The Song of the Barça Boatmen

The boys are freezing their patatas in Moscow, but Cesc has said that, “the pitch and the cold won’t be a problem or an excuse.”

So there.

The game is less than an hour away now – 6pm CET ‘cos they’re in Russia.

To get into the mood, I’m listening to this:

 

Barça heads into the game knowing that a win will seal a place in the next Champions League round.

The track record isn’t that great in Russia and little wonder, because it’s BLOODY FREEZING and our boys don’t do cold.  Apparently, Russian players love it:

At least we can say that Barça has never lost in the Motherland.  5 draws and 1 win.  That win came in 2002/03 against Lokomotiv Moscow (1-3) and Valdés, Puyol and Xavi played in that game.  Same again, please.

Spartak has some injury issues, but who doesn’t?  You can bet that whoever plays, they’ll play hard and tough.  Just don’t knock Messi over, because your artificial turf will leave bad carpet burns and he’ll have a hard time explaining them to Antonella.

Nicolás Pareja is suspended for Spartak, and Song is one Yellow card away from missing the next game.

As well as the artificial pitch, they have fans who celebrate like this, as I whimper quietly to myself, thinking of the Camp Nou matches where we sit next to the sweet little Catalan grandpa and grandma, who tap their walking canes in time to the music as we spiritedly sing, “Tots units fem força”:

Not only has no Russian team knocked over the Blaugrana but, for all his trying, Spartak’s head coach hasn’t either, to date.

You can bet that Unai will look something like this tonight:

 

Team is: Valdés – Alves Pique Mascherano Alba – Xavi Busquets Cesc – Pedro Messi Iniesta

Bench:  Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Song, Dos Santos, Villa, Deulofeu

Iniesta on the Left – again???  After Pep left, you said that this wasn’t going to happen, Tito!

 

The team is sporting the latest in anti-cold thermal wear tonight.  Just don’t give them any weapons because then they’ll be mistaken for bank robbers.

Shakira lets you out of the house looking like this?

 

 

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165 Comments

  1. bhed
    November 20, 2012

    Got Hectored…

    Anyway, I’m making plans for a pilgrimage in April. Which is the cooler neighborhood to stay in – Gracia or El Raval? I’m looking for a bohemian neighborhood vibe.

    Thanks BFBers!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Just answered in the last thread.

      Gracia is better. Raval has a seedy, underworld flavour which is fine if it’s your thing, it’s just more risky to be walking around there at night. I don’t even like going there during the day, and if I do, I stick to the main roads.

    • bhed
      November 20, 2012

      Thanks nzm! I used to prefer seedy, but in my 40’s now. Still like a bit funky though. Gracia seems to fit the bill. Now to get 2 seats for the Mallorca game that are actually next to each other (FCB website has lots of tickets, but all singletons), and try to get a reservation for Tickets, the Adria bros’ restaurant.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Look closer to the date – the Barca website ticketing system is one of the most screwed that I’ve seen. It’s as if they don’t want to sell tickets. A few weeks before the date, all the seating suddenly becomes available, and it isn’t just the seient lliure scheme kicking in.

      They have a funny seating system here in Spain.

      All odd number seats are to the left of the aisle, all even numbered seats are to the right.

      So if you get 2 tickets, for e.g., which are numbered 4&6 or 5&7, you’ll be sitting next to each other.

      If you get 3&4, you’ll be sitting across the aisle from each other!

      Good luck for Tickets!

    • bhed
      November 20, 2012

      Thanks again! If you want to meet up for a beer (or coffee, or sangria) with my wife and I the first week of April, it’s on me! Of course I realize you have a life, so don’t feel duty bound.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Sounds great, although we may be in New Zealand at that time (my mother’s 80th), but ping me at matdxb (at) freenet.de a bit closer to the date, and we’d love to meet up if we’re in town.

  2. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Wow – Tello left out for Deulofeu.

  3. bhed
    November 20, 2012

    Is Puyol OK? Are they bringing him back slowly?

    • November 20, 2012

      He’s an old man who is certainly not match fit.

      Good choice to leave him on the bench in the freezing cold in my opinion.

    • bhed
      November 20, 2012

      Good point.

  4. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Game on!

    Lots of links at thefirstrow.eu

  5. nia
    November 20, 2012

    It’s so cold in Moscow, my stream is chivering 🙂

  6. nia
    November 20, 2012

    ha ha VV looks like the ref, was wondering why the ref was kicking the ball

  7. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Anyone else panicking any time we give up posession?

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      yes – me!

  8. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Alves!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Amazing! Brazilian inconsistency! 😆

  9. nia
    November 20, 2012

    See what happens when u just shoot sometimes? Goal Alves

  10. barca96
    November 20, 2012

    Been awake for nearly 24 hours. Can’t stand it.

    Hopefully nobody gets injured. The plastic pitch looks horrible. Busi and Pique shouldn’t slide on this pitch. I remember playing on an artificial pitch during the winter. We always try not to go into sliding challenges because the risk of getting injured is much higher.

    And the ball doesn’t seem to roll on this pitch.

    We need to score first.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Um – we’ve already scored. 🙂

  11. nia
    November 20, 2012

    oooo that was close

  12. nia
    November 20, 2012

    Messii goallll

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      He’s kinda good, that one.

  13. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Busi is simply amazing. Yup!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      He’s given away so many balls, but! Too casual.

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      I meant that tackle. But I admit, I’m not following this too closely because I told A that I’d wait to watch with him. No, you can’t tell him. So maybe I haven’t seen all the giveaways.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      I’m going over to A’s FB page right now to tell him what you’re doing! 😆

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      Will never give you my portion of hummus, olives, guacamole, sushi, etc…if you do! 🙂

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Damn – you know how to get to a girl! 🙂

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      Until that giveaway. Thanks, Masche.

  14. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Masch is injured, but coming back on.

  15. nia
    November 20, 2012

    Iniesta has twinkle toes

  16. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    OMG – Iniesta in the corner there!

  17. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Unai has them playing some nice ball.

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      Thank the Lord for bad finishing!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Spartak would have 4 by now if they had better finishing.

  18. nia
    November 20, 2012

    BS!!! that was a penalty

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      No way in hell. Legs were bent and he went over.

  19. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Tut-tut – Pedro dived.

  20. Jim
    November 20, 2012

    I belt home dash in the door – just in time to see Pedro diving and we’re 2-0 up. What’s that about ?

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Bit shameful really, Jim. Even Pedro had the grace to look ashamed afterwards.

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      What’s that about? It means you are in time for a beautious Messi goal. Cheers!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      If Celtic draws or wins tonight, Jim, I think that they’re through too, is that right?

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      I sooooo want Celtic to go through. Classy club and fans.

    • Messiah10
      November 20, 2012

      If they win they are definitely through. Now that Barca SEEM(seen this before) to have the game in hand, if Celtic draw their through. Good for them. Historic club that deserves to make knock out rounds.

    • Jim
      November 20, 2012

      I’m feeling the love for Scotland tonight 🙂

    • Jim
      November 20, 2012

      Sorry, nam. I was pouring my first glass of Pinotage !

      I think that’s basically right. If Celtic win they’re def through. if they draw its almost certain.

    • Jim
      November 20, 2012

      NZM. iPad making me look bad again.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      🙂 Sure it wasn’t the pinotage?

  21. nia
    November 20, 2012

    Messi goal, Macsacar in Moscow

  22. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Messi keeps up his scoring in multiples!

  23. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Just wow! I luvs our flea. Good heads up P!

  24. Messiah10
    November 20, 2012

    We are VERY lucky not to be down! Just as I say that Messi rounds the keeper brilliantly and slots it in! However, Spartak have had 4 great chances to score and our bad give away’s from Messi, Busi, Xavi, heck, almost everyone, have given them opportunities they didn’t capitalize on. Thank goodness. Messi! Unreal! The calmness in going round the keeper was sublime!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Yup – a better finishing team and this would be a different story right now.

      But it isn’t! 😆

    • Ben
      November 20, 2012

      There have definitely been some bad giveaways that have led to dangerous looking counter attacks, but I don’t really think that Spartak have had many really good chances. There was the one that was sky’ed at the beginning of the match, but I think many of the other chances would have been difficult to convert. Of course, if you get your shot on frame you at least have a shot….

  25. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Half-time.

  26. Ben
    November 20, 2012

    I was shocked that the ref started calling fouls at the end of the half. For most of the half, both sides seemed to be able to tackle/push/etc with impunity.

  27. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    I think the cold is inspiring Barcelona to play at a higher tempo (as if to speed time up). Sure, the risks are higher, but the rewards are already in hand.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      If they play too slowly, they’ll freeze to the pitch.

    • replayed
      November 20, 2012

      😉

      I can just picture Xavi frozen in mid-stride.

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      midtwirl 🙂

  28. Cy
    November 20, 2012

    This is the best I’ve seen Alves played in a long long while, hope he’s back for good. Alba, Alves, Montoya, Adriano, Abidal. Barca’s full backs are to drool for.

  29. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    woohoo – VV came out to claim a ball!

  30. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Can we get our stuff back together for this half?

  31. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Wow, most (all?) of the Spartak players are wearing long sleeves. But it looks like half of Barcelona are rocking short sleeves. Did they forget to pack their undies, or are they just too manly for woolens?

    And is that a snood I see around VV’s neck?

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      yeah – it’s a snood. Thought that they had been banned.

  32. Ben
    November 20, 2012

    Cesc. Fail.

  33. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Cesc just slays me. The boy absolutely *hates* to move the ball backwards. How did he manage not to flunk out of the cantera?

  34. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    We are looking pretty again.

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      Then again, we may be over-complicating some things.

  35. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Look at Alba getting back on defense from the penalty box. H’es unreal.

  36. Ben
    November 20, 2012

    Does Jordi Alba ever stop running? The motor on that guy is unbelievable.

  37. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    After seeing this match, my theory is that the temperature in Barcelona needs to drop by about 20degC to keep our boys moving!

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      But NOT the last week of January!

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Teehee! Osasuna match, here we come!

  38. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Busquets is a lizard. His blood is always cooler than the ambient temperature.

  39. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    VV is down. Bad challenge.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Actually, guy fell and rolled into him!

  40. Ben
    November 20, 2012

    Terrible challenge from Spartak. Valdes down…

  41. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Spartak are really hopeless in the opponent box.

  42. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Hey Tito, how about some sub time for the youngsters? I want to see Deulofeu stepping over just for the hell of it.

    • Ben
      November 20, 2012

      Or give Xavi a bit of a break…

  43. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Did the subs get frozen to the bench? How ’bout resting someonefor the league game.

    • Jim
      November 20, 2012

      This is actually very comfortable. Missed the chances we gave up earlier on and will have a look later but hey this is pretty good.

    • replayed
      November 20, 2012

      Maybe he’s concerned subs won’t be able to warm up safely in the cold and might be at a higher risk of muscle injuries as a result?

  44. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    oh joy, a corner 🙁

  45. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Captain Busquets!

    • replayed
      November 20, 2012

      Nope. Captain Iniesta!

    • mom4
      November 20, 2012

      Thought VV was the 3rd capita.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Iniesta was closer – Cesc didn’t want to run that far back to VV. 😆

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      Nope – Ini!

  46. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Xavi for Song – good move.

  47. mom4
    November 20, 2012

    Xavi only had 97 passes. Gonna be ticked off at being subbed before 100.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      He’ll kick in a few locker doors for sure. 🙂

    • replayed
      November 20, 2012

      Nah, he’ll just stare holes through them.

  48. Jim
    November 20, 2012

    Just love Xavi and Iniesta. They are obviously great friends. When one is taken off the other will run to shake hands with them. I can just see them sipping a beer together in a bar in the Gothic quarter when they’re in their fifties looking back with nostalgia on the days when they played together and there was a blog called barcelonafootballblog which really appreciated great football 🙂

    Ok, NZM, I agree, the wine is kicking in.

    • nzm
      November 20, 2012

      You’re waxing lyrical, Jim – but keep drinking! 🙂

    • Jim
      November 20, 2012

      By the second half of the Celtic game I’ll doubtless be invoking my favourite Scottish poet, Norman MacCaig, ….. So I’ll apologise now !

  49. replayed
    November 20, 2012

    Deulofeu! Come on, do some step overs. Pretty please.

  50. nzm
    November 20, 2012

    Pedro for Deulofeu!

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