Barcelona – Sporting Gijon Liveblog

I was going through such Barcelona withdrawals that I scored a 15 on the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment (for alcohol) scale. I’m depending on the boys to treat me today. I have a tremor so let’s get to the lineup:

Starting XI: Valdes Alves Pique Mascherano Adriano Keita Xavi Iniesta Cuenca Fabregas Pedro

Bench: Pinto, Puyol, Muniesa, Dos Santos, Sergi, Tello, Sanchez


I’m guessing it’s a 4-3-3, as Alves or Adriano would have to play one of the 3 defenders if it was a 3-4-3. Excited to see some young guys get some time. Tune in shortly before 2:00 PM EST


  1. Well, we have Tello and Alexis on the bench, so we do have attacking options to bring in if the lineup doesn’t bring the goals.

    And Muniesa’s on the bench too!

    1. My last memory of him is that fast red card too, but I imagine he featured in some friendlies or pre-season matches?

  2. I hope pep will giveTello enough time on the field.No matter how much he proves hes worthy it by changing the game when he enters.BUT PEP STILL PUTS HIM ON THE BENCH NOW AND THEN!

    1. But if he has proven his ability to change the game, maybe the best choice is to use his as a sub when we need it?

    2. exactly Calvin.

      Every quality team needs a super sub like Tello. He makes the opponents go like jelly in an earthquake and since our preferred front 3 is mesclexis, so its justified to keep grooming Tello with the cameo role for now.

  3. OMG!

    Thanks Piqué for waking up the whole team 😀

    What a great fighting spirit in the 2nd half. First half was pure sh*t, but the 2nd made up for it!
    A Messi-esque lob by Xavi to seal the deal. We’ve seen Xavi-esque passes from Messi, now Xavi emulates one of the special skills of Messi, too. Wonderful!

  4. Great fighting spirit shown by the team!

    Oh, and Calvin, do give us more than three seconds after the match to thank you for hosting the LB :p – I wasn’t able to say it there, so thanks a bunch!

  5. What do you guys make of the sending off. Personally I didnt think it was. Besides its no use arguing about referees, no matter how much you complain the decisions wont be reversed. This is what keita and masch have to say abou it all from Barcastuff

    Keita: Many complaints about the Referee, you noticed it on the pitch too? We did, but we shouldnt talk about it.

    Masch: Referee: Ill repeat what Ive been saying for a long time now: I dont talk about referees. We have to overcome all that.

    Iniesta was our best player on the night. The more I watch Pedro the more frustrated I get. Boy are we crap without Messi, if this is anything to go by. Please Messi never get injured or suspended again

    1. Our awesomeness has never depended on any particular player. So we are NOT “crap” without Messi.

    2. But hey, u cant really prove that our best line up without Messi (assuming everybody is fit and on form) would really be far from your “awesomeness” frame of reference.

      I just replied to ur initial post because i thought it was a bit unfair to the brilliant, heart warming comeback! perhaps i can say that the absence of Messi played an important role in how we dealt with 10 men and kept pressing the way we did. then again, cant prove that. Lets just flood the guys with praise. Thats all im saying 🙂

    3. Even when we went down to 10 I never thought that we would lose the match because of what this team has achieved in the past with or without Messi

    4. Er, what? Our particular set of players is what makes our team. I see what you’re trying to get at, but it’s a pure logical fallacy. Salia is right to comment that without Messi we are not as deadly up front — this is a given, he is the best in the world by a large margin.

    5. i only made a statement which said “absence of messi PERHAPS worked well for us in the context of 2nd half”. One cant prove the statement experimentally, but “pure logical fallacy”? then im afraid the burden of proof lies with you, if say so.

      But i’d expand more to that statement i made.
      At 1-1, and 1 men down, we had no room to lose frequent possession. Imagine the alternate reality with Leo on. Okay the best player in the world would be likely to produce those moments of brilliance and seal the match but based on his recent form, he loses possession more that often these days while making his darting runs. And that results in below par pressing from Leo, only momentarily. Plus Dani (offensively off form for a long time now) is usually more hyper in presence of Leo. And that means more chances of making unforced errors.

      All i said to Salia that you cannot ask for a better comeback than this, what we saw in the last 35 mins.
      Keeping in mind that this match was played after a international break, and most of us are still recovering to reach top form.

    1. I seriously think it helped us to win the match.

      About the decision per se: He was the last man, so it was a decision according to the rules. Even if he also hit the ball, you cannot argue against the sending off imo. Another ref might have shown a yellow, nonetheless the red card was absolutely ok.

    2. I only got a chance to see bits of the match. However, playing almost the entire second half with only ten men v eleven, dominating possession and out scoring the opponent 2-1 during that time is pretty impressive. What team can dominate possession whilst down a man? In the modern game or in the history of the game?

      The caveat is that it was against 19th placed Gijon in a match where the league has already been decided.

      We better not take Leverkusen lightly come Wednesday even though we’re up 1-3. They beat Bayern Munich 2-0 today.

    3. Bayern Munich’s defence is simply too weak.

      The first goal was hilarious, first of all a big mistake by Neuer who misjudged the ball, but then ALL Bayern defenders stopped playing although the ball was still in play. Boateng, Badstuber and Rafinha were just standing around and complaining to the ref ^^
      Boateng and Rafinha are jokes in general, if you asked me. Badstuber has potential, but with at least 50% of the defense being at best mediocre, you won’t win anything.
      We will beat Leverkusen on Wednesday, I’m very sure of this. And Bayern will not get past Milan, EE or us, no CL final for them in their own stadium. Maybe they’ll not get past Basel after all:)

    4. Yeah I agree after watching numerous replays that it was a sending off. But this was the wake up call that we needed before that incident and the equaliser there was no spark or fire in any of the players. I think they were more focused on the Bayer Leverkusen match but thats to be expected looking at our position in the League. Even if Real lose Tomorrow we still cant win La Liga. I will never give up hope in this team but I am being a realist

  6. Sanchez out with a groin injury? Wtf!?!? Can things get any better on the injury front?

    I hope he’s not out for too long and it was mostly precautionary to remove him. Once someone gets official news please update us. Thanks.

    1. This Chilean fellow gets injured more than Iniesta & Cesc combined. How is that possible?

    2. Maybe his body is still adjusting to the overwhelming and consistent work rate he puts in every match. Dont worry, i guess he’d be as fit as Leo in seasons to come.

  7. Hi guys I’m new to commenting but I’ve been lurking through the comment threads for quite a while.

    I just wanted to say that this game reaffirmed how much I love this team. I started watching Barça after the World Cup in 2010 because I fell in love with the passing-heavy style of play and had a soft spot for Xavi Creus. Thankfully, Barça played phenomenally last season and the awards kept coming so I didn’t have to deal much with Barça losing (I recall that that Hercules loss at home in November of 2010 stung deep haha). But, admittedly, this season has been more difficult for us. We’ve played less consistently and the liga, which at this time last year was going really well for us, isn’t a predicted accolade for Pep . But has this caused me to linger away from Barça and become bored with our performance?

    Of course not. I feel my cule blood boil more intensely when we play games like this. I love screaming “KEITEEEEEE” when Keita scores a goal because I know it’s what Puyol’d do. I love recognizing Iniesta by picking out the ghostliest magician on my screen. I love that Xavi gets yellow cards for arguing with refs. I love seeing players like Tello (damnnnnn Tello you fast) and Cuenca (can’t believe I saw him in D.C. this past summer when Barça played ManU and I didn’t know much about him) come up from the youth ranks. I love that I get butterflies every time I re-watch our 5-1 at the mestalla. I love not only how our players are incredibly talented, but also how much heart we have and give.

    I know I’m not alone in saying this, but I wouldn’t mind if we didn’t win any more silverware this season. What makes Barça unique from other high-performing teams is that there’s a philosophy that firmly supports each win, loss, or frustrating draw. That’s what makes us més que un club. That’s why this season is not critical in terms of trophies for me. I know that I’ll always love Barça (no matter how frustrating Pedro’s form has been as of late) and will always be a culé!

    1. …and cookies with sprinklers, and hot chocolate, and churros, and I’m getting really hungry right now!

    2. Alright, you’ve convinced me, mom4. When I visit Barcelona in the future, I’m going to hunt down these churros you keep talking about. 😉

    3. Thanks for the warm welcome, all! I’m so glad you also admire Xavi’s feistiness, Nav and mom4!
      Thank you hansh–Barça is something I find difficult to even portray with the written word hah!
      Blitzen–I have to admit that I really love your post-match ratings/review too!!!
      BarcaOwl and mom4– churros dipped in chocolate > chocolate cake. Mmmmmm…

  8. I feel like I’ve said this before, but ahem:

    ANDRES INIESTA I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. What an incredible game you had!

    1. Thiago must have made the same tweet again-

      “Three words. DON ANDRES INIESTA” 😀

  9. Also, the fans were great today.
    They sang a lot and cheered for the team in the 2nd half, which is not the normal case when things are not going according to the high expectations of the audience. Some drummers were there, too.

    Alexis usually recovers fast. He should be back for the Sevilla match on March, 17. Hope we’ll see some more Tello against L’kusen and Racing.

    1. True that. Fans were like the 11th man on the pitch.

      We can afford to play a composed game against Leverkusen. With Cesc-Messi-cuenca/pedro/tello, Alexis have time to recover. With or without the injury, imo it was time to give the chilean some rest as he would be vital for the latter stages.
      Besides Hlebuary is over. So its all uphill from now 😉

  10. Can we wrap Iniesta in bubble wrap?
    Keep Messi as happy as possible? (I suggest legos)

    These two fully fit and firing are my number 1 and 2 in the world. No questions asked.

    Again, with the mini heartattacks Barca!!!!!!! You guys should pay my medical bills! 🙂 Seriously though the first half was boring, the second was exciting but its become too often now that I begin to hyperventilate in matches.

    This team though. Just when I think they would have given up with 10 men for 44 mins, they prove me wrong (I love that!) and fight back to win not by one goal but by TWO!


  11. And yeah I’m proud of the Camp Nou crowd as of late. They’ve been making their voices heard in the face of adversity.

    Visca Camp Nou crowd!

  12. Great heart to pull that out.

    Iniesta showed by example and took the game in his hands (feet).

    Keita was man of the match though. He was covering defense, offered an outlet everywhere on the pitch, and scored a goal of the season in terms of importance.

    I don’t really see a foul on the Pique red. Pique gets the ball, they go shoulder to shoulder after the attacker slows down and then attacker sticks his leg in between Pique’s and falls over. There was no push, trip, reckless challenge. It was a good sell though.

  13. Good news – Alves owning the right again.
    Bad news – Pedro playing the wost 50 minutes of football I’ve seen in a while. Is he done?

    1. 12 months is stretching it a bit. He scored the opener vs. EE and United last year.

  14. Hiya.

    A few observations for what they’re worth:

    1. I love this team. Down to 10 men, behind 10 points in the league, and they still find it in them to FIGHT!

    2. Keiteeeeeee!

    3. Don Andres!

    4. Midfielders scoring beautious (yes that is a word ’cause I said so) goals! A goal for Xavi is a victory for football. 🙂

    5. Someone needs to beat all the stupid outta Pique. Deserved or undeserved (Adriano was definately covering, he was not the last defender, the contact went both ways and Pique did seem to get the ball) red card, it does no good to make such statements. Grow up.

    6. Alexis 🙁 Get better REALLY soon!

    7. I agree with Barcalunya and Nav. I hate seeing the card count go up against him as it may come back to bite us, but yeah, Xavi gets a pass from me when arguing with the refs. Love his passion.

  15. Great emotional win. Happy to see the team dig deep and churn out a victory. With that front line in the first half, I was more than pleased that we were up 1-0 at half-time. I was curious as to why Cuenca was playing on the left. I may be wrong but I think he enjoys greater success on the right. Besides, with the lack of movement from Fàbregas and Pedro, it was challenging for the forwards to really get into the game. Thankfully Xavi and Iniesta were in blistering form. Special thanks should also go to Keita and Mascherano for their excellent displays. These players were instrumental in delivering an important victory tonight.

    With the way Gijon were playing, we really could have used creative forces like Messi, a healthy Alexis and Thiago. Poor Fàbregas. I know he`s a great contributor but tonight he looked so lost. Hopefully it was just a poor match because he didn’t even have the directness he usually brings to his game.

    With Alexis`injury, I think we`ll be able to manage without him for the next two fixtures. We`ll be fine with Pedro starting along with Messi and Fàbregas/Cuenca for the CL match and then another combination for the away match at Racing Santander. My only real fear is that we`ll be without him for the following match away at Sevilla.

    Anyways, let’s hope for some luck tomorrow and for a solid match on Wednesday.

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