127 Comments

  1. outerspacedout
    May 3, 2011

    @Nanda: I decided to get back on Twitter.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 3, 2011

      LMAO… you’re the first to comment in this thread, and that’s your comment? oh, outer… I love you, glad to have you back… 😆

  2. Jose
    May 3, 2011

    Great read, Euler. I have wondered why it seemed like a lot of our weaknesses didn’t look to be exposed. Well, tomorrow it’s over. This series of four Clasicos has been less nervous-exciting and more nervous-exhausting than I expected. :\

  3. Nav
    May 3, 2011

    That Barcelona passing chart is hilarious and insane.

  4. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    where is Bassam? are you still here, Bassam?

    how dare you put MADR*D word without censor in our blog!
    *shaking my head* 😛

    That Jnice man, he hits you where it hurts 😉 Evil i say, EVIL!

    LOL… when he hits you where it hurts, he’s not in Jnice mode, he was entering Jmean mode…you must understand that…

    believe me, you will love him when you met “Jnice”, not “Jmean”… 😀

    I’m gonna read this long and intelligent post when I get home, Euler…
    I promise I’ll read it… I’m going home now…

  5. 145culegirl
    May 3, 2011

    I’m poor at tactics and I dont even know whether this is a relevant question but we know that Madrid has very good pacey counter but why could’nt they utilise it when the backline of Barca was poor?.Mascherano isnt a CB and Puyol is not match fit as the post suggests.Madrid had enough speed with Ronaldo and he could have dragged Puyol out of his place and scored.

    • Diego
      May 3, 2011

      They didn’t see enough of the ball to achieve anything, Ozil made 2 passes only, After the red card, Mourinho did nothing and Ade and Cristiano were left without supply and Di Maria was non existent in the 2nd half.

      We had 72% of possession and the width provided in this match prevented it from coming another Copa Final.

  6. excellent excellent piece euler! You should send this to all those journalist’s bowing in front of mourinho all the time..!

    Let’s hope our boys can keep their cool today!

    Visca Barca!

  7. Euler do you think r.madrid will attack from the very begining or will they start ultra defensive again in the first half hoping to score by a set piece or from a bad back pass and then push forward in the final 30 minutes when we will be most tired?

    • Para
      May 3, 2011

      I don’t know. I think RM would acknowledge that, as much as an early goal from them would hurt Barca, the opposite would be doubly true. As a result, I think they will be more cautious in the first half. Not as they were in the first leg, but a more balanced counterattack-enabling side.

      I think their goal will be to go into the half 0-1, and then see where they go from there.

      What I’m hoping for is that they can’t score 2 without Barca getting in at least one.

  8. Jnice
    May 3, 2011

    Great piece, Euler.

    What would be your starting XI for this match? I did think Pep would use Iniesta on the wing and Keita in the middle, but seeing as we’ll need plenty of width, that might not be the best option.

  9. y2k156
    May 3, 2011

    Excellent piece.

    Btw folks, i know lot of you like to read good football stuff. And i have found gem of a magazine just started by Jonathan Wilson called The Blizzard. link: http://www.theblizzard.co.uk/.

    I just downloaded their issue zero after paying few pounds and it is absolute beast. It comes at 188 pages of solid analysis into all sorts of things. I have already decided to subsscribe as finally there is some serious and nice football magazine. Check it out!

  10. Jackieboy
    May 3, 2011

    Good read. Love the charts. Pep is still such a tactically underrated manager. He deserves more credit.

    On another note:

    barcastuff: Most goals in the knock-out stages of the Champions League: Raul 18 – Shevchenko 18 – Messi 17

    Each time I see stuff like that, and I realize just how awesome Messi is, I just get speechless. Catching up with the legends at 23. Geez.

  11. Diego
    May 3, 2011

    Barcelona wins and Messi scores -> Barca is Messi

    Barcelona wins without Messi -> Messi Sucks

    Guardiola defeats Mourinho 5-0 -> He’s just a lucky coach

    Mourinho wins 1-0 in Extra time -> He’s a tactical Genius

    Busquets dives in the middle of the pitch -> Filing an official complaint to UEFA

    Di Maria dives 983579537 times to win Fouls, Penalties, and get players sent off -> Barcelona are doing unsporting behaviour.

    Messi is the best player in the world -> Pfffft, TB is much better

    Xaviniesta are the world’s best midfielders -> Nothing compared to Milner and Downing

    Spain won the WC -> Only because of Casillas, Ramos and Alonso.

    That’s why I stopped visiting football sites and only come here.

  12. Para
    May 3, 2011

    Euler, thank you. This was fascinating. I had noticed that Alves was much further back in the first leg, but hadn’t realised the full significance until I read this. I assumed Puyol was holding back largely in order to ‘conserve’ because he isn’t fully match-fit.

  13. can_we_go_Xalvies
    May 3, 2011

    Yer, Dani’s position was still a bit of a weird one. Because from what I saw, Puyol played as that third CB who would come flying in behind our main center backs if anything went passed, much like what Abidal was famous for at LB. Its interesting to see how alike both Puyol and Abidal are as defenders. Both can manage each others ‘preferred’ positions very well. Kudos to Pep who realized this.

    Following that, comes the question, what was Dani’s role at his position defensively? Because in the first half he had a handful of defending to do and I can’t say he struggled, but he definetly didn’t look up to his standard.

    It seems Mourinho focused on usuing Di-maria on the left flank to torment Dani’s lack of defensive, instead of the right side against Puyol. But I guess it became a double advantage to Pep because Puyol didn’t have to do any sort of defending down our left flank which then allowed Puyol to come in and help protect the centre of defence. I guess Mourinho thought Alves was a weaker target and he could expose that right side of ours, Ironically though, Puyol is usually strong at defending Aerial balls and I don’t see how any sort of cross from Di Maria can be effective (It worked in the copa though).

    I guess eventhough Alves didn’t perform well in the first half, the conservative approach Pep assigned Alves worked.

  14. Helge
    May 3, 2011

    Interesting analysis, Euler.

    One of Barça’s major problems in the Copa was lack of patience – in face of the Madrid pressure they often one touched the ball in a rushed fashion. This was largely due to their lack of players wide in that critical region of the pitch. With the full backs wide and level with the holding player Barça was able to form triangles and make the pitch much larger in the middle. This allowed for more composed possession.

    Do you think that it was mainly due to the adjustments of Pep, i.e. positioning of the full-backs, using of width and triangles etc. that Barça could maintain possession and control of the game so easily?
    I will give a statistic about distance covered by each team in the 1st leg CL CLasico:
    Real Madrid about 65km, Barça about 70km.

    The average is between 105km and 115km. So Real Madrid did ,not even try to pressure us. Consequently, we made the game slow and also ran about 40km(!) less than usually. That’s the way how I see it.
    I think if Real tried harder, as they did in the Copa, the game would have been different. In the 1st leg, we never faced any pressure, and I don’t think that’s only down to the four triangles. Pep’s adjustments were essential, but certainly helped by the extreme passiveness of Real Madrid.
    I don’t want to take anything away from Pep, your analysis suggests that Pep outfoxed Mourinho and he practically did so. Maybe Mourinho even told his players to not move or build up any pressure on Barça, if that’s the case, then Pep certainly owned him. But then, Mourinho also did a very big, avoidable mistake. It’s natural to sit deep for his teams, but I doubt that any of his teams has ever run so few kilometres before!

    I feel that the fourth and last Clásico will once again be very different from the tactical approach than the others.

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      May 3, 2011

      Well I’m no tactician but, If madrid had to apply more pressure, they would on average have to push further up the pitch, since we ourselves were more conservative, if thats the case, it would be much easier for Villa and Pedro to just dart a run from either side, and Xavi or Pique to bomb one through, since madrid’s defensive line would leave a nice gap for them to run onto before reaching Casillas.

      Mourinho would have to scrap his whole defensive line approach. Otherwise if he just let the midfield wall push up, it would leave a nice gap between the defense and midfield for Messi and Xavi/Iniesta to play with.

      Pep’s little tweaks were very smart. Because it forced Mourinho to make a decision, whether to stick with his ineffective yet safe defensive approach, or scrap his whole pre-game match plan and go for a more assertive approach and maybe snatch a result. Obviously Mourinho didn’t change his game plan (unlike the first classico at the Camp Nou) and stuck with his Ol’faithful tactics, but in the end he wasted his home leg advantage.

    • WOW I didn’t know that the teams run so little…that about 6,5 km per player..Dani and Xavi run aproximately around 10-11km per game!

      Thanks Helge! very interesting ! do you by any chance have the individual km as well?!

  15. soccermomof4
    May 3, 2011

    Euler >> 99% of sports writers who get paid to do this type of analysis.

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 3, 2011

      Absolutely, hats off to Euler. I had no idea that Alves and Puyol staying back was a deliberate tactic from Pep until I saw this blog.

  16. Para
    May 3, 2011

    The ‘home leg advantage’ is purely psychological, right? The way I was looking at it was that when you’re away, goals count for more. As such, away matches would have the ‘advantage,’ so to speak.

    • Jackieboy
      May 3, 2011

      Mostly psychological, yes, which is hard to measure, but statistics in practically every team sport show a significant advantage in home team results. This of course may be in part due to a self-fulfilling prophecy – away teams being scared and less confident and more defensive, because of being an away team (and in turn the home team being more confident and offensive – because of the notion that home teams have an advantage).

      However:
      Ryan Boyko, a research assistant in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, studied 5,000 English Premier League games from 1992 to 2006, to discern any officiating bias and the influence of home crowds. The data was published in the Journal of Sports Sciences suggested that for every additional 10,000 people attending, home team advantage increased by 0.1 goals. Additionally, his study proved what many football fans already suspect, that home teams are likely to be awarded more penalty kicks, but crucially, this is more likely with inexperienced referees. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_field_advantage)

      • outerspacedout
        May 3, 2011

        Haha, the Nou Camp is likely to see 0.2 goals more than the Bernabue and 0.5 goals more than Stamford Bridge lol.

        That said I don’t think it’s just psychological. Football is a game where the tiniest changes and things have effects, and players being used to having played on that particular pitch for much of their careers, physical aspects of the pitch like smoothness, height or slickness of the pitch affecting those tiny things like the exact weight of a pass and since you mostly train/practice in your own stadium those things coming off better in those exact conditions as opposed to any other, and so on would create a tiny advantage for one, I would think.

        Add to that the psychological aspect of motivation of thousands of fans cheering you on, or of stepping out onto the Camp Nou and being surrounded by a wall of people, as many people as a small city (maybe even more than the entire population of their hometowns for many players- the town of Villareal has a population of 52000, for example, and the capital city of my admittedly small country has 100k people) where every single one of those hundred thousand people hates you.

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      May 3, 2011

      hmm true, but it doesn’t mean its not an effective advantage, because in general everyone regards the team who have the second leg at home have the advantage because if lets say things go terribly wrong in the first leg, atleast in the second leg they don’t have to play in a hostile environment and mentally they are in a better state.

      Mourinho obviously wanted to keep a clean sheet at the Bernabau. He made a conservative and negative approach which in turn makes things harder for Barca to break. Which in turn drastically reduced any chances of Barcelona scoring. But what if one incident in the game goes wrong and Barcelona score at the Bernabau, Then Mourinho’s approach just crumbles to pieces like we saw last week.

      So my opinion is eventhough Mourinho tried to level things out by nullifying barcelona, It doesn’t guarantee success, Its just an approach that relies on pure luck. If somehow things don’t go well, then its pretty much game over because playing negative can more likely never turn over a deficit.

      Thus why the home leg is crucial.

      the funny thing is, Mourinho’s approach does not work to Madrid’s strengths, it works to stop Barcelona within a time frame, but thats it, nothing else.

      • May 3, 2011

        It’s also worth noting that home field advantage varies by stadium. Arsenal at Highbury had a big HFA because of the compressed space of the pitch and their ability to use it well. I think that we also have a big advantage at home because of how we maintain the pitch (in a way that facilitates our passing game), and its width. If we use the wide spaces, the holes created are too big to be filled. HFA, dependent on the club, can be huge.

    • Para
      May 3, 2011

      Thanks for the interesting responses, folks! I wasn’t trying to write off any psychological advantage that exists (though I see from the responses that there may be more to it than psychological advantage).

  17. blitzen
    May 3, 2011

    From LLL:

    LLL suspects that Barcelona lost Saturday’s game after Real Madrid’s defeat just to annoy their Capital City rivals even further by making them regret their own slip-up against Zaragoza even more.

    3:)

    • nzm
      May 3, 2011

      All 4 CL semifinalists lost their league games last weekend – Schalke, Man U, Madrid and Barca. 🙂

  18. May 3, 2011

    For the second morning in a row I have awakened to genius. First SoMa, now Euler. Excellent, excellent work. It all makes sense now, even to a tactical addle-brain like me.

    • barca96
      May 3, 2011

      Wow. That’s great! He was the best ref since WC 98.

  19. Barcaleya
    May 3, 2011

    Brilliant analysis, as always, Euler!!!

    I’m sending this to all my friends who do not give credit to Guardiola’s tactical nous and who have the gall to tell me that our only strategy in the last Clasico was to have their players sent off.

  20. blitzen
    May 3, 2011

    Anyone else not able to get onto TotalBarca?

    • Diego
      May 3, 2011

      yes, until tomorrow. changing servers.

    • soccermomof4
      May 3, 2011

      I keep getting, “Internet Explorer cannaot display the webpage.”
      I did that yesterday as well but I got on it briefly last night.

      • soccermomof4
        May 3, 2011

        It not I
        and cannot not cannaot
        ugh

        • May 3, 2011

          I never go there anyhow, but will check on Firefox and Chrome.

          Nope. Nothing on either one. Guess you’ll have to make do with us today. 😀

          • blitzen
            May 3, 2011

            I go there for the news posts mostly. They translate the front pages and cartoons from EMD and Sport, and the odd Crackovia skit.

    • nzm
      May 3, 2011

      Their Facebook feed just sent a message saying that they were receiving Denial of Service attacks. Their servers are being hacked.

  21. barca96
    May 3, 2011

    WOw Euler.
    That’s a zonalmarking kinda post.

    I will read it after the match is done and dusted unfortunately. Need to put my baby sis and bro to bed.

    Good luck guys and gals for later!
    Hopefully we will all be celebrating 6 hours later!

  22. soccermomof4
    May 3, 2011

    barcastuff:
    Karanka (assistant coach Madrid): “After the decision not to suspend players who showed a lack of fair-play, the game is secondary

    This is …. actually very very sad. Very immature and not befitting any adult much less the representative of a hitherto respected European institution.

    Let’s be classy on the field. Let’s have so much “ooooh purdi” going on that it will be all that people remember. On the other hand, if I see the customary kisses and hugs in the tunnel I’m gonna barf (and I say this even as a fan on La Furia Roja).

  23. This is absolutely brilliant, Euler. And I’m not just saying this because it’s on BFB, but this absolutely puts Zonal Marking’s review to shame (and I love ZM’s work).

    Spot on, absolutely spot on.

    People seem to dismiss Pep very quickly. See many tactical sites and it’s “Pep starts with the expected lineup”, “the real question is how EE will defend without the ball”.

    Uh, no.

    The “real question” is how Barca will attack given all their injuries and the tactical adjustments Pep will have to make bearing in mind they come in as the losing team. Stop falling over Mourinho — he’s shown his tactics two times previous. Starting with 7 defenders with Pepe in the midfield. The focus is on stopping us and hitting on the counter using Thong Boy and Dive Maria’s pace.

    Pep was brilliant. Why should we attack when we know our backline is susceptible to pace? You can’t counter attack if the one with the ball isn’t attacking. A nice metaphor is a matador and the bull. We dangle the red cape and it’s up to the bull to charge forward.

    EE sat back waiting for us to come to them, thinking we didn’t learn from the Copa loss. We didn’t fall into that trap. We kept our calm, maintained possession while still probing.

    You know something is wrong when I feel sorry for TB getting caught in our triangle. Watch the video and see how he is the only one trying to press and get the ball back. How our players are allowed time and space on the ball — even though pressuring them would be dangerous for us. sMasch is a new CB and Puyol is in an unfamiliar position lacking match fitness. It’s not unreasonable to think they could pressure us into making a turnover and/or a rash challenge. Instead they sit back, not moving from the halfway line.

    That Thong Boy saw that and Mourinho didn’t says something. In fact, Thong Boy might not have even realized it and was just trying to win, being competitive and not wanting us to dangle the ball in front of them like a carrot in front of a rabbit.

    The lack of changes from Mourinho were astonishing — even to my untrained eye. It’s obvious our back line was on its last legs and our attacking thrust in the midfield was missing with Iniesta’s untimely injury. He presses on with this formation as if he’s found the “winning” formula, but Pep saw the problems and adjusted. Mourinho saw what he could exploit and didn’t. He has Kaka’, Benzema, Higuain, Granero, etc. on the bench

    Commentators speculated that he was playing for a 0-0 at home; indeed, Mourinho confirms this after the game saying they were going for 0-0 at HT and then going to stage two in bringing in Kaka’ in the second half and then trying to go for the win. AT HOME.

    Think about how daft that is for a second.

    Why don’t you go for the win from the beginning? As Euler said, every minute in the CL matters, even more so when you are the home team. Why do you think away goal matter? Because it’s difficult to score away from home. For EE to score, they’d have to play more attacking football rather than the sole focus being to stop us. The whole reason they play the way they do against us is because they can’t match us offensively (see: 5-0). Therefore, it’s more likely they WON’T score in Camp Nou than in the Bernabeu where they have the home field advantage and support in the crowds (referees are more partial to the home side).

    Honestly, Mourinho is overrated as a tactical manager. People (read: journos) fall over themselves at his “controversial” nature and the siege mentality he always instills in his squads. While he is very good at that — at being a media man and a man manager — tactically speaking he is overrated. What he does is no different from what Rubin or Athletic Bilbao have done.

    It’s much easier to destroy than it is to construct an attacking game IMO. People talk about the “tactical discipline” and “maintaining shape” which is fine for defensive minded football — Italian teams are the master. However, it is much harder trying to attack a team and find ways through than it is to construct that defensive shape. But anyway, that’s just me.

    That EE are going so low as to try and keep up this off-field hubbub shows how desperate they are to keep people for analyzing how badly they got this wrong.

    Ending off this rant, the way we played was brilliant — tactically. Keita in particular has an outstanding match. With Iniesta missing, Seydou had to have a strong game and he delivered. Afellay as well. The way Ibi owned Marcelo completely makes me think that he should start today — but I guess his pace coming on after the hour mark would make him a great sub as well.

    I’m really looking forward to the game today and seeing how we come out this time.

    Thanks for this, Euler.

  24. May 3, 2011

    Good job, Euler. Mourinho may not survive long at Real Madrid. Prepare your CV:)

    • Barcaleya
      May 3, 2011

      Has anyone called out Sid Lowe on his mistake?

      Because it is a grave mistake. He attributed Pep’s comment in response to Pedro’s acting to the allegation re Busi. The mistake makes a world of difference. His mistake gave him the opportunity to make an “interpretation” of what Pep said. There is no need for any kind of interpretation if he only listened carefully and checked (double-checked in fact, since he’s a journalist) as to what Pep’s comments were referring to.

      Will anyone tell him this? He’s so influential that his mistake has added more weapons to those against us, made neutrals turn against us and even our own supporters to hate Busi. Without evidence, I should add.

      What is open to interpretation here is what Busi was saying in the video.

      What is not open is what Pep said because in fact, it was in reference to specific questions.

      • mei
        May 3, 2011

        For some reason , people are bowing down to sid lowe.
        Im really expecting especially kxevin , that is fond of him , to make some kind of comment against this kind of stupidity that this “impartial” journalist has gone into this time.

        • Barcaleya
          May 3, 2011

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/02/real-madrid-accuse-uefa-barcelona-racism

          LOOK! Sid Lowe just came out with an article on Guardian about this. He’s wrong, right? Spanish speaking people here – please back me up on this. Confirm with me again the sequence of what Pep said so that I can write Sid if no one else is going to do this.

          I totally object to his “interpretation” of what Pep said. There is nothing to interpret. He made a mistake pure and simple in connecting Pep’s comment to Busquets when it was in answer to Pedro.

  25. Also, EE demonstrate something re: Benzema, Higuian, etc.: what’s the point of depth if you don’t use it when it matters?

    • May 3, 2011

      When you rest 9 starters against Valencia and still be able to bag 6 goals, i would say the depth is being used well. Plus, depth is not only in strikers. This is why even with 2 defenders out and a central midfielder out tomorrow, we still have enough men to put out there. In the end, regardless of depth, both teams will play their best formation over and over again in a clasico.

      • Let me clarify: I meant as depth on the bench during big games — like game changers, players Mourinho will actually use when times are tough. He’ll use Adebayor because he brought him in (as a winter transfer and last week’s game), but I would have thought Higuain would have been the obvious choice with his pace (Good thing he didn’t come in). 0-1 is still doable, so replace Di Maria or someone, with another defender.

        But yes, you’re right — in general it’s a huge advantage, particularly in La Liga. We wouldn’t be p*ssing and moaning on this blog if it wasn’t. 😀

      • outerspacedout
        May 3, 2011

        But an attacking triumvirate costing 110mil Euros between them providing a lethal game when playing a match after the league was pretty much over and the CL was the one thing left to fight for, by and large, isn’t using depth well.

        ‘That team’ has played their usual games in almost all their games of note if I recall correctly, except for meaningless games where the subs were given a chance or against Barca where a different approach was taken. They haven’t utilized their depth to anywhere near an optimal level really looking at the fact that those bench players are not poor enough to cause enough a drop in performance for most matches over a season to be risked.

      • outerspacedout
        May 3, 2011

        What we were saying wasn’t that they don’t have a quality squad, or that it is an advantage being able to call upon such quality replacements, but generally they use their depth very very little when you look at the quality and amount of depth they have.

      • Oh, and I just want this clasico series to be over. I don’t know how you’re holding up at the Offside, but I’m at my wits end. I remember saying I’d be fascinated to see how Spain handles 4 clasicos in 18 days — how naive was I? This keeps getting uglier and uglier. There is no boundaries anymore and I’m just exhausted.

        Sigh.

  26. outerspacedout
    May 3, 2011

    Barca Offside retweeted me. MY LIFE IS COMPLETE FOR A WHILE.

  27. blitzen
    May 3, 2011

    Osvaldo to Tottenham? Apparently Harry Redknapp was at the Espanyol game this weekend and is interested in signing him for Spurs.

  28. Josep
    May 3, 2011

    Humphrey Bogart says:
    May 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm
    And just like that it is a 360 degree u-turn

    Reply
    Vj says:
    May 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm
    You know its not a U-turn if you turn by 360 degrees right?

    this might be the best two comments of all time on the board.

  29. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    OptaJoe : 1 – Barcelona have scored just one goal in total in their last five Champions League semi-final appearances at Camp Nou. Muted.

    😯

    • I’m tired. The hypocrisy, the double standards, the allegations. I’m just tired of it all. I can’t even muster the strength to be outraged.

      Can’t wait until it’s over.

      • Barcaleya
        May 3, 2011

        Was asking earlier if anyone bothered to correct Sid Lowe of his mistake in attributing Pep’s response to a Pedro question to that of Busi.

        Now, it’s too late. He just wrote an article in Guardian.

        UGH. I am up in arms for this. I don’t know if he just wants more stories and more people to read him and make people think he’s bringing up something really important. IT IS if proven right. But he wrote conjecturally. He “thought” what Pep said is a confirmation. It is so wrong. Not only is it NOT a confirmation of anything, it is a response to a completely different question not related to Busi.

        He put an two unconnected things together so he can support his own theory. He wanted to hear that. He was looking for that, in fact. Argh.

      • Same here…dear Kari same here.. 🙁
        I’m just trying to focus on us progressing to the final and all the joy that would brink to gather some strength…
        For the first time ever I actually conteplated taking some pills to sleep through the match..but then I said what the heck I’m the fighter type.. 🙂

        Visca Barca!

  30. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    from Paul Hayward (The Guardian) twitter :

    Rumble of thunder here at Camp Nou. All the early Barcelona street chants are about Mourinho – and they’re not love songs.

    😈

  31. May 3, 2011

    FYI, everyone, I did Tweet about the Sid Lowe piece. I felt that his Guardian piece (link above) lacked balance, and made it sound as though EE was right, and we were harboring a racist. Was it intentional? Don’t think so. He’s a good journalist. But the simple inclusion of the quotes that indicated that Guardiola was aware of the severity of the offense and would indeed do something about it if it was found to be true, were omitted.

    To include them would have given the piece better balance. As it is, it’s 80% them saying Busquets is a racist, and 20% Guardiola saying “Well, players make mistakes, and it’s up to UEFA to punish them, blahblahblah,” which wasn’t all that was said.

    • Barcaleya
      May 3, 2011

      Kevin, I saw your tweets with Sid.

      Here’s the thing though – at that time, we haven’t yet figured out that when Pep said ““We are not proud when they make mistakes, but I know these players….etc”.” – it was in reference to Pedro grabbing his face!

      What Pep said in answer to what he would do if Busi was found guilty was “If proven guilty, we would take appropriate measures, but the players are honest.”

      So Sid made a very big mistake in saying that Pep technically confirmed the allegation re Busi because he admitted that players make mistakes. But that was in reference to Pedro! Not Busi.

      I tweeted him myself just now and told him to please double-check the interview. We know he wasn’t there. He probably just watched it on TV himself. Whatever. And for him not to even mention that there was widespread racial taunting of Alves in that game is complete bollocks. He’s lost his integrity on this one. He’s just looking for a big story. And a player like Busquets be damned. It’s such a grave allegation that I don’t like it being bandied around without real proof. His proof is his interpretation of what Pep said. And he’s even wrong about it.

    • May 3, 2011

      “Was it intentional? Don’t think so.”

      Debatable. But I won’t argue.

    • Barcaleya
      May 3, 2011

      Kevin and Ramzi – I’m copying Kari’s comment in another post:

      I got this from a friend who watched the press conference:

      “Pep was talking about the Pedro incident with regards to the quote “We are not proud when they make mistakes, but I know these players….etc”. He was asked by a lady who asked him what he thought about Pedro! grabbing his face. She outright called it pathetic and Pep said they weren’t proud but it’s in the past and he knows his players.”

      Apparently, it’s being mixed up with the Busi quote where he was asked what Barca would do if Busi was found guilty:

      “If proven guilty, we would take appropriate measures, but the players are honest.”

      This has been confirmed by several other posters here as we asked that they listen and review the Pep interview closely.

      IN SUM – Either Sid made a very big mistake in putting two unconnected things together to make up a really big story or he intentionally did this to come up with a story.

      I feel that in his mind, he wanted something like this. And in his haste to find proof – even if it were only his own interpretation of Pep’s words – he made the mistake of connecting the wrong answer to a question.

      • mei
        May 3, 2011

        isnt this the guy who works for real madrid tv #allihavetosay

  32. Alex
    May 3, 2011

    My cousin who lives in Barcelona is telling me there is a MAJOR storm on its way. Looks like the pitch will be WET!

    • blitzen
      May 3, 2011

      Oh no. If they end up having to postpone the game I will literally spontaneously combust from frustration.

      On the other hand, Wet!Xavi is off-the-charts hot. So there’s that to look forward to.

      • Pathetic fallacy, anyone? The weather is really trying to make this into a Shakespearean play with today’s match being the final showdown. It makes Ramzi’s post that much more epic.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 3, 2011

      at least with this storm, we don’t need to worry about watering the pitch… :roll:

  33. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    with this chaos in media, I don’t know if Busquets can maintain his focus and concentration on the field…

    he really needs to explain himself after this…
    if he did not say ‘mono’, then what did he say? he needs to clarify it…

    • mei
      May 3, 2011

      We have been over this. He could have said momo , which is quite different. Or even moumou. or mooooooooooooo for all I care right now , because anything definite will come out of him speaking up to the media AFTER the game.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 3, 2011

        yes, he just needs to clarify it, AFTER the game…

        with Sid Lowe published a false article about Pep ‘admitting’ his racism, now more people think he’s indeed a racist…

        a clarification is a must, imo…

    • Para
      May 3, 2011

      I really don’t want to derail this thread with the discussion of alleged comments, so I just wanted to say that SoccerMom has added to the discussion that was occurring on the original post re: this issue.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 3, 2011

        people above my comment discussed it too… just saying… 😛

        • Para
          May 3, 2011

          Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound like you were bringing it up! I just thought her point was valid and didn’t want to copy-paste, so I thought it would be more appropriate to refer to it instead. 🙂

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            May 3, 2011

            hehe… that’s okay, no hard feeling… 😉

  34. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    @BarcaTheOffside :

    We hear that Mourinho, who is suspended for this match, has decided to stay in his hotel and watch the match from there.

    While a UEFA representative was to make sure that Mourinho didn’t communicate with the RM staff in the stadium, from the hotel he can do it.

    fair play? 😆

    • mei
      May 3, 2011

      Well he changed nothing in his game when he was booted to the stands and saw his team get defeated. Im sure watching it from the restaurant bar will make it easier for him 😛

      • blitzen
        May 3, 2011

        Maybe he can try that world famous new drink, the manita. I hear it’s good! 😀

  35. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    @barcastuff :
    “Fire with Fire” of the Scissors Sisters was playing at Barcelona’s team bus when arriving #fcblive [via @edupolo]

    I’m not a fan of this song (I love Viva La Vida too much), but the title of the song is very much suit the atmosphere, no?
    Fire with Fire…

    • Alex
      May 3, 2011

      maybe not….., thought RAC1 said he was playing…. he should in m,y opinion

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 3, 2011

      no, he’s not…

      Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes
      Alves Mascherano Pique Puyol
      Xavi Busquets Iniesta
      Pedro Messi Villa

  36. aleph_null
    May 3, 2011

    Official lineup, via barcastuff

    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Alves Mascherano Pique Puyol – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa #fcblive

  37. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    EE line up:

    Casillas; Arbeloa, Carvalho, Albiol, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Lass, Di María, Özil, Cristiano; Higuaín.

    any thoughts?

    • vicsoc
      May 3, 2011

      Poor Benzema. He gives an interview with UEFA claiming they can win and defending the team and he doesn’t even get to start.

      On recent form I’m wondering what the hall Higuain is doing there. I’m still afraid of him though.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 3, 2011

        I thought we’re going to see Kaka in the line up…

        maybe Kaka, Benzema, Adebayor will be their supersubs…

    • Alex
      May 3, 2011

      RAC1 is reporting kaka is starting over Ozil

  38. nzm
    May 3, 2011

    HUGE thunderstorm rattling over Barcelona at the moment. The grass is nice and wet! 🙂

    • blitzen
      May 3, 2011

      LOL. Barcastuff just tweeted a pic of them watering the pitch. Guess it wasn’t necessary.

  39. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 3, 2011

    second try

    EE XI: Casillas, Arbeloa, Carvalho, Albiol, Marcelo, Lass, Xabi Alonso, Di María, Kaká, Cristiano and Higuaín.

    this line up is looks offensive…

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 3, 2011

      That lineup is a guaranteed win for Barca, Lots of midfield space. I have seen all three Iniesta, Xavi, and Messi drag Lass out of position, to fill that midfield space to bring in lots of goals.
      I don’t know what impact the rain will have on our play, but I assume the Barca players know what to do when the pitch is wet.
      At least the match is going to be an attacking affair, and not the attack vs. defence we saw in Madrid.

  40. Alex
    May 3, 2011

    DAMMIT, Rac1 is hinting at maybe the game being cancelled, it is apparently raining buckets, and the lights in the stadium have gone out……….

    o jeeees

    • nzm
      May 3, 2011

      Casillas and Valdes already onfield warming up with their trainers and back-up goalkeepers.

    • nzm
      May 3, 2011

      And it’s not raining that hard, right now, but a lot of lightning and thunder still around, although slowly moving out to sea.

      • Alex
        May 3, 2011

        I’m assuming you are there…………….LUCKY!

        • nzm
          May 3, 2011

          Alex – in Barcelona watching it on TV in our apartment, but not at Camp Nou. My nerves couldn’t take being there tonight!

    • Josep
      May 3, 2011

      like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.

  41. Barcaleya
    May 3, 2011

    VISCA BARCA!!!!!

    I love you, team!

    Let’s go show them what we’re made of. Show the world the beautiful football we are capable of.

  42. blitzen
    May 3, 2011

    Obligatory “Will there be a LiveBlog today?” post.

  43. Ryan
    May 3, 2011

    Fox Soccer Channel’s pregame show is lapping Mourinho’s rants up. Why won’t they talk about the actual tactics? 😛

  44. vicsoc
    May 3, 2011

    Obligatory “Liveblog just posted.” post.

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