November 11, 2009 / / Thoughts
And the winner is...
And the winner is...

Before we handle other things on this fine Veteran’s Day here in the US, let’s go ahead and tackle the idea that The Yaya is about leave. I’ve been getting emails from a few of you and links in the comments section to various articles from around the globe, all of which are about how our beloved behemoth is Blighty bound.

The likelihood of that happening is hard to say, of course, because none of us has a conduit into the mind and soul of The Yaya, but I think we can use perspective to understand a bit more what is going on.

Now, let’s go ahead and get to the articles themselves. There’s this one from goal.com, which claims, among other things, that it’s the lack of playing time that’s getting to The Yaya. Read MoreThe Yaya and the Rumor Mill

November 10, 2009 / / Copa del Rey
November 9, 2009 / / Copa del Rey

CDR Preview: Barça – Cultural Leonesa, Tuesday 4pmEST, ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com

One order of happiness for the youngsters, please!
One order of happiness for the youngsters, please!

While our babies bandy about their abilities in the U-17 World Championship in Nigeria*, our slightly older crew of youngsters will be playing host to Cultural Leonesa in the second leg of our Round of 32 Copa del Rey tie. The aggregate score is 0-2 in Barça’s favor thanks to Pedro!’s fine finishing in the first leg and a solid enough defense to get away with, um, not losing 4-0 to a Segunda B side.

First, let’s go over the possibilities: in order to advance to the Round of 16, Barça can win with any scoreline, can draw with any scoreline (2-2, 4-4, etc), and can lose 0-1 or with any scoreline in which they only lose by one goal (1-2, 2-3, 3-4, etc). A 0-2 loss would send the match to extra time. Because of the value of away goals, I think we’ll be able to come out and play our way through this match, especially if Cultural decides that they want to win this and comes out of their defensive shell.

But will they? Read MoreAvoiding the Alcorconazo: Barça – Cultural

November 9, 2009 / / Thoughts
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 8, 2009 / / Barcelona
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

November 5, 2009 / / Champions League
Are we going to make it, captain?
Are we going to make it, captain?

Quite frankly, I don’t know. This review isn’t going to be very long, because simply put, there isn’t a lot to say. Xavi came out after the match and said that we were the better team.

No, you weren’t. You know how I know? Because you didn’t win the match. Last time I checked they don’t give points for possession, or number of passes strung together to no avail.
Read MoreRubin Kazan 0, Barca 0, a.k.a. “Chances wasted”

November 4, 2009 / / Champions League
November 4, 2009 / / Team News

Ye gods, there’s a lot going on in the world, such as:

Strike? A strike? Labor action by a bunch of pampered, overpaid athletes?

You betcha.

There is more assuredly precedent, at least in America, so people shouldn’t be horrified by such things if you know your sports history. But the prospect of no La Liga because of tax issues, frankly put, has my bloomers all in a bunch.

But my bloomers wouldn’t be the only ones in a bunch. Thong Boy, for example, would probably have his string turn into a cowlick, so high would his dudgeon be. Why? Because if the Spanish government has its way, the tax rate for furriners would rise to to 43 percent, from 24 percent.

Starting in 2010.
Read MoreThe news, Match Day edition

November 3, 2009 / / Champions League

CL Preview: Rubin Kazan – Barça, Wednesday 12:30pmEST, Fox Soccer/FSE

Kazan Kremlin (Wikimedia)
Kazan Kremlin (Wikimedia)

Reading the history of Kazan it quickly becomes obvious that the city is prone to being reduced to rubble. Fires and wars were the typical culprits, but Ivan the terrible massacred most of the population and then sent the rest of the Tatars to live a couple of dozen miles away. Basically, this is a resilient city. In the US, we talk about Mrs O’Leary’s cow burning down Chicago an it’s pretty amazing that it survived like it did; the 1909 San Francisco earthquake was devastating, of course, and the Dresden firebombing was awful, but those things only happened once. Kazan’s destruction happened at least five times. No wonder they’re able to consider simply going to Barcelona and winning a match par for the course.

Because of all that, I say we torch the place–they won’t mind that much since they’re used to this sort of treatment from outside invaders, right? Seriously, come on, it’s not that big a deal if we pull the ring trick from Leon The Professional on them, right? Except without our death too, cause that would be friggin’ pointless. Read MoreInto the Mouth of The Frozen Lion: Rubin – Barça