Breath. In, pause, now out. Just let the air enter and leave smoothly, no hurries, no worries. Find your cave, don’t think about Marla.
Why the zen master approach? Because the league is back, baby, and it’s time to get into the season’s groove, but it’s too early for cardiac arrest. It is, however, time to do those breathing exercises and get ready to let loose on the world, one game at a time, at our miraculously high-decible level. This, of course, is what we’ve been waiting for. This is, naturally, what makes us so obsessive: Barça! Barça! Baaaarça! Hell yeah.
I do not subscribe to the idea that the past is dead, that we are obligated to win, that we deserve to win. We aren’t and we don’t. But we are obligated to play well, to play our brand of the truly beautiful game. In the process we will score goals and win games and that, of course, is the point, but it is also a fun bonus for us cules, who, day-in-day-out dream of tight passing triangles and one-two combinations more often than is healthy. I walk down hallways and play imaginary passes to imaginary teammates around coworkers who have no idea how badly they were just schooled. It’s thrilling. And not the least bit lame. You do it, too.
A quick and dirty news update, folks, to pass the time before Isaiah’s nifty-keen Getafe preview.
—Francesco Totti says that he deserves his fat contract extension, because early in his career, he turned us down. So there. Rock on, dude.
—Iniesta and Marquez are back in the side for Getafe. Both have received the okay from the medicos. Ghostface’s return took longer than usual, because he took the understandable risk of playing in the Champions League final. That match set back his recovery, but he’s adamant that he would do it again. Love me some Ghostface.
–It’s two months on ice for Thiago, who went under the knife for a ruptured meniscus.
Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war goeth the famous literary quote by Shakespeare, with an amendment (and all due apologies) by Kevin:
Cry incompetent, and unleash the dyspeptic dogs of war, gibbering, drooling, accusatory beasts thou art, to take a chunk out of the oh, so deserving backsides of Ruh Roh Dumbenech and Diego Maradumber.
Now, cules everywhere can be in some small part, thankful for the coaching ineptitude of Raymond Domenech and Diego Maradona. After all, once they do the trick and France and Argentina are out of the competition, those pesky international obligations will be over, once and for all, right?
As we all know, in a move that seemingly inspired more controversy than Jose Mourinho’s entire career of playing mind games combined, FC Barcelona traded one of the best strikers in its entire history who happened to still be in the prime of his career for a certain Big Ass Ninja Gangsta Swede (BANGS). The particular horse that is the issue of whether his transfer was right or wrong has already been killed, dismembered, and nuked so let’s instead focus on ways in which we might expect Pep to use our newly acquired BANGS.
“The signing of the Swede affects the whole team including even the goalkeeper. Valdes now has a new option available: kicking long balls for Ibra to either hold or take and attack. Same thing for the defenders and, it goes without saying; the midfielders and forwards will also have new options.”
So, what new options are we talking about here? Let’s have a look. Today we’ll start out with what he adds to one of our favorite tweaks from last season: the False 9 formation.
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.
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.)
Bojan 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.
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.
There’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?
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.