Copa America 2011: Argentina draws first match, I discuss how to fix it.

So I was watching the match with my brother yesterday because he has a 50” plasma and I don’t. Below is a basic transcription of our conversation during the game.

Brother: Man, Argentina are terrible.

Me: [cringes after another defensive ‘play’] Yeah. I know.

Brother: And it’s not like a ‘oh, their defense is sh*t’ terrible; they are collectively crap. And for a team that has Messi on it, that takes some doing.

Me: [cringes after another DiveMaria dive] Yeah. I know.

Brother: This is just like the Germany game, ain’t it? A bunch are attacking, and the rest are sitting back. Messi trying to link them together while also dribbling past x players and trying to score. Argentina ain’t gonna win shiznit if they keep this up.

Me: [cringes at the awfulness of it all] Yeah. I know.

Brother: You seem to know a lot of things. Care to share some of the knowledge? How exactly are Argentina gonna fix…[waves to screen] that?

Me: It’s simple, really. Just a case of the wrong tactics. They need to change their formation to a 1-2-7. [calmly sips drink]

Brother: To a what?

Me: A 1-2-7. Well, a 1-2-X-6 would be ideal, but that might be a bridge too far.

Brother: And how, pray tell, will that work?

Me: Easy. Romero’s in goal because we can’t kidnap Buffon and force him to be a naturalized Argentine, so he will have to do. Also, he cut his hair, so he gets bonus points for that.

Mascherano forms the ‘1’ because really, who needs anyone else? He’ll slide tackle anyone who dares cross the halfway line, get all ball and leave a “sMasch was Here” on their calves to boot. Maybe snarl at them too.

Brother: [holds hand up] Whoa, wait a second. How can he get all ball while also leaving a mark?

Me: That’s the beauty of sMasch, bro. He gets it done. 8)

Banega and Pastore form the ‘2’ in the formation. They feed the seven forwards up top.

Brother: What about Cambiasso? Isn’t he, uh, one of the best DMs in the world? I mean, he does play for Inter and I’ve never really heard of Pastore.

Me: Hlebbed Pastore* takes a seat on the bench. We don’t need defensive midfielders, remember? That’s what sMasch is for. Pastore does whatever Hlebbed Pastore was attempting to do about a million times better.

Moving on to the forwards, Dive Maria will run towards the byline and fall. Lavezzi will hit the ball in front of him, chase after it, fail at whatever crosshot he attempts, and snarl at the referee for doing something to the ball’s trajectory. Tevez will pass to himself, lay an Apache smackdown on all defenders that come near him, before letting out a beastial roar, ripping off his jersey to reveal an “I Love Boca y Argentina” tattoo on his chest.

The crowd goes wild.

Aguero takes on defender after defender mano-a-mano before smoking a que golazo carajo past the helpless keeper. Higuian is there to tap in whatever doesn’t get done by someone else.

Diego Milito is there just because. We have seven forwards, yo. And we can so play them all.

Brother: …Okaaay. What about Messi?

Me: [blank look] Who?

Brother: [raises eyebrow] Err, Lionel Messi. The Messi you’re always fawning over?

Me: [snaps fingers ] Ohhhh. You mean XavIniestaLeo Carles Pique of Dahveed Rodriguez. He plays three positions at the same time but can also help Mascherano defend when needed. When we need width, he’s there. When we need someone to dribble, he’s there. When we need a goal, he’s there. When we need someone to fix something someone else messes up, he’s there.

XavIniestaLeo would have been the X in the 1-2-X-6, because you can’t really label him a number, but I figured Pastore and Banega would struggle a bit if someone was doing everything before them, so he’ll just have to settle being another forward.

Brother: …..

Me: Besides, if XavIniestaLeo plays behind the forwards, we wouldn’t need any more players because he’d do everything. I don’t think we’re allowed to field a team of 7 players. Well, eight, because I think I’d play Romero just because.

With this lineup, the Copa America would be Argentina! Argentina! Argentina!‘s.

How could it possibly fail?


*Credit: Ramzi for this wonderful term. Perfectly describes Cambiasso’s weird arse role. I’m calling him that from now on.

For those who want to see it, Messi vs Bolivia by the indomitable allasFCB2:

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Yo, this Mexico u-22 is pretty boss for a team that had EIGHT players suspended last minute.

    Gio, oh, what could have been…


      Go-freakin’-lazo by Vidal! Who played in the U-20 WC in 2007!

      He Puyol’d the hell out of that ball.

  2. So its 2-1 Chile at the 81st minute and though Alexis has not been having a great game their is a lot to like about him.

    I did not expect too much because the first game of every tourney is very hard to gauge because the players are nervous and most teams come out not to lose rather than to win. Which is why I think the opening games in each group have been so poor.

    First I as Jnice has said more than once. The pressure he puts on teams when he does not have the ball is tremendous. In this game alone he recovered balls high up the pitch just from pure pressure and tenacity. This will be something very useful as our entire front line has to pressure.

    Second even though he is quite small he is also very strong and he uses his center of gravity quite well.

    Third his first touch is very good to good.

    His passing is very acurate.

    He is fast.

    And he can more often than not get passed his man.

    Now this Mexico team is definitely not the best team to rate anyone against.But even so there were many positives in his game.

    He also had some instances where he lacked concentration, became desperate made some bad decisions. Their were a few occasions where I felt he should have passed it to someone in a better position instead of taking the shot and there was other times where he should have shot instead of making an unnecessary pass. Also his first chance at goal where he missed was unforgivable. He needs to put those into the back of the net.

    1. Yep.

      He plays out wide for Chile, so it’s nice to get to see him there rather than in the centre where he plays for Udinese.

  3. FT 2-1 Chile. Best game of the Copa America by far. (I’ve only seen a handful).

    Chile are so nice, but I’m still going with Argentina. If I wasn’t…

    If you watch this game, you’ll get an idea of how Sanchez will link up with Dani (sub him for Isla in your mind). His workrate is incredible as well. He’s been taking his Pedro!! pills today, it seems. I also like how he maintains discipline out wide, resisting the urge to drift central. Some very nice passes as well.

    A misgiving is his tendency to try to dribble his way out of a mess rather than side foot a pass to a teammate, but he’ll learn. And then there’s the finishing. But the upside’s huge.

    We want him for 26 + 11m variables? Make it 20m + 6m and we have a deal…

  4. I love Fontas, I see him as a Pique type defender (positioning on the ball & Ability to bring the ball forward) and Busi (calmness on the ball, cool under pressure).

    1. I saw that earlier and I also just saw Sport portraying Wenger as the evil traitor. 😀

      I said the same thing to someone on twitter, it’s just like last summer. Wenger and Cesc will have another talk, Cesc will be too afraid to take a stronger stance and poof, he stays.

      Looks like I may win my bets….

    2. Oh, Sport. 😆

      Still, he might have learned from last year and say, “no, this time I really want…to….yes. Yes, I do love Arsenal but…fine. Okay. I’ll stay.”

      The convo will take approx. 5 min. longer.

    3. The most ridiculous aspect of this whole transfer saga is how Arsenal fans still believe that Fabregas has shown exemplary character throughout this whole thing. Cesc’s behavior has been nothing short of irresponsible and immature. He is primarily to blame for most of the sickening drama surrounding this ordeal. He could have put the kibosh on all the rumors by coming out like an adult and making some clear god-damned statements. Except his behavior can be summed up thusly:

      1) Tell friends and family that I want to move to Barcelona. Father/friends/teammates (both Spanish and Arsenal) “Cesc wants to go back home to Barcelona.”
      2) Tell British press that I am happy at Arsenal. “I owe so much to Wenger and this club.”
      3) Avoid making a firm decision either way. “Gee I hope everyone still loves meeeeeee.”

      It’s obvious he wants to appease Gunners, and he’s been apparently quite successful in avoiding seeming as two-faced as he actually has been over the last few summers. You’re a grown ass man, Cesc Fabregas, and if you do indeed transfer to Barcelona, you better start acting like it, Legos notwithstanding.

  5. Chile is an exciting team. I had fun watching their game tonight. It was their midfield play, and work rate that was amazing. They played like a complete team with every player pitching in. Definitely not impressed by Sanchez, especially for the amount that is being mentioned for his transfer.

  6. I really hope people aren’t going to jump to quick impressions on Sanchez based on a sample size of 1 match where he had a bad miss.

    He’s 22. Not 28. His game is far from complete.

    Right now he is not a pure goal scorer. Cule’s should not expect that. His strength is the array of physical and technical skills he has both offensively and defensively. He’s a wonderful creative player – but he’s not a dead on finisher right now.

    Pep is wagering that Sanchez is going to grow into that goal scoring role as he matures. He’s gambling that he’s going to get a player with tremendous physical talent, high work rate, technical talent and creative vision on the pitch who will ultimately become a strong goal scorer as well.

    But Sanchez is not a finished product by any means. And if he does come he’s going to have a major adjustment period this season. It’ll be good for him to come off the bench and integrate in a controlled fashion.

    Another point I keep seeing around the internet is about Sanchez’s position – central vs. wide.

    It is true that he really blossomed playing centrally behind Natale in the second half of the season.

    But just because messi is here doesn’t mean that Sanchez will be forced to stay out wide all the time.

    Barca does not play traditional wingers in any way. Sanchez is going to pinch in as it is to make room for Dani on the overlap.

    And on top of that he is going to likely play a right-center role. He will spend a significant time in the center of the pitch as a point of reference to link up with when Messi drops deep.

    If you want to make a big deal about one game Sanchez has played I suggest you take a look at the game he played against Lazio at the end of the season. It was a huge game because Udinese’s spot in the CL was up for grabs. That game demonstrated Sanchez’s game very well.

  7. One other thing on Sanchez’s miss – it was clearly a poor finish.

    But on that play look at how he timed that run. And then look at the separation he got from the defender as he just ran right by him through the channel. He burned through the backline with his pace.

    Barca don’t have a forward who can do that right now.

    Combine that kind of pace running the channels with Messi’s ability to thread diagonal through balls from deep… It has a great deal of promise.

    If he comes Pep is making another wager to drive Barca to another level of greatness rather than trying to fit a more immediate need.

    1. Sanchez does have good pace. He is able to exploit his pace when he finds room to run. That is clearly his strong point.
      Let us see how it all pans out. Barca still have to officially sign him.

  8. I can’t believe this cesc saga…I seriously can’t…The thing to ponder is :Is he so important/ do we so desperately need him, that an extremely successful club (currently arguably the best) like Barca, season after season pursue him (with enormous amounts of money) earning the wrath/annoyance of both fans of both clubs involved, which might tarnish the club’s image in the long run…I have heard people say a club is greater than any player, but…

  9. I’m over Fabregas! Sanchez and Aguero are the people we need to get our claws into 😀

    This Fabregas saga needs to come to a close. IMO if he doesn’t come this summer then FORGET HIM for good. This kid obviously lacks the cajones, he must be delusional if he thinks everything will sort itself out without him lifting a finger. He doesn’t want to piss anyone off by putting in a transfer request or holding a press conference and announcing to the world that he wants to go back home but surprise surprise he’s pissing people off anyways. Put your big boy pants on Cesc, be a man and admit what it is that you wan’t or just shut up. Either way if this kid isn’t doing his part, I don’t see why we should chase after him. We’ve got Thiago, the heir apparent to the Xavi throne anyways!

    Something totally not Barcelona related but I just had to ask for peoples opinion…I’ve read on various Spanish sites that the useless one is supposedly going to take the captaincy away from Casillas. I’m in no way a EE fan but am a great admirer of Iker….its kind of an insult to that holy madridismo isn’t it? Taking away the captains armband from the one player who came from the cantera and wasn’t sold to buy a superstar. EE has a really messed up way of treating the greats…look at how they treated Del Bosque…and the way Guti and Raul left(more like forced to leave with a foot kicking ’em through the door), without even being able to give the fans a goodbye..I’m ALMOST embarrassed for EE and their minions.

    1. the useless one

      Who do you mean is getting it? Cristiano is the only one I can think of getting the arm band but he wasn’t even the vice-captain wasn’t he?

    2. I see Ramos as a much much much likelier captain for EE than Ronaldo. He’s been a vice-captain for years now and he’s one of the longest-serving members in the team. Ronaldo is their star, not their captain. Ramos or maybe even Alonso I see as likelier a choice for them than Ronaldo.

      Of course I personally don’t think they’ll take the captaincy from Iker. I really doubt it. It would not go over well with them at all.

    3. Xabi Alonso would be a better bet, Ramos is too hotheaded and, lets face it, dumb to be a captain.

    4. I don’t believe that story about Mou taking the captaincy away from Casillas. He may prefer to have a field player wear the armband, but he’s not stupid enough to do something like that. It would be a public relations disaster. The fans would turn against him. Casillas is THE symbol of RM now in the way Raul used to be.

    5. Just so you know, the word you’re thinking of is “cojones.” Unless you think Cesc lacks furniture rather than manly anatomy. 🙂

    6. lol I should have just typed balls! I had one too many celebrating the 4th yesterday:-D

  10. I have asked over on twitter and I want to ask here as well since blogs do allow more collaborate answers..
    So what do we do if Arsenal+Udineze stand firm? Do we do the same and make a point while losing our prime transfer targets or do we pay up??

    1. I would just pay up to give us more chances to get another CL. In the summer of 2009 we didn’t really make good additions and we paid the price for it, CL-wise.

      Cesc and Sanchez could make a great difference.

    2. If thats the case, if you are to go over budget to buy these players then we are taking a big risk there.

      In my opinion, its best we weigh up the risk of paying over budget for a player or risk buying an alternative player who is less desirable and has less certainty.

      Either way we are taking a risk, whether it pays off or not is up to the team, Pep and staff.

  11. Pay up. We earned over €100million apparently just by winning the Champions League & that was not included in the budget at the start of the season.

    1. I don’t believe that. Rosell is doing some creative accounting to make us seem faaaar more in the red than we actually are. The we made a loss from winning the CL cos of the bonuses we had to give out I do not believe that not one bit, it’s just an excuse to not have to account for ‘but won’t that influx make the current debt not as oh so horrible as before so we dont have to cut costs everywhere else’ questions.

      I’m not saying that out of blind optimism. See, Rosell and co made a promise that Barcelona would be debt-free, the most financially healthy club in the world and able to make 100mil transfers if they wished in years. Of course that is exaggerated, but a lot of his entire point depends on that he will get us in the black and sustainably so.

      And with our outlay and transfer spending and wages and everything, there is no way in hell our revenue is going to increase so radically and so enormously, that the cutting costs on toner is going to cut our costs so hugely, that we’re going to go from the oh-noes mountains and mountains of debt to rude health in a couple of years or even four years. It’s impossible. Our financial situation is definitely much much better than they let on. They’re bullshitting to look like heroes who pulled off a literal miracle job when it’s actually probably more like just some steady cuts and our increasing revenue due to our huge recent success and enormous increased exposure eventually and soon making us sustainable.

      Clubs that are actually in a pinch are the ones making broke-ass signings, like United in the past couple summers, Liverpool before the new owners, or Milan until last year or many other big European clubs. They’re huge, massive clubs. We have a 50mil transfer kitty because we have money, period. And it’s not because of our socio system or Spain propping us up because we’re one of the big two, because even some years back we actually didn’t have a good financial situation so we made much less costly signings regularly than say Madrid at the same time period.

  12. Sid Lowe is reporting that Coentrao is snapped up by Madrid. I guess he will mainly play as left back and Marcelo most probably move up to compete with Di Maria as winger in 4-2-3-1 formation. I think its a smart signing.

    So EE has gotten stronger in two of the positions where it was weak last year. God forbid Cronaldo actually starts to pass to his team mates and they can even challange us.

    I do not like EE and hate Mou but have to say that they have played the transfer market well. As against the protracted sagas in which we have been involved in.

    1. They are weird. Marcelo was very good. Okay the argument that much of their season most likely counts on their games head-to-head against us especially in CL and thus even making their LB spot that leeetle otherwise-unnecessary bit stronger is a good one.

      But who do they play? After such a good season for Marcelo does he become a benchwarmer now? Di Maria is much more dangerous as a forward than Marcelo and also has a high workrate, so does HE get benched? Does Coentrao play somewhere odd like right-back with Ramos moving to the middle? What about the problem of juggling Kaka, Di Maria, Oezil, Higuain, Benzema, Callejon, etc for three of four available forward spots (Ronaldo fixed in line-up)? Especially if they buy another big-money forward as is being said, then? Especially since the whole point of all these big-money signings is to beat the big boys since their current team can smash everyone else and against the big boys such as us they play a destroyer in midfield so that’ll be Di Maria, Oezil, Kaka, Higuain, Benzema, possible big-money forward etc all fighting for only two of three forward spots (Ronaldo still fixed starter)? Do they sell Kaka and one of Higuain or Benzema, which seems ridiculous considering Higuain’s history and Benzema’s form last season? What about Sahin? Even without any anti-Madrid bias that team seems like a massive bloated mess right now unless a LOT of people are sold.

    2. I see Ramos as definitely moving to the middle. Mou already played him there a bit last season. I don’t think it is his best position, mind you, but I don’t see how else they can all fit into the team.

      Pretty sure Kaka is on his way out. Too much competition for his position, and he hasn’t impressed since he came back from his injury.

  13. Benfica confirm agreement in principle with Real Madrid for Coentrao.

    1. some other sources say its 30 mil but Benfica will pay 10 for Garay so its actually 20… If thats the truth then benfica continues to be giving money in madrid all the time..after the 7 mil for a castilla CF that they immediately shipped to Bolton on loan…now the are willing to give 10 mil for injury plagued Garay?

  14. Paul Scholes on Barcelona:

    Barcelona exert something of a monopoly on brilliance and Scholes was brutally frank about the disappointment of United’s defeat in the Champions League final to the Spaniards in May. “It was bad. We felt we were a million miles away from them. Bridging the gap with Barcelona is definitely the manager’s biggest challenge now.

    “The biggest thing about Barcelona players is their unselfishness. Messi is the one who scores 50 goals a year but, among the group, he is not the big star. They are just an unselfish team in which not one of them is out for glory.”

    From the Guardian.

  15. Tim Stannard: Slow news month at the Camp Nou. Only story of money changing hands and a Barça player involves Jonathan dos Santos. 😆

    Seriously, though, I don’t know why everyone is freaking out that we haven’t signed anyone yet. It’s only the beginning of July, there is plenty of time left. Right now the club seems to be tying up loose ends with current players (has Abidal signed his renewal yet, btw?). Pedro, Thiago, Fontas, all nailed down. Roma deal for Bojan almost done. Jeffren’s situation under discussion.

    Yes, RM has jumped into the transfer market with both feet, but as outerspaced mentioned above, that team currently looks like a bloated mess. Out of their 5 transfers, only Nuri Sahin and Coentrao are really top quality players. Neither of whom we were interested in. Barça has identified a few key transfer targets and is working steadily to make them happen. Rosell has made it clear that he is not going to just throw money around. You may not agree with his negotiating style, but at least he hasn’t wasted money on players who were never likely to be good enough for the team in the first place (Henrique, Keirrison).

    Be patient. I expect we will have some concrete news by the end of this week.

  16. Let ’em buy anyone the want to buy,and play the 4:3:3 against the malagas,getafe e.t.c,and when they meet us,all this KAKA,SAHIN,CONTREAO,HIGUAIN will all be benched in favour of the ARBELOAS AND PEPES’ in mou’s favourite 6:3:1 formation .

    1. Way too harsh imo.
      If galliani is responsible for milans current team , I wouldnt say thats a job well done no matter how well some deals have gone because of him.

    2. He knows how to get deals done. I’m not judging the quality of their players, just saying that when he is told to go and get a deal done, he does.

      And it’s not harsh at all. Our guys aren’t good negotiators. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

    3. I dont really think it works that way, thats what the “harsh” tag is there about.
      Galliani,isnt solely the negotiator ,thats just one part of his job description.
      His overall responsibility is the final outlook of the squad. Thats what he should be judged upon , me thinks.
      If you got yourself a couple of great deals,some so so and a couple of bad ones(for example papastathopoulos 14million-5overall appearances) and still find yourself with an aging and not particularly sparkling squad, well the “being a good negotiator” attribute has gone obsolete.

    4. I would say that our two biggest transfer fiascos of the last few years (Ibra/Eto’o and Chiggy) were more due to the nasty nature of the Laporta/Rosell transition than poor negotiators.

    5. I agree. You can’t make any kind of declarations about Rosell’s negotiation skills or lack thereof when no one has actually been signed yet and we have no details on any deals. Based on last season (Adriano, Mascherano, Afellay), he did pretty well.

      I hate that I’m defending Rosell, but have you considered that the protracted nature of the negotiations for, say, Sanchez, may actually be a good thing? Laporta would have just come up with the cash. Rosell is not going to do that and is looking at alternative ways to satisfy all concerned parties. Just because it’s not happening fast enough for the people in here doesn’t mean he’s not doing a good job.

    6. If Rosell can get Sanchez and Cesc for the kind of money we have been rumored to have offered then I would say he did a good Job.

    7. Didn’t say Laporta was a good negotiator, did I?

      Our negotiators have sucked for years.

      I stand by that.

    8. Oh, I’m not targeting your statement specifically. It’s just that added to the general whining around here about how we haven’t signed anyone yet, and all the other kids are getting the best toys and there won’t be any left for us is getting a bit much for me. I hate Silly Season!

  17. Official: 8 Juvenil A players are promoted to Barcelona B: S.Gomez, Oriol, Dalmau, Balliu, Gustavo, Espinosa, Rafa, Deulofeu #fcblive

    Great news!!!!!! Especially Rafinha, Espinosa and Deulofeu. 😀

  18. I just can not imagine that the club would be prepared to let Bojan and Jeffren leave if we have not somebody in the bag. It would not be stupid, it would be downright criminal if that would be the case.

  19. If we are having this much trouble finding a buyer for Soriano, who had an excellent season, we are never going to offload an injured Hleb.

    1. and Milito… with Fontas promoted one must assume that we have absolutely no interest in Milito.
      We could nearly field an entire team of players who we don’t want.
      Henrique, Milito, Maxwell (rumoured), Hleb, Keirrison, Jeffren & Bojan.
      If we could get money for each of those and bring in some reasonable players then I’d be happy.

      If anyone has looked at Marca today, they have a hilarious article about the profitability of Real Madrid’s youth academy in comparison to ours cause they use buy back clauses better. The flip side of that is 3 champions leagues in 6 seasons. I’ll keep our talent thank you

  20. Hleb will leave on a free. Bank on it. Problem children are also Gone Adriano and Keirrison. That’s some 60m that didn’t work out in any way, shape or form. We’ll be lucky to get 10m back from that trio.

    And when a big club buys, that’s a risk. We can’t really afford to speculate as Udinese can. If we had the kind of season that they were giddy over (4th, Champions League qualification), we’re looking for a new coach and selling players, because something clearly sucks. Even second place isn’t good enough. The mandate is silver.

    For me, and those who follow me on Twitter, my contention is that the market can only do two things:

    –Get more expensive
    –Get depleted

    There aren’t that many players that can fit into our system, and have talent sufficient to actually help the club. Players that want to move are thinking about it now, and making choices. They have to.

    Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes, it must be said. For all we know, at this same time tomorrow we might have bought Sanchez, Fabregas and two defenders. Who knows?

    But prima facie, we are chasing two players, and all of our eggs are in one basket (well, two). If one or both (yes, that’s a reality) deals don’t pan out, then what? “Um, sorry Mr. Rossi, can we talk now?”

    Again, prima facie, delaying doesn’t just cost time, it costs options. It also costs the kind of time that (potentially) a player can be spending to bond with his teammates and learn the system. It’s hard to play for us. The physical and mental demands are super intense.

    You see things such as clubs saying “We tried to buy Montoya, but he’s earmarked for the first team,” and you wonder. Because he isn’t ready right now.

    To my view, we need two separate lineups. That’s at least 22 players, and roll out a Copa lineup with, say, Keita, Pinto and 9 non-starters. Then see where the chips fall. That kind of an approach argues for depth. We’re deficient on the back line, and in the attack. If we believe anything about what we read, we’re only addressing one of those two needs.

    Our club needs depth, complicated by the fact that it needs to be quality depth.

    I don’t presume to know whether RoSELL is a good negotiator, or if he is even involved in the process. I rather imagine it’s ZubiZa and Bartomeu, should things get that far. RoSELL probably comes in to deal jefe to jefe, with club presidents.

    But all we’ve done so far is sold Krkic, promoted Fontas and Thiago, renewed Pedro, lost Jose Angel because of dickering over a million or so. Logically, we have to be at work, trying to make signings, and not just the two names most often linked with us these days.

    And for me, even if we sign Fabregas AND Sanchez, it won’t be a good transfer season if we don’t sign at least one defender.

    The club had a very good transfer season last year, so it’s clear we can do it. As of right now, there are no Keirrisons or Hlebs. Let’s keep that qualitative track record going.

    1. I’d love a defensive signing but I don’t foresee one, especially if Pep sees Mascherano as CB next season.
      Alves & Montoya for right back
      Pique, Puyol, Masch & Fontas for CB
      Abidal & Adriano & potentially Maxwell for left back.

      Midfield isn’t bad either,
      Busquets & Keita at DM
      Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc and Thiago for the 2 attacking midfield positions.

      Up front then, Jeffren and Bojan are gone so
      Messi, Pedro, Villa, Afellay & Sanchez which, IMO isn’t enough.
      I don’t really see us signing anyone else though, which would mean that we are potentially short, unless we move Iniesta out wide on occasion which will create it’s own problems in midfield depth.

      If this is the case, I expect to see Deulofeu getting bench-time by March//April due to rest/injury/suspensions. I have big hopes for him but it wouldn’t be the first time that youth didn’t pan out.

    2. But prima facie, we are chasing two players, and all of our eggs are in one basket (well, two). If one or both (yes, that’s a reality) deals don’t pan out, then what? “Um, sorry Mr. Rossi, can we talk now?”

      exactly… Blitzen said above that general whining around here about how we haven’t signed anyone yet is too much for her…
      but there are reasons to whine…

      pre season is getting closer, delaying costs time and options…
      I really hope before pre season matches we already signed the players we NEED…

  21. I agree with Kxevin about the disadvantages of the drawn out negotiation process. One thing in particular that frustrates me is when it happens like this:

    1) We make it known that we no longer count on a player
    2) Everyone knows we want to offload the player so we get less money. This really hurt us with Ibra, Dinho, Eto’o etc. and will hurt us with people like Hleb and Milito
    3) Now we are without a player at a particular position
    4) Everyone knows we NEED a player at that position so we end up having to pay more.

    1. Well, thats one way of looking at it.
      Another one is that we mostly dont sell people that work in our system, as simple as that(as long as they want to stay with us too).
      People that are getting sold most times simply dont work out in the system, have little time on their contracts left and get paid too much.
      Ibra dinho and etoo ,the players that you mentioned all tick the above boxes.
      Dinho, in particular was a pretty good deal considering form,attitude and wages.

  22. If we couldn’t even cough up a measly 4m for a talent like Jose Angel, I’m not sure that indicates the club is putting defensive reinforcements high on their priority list.
    Too bad, since lack of depth could have caused us to lose the double this season.

    Might get lucky again. Or Fontas has a breakthrough season or something.

    1. Everything over the Fabregas saga has been discussed really, nothing really left to say, your opinion is yours and I assume there are many Arsenal fans sharing that opinion.

      The currect rumored bid from us seems to me like a bargain, but in all honesty ideally no player in the world should cost 35+ mil and that is the beauty of marketing and bargaining. The problem with Cesc is for ever the time he stays at Arsenal there is always going to be only one potential buyer (Barca). For that reason Arsenal may or may not ever get a better price than what Barcelona are offering now. As time goes by, the price is only going to go down.

      IMO 35mil is a potential win/win for both clubs in terms of the amount Arsenal can ‘really’ make selling Cesc, and what Barcelona are paying for a quality midfielder, compared to other players/clubs.

  23. Rather unrelated but I laughed so hard at this comment on a article about Brazilian Ronaldo saying Neymar has to go to Europe to become the best in the world, by ‘sexxxy blue’ from ‘port harcourt’:

    the boy looks a bar tender from Bolivia. he must must visit the babar and deforest his head before head to west euroupe

    Every. Single. Bit. Of that comment is so brilliant. A bartender. From Bolivia. Maybe Bolivian bartenders are known for their ridiculous hair. And deforest his head. Deforest. I keep reading that comment then thinking of his ridiculous hair then repeat. Oh my God.

  24. “Barcelona are an excellent team and have been in great form recently. However, Real Madrid have been chosen as the best club of the century by the football authorities. Therefore, Madrid are still the best club in the world,” Sahin was quoted as saying by AS.

    I love his logic XD

    1. What the hell is he supposed to say? “Barcelona, the rival club of the one I play for, is better than mine?” Fernando Gago tried to be honest and look what that got him.

  25. Barca are an attacking force of nature – we defend by retaining possession. Doing this we have won 3 European Cups in 6 years. We are the favourites to sign the best available attacking midfielder & forward in the world. We have secured the services of one of the most promising young midfielders in the world & have added the services of one of the most promising young defenders in the world.

    We don’t need to spend money on a defender – there is nothing to keep moaning about!

    1. Ditto. You echoed my sentiments. We have the core of Champions/Primera League winning team, intact, and that is a thing of beauty in itself.

  26. Being reported the Pablo Piatti is snapped up with Almeria. I really like that player so happy for him. In Valencia, he will be great. I think Valencia is preparing to let go Juan Mata and for me, it is smart decision. I think Piatti is a better player than Mata.

    1. I’m happy for him too, although I really wanted him for our Barça midget front line. 😛

  27. The first liga clasico to be on December 11 in madrid, right about when we should somewhere playing the CWC /facepalm

  28. So the new schedule for La Liga has apparently released and Barcelona starts away to Malaga, sandwiched between the second leg of the Spanish super cup against RM, and the UEFA Super Cup against Porto. Not an easy start.

    Other tasty fixtures in the first weekend (around August 22nd) include Betis vs Sevilla (I’ve missed those derbies), and RM vs Athletic.

    1. Yeah, barcastuff says we can view the whole league schedule at the rfef site but I can’t make heads or tails out of the very unfinished looking pdf.

      By the way, how cute is this pic of Thiago? Courtesy of barcastuff:
      Ya know what? My kids played soccer from the time they were 3 and it NEVER crossed my mind to put a goal INSIDE the house.

      Sign some people already, Barca! Hate Silly Season!

    2. This is why your kids don’t play for Barça. Lack of commitment on your part. 😀

    3. Silly me 🙂
      Maybe when I have grandkids I’ll let ’em do rondos in the dining room.

    1. Thanks,
      Whilst I was typing my rfef complaint, you solved my problem! My hero!

  29. We face Valencia,villareal and pathetico in the space of 6wkees, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!

    1. Though if you look at the results from last season

      Lost to: Hercules, Real Sociedad

      Drew with: Mallorca, Sporting Gijon, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Levante, Deportivo La Coruña

      It’s the less highly ranked teams that they usually drop points to.

      Same thing for Madrid, they beat Valencia, Villareal, Atletico, and Sevilla home and away, but lost their chance to challenge for La Liga by drawing at home to Depor and losing to Sporting.

    2. Thanks, I’d forgotten about that!

      Actually it’s really amazing to how much winning La Liga comes down to not dropping points against lower ranked teams.

      I think most of the times where Madrid dropped points was when Ronaldo was either injured or rested. They were very dependent on Ronaldo and Alonso, but their depth will certainly be much better next year.

      Barca dropped points mostly early in the season (due in part I suspect to tired World Cup players) in the usual February/March doldrums, and then late on when La Liga was won.

      Hopefully the team picks up some quality signings as there will be more even more games this year.

  30. I’m most worried about our opening game against Malaga, they’ve made a lot of key transfers this summer for both defence and attack. Its going to be a difficult task because we won’t be familiar with a completely changed Malaga side, plus with Pellegrini in charge they should be feared by many.

    I don’t like our early fixtures being very difficult and clustered, but the upside is that it keeps us focused and ready. As long as we don’t get games like Betis or Bilbao away early in the season, we shouldn’t have much to worry about. Gijon away will be a tricky task too they are the lucky ones getting both us and real madrid at home in the first half of the season, unlucky for Osasuna they have to vs both of us away.

    1. Same with me. Our early fixtures are are a bit tough. Im not worried about Malaga though. You can not buy a bunch of expensive players with no playing experience together and expect them to win(or even tie) against Barca.

      Looking at the EEs’ fixture list and imo they have a much easier schedule then us. At least we have home advantage for the classicos though.

    2. Countdown to Mourinho’s first complaint about the fixture list begins…NOW!

  31. i dont really fret about the order of playing against certain teams. we have to play them anyway.

    sport en emd reporting that Cesc is refusing to train with the team. Brit media says he has a hamstring injury. mmmmmm….

  32. Someone care to explain this:
    Alves: “I didn’t renew because of financial reasons. If it was for the money, I wouldn’t play at Barça now. I took everything into account.”


    1. Seems pretty clear to me. He is saying he could have gone to another team for more money. That’s no secret. He stayed because Barça offers him other things besides money—trophies, a great team, a great coach, a city where his family is happy.

    2. Thanks. For a moment there I thought he didn’t renew, due to financial reasons. Weird how that got in my head guess cules just need something to worry about 😆

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