December 26, 2014 / / Analysis
Photo courtesy of FC Barcelona
Photo courtesy of FC Barcelona

The challenge of holding a minority opinion is whether it stands up to the litmus test of logic.

A popular worldview, supported by many an intelligent football chronicling voice, is that Barça under Luis Enrique is a team that is losing its identity. The latest piece, and an excellent one from Sid Lowe, makes the case as eloquently as any I have seen before and will likely see even as for me, the team has been losing said identity since before Guardiola’s last year, and that loss isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

So in the struggle to reconcile ideas that apparently need fingers on a keyboard to wrap a mind around, here’s a view from an outlier on judgments of Enrique and what/how he is doing in the here and now. It’s a question of not only what you see when everyone sees the same thing, but what is affecting your field of view in how you react to what you see.
Read MoreEnrique and life on the fringe, aka “Stuff is happening, but why?”

December 20, 2014 / / Analysis

cordpedro

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha (pant, pant!) bwahahahahahahahaha!

Whew! Now that I am composed, Barça put the hammer down on Cordoba 5-0, to roll into the holiday break with a bang. This was a match was either wasn’t very interesting or fascinating as can be, depending on what you were looking for.

Prima facie Barça did what it was supposed to do in stomping a relegation side in Cordoba. 5-0. So what. Couldn’t they score any more? They put eight past Huesca. Do these guys suck, or what?

What was interesting for me was that Cordoba had 8, sometimes 9 in the box, determined to prevent Barça from scoring. Once Pedro stamped that first notion with a giant FAIL, their plan B was to stay close and maybe nick one on the counter. Luis Suarez’s soft shoe nutmeg put paid to that, and the rest was history.
Read MoreBarça 5, Cordoba 0, aka “Does it matter how the chef stirs the pot?”

December 19, 2014 / / Player Profiles
December 18, 2014 / / Barcelona
December 17, 2014 / / Messi

FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga

The question was a simple one, posed by a favorite Twitter account, that got at the core of everything about this game that has become so much more for so many.

The more BVB fail the more I cheer for them and like them. What’s wrong with me?

My reply was a simple one, that “Hope is at the core.of sport. It’s why it’s all so beautiful. It isn’t the winning. It’s that moment when hope is realized.”

Even when humanity intrudes into sport, making game irrelevant, when all you want do is stop thinking about something and crying, hope is a part of it all.
Read MoreHope and beauty, aka “Making the nonsensical make sense”

December 17, 2014 / / Analysis

adama

Adama Traore. Sigh, swoon, right? Riiiight.

After his goal against Huesca, the hype rose to an even higher level for this astonishing talent who has an even more astonishing physique. But let’s have a closer look at the situation, how it is and what it might or might not mean.

Traore scored that goal against Huesca, a Segunda B side. He should have done exactly what he did, which was own those defenders with pace and strength, and put the ball past the keeper. It’s just as the first team, which won the match 8-1, was supposed to do, particularly as Huesca’s lineup was chosen with its real competition (they are currently top in Segunda B) in mind.

So what do we have with Adama Traore, besides blinding talent in a man’s body?

Don’t know yet. Could be Neymar with power, could be Deulofeu with muscles. But a few things have to happen for us to know decisively, all most likely away from Barça.
Read MoreThe talent complexity, aka “Having your cake and the patience to let it bake”

December 14, 2014 / / Barcelona
December 13, 2014 / / Analysis

getpdr

The rain, the pitch, no penalty, Enrique sucks, Alves …

The quest for blame in the wake of a negative result scatters thoughts like dandelion spores in a hurricane, a fascinating search that often finds them landing in odd places and pollinating certain ideas.

But today’s draw vs Getafe was a great many things all at once, too many to lay at the feet of an individual unless that individual is the Getafe team, which played like lions today. Want to blame someone? Curse them and their moving, aggressive, systematic defense that took full advantage of a Barça team coming off of a very difficult mid-week match against a strong European opponent.

Full credit to a brave opponent, who were it not for a couple of Claudio Bravo saves, could have caused a much bigger upset than the absence of full points for Barça.

Rather than playing the blame game, let’s assess something of what happened today, and whether there are any solutions at hand.
Read MoreGetafe 0, Barça 0, aka “The correct answer to the blame question is ‘all of the above’”

December 12, 2014 / / Barcelona
December 10, 2014 / / Champions League
December 10, 2014 / / Analysis
December 7, 2014 / / Analysis

espmess

When people snark and caterwaul about the Liga talent gap, today’s Catalan derby serves as an excellent illustration.

More than a tale of two halves, it was as stark a depiction of haves vs have nots as you will ever see.

It’s a fairly easy thing to summarize this match, and the truth lies in that summation: Espanyol played a perfect half of football, while Barça was far from perfect. In the second half Barça raised its level, rendering what Espanyol did irrelevant. 5-1. Done.

Is it really as simple as it seems from that stark paragraph? Well, yes.
Read MoreBarça 5, Espanyol 1, aka “The aesthetics of results”