September 9, 2009 / / Barcelona

Welcome to the new look of Barcelona Football Blog. You’ll immediately notice several new things, of course, but there are some things I would like to point out in addition to the visual differences (background image, sidebar).

First, I’d like to point out that this new look is the work of our IT man, Tarun, who is a juggernaut behind the scenes. He’s the hidden gem behind the Messi-like qualities of our mercurial poster, Kevin, and our deep-lying midfield maestro, Hector. I suppose that makes me the Hleb of the group. Shit.

Read MoreBFB Upgrade: A New Look, Same Content

September 9, 2009 / / Injuries

SWEDEN SOCCER  ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

Could Zlatan Ibrahimovic, shown here rocking his new coif, be considering retirement from international footy? Good question. What he said most recently is “That possibility will be considered after the World Cup finals. It is important for a player of my level to play internationals, but I’ve been to two European Championships and two World Cups.”

He wouldn’t be the first to start thinking about the wear and tear, and how it relates to his paying gig. Craven and self-serving? I’m sure that Sweden football fans would say yes. But this cule says “Yay!” (Which is always a vowel away from Yaya.)

Read MoreMata, Fabregas, Robinho, Ibrahimovic retiring? Lots of news today

September 7, 2009 / / Statistics

bojangoalBojan Krkic is an interesting question in our lineup. Not necessarily from a talent perspective, but rather from an efficiency and capability perspective. There are those who question Bojan’s abilities and his place within the squad. Those are legitimate questions, so long as they’re framed in the right way with the requisite information available. Naturally, I’m here to provide some decimal points for you to look at when comparing Bojan’s current contributions to the team with his previous contributions.

I previously posted this as a comment on his birthday post, but I’m going to repost it in an easy-to-read table so that it’s clearer what’s going on. I’ll draw my own conclusions at the end of the post, but I’d like to point out here that 1) you should draw your own conclusions as well, 2) these stats are from all three of our competitions last year (I haven’t weighted the value of the competitions simply because that would require me to qualify the competitive differences between the competitions), and 3) I haven’t included all the available stats, partly because that’d be a lot more work, but mostly because I don’t believe in the assists stat and don’t want to sully my “scientific study” with that hoodoo.

Read MoreStatistical Study: Bojan Krkic

September 7, 2009 / / Tactics

newsboy

Yes, just because it’s a holiday here in the ‘States, doesn’t mean that we stop working. Here’s the news, Labor Day edition:

Thierry Henry says in effect, “We’re bored and we’re clueless,” in one of the strongest statements yet against the regime of Ruh-Roh Dumbenech. To wit: Speaking to Domenech last Friday at France’s training camp, Henry was quoted by daily Le Parisien as saying to Domenech: “Coach, we have something to tell you. I am speaking in the name of the squad.

“We are getting bored during your training sessions. In 12 years with the French team, I have never been in such a situation.

“We do not know how to play, where to be on the pitch, how to organise. We do not know what to do. We have no style, no guidelines. It is not working,” said Henry, France’s top scorer with 49 goals from 112 caps.

Wow. That’s heavy, because Henry is also squad captain. Imagine Puyol walking up to Guardiola and in effect saying “Dude, you suck.” Read MoreLaporta on Rijkaard; new deals for Puyol, Messi; Henry speaks (update!)

September 6, 2009 / / Team News

ExtraThere’s some pretty funny stuff that goes on during the break for Internationals, some that makes the bravest attempt to pass for actual news. So with this, we begin the futile, Quixotean attempt to be a sliver of what Pep’s Place was for Barca fans: A great source of news and information.

Wait, we’ve already given up (boy, that was fast!).

We’ll still do news, but we’re going to be calling bullshit on “news” where it’s warranted, with plenty of commentary, because that’s just how we roll.

Okay. Now we’re ready.

–Goal.com has ginned up reports of a winter transfer list coming from unnamed sources (the same one that told them Villa was signed?) that includes the names of Poulsen, Vieira, Affelay and a blast from our “signed, sealed and delivered” past, Hernanes. Read MoreNews feed: Vieira for us; Henry for Robinho?

September 5, 2009 / / Barcelona

messi_ronaldinho_1

Does this have anything to do with Barcelona? Besides Messi and Alves possibly being on the pitch at the same time? NO.

Are international breaks boring unless you also happen to be a rabid American college football fan and the season starts today although you still feel emptiness inside due to not watching Barca for a weekend (that’s me by the way)? Yes.

As such, we decided that maybe an Argentina-Brazil preview/game post would be in order if only to help us past the time with no Barca on TV. So, here you go.

Read MoreArgentina vs Brazil Preview/Game Post

September 4, 2009 / / Barcelona

thong buy vs yaya

*Hector Note: Due to technical issues with my laptop I had to pretty much re-do the second section of this. I’ll post it up later today (you’ll see EDITED next to the post title and now that I updated it). Hopefully this keeps you guys busy until around mid-day.*

Here we go again, folks. It’s Part II (finally). In this installment we’re going to be covering what actually happens when we lose the ball and how our ball pressure philosophy has seemingly intangible benefits on our players.

In football, the hardest moments are the transitions (offense to defense and vice-versa). This is when we, or the opponent for that matter, are the most vulnerable. To briefly recap Part I, for pressing to be efficient it is vital that the defensive line compress the field and to keep the distance between our lines as short as possible without committing tactical suicide. This makes sure that we have plenty of players around the ball to pressure if it is lost and delays possible counterattacks. This tactic has inherent risks which we accept as tradeoffs for our offensive style as well as risks that can result from individual mistakes which must be minimized.

Read More“¡Corred, cabrones, corred!” (Run, you bastards, run!) a.k.a. Ball Pressure Part II [COMPLETED]

September 3, 2009 / / Fantasy
September 2, 2009 / / El Banquillo
September 2, 2009 / / Tactics

diver

“The ref better be looking at this shit, yo!”

A ruling has come down that has immense potential, for both good and bad. UEFA has slapped Arsenal striker Eduardo with a two-match ban for “intentionally deceiving the referee.”

Editorials have weighed in, calling it abritrary and rather silly, like shutting the barn door after the horse has been spotted in the downtown area. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has likened the penalty to a “witch hunt.”

Why does this matter to us? Read MoreDiving in footy, a.k.a. “The Russian judge gives it a 0.”

August 31, 2009 / / Injuries

ibragoal

Yes the picture is big, but not as big as the moment. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, our big-ass Swede, got off the mark by scoring the first of what should be many, many goals for Barca. It came off (yet another) exquisite Dani Alves cross that was deflected by Gregory, the omnipresent Gijon defender.

Watching the play develop, BANGS broke away from his defender into the space left on the uncovered back post and headed the ball in. Pretty easy goal, right? Read MoreBarca 3, Sporting Gijon 0, a.k.a. “Half-speed drubbing,” and BANGS breaks his duck