Ladies and gentlemen of BFB welcome to one of those oh so rare Isaiah-less previews. Our dear valiant leader has left us for his annual sabbatical. A trek to a certain altar of insanity called March Madness where he err…watches a lot of basketball. Sixty four teams enter the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, only one leaves happy. In totally arbitrary and false statistical terms that would make Isaiah cry, this means that he has a 1 in 64 chance to come out exuberant and a 63 in 64 chance of ending up in a fetal position wailing in despair, a fate with which, being a University of Michigan alum, I am all too familiar with; having been subjected to it by Isaiah’s Buckeyes for the last six years no less. So, let’s hope our guy comes out happy. Thinking of you, the people, Isaiah wrote one of his literary master pieces i.e. previews with the intention of submitting it today. However, due to a horrible mishap, it got left behind and lost forever [not really] which means you fools now have to suffer the even worse fate of a preview written by me. So, enough basketball, let’s talk about our version of March Madness. The UEFA Champions League is back!
A diehard culé since the Rivaldo/Figo Judas days, I am also a rabid Argentina and Boca Juniors fan despite definitely not being Argentine. Read more articles by me by clicking on the name-link.
While we all wait in giddy anticipation of Kevin’s review, I thought a translation of Pep’s press conference after the game would lead to some good talking points. Pep always does a good presser. What separates him from other coaches is that he is not bombastic, generally avoids controversy, and is usually refreshingly honest in his answers while still being entertaining. Here are the goods:
As many of you know, it’s crunch time for our next generation of La Masia jewels. The contracts of Thiago Alcantara, Jeffren Suarez, Gai Assulin, and Jonathan Dos Santos who happen to be our best prospects at the Barca Athletic level ALL expire this spring. That means they can either resign professional contracts with Barca or leave on a free transfer. As can be expected, the (mostly EPL) vultures are out and circling. With elections being postponed until June, it seems that Guardiola and Txiki will have to force their hands before the new administration takes over. Adding to the tension is the proximity of a free transfer giving our canteranos’ agents a significant upper hand in negotiations. As much as it hurts, we will likely not be able to keep all of our guys. So, let’s have a little discussion about which ones will/should stay and which ones will/should go. Mug shots and profiles of our enfants terrible follow:
It’s been a while, guys. I apologize for my Thong Boy like work rate over the past few months. Anyways, the Deportivo La Coruna and Club World Cup games have been fascinating from a tactical perspective. Pep employed a few new wrinkles into our usual gameplans that deserved their own post so here it is. Let’s start out in Galicia at one of my favorite Spanish cities: A Coruña.
More after the jump…
This is Megia Davila, a La Liga referee… actually, the reigning La Liga referee of the year according to Marca. No, really. I am dead serious. Okay, maybe I exaggerated. This is a now ex-La Liga referee albeit one who only retired at the end of last season. It’s too good to be true right? No. It’s even better. He is the newest Real Madrid “fichaje” or signing, a “Referee Delegate” and he was gracious enough to grant Spain’s premier representative of journalistic integrity (Marca, duh) an exclusive interview. If this not enough vital journalistic information for you then Marca has also awarded what they humbly proclaim to be “La Liga’s Oscars”: the Pichichi, Zamora, Zarra, Miguel Munoz, and Guruceta awards. Guess who won one? That’s right: the handsome devil in the above photo. It’s amazing. If you want more information vital to your intellectual, moral, and emotional development as human beings then click “Read More” and carry on.
It’s been a slow day of news today in terms of quantity but thankfully not quality; especially when quality is defined as this Cristiano Ronaldo Superstar video. What do you think, ladies? Is Crynaldo the new Julio Iglesias (who ironically was once actually a Real Madrid cantera goal keeper)? Meanwhile the guys can just enjoy Sara Carbonero, the awesome sports anchor with excellent taste in men who broke Iker Casillas’ heart by totally blowing him off according to the gossip magazines that I never ever read. She is obviously saving herself for Iniesta in the vain hope that he dumps his girlfriend.
Seriously, I could just post this video and call it a day but I won’t. More after the jump.
Xavi: Chico, you do know that the game ended two days ago, right?
Chico: Chill, Xavi. Just let me finish going wee wee and I’ll leave.
There has been a worried reaction in the culé world about Chico’s now famous man marking job on Xavi during last weekend’s Almeria game. A bronze statue replica of the comic strip above is now being built and will be installed in front of Almeria’s stadium. Hugo essentially said: “haha! I made you traded Xavi for Chico! That’s a net win for me all day long”. False, Hugo. False.
That strategy works against teams that are extremely reliant on a single player for creative inspiration. Maradona’s Napoli and Argentina being examples 1(a) and 1(b) of this and notice how it did not stop him from becoming in the eyes of many, [ARGUABLY lest I invoke outrage] the best player in history. We are not Napoli or Argentina. Either one of Iniesta, Yaya, Messi, or Zlatan has more creativity than the whole teams of Almeria or Malaga combined. So, what do we do?
Every now and then a goal comes along that highlights some important concepts in our philosophy and tactics. In my arbitrary opinion, our second goal against Racing does exactly that. So, follow along as we break down that goal second by second.
While we wait for today’s news, individual highlights from the Getafe game of three of our players have come out on the youtubes. My personal favorites were Chygnasty’s crossfield passes and Zlatan’s long pass to Pedro which I somehow totally missed during the game. What about you? Enjoy:
As we all know, in a move that seemingly inspired more controversy than Jose Mourinho’s entire career of playing mind games combined, FC Barcelona traded one of the best strikers in its entire history who happened to still be in the prime of his career for a certain Big Ass Ninja Gangsta Swede (BANGS). The particular horse that is the issue of whether his transfer was right or wrong has already been killed, dismembered, and nuked so let’s instead focus on ways in which we might expect Pep to use our newly acquired BANGS.
To quote The Johan in his latest blog:
“The signing of the Swede affects the whole team including even the goalkeeper. Valdes now has a new option available: kicking long balls for Ibra to either hold or take and attack. Same thing for the defenders and, it goes without saying; the midfielders and forwards will also have new options.”
So, what new options are we talking about here? Let’s have a look. Today we’ll start out with what he adds to one of our favorite tweaks from last season: the False 9 formation.
Does this have anything to do with Barcelona? Besides Messi and Alves possibly being on the pitch at the same time? NO.
Are international breaks boring unless you also happen to be a rabid American college football fan and the season starts today although you still feel emptiness inside due to not watching Barca for a weekend (that’s me by the way)? Yes.
As such, we decided that maybe an Argentina-Brazil preview/game post would be in order if only to help us past the time with no Barca on TV. So, here you go.