CL Final Rematch: Barcelona vs Man Utd LiveBlog

Kickoff is at 7pm EST, LB starts 10-15 minutes before. Be here!

Barcelona line-up (official barcastuff via Vj in the comments): Valdes – DosSantos Busquets Fontas Abidal – Thiago Keita Iniesta – Pedro Villa Afellay

Man Utd lineup: DeGea – Rafael Vidic Evans Evra – Nani Cleverley Anderson Young – Rooney Welbeck

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Via @barcastuff
    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – DosSantos Busquets Fontas Abidal – Thiago Keita Iniesta – Pedro Villa Afellay #fcblive #tourfcb

  2. Via @barcastuff
    Line-up Man United: DeGea – Rafael Vidic Evans Evra – Nani Cleverley Anderson Young – Rooney Welbeck #fcblive #tourfcb

  3. I can’t believe it, its finally here, the moment we’ve all been waiting for….. the debut of the black away strip 😛

    oh and we also have that revenge match against Man utd.

    1. yer to us its not, but everyone keeps labeling it as a revenge match.

  4. What did we learn from this match?
    The B team should have another solid season and with a full team we’ll still be better than United but well done to them

  5. Thanks for the liveblog Kari! I didn’t get to say bye because my stream was still going when you guys all left 🙂

  6. Good game, both teams showed they wanted to win,

    Despite the result and the lack of chances our team created, our young/b team players showed that even under high intense situations they still are able to stick to the same system our senior squad play. OK we lacked pace at the back and our offside trap well didn’t work this time, but we played very good. Pep would be very happy about the b side players.

  7. Thiago! Holy crap! Fontas has also grown up very nicely, and Iniesta continues his brilliance. He is better this season, which just boggles my mind. His movement wasn’t the best in the first half, but when he became midfield boss (Thiago, that is), he was brilliant. And what a golazo!

    Busquets had an overall stinker, and the kids were delightful to watch, even though they were in headless chicken mode too much of the time.

    And yes, Villa and Pedro were having a race to the bottom. I think Villa won, just because Pedro was invisible for almost all of his time on the pitch.

    1. Pedro for me. At least Villa was doing something — in fact, he had a couple of nice passes here and there, and was tracking back. When Pedro wasn’t losing the ball and getting owned by Rafael and then his twin brother Fabio, he was invisible. Still, that’s what preseason is for — playing out all your kinks and rustiness. Not all that pretty to watch, but hey. We got Thiago and Iniesta to make it all better.

      Our kids are kickass. There was this spell that ended with a Thaigo shot over the bar that made me all giddy. It was freakin’ awesome.

  8. talk about Pep trying to bring Thiago slowly into the first team, The way Thiago keeps Wowing eveyone in every game makes Pep’s job oh so much harder.

    Fontas was very composed in defence and did a really good job dealing with some of the top attacking players in EPL. good job!

    I hope Afellay gets back into the game quickly, he surely adds more to our team.

    I really really like the way Cuenca cuts in from the wings, obviously he is far from first team action but he showed something. Balliu was very good too, he is super fast at full tilt.

    How about JDS? he has been very good this pre-season, played completely out of position and he is growing into it with every minute, I think he still has a decent chance to work his way into the first team, maybe not this season, but if hes patient and works hard theres nothing stopping him, Pep likes patient players and I could see Pep wanting to use him in the future.

  9. Guys, why did we lose the match?
    The match wasn’t broadcasted on my telly so I am downloading it now.

    But I read on barcastuff that Man U only started with 3 first teamers while we had 6 of them, yet we lost the match. Not that I am freaking out or anything but that stat gives me the impression that our players didn’t do all too well.

    Why on earth did Pep still continue playing Busi at CB?
    We are losing out on his talent in midfield!!

    1. I also saw the blurb about United playing “only 3 first teamers” somewhere, but that’s a bit misleading. While it’s true that only 3 players (Rooney, Evra, Vidic) from the CL final started, look at the United line-up:

      De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Cleverly, Anderson, Nani, Young, Welbeck, Rooney

      Obviously the keep is going to be different with van der Saar gone, and De Gea is battling to be the starter. While Nani didn’t start in the CL final, he’s certainly a key player for them, and Young was a big signing. Also, Giggs and Fabio (who did start in the CL final, if that is what people want to judge by) came on as subs later. So yeah, I don’t think a “weak” opposition is anything to worry about.

      As for our deficiencies, a bit of sloppy defense and weak performances by the forwards (i.e. Pedro and Villa, as others have already mentioned) stood out.

      Regarding Busquets, I think most people would agree that CB isn’t his best position, but the pre-season squad is a bit lacking in central defenders (especially with Puyol and Pique out), and it also seems to be commonly accepted that Busi and Masch being able to cover at CB will be important for our depth this season. So, I would guess that Pep just wants Busi to get a bit more time in at the position.

  10. Are the youth players only there to become starters/solid first team members? If they even work out as decent subs/backups it’s good enough IMO.

    The only thing Pep needs to do more of is use young players after the team is up 2/3 goals. Thiago, Fontas and Afellay really need those kind of minutes in addition to the Copa games. And rotate one starter for one of them in easier/bottom 6-7 teams. It’s this reason I feel Pep didn’t let Bojan grow properly, specially in his first season.

    JDS and others would do really well if they get Copa minutes and meaningless games (later in CL group stage, Liga games after the title is decided etc.)

    1. Yes. That’s my only grudge with Pep. He hardly ever used fringe players last season when we were winning matches, not even Thiago or Affelay.

      Thiago really needs it this season. To get those minutes when the match is already won. He deserves it. He can be the super-sub (even when the match is already won).

  11. Downloading the game now. I just watched the highlights, but was shaking my head at the defensive errors. Busi had his worst game in quite a while, if I’m not wrong.

  12. A regular reader but infrequent commenter here (though is isn’t quite my first time)… Let me say again how much I enjoy this blog (both for the posts and all the great commenters).

    It was great to see some of the B-teamers, and since it’s already been noted that a number of our starters had lackluster games, I’ll offer a few thoughts on the youngsters:

    Espinosa was exciting in his brief cameo. I’ve been hearing more and more about his potential over the last several months, but this was my first time watching him in anything more than brief video clips. He seemed to have great quickness and control in tight spaces. I had read some comparisons to Iniesta (though they were probably influenced by where the players come from as much as any similarity in style), but had also heard Espinosa described as a central midfielder. Here, he came on for Pedro and seemed pretty adept at attacking the box, which was very good to see. I’m very eager to see how he (and Deulofeu) do in the B team and hope to hear a lot more about him soon.

    Balliu has very good pace – both getting forward and tracking back to shut down counterattacks.

    As others have said, I thought Cuenca looked rather promising (at least once I figured out what number he was and could keep track of him) – he seemed involved in a number good exchanges and cut in well.

    Carmona seemed rather poor to me, at least today. He was guilty of poor decisions, many mis-hit passes, a bad first touch, easily losing possession, etc. Based on that display, it would have been nice if Pep have given more minutes to, say, Espinosa instead.

    And oh – the black away kits with yellow numbers are great for watching via stream – you can actually keep track of who is who, even with crappy resolution!

    1. Welcome gaijin!

      I was really looking forward to Cuenca since the last match. Will be looking forward to seeing him then when I watch the match later.

      I really don’t understand why Carmona is being selected at midfield ahead of JDS. JDS deserves to play in the midfield. I want to see him partnering Thiago. They have a good understanding.

  13. What a game! I had to watch it with my brother who is an EE fan(obviously he’s an idiot)..and all he kept saying was “this is boring football”..of course I wanted to punch him for that! Never the less I think the boys did well given its preseason and a few of our players are injured/absent. I’m cautiously optimistic 😀

  14. I was at the match tonight. Thiago was just phenomenal. He was great – and he was great even outside of that great goal.

    Thiago made so many intelligent runs forward. I was very impressed with his positioning tonight in attack.

    He is going to be unbelievable linking up with Messi. Thiago will fill the space Messi vacates when he drops deep.

    Iniesta was just great. His form over the past year has been amazing.

    Cuneca has some promise. He looked nervous and unsure in some of his play but that’s to be expected.

    Also liked what I saw from Balliu. He covered the flank very well.

    Fontas also was excellent. Very intelligent defending.

    And while he didn’t play that long – Javi Espinosa truly has a chance to be an absolute star. He is very gifted. His composure on the ball and intelligence using it and spacing himself on the pitch are really remarkable for a player that age. La Masia produces some great midfielders – Espinosa is exceptional even for the Barca youth system. He has a chance to be very special.

    Not sure if Jeffren was held out for something medical (didn’t hear of a report about this but may have missed it at the stadium). But if not – this game did not suggest positive things for him this season in terms of playing time in any way. The kids played and he sat on the bench – even after Afellay got hurt.

    Finally, the team needs another CB – and needs one very badly. They cannot keep pretending that this is an acceptable way to structure a team that is going to be competing in so many competitions.

    Busquets does not have the pace needed to play that position well given his limited experience. He needs someone behind him. Just because a player “could” play a certain position doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing to do. They are just too thin at CB. And that’s not a position you want to take a chance with.

    1. I agree with you Euler about the CB situation. Do you think Rosell and Guardiola will end up buying a CB? From what I’ve read on sites like MD, it’s Cesc or nothing.

      I think we’ve been ridiculously fortunate to have Mascherano and Busquets fill in last season and have it work out well..but we should not push our luck.

    2. Let’s see, Thuram €5m, Milito €20m, Henrique €8m, Cáceres €16.5m, Chgyrynskiy €25m. Would you say that any of those were good buys?

      It’s really hard to just sign a CB who can play in this system. Of the above only Milito had the right stuff, but constant injuries made his signing an unmitigated failure. I think that we are better off developing Fontàs, Gomez, Bartra, etc., Masía players trained to take care of the ball or converting a midfielder like Mascherano or Busquets to CB. The most important thing is that our midfield takes care of the ball, something that it did not do in this friendly.

    3. It occurs to me that Oriol Romeu would have been a great candidate to convert full time as a CB (he played there at the end of last season for the B team)….

    4. I envy you for being at the stadium. My best friend is at San Frisco. If they played somewhere close to there, I would fly out there immediately once I get my pay check next week after closing a deal last night. Too bad they don’t even come near it, acceptable driving distance that is.

      Pep is seriously kidding himself that we don’t need a CB. Thank God he changed his stance on that recently. We seriously need a CB.
      1) We simply need one
      2) We need Busi at DM

      Is Cuenca going to play in the B-team or is he going on loan again?
      Where are the other promising kids besides Espinosa that were recently promoted from the Juvenil A?

    5. Cuenca will play on the B team this year. It looks like he’ll be a starter.

      Along with Espinosa, the other promising Juvenil A players promoted are Rafinha, Deulofeu, and Sergi Gomez.

    6. I think he’ll have a tough time starting over Femenía on the right wing. I wonder if he can play on the left.

    7. It’s nice to see Cuenca playing well, last season he was the only Barça B outfield player left off the team traveling to Asia and he was then loaned out to Sabadell I believe. Now he’s back and I predict he has a breakout season for the B team. Balliu has surprised me with his speed and tenacity, I’ll keep an eye on him this season on the B team.

      To be honest, I thought Thiago was poor in the first half. He did that thing where he disappears for long stretches, although the entire team was playing poorly. A big reason was how slow the pitch was. Apparently American football likes a plush, dry carpet. As a consequence ball circulation was far too slow to catch United out of position. The second half the team, and specifically Thiago came alive. The goal was exquisite, but what I liked best was to see 10 canteranos on the pitch, mostly B teamers playing what can only be described as Barcelona football. Of all those players only Carmona is useless. What an embarrassment of riches.

      I think that Busquets is not a great option at CB, especially because it means that he is not at DM, but I suspect that he would only be an emergency option. I predict that Mascherano gets regular playing time at CB.

  15. I have to rewatch the match. I was at the stadium, but I didn’t have my glasses, so that might be why I am confused about what some people here are saying :p. Honestly, I didn’t think Fontas played well, and I thought Busquets was great… Besides his mistakes, I thought Busquets showed good leadership, and his defending on 1v1 situations has improved a lot. Fontas looked twice as slow live. He seemed to me to always wait too long to challenge the Man Utd attackers. But again, I missed a lot, so I will have to watch it on TV. I agree about Pedro being average, but I don’t think Villa was THAT terrible, considering he was playing as a pure 9 (he shouldn’t play there) against Vidic.

    The main thing I got from the match was that we do not need Cesc, we need a CB and a Striker. A good CB and a tall Striker, and I will feel very confident for the new season. I want a tall Striker because Man Utd were able – like all other teams now – to completely clog the middle. They left all the space in wide positions, because they can easily deal with crosses. Buy a tall forward, and they will move wider to stop crosses, won’t they? And we need that space in the middle. Llorente is a dream, but I wouldn’t mind Kanoute for the bench for two seasons. Kanoute is very tall, and he has good enough skills to play for Barcelona.

    At this point, I see zero reasons for Cesc. For any attacking midfielder. Even for free, I just do not see a reason anymore. I wish someone would explain to me why Cesc is necessary. Why does Pep want him so bad? Surely Pep knows that he needs a Striker and a defender?

  16. Hey all, haven’t read any of the comments yet, but it sure was fun to see Barca in person for the first time! (I could never afford a ticket back when I lived in Barcelona)

    Man, Busi looks so tall and skinny out there when you see him in person. The biggest sense I got from that match was that we were playing with youth players. We still dominated possession, but the young guys just aren’t at the level of the first team. And whoever was that blond left back in the second half, he really has a knack for jumping past a forward and placing himself between the ball and player. He did the same move 2 or 3 times tonight. He sure looks tiny though.

    And holy crap, Thiago’s got 4 goals in 3 games! It seemed like a few seconds after he scored that the stadium reacted, almost as if nobody thought he could score from where he was. 😀

  17. I was at the match as well. It was fun.

    I thought we dominated the play for most of the match. I was disappointed with our forwards in the final third, they didn’t show enough thrust and honestly, it was frustrating to see Thiago and especially Iniesta with no options because no one was willing to make runs.

    Villa really annoyed me today because he still does the silly things he did at the start of last season. Pedro didn’t impose himself on the match either.

    I like Thiago and Iniesta in the midfield. When you watch it live, you see that Thiago actually makes a lot of intelligent forward runs. I also like that Iniesta trusts Thiago enough to play the ball to him when there’s a defender on his back. That said, Thiago needs to have more awareness in certain situations.

    Defensively, I don’t think Busquets is a viable option at CB. Pep has to know that. I thought Fontas was outstanding. He got beat once, maybe twice, but for the most part, his positioning was spot on and he cut out plenty of balls. He also never panicked when in possession.

    JDS did well enough, I feel bad for him because he has to play in a position that’s completely foreign to him. I would’ve loved to see him at DM with Thiago and Iniesta in front of him. Also, Ashley Young was disappointing. You’re playing up against a central midfielder at right back and you only go at him a few times?

    I was really impressed by Cuenca. I love how he cuts in from the wings and his combination play with the mids and other forwards is great. He also looks to combine and has a good sense of when to give the ball up. It’s easy to see why Pep was impressed with him after the 2nd day of pre-season. He needs to bulk up, but he looks really promising.

    Carmona did better than last game, but I still thought he was poor. He looked poor at the training session on Friday too.

    Espinosa only had a few minutes, but like against Internacional, I thought he showed real composure and understanding of the game. Barça B is going to fun to watch once again.

    All in all it was a fun experience. Not bothered by the result because I thought we were the better team and bar Nani and a few others, Man Utd looked extremely poor IMO. I know they won 2-1, but if I was a United fan, I’d find more negatives in that performance than positives. I’m not sure they can get away with having that midfield again this upcoming season.

    1. I should also add that instead of Cesc, Pep should be looking to add another center back to the squad. Seriously.

    2. I was perhaps a bit too harsh about United, but I don’t know, I’m just not impressed with their midfield. Giggs came on in the second half and he touched the ball less than ten times.

    3. I think it’s unfair to place all the blame on the forwards. There were two factors that made their job nearly impossible:

      1) ball circulation in the midfield was far too slow. Keita at DM has nowhere near the distribution ability of Busquets and Thiago was running away from the triangles a bit too often, especially in the first half. Beyond that, a huge factor slowing down circulation was the state of the pitch, the grass was too high and dry making the ball move at a snail’s pace (like Mourinho’s Bernabeau). When circulation is slow, it’s impossible to catch a packed defense out of position, so our forwards only received the ball with multiple well positioned defenders in front of them. Since Villa and Pedro both lack superior dribbling skills (hello, Alexis) in this situation they are at a huge disadvantage.

      2) We got zero width from our FBs. Neither Abidal or JDS got forward with any regularity. Without width, teams can pack the midfield, which is what Manchester was doing, again making it very difficult for our forwards to receive balls in positions that they could do damage.

      That said, they were still poor.

    4. You’re probably right, but I just didn’t think VIlla and Pedro looked that interested nor did they do enough off the ball. Some times I think our forwards come infield way too much. I thought that was the case yesterday.

      As for the width, in the first half, I agree, but in the second half, JDS stayed wide and was open so many times I lost count. He was begging for the ball, but no one wanted to play him through.

      You’re right on the ball circulation and that’s why I hate when Keita plays DM. It affects the fluidity of the midfield. I didn’t think Thiago was great in the first half, but I thought he came alive in the second. He apparently made 130 passes with a 95% completion rate.

    5. I hate Keita at DM as well but I’m not hating it as much as before. Atleast, should the need arise, he has more experience playing the position now. He’s not awful at it, he’s just not good enough for Barca at it. If we get another reliable CB it becomes a non-issue with Masche and Busi not having to play CB

    6. I’m talking about width in the final third, like what Alves gives us. JDS was begging for the ball, and even got it a couple of times, but he never pushed forward when he received to the right of the area, instead he would immediately pass the ball back to the center of the pitch, usually to Thiago. He was basically playing like a midfielder (understandable) wanting to one touch triangulate, instead of pushing the ball deep and forcing the defense to react. The way Alves pushes forward is really invaluable to our offense.

  18. Lol @ this headlines from english tabloids…MAN U SINKS BARCA, UTD WALLOPS BARCA,MAN U SHUTS UP BARCA E.T.C…starting like this, man utd showed their loss in may was a mere fluke by bouncing back in a spectacular fashion,with murderous intent…blah blah blah…

  19. If you make a round in the english newspaper and comment sections you think they have lost their mind: Barca are a one man team (no Messi, no victory), they are in decline,… They must be really in despair if they hold on a friendly like that. Interestingly we have a lot of good defenders coming through but none are available at the moment due to international duties or injuries forcing Pep to play some ridiculous line ups.

    1. My heart is really weak now because a deal just collapsed, otherwise I wouldn’t mid checking out the garbage going on at But I really don’t have the stomach for it now.

      Since when has a friendly being taken seriously though?

  20. Really envy all of you guys who can watch Barcelona live!

    By the way, I was looking for a compilation of Barcelona matches from 0809 and 0910, sort of like a season review. Anybody has a link to that? Thanks!

  21. Hot hot night at FedEx.
    Iniesta was great.
    Giddy at seeing Pique, Puyi, and Xavi even if on the bench in the nerdy schoolboy outfits.
    Thiago was making a case for some serious time. Cesc who?
    Not hating Keita as a DM as much now. Good for us to have that flexibility.
    Buy a CB for crying out loud.
    3M looked the sharpest of our 3 forwards…and then there was the hamstring…sigh
    Beer selling dude getting in the way of me seeing my game was ANNOYING!
    Busi had bad Busi moments but I was amazed by his skill on the ball.
    JDS was not too bad RB for playing out of position.
    Fun to see the babies.
    Our best XI v their best XI = no contest.
    Tiki taka is more fun in person.
    Dude with the “my kids paid to see Messi sign” needs a life. Follow football a little and he would have heard of a little thing called the Copa America. No sympathy from me.
    The egress from the stadium was almost as annoying as the annoying beer selling dude.
    Fun, hot night!

  22. I remember last week or so you guys were talking about Amy Winehouse, saying that she passed away. I thought you guys were just joking around.
    I just found out on telly. Haven’t tuned in to MTV or any entertainment news lately. I never liked her character but it’s always sad to lose somebody. RIP.

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