Author: Kxevin

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.

September 1, 2009 / / Injuries

ibragoal

Yes the picture is big, but not as big as the moment. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, our big-ass Swede, got off the mark by scoring the first of what should be many, many goals for Barca. It came off (yet another) exquisite Dani Alves cross that was deflected by Gregory, the omnipresent Gijon defender.

Watching the play develop, BANGS broke away from his defender into the space left on the uncovered back post and headed the ball in. Pretty easy goal, right?

August 31, 2009 / / La Liga

Sporting v Barca liveblog

August 29, 2009 / / Review

puyoluefa

This one took some time, folks, not only for our beloved Barca, but for me.

For them, the reasons were obvious: We came up against a side with next to no interest in playing football today. Their sole aim was to stymie our attacks, clog the midfield, have at least 5 men in the box and jam up the passing lanes. And, if a counterattack opportunity presented itself, they would be happy to take it.

Welcome to what we’re going to be seeing for most of 2010, so get used to more 1-0 or 2-1 wins, rather than 5-0 blowouts.

The picture that you see here is the epitome of truth and justice. The captain of the best team on the night is hoisting the trophy. It’s also a picture of my Man of the Match, Carles Puyol.

I can hear it now: “New site and already, Kxevin’s out of his mind.”

Whatever. Man of the Match is man of the match. The whole match. Other players (except for Abidal) came and went, going through periods of ineffectiveness, playing with the knowledge of a Monday Liga match, or a World Cup qualifier.

August 27, 2009 / / Champions League

chiggy

Here he is, making it verrrry clear how he prefers to have his name spelled, folks. It’s the latest addition to our back line, Dmytro Chygrynskiy or, as he prefers the back of the shirt to say, Chygrynskyy.

But let’s just agree to call him Chygnasty, and be done with it, shall we?

His transfer will be announced on Saturday, after he makes an appearance at the christening of a new stadium, as we agreed with Shakhtar’s boss. So welcome (almost) Chygnasty.

More on the long-tressed defender. He’s 22 years old, from Iziaslav, Ukraine. He’s 6’3″ tall, or 1.9m for you metric-sized folks. His strengths, as have already been laid out in videos here and here, are positioning, height, long passing, attack starting and heading ability. And having watched those videos again, I must say that I love his defensive positioning. Keep in mind that highlight videos never show the clunkers, but he reminds me so much of Piquenbauer, but….

August 25, 2009 / / Barcelona

So we’ve read quite a lot about how Barca’s play is like the music of the late, great jazz legend Thelonious Monk. Spare a couple of minutes for this video, then we’ll begin.

Here’s what I meant when I initially raised the analogy, borne out by yesterday’s thrashing of an under-manned Bilbao side.

Monk raised the game of jazz by being brave, unconventional and yes, a little crazy. He had a very different bag of tricks to work with, one that made the traditional structure of jazz suddenly insufficient.

August 22, 2009 / / SuperCopa

peptoss

Well, you probably won’t be seeing this scene again, according to Pep Guardiola, who believes that repeating that magical triplete is impossible. He’s probably right. Magical seasons are magical for a reason.

That said, he definitely wants to gobble up every bit of silver that he can, and has convened “the best” players for the Sunday Spanish SuperCopa finale at home against Athletic Bilbao.

“Athletic will press,” said Guardiola. “That’s why we have to go out and attack with discretion.” In other words, look for a tight match, because “I want the SuperCup,” said Guardiola.

–The infamous “feeling” that Guardiola had about Samuel Eto’o that led to his transfer, was clarified in yesterday’s press conference. “The decision to dispense with Eto’o was not a question of ‘feeling,'” said Guardiola. “Footballing there was no problem with Sammy, and I could work very well with him at a personal level. What I meant is that my ‘feeling’ after the success we achieved last year was that it was time for a change.”

August 21, 2009 / / Barcelona

rafinha

Well, in light of the just-posted video of Guardiola getting down, you can see how he would be partial to Marcio Rafael Ferreira “Walk Like An Egyptian” de Souza, also known as Rafinha. He’s a fullback for Schalke, who has been on the outs with the club since their dispute about him playing in the Olympics. The 23-year-old wanted to play, and the club didn’t want him to play (as we did with Messi, everyone will recall). The FIFA ruling came down in favor of the U-23s, and he played, only to return to a 700,000 fine from Schalke for “breach of contract.”

Ouch.

August 21, 2009 / / Barcelona
August 20, 2009 / / Barcelona

tourex2

Despite this frightening moment during last night’s Gamper Trophy match, one that had scientists everywhere running around like frightened rabbits, shouting something about “The Toure Doomsday Scenario,” the earth is still on its axis. Whew! We worried about what might happen when both Toures were on the same pitch….imploding galaxies, small children being sucked into a vortex, time standing still.

But thankfully, we’re all fine.

And in other news, now that the world can continue:

–Regarding his selection for the Gamper match, Guardiola said “Bite me.” Okay. Really. “I did not want to burden the senior players with minutes, taking into account the important committments that will come.” He added, “Despite the result, I’m happy with the way things turned out. Anyone who doubts me just needs to go and read barcelonafootballblog.com, where the match review will make clear why I am happy. So there.” (Only some of this quote is made up. Really.)

August 20, 2009 / / Barcelona

Spain Soccer Barcelona Ibrahimovic

Not quite, but close.

For the record, yes, a match was played today. Yes, we lost. But everything was subsumed by the start of the second half, when our very own BAS took to the pitch to rapturous cheers. As he strode out with Messi and Alves, you could hear everyone thinking “This is it. It’s Hammer Time.”

Not so fast. But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

Pep Guardiola, leading up to this edition of the Gamper Trophy match, was saying to anybody who would listen, “We really care about the SuperCup, and will use this match as more training.” Shudder! The impudence of this guy!

And nobody really believed him, until he rolled out with: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Fontas, Maxwell, Busquets, Gudjohnsen, The Yaya, Pedro!, Jeffren and Krkic. Then it was like “Uh, wait a minute. He wasn’t kidding.”

Let’s dispense with the goal against right away. It came off a busted play, as so many goals against us do. Busquets laid off a sloppy pass outside the Citeh box, and because we were pressing, the middle was open. A nice ball to Petrov, who was kept onside by a sluggish (injured?) Puyol. Petrov beat Pinto, who stood there, waiting to die. It wasn’t as much the high line that killed us as it was one player not lining up with the rest. Captain Caveman can be forgiven. S’all good.

August 19, 2009 / / Barcelona

Gamper Trophy LiveBlog

August 19, 2009 / / Barcelona

gai

–You see that face? The locks? Like it? Good, because bet cash money you’re going to be seeing it tonite, as the Gamper could turn into Kid Time. Gai Assulin 31 has been called up, as well as Thiago (yay!) 34, centerback Marc Bartra 26 and right back Martin Montoya 29. This is, of course, in addition to Johnny DS, Fontas, Muniesa and Jeffren, who should also see some time. The bold-face number beside each kid’s name is so that ye will know them by the shirt when they come on.

–Abidal and Henry are continuing their treatment, so look for that to be a match-time decision as to whether they see any time. Guardiola’s mood makes it abundantly clear that this is a pre-season match for the club, with the real emphasis being on the UEFA Super Cup that looms. Look for him to use players accordingly.

–“I am Mr. Rourke, your host. Welcome to Fannnntasy Island!” EMD says that we have struck a deal with Arsenal for Fabregas. They’re listing the story in the “top secret” file, as in “This crap is made up, but if we keep saying it, it might come true.” If Arsenal get knocked out by Celtic next Champions League match day, something about as likely as me sprouting wings and flying to Camp Nou for tonight’s match, Fabregas comes this summer. Otherwise he comes next year, for a number between 30 and 35 million.