Category:

Preview

September 21, 2009 / / La Liga

MessiSantander0809
There’s no way he can…not a chance…oh. my. god.

Racing Santander – Barcelona: Tuesday 4pmEST

Here’s how you suck at life: show a repeat of Vitoria vs Internacional from the Brasileirao on Saturday or show an also not-live “Jorge Ramos y su Banda” for 3 hours. If you chose the first option, you’re GolTV. If you chose the second option, you’re ESPN Deportes. Seriously? You choose to show those instead of live Barcelona action? Jerkoffs.

No, seriously, you’re a bunch of jerkoffs.

Of course I’m pissed off by that fact, even though it shouldn’t be particularly surprising. I’m still going to DVR both of those shows in order to see if they weren’t just messing with me because ESPN Deportes is showing “Futbol Español” from 2-4pm and might just change their programming if they can get the rights. No doubt Jorge Ramos and his frickin’ Banda will draw more viewers…It’s possible that it’s actually RFEF’s fault because they’re constantly messing with times and dates and don’t have a collective bargaining agreement, but whatever, I’m going to fault the TV stations right now cause I want to. Read MoreYour Equinox Be Damned: Racing – Barça

September 18, 2009 / / La Liga

La Liga Preview: Barça – Atletico Madrid; 4pm GolTV

AtletiBarca1
This is what playing Atleti is like.

When two sides with extraordinary talent meet, anything can happen. When Atletico Madrid and Barcelona meet, goals happen. There hasn’t been a scoreless encounter between the two in lord knows how many seasons, and I don’t expect this to be any different. There have been 0-6 and 6-0 lambastings as well as 4-3 goalfests like the last time the teams met in the Vicente Calderon. The Copa del Rey last year was a 1-3 and 2-1, both for Barça. Read MoreBring on the Mattress Makers: Barça – Atletico Madrid

September 15, 2009 / / Champions League

milan-duomo

Champions League Preview: Inter – Barça, 2:45pmEST Wednesday, Fox Sports en Español (FSE).

I flew into Milan on a bright and beautiful morning in November 2006, having left Berlin early enough to catch the sun’s raise hitting the streets for what looked like the first time that day. As we swooped into Malpensa Airport, I was met by the panorama of a city that is know world-wide for being cosmopolitan, for being the nexus of fashion, design, and, lately, aging footballers. It looks stunningly gorgeous, as Italian as it gets, and certainly a welcoming destination. I never did see the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, though, because I quickly boarded another plane to head to Florence for a week of unadulterated sight-seeing and Tuscan sun basking. On my way back, thanks to an unrelenting bank of fog that closed the Florence airport, I was taken by bus by Alitalia through twisting mountain roads and tunnels and finally back to the airport late at night for a then-delayed flight to Berlin.

None of this was Milan’s fault, of course, but I was left, after my 14-hour travel day that should have been 5 hours long, semi cursing the city for having the temerity to be in my plans on a fairly obliterated day. That I still didn’t get to see the monumental stadium that is the San Siro was merely an added bonus in a long list of pejoratives that I used to describe all things northern Italian for a day or two, when I was able to refocus my distaste for transit authorities and metropolitan areas on the MTA, who, as luck would have it, delayed me a few hours in getting home because of random track work in New Jersey between Newark and Penn Station.

Read MoreOf Visigoths and False Duels: Internazionale and Barcelona

September 11, 2009 / / La Liga

calmlake

Breath. In, pause, now out. Just let the air enter and leave smoothly, no hurries, no worries. Find your cave, don’t think about Marla.

Why the zen master approach? Because the league is back, baby, and it’s time to get into the season’s groove, but it’s too early for cardiac arrest. It is, however, time to do those breathing exercises and get ready to let loose on the world, one game at a time, at our miraculously high-decible level. This, of course, is what we’ve been waiting for. This is, naturally, what makes us so obsessive: Barça! Barça! Baaaarça! Hell yeah.

I do not subscribe to the idea that the past is dead, that we are obligated to win, that we deserve to win. We aren’t and we don’t. But we are obligated to play well, to play our brand of the truly beautiful game. In the process we will score goals and win games and that, of course, is the point, but it is also a fun bonus for us cules, who, day-in-day-out dream of tight passing triangles and one-two combinations more often than is healthy. I walk down hallways and play imaginary passes to imaginary teammates around coworkers who have no idea how badly they were just schooled. It’s thrilling. And not the least bit lame. You do it, too.

Read MoreLiga Preview: Getafe – Barça; Saturday 12noonEST, GolTV

August 31, 2009 / / Preview

Team09-10

I previously covered the entire league in preview format, but what of Barcelona’s particular chances? We’ve got our transfers to fully integrate and our schedule to parse. Because there are enough matches to go around with a small squad (20 first team players as of this writing, but probably going to fall), time on the field will not be a problem for anyone. Anytime there’s an injury, there will be a Copa del Rey match to play in or a league match before a CL match. There are also the canteranos who will step up and the veterans (is Leo a veteran by now? Is Bojan?) who will play as many matches as their bodies will allow.

The league, then, is the priority, as always. I know that some readers will say “No, the Champions League is more important!” but I disagree fully and completely. I love the CL as much as anyone, I think, but La Liga is the title that matters. If I’m going to choose one to win each year, it would, without question, always be La Liga. I would never sacrifice the league in order to win the CL, not once. Sure, it might shut the EPL fanboys up a bit if we did win the CL continuously, but, again, it’s not as important to the identity and history of the club–at least from my perspective. So, because I value the domestic campaign more than the European campaign (attentive readers should go back to my older writings and cherry pick a few choice lines stating the opposite of this, especially when I argued for a Europe-wide league, a true Champions League; I deeply regret anything I said that would remove teams from a domestic league even if it was just for one year), I find it worthwhile to focus on the games themselves. Read MoreBarcelona First Half Preview

August 27, 2009 / / Preview

The second trophy of the season is up for grabs at a neutral venue: Monaco’s Stade Louis II. It only holds 18,500 (if it were any bigger, it wouldn’t fit in the principality), so the crowd won’t be quite as raucous as you might expect for a match pitting the defending Champions League and UEFA Cup champions. The UEFA Super Cup, a one-off match designed as a pseudo friendly that gets everyone’s blood pumping before the domestic leagues are in full swing, is an excellent way for those who won the UEFA Cup (now Europa Cup). I’m not convinced of the need for such a match, but it’s fun nonetheless and offers up some extra silverware for the cabinet.

FCB last played in this match in August 2006, when Dani Alves and Sevilla beat them. So only our little Brazilian hummingbird has ever won this trophy. There are connections to AS Monaco as well that are documented here, the most notable of which is The Yaya’s stint there before he began playing for us. Read MoreSuper Cup Preview: Barça – Shakhtar; 2:30pmEST, FSC/FSE

August 22, 2009 / / Preview

Don’t forget to read the most recent posts: Kevin’s news review, my discussion of the fantasy football league, and Hector’s breakdown of the Gamper goal.

Hopefully this is the final time I have to write this during the 09-10 season: This game will not be broadcast in the US on TV. Ugh. We’ll have to webstream it like usual, though it should be on La Sexta, so try to stream it there, but don’t worry, you can always tune in here for the liveblog.

Because this is the second leg, Barcelona enters this match 2-1 to the good, with those 2 goals being very valuable away goals. Not that that changes the fundamental approach for Barça, who will always look to win every match. A draw, any draw, is good enough, but Guardiola will not want to leave it to chance, to the odd bounce to pick up a small piece of silverware for the cabinet. Read MoreSuperCopa Preview: Barça – Athletic Bilbao; Sunday 4pmEST

August 18, 2009 / / Gamper Trophy

Once again it appears that this match will not be televised in the United States. That’s extremely disappointing because it is also the debut for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who should not only get the start, but should do so alongside Messi, who is returning from injury as well.

August 19 is also World Humanitarian Day, so keep that in mind while watching our boys play in their Més shirts. Awesomeness. I guess that means ManCity will wear their black away jerseys.

Our squad is currently a bit thin thanks Iniesta and Márquez being injured and not expected to return until the first league game (meaning they’ll miss not only the Gamper, but also the 2nd leg of the SuperCop and the UEFA Super Cup); also doubtful for tomorrow are Henry and Abidal, who trained away from the group to work on their specific injuries. I’m assuming that Henry will not risked and that either Pedro! or Bojan will take his place in the starting lineup tomorrow. Abidal, too, could sit this one out, meaning that if anyone wanted to see Alves and Maxwell on the same field, this might be the perfect opportunity to do so. Without Henry’s defense, however, that might not be the best option (thought it might be the only option), especially considering Manchester City’s recent investment in their front, uh, 12.

Read MoreGamper Preview: Barcelona – Manchester City, Wednesday 4pmEST

August 15, 2009 / / Preview

First things first: it appears that there will be no TV coverage in the US of this match. Which is about as absurd as you get. I thought all the TV rights stuff had been resolved. It’s just that, well, no one expects a Spanish Inquisition. At best, we’ll be able to watch the game via a rojadirecta stream. I do not know if it is GolTV’s fault that they’re showing a Coppa Italia game between Napoli and Salernitana or if they’re doing so because they can’t show the Spanish Super Copa. Either way, I’m pissed.

Furthermore, it looks like Messi is set to miss the match, meaning our starting lineup will be missing at least two of its typical three starters (despite his never having played a match, I think that Ibrahimovic can be listed as a typical starter based on the fact that he’ll be starting the majority of the games when he his healthy). If you believe EMD, Henry is set to play, but I hope that he isn’t forced into the match as a desperation move. This is a two-legged affair and we should have all of our starters back for the second match (with the possible exception of Iniesta), meaning that we can afford to get them healthy for the season now. Read MoreSuper Copa Preview: Athletic Bilbao – Barcelona; Sunday 4pm EST