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
August 20, 2009 / / Barcelona

tourex2

Despite this frightening moment during last night’s Gamper Trophy match, one that had scientists everywhere running around like frightened rabbits, shouting something about “The Toure Doomsday Scenario,” the earth is still on its axis. Whew! We worried about what might happen when both Toures were on the same pitch….imploding galaxies, small children being sucked into a vortex, time standing still.

But thankfully, we’re all fine.

And in other news, now that the world can continue:

–Regarding his selection for the Gamper match, Guardiola said “Bite me.” Okay. Really. “I did not want to burden the senior players with minutes, taking into account the important committments that will come.” He added, “Despite the result, I’m happy with the way things turned out. Anyone who doubts me just needs to go and read barcelonafootballblog.com, where the match review will make clear why I am happy. So there.” (Only some of this quote is made up. Really.)

Read More“The world didn’t end,” a.k.a. Today’s news, and more

August 19, 2009 / / Barcelona

Spain Soccer Barcelona Ibrahimovic

Not quite, but close.

For the record, yes, a match was played today. Yes, we lost. But everything was subsumed by the start of the second half, when our very own BAS took to the pitch to rapturous cheers. As he strode out with Messi and Alves, you could hear everyone thinking “This is it. It’s Hammer Time.”

Not so fast. But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

Pep Guardiola, leading up to this edition of the Gamper Trophy match, was saying to anybody who would listen, “We really care about the SuperCup, and will use this match as more training.” Shudder! The impudence of this guy!

And nobody really believed him, until he rolled out with: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Fontas, Maxwell, Busquets, Gudjohnsen, The Yaya, Pedro!, Jeffren and Krkic. Then it was like “Uh, wait a minute. He wasn’t kidding.”

Let’s dispense with the goal against right away. It came off a busted play, as so many goals against us do. Busquets laid off a sloppy pass outside the Citeh box, and because we were pressing, the middle was open. A nice ball to Petrov, who was kept onside by a sluggish (injured?) Puyol. Petrov beat Pinto, who stood there, waiting to die. It wasn’t as much the high line that killed us as it was one player not lining up with the rest. Captain Caveman can be forgiven. S’all good.

Read MoreBarca 0, Manchester City 1, a.k.a. “Wait….this wasn’t all about the BAS?” (edit: Sorry, Kid)