Man of the Match, Barca v Almeria

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By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. FIRST!

    But in all seriousness, Kevin, if you’re as aging an athlete as you say you are, how in the hell do you know about Skeletor?

    1. Because Puyol is He-Man, Master of the Universe. So I must know about his arch-nemesis. 😀

    1. Yeah, especially the bit about Sevilla being so good that theyll surely beat Barcelona. 😉

  2. In the “good news” category, we don’t get Sevilla until January. Maybe they will have calmed down by then. The bad news is, we get Sevilla without Keita or The Yaya. Not sure what to do about that one, folks.

    1. They lose two starters too, though. Kanoute and a midfielder, right?

      I’m just happy to realize our position then if we hadnt made the etoo/ibra swap.

    2. not too worried about sevilla, sure they’ll be tough but we handled them last season and they are largely the same team, with a few changes.

      the main reason though was from watching the madrid game, madrid had zero possession for large portions of the match. essentially inviting sevilla to bombard them down the wings and to let navas absolutely destroy them.

      they’ll have a much harder time of even attempting that against barça.

      also, ibra is going to be so difficult for madrid to deal with in the box. they have trouble marking navas and renato hahaha, imagine BANGS in there? poor madrid, their defense must be shaking at the thought of zlatan.

  3. I wouldn’t worry about that. It will be at home, and they have more Africans on their team.

  4. Old biz: Top-heavy Liga o.k., superstarstudded teams bring fans and fun and moolah and tv rights to smaller teams. Latin internationals also make sure we US-ers get our Barca fix as Hispanic viewers tune in to see their home country talent knock around the Euroteams. You’ve got ‘Latino in America’ on CNN and Liga on FSE, ESPND and GTV. No coinky-dink. Gracias, Rafa. Also, TopLeaguers not interested in kicking around Xerex. Interested in Champions. That’s the real league. So you’ve got the toppers suffering for the Champions, the runners-up panting after the EuroCup, the midrangers desperate to qualify for EuroCup, and everyone else battling to stay out of relegation. There’s something ‘in it’ for everyone. BTW, which side had that awesome fan base spread out the big sign: “HEMOS VUELTO” (We’re back!) I mean, is that heart or what? Happy to be here, what a great audience. Last: Seville afire, Madrid doing the same they always do with more debt. CR9 injured but Benzema, Kaka invisible. A strong upper tier is good, give the blaugrana a little something to chew on. And yes, everyone will park the bus with tire-blowing fouls set up all ’round, and no ref will cry for Argentina and the boys, so as Kevin says MAN UP and figure it out.

  5. “iker no puede con todo” ahhh…

    love it!


  6. Maradona names 9 Argentina-based players to his squad. still no callup for Samuel, but Rolando Schiavi (Newell’s Old Boys, 36 years old, 2 caps), Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield, 21, 5 caps), and Fabian Monzon (Boca Juniors, 22, 1 cap) get the call for possibly the most important matches in Argentinian football’s recent history.

    callups for Palermo and Veron, but not for Esteban Cambiasso.

    who wants to bet on Argentina NOT qualifying for South Africa?

    1. But that would mean no Messi in the World Cup. That’s sooo wrong! How old will he be for the 2014 WC?

    2. yes but the world’s most expensive player has an even bigger chance of not getting to the WC which is the most ironic!

    3. Rolando Schiavi but no Walter Samuel?!?
      Is Maradona on drugs again?

      It seems like the defense will be weak, the midfield will lack creativity again and thus, the forwards won’t get any good balls to convert. Imagine if they fail to win against Peru…

    4. I just don’t get it.
      You have the best pool of players in the world to pick from and yet you pick people that are not, and never have been good enough to play for your national team.
      I think it is fairly self explanatory that players that are not good enough to play in Europe are not good enough to play for Argentina.
      Now I know, you have to promote the domestic game but fucking hell, get your team to the World Cup.

      Martin Palermo… not good enough. He once missed 3 penalties in one match for Argentina.
      Rolando Schiavi has never even played in Europe.

      Lucho Gonzalez, Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Mascherano, Maxi Rodriguez, Fernando Gago & Jesus Datolo all should be ahead of Veron.

      Messi, Higuain, Milito, Aguero, Lavezzi, Tevez & Zarate are all well ahead of Palermo. Heck Crespo deserves it more.

    5. Not a big fan of Palermo…but that guy still performs consistently. This was yesterday…

      And this was a year before

      Some say the inclusion of martin by Maradona is an attempt to win back the faith of Boca fans who started hating him after the Riquelme incident.

      Milito is injured. Lisandro Lopez had a fallout with Maradona. Aguero/Tevez/Lavezzi has not been performing so well for all these past matches. The biggest problem is in the midfield. Noone to control the tempo and bring extra creativity. Hopefully Aimar can bring it back. He has been quite good at Benfica alongside Saviola and Di Maria.

  7. *


  8. Hey, this comment on made me laugh out loud 🙂

    “Karim Beenzema : 37 million euro. Kaka : 65 million euro. Christiano Ronaldo : 94 million euro. Seeing Real Madrid lost : Priceless.”

    Comment of the day!

    1. add to those three Pepe and Xavi Alonso, combined worth about 60m, and they tell you that they were missing Lassana and Ronaldo..
      good teams don’t rely on one player, they miss a finishing touch or lack creativity, but Madrid yesterday were all over the place.
      I think even tottenham can use their money wiser than Perez.
      I usually don’t care what happens with them as long as we win, but when I remember the way they were mocking us for beating Almeria 1-0 only, I can’t resist but to enjoy their misery.

  9. //

    Our media says the board is monitoring this guy…

  10. Hey Kevenor Ramzi, or anyone. Would like to know what you guys thought to Almeria marking of both Xavi and Iniesta. The way i see it, it is actually quite a smart tactic against us. Sure they lose 2 defenders for the centre of their midfield, but it is a small cost considering they take out our creativity in midfield. It reminds me of how teams sometimes used to play the lakers, marking everyone and forcing Kobe to beat them one-one. While I know this
    sounds like suicide, is is actually not a bad gamble since Messi is like Kobe in a way- he will on somedays be less. effective. We are so great because we play the collective game, with 4/5 players at any one time being a threat. The odds are always worst when you have to rely on one.

    With the players we have, pep shouldnt have too much trouble finding a solution to this. In a way its a good lesson taught to us and will only cause us to diversify our tactics more. Im just a bit disillusioned that Messi isn’t really a God. He has been playing sloppy(but still with brilliance) the past few games. Think maybe the contract has affected him mentally.

    1. You had to come out with this about Messi when Cruyff himself said some thing similar, huh!?

  11. Also would like to add I think its quite sily Laporta sitting with opposition cub presidents. I mean these are the best barca days of his life, and he has to celebrate every goal with restraint not being able to “shout in your face!” or whatever.

    1. Laporta can’t watch a Barca goal without having facial spasms and an intolerable smirk schooze across his face. It’s a bit classless imo. I mean, it’s Almeria. But also got hearty chuckle out of Fiofio wiping his brow in exasperation at the Pizjuan yesterday. ‘I paid how many euros for THIS?’

  12. Hey guys,

    My laptop’s touchpad died so its at the warranty hence me being disconnected. I posted this take on the RM game at the Real offside:

    I think this was a case of RM’s lack of depth at the wide positions coming back to bite you folks in the behind. Some of us were glad that you guys let Robben go because of this very reason. Sevilla owned the wings. Adriano (after switching over) and Navas absolutely dominated their right (your left).

    At midfield, Pellegrini started two holding mids (Alonso and Diarra I) and two attacking mids that cannot be considered wingers in Kaka and Guti with Raul and Benzema up front. WTF!?!? Where’s the width? I presume that Pellegrini was counting on his fullbacks to bomb up and provide it while Alonso and Diarra played more withdrawn to cover the CB’s. Its the only thing that makes logical sense and not much at that. Why? The best way to neutralize attacking fullbacks is with even more aggressive wingers to keep them back or exploit the hole they leave. With a team as stacked at winger as Sevilla who also have their own attacking FB’s, why on earth would you count so much on attacking FB’s (ESPECIALLY when one is Marcelo)? Perotti, Navas, Capel, and Adriano were dominant and killed your FB’s. Ramos was constantly caught out of position while we all know about Marcelo. A lot of it was due to simply being outnumbered as Sevilla had winger/FB tandems ganging up on RM FB’s whereas RM had no wingers to back them up. Kaka and Guti, great players they are, nevertheless are no exactly renown for their defensive work rate and even less when it comes at the expense of their offense and out of their natural positions.

    I think this battle was won and lost in the wings. Zokora was a beast while Alonso and Kaka had off days but the wing play killed RM. Casillas almost saved the day and stole you guys a game but this was part Pellegrini having a bad game plan and part RM being very thin depth wise in regards to wing players and efficient fullbacks. What do you guys think? Half the problem has a solution…

    Regarding our own game, part of it was our guys having an off day and another part was Pep and Xavi taking too long to adjust to the man marking. There is a reason why teams hardly ever use man marking any more. You take away an attacking player at the expense of a defender. It becomes a 10 on 10 game which means more space which ususally means advantage: offense. If you have a team totally reliant on a single player then the tradeoff may be worth it but we should not be that type of team. Yaya should haver been brought in much earlier. Xavi should just have taken over as a holding mid with Yaya going up to partner Iniesta. Chico would have been negated and we would end up with a 10 on 10 game and much more space to play with. Iniesta then should have taken over the four. Usually he is unmarkable in man marking because of his speed and dribbling. However he is still not even close to being in form IMO.

    1. yes, they miss Robben a lot, the comment about them needing to buy Ribery was absolutely right.
      Kaka, Alonso, Guti and Grenero all like to play the ball through the middle, so they need to control the middle in the games to create meaningful chances, but first they needed to get the ball off Sevilla, none of the aforementioned four players is good in doing so, leaving only Diarra, trying to retain the ball against a Sevilla side that rely so much on the wings to attack, leaving Diarra not doing anything in the game, especially in the second half.
      I don’t think Ronaldo playing on the wing is that effective, and I don’t think he plays that much on the wing anyway, in the game against Marseille his replacement was Higuain, a second striker, and that sub didn’t particularly destabilize the balance of the team, at least not defensively, so the best he could have done tactically was preventing Adriano from going forward whenever he felt like it, and Ronaldo isn’t as effective one-on-one as Robben was for Madrid, or as Ribery would have been.
      I think Perez is the one to be thanked.

  13. Haha, a video of Iker yelling at Guti for not marking any players

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