty Tackle’s ‘Dimitar Berbatov is… The Continental’ series (which are hilarious btw, for those of you that haven’t read them yet).

      But then I saw this strip from the world famous 😛 internet comic Studs Up:
      http://www.studs-up.com/2011/04/the-importance-of-being-berba/

      Mayonnaise-filled gloves… master of seduction… Chicarito being Little Berba… It’s a homage to Dirty Tackle, right? Surely there isn’t some common joke about Berbatov and mayonnaise gloves that they’re both referencing?

      Or maybe they know something about the real truth of Berbatov that we don’t… in sinister detail…

  24. outerspacedout
    April 30, 2011

    Nanda: Yeah I see Pique as a future captain too, and think he’ll mature by then and a lot.

    But my question wasn’t who would be our next captain as much as do we have anyone quite like Puyol in terms of driving the whole team on and striking fear into opponents and being an inspiring William Wallace King Leonidas Spartacus Maximus Decimus type of figure.

    Pique is a cule through and through, seems as much a ‘fan’ as any of us as opposed to ‘just’ a player, and seems to have leadership potential. I can see him being a good leader with a rather cool calm head, immaturity aside. It’s just that we see how much Puyol with all his heart and fire and sheer will brings to the side and makes everyone raise their game, and do we have anyone else who can be quite that was what I was wondering.

    I hope Puyol has as long a career as the likes of Maldini or Giggs, even if not as a sure starter in his later years. Can’t imagine us without him.

  25. 145culegirl
    April 30, 2011

    I want to know whether reports claiming that Busi called Marcelo a “monkey” in Spanish.Madrid’s mouthpiece Marca slamed him for this.And Cules are too divided on this.Pep or Busi did not say anything on that incident neither did Marcelo.I hope all those reports are wrong.

  26. hammeronmessi
    April 30, 2011

    @Barca 96,
    thank u for ur reply.
    only know the rule of 3 pointer,apart from that know nothing.saw lebron play 4 or 5 times,and my oh my he was awesome everytime.

  27. hammeronmessi
    April 30, 2011

    And sorry cant reply via the reply button.everytime i did that my comment ended up in the last spot instead of the desired spot.

    • soccermomof4
      April 30, 2011

      You do this via smart phone, don’t you? I give you a lot of credit for fighting with those things to post. I can’t type well even on a computer 🙂

      • vicsoc
        April 30, 2011

        You can always tell when I’m contributing from my iphone – it’s not so much the misspelled words, it’s the infernal spell checker that changes my words to other words that make no sense at all.

  28. vicsoc
    April 30, 2011

    I love matches like these, because I love seeing the young guys come in and get some time on the pitch. It will certainly be sloppy but with an 8 point lead we can afford to give the young guys a run out (from what I understand 2 wins and a draw clinches the league for us).

    I’m a bit disappointed and surprised not to see Muniesa in the squad list today. I really would have liked to see him slot into the left back spot. I hope we see him there a couple times closer to the end of the season to get an idea whether he will be a viable 3rd choice left back for next season or not.

    Montoya is quite obviously being tested. There has been a lot of talk about him moving at the end of the season – I believe Valencia is high on the list of bidders. I still think he will be sold, but I think a buy back option is going to be necessary. I believe he is one of the starting fullbacks for the U21 Spain squad.

    Great to see Deulofeu there, he has the potential to be a good little player.

    Other notable exclusions from the youth team: Bartra (what happened, has he fallen off the pecking order?), Sergi Gomez, and Victor Vazquez (he would be a nice backup winger right now, but he is definitely on his way out at the age of 24).

    • Well, we can’t take ALL the good players from the B-team, can we? 😀

      They had a pretty important match yesterday, and you can’t play for the first team after playing with the B team. Considering he was the B-team coach himself, I’m sure Pep wants to leave Luis Enrique with as much good players as possible.

      As for Bartra, who I adore and see a good future for, I’d like to know as well. Weren’t there rumors he’d pull a Botia and go to Sporting? If it’s assured we’d buy him back, I’d like for him to get some playing time there.

      Shame about Soriano though. He’s been beasting it up with the B-team and deserves a shot with us. Ah well.

      • vicsoc
        April 30, 2011

        I really wish Soriano would have a chance to play in the first team, it’s truly a shame.

        I understand we can’t take all of their players, but I really wonder why Muniesa isn’t there. As I understand Montoya is more of a right back and so for me the logical move would have brought in Muniesa for the match to play left back. I know he is young but this would have been a good match to see him in.

        I have a feeling Sergio Roberto will start today. He is a great prospect and with Mascherano covering up our center back problem it is easy to see his path to the first team. I actually think we will see him with the first team for most of the rest of the season – with Mascherano playing center back we don’t really have anyone else that can back up Busquets at defensive mid.

        • Know what you mean, especially since Puyol hasn’t been called up. But on the brighter side, does that mean that Pep is going to experiment with Mascherano at LB? Or even Keita?

          I don’t remember the full squad list, so if Maxwell and Adriano are still out, there’s a good chance we’ll see some sMasch-ing at LB. It could work because Keita’s played DM for Sevilla and even us, on occasion after subs. We’d have a backline of:

          Alves – Pique – Busi – sMasch

          But then the question would be: who plays at LM? Perhaps we could even push Messi back to the midfield, have a front line of Pedro! – Afellay – Villa. Formations are subjective and flexible anyway.

          Also, I’d advocate Pinto in goal today, just to make sure VV doesn’t get an injury and we don’t have to *shudder* play a Mino or Oier in the CL.

          I definitely wouldn’t be adverse to seeing Sergi Roberto though, although at times like this I wish Romeu didn’t get that serious injury. I’d like to have seen him at DM.

          • vicsoc
            April 30, 2011

            Too much talent! What to do?!?!?

            Speaking of Mino and Oier, there are rumors going around that Barcelona is trying to sign young GK Esteban Andrada from Lanus. From what I understand he doesn’t start for the team but has impressed for Argentina in youth tournaments.

          • I think our B-team goalies are quite good. Mino has an early VV feel to him (although that might be because of his buzz cut).

            Oier hasn’t played much with us, surprisingly since he’s apparently highly rated, although I think he’s been overtaken by Mino.

            I’m a bit hesitant about getting ‘keepers that aren’t home grown to be honest, simply because home-growns might not be the better keepers technically, they are the best for us.

          • blitzen
            April 30, 2011

            Oier is pretty much the number 1 GK for the B team, hence hasn’t played with the first team as much. I prefer him to Mino, myself, but they are both good.

  29. vicsoc
    April 30, 2011

    This is the lineup I would go with today:

    Pinto
    Alves Fontas Milito Montoya
    Thiago Roberto Keita
    Afellay Villa Jeffren

    • Para
      April 30, 2011

      Hm, I like the look of this line-up (as much as I doubt it will happen). I would also like to see Villa come off early if he’s to play next Tuesday…but then again I don’t know who he’d come off for unless Pedro was going to play.

      I am hoping Messi parks it for 90 minutes, but I hoped that would happen last week and it obviously didn’t.

    • Okay, major *facepalm*. As a fan, I can’t believe I forgot about Thiago and Fontas. I blame early mornings!

      I like that lineup TBH. But Sociedad is fighting for survival and is only three pts above the relegation zone, even though they currently sit at 12th.

      My lineup would be:

      Pinto
      Alves = Pique – Fontas = sMasch
      Xavi – Keita – Thiago
      Pedro! – Villa – Afellay

      Subs: Messi for Xavi, Deulofeu for Villa, Milito (if fit!) for Pique.

      Or I dunno, I’ve got another lineup of

      Pinto
      Montoya – Fontas – Milito – sMasch
      Thiago – Busi- Keita
      Pedro! Villa – Afellay

      Subs: Alves for Montoya, Messi for Villa, Xavi for Keita.

      Blah. I have so many lineup ideas. I’d like for Messi to get as least minutes as possible and for Villa to also get minutes to keep sharpness but also rest. Milito for match fitness as well. But I’d also like to see Masch at LB…

      Bah! Surprising amount of options for such a small squad!

      • vicsoc
        April 30, 2011

        I don’t think we are going to see Macherano at left back. I think Mascherano at center back with Puyol at left back is going to be the better option for a least the rest of this season. Besides, Mascherano is still adapting to playing fullback, let’s not get too excited and expect him to be able to play anywhere yet.

  30. Humphrey Bogart
    April 30, 2011

    I just got a new idea how to hundle this stupid Mou-accusations: with humour. We just have to say in every game and every situation where refs make a debatable decisions or a mistake: you know, Barca-Unicef-Uefa are behind it, because you know, they just control EVERYTHING

  31. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    Anyone watching RM/Zaragoza? It’s absolutely bucketing down.

    • nzm
      April 30, 2011

      Yup – watching it from sunny Barcelona, and just enjoyed the Zaragoza goal!

  32. Lev
    April 30, 2011

    btw…do we have any skilled culés who can hack into the real m*drid website and replace the pepe – alves video with one of angel di mariKa’s dives?

  33. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    Oh, I forgot, I wanted to say one last thing about Pepe’s red card, and then I will shut up about it forever:

    The one who benefited the most from Pepe getting sent off? Adebayor. His tackles were bone-crunching, and he raised his hands not once, but twice–once to Puyol on the sidelines, and once to Busquets for which he was given a yellow card. Villa was given a straight red for less than that last fall, remember? IMO, Adebayor should have been sent off too, but obviously the ref wasn’t going to send off a second RM player in front of the home crowd. The Bernabeu would have imploded into a black hole and sucked all of Spain into it!

    • Lev
      April 30, 2011

      Nastier than Adebayor’s ridiculous push in the face were Arbeloa and Marcelo’s stomps. Since neither were seen by the referee, shouldn’t they be suspended retroactively?

    • nzm
      April 30, 2011

      Don’t worry – we would have been at the border, cutting Catalonia free! 🙂

      • soccermomof4
        April 30, 2011

        Only Spain would have been sucked into Blitzen’s black hole. Catalunya, Basque Country, and possibly Galicia would have escaped disaster 🙂

  34. soccermomof4
    April 30, 2011

    It’s too early to hope… but 0-1. Zara is up!

  35. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    GOL Zaragoza!!!!

    Big mistake from Casillas!

    • nzm
      April 30, 2011

      I guess that he’s not used to playing on short, wet turf! 🙂

      • blitzen
        April 30, 2011

        Does Zaragoza have any connection with Unicef? 😛

        • Para
          April 30, 2011

          I don’t know, but Casillas definitely does….dum dum dadummm…

          (Or with the UN at the very least; someone once sent me a lovely comic about the MDGs that had many footballers, including Casillas, in it).

        • Miguel
          April 30, 2011

          Queen Lafita is a goodwill ambassador.

    • aleph_null
      April 30, 2011

      Yeah Iker should have been better. Surely another loss at home for Mou can’t be a good thing. Though if the result holds, it leaves us with nothing but the point record to play for.

      • Víctor
        April 30, 2011

        By the way, with all the whining, complaining and conspiracy theories… people forgot the fact that Barcelona defeated a Mou team when he was the home team. That surely hurts for him as well. Only three teams have defeated Mou when he’s at home stadium, but only one of them defeated him by two goals: Barcelona!

        That doesn’t take any merit from Gijón, though. Kudos to them.

      • soccermomof4
        April 30, 2011

        no…we can’t hope yet…hope is the big disappointer…
        sorry, having one of those pessimistic cule moments 🙂

        • soccermomof4
          April 30, 2011

          clarification- I’m talking about the EE-Zara game.

      • blitzen
        April 30, 2011

        Apparently RM has some strikers after all–Higuain and Benzema started–but they still can’t score. Against a team in the relegation zone. Or is this just Mou’s 3-part strategy?

  36. Víctor
    April 30, 2011

    Contrary to many in here, I actually think that Villa should enter as a sub. 20~30 minutes of game play should do it. Same with Xavi.

    Afellay should be a starter and then he should enter as a sub on Tuesday. The guy got skills! However, he needs to take it slowly.

    Just my opinion.

    • Para
      April 30, 2011

      Kind of like Messi and Xavi did last weekend, you mean? Who would you start in midfield?

  37. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    Haha Casillas! And what a strike from Sandro if anyone’s watching the London derby! Some good results so far.

  38. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    barcastuff
    Barcelona line-up (unofficial): Pinto – Montoya Pique Milito Fontas – Xavi Keita Thiago – Afellay Messi Jeffren

    Seriously, Pep needs to figure out a way to keep Messi off the pitch.

    • blitzen
      April 30, 2011

      Fontas at LB? Has he played there before?

      • Jackieboy
        April 30, 2011

        Don’t think so; the line-up’s been confirmed as official now.

      • soccermomof4
        April 30, 2011

        Milito has though, right?

        As an aside, I just watched a little of the Chelsea-Tottenham game and am very disappointed. Malouda (whom I consider one of the more attractive footballers in the EPL) has totally screwed up his hair 🙁

      • nzm
        April 30, 2011

        Yes – he played there for the Almeria game, I think. Or was he CB?

  39. Víctor
    April 30, 2011

    Hope that Zaragoza defeats EE too. Javier Aguirre is a good coach. Stupidly vilified by the mexican media… sure, it was a mistake from him to not take Jonathan Dos Santos to the World Cup, but he was the one that corrected the path of the Mexican National Team. And did so greatly.

    • Miguel
      April 30, 2011

      Completely agree! Aguirre’s lineup versus Argentina in the World Cup is unforgivable, though. Where you from, Víctor?

  40. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    RM are playing like a team that has already given up on the league. Have a little pride, guys!

    Zaragoza are playing like a team desperate to avoid relegation. Not that good, but very determined.

  41. Lev
    April 30, 2011

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 2-0!!!! Will this be Mourinho’s 3rd home defeat? Thank you Preciado for opening the flood gate! How about them chickens, Mou, do you like the way they come-a-roosting?

  42. April 30, 2011

    Pepe just blatantly dove while Zaragoza had the ball by the Madrid box.

    I am absolutely shocked and outraged. How is this possible? The most morally upright, squeaky clean player in the world is diving?

    How is it possible?

    It’s great to play Pepe in midfield. But he is so poor on the ball and has no creativity.

    Madrid look like an EPL team. Midfield is literally just an area to be ignored and transited through.

    And like that Carvalho with an awful challenge and Zaragoza easily converts the PK.

    The UEFA conspiracy has no bounds! Even Zaragoza is in on the act.

  43. April 30, 2011

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s Karma saying hello, Jose. Hahahahaha.

  44. jordi™
    April 30, 2011

    Responsibility for my team going down 2 goals against Zaragoza? Cero

  45. Víctor
    April 30, 2011

    Hahahaha, oh wow!!

    But let’s not kid ourselves, Madrid doesn’t care about the Liga anymore. Sure, they say they do (they can’t say that they have given up on it), but they realize is a lost effort. So, they are gonna try everything to defeat us at Camp Nou.

  46. Lev
    April 30, 2011

    Sergio R*mos just scored. I hope I didn’t speak too soon

  47. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    2-1, Ramos headed it in just as I switched the channels.

    • Jnice
      April 30, 2011

      Hehe, the game will finish 3-2 or 4-2 in Madrid’s favor.

  48. Miguel
    April 30, 2011

    I switch over to the Real Zara game, see that I´ve missed yet another goal, then switch back and I miss Chelsea´s equalizer. Sheesh.

    Now I missed Real´s goal. Unicef must be behind this.

    • Jackieboy
      April 30, 2011

      The Chelsea goal shouldn’t have been allowed, the ball never crossed the line. Gomes’ fault for messing it up though, not the first time he’s done that.

  49. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    HAHAHAHA @dive maria, talk about putting pressure on the ref.

  50. April 30, 2011

    Barcelona line-up (official): Pinto – Montoya Pique Milito Fontas – Xavi Keita Thiago – Afellay Messi Jeffren #fcblive

    From Barcastuff.

    And Pedro does not make the squad today. Very interesting.

    And again – why is messi playing?

    Can we please get another striker or even 2 this summer.

  51. vicsoc
    April 30, 2011

    There will be a liveblog today, I’m just waiting to post it until after the EE game ends.

  52. Miguel
    April 30, 2011

    There’s a really bad feedback loop here. Real’s physicality aggravates Barça’s histrionics, to which Real responds with further aggression, and so on. And when it’s not possible to be aggressive on the pitch, Mourinho uses fighting words instead. If I were Emperor of Soccer, I’d not allow these clubs to play each other for a couple of years. Xavi said after the match that “Football was the winner.” I don’t think so.
    http://www.runofplay.com/2011/04/30/the-loser/

  53. April 30, 2011

    Win or lose today for Madrid – Mourinho was forced to use players he clearly wanted to rest in order to avoid embarrassment.

    That only helps Barca on tuesday.

    • Para
      April 30, 2011

      Who did he put on? I was watching the Chelsea-Spurs match and missed all the subs.

      • April 30, 2011

        Marcelo, Di Maria and Ozil.

        Marcelo and Di Maria have done a ton of running in the Clasico’s. Ozil always having difficulty with his fitness.

        I doubt he wanted to use any of them.

        And of course once again Canales and Granero are the convenient scape goats.

        They are down 2-0 at the Bernabeau. And Mourinho still insists on having Pepe on the pitch as a holding midfielder.

        He’s so much of their problem today. He’s so limited on the ball that there is no buildup out of the back.

        Hard to believe he took off Granero who he could have used as a single holding player and get more of the needed attacking thrust.

  54. Lev
    April 30, 2011

    marcelo trying to injure someone…. what a surprise

  55. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    Bad day for Mourinho – Inter down 1:0 against Cesena so far, Chelsea equalized after a goal that shouldn’t have been allowed, and Real’s down 2-1 so far. Happyface 🙂

  56. April 30, 2011

    The moral indignation – Di Maria rolls around in the grass like he’s shot.

    Completely immoral and repugnant.

    • Miguel
      April 30, 2011

      Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Queen Lafita!

      • Miguel
        April 30, 2011

        *not meant as a reply.

        I was gonna say, “¿Que dices barato?”

    • Víctor
      April 30, 2011

      Maybe you are being ironical, but It is, Euler. And that’s why I hate it when our players act and dive.

      • footballfan
        April 30, 2011

        Yeahhh 😀 I bet Ronaldo gets his revenge now of being excluded for the team 😀 eat that mourinho.

    • Neel
      April 30, 2011

      And folks thats the title challenge laid to rest officially

    • soccermomof4
      April 30, 2011

      Still not allowing myself to hope, but if EE lose, can’t we be more serious about resting people?

  57. jordi™
    April 30, 2011

    3-1.All part of Mou’s master plan

  58. culegirl3
    April 30, 2011

    Glad it’s almost game time! I’m so over the Clasico drama..I must force myself not to visit anymore EE blogs in order to avoid causing damage to my computer 🙂

    Hoping my beloved Afellay starts today..he deserves it.

  59. Nav
    April 30, 2011

    3-1.

    Kind of feel bad for Real Madrid right now. Their fans deserve better.

  60. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    The UNICEF/UEFA Song

    (to the tune of the Stonecutters Song from The Simpsons)

    Who controls the Champions crown?
    Who keeps Jose Mourinho down?
    We do, we do.
    Who keeps the refs under their sway?
    Who serves Barca every day?
    We do, we do.
    Who holds back Real Madrid?
    Who foils their every penalty bid?
    We do, we do.
    Who robs the Special One of his rights?
    Who rigs every trophy night?
    We do, we doooooo!!!!

  61. April 30, 2011

    Madrid had the Zaragoza attacker out numbered 1 vs. 3 in the wing including Pepe playing the man on the ball.

    And 1 vs. 3 the Zaragoza player manages to cross the ball to the only other Zaragoza player in the attacking half and he slots it home past Casillas.

    Zaragoza just scored a third goal when they were at numerical disadvantage against Madrid at the Bernabeau.

    This is a damning statement on how the Madrid players are responding in a game where they really needed to win to take pressure off their manager.

    And they didn’t show up for Mourinho.

    Very special indeed.

  62. Jose
    April 30, 2011

    YES! Woke up to this match… let’s hope it holds!

    • Jose
      April 30, 2011

      I forgot that the Zaragoza coach was Aguirre.

    • footballfan
      April 30, 2011

      Can a club change its line-up again after it’s made official?

      • Jackieboy
        April 30, 2011

        Only if there’s an injury, me thinks.

      • April 30, 2011

        I don’t believe so – or at least it would count as a substitution I think.

      • Para
        April 30, 2011

        I think Jackieboy is right- if you think about the RM-Spurs match, they switched out lennon because he was ill.

    • soccermomof4
      April 30, 2011

      Amen!

      BTW, I think I heard our himno several times today at the Bewww.

      Crap Benzema! 2-3

      • Ryan
        April 30, 2011

        And Moudrid back to 10 men. Carbalho really needs to learn how to defend without fouling.

    • Para
      April 30, 2011

      He is working his little French patootey off today, to be fair.

  63. April 30, 2011

    I honestly can’t believe all of the moral grandstanding about diving from a side for which Di Maria plays.

    It’s amazing. Teams don’t even play him physically and he falls all over the pitch and every time it’s as if he’s been hit by a truck.

    • I’ve BEEN saying that! We’ve been so keen on calling out our players, but there is no mention of their literally no-contact divers.

      Hypocrisy is amazing.

  64. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    Come on, Zaragoza, hold it together for 5 more minutes!!!!

  65. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    Haha Carvalho gets a second yellow for a tactical foul. Oh the conspiracy!

    • Jose
      April 30, 2011

      UNICEF must have loved those Barca gift baskets 🙂

  66. soccermomof4
    April 30, 2011

    I guess we caused that red card.

  67. jordi™
    April 30, 2011

    Ahh yess, the conspiracy continues, 10 men :'(

  68. Miguel
    April 30, 2011

    I missed Real’s second goal but I did get to see Carvalho get sent off. 😀

  69. April 30, 2011

    Unreal. Di Maria not even touched and of course dives right outside the box.

    The Madrid moral high horses are ridiculous.

    • Jose
      April 30, 2011

      Obviously he was knocked over by some secret beam weapon developed by the Patri–I mean the La-li-lu-le-lo.

    • Nav
      April 30, 2011

      Nah Euler, only Barca are cheating shameful pussy divers. Real is a team of MEN. BIG MANLY MEN.

  70. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    Only 6 minutes added time. Por que?

    • Para
      April 30, 2011

      I don’t speak Spanish well, but the commentators are asking the same thing on my stream. One of them goes, “We’re in the berna-bewww!!”

  71. vicsoc
    April 30, 2011

    Liveblog is posted, 6 minutes of extra time!

  72. soccermomof4
    April 30, 2011

    Why is there 6 minutes of added time?

  73. Ryan
    April 30, 2011

    Six minutes added time – this too a punishment from UNICEF and Barca!

  74. Miguel
    April 30, 2011

    6 minutes? What are you doing to me?

  75. Víctor
    April 30, 2011

    People, yes. They are cheaters, and for that reason alone… they lose any moral authority to criticize our players diving and acting. That doesn’t excuse our players when they do so, though…

    • Nav
      April 30, 2011

      No but for some reason the current narrative is Barca dives whilst Real just play honest-to-god good ol fashioned british hearty football.

    • Jose
      April 30, 2011

      Absolutely. This just shows that Madridistas that criticized our team for the shameful diving are also massive hypocrites. Oh, and that the institution of Real Madrid is a shameless hypocritical club.

      FT!

      • Víctor
        April 30, 2011

        No debate there. They are being hypocrites, that’s why I criticize our players for the shameful acting, but I never say that it was an undeserved win or that Madrid were victims.

        Not to mention that they won a Championship in a game were, at least, two of them should have been sent off.

  76. April 30, 2011

    Di Maria literally now diving on every single run to try to get the equaliser.

    He is not even attempting to play football anymore.

    And some how 6 minutes of extra time.

    Di Maria is blatantly cheating in order for Madrid to “earn” a draw.

    The hypocrisy is mind blowing.

    And he’s done this all season long.

  77. Jackieboy
    April 30, 2011

    Wow, so intense, 4 guys down in the penalty box!

  78. blitzen
    April 30, 2011

    This game is never going to end!!!

  79. April 30, 2011

    Zaragoza literally cannot take the risk of trying to defend Di Maria because their best chance to score is by him diving.

    They must give him space or he will blatantly fall.

    I cannot believe the hypocrisy.

    Look at the impact Di Maria’s diving had on this match.

    He created chance after dangerous chance for Madrid through blatant cheating.

    • Helge
      April 30, 2011

      My words, I really hate this guy! And he does it in EVERY match…

    • Jose
      April 30, 2011

      Basically, we have to get 4 points from our next 5 games. If we win today, we have to grab a single point in 4 matches to make it official.

  80. Jose
    April 30, 2011

    So let me get this straight.

    Mourinho prancied around England and Italy for five seasons and never once lost at home. He arrives at Spain and in his first season is dealt with THREE HOME LOSSES despite having the most talented team he’s ever managed.

    Bienvenidos a España!

    • Helge
      April 30, 2011

      Three?

      Ah okay, you count the CL. But he was not unbeaten for 9 years in all competitions, “only” in the league matches. Still funny, though 😀

      Nothing’s better than pure schadenfreude. Well, almost. Joy about Messi’s greatness for instance is even bigger!

    • Víctor
      April 30, 2011

      And still, just Barça has defeated him by more than a 1 goal margin. Not to mention that he’s losing quite a lot of his reputation as a manager. Even when they won the CDR in a dirty way (they cheated quite a lot), we didn’t make a fuss about the refs and congratulated them. We defeat them 2-0 at their stadium and they blame the refs, Unicef and the UEFA.

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