October 6, 2009 / / State of the Liga

Lies, damned lies, and pie charts.
Lies, damned lies, and pie charts.

Everyone has their own point-of-view on things. Mine is usually that pie is a solid breakfast. Also, I like statistics mixed with a heavy dose of perspective. I’m a fan of numbers because they sound fancy and you can bend them to your will fairly easily, yet I can claim to not understand them.

Today’s statistical analysis is merely an overview of what has transpired so far this season, focusing mostly on Barça’s current achievements and personnel, for obvious this-is-a-Barça-site reasons. Read MoreState of the Liga: 6 Down, 32 To Go

October 6, 2009 / / Barcelona

Xavi and Chico

 Xavi: Chico, you do know that the game ended two days ago, right?                                                                                                                                                         

Chico: Chill, Xavi. Just let me finish going wee wee and I’ll leave. 

There has been a worried reaction in the culé world about Chico’s now famous man marking job on Xavi during last weekend’s Almeria game. A bronze statue replica of the comic strip above is now being built and will be installed in front of Almeria’s stadium.  Hugo essentially said: “haha! I made you traded Xavi for Chico! That’s a net win for me all day long”. False, Hugo.  False.

That strategy works against teams that are extremely reliant on a single player for creative inspiration. Maradona’s Napoli and Argentina being examples 1(a) and 1(b) of this and notice how it did not stop him from becoming in the eyes of many, [ARGUABLY lest I invoke outrage] the best player in history. We are not Napoli or Argentina. Either one of Iniesta, Yaya, Messi, or Zlatan has more creativity than the whole teams of Almeria or Malaga combined. So, what do we do?

  Read MoreMan Marking and You

October 6, 2009 / / Thoughts

I’ve harped on this before, but apparently it bears repeating. Sport is reporting that Peruvian national team midfielder Ranier Torres, a 29-year old who plays for Universitario in Peru, is promising to put the boot in hard against Messi. Specifically he has claimed that he wants to imitate Luis Reyna’s 1985 Peru-Argentina man-marking of, probably not coincidentally, Diego Maradona. For his part, Maradona remembers the game for being kicked, rather than for being shut down. Read MoreLegs and Yellow Cards: Why These Things Matter

October 5, 2009 / / Team News

Here’s something you don’t see every day:

Given that 45 yards is pretty far to head a ball, I’ll give him credit for getting it on target, but damn, that was a Valdes-at-his-worst (Zambrotta-at-his-best?) move by the keeper that would have had the lot of us screaming bloody murder. Note the Velez fans at the end looking stunned…what a brave bunch they are, traveling to La Bombonera.

Whatever, Barça, after the jump: Read MoreTidbits From A World at Rest: News in an International Break

October 3, 2009 / / La Liga
So. Happy. Right. Now!
So. Happy. Right. Now!

Wow. What a golazo! That it was the only goal wasn’t really surprising when you watched the match for more than 10 minutes, as Hugo Sanchez unveiled a new formation, the 0-10-0, in an effort to keep us from scoring, shamefully playing for a draw at the Camp Nou.

Thankfully, the footy gods brought us the new, calm Pedro!, who spun and smoked a shot into the far upper 90, that was astonishing. Maxwell will get credit for the assist, but it’s a gift because that goal was all P!.
Read MoreBarca 1, Almeria 0, a.k.a. “Wallowing in it.”

October 3, 2009 / / La Liga
October 3, 2009 / / Thoughts
Get me some more players! Now!
Get me some more players! Now!

As Gordon Gekko said in the movie “Wall Street,” “Greed is good.”

But is it? And what kind of greed are we talking about here?

We all know that the Big Two Liga clubs, Barcelona and the Evil Empire, have started the season perfect. Both clubs have also won pretty easily (if you look at the scorelines), while not at their best. Players are still learning each other, there are various injuries to contend with, etc, etc. Some matches they’ve been sleepwalking, others have been at half-speed.

And yet, 5-0 for the both of ’em. Is this good?
Read MoreAre we good for La Liga?

October 2, 2009 / / La Liga

La Liga Preview: Barça – Almería, Saturday 2pm, ESPN Deportes

Hey, this winning thing is fun...let's keep doing it.
Hey, this winning thing is fun...let's keep doing it.

Remember when you were younger and sports was all about the thrill, the spectacle, the careless joy of watching your team play? I remember those days too, but something happened and it became an activity fraught with peril. That massive change in approach came about rapidly for me, as I watched Weligton turn joyous play into a trap of injury possibilities.

I’m still seething about the lack of action against a player who purposefully attempted to injure not one, but two players in last week’s match. I do not, for a moment buy that it’s an overreaction on my part to demand Weligton be suspended for at least 3 matches and fined a commensurate amount. The reason has nothing to do with last week’s match, which we won anyway thanks to both individual brilliance and collective play that was worth far more than Malaga’s butcher tactics. Read MoreKick the Ball. Or the Man. Whatever.

September 30, 2009 / / Champions League
Come, and I shall lead ye....
Come, and I shall lead ye....

Well, now. Not sure what to say about that one. Actually, I do:

Elegant, workmanlike and except for two Keystone Kops moments, drama-free. Dinamo Kyiv rolled into the Camp Nou, full of the same quotes that have been buttressing the hopes of every club we’ve played so far this season, stuff like “Well, we’re going in to win,” “Barca can be beaten, blah, blah, blah.” And perhaps we can, but you aren’t going to win it by setting up shop in your own end, kicking at every ball and player that comes near you.

I’m not a footballing genius, but I know that much.
Read MoreBarca 2, Dinamo Kyiv 0, a.k.a. “Man the ramparts!”