Barca 5, Atletico Madrid 2, a.k.a. “Turd in the punch bowl.”

Gaze ye in wonder! Ibracadabra, beeyotches!
Gaze ye in wonder! Ibracadabra, beeyotches!

Dammit, I can’t make this picture any bigger! So it will just have to do. We all know the moment, just after one of the most sublime goals I have seen was struck, by one Zlatan “That was way too much money, we’re stupid for having done it” Ibrahimovic. His price seems like more of a bargain with every bit of magic, doesn’t it?

And I will tell you right now, that I am calling nonsense on the Phil Schoen nattering about that being a goal that Eto’o could never have scored, because they are very different strikers. Eto’o also scores goals that Ibrahimovic could never score.

Now that that is out of the way, great galloping Jesus, what a golazo!

Last year at home, we destroyed this side by a 6-1 scoreline. I think that this year might have been every bit as dominant, despite the different scoreline, and in a different way. It was a team hammering last year. This year was all about individual greatness, because we weren’t all that hot as a unit, and still we won. Not so sure we could have done that last year. Recall that we tried at their place, and lost 4-3. Last year’s home thrashing of them was also the match that really kick-started our Liga title run, as we seemed to gel right before the eyes of the world. We’ll see about this year, but two things are very important to note:

1) We couldn’t beat a good club with individual brilliance. Now, we can, in part because of the presence of our big Swede.

2) Now, we have three attackers who can turn passes into instant goals. Ibrahimovic, as we watched Henry do last season and Messi do with regularity, turned a pass into a shot, using talent to alter time.

In the case of our first goal, the defense was thinking “Here comes the pass, now he’ll control it, so I’ll set up right about here.” The keeper is thinking “Okay, got the angle squared away, with my defenders being there, he should shoot for right about this here spot, once he controls it.” They were all left thinking “Holycraphejustshothedidn’tcontrolitwe’rescrewed!” Because it wasn’t until you saw the goal from the off angle that you realize that he controlled and shot in the same motion, because that was what he had to do. The first goal was in, and as usual for us, that meant we were off to the races, because the other side had to chase the match. This leaves openings that we can exploit, which means more goals. Lots more goals.

And what Ibrahimovic does for us, is give us three players who all require double-teams. If you single-cover Henry, he will burn you at some point during the match. Bet on it. It happened at Inter, for a few good chances, and it happened today. But you have to double (or even triple) Messi and Ibrahimovic, but what about Henry? Or Iniesta? Or Keita?

And you can’t even say that Athletico played that poorly. They pressed us high and in the midfield, forcing us to make more negative passes than I have seen from us in the Liga, in a while. They played with three forwards, making it very clear what they were about, and their back line, particularly Luis Perea, was on form and strong.

But the goals were just pieces of individual brilliance, tricks turned in an absurd fashion that were, essentially, indefensible. What made this match more impressive for me was unlike last season, Aguero was whole, and they didn’t give up like they did last year, when it was like taking candy from a baby. And still, we put the boot in. Had we played the whole match, it could have been worse, and it boggles my mind to think that this year’s club might be better than last year’s, thanks to a mature Messi and a Swede with his trick bag of possibilities.

Guardiola rolled out a lineup that showed his awareness of the run of matches coming up: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Txigrinski, Maxwell, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Messi, Henry, Ibrahimovic, by resting three key cogs of our machine, Puyol, Abidal and The Yaya. And I would say that it was offense-minded, but it isn’t really possible for us to roll out a lineup that isn’t offense minded.

And right away we showed our intent, as Henry did that snakecharmer thing with the ball that he does, then lashed a shot that their keeper is still asking about, high, hard and goal bound. It caromed off the underside of the crossbar, but had the keeper beaten like the kick drum at a speed metal concert. And then, Maxwell played a soft pass to Busquets, who hit a perfect pass to an in-stride Ibrahmovic, who lofted in the first goal.

We began piling up the off side calls as Henry and Ibrahimovic strained at the leads, and then came the second piece of brilliance. Busquets fed Xavi and Messi already knew what could happen, and he made it so, keeping himself on side by a whisker before running under a perfect Xavi pass. He chested the ball down to his feet, knocked it past the keeper, and suddenly it was 2-0. Atletico were having the same Camp Nou nightmare that they had last year, only the striker harrying their keeper and tracking back to play defense was big and Swedish.

Our third goal probably made me the happiest, because it came about as a consequence of a foul on Messi, in the danger area. Teams have always hacked away with impunity, because since the departure of Ronaldinho, we haven’t really been able to make them pay with real free kick danger. But when Alves smoked that shot into the far side of the goal, a laser that was past the keeper before he could react, it was 3 goals in 5 shots, and the other side was reeling. Yes, Alves’ shot pinged off the post and in but really, that one had to be a goal, because it was one hell of a free kick from a rejuvenated attacking right back.

Hats off to Atletico, who kept playing their game, pressing harder and harder mostly because they had to, right? Who wants to “settle” for a 3-0 hammering, right? It’s why scoring first is so important for us, and had Ibrahimovic turned the trick on that first great chance against Inter, we would have won that match 2 or 3-0. Because when you come out to play, as I am fond of saying, you die. Your best shot is two stacks of four, playing the counter. We got our best chances when Inter were out and playing offensively, which is the value of an early goal. The other side has to come out and play. And then we have them.

Not that any of that really mattered with the fourth goal, as Ibrahmovic took the pass and, covered, popped a delicate little lob to Messi. Argy Bargy then takes, fakes, shakes and dances, all with the ball seemingly glued to his shoetops. Everybody, even the officials, seemed to be ballwatching and really, who can blame them. The only guy not ballwatching was Keita, who sees that stuff in practice every day. So he made a beeline for the front of goal where, after a little run to make a sliver of space, Messi found him with a smoked cross for a tap-in goal. Keita will get credit for the goal, but really….come on. Did you people see what that little hooligan did with the ball and to the defense? You can’t defend that.

Hey Yaya, I got one of my own!
Hey Yaya, I got one of my own!

After that we turned down the wick, because clearly, we weren’t going to concede 5 goals. Not at home, not on any pitch on God’s green earth. And then Busquets had to go and do it, deciding to use that thick skull of his to knock off a defensive header that fell to the Atleti attacker as if the pass was for him. Off it went to Aguero, and it was 4-1 just at the stroke of halftime. Worse still, Busquets had the time and space to play the ball to his feet, make a smart decision and finish off the half. Because 4-0 feels a lot different than 4-1, because they aren’t thinking “Hey, we just scored off a jackass play.” They’re thinking “Just three more and we can get a result.”

So out they came to start the second half, full of intent and raring to go as we sashayed about, controlling the ball for long stretches and content to watch time tick away for a fairly uneventful period, until Xavi was substituted for Iniesta. It was a glimpse of the future….or well, it should have been, as we replaced one midfield maestro with another. But Iniesta isn’t match fit yet, so we immediately started playing looser, with significantly less midfield control and command, as the ball started pinging all over the pitch. Suddenly our defenders were feeling more pressure, and even though it wasn’t feeling anything remotely like a comeback, you knew there were more goals in the air.

Then Valdes had to go and sully a perfect game, by committing the cardinal sin of clearing to the center of the pitch. Now, every side has a plan for balls cleared by the keeper. The reason that when keepers clear it’s usually a boomer, high and long, is so that you don’t send a laser to midfield that they can intercept and go off to the races. Which might make you wonder what possessed Valdes to violate said sin. Dunno. But he did. Yes, Iniesta should have moved to the ball that he very clearly saw coming. In a few weeks, he will. Today, he stood there as the Atleti player headed it away over him and sent Forlan in on Valdes, with only Txigrinski making a mad dash to cover the angle.

Ray Hudson said that they’re going to be looking at Txignasty in the locker room for that one, but he was pretty much screwed, because he had to make a choice: Play for the long shot and get in the way of it, or play Forlan for the cut in toward goal. He paused to play the cut, because Forlan had been shooting high all night. It was a calculated gamble in a doom-filled situation. Forlan banged it home and it was 4-2, with both of their goals being gifts from us.

And still, we were content to knock the ball around and run out the clock, and then they had to do it. Messi took a pass, and was hammered by the Atleti defense. And you could see his face change. And you knew we were going to score number 5. Admit it, were any of you surprised when we did? I wasn’t. I wasn’t even surprised by the beauty of the goal.

Iniesta knocked a pass to Alves and, with the same motion, lit the rockets for the box. Alves bangs a slick little back heel to Iniesta in space, who passes back to Alves. Seeing no clear shot, Alves laid it off for Messi, who immediately had what looked like the entire Atleti side running at him, which made the diagonal laser that he used to sear the back of the net seem all the more sweet.

But there were worrisome signs, which I will deal with in the points portion of these proceedings.

Team: 5. I know. Seems like a low club score for such a drubbing, but individual brilliance turned this trick. Atletico benefitted from too many stupid decisions with the ball, and casual play. You can’t give a side life, and we did. If any of those chances created from sloppy play, or if they are better on set pieces (Maxwell!), it’s a different match.

Guardiola: 7. He had to try the Maxwell/Busquets formula, and thankfully, we had the match pretty well salted away. But they both sucked, and probably would have been subbed off in a closer match. But big, giant props for having the club so ready to play.

Valdes: 8. Dude, you were perfect, including that charge out of the net to stymie Aguero, and so astutely cutting off the angle available for the Maxi shot, making the jobs of you and the defender a lot easier. Then you had to make that stupid clearance. Oh, congrats on setting the record for scoreless minutes.

Alves: 8. Exceptional match, and his crosses and free kicks are getting better and better, as is his defense without fouling. But he got caught pinched in toward a middle a few times, and you lose points for the acting. Sorry, but you just do.

Pique: 10. Yes, he missed on a couple of long passes. But he was our best back line player, by about a million percent. Tell me again how United let him get away? And why haven’t we thrown a bushel basket of money at him yet? Just asking. The better he plays, the more he will cost.

Txigrinski: 6. This wasn’t his kind of match, but he did pretty good. He won the two one-on-ones with Aguero, with positioning and sheer size. But it seemed like Gulliver against the Lilliputians with him out there. Too many players were allowed to go running toward our back line with a full head of steam, thanks to midfield errors.

Maxwell: 4. That’s one point for every corner that you gave up. He concedes corners far too easily, which will damage us against Champions League sides. And people were able to just run right past him, which created a defensive scramble. So make up for it with offense, but he didn’t do that. Which was why Abidal was so frisky and playful on the bench. Because his starting role is secure.

Keita: 7. Strong match, and good instincts to keep running toward the front of the net, for the goal. Had another one of those very effective, invisible man matches.

Busquets: 3. Between dwelling too long on the ball, serving up hospital specials and wayward clearances that led, or almost led to goals, he just wasn’t thinking out there. He started out very good, but good play seems to make him silly, and then he starts cocking up everything that he sees. Sometimes, the best play is the simplest one. It’s what makes The Yaya so effective. Yes, he has the tricks. But during regular play, when you don’t need to, is not the time to take risks. The more I watch Busquets play, the more nervous I get about January, because the position in which he plays means that when he screws up, it will result in a goal, or an excellent chance at goal for the other side.

Xavi: 9. He tried to get fancy once, and lost the ball. It was weird to see. Command and control, and always the right decision with the ball. When Iniesta came in, you could see the difference. The latter shows too much of the ball, and thinks about making a run rather than controlling and directing the offense. It’s a crucial difference, and the big reason that right now, Iniesta isn’t valid cover for Xavi. He thinks like an attacker, instead of a midfielder.

Messi: 9. Yes. 9. But he’s still Man of the Match. Yes, we’ll put up the poll so that everyone can affirm his excellence today. Why not a 10? Because of that run he made which was lovely, and thrilling, but it should have resulted in a pass to a wide-open Ibrahimovic or Henry. You could see the frustration, and if you do that too often, your strikers stop making the runs, because they think you’re going to showboat it into the box, so they might as well save the effort.

Henry: 6. He was getting hacked, which is no excuse to lay on the pitch when your side is on the attack. You didn’t get the call, now get up and run. Yes, he made some great runs, really deserved a goal, and made excellent pass after excellent pass. He’s beginning to show signs of clicking with Ibrahimovic as well, which warms my evil little soul. He clearly still has some fitness to gain. But if today’s Henry shows up, we win that Inter match. Ditto for….

Ibrahimovic: 7. He would have gotten a higher rating had he played a more complete match. But he is harassing the keeper now, pressuring defenders, even contesting possession in the midfield and helping to defend on corners. We needed this Ibrahimovic against Inter. And I don’t want to hear about big-match chokes. This was a crucial match, as an early test of our Liga aspirations. And he was brilliant, just not in a sustained fashion. And I think he goes down too easily for one so strong. Play through those slings and arrows hurled by puny men.

Substitutes

Iniesta (for Xavi): 4. The midfield kinda fell apart when he came on, and he really should have contested that awful Valdes clearance. His only shining moment, really, came with the goal. Yes, it pains my heart to rate Ghostface that low.

Marquez (for Pique): 5. A middling effort by the Kaiser, who had a couple of good moments. But dude, try a sliding tackle or two, stick a leg in the way, do something when you think that you can’t run to a ball. Really. Give it a shot.

Pedro (for Ibrahimovic): Incomplete. He came on and had precious little effect, but with hardly any time, it’s difficult to blame him. We’re just having a pass-around at that moment.

Our brutal stretch continues, with matches on Tuesday (Racing), Saturday (Malaga) and Tuesday (Dynamo Kyiv, who put Rubin to the sword). When this stretch of 7 matches in 22 days kicked off, I wondered if we would be able to turn the trick of going undefeated throughout. Racing will be a stern test, and they will be flying today, coming off of a victory. Both that and the Malaga tie are away, then we’re home to Dynamo. If we win out, I’ll be feeling very good about our chances for this season.

And finally, I leave you with an enduring image that sums up the match for me.

Oh. Yeah. That's how we roll.
Oh. Yeah. That's how we roll.
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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

169 Comments

  1. jordi
    September 20, 2009

    This s just like last season with them winning without playing well. We’ll just have to fix them at the camp nou again.

  2. .....r......
    September 20, 2009

    thiss is a new team with a new coach , who had a lot of changes to the starting line up so you cant really expect us to be firing on all cylinders can you ? this team hasnt gelled yet but still trashing our opponents in the last 4 games we’ve scored 16 goals imagine what will happen when will click and you do know that we’ll eventually click right πŸ™‚ ?
    i suggest you dont write us off just yet or you might be in for a shock

    • Andrew M.
      September 20, 2009

      eeeeeeeeeeek a troll!!

  3. .....r......
    September 20, 2009

    Hilal what game did you watch ? are you serious ? in the first half madrid had 62 percent of possession xerez only had a lil possession in parts of the second half , give credit where credits due my friend πŸ™‚

    • Jose16
      September 20, 2009

      No, man, you have to be fair. I was watching the game, and until CR9 scored that 75th minute goal, Xerez had great chances on goal too. Real simply was not controlling the game one bit.

      • .....r......
        September 20, 2009

        lemme ask you , did you watch the first half ? and what are those great chances you speak of , i dont remember casillas doing much snd anyways as i said you cant expect this team to play like barcelona right now ( who arent that impressive at the moment ,lucky against getafe , not really all that good against atletico ) its a new team with a new coach , rome wasnt built in one day as far as i know

      • Jose16
        September 20, 2009

        “rome wasnt built in one day as far as i know”

        We know, we were there last May.

        j/k

      • ElShowDeJason
        September 20, 2009

        JAJAJA that was funny…

      • September 20, 2009

        ooooohhh burn!!

    • Hilal
      September 20, 2009

      Possession isnt everything, as a Barca fan I can tell you that with confidence. Xerex controlled the game for long stretches in that they allowed you to keep possession in areas that didnt really threaten them. You were at home against a team that has not scored a single goal yet in the league and have lost every game, so yeah your gona have possession. You started very strongly but after the first 10 mins Xerex settled and they controlled the game till Ronaldo scored his second. Then they seemed to give in and the goals came rolling in. I will give credit in that some of the finishing was fantastic and there is no doubting the quality, but as a team, not impressed. Like you said, its early, but against teams like Xerex at home you should be completely dominating. They had quite a few decent chances themselves, if they could cross a little better they might have created more goal scoring opportunities.

      As for all your goals, well, the opposition you have faced so far hasn’t exactly been challenging. Lets see how the Villareal game goes; that will be a little more interesting, although you should really be beating them, i think it’ll be a much better game.

      • .....r......
        September 20, 2009

        how you that xerez “controlled” the game is beyond they were parking the bus the whole first half and looking for counters only in the second did they decide to come out and play even then they didnt control the game for long stretches as you claim dont let your hate for madrid cloud your judgement , this game never looked like it was going to be theirs and yes we havent faced any tough opponents so far ( altough we did beat espanyol 3 nil at their own ground ) so we’ll see how we do against villareal , but like said you have to remember its early days , new team , new coach , new president , new sporting director hell even new water boys , expecting us to fire on all cylinders at the moment is not reasonable judge us in january

      • jordi
        September 20, 2009

        February.By which time Madrid would have crashed out the round of 16 again πŸ˜€

      • .....r......
        September 20, 2009

        lol ,nah man not this time , the CL will return to its rightful owner this season which is us , the only reaosn we crashed out the round 16 so much is because we had won the damn trophy so much we wanted to give other team the chance to catch up , you know to balance things out a bit , we’re fair players πŸ™‚

      • Andrew M.
        September 20, 2009

        money spent on building the real madrid team: euros420 mil
        money spent on building the Xerez team: <euros9 mil

    • OhYes
      September 20, 2009

      As the games against Chelsea in the CL shows, possession =/= controlling the game.

  4. Jose16
    September 20, 2009

    I will pay good money for Real Madrid to get Chelsea on the Round of 16.

    • ElShowDeJason
      September 20, 2009

      I would love for that to happen.

      Crynaldo would go go from footballing deuchebag to arm-flailing crybaby jackass in about 5 minutes.

      • Andrew M.
        September 20, 2009

        i love the “CRYnaldo”

    • Alexinho
      September 20, 2009

      Wow, oh my God. What an idea.

      Anyone see Chelsea today? I hate to say it, but they looked very strong. I hate Drogba but he just reeks of quality. The man is a brute! Too bad he’ll be officially old very soon, personality issues aside, I’d love to see him in the colors.

  5. Jose16
    September 20, 2009

    Valencia down 0-1 against hee-HON.

  6. ElShowDeJason
    September 20, 2009

    Oops… i totally forgot to make changes to my Fantasy Football team, and they ended up doing great, pushing FCBlaugranaSanDiego to 4th place. Woot!

    F. Llorente – AtlBilbao – 32.5 pts
    Ibrahimovic – Barcelona – 14.5 pts
    J. Martinez – AtlBilbao – 13.0 pts
    SeydouKeita – Barcelona – 13.0 pts
    SergiAguero – AtlMadrid – 11.5 pts
    plus others for 92.5 pts, nearly doubling my points.

    Isaiah, “TheYaya” dropped to 16th, hovering just above my B team πŸ˜€

    • Vj
      September 20, 2009

      I did the same.. no changes to the team even though I wanted to drop Diego Alves.. turns out, he got me 29!! points.. With Llorente and Messi shining,I’m upto 2nd πŸ™‚ with 120 odd points scored in a single round.. I’m doubly happy..

      The trash talking has started already? Atleast wait till the Clasico.. Oh well πŸ™‚

  7. Kxevin
    September 20, 2009

    For the record, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the EE. I don’t care who they beat, as long as it isn’t us. Their fans will say they’re the second coming, just as we will say that our team is the second coming. And that’s how it goes.

    We have very valid concerns that I would much rather discuss, than how they performed in pummelling a club that has round-trip tickets to the Segunda.

    As for the rest, we’ll see on November 29th.

    • Jose16
      September 20, 2009

      We should care insofar as it affects us. From the looks of it so far, Real and Valencia (with an honorable mention to Athletic Bilbao) are the main contenders for La Liga.

      • Jnice
        September 20, 2009

        We already knew they were main contenders for La Liga, though.

      • ElShowDeJason
        September 20, 2009

        As long as we win all of our games, it doesn’t matter what the others do.

      • Jose16
        September 20, 2009

        As much faith as I have in this team… I’m not sure we’ll winning every game. Especially with three other competitions. Let’s be realistic.

      • ElShowDeJason
        September 20, 2009

        i’m not saying we will win all of our games…

        but at the beginning of last season, if we would have suggested a triplete, we woulda have been met with a “lets be realistic”…

      • Andrew M.
        September 20, 2009

        sevilla as well now that they have negredo

  8. Aria
    September 20, 2009

    yeah, i don’t give a rat’s ass about EE either, im just disappointed they went above us in the table, i likes seeing the 1 next to barΓ§a πŸ˜›

    • Aria
      September 20, 2009

      liked*

    • ElShowDeJason
      September 20, 2009

      They went above us? that sucks

      well… I believe on Wednesday they have Villareal, and we have Racing, so we will be above them again. Hopefully on points, but i’ll take goal difference.

      besides, as we found out 3 seasons ago… having a a goal difference miles ahead don’t mean shit in the face of the stupid head-to-head tie break.

      • Jose16
        September 20, 2009

        I honestly don’t know why they even bother to sort them on goal differential in situations like these. It’s head-to-head that counts.

  9. Helge
    September 20, 2009

    Damn it. CR9 has 6 goals now… I hoped for a worste start, and now he may even score as many goals as he did the season before last. That actually scares me. Not Real Madrid, but this cocky douchebag. As someone mentioned, he’s gonna constantly punish the weaker defenses, that’s also why ManUtd became champion and not Liverpool πŸ™

    • Corrine
      September 20, 2009

      it’s strange because as a pool fan i hated him with united, but i feel more anger when he scores with real madrid. yet i don’t hate him as much as i used to because i found him less tolerable in the premier league. he’s a weird character for me haha

      • Alexinho
        September 20, 2009

        Amen. As a fan of Real Madrid’s biggest rivals and Manchester United’s formerly-biggest rivals, I still can’t quite hate Thong Boy. I can call him names, that’s easy, but boy can he whip out the class. I just can’t hate a player with that kind of footwork. I mean, I guess it’s never come up on this blog (or not in years, if it was on the Offside for that long), but can anyone here say that they hated Zidane? I dare you.

      • Jnice
        September 20, 2009

        Cristiano is wack. I’ll take Messi’s or Iniesta’s or even Yaya’s footwork over his any day. And have you noticed, his stepovers don’t work in La Liga like they used to in England. All that dumb shaking and shit. Just get on with the play. Cristiano and Zidane? Not quite the same. Zidane wasn’t about showboating and all this other nonsense.

        Once he feels comfortable in La Liga, you will see the same cockiness and bullshit from him. Watch.

      • ElShowDeJason
        September 21, 2009

        Woah, did you just put Zidane and Crynaldo in the same sentence!

        Zidane was great. i always loved him, even at Madrid. Ronaldo i hated even before Madrid.

        Iniesta > Ronaldo.

      • Helge
        September 21, 2009

        Wow, that’s really a dangerous comparison. I think that Zidane has not only been one of the all-time greatest footballers on the pitch, but also off the pitch. In France, he’s known as “le roi modeste”. It’s absolut non-sense to compare Zidane’s popularity to the one of CR9. CR9 is the most controversial and cocky character the world of soccer has ever seen, his character is completely different from Zidane’s. It’s been a defamation for Zidane!

  10. jordi
    September 20, 2009

    Ronaldo is a minnow killer but so is zlatan, and the man has won his league in every team hes played in every year since he was a professional.I think we’ll be fine.

  11. jordi
    September 20, 2009

    Ill die inside if Ronaldo is pichchi this year.If not one of our players, id hope it is villa or forlan.

    • Corrine
      September 20, 2009

      don’t even say it!

      how was that penalty won btw? i didn’t want it

      • Corrine
        September 20, 2009

        i didn’t watch it*

        freudian slip

      • Jnice
        September 20, 2009

        LOL

      • Corrine
        September 20, 2009

        haha πŸ˜› there was no penalty anyway, i just watched highlights

    • Andrew M.
      September 20, 2009

      i feel a strange fondness for teams and players i couldnt stand as we all unite against crynaldo. quite strange

    • Corrine
      September 20, 2009

      nevermind, i just watched highlights and there was no penalty. livescore lied

  12. Kxevin
    September 20, 2009

    Jason said it best: As long as we win the rest of our matches, it doesn’t matter what the EE does. The time that points will start getting dropped is once the Champions League matches, etc, start catching up with players’ legs.

    If we take care of business, that means that we win the home and away Clasicos. So no worries, because it only matters what we do.

    • Jose16
      September 20, 2009

      Come matchday 20, i hope you’re still right πŸ™‚

    • Andrew M.
      September 20, 2009

      EE are so caught up in winning the CL to justify their purchases that i think they will neglect the league and perhaps struggle to perform in both

      • ElShowDeJason
        September 20, 2009

        your probably right.

        for this reason, I want them to stay in the CL for a good while, although i don’t want to see them in the semi’s at all.

      • Alexinho
        September 20, 2009

        I do. Boy oh boy, that’ll be a HELL of a match. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that.

  13. Eduard
    September 20, 2009

    i love this blog,

    hey does anyone have a link to BANGS! crazy flick. I saw it but i have no idea how he did it. Did it hit his right foot first then his left(made it bounce) and finished it with his right?

    • Jnice
      September 20, 2009

      No, he used the same foot (his right) to sort of control it and flick it up all in one motion.

      • Hilal
        September 20, 2009

        and it was sublime, absolutely sublime…under pressure as well, two defenders and the keeper. Just wow….

    • Eduard
      September 20, 2009

      moltas gracias Jordi

      • Kxevin
        September 20, 2009

        Jesus. Still staggering to watch.

  14. September 20, 2009

    Indian cules, we appreciate the passion, but we’ve had two petition posts already, and we’ve all signed on the dotted line, to help make sure that Barca beauty is seen by all.

    • Kxevin
      September 20, 2009

      Nice find, Flippy. Thanks for posting. The dose of Ray-Ray was nice, too. πŸ˜€

      And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the coolest parts of the GolTV telecast when, as the match was going off, somebody cranked the volume on the Himno that was ringing through the Camp Nou grounds. Truly awesome.

      • Tim
        September 20, 2009

        Worst part of the telecast is Phil’s continuous bashing of Valdes. I have to hit the mute button sometimes.

    • Alexinho
      September 20, 2009

      HA! Brilliant. I wonder who the hell recorded all that. That’s kind of how I imagine Isaiah…goofball.

  15. ballbeav
    September 20, 2009

    i think rayray wishes he had a mute button too, sometimes…

  16. Tajh
    September 20, 2009

    I don’t think we need to worry about EE to much right now.1st of all they aren’t playing together as a team and mostly really on individual brilliance and 2nd they have some tough fixtures coming up in both league and champions league….plus a double derby back to back with getafe and atletico,

    once we win our games it should be smooth sailings for us.

  17. fcbfan
    September 20, 2009

    if they can keep a clean sheet against Villarreal, then I’ll pay attention. good to see Bilbao doing well so far.

  18. Jnice
    September 21, 2009

    Look at the shirt Pep was wearing the other day:

    *http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_X0Qx2lm2ufc/SrSNm7IswsI/AAAAAAAADag/OCLl6wp8uaw/s400/pepenvi.jpg

  19. September 21, 2009

    Is anyone into sports betting here? Just curious. I want to give it a go. won’t bet on Barca though cos i don’t want to make an biased bets.

    • ElShowDeJason
      September 21, 2009

      Betting is illegal in the United States πŸ™

      • Ramzi
        September 21, 2009

        And so it has to be everywhere.

    • Helge
      September 21, 2009

      Haha, a friend of mine bet 200€ on more than 6.5 goals for Barca-Atletico.

      He won 3500€ thanks to Messi πŸ˜€

    • Andrew M.
      September 21, 2009

      yeah, between my brother and i we always put a bet on barca in the champions league and la liga. my uncle has been doing it since as long as i can remember and so its a bit of a family tradition! haha, but my brother raked in 750 pounds last season!!

  20. SwedeBarca
    September 21, 2009

    I feel that the coming season will be very exciting and I donΒ΄t really worry about Ibra synching with the other players, that will definately come in the next 1-2 months. I do however think we will run into trouble when Yaya and Keita leave for Africa in January, am I the only one worried?! What are our options?

    • Kxevin
      September 21, 2009

      I think that terrified is a better word, SwedeBarca. Options? Busquets, if you’re looking at the traditional definition of the position.

      Other options that have been bandied about are:

      –Praying for Mali to stop being a country, which frees up Keita
      –Having France annex Cote d’Ivoire, which means that The Yaya plays WCQs for Les Bleus
      –Moving Marquez up and over, for DM duties
      –Pushing Txignasty forward, as a DM (his pace concerns me there)
      –Maxwell, whose skill set includes the midfield
      –A non Cup-tied January signing to fill in temporarily (but that means that you have to keep them on the roster for the season, so they’d have to be cheap, and preferably availble on a free transfer.

  21. john
    September 21, 2009

    A couple comments on the match that probably no one will ever read:

    1. the Atleti were once again performing the Theatre of the Absurd, staring their very own back 4.

    2. Holy goodness Messi is an apparition. That set up for Keita’s goal was un-doable, in human terms.

    3. And speaking of supernatural phenomena (and theatre): “Messi took a pass, and was hammered by the Atleti defense.” I’d like to meet the ghost that hammered him, because in the replay he was invisible to the viewing public. Such a ghost could be handy for insurance claims, were I ever to secure insurance.

    4. When I saw Henry start counting his fingers, I initially thought he was trying to prove to the ref that he could count to eight in Spanish. “Titi!” I thought, “Surely the ref knows you can count!”

    Then I realized his real intent – he was counting how many times he had to simulate a foul before the ref actually declared one.

    Lastly, to Kxevin – I sincerely applaud you for not going down the ‘Samu doesn’t score that one’ route. Honestly, I thought you’d be the first to submit it. Gentleman’s applause.

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