August 27, 2009 / / Champions League

chiggy

Here he is, making it verrrry clear how he prefers to have his name spelled, folks. It’s the latest addition to our back line, Dmytro Chygrynskiy or, as he prefers the back of the shirt to say, Chygrynskyy.

But let’s just agree to call him Chygnasty, and be done with it, shall we?

His transfer will be announced on Saturday, after he makes an appearance at the christening of a new stadium, as we agreed with Shakhtar’s boss. So welcome (almost) Chygnasty.

More on the long-tressed defender. He’s 22 years old, from Iziaslav, Ukraine. He’s 6’3″ tall, or 1.9m for you metric-sized folks. His strengths, as have already been laid out in videos here and here, are positioning, height, long passing, attack starting and heading ability. And having watched those videos again, I must say that I love his defensive positioning. Keep in mind that highlight videos never show the clunkers, but he reminds me so much of Piquenbauer, but….

Read MoreChampions League draw day, welcome Chygnasty, and some news (update!)

August 25, 2009 / / State of the Liga

The dawn spreads its wispy fingers over the roofs of the neighboring buildings, sliding casually down Atlantic, splaying sideways at Flatbush. It dims the street light that shines through my window at that perfect angle where any attempt to block it from my eyes causes me to lose the air circulation in my room. I shift and try to sleep more, longer, anything to get rid of this feeling in my stomach. For once it’s not last night’s rounds with the boys that is causing me this insomnia. I look at my watch: 5 more hours to go. I roll over, pressing my face into the pillow. I roll over again, pulling the sheet over my legs then flipping it off moments later. I look at my watch: 4 hours, 59 minutes to go. I roll over, exhale.

“Stop tossing around, honey.” We love each other, of course, my girlfriend and I, but at 6am on Sunday morning, there is no such thing as empathy, just mumbled hatred. I try to hold still, but it’s too hot. I sit up and take a drink of water from the cup on the nightstand. I plop back down, exhale. “Stop tossing around, dickhead.”

I can’t explain it to her, she’ll never understand. It’s August 30 and I’m waiting as patiently as I can. I think she knows, intuitively, without having been reminded, that it’s Jornada 1, it’s el primer dia de la primera. It’s kickoff, it’s the beginning of another obsession. It’s gameday. No wonder I can’t sleep. Read MoreState of La Liga: Season Preview 09/10 [Update]

August 25, 2009 / / El Banquillo

[Author’s note: The idea for this was taken from the amazing The Dugout over on Progressive Boink. You should read it and love it, even if you don’t like baseball. However, if I took any of the names from The Dugout, that was entirely unintentional. -Isaiah]

Episode 1: In which the team meets up for the first time after the off season to say goodbye to those who are leaving and hello to some of the new guys.
Read MoreEl Banquillo #1:

August 24, 2009 / / Barcelona

So we’ve read quite a lot about how Barca’s play is like the music of the late, great jazz legend Thelonious Monk. Spare a couple of minutes for this video, then we’ll begin.

Here’s what I meant when I initially raised the analogy, borne out by yesterday’s thrashing of an under-manned Bilbao side.

Monk raised the game of jazz by being brave, unconventional and yes, a little crazy. He had a very different bag of tricks to work with, one that made the traditional structure of jazz suddenly insufficient.

Read MoreBarca 3, Athletic Bilbao 0, a.k.a. “One down, five to go.”

August 24, 2009 / / Barcelona

Syl1

Kevin can’t do the news today (ironically because he is at work at the, you know, actual news) so you savages will have to do with me. We’ve got the usual rumors and blatant fabrications but also some press conference quotes, a few precious tidbits of real news (imagine that!) as well as praise and fluff. Without further ado: the news.

Read MoreMonday’s News (Uncle Sylvinho Edition)

August 23, 2009 / / Barcelona
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 22, 2009 / / SuperCopa

peptoss

Well, you probably won’t be seeing this scene again, according to Pep Guardiola, who believes that repeating that magical triplete is impossible. He’s probably right. Magical seasons are magical for a reason.

That said, he definitely wants to gobble up every bit of silver that he can, and has convened “the best” players for the Sunday Spanish SuperCopa finale at home against Athletic Bilbao.

“Athletic will press,” said Guardiola. “That’s why we have to go out and attack with discretion.” In other words, look for a tight match, because “I want the SuperCup,” said Guardiola.

–The infamous “feeling” that Guardiola had about Samuel Eto’o that led to his transfer, was clarified in yesterday’s press conference. “The decision to dispense with Eto’o was not a question of ‘feeling,'” said Guardiola. “Footballing there was no problem with Sammy, and I could work very well with him at a personal level. What I meant is that my ‘feeling’ after the success we achieved last year was that it was time for a change.”

Read MoreSaturday’s News: Guardiola on the Eto’o “feeling,” and more

August 21, 2009 / / Fantasy

[Update: I forgot the link to the group itself. Join here, password is barcelona]

Not to steal Hector’s thunder in his great post about ManCity’s goal, but I promised you a post about the Yahoo fantasy league I have created (English translation version here) and this is it. I will describe what one does in this league and how one conquers all foes. To get started, you’ll need a Yahoo ID, which is free, of course. So is this league, for that matter. It’s braggin’ rights on the line, broseph (and maybe a prize from me if I can pull my shit together by late May to get something awesome–it won’t be worth much, don’t worry).

Unlike Fantasy NFL and Fantasy EPL, there is no head-to-head meeting. It is league play based on your total points earned. So you do not have to worry whether or not the Osasuna defense will hold up to Sporting Gijon’s offensive prowess if you don’t want to. Read MoreThe Fantasy Futbol Post [Update]

August 21, 2009 / / Barcelona

Citeh

This is the first of what I hope will be a series over the course of the season that analyzes in detail goals that we both score and concede.  For its debut I will use the goal Citeh scored against us on Wednesday. So, start up the YouTube video and follow along. I’m going to tell you where to pause and what to look at:
Read MoreAnatomy of a Goal (Citeh Edition)

August 21, 2009 / / Barcelona

rafinha

Well, in light of the just-posted video of Guardiola getting down, you can see how he would be partial to Marcio Rafael Ferreira “Walk Like An Egyptian” de Souza, also known as Rafinha. He’s a fullback for Schalke, who has been on the outs with the club since their dispute about him playing in the Olympics. The 23-year-old wanted to play, and the club didn’t want him to play (as we did with Messi, everyone will recall). The FIFA ruling came down in favor of the U-23s, and he played, only to return to a 700,000 fine from Schalke for “breach of contract.”

Ouch.

Read MoreThe News, Friday edition, or “Who the heck is Rafinha?”

August 21, 2009 / / Barcelona