Barca 2, Internacional 2 (4-2 pens), impressions post

Like Guardiola and Vilanova here, there wasn’t much to glean from this match, except for a bunch of impressions, and not even many of those. So I’ll be brief, and would love to know more of what everyone thought.

–Iniesta is better, which is scary for me to contemplate. He’s also quicker, or is it my imagination?

–Thiago and Iniesta are a magical combination, particularly with (for lack of better descriptives) Iniesta as Xavi and Thiago as Iniesta.

–Soriano has a shot to play himself into a spot with the club. Unfortunately, he shot himself in the foot. Decidedly mediocre.

–Jonathan Dos Santos looked a bit more mature, but still not ready for prime time.

–I actually liked what Cuenca was doing. I think he’s one for the future.

–Ditto for Riverola, who had a very nice early stand-up tackle that lived up to the No. 14

Sighhhh. Poor Jeffren. He didn’t have a bad match, and looked about as controlled as I have ever seen him. Then, the penalty.

–Thiago still plays too quickly, and too casually with the ball. That will bite him in the butt against real clubs. But he’s such a dynamic player. He accelerates our rate of play.

–Fontas looked all man-style out there today.

–Captain Abidal! Nice clearance off the line, too.

–Valdes showed why he’s the No. 1.

–Pinto showed why he’s the No. 2. Admittedly he was victimized by the Killer Bs, but still. He hurt himself.

–Keita is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

Everything else kinda blended together for me. The first half was very clean and (mostly) clinical, the second was a mess, mostly. But that’s what pre-season is for, right?

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


  1. culeZim
    July 26, 2011

    there z been a lack of activity this here blog for some time, then three posts in one day (one night from my time zone). a bit of real football works wonders.
    i didnt watch the match. just happy Pep is giving everyone a chance to show what they are made of.

  2. barca96
    July 27, 2011

    I must say, of all players, I was really really disappointed with Pedro. I never critisized him before. In fact, he looked poor at the end of last season already but I still kept quiet.

    I thought that Alexis will be behind Pedro, be the new Pedro. Pedro really needs to up his game. Luckily this is just his first game and he’s still not really fit.

    • The__K__Man
      July 27, 2011

      He was tired. The whole team was tired and wasn’t performing very well. Hel also had an injury mid-season. Still he banged in 2 important goals against Madrid and United. I wouldn’t worry about Pedro.

    • Jnice
      July 27, 2011

      Considering Pedro didn’t play against Hajduk, I doubt he’s fully fit. Nevertheless, I thought he looked a bit disinterested.

  3. hammeronmessi
    July 27, 2011

    So soriano was mediocore.was he bojanlike mediocore?

    can anybody say how espinosa played?for h many minutes?heard he is something special In the youth team.thays why

    • Jnice
      July 27, 2011

      Soriano’ finishing was poor, but his movement was decent. If he was sharper, he would’ve had at least one goal, maybe two.

      Espinosa played for about 30 minutes. He looked good to me. Lost one ball, but besides that he didn’t really shy away from the play, made some clever passes and switched the play beautifully a couple of times.

      I’m disappointed he’s not going to be on the tour in the US. Maybe it’s because he just came off injury (it’s probably because he’s young), but regardless, he should be there over Carmona at the very least. Carmona had an assist, great, but his first touch is the poorest I’ve seen in awhile. Pep got agitated with him several times because of his giveaways. Poor player.

    • hammeronmessi
      July 27, 2011

      Thanks.u r a timesaver.

      cuenca?never heard of him.

      regarding carmonas first touch,think he was nervous,though i didnt watch the match.a bad first touch frm a barca youth,thats unheard of and unthinkable

    • Jnice
      July 27, 2011

      He probably was nervous, but he always plays like that for Barça B. Along with Saul and Benja, Carmona is on my “Not even close to good enough for Barça B” list.

    • nzm
      July 27, 2011

      Link doesn’t work for me, Jnice?

      Each time they mentioned Cuenca’s name, it sounded like they were were saying, “Cueca”. I kept thinking that Puyi’s dead sheep was on the field. 🙂

      Did you see Puyol hobble out of the tunnel with his knee in huge bandages? 🙁 I’m secretly praying that this was just a ruse to psyche Madrid into thinking that he’s too injured to play.

  4. July 27, 2011

    “–Iniesta is better, which is scary for me to contemplate. He’s also quicker, or is it my imagination?”

    I thought I was the only one having that feeling. He lloked as fast as Ronaldo at times after skipping past players. I think he can still become a bit more selfish. With Iniesta On Fire, Madrid beware

    • nzm
      July 27, 2011

      I think that he was just having some fun, passing to the younger players to see what they could do with the ball.

  5. Jnice
    July 27, 2011

    Gotta say, I hate when Keita plays DM. He usually never plays there for more than a few minutes (a couple of starts over the years), but I just don’t like the way he plays when he receives the ball. He’s usually too conservative and too scared to turn or pivot like Busi does. It affects the fluidity of the midfield. But, this is just pre-season, Pep is just tinkering with things.

    Speaking of tinkering, Riverola at right back? First time I’ve ever seen him there. He was fine, made a few good tackles, but wasn’t really tested. He’s a true CM, though, and I was disappointed he didn’t get to play there at all. I would’ve liked to have seen him instead of Keita with Iniesta and Thiago in front of him. That would’ve been smooth. That’s what pre-season is for, though, seeing what works, trying out different things, etc.

    Thiago and Iniesta bosses once again. I thought Cuenca was alright, I like the kid, but he can clearly do more. He definitely warmed up as the half wore on and perhaps should’ve had an assist if Soriano was a little sharper in front of goal. Apparently Pep really likes him and after two training sessions he was really impressed.

    Jeffren was way better than against Hadjuk, but still, he needs to rely on more than just that put it past ’em and run move. After the first few times, the Internacional defenders became hip to it.

    Fontas looked a little off the pace at first, but grew more confident and made some vital interceptions. Fontas-Busi as a partnership is as bad as Pique-Busi, though.

    Great finish by JDS for his goal and he wasn’t bad, but something still seems to be off with him. It takes him too long to set his feet and move the ball. He isn’t as fluid as he should be at this stage. It’s funny because when I saw him in 09, I loved the way he moved and played the ball. Now, it seems like he has regressed in that aspect.

    Last, but not least- Pinto. I thought his dribbling was funny at first, but now it’s extremely frustrating. He will continue to cost us goals if he keeps that nonsense up. Just clear the ball and give the team a chance to regroup. You’re not a midfielder.

  6. Huckleberry
    July 27, 2011

    According to the guardian, Barcelona managed to lower the net debt by 67M € with an annual loss of 9M €. How does that work?

    • nzm
      July 27, 2011

      Yup – we were just wondering that too! Creative accounting? 🙂

    • nzm
      July 27, 2011

      I’m going to be watching Swiss Ramble’s blog for the next few weeks – waiting for his interpretation of Barca’s financials. He’s provided some fantastic analysis in past posts.

    • Blau-Grenade
      July 27, 2011

      His blogs are amazing.

    • July 27, 2011

      Link, please?

  7. Olufestus
    July 27, 2011

    Pimto was poor,but his hair looked great,thats the most important…lol

  8. July 27, 2011

    Why I am always feeling that Iniesta can make these kids play better. I am looking to see Iniesta partnering Dos Santos tonight, just to see whether I have am right.

    The best moment of the match was Internacional’s second goal. Seeing Espinosa jumping with the goal scorer did make me laugh. I think that was the only time I laughed seeing barca concede a goal. Having said that the kid looked good, he shouldn’t have been asked to mark in the box.

  9. The__K__Man
    July 27, 2011 a piece of garbage of an article I came across..don’t even know why I’m sharing this!

    • Blau-Grenade
      July 27, 2011

      That’s a funny article. Loved the Terry joke.

  10. blitzen
    July 27, 2011

    Reposting in this thread since I got hectored again. Why you hate me so, Kxevin??? 😛

    So I did download the game and it was interesting, although definitely not a keeper. A few thoughts:

    – Iniesta has somehow managed to get even better. I don’t know how this is possible, but it is. I cannot wait to see him play with the full first team again.
    – Speaking of Thiago (weren’t we?), he has a really good connection with Iniesta. They were so smooth together. I want more of this, please.
    – Riverola doesn’t usually play as a RB, does he? He was surprisingly good there.
    – Afellay has gobs of talent, but needs to calm down a little and work on his first touch.
    – Soriano should have done better with the scoring chances dropped in his lap. If Villa had missed those, he would have been crucified in here.
    – Abidal is not only a LB and CB, he is also a GK now. Give the man what he wants so he can sign his contract, already! Legend.
    – Cuenca did not impress me at all. And I am irritated that I still don’t know who he is.
    – Pinto had a shocker. He needs to quit faffing about off his line and concentrate. Admittedly he had a shaky backline to deal with, but still. His hair looked great, though, and that’s what’s important.
    – Jeffren really did work hard (missed PK notwithstanding), and had a better game than Pedro. Pedro was in the game, wasn’t he? It was hard to tell.

    • mom4
      July 27, 2011

      Pinto needs his plait of power back. Those little braids are pulling his scalp causing loss of circulation thus causing him to think he’s a mid. Great guy to have around for PKs though.

  11. July 27, 2011

    New post up. See? I waited until someone posted after you, blitzen. Didn’t want to make it three in a row. 😀

    • blitzen
      July 27, 2011


  12. kinukinu
    July 27, 2011

    In addition to using these friendlies to test out the youngsters, the recent lineups proved a brilliant psychological play on Pep’s part. As a natural consequence of being on top, right now Barcelona is vulnerable to intense scrutiny as players, coaches, journalists, and haters will be looking for any signs that the great empire of Barcelona is entering its decline. If Barca lost or drew any one of these friendlies with its strongest squad, it would immediately open the door for a flurry of criticism, sensational journalism and psychological pressure. By fielding a squad that in no way resembles a league game lineup, Pep has taken away the opportunities for scrutiny of the A team while still giving him the chance to try a few things without the risk of exposing too much.

    Meanwhile, it seems that Mourinho is (shockingly!) taking the opposite approach–by fielding his strongest lineup against the likes of LA Galaxy’s and other weak teams, it seems he is trying create an exaggerated perception of RM’s ability to dominate.

    I will be at the game vs Man U on Saturday and while, for selfish reasons, I would like to see my favorites play, I am happy that Pep is being careful not to reveal his hand in the pre-season and giving the youngsters an opportunity to prove their worth without the pressure of league points on the line.

  13. Lev
    July 27, 2011

    It makes sense for Mou to play his strongest line-up. He still has to mold his team that only recently has come off of the assembly line.

    It makes equally sense for Pep to play youngsters. Our 1st squad is already molded (yet smooth as butter hehe) and it gives us the chance to integrate our youngsters and fringe players while at the same time take it easy with those who have already played a lot the last 2 seasons.

    • kinukinu
      July 27, 2011

      Of course your point is completely valid but I still think that for Pep to play the youngsters almost exclusively says something–most other teams are fielding squads much closer to real game squads, with a few tweaks. The player combinations Pep is using are not representative of a squad he would play in a more important match. He could be playing more 1st teamers with the kiddies to test their chemistry but it would put a lot more pressure on them to perform and potentially set them up for criticism. Instead, he is showing that even our B and C players can compete on a high level and still look like Barcelona. It’s a win-win situation because if Barca loses, it doesn’t really mean anything, but if they win, it just speaks to the wealth of young talent. It’s a smart psychological move to enter the season with even more promise without really revealing any weaknesses. (not that there are many) All I’m saying is that I appreciate Pep’s positive way of building team morale and confidence, which can be a huge factor in being able to deliver under pressure.

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