Bucharest – Barcelona Pre-Season Match Comments Post

Congratulations to Mexico on their Olympic Gold Medal. Continuing this brilliant day to lounge around and watch football all day is Barcelona’s final preseason match against Romanian club Dinamo Bucharest. It’s the closest we’ve had to a true starting lineup in the preseason so far, so it should be interesting.

There’s a couple of things I’ll be watching, mostly have to do with defense: how do Pique and Bartra work together? How do we look with both Alves and Alba on the pitch?

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Bartra, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas, Pedro, Messi Sanchez

Bench: Pinto, Montoya, Mascherano, Fontas, Adriano, Ilie, Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta, Afellay, Rafinha, Villa

The match starts at 19:15 Barcelona time.


  1. Hey Calvin, did you figure out what program (?) you’re gonna use for liveblogs? Was the last one you tried satisfactory?

    1. I’ve decided which one I’m going to start the season with (hint – both of you were there for beta testing).

      It certainly isn’t ideal and there are a couple things I don’t like – including the fact that the control console is less user friendly than I would like (though that won’t affect anyone except me).

      I’m still open to suggestions and I plan on asking for feedback from the first week or two of games (may try another platform or two during that time), but sadly now that coveritlive has gone to a pay-to-use model there are only second rate options available.

  2. Congratulations to Miguelito & any other Mexico supporters in here! I’m not anti-Brazil in any way, but I have to admit I really enjoyed seeing Marcelo cry at the end. 😈

    Brazil was thoroughly shaken by Mexico getting that early goal and just never controlled the match after that. They had some brilliant individuals (and a few fantastic chances not taken advantage of), but they could not mount a good attack as a team. Props go to Perralta for his goals and Corona the excellent Mexican keeper.

    I bet poor JDS is wishing he had gone to the Olympics after all. He might not have gotten injured, and his prospects with the first team are no better than they were a couple of weeks ago.

  3. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Xavi is playing a deeper role this preseason than he has in the last couple of years (also deeper than he plays on the national team).

  4. What on on earth was Bartra doing? He was in the middle of the park with no pressure at all and he sprints to the corner and nearly conceded a corner lol kid is confused

  5. The ESPN3 commentator keeps calling Cesc “Chess Fabregas.” Well, at least Tommy Smyth is nowhere to be found.

    And I’m liking all the width Alba is giving us!

    1. How about Martina Montoya??

      Then for the whole second half he kept saying that #28 is Sergi Roberto.
      And he only realised that it was Dani Alves at RB and not Montoya.

      My commentator has no clue at all. At first I thought he was the usual Duncan Fisher because he has been doing La Liga commentary for over a decade and yes, always bored me to death.

      Like 10 years ago, it was normal for him/them to go on a long pause making me think that he fell asleep or suffered a stroke or something in the background.

  6. Alba gives a whole new dimension to the left wing. Eager to see how he will work with Iniesta supporting him.

  7. Loving Alba. This boy has trained for a whole three days with this team and he already fits in seamlessly. Great connection with Alexis, less so with Pedro when he switched to the left side.

    Bartra has been doing really well. He looks confident and calm.

  8. Team play was great in that half. Pressing is back! And we have a left flank! Eager to see what will happen with Jordi and Iniesta with either Pedrito/Alexis on the left in the Liga. wow.

    We do need to work on our finishing though. For all the pretty play in that half we should have been up by atleast 2..not 1.

  9. I’ve been travelling for most of the summer so this is the first preseason match I’ve been able to watch. Alexis looks great and Jordi Alba looks like he will fit in quite nicely.

    But boy those away uniforms are bright… it’s like the Villarreal uniforms mated with a traffic cone.

  10. The most striking thing about that first half to me was how L flank oriented the attack was. Very much the opposite of what we’ve seen in the past-even in the prior matches this preseason.

    The combination of Alexis & Alba was outstanding. The constant speed, pressure and thrust from both of them was excellent.

    During the first half Alexis switched to the R with Pedro to the left. The ball continues to be played through Alba frequently as the outlet to build play when midfield was congested.

    Perhaps its his heel or just preseason-but Alves has been conservative in his runs/ positioning. If that’s an adjustment to Alba being on the L that’s a very good sign from Alves.

    Sanchez has been just fantastic so far. Dispossesses the ball high up the pitch to set up that goal for Leo. Sent in another cross in the box perfectly that Messi should have scored on. He’s been everywhere.

    Bartra has been extremely impressive at the back. Was isolated in multiple 1 vs 1 situations with a Dinamo attacker and remained very solid. Very encouraging. Some young players improve significantly when they are surrounded by better talent. So far this preseason that’s how Bartra seems to be playing. In many ways, he’s looked better than he often did on the B team in the segunda last season. Only a handful of matches-but it’s promising. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

    1. I was very excited to see the way Alba played on the left wing. It was amazing how the game flowed through the left side of the pitch. That was without Iniesta. I have yet to see Alba play with Iniesta who likes to play a little bit to the left of the pitch. I think they can work wonders.

      Loved Bartra as well. Very solid and composed defender.

      Sanchez has impressed a lot. But, I expect more from Sanchez. He is capable of doing more. I think his game is still evolving with respect to this Barca team. It is not easy for a player to fit into this Barca team with their way of playing. He can definitely do more with his finishing, taking on defenders, and going further wide when playing to create space in the middle by dragging defenders.

  11. definitely agree about batra..he’s my cb signing..done..

    i know everyone strongly disagrees..but i think the uni’s are awesome..they make us play better…faster..

  12. Second half was a little more hurried but overall an eventful match. Fontas and VILLA! got pitch time. I’m soo happy! And IBI scored!

  13. Villa: “My goal is not to be again the player I was, but, after those eight months of recovery, to come back as a better player. Why not?”


    1. Yeah I am. Didn’t get to watch the match though.

      But the biggest upset would be Team USA losing the gold in basketball. Simply stunning but not better than Team 2008 imo. That one was the best there ever was.

  14. I like Bartra but honestly, he still has to be tested physically. I’ve liked Bartra since last season cause I prefered him to be promoted instead of Fontas.

    Would love to see him getting La Liga games, not just Copa matches like last season against semi-pro teams.

  15. My sincere wish for the upcoming season is for Villa to finish having taken over 150 shots on goal. I don’t care even if he doesn’t score.
    Good to have you back.

    1. With some luck he’ll also be in the running for most offsides, to accompany his +20 goals. 😀

  16. Are we all in agreement then? We are happy with Bartra and Fontas as our ‘new’ centre back signings and Mascherano as our ‘new’ defensive midfield signing?

    1. I’ve never had confidence in Fontas. Not before his injury and especially not now. He just doesn’t show any confidence to succeed.

  17. 😆 James can’t dance at all. I hope he won’t join “so you think you can dance” after he retires.

    My love for Durant went up ten fold afternoon quickly ran half court to pick Kobe up after he went down. That’s respect right there. CP3 went over too but Durant ran half court!

  18. Ah Yaya’s goal today. Reminded me of the goal that started it all.

    Apparently all’s well with Tevez and Citeh. Nice way of getting a holiday during a season. And its never bad to seen Fernando scoring, even if it is for CFC..

    1. Love Torres. I dream of seeing him in the Barca shirt one day. He is a classic striker. He will flourish with Barca. I think the Chelsea game/mentality does not suit him. I have seen him play with Xavi Iniesta Busi Jordi Alba combo supporting him in the Spanish team. He is very comfortable with that and excels in his games.

  19. Bartra’s has been really crafty in his defending. Strong and composed, his well-timed challenges and calm interventions win balls and break attacks like a Taekwondo specialist, nice and clean, very good to watch. His ball control is also exceptional for a defender. I am glad to see his progress and if he gets promoted, he will be giving Pique a very good competition that Pique needs so bad.

    Jordi Alba understands the system, but I can he him fit better as the season progresses. But glimpses of his forward going help us sooooooooooo much on offense. Can’t wait to see some Iniestalba/Jordiniesta

  20. Thoughts on this year’s pre-season:

    – No major injuries, except Muniesa. Everyone looks match fit and/or getting there.

    -Seeing youth players. Espinosa was my favorite, followed closely by Sergi, Rafinha and Deulofeu. A special mention to Ilie Sanchez who played the last two games as a DM and did simple things wonderfully.

    -Our defense actually looks secured as a whole. Dani is back to his normal awesome self. Alba, with only two games, has been brilliant. At the beginning of the transfer season, I thought he was similar to Adriano, but in truth he’s been so much better than Adriano; very effective on the left side—- more associative with Iniesta and Alexis and can recover his defensive position quickly. Pique is getting better; looks more focused. Bartra, like others have said, could be our “new” signing. Mascherano is reliable. Puyi, though, is getting older and more injury-prone. No comment on Fontas yet.

    -Midfield is also looking solid. At the end of last season, with Xavi and Thiago injured and Cesc confused, our midfield didn’t really control the tempo of most games. This pre-season, almost everyone seems focused; can’t decide where Cesc fits yet.

    -Attack is an area that has not improved. As much as I like Alexis working hard defensively, I find him too selfless. I wish he would dribble more in the penalty area, instead of looking for a pass to someone or most often to Messi. I realized that Pedro just got back, but his problem is the same with Alexis’ — too many passes around the penalty area or backward and unwilling to shoot. I know the motto of the style is “to keep it simple”, but the team is complicating it by making too many passes, esp. around the 18-yard box. If a player can dribble, he should do it. Don’t look around too much! If I remember correctly, Alexis scored two goals out of five games this pre-season :/

    -I don’t think the team is playing faster.

    -Comments on a few players: Cesc– I want him to have a fixed role. Master a position, be it false 9 or as a CM, then he can move to other areas. It took Busi a year or so to know how to play DM well before he could gradually learn how to shuffle between midfield and defensive zones. Cesc should be given a similar time-frame to learn ONE position. Afellay– he offers something different which is long-range shooting ability. Valdes– there was a moment in the second half of this Bucharest game where he lost his concentration, thus allowing a Dinamo player to get ahead of him near the penalty box. That lack of concentration could be costly. I don’t want to see a repeat of La Real game from last season.

    -Like the home kit. A lot.

    -Finally figured out why I dislike the away kit in action – the black colored typeface. I usually watch Barca games on my computer, which tends to not have the best quality. So having black numbers set against orange-tangerine background makes it very hard to see where the players are located on the field. FYI, the home kit has bright yellow typeface.

    -Pinto is full of swag!

    Based on past performances, my preferred line-up is something like this:

    A J.

    I kinda want Cesc to play in midfield, but our attack is lacking at the moment. Until Pedro and Villa are ready, I think Cesc should play the false 9 role or AM/striker. Del Bosque said Cesc has the ability to arrive from deep and scores goals, and I agreed. In hindsight, he was the third best player for Spain at the Euros, and he did that by playing in a position he knew instinctively. But Tito might still be keen on modifying last season’s system, maybe we’ll see Messi behind Alexis.

    1. Some good points you’ve stated.

      Regarding your preferred lineup must say i prefer Puyol&Piqué over Masche as our defensive organisation at corner kicks are a mess atm.
      The catalonian Wall Combo + Sergi at least provides more capable headers…

      Must say Piqué done well in the last games. Is it me or did lost some weight? Winning the Euros was the balsam he desperatly needet. Hopefully he keeps up to get back his swagger.

  21. Athletic Bilbao had a press Conference today where it was stated that Fernando Llorente refused to renew his Contract. Can’t say i’m surprised about his leaving but i wonder if he do themselve a favour in joining Juventus Turin..

    After Cazorla,Borja LaLiga is loosing another gem.

    1. According to Sport.es? Meh. But leaving with 32 years is a perfect timing to rejoin la Real.

    2. I don’t think X. Alonso will leave EE any time in the near future. Isn’t he the vice captain there? In any case, he with Ronaldo and Casillas are the most important member of that team.

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