La Liga

November 19, 2009 / / Champions League

Okay. My bag is already packed for Barcelona, that’s how geeked I am about this trip. I have two matches, the Inter Champions League and El Clasico.

Now who the hell am I going to be seeing for these matches?**

First off, let’s discuss the import:

If we lose against Inter and Rubin Kazan beat Dynamo Kyiv, we are out of the Champions League. Huge.
If we lost against the EE at home, we go down to them in the standings (presuming that we both win this weekend), and lose significant space in the psychological war that is a Liga season between the two giants.

But ….
Read MoreComings and goings, a.k.a “Who’s in, who’s out”

November 8, 2009 / / Barcelona
Hi, ladies. Check out this thigh. Nice, right?
Hi, ladies. Check out this thigh. Nice, right?

So you’re at this party in a gorgeous house, and the staff passing the drinks and snacks are supermodels. The music is perfect, and you’re having a great time. But there, on the corner of a rug that probably costs more than you make in a year, is a dog turd. It’s a little one, and nobody is really noticing it.

At least, they’re not actively acting as if they’re noticing it. And suddenly, you begin to notice other things …. that supermodel has nose hair, that other one has a sway back, you have a better music mix on your music player, if you really want the truth of it …. and so it goes.

And you’re cranky, because you should be having the time of your life but thanks to that little turd on the Bokhara, a little luster is gone.
Read MoreBarca 4, Mallorca 2, a.k.a. “Next time, don’t wear white.”

November 6, 2009 / / La Liga

Liga Preview: Barça – Mallorca, Saturday 2pm EST, GolTV (check local times here)

We have slightly fancier transport now...
We have slightly fancier transport now...

The surprise of the season so far, at least to me, has been Mallorca holding tightly to a UEFA cup spot. They’re in 5th now, one point above Depor and they boats the best home record in the league (5W-0D-0L, 13GF 1GA) and the solitary goal they have allowed at home was let in against Getafe when the game was already 3-0. But they’re winless on the road (0W-2D-2L, 3GF 8GA) and they also lost their away fixture at Valladolid in the Copa del Rey 2-1. That must be somewhat distressing to a team that slaughters you in Mallorca, but just can’t seem to come up with the points anywhere else.

I watched their battling 1-1 draw against Atleti in which they went down to nine men and still should have won thanks to Atleti’s inability to be anything other than total crap for most of their matches. Mallorca really impressed me with their attack, which was fairly weighted towards the counter, especially after they went down a man, but what was even more impressive was that when they went down the second man, they began to control the match. They probably won’t have that luxury against us, but they’re not going to go down without a fight. Read MoreGet That Motor Crankin’: Barça – Mallorca

October 31, 2009 / / La Liga
Um .... sorry 'bout that. No really .... so sorry.
Um .... sorry 'bout that. No really .... so sorry.

Yes, I want it huge. I want everyone to be able to return to this post, look at this picture and remember how it feels when we don’t play as a team, when we let a match that we should have won going away, slip away. Yes, it was a draw, but for me it feels like a loss. It certainly was celebrated like a win down in Osasuna, which is the story of the Barca life. A team will kill themselves just to draw with us, and we aren’t matching fire with fire.
Read MoreOsasuna 1, Barca 1, a.k.a. “Who actually wants to kiss their sister?”

October 30, 2009 / / La Liga

Liga Preview: Osasuna – Barça, 3pmEST Saturday, GolTV (check local times here)

Oh, why, hullo
Oh, why, hullo

I stood in a square, the streetlights illuminating the crowd, and looked upwards at the top of the tall fountain. A man had scaled the top and was yelling something to his friends below. My brother nudged me and pointed upwards. “Jerk is going to jump,” he said and I laughed. Not likely. He was 30 feet in the air above a smattering of drunk idiots and a whole mess of cobblestones that, given the opportunity, would split his skull like a pumpkin on Halloween. Or something.

Obviously he jumped. Read MoreOf Bulls and Fountain Diving: Osasuna – Barça

October 25, 2009 / / La Liga
Because it's just like that. That's why.
Because it's just like that. That's why.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you our Man of the Match, Seydou Keita, whom we all affectionately call Keiteee! He was absolutely, spot-on brilliant tonight in a crucial match for the side, against an opponent who was perfect.

Because they were about as threatening as a puppy, and we knew that going in. But more importantly, we went in rested. This team would have given Rubin Kazan the hiding that Isaiah predicted in his preview. The movement was sharper, the passing crisper and the energy was much, much higher. Tonight, this club would have beaten pretty much any club in the world, because for the first time this season, it played as a full-on team. Not individuals working toward a collective goal, but a team. The difference was crucial.
Read MoreBarca 6, Zaragoza 1, a.k.a “Just what the doctor ordered,” a.k.a “Keeiteeeee!”

October 25, 2009 / / La Liga
October 24, 2009 / / La Liga

La Liga Preview: Barça – Real Zaragoza, Sunday 4pmEST ESNP2HD

The last time they were in town...
The last time they were in town...

There things you don’t do in life: take candy from children, start land wars in Asia, piss off The Yaya. Iniesta and Xavi have spent the last week fending off ridiculous questions about whether or not Barça is in crisis. What? We lose one match and suddenly there’s even the remote possibility that we’re in crisis? Villarreal is in crisis mode, not Barça. Forget that nonsense if you’re an FCB fan, it’s absurd. If you’re a player, I’m sure that it will galvanize you, make you mad, and make you clinical. Crisis? I doubt Real Zaragoza thinks we’re in crisis right now.

And I doubt that we’ll be very kind to the blanquillos when they come visiting on Sunday (check your local time here) not through any real fault of their own, but because the media has made this a match that will define more than just the days around it, but a lot of the season. A match against Real Zaragoza has gone from being a match against the 13th ranked team in the league to being a match that will decide whether or not Barça is having a disastrous season. Now do you see why it’s so absurd? Read MoreIce In The Veins: Barça – Zaragoza

October 17, 2009 / / La Liga
I have some vexing to do.
I have some vexing to do.

Did anyone know that bats are the only flying mammal?

I know, right? We all figured that all they did was give us the willies, flitting around church spires in small European towns, screeching and entangling themselves in hair and whatnot. But no. They pollinate, disperse fruit seeds and do all kinds of good things.

But bats also do baaaad things, such as get knee-deep in your ass, keep you on your heels and make you rely on superhuman efforts from your mop-topped captain and a goal keeper who I don’t want to hear anyone give shit to this season. Period, full stop.
Read MoreValencia 0, Barca 0, a.k.a. “I HATE bats!”

October 17, 2009 / / La Liga
October 16, 2009 / / La Liga

Liga Preview: Valencia – Barça, Saturday 4pmEST, GolTV

A return to the Mestalla brings with it Phil and RayRay and the hyperbole without which many of us could not survive. Also, it brings us back to La Liga, which, thankfully, is going to dominate my life for while and get the pesky memories of World Cup qualifiers out of there. I like the World Cup itself, but give me continuous Barça any day over trivial international fair like “win or go home” European qualifiers. And yes, I stayed up to watch several matches this time around. Shush.

Today is the 5th anniversary of one Lionel Messi’s league debut with the first team. He came on for the final 8 minutes against Espanyol on October 16, 2004, and though he didn’t score the above goal until May 1, 2005 against Albacete, you knew big things were in store for this little guy. Little guy is relative, of course. We can expect a lot more out of Messi against Valencia this weekend, I would think, than we did in that match oh so long ago. Thanks for the memories so far, Leo, and let’s hope they keep on coming.

The title of this post explained, after the jump. Read MoreA Strength of Feet: Valencia – Barça