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Barcelona

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.)

Read More“The world didn’t end,” a.k.a. Today’s news, and more

August 19, 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.

Read MoreBarca 0, Manchester City 1, a.k.a. “Wait….this wasn’t all about the BAS?” (edit: Sorry, Kid)

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.

Read MoreOff the news (or what some call news)

August 17, 2009 / / Barcelona

Pep-Guardiola 2

That’s a great quote. It’s also slightly contradictory in a sense which you will see in a little bit. Who said it is pretty obvious given the photo.

This last June, persons outside of the Barcelona staff got their best glimpse yet at Guardiola the coach. The setting was the arid-but-beautiful island of Lazarote, in the Canary Islands. The occasion was an annual coaching clinic organized by legendary ex-Barcelona handball player and coach, Valero Rivera. Our man Pep stole the show with a charismatic presentation that was officially titled “Pressuring the Ball”. However, the title given by Sport to their recap of it was in my opinion much more fitting. Thus, I stole it: “¡Corred, cabrones, corred!”. The Spanish language coverage of this presentation provided numerous quotes from Pep that combine to form an accurate picture from the man himself of how he approaches and views ball pressure from a coaching and management standpoint. Consider those quotes from his presentation (which hardly got any English language coverage) as the inspiration for this post.

That’s where I want to start. This week will be all about Ibra and his debut, and an Ibra post is certainly in the works. But this, the first of a two-parter on the intricacies of ball pressure, will give us an idea of what awaits, and will be expected of our BAS (Big Ass Swede) as well as insight into one of the tenets of our style. Something that at first glance seems like a simple thing (e.g. “just all go after the guy with the ball”) but in reality is much more complicated from the tactical and intangible or motivational aspects. Read More“¡Corred, cabrones, corred!” (Run, you bastards, run!) a.k.a Ball Pressure Part I

August 16, 2009 / / Barcelona

P!

The face….the steely gaze that says “I will score”….the magic.

Ladies and gents, it was all about He Who Was Formerly Pedrito today, as he and Xavi combined to bail out what was really a desultory side today, with a few exceptions. Yes, it was the first, away leg of the SuperCopa but really, it was still pre-season for us and boy, did it show.

Guardiola rolled out a starting XI of: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, The Yaya, Keita, Xavi, Pedro!, Henry and Krkic. It was a semi-serious lineup that said “Hey, I’d love it if we could win this thing, but a draw would rock my world, as well.”

And things started out great, with lots of possession that, truth to tell, was a lot of the wrong kind of possession. Rather than triangles that dance about with evil intent, we got a lot of clunnky passing and the lads poncing about as though it was a practice session. Which is fine, because as I said, we should still be able to beat Bilbao with that side.

And so it came to pass.

There were a few things worthy of note in this match:

Read MoreAthletic Bilbao 1, Barca 2, a.k.a. “Gaze all ye, in wonder at P!”

August 14, 2009 / / Barcelona
August 10, 2009 / / Barcelona

Hey everyone and welcome to my latest creation: Barcelona Football Blog. Kevin and I are both moving over from TheOffside, but we’re going to maintain our typical standard of content (I think I heard some of you sighing there) along with a little greater output. I’m excited to be a part of a project that, while not containing any new contributing writers (as of now), looks to dedicate an entire site to FC Barcelona. Behind-the-scenes is our IT man, Tarun, who will be aiding us in a variety of different ways. You’ll see his work every day, but you’ll never really notice it. Our other new contributor is Hector, a regular commenter on our old site who has made the shift to become our tactical liaison. We’re excited to have both of these superstars on our team.

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be setting a few ads around the site in order to obtain a level of revenue sufficient for us to provide donations to charities. We’re talking about chump change in a lot of ways, but with every visit and every click, we’ll be able to provide better services for those around the world who are in need — this is what, to me, FC Barcelona stands for in many ways and it is an honor and a privilege to be involved in anything that attempts to make our world stronger while also providing scintillating football and good commentary.

Read MoreWelcome to Barcelona Football Blog