Barça v PSG, aka “Too many narratives to count, and … trauma”

Well, this is weird, being culer and the feeling of looking forward to a Champions League knockout match that features FC Barcelona. Because trauma. Since the delight of beating Juventus in that final during a treble season that seems like about a million years ago, subsequent Champions League campaigns have featured failure. Luis Enrique, Ernesto… Continue reading Barça v PSG, aka “Too many narratives to count, and … trauma”

Dynamo Kyiv 0, Barça 4, aka “The kids take over the holiday party”

In the spirit of the holidays, Barça gave us a match that was like a holiday party. You know the kind, where everybody has a great time because the bosses haven’t been invited, the kids in the mailroom take over the DJ booth and the place goes up for grabs. It’s messy, everybody’s lit and… Continue reading Dynamo Kyiv 0, Barça 4, aka “The kids take over the holiday party”

Juventus 0, Barça 2, aka “An exorcism”

Kids don’t care. We see kids doing all kinds of stuff, bombing down steep roads on skateboards, doing things without regard for consequences. Winter? Snowing? Why is that kid in shorts? Because they’re kids, and kids don’t care. Grownups call what talents such as Fati and Pedri do fancy words like “precocious.” Nah. They don’t… Continue reading Juventus 0, Barça 2, aka “An exorcism”

Dembele, Barça and the idea of “football IQ”

Thinking back to the days of Alex Song, the most often-heard negative comment about him usually featured the word “positioning,” a nebulous concept that often presumed the person using it knew what was being asked of him. “He’s terrible with positioning. Waste of money.” We see other phrases and terms such as that used about… Continue reading Dembele, Barça and the idea of “football IQ”

Koeman is here, and what that means is anybody’s guess

Wanting the best for a club that you love, and almost joyfully anticipating and predicting the worst aren’t the same thing. As Ronald Koeman assumes the manager’s role at FC Barcelona, weird things are happening, along with the feeling that somehow he has already failed. It’s like football fandom doesn’t have time for hope or… Continue reading Koeman is here, and what that means is anybody’s guess

Repair after hurricane Bayern begins … with what?

When some natural disaster comes, next steps are easy. You pump out water, rebuild walls, erect something new to replace that which was destroyed. That project is much more complex with a football team. On paper, it’s easy. Buy! Rebuild! Replace! In reality, the most overwhelming aspect of the Bayern thrashing overlooked in so many… Continue reading Repair after hurricane Bayern begins … with what?

Barça 2, Bayern Munich 8, aka “No Hollywood today”

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. In the movies, the crusty veterans, facing the team that nobody expects them to beat, manages to muster one last go, one more great effort. There is wonderment on faces as the impossible begins to happen. There is magic in the air as the music swells, punctuating… Continue reading Barça 2, Bayern Munich 8, aka “No Hollywood today”

Barça 3, Napoli 1, aka “Why is it always Bayern?”

Life is better with context, and so is football. The coin of the realm in culerdom, particularly Barça Twitter, is dogmatism, bile and fatalism as doom stalks the land. Outsiders watch the team that we pillory, and wonder what our problem is. That’s the challenge presented by a dogmatic view of things. Because even though… Continue reading Barça 3, Napoli 1, aka “Why is it always Bayern?”

Napoli v Barça Champions League preview, aka “This one is different”

As you settle in to watch Barça face off against Napoli in Champions League today, be sure to take time to savor this one. It’s the last, best shot for a few iconic players, and the last best shot for a team playing a particular system of football. When Pep Guardiola was handed the keys… Continue reading Napoli v Barça Champions League preview, aka “This one is different”

Barça 3, Dortmund 1, aka “Nothing has changed”

Football is lived match to match, and this has never been more true than with this current Barça side. In considering the match with Dortmund, my prediction was for a 2-1 win. That it was 3-1 didn’t surprise me. Dortmund was ill-equipped to trouble Barça to any significant degree, because the things that they need… Continue reading Barça 3, Dortmund 1, aka “Nothing has changed”