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Analysis

July 3, 2014 / / Analysis

atmbusi

These are tough times. Poor babies that we are, we have to suffer through a team that finished second in the Liga, in it until the final match, made the Copa final and Champions League quarterfinals. In a sport in which a two-year cycle is extraordinary, our team has been at or near the top since 2008. Six years.

The club has been, and is under assault from every direction from media to its own supporters and people who have been lined up, waiting for Barça to fall as “I told you so” rings throughout the halls of the Camp Nou, shrieks from the fronts of newspapers and websites, a conga line of people who are lining up to kick dirt on the face of the prom king.

So this post is going to start and end saying what I think every last culer needs to say, right here and right now: Gracies, equip. Thank you for the fun, the joy and tears, taking kicks and various fouls, scoring goals and making the effort to do the colors that we love proud. Thank you for everything.
Read MoreGracies, Equip, aka “Thank you so much for being superhuman”

April 21, 2014 / / Analysis
"D-oh!"
“D-oh!”

So. Barça ended a 3-match losing skid with something that wasn’t as much a comeback as a bit of common sense rearing its head.

“Hey, what say we stop hitting the ball directly AT the keeper.”

Messi scored a goal so all is right in the culer world again, but for me something more interesting happened — not for the first time, but for the first time a confluence of happy events conspired — two players who are objects of scorn had the temerity to have very good matches. Song and Mascherano.

For me yesterday’s match was different because I didn’t watch it live, instead choosing to take advantage of a picture-postcard Chicago day to log 60 miles on the bicycle. This gave me the rather extreme pleasure of being able to watch the match, and scroll through my social mad-ia timeline as things transpired and quite frankly, laugh.
Read MoreThe malleability of absolution, aka “If one is responsible, then everyone is”

April 19, 2014 / / Analysis

clasney

Neymar has a problem.
Neymar IS a problem.

Whichever (or both) of those sentences you think true, there is one thing we can agree on: Neymar is a galvanizing figure on the world football stage. When he came to Barça at the beginning of this season for a pile of cash, nobody knew what to expect.

Cruijff said that Neymar and Messi were incompatible. Others cried luxury purchase, that the club needed a CB more than a Brazilian with malleable hair and an Instagram fetish.

Still others said that he was one of the best players in the world even at the tender age of 21, with associative play of the type that could fit in very effectively at Barça.

He came, and then came the contract, an ongoing legal wrangle that makes both of this piece’s opening sentences true.
Read MoreGoldilocks and the Camp Nou, aka “The case for Neymar”

April 12, 2014 / / Analysis
April 10, 2014 / / Analysis

atmlead

Well doesn’t THIS feel weird, this feeling of coming home on a big match day from wherever you watched, with that empty feeling, that difficult-to-describe sensation of having watched your team lose.

Seems like just yesterday that we were capering about in glee through throats made hoarse from screaming as we swept the Classics, beating RM in their house.

But today, the best team from the capitol city, without two of its best players, beat us. And today, in another bit of empty-feeling weirdness, our team didn’t have any answers. Make no mistake, however … Barça didn’t lose today. It was beaten by an opponent with a better plan, its own naivete and institutional failure.
Read MoreAtletico 1, Barça 0 (2-1 agg.), aka “That fist to the face … who put that there?”

March 25, 2014 / / Analysis
January 30, 2014 / / Analysis
January 20, 2014 / / Analysis
Image via fcbarcelona.cat
Image via fcbarcelona.cat

So here we go, people. The fun begins. At a press conference today, one that for me was akin to a medicine show from days of yore, we were being sold some tonic by a quartet of salesmen.

For anyone interested in a blow-by-blow, I liveTweeted the press conference, via @kevvwill on Twitter. This piece isn’t that, though it will deal with the gist of what is being offered up, along with my views and interpretation of what was offered up. The “medicine show” quip probably gave you a clue of what that view is but truth to tell, I am torn on the matter, as the culer and soci in me are having a fight.
Read MoreA sorta Nou Nou, aka “Charging forward into an uncertain future”

January 10, 2014 / / Analysis

getmessi

So. Lionel Messi has returned, after 59 days away from the lineup of FC Barcelona. He scored two goals, capered about like a colt unbound, and many people had similar reactions to the spectacle, to the tune of:

“I had forgotten how good he was in the time he was gone.”

For me, however, it was easy to forget because it’s been a long time since he HAS been that good.
Read More“Welcome back,” aka “Been longer than we know since we have seen That Messi”

December 29, 2013 / / Analysis
December 27, 2013 / / Analysis