Bravo and Ter Stegen: The Importance of Experience In Football and The Need For Something New

27 March 2015

For months, Barcelona fans knew that the club was close to signing Marc-André ter Stegen. Obviously, he was regarded as the perfect replacement for Victor Valdes. Ter Stegen was known as the “next Neuer” and “one of the best young goalkeepers in the world”. I have never been a fan of young player hype because […]

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Posted in Barcelona, Thoughts60 Comments

The rest of the season, aka “Dancing the sardana through a minefield”

25 March 2015

So. The Classic win was immense, leaving Barça with a 4-point lead in the Liga standings and culers with much rejoicing. But here’s why you shouldn’t be planning that victory parade yet. The rest of the season for Barça is a nasty collection of collisions. Let’s have a look, and compare to the RM run […]

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Posted in Analysis, Champions League, La Liga, Thoughts40 Comments

Barça aesthetics: The judges have decided to give it a 2

24 March 2015

After the cheering stops … no sooner have the echoes of the exultant roars of the very last goal dissipated than the ripping at the carcass begins. Cruijff likes the result, but didn’t like the football. Various post-match recaps describe Barça as more RM-like than RM. Another says that this Classic put the knife well […]

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Posted in Analysis, Champions League, La Liga, Thoughts33 Comments

Luis Suarez and the act of forgiveness

23 March 2015

The truly personal piece – even as obviously anything written here is from the writer’s own worldview – is rare for me. My hope is that in banging this out it will help not only me come to grips with a situation, but other culers who are struggling in the same way. During yesterday’s Classic, […]

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Posted in Thoughts27 Comments

Barça 2, RM 1, aka “A tale of two matches.”

22 March 2015

This is the part where the joy dissipates into a blizzard of muttering, whining and beating on unfavored whipping boys. But I am impatient with that kind of stuff, so permit me to present a wee bit of perspective at the end of a fascinating, tiring, fraught day. As one of my favorite Twitter accounts […]

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Posted in El Clasico, La Liga, Messi, Neymar, Tactics, Thoughts39 Comments

Classic tactics, and just how important IS the midfield today?

22 March 2015

Mere hours away now, as that weird feeling starts to build. For me, the left corner of my mouth begins to twitch involuntarily, a stress reaction. So let’s think about some stuff, to take our minds off. A great many things were different when these two teams last squared off. RM was the best team […]

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Posted in Analysis, El Clasico, La Liga, Messi, Neymar, Thoughts60 Comments

El Clasico: the biggest, most meaningful match that doesn’t matter that much

21 March 2015

The big one. It’s almost time for the biggest match of the season that doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as people think it surely must, the Classic, Barça v RM, top of table vs second place. You can ladle on all kinds of stuff, Messi/Ronaldo, Bale/Neymar, midfield vs midfield now that Modric is back, […]

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Posted in Analysis, El Clasico, La Liga, Messi, Neymar, Thoughts21 Comments

Take what you need, need what you take

20 March 2015

In my day job at the Chicago Tribune I often work with our film critic, whom I tease with some regularity about his “job.” “You go to movies and interpret what you saw. That ain’t no job. That’s Saturday night.” He takes it in good humor because he’s a super-nice guy, and he knows I’m […]

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Posted in Analysis, Champions League, La Liga, Messi, Thoughts15 Comments

Barça 1, Manchester City 0 (3-1 agg.), aka “Results are results, but beauty is enduring”

18 March 2015

Imagine being Ivan Rakitic. You are the best player on your team, a coveted midfielder who is chased by big clubs. You come to Barça and your aren’t even the best midfielder, never mind being the best player. You practice, you watch, and what must you think. You play a Champions League match in a […]

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Posted in Analysis, Champions League, Messi, Neymar, Thoughts58 Comments

Guardiola returns. “Booooo!”, aka “When a friend becomes an enemy”

18 March 2015

Pep Guardiola is, for many culers, coming home today. After all, the coach who led FC Barcelona is returning, to sonnets of praise and rose-strewn paths. Those times were wonderful – Coldplay, weeping, trophies and victory parades – and the memories will always remain. Silver! The complexity with the incestuous world of football, where today’s […]

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Posted in Champions League, Thoughts31 Comments

Stages of Fandom

18 March 2015

We’ve all been there before. The frustration, the hypocrisy, the never ending sense of ennui, the powerful urge to deactivate all social media accounts, throw out all technology in your possession and embrace life in the wilderness, the— Wait. Maybe you’re not actually there yet. Maybe you’ve never been there. (That’s possible, though such luck is […]

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Posted in Nonsense7 Comments

Eibar 0, Barça 2, aka “An acceptance of active stasis”

14 March 2015

Football is funny, because it likes nothing more than to confound us, to giggle at vehement prognostications and assertions that issue forth from bile-flecked keyboards. This season has been something of an object lesson in that, no matter its eventual outcome. From notions that Messi is past it, to Pique being a worthless playboy and […]

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Posted in Analysis, La Liga, Messi, Thoughts50 Comments

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