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

August 31, 2009 / / La Liga
August 31, 2009 / / Preview

Team09-10

I previously covered the entire league in preview format, but what of Barcelona’s particular chances? We’ve got our transfers to fully integrate and our schedule to parse. Because there are enough matches to go around with a small squad (20 first team players as of this writing, but probably going to fall), time on the field will not be a problem for anyone. Anytime there’s an injury, there will be a Copa del Rey match to play in or a league match before a CL match. There are also the canteranos who will step up and the veterans (is Leo a veteran by now? Is Bojan?) who will play as many matches as their bodies will allow.

The league, then, is the priority, as always. I know that some readers will say “No, the Champions League is more important!” but I disagree fully and completely. I love the CL as much as anyone, I think, but La Liga is the title that matters. If I’m going to choose one to win each year, it would, without question, always be La Liga. I would never sacrifice the league in order to win the CL, not once. Sure, it might shut the EPL fanboys up a bit if we did win the CL continuously, but, again, it’s not as important to the identity and history of the club–at least from my perspective. So, because I value the domestic campaign more than the European campaign (attentive readers should go back to my older writings and cherry pick a few choice lines stating the opposite of this, especially when I argued for a Europe-wide league, a true Champions League; I deeply regret anything I said that would remove teams from a domestic league even if it was just for one year), I find it worthwhile to focus on the games themselves. Read MoreBarcelona First Half Preview

August 29, 2009 / / Review

puyoluefa

This one took some time, folks, not only for our beloved Barca, but for me.

For them, the reasons were obvious: We came up against a side with next to no interest in playing football today. Their sole aim was to stymie our attacks, clog the midfield, have at least 5 men in the box and jam up the passing lanes. And, if a counterattack opportunity presented itself, they would be happy to take it.

Welcome to what we’re going to be seeing for most of 2010, so get used to more 1-0 or 2-1 wins, rather than 5-0 blowouts.

The picture that you see here is the epitome of truth and justice. The captain of the best team on the night is hoisting the trophy. It’s also a picture of my Man of the Match, Carles Puyol.

I can hear it now: “New site and already, Kxevin’s out of his mind.”

Whatever. Man of the Match is man of the match. The whole match. Other players (except for Abidal) came and went, going through periods of ineffectiveness, playing with the knowledge of a Monday Liga match, or a World Cup qualifier. Read MoreBarca 1, Shakhtar 0, “Champions of European Champions” edition (edit)

August 28, 2009 / / Liveblog
August 28, 2009 / / Barcelona