Catalan Derby LiveBlog: Barcelona vs Espanyol

We only need four points to win the title. Let’s take a huge step by crushing the Pericos like the insignificant rival team they are and will always be.

Barcelona line-up (official via barcastuff): Valdes – Alves Pique Mascherano Fontas – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa

Bench: Pinto, Bartra, Abidal, Keita, Thiago, Afellay, Jeffren

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. It’s going to start in ~5 minutes. That gives you guys a good 15 minutes to get approved and find links. After kickoff, it’ll be harder for you to get in. I’ll be writing, eating, liveblogging and watching the game at the same time. I fail at multitasking. Make the connection.

  2. Villa is damn awful,i fear against united.if we dont take our chances…

  3. One more point and the league is in our back. Good performance from the lads, energy saving, only thing again was poor finishing. Nice to see that Messi has always something on his sleeve to entertain the fans in the stands

  4. Congrats on the win. Somewhere in the world right now, Ronaldo has a smirk on his face because Messi didn’t score.

    I just wanted to wish all the moms on this board a happy mothers day! Especially to Soccermomof4 and SoMa! Hope your kids choose a better team than yours to support 😉

    1. lol Bassam you are a riot! My 4 year old is a fan of Barcelona already so obviously she has excellent taste :-p

    2. I really think that Crynaldos obsession to overtake Messi was one of the main problems of the EE. If he would be more interested in the success of his team than the pichichi race it would be more helpful.

    3. To be fair, Ronaldo’s team cant complain as he was amazing this season.

      I would take Messi over him any day, but that takes nothing away from him for being an excellent player.

    4. He is a phantastic goal scorer but his assist statistic is very disappointing, I think Messi had nearly double assists in all competition

    5. Continuing on what Ramzi said, you have to see the overall team. Last season it was Xavi dishing in assist after assist, this season it is Messi. For us, the job of dishing out assists has gone to Ozil (15 assists in the league) and Di Maria (12 assists in the league). Ronaldo i believe has 7 assists in the league. So as long as someone is dishing out the assists for the team, I’m a happy man.

      I think the debate of who is better was settled in the Clasico’s, with Messi going on top. None the less, its a pleasure to be able to see the best two players in the world at the moment.

    6. ^This (Ramzi’s comment)

      Although “amazing” is debatable and most of his goals have been tap ins and/or penalties. And the Pichichi race lost credibility when he was awarded a goal that was deflected off Pepe’s back 😀 #hater

    7. In any case, Messi will be the CL top scorer 3 years in a row, and that’s something TB won’t be taking away from him!

    8. Yeah. I think Messi is fairly happy to give the Pichichi to Ronaldo provided his team lifts the League and CL cups 😉

    9. Thanks, Bassam. BTW, The kids know better(except the one that likes Barca but likes Man U better. Sad case, really)!

      Somewhere in the world Messi is relaxed because WPotY is more important than Pichichi 😆 Just sayin’! Anyway, I think we were all relieved that Messi didn’t appear to be chasing the Pichichi and the theme of the day seemed to be spoonfeed Villa a goal(alas, it did not work).

    1. He did okay, Pep talked very positively about him in his press conf. after the game.

    2. He did very well considering he’s playing out of position. Made solid runs forward, though he wasn’t picked out often, showed good discipline to hold his position out wide rather than drift to the centre, and held his own on his flank. Got beat a couple of times though.

      And Pep had this to say (via barcastuff): Fontas played a great game, at a position he didn’t play before. Andreu did a very good job.

  5. Alves is perhaps the most annoying player to have on your team from a PR perspective..his diving is atrocious

    1. Yeah, but he is always fun. he makes the cutest faces and gestures. and his goal celebrations are just too funny.

    2. He really only had one dive at the beginning of the game from what I remember…

  6. Man where is everyone — we’re 1 point away from winning the League and no comments in forever.

    1. As pointed out, people are exhausted from the series. Besides, its Sunday night, I’m sure they’d rather be somewhere else..

      Also, @ Eklavya: Ha! Campeones!

    2. Haha Vj, the LB ended the with trivia scoresheet and I had to reopen the LB in another window, scroll down, only to find you’d gotten it *shakes head* 🙂

    3. Maybe they’re out watching the Lakers implode? Or perhaps Mothers Day celebrations? That’s what I’m doing anyway. 😀

    4. Well i’m more than happy, its just that this team makes success look so easy, winning is expected and losing is un-imaginable.
      On a side note, i think the Lakers are the EE of the NBA, even though Kobe is a barca fan, but still i dont like them, happy they r out.

    5. But it’s the only team with a Catalan player! …yeah, I’m not a big fan of the Lakers either, hehe.

    6. Oops, that shows how up to date I am. Last I remember he was still playing in Spain. 😆

    7. What about Marc Gasol on Memphis? My bro’s really into basketball so I end up casually watching some of the games. I’m neutral on pretty much every team. Lakers have Pau who used to play for Regal Barca and Kobe likes us, but I’m not going for them or anything and it looks like it’s gonna be a sweep, if it isn’t already. Chicago is the team I want to win, I guess. Derrick Rose is a G, and they haven’t won since the Jordan era or something like that. Underdogs/Black horses FTW!

      I like Durant too, but I don’t think Oklahoma’ll take it…

    8. Rose is probably the most exciting player to watch right now. His drives to the rim are crazy!

    9. I have a funny/embarrassing story starring Pau Gasol!
      I went to see Chicago(the musical) at the Pantages Theatre like a year and a half ago and there was this extremely tall man sitting in front of me obstructing my view and speaking in a different language to his short girlfriend somewhat loudly. I got annoyed and told them to shut up(all I got was a sideways look from him). During intermission when a bunch of people were surrounding him asking for autographs I learned it was Pau Gasol lol. I felt silly afterwards 😀

    10. Ha! I did the same thing to Tarantino at the New Beverly. I didn’t feel silly afterward. He has a big ass head. How dare he sit in front of me. 😛

      What’s everybody got against my Lakers? Miami is the EE of the NBA.

  7. Not much to say about his game. Comfortable win, with a great goal by Iniesta. Sad that Messi (& Villa) couldn’t score =(, but only 1 more point to wrap up the title! =)

  8. Good win. We could have been better, but we didn’t really have to be. VV made some key saves, Osvaldo was really the only opposing player we had to worry about. Iniesta was the MOTM.

    One more point!

  9. Word on the internets (from “referee sources”) is that the most likely referee for the Wembley final is Nicola Rizzoli. An Italian architect, he reffed last year’s Europa League final between Atletico Madrid and Fullham. He also reffed the second leg of Bayern-ManU last year, sending off a ManU player and overseeing Bayern’s comeback. Not confirmed yet, of course.

    1. wasn’t that the same referee who reffed 1st leg in Emirates?

      the one who didn’t give us two clear penalties…

  10. it’s very quiet here… this is very unusual…
    maybe hyperclasicoitis is indeed exist… 😆

    people talk about pichichi, but Messi himself didn’t seem obsessed with it…
    he really worked hard for the team, not individual trophy…

    Villa’s miss could be one of the best team goals ever…
    God, his miss were so annoying… it started from a brilliant team effort!

  11. So, I was just thinking, Messi will be only the second player ever to win 3 straight Balon de oro / FIFA POTY (Platini did it). And he has to be the odds on favorite for a 4 the straight barring injury. All by the age of 24!!!!! Think of the crazy pressure the Argentina FA has going into Brazil 2014, the tournament that may seal his status as the greatest of all time.

    1. I’m not a fan of Argentina or Brazil, in fact, I was more into Brazil than Argentina…
      but this year I’m gonna support Argentina, for our little magician…

      Messi said he asked Santa Claus a Copa America as Christmas Gift…
      that was too cute… :mrgreen:

      doesn’t matter if Thong Boy get the pichichi, Messi will get FIFA Ballon d’Or again… 8)

    2. No our beloved pulgita must win that pichichi! I want to keep seeing TB frustrated 😀

      I’m sure Messi’s gift will be granted..Argentina is back on track thanks to Batista’s awesome coaching skills. Whatever Maradona un-did during his disasterous time as a coach, Batista has fixed it.

  12. 28th shaping up to be one of the most epic Champions League finals ever.

    Any thoughts on lineups or tactics? I don’t know much about their midfield other than Giggs (Carrick, Valencia, Fletcher), and seems like that will be the key to the match.

  13. Also, is it just me or has Iniesta been so good offensivly this year, it is not unfathomable to toss him at LW every once in a while again…..I know I know….. But if Cesc comes in, you are gonna see it happen pretty often.

    Messi would be the only for sure starter up front next year if we brought back the chosen one.

    LW: Villa, Iniesta
    False 9: Messi
    RW: Pedro, Affely

    MID: Xavi, Iniesta/Cesc, Busi/Masch

    Defense: We know our starting 4 but we are def bringing in reinforcments

    Bench:Thiago/ Bojan/ Adraino/ Kieta and those above not starting.

    I dont think we need cesc but I feel like RoSELL wants to make a splash, and bump up that Catalan pride shit. I will say one thing, he is so versitile, he could feasibly float at 2-3 positions, and play near starter minutes.

    1. We can’t afford both Sanchez/Rossi and Cesc. Who do we need more, someone who can fill in for Xavi in case he is injured or more backup for our forward line?

    2. I guess ideally we want to be able to play in 2 ways. One, the preferred way, is the Xavi/Busi/Ini way of complete dominance over midfield and tiki-takaing the opponent to death. The Xavi/Iniesta/Busi midfield is absolutely crucial for this gameplan and any injury to these three players means our Plan A is effectively neutered. This is where Febregas would be a great transfer — someone who can take over for either of these roles. Especially Busi/Iniesta, and even Xavi hopefully if needed.

      But that leaves us with the same problem we have this year — we have no plan B. It’s tiki-taka or death and smart money says that in a season where you’re playing 60 odd games, you have to have a plan B.

      So what’s better, a potential neutered Plan A along side a solid Plan B or a solid Plan A all the way? I personally go for a potentially neutered Plan A and a solid Plan B because it makes us more unpredictable and harder to strategise against. Mourinho wants to deploy his destroyers in breaking up our midfield? Fuck it we’ll hoof the ball to our tall centre forward (or something along that line). Xavi, Iniesta, Afellay, and even Pique on his day, have killer crossing abilities. I think with the way EE is evolving, we do need to have an alternative game-plan for the coming season.


    3. Agreed! We need some versatility in our game plan.

      Defense wise I feel unsure because of the Puyol situation although Masch has been more than pulling his weight but its not his natural position so a replacement is necessary. Milito and Maxwell are done, whatever they had to offer is over and done with. Fontas is still green but so far so good.

      As far as Cesc goes, he can sit tight at Arsenal for another season until Barcelona has the sufficient funds to buy him unless he’s so willing to come back that he’ll pitch in for his own transfer fee lol.
      In the midfield Keita and Afellay are good options to change things around a bit.
      The forwards/strikers are the issue right now. Bojan sometimes feels and looks like a lost cause when compared to his early glory days. Villa is in some sort of Fernando Torres-esque rut and so is Pedro. They may work hard as many have pointed out but nothing results from it.
      Basically a little bit of everything would be wonderful right now but Barca is broke as a joke so its not like we’ll be acquiring world class players.

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