August 17, 2014 / / Barcelona
August 9, 2014 / / Analysis
Iniesta only comes up to here on me. No. Really.
Iniesta only comes up to here on me. No. Really.

The most fascinating debate of this summer and its transfer window, has been the debate raging about our two centerback signings, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen. A respondent on Twitter said to me that Vermaelen was fine, but that he was expecting a “spectacular” signing.

So of course, precisely because I am guilty of thinking too much, I started thinking about Barça, defense and conceding goals. Then I started looking around at goals that the team conceded, and came to a rather surprising conclusion: if the system is working, it pretty much doesn’t matter WHO is playing at CB. Stick a dead dog or a squirrel out there, and off ya go.

The reasons why this is so are fairly obvious: the elegant possession game that the team plays minimized opponent possession. No possession, no chances, no goals. Couple that with an effective press and your keeper had better have excellent powers of concentration, for the 1 or 2 times per match that he might actually have to do something.
Read MoreA case for the defense, aka “Not just any old defender, but almost”

August 8, 2014 / / Team News

toure

This will be a short one, in part because chocolate donuts await, but with the news of Thomas Vermaelen being all but done and the attendant wailing and rending of garments, I racked my brain to think of the last Barça transfer that satisfied everyone, and you know what? I came up with two, possibly: Toure Yaya and Henrik Larsson.

The former was because he was young, a giant who doth bestride the earth, and the price was right. Larsson came to us on a free, so that price was definitely right.

Let’s run down just a sampling of some, to give everyone a picture:
Read MoreMmmm, so satisfying, aka “A look back at transfer history”

July 26, 2014 / / Thoughts
July 19, 2014 / / Contests
July 14, 2014 / / Messi

messi

The World Cup is over and now the debates begin about Messi, roiling tempests that reduce the actual winner of the tournament to a seeming afterthought.

And they are so predictable that it’s almost lazy, as if by rote the same lines are drawn by the same groups of people:

— Look at the stats. He’s the best.
— He failed on the big stage, so he isn’t the GOAT.
— Y’all need to leave him alone, he is still the GOAT.
— Etc, etc, ad infinitum.

The truth is that there is no truth. It’s all immaterial.
Read MoreGOATS, success, failure and Lionel Messi, aka “Be here now.”

July 12, 2014 / / Barcelona

 

6 Ligas

2 Copas del Rey

6 Supercopas de España

3 Champions Leagues

2 UEFA Super Cups

2 FIFA World Cups

1 Olympic Gold Medal

Read MoreImmortality

July 11, 2014 / / Team News

suarez

Let’s be clear about this:

The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act by desperate men, a board trying to save its power-hungry asses and a new coach who doesn’t want to be like his predecessor. It’s at the terminus of an arc of lies and neglect of a sporting project.

At the end of the mountain of bollocks strewn by this board in the name of furthering its project is just the latest piece of crap in a veritable deluge of the stuff. Those sluggards didn’t even have the nerve to say to their new coaching hire “Yes we are supposed to just get you the players that you ask for, but we have to draw the line somewhere.”

The Luis Suarez signing was completed today, for a fee that nobody will ever know, ironic from a board that steeped its initial pitches in “transparency.” It’s also just one more bit of skullduggery from a group that is ostensibly running an organization for the good of the entity. But there is nothing good about this deal, not even the goals that Suarez will score because they will be tainted, smeared with the disgusting effluvia of soulless men.
Read MoreAnything to win, aka “Benvingut, Luis Suarez!”

July 6, 2014 / / Messi

clasmess

Messi doesn’t care. If you want to understand Messi, understand that.

It took a while for me to figure that out, but this most recent World Cup brought a lot into perspective for me regarding Lionel Messi. There have been some excellent articles on him: a piece that goes back to Rosario, a statistical breakdown that concludes Messi is impossible. And even before that, a lot of writing about a person, an entity, a thing that is impossible to put into words and next to impossible to be neutral about, because DID YOU SEE WHAT HE JUST DID??!!.

But I don’t think anyone can understand Messi because there’s nothing to understand. He just wants the ball.

Read MoreMisunderstanding Messi, aka “You don’t get it, but that’s okay. Hardly anyone does.”

July 4, 2014 / / Neymar

zuniga

“I never meant to hurt anyone. I was defending my shirt.”

The beautiful game wasn’t at all today as Brazil faced off against Colombia in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. The sad part is that you could see it coming even before the match started as the coach of Brazil, “Big Phil” Scolari, went on at a presser about no more Mr. Nice Guy, and people are going to see a different side of Brazil.

Against Colombia Brazil came out kicking, a tactic facilitated by the appalling refereeing display by Carlos Velasco Carballo, a ref who, it will shock no one, plies his trade in La Liga. He did nothing, called nothing, and rewarded the increasing violence with a series of stern gazes, but no cards. Then Colombia started kicking back.

Read MoreUgliness in the beautiful game, aka “This is a man’s world”

July 2, 2014 / / Analysis
Waka, waka — oh wait.

So, I was thinking of what to do during the World Cup and settled on a kind of predictions game. It’ll be too complicated if it was done game by game so my twitter followers kindly narrowed it down to a couple of simple questions, or for those who find it easier and/or more familiar – a kind of March Madness style bracket. I’ll detail both ways below.

Read MoreThe World Cup Predictions Pool Game Thing