Barcelona 2 – Getafe 2: Game, set and ma…

Tito

Before kick-off the Camp Nou paid a final homage to a man who, in all honesty, has simply been more culer than thou during his forty-five years on earth, Tito Vilanova. First we were shown a remembrance video in which several players bade him farewell, which was in my very personal opinion both moving and awkward. Then both teams observed a minute of silence, one that unfortunately was not respected by all attendees. Still, I think it’s safe to say that cancer has taken its (un)fair share of victims around the world, regardless of sex, skin color or supported football club, and no family has been completely spared. I can’t speak for all who were at the stadium, but I found it quite emotional and it gave me goose bumps. I even failed to notice they had kicked off already. In a classy move, Tito’s name was put on the match shirts and I for one would not mind if we did the same next season.

Spot the writer!
Spot the writer

So, are we finished then?

About the match, let’s keep it short. Barça weren’t bad without being particularly good, which on most days means that the team were a lot better than their opponent without creating all that many scoring opportunities. The problem is that we gave up three as well, from which they scored two. Heck, if you watched the game you’d be forgiven for thinking that Getafe passed the halfway line less than a handful of times and came back with two goals, which is kind of like the chorus of this year’s song. We control the match for eighty-five minutes and draw or lose it in five. Now the season is all but over and we can only hope that Atletico prevent M*drid from winning the treble, whether they do so in la Liga, in Lisbon or in both.

Taking the blame
Taking the blame

The blame game

As has become all too familiar, certain people named Martino, Dani Alves and Song get scapegoated for the loss. Dani Alves shouldn’t have given up that foul, they say. Dani Alves should have covered his flank, they write. Yes, but he gave up the foul doing the very same thing we all say our team is missing, aggressively pressing his opponents.

Martino shouldn’t have moved Busi to the defense and taken off Xavi for Song. What an idiot, is being yelled in unison. Funny how nobody lauded him for taking off Mascherano to insert Cesc, a substitution that arguably led to our taking the lead. And are the same people who blast our coach for taking off Xavi the ones who say that Xavi doesn’t have the legs to defend?

When you look at the goals, you have to feel for Tata. For Getafe’s first, Mascherano made up for a mistake with a foul that led to a free kick at which his team got caught napping at a trick play. For the second Adriano and Pinto were left to defend by themselves. I don’t think any coach makes those decisions for their players. I am not saying Martino should stay, but it’s a damn shame nevertheless, because for those first six months of the season it sure looked like we had a Barça coach.

This season nobody is to blame, along with everybody. If you really want to point your finger, I’ll give you a hint. Something flows downhill and it’s brown and smelly. If the board supported anybody else but the board, like our players and our coach for example, things might turn out different next year. As it stands, however, we can fear the worst. Our problem, apart from socis that don’t want to do anything about it, is institutional.

It's over
It’s over

Death of tiki taka

Let me get another thing straight. I am sick and tired of the term “tiki taka”. I never liked it to begin with – it sounds like a cheap Bangkok bar from which the rich and sleazy take under aged hookers with fake smiles and sad stories back to their hotel rooms. If this is the death of tiki taka, it can’t come too soon. What is it anyway, other than the evolution of a football system that uses fast and technical players that like to pass the ball a lot. Tiki taka by and of itself was never “revolutionary” to begin with. It was made so by legendary players and a very good coach. And just how it evolved from something that was already in place, the team needs to keep evolving to move forward.

There are calls for more strength and athleticism, which I agree with, especially in defense. For some reason fans want Reus, forgetting that we already have Pedro, Alexis and Neymar, don’t know what to do with Deulofeu and will hopefully find a way to develop Adama Traore into a first team player in the next couple of years. There is also a lot of noise about the need for an Arturo Vidal type player. Never mind the fact that we are stacked with some of the best midfielders in Europe, and we have Rafinha, Suarez and Samper waiting in the pipeline. As for that bite we lack, we got Mascherano being misused because we never bought adequate cover for Puyol and Abidal. If I were in charge I’d move Masche up a line, Messi back a line, and get a mobile striker who can both head the ball and make runs for through passes. But hey, I’m just another guy with an opinion.

Then there are those want the club to sell half the team and buy half the world. They draw comparisons with Pep booting out Ronaldinho and Deco. Let’s stop right there. Ronaldinho and Deco spent more time on the dance floor than on the training grounds. Today is not yesterday. Our guys, these extraordinary players, have always shown respect and dedication to our colors, up to and including this season in which we have finally stopped winning anything at all. The least we can do, as fans, is to give them the respect they deserve. Make no mistake, Barça has got to change and adapt. The team needs fresh blood and some players might have to go. However, the nucleus for another best team of the world is right there, in front of our eyes, losing the league in five minutes per game.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

Written by:

Culé since way before football boots were of the neon yellow and lizard green variety, Levon is a deep thinker with increasingly shallow thoughts. He lives in Barcelona with his gorgeous wife and daughter. The lucky bastard...

370 Comments

  1. ooga aga
    May 4, 2014

    Hectored!

    what a change a day can make. from the liga being over, all we need is one RM loss — it will happen today against Valencia…and we control our destiny. We will win the league, despite everything, and lift the trophy in our house. Levon I hope you have tickets to the game.

    This game sure is funny.

    Disclaimer: Yes, the team has issues. All teams do. We have been through some horrible, horrible times. Whatever. I want to see the joy on our boys’ faces in 2 weeks time, it will be sincere joy and it will be felt by every culer! Visca Tito and Visca Barca.

    • May 4, 2014

      If trying to win means drawing and handing M*drid the treble… I don’t know, I don’t think I could take that!

      Besides, Atleti really and truly deserve the league. Their fight has been epic. I’d be heartbroken for them if they threw it away.

    • ooga aga
      May 4, 2014

      Let’s not worry about that! RM will do themselves in and have nothing to do with it. If I seem crazy, just call me an optimistic cule! (I know…they practically send you to the loony bin for that, these days….)

    • ooga aga
      May 4, 2014

      Another remedy, if it comes to that….with 30 seconds left , game tied, we score an own goal! what a master troll that would be to RM…let’s do it!

    • May 4, 2014

      That would be epic! I would love it. It would make this season one of the most memorable of Barça history. It would be awesome! Let’s do it!!!

  2. ooga aga
    May 4, 2014

    And Levon I agree that we have the nucleus we need to win many more trophies. I think this coach could even help win us things, in better circumstances (and they can only get better), but thats not to say he is the best for the job. Thats just to say I really dont know. Anyways I appreciate that you are there viewing the games. I got to see a handful last spring including our win vs PSG and loss to BM.

    do you think that it was rude for people to scream “Tito!” near the end of the minute of silence? I couldnt hear the rest of what they were saying. It was sort of rude but also just sort of passionate and emotional. It gave me the sensation that Tito was literally present in the stadium and people were yelling to him. Sort of eerie in that sense.

    • May 4, 2014

      The problem is that it’s a minute of silence. Someone yells “Tito!” and another person shouts “Shut the hell up” and it kind of defeats the point of seventy thousand people holding one minute of silence…

    • ooga aga
      May 4, 2014

      oh, i couldnt hear what they were saying besides “Tito!”…thats sad.

    • Jim
      May 4, 2014

      Not sure what game I was watching but there was a moment’s silence and one set of supporters observed in silence while the other set clapped. Kinda liked everyone doing their own thing. The silence is amazing if you get it but it often doesn’t mean disrespect when someone shouts out.

      Btw, what was the silence for in the RM / Valencia match ? Was it Tito ? Beautifully and genuinely observed.

  3. May 4, 2014

    That equalizer was interesting. If you track what happened:

    +58: Alves passes directly to a Getafe defender.

    +1:08: Alves fouls at midfield touchline. This is when things get funky, as Getafe take a quick restart.

    +1:17: Alves is walking up sideline, gesticulating to the official. No. 10 for Getafe runs to sideline in open space as Fabregas, Song and Bartra all mark the same player.

    +1:20: Bartra sprints over to cover No. 10, who receives the ball in space.

    +1:21: Fabregas, Song, Adriano, Busquets all sprinting back, looking at the crosser as Getafe send 4 running toward the box.

    +1:23: The cross goes in and our defenders are still facing Pinto, with no idea of what is behind them.

    +1:24: Lafita heads home over Adriano, who had no idea what was coming.

    Would a proper defender have had the instinct to turn and face, as defenders so used to playing with back to goal? Maybe, but it’s hard to say that Busquets, Adriano and Song aren’t used to defending, which means understanding the risk that is coming the place you least expect.

    • May 4, 2014

      It was definitely weird, as if the whole team collectively lost their head at that play.

    • Jim
      May 4, 2014

      I think they saw but assumed someone else would deal with it. The problem with only playing with one real defender and no captain in the back line.

      Two thoughts occur to me over the last couple of days. I’m assuming RM won’t slip up btw. They have hit form at a good time.

      First, we need to get rid of the Barcelona idea that you become captain just by being in the team long enough. The British idea of having someone who will boot backsides appeals to me more and more. Who ? Don’t know but Pique ‘s name keeps coming back to me. Puyol needs to let him know the value of anger in driving a team on.

      Secondly, to the avalanche of Tata must go. Posters. He seems to be going so it’s a moot point but he took us very close to three trophies in his first season. Is it not reasonable to expect that he would do better in his second? Or else, why do we say that about players ? He would have the chance to buy who he wanted this summer to do what he wanted. Keeping him would automatically give him that mandate. Do we really want to bring in someone who doesn’t know the problems we had and who will take time to get used to the squad. On a more general note, is that what we’ve become. You get one season and if we don’t win a CL that’s it. Is that being more than a club or no better than RM ?

    • May 4, 2014

      Interesting points, Jim.

      I count myself in between those who want to give him another chance and those who say who must go. I think it is very hard to judge him because of how he came into the club and all the off the field issues that have happened this season.

      What worries me is that, for whichever reason, he gave up on evolving (there’s that word again) this team and our style of play, which suggests to me that he lacks the motivational strength and/or the conviction of his ideas to do what needed to be done.

      Now I could be wrong and since I don’t see any clear successor (Van Gaal is off to Man U) maybe Tata is indeed the best option. This board however does not have the balls to keep him on.

    • Jim
      May 4, 2014

      I’m not actually sure he did give up but I do think for a while the media blitz got to him. However, he now knows what it’s like, if he did give up and it didn’t work would he not now have the confidence to say “Right, I do it my way. ” ? If he wants to stay after what has hit the club this year he will be much stronger mentally, imo.

      Danger for me is we fritter another season with someone adjusting to a job, having players bought he didn’t want and coming up short.

    • agar2515
      May 4, 2014

      Im not entirely convinced by the supposed #1 candidate Luis Enrique, but hopefully at least he’d stick with ONE style throughout the season, with the players actually buying in to him. Tata never seemed to click.
      Too many lost points against minnows speak of a team ill prepared too often. He needs to go, though it’s not all his fault, me wanting him gone does not mean I am suggesting that.

  4. Cule
    May 4, 2014

    Well, atletico’s loss means they are within our reach. If we win all our matches and RM manage to lose one, we will be champions. You never know…

  5. Cule
    May 4, 2014

    Also, this means if we beat elche next week, we won’t have to give Atletico a guard of honor at Camp Nou, that’s been haunting me for a few weeks.

  6. mohit
    May 4, 2014

    Valencia – park the bus, please!

  7. psalmuel
    May 4, 2014

    MR. MOU! LEND VALENCIA UR BUS PLEASE!

  8. justdoit94
    May 4, 2014

    1-2 valencia .. what a match

  9. norden
    May 4, 2014

    Sorry, guys if this is a bit off topic, but I wanted to share with you my joy…

    Today, Sparta Prague became the league champions after 3 seasons without a trophy – which is a really long for this team. Four long years! This hasn’t happened since the 70s. A good reminder that history doesn’t win you trophies.

    The keys to the success, I think, were:
    – clear idea how we want to play (supported by coach, players and the owner)
    – patience (we had a generation exchange – lot of players are under 22)
    – trust (the owner didn’t sack the coach even if he hasn’t won anything – this doesn’t happen often here)
    – results (yes, they matter)
    – luck (even if we are good, we needed the other good teams to drop points)

    I guess, Barca could use some of the above as well 😉

    Have a nice day, I’m going to celebrate!

    • Peter
      May 4, 2014

      Nice! 😀

      Oh well, if it comes to the last minute of the Barcelona – Atletico game and Barcelona without chances to win has to decide whether to hand the league to Atletico or Real, Pique scores a magnificent goal past Pinto to give Atletico the League…

      Do you applaud, jeer or laugh your ass off?

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      Pinto surprisingly contrary to current form makes a magnificent save and gives the title to Real!

  10. PrinceYuvi
    May 4, 2014

    Darn 2-2 again.

  11. justdoit94
    May 4, 2014

    wow, do u guys realize had RM actually lost today, and Atleti drew the match against malaga that the league would be in our hands ? who knew.
    Anyway, it’s only in our hands again if RM somehow draw against valladoid.. I dunno why i am saying this, everyone must have lost hope of la liga some time ago anyway

    • justdoit94
      May 4, 2014

      edit, my bad, no need for atleti to draw the match against malaga as long as we win ours at elche and then RM draw at valladoid

    • G6O
      May 4, 2014

      Had they not equalized, we would have been in control…

      But now they have to drop points again, and it’s not going to happen 🙁

  12. agar2515
    May 4, 2014

    Well great 2-2. Unless my math is off there is nothing left to play for. Shut down the key players so they get their WC rest and start as many kids/subs as you can. It’s only two games. No reason not to. A. Madrid for the title please.

    • Jafri
      May 4, 2014

      It’s still not mathematically impossible. No reason not to give it our all.

    • G6O
      May 4, 2014

      There is still a chance. But RM need to drop points again.

    • agar2515
      May 4, 2014

      Ah, dang the permutations burt my brain. I’ll save it for the last matchday when we know the stakes and all the details.

  13. Inamess
    May 4, 2014

    Unfortuntely, the season is coming down to what many of us dreaded and somehow expected. It is the Cule’s dilemma–our version of Sophie’s choice if you will.

    Here is the scenario. It is the last day of the season May 17.

    Here is the Table:

    Atletico Madrid: 91
    Real Madrid: 91
    Barcelona: 88

    Barcleona v. Atletico at 2pm
    Real Madrid v. Espanol at 3:30

    Here is your chance to act as coach. What do you do?

    A) You play the B team and give Atletico to La Liga.

    B) You play to win, and if you do have a 95% chance of giving La Liga to Real.

    C) You do nothing and let Tata decide and now know why he makes the big bucks!

    • justdoit94
      May 4, 2014

      RM only have one match delayed, their maximum points before match day 38 is 89 points.
      Assuming all 3 teams win match day 37, it will be as follows

      Atleti 91
      EE 89
      Barca 88

      Assuming barca – atleti ends in a draw , table looks like this

      Atleti 92
      EE 92
      Barca 89

      In this case, atleti win la liga because they win h2h against rm

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      Sorry, you are right:

      Atletico Madrid: 91
      Real Madrid: 89
      Barcelona: 88

      Barcleona v. Atletico at 2pm
      Real Madrid v. Espanol at 3:30

      Here is your chance to act as coach. What do you do?

      A) You play the B team and give Atletico the La Liga title.

      B) You play to win, and if you do have a 95% chance of giving La Liga to Real.

      C) You do nothing and let Tata decide and now know why he makes the big bucks!

    • mohit
      May 4, 2014

      All games will be played at the same time on the last two matchdays. So, it is in our interest to filed the best line up and go for the win because RM could theoretically drop points.

  14. Peter
    May 4, 2014

    This is to answer Kxevin and everybody else. Thanks for the kind words, but I´ve been reading some real gems here and would like to answer to some of them a bit later.

    The question “Who do we sign?” is a very complex one and may have more than one right, as well as many more wrong answers.
    For me personally, and speaking from a position of pitiful ignorance (I barely have time to watch a few games per week), I can’t really talk about names, but requirements.
    For starters, I´d sign a fast left-footed tall CB. Laporte from Athletic seems a good fit for me, because he is young and can learn a lot. The fact that he is the junior player in the CB trio would mean fewer expectations and more of a learning role, at least for the first months. He shouldn’t be thrown in the deep end immediately. Second, he would be able to compete with Bartra and this competition would hopefully bring out the best out of them both. None of the two would be guaranteed a spot, but both would be available and eager to prove themselves.

    While I’m not so sure about him, I’ve started to warm up towards David Luis and it’s all Kxevin’s fault. I’m not so sure about him as a CB signing, because that would mean Bartra immediately becomes the omega in the participation department and for me that would be a disaster, because during this year he has grown a lot, both in experience, mentality, responsibility and also physically. Anyway, David Luis can play as left back as well, can play as a DM and CB and if Song is to leave, then I’d buy Luis in his stead. There is certainly a potential disaster looming when a player is played out of position, but David Luis from what I have seen from him can play as a DM(as a matter of fact he is put in that position in Chelsea) and his stature should allow him to help during set pieces in both boxes. Of course, I am speaking in ignorance, because I haven’t seen him play often. He certainly seems fast to me, if only for managing to run half the pitch in order to stop Pedro’s shot at the goal-line during the Confederations Cup last summer. His concentration can go at times but he can mature. In any case, I would have him, because he can be a versatile player. He’s also a player for whom playing in the Barcelona system would be almost a blessing, because he would be allowed to go forward with the ball as well as staying back. My only problem with him would be the fact that he is not Puyol. Barcelona need not just a defender, Barcelona really need a leader, someone who would fight for victory, someone to lead by example and the authority to demand it from the rest. That’s one reason why I would retain Mascherano and probably also give him the captaincy – because at this point Messi has the authority but is not leading by example, Xavi and Iniesta as well, and Pique himself often needs someone to tell him to focus. The rest are too young.

    From there the coach can have multiple combinations. Play Mascherano and David Luis as pivotes, Xavi/Fabregas on the right and Iniesta/Rafinha as false-LW, play a 4-4-2 with two pivotes, play a sort of lopsided diamond 4-4-2 with Xavi in his normal position, Busquets and Mascherano playing side by side, Messi as the point of the diamond and two wide strikers, a normal 4-3-3, a normal 4-3-3 with David Luis as left lateral. Versatility and height without compromising the attacking potential, this is what should be the objective for me. Of course, all that would need lots and lots of training, especially set-piece defense and offense. But once the team starts sweating their shirts from running up and down the pitch (like they did in the first Clasico, and it was f*cking marvelous) cohesion would build up, understanding and hopefully the flood of injuries would stop.

    Training, lots of training, absolutely no money tours, absolute authority from the coach, unity from the board and the bloody fans. In other words everything that Tata did not have when he started – and that can be a good start.

    P.S. Apparently after today Barcelona should also sign Keylor Navas (and his coach!) and use him side by side with Ter Stegen(and then sell Keylor once Masip is ready). However, Levante’s President has declared that it would cost 10 million to transfer Keylor Navas(5 millions if you want to shake his hand). 😀

    • ciaran
      May 4, 2014

      I’m not going to keep going on about not liking David Luiz but he isn’t all that tactically versatile. Yes he can play as a DM but he couldn’t in our system, he holds the ball for way too long. He doesn’t ever play as left back as you suggest above and wouldn’t be starting at all for Chelsea if they had a fit Matic.
      Look, he is a good footballer but €30million? No, and good enough for us? No again.

      I am also on record as saying that Laporte at €36million is too much money and he would cost the full amount with Athletic qualified for the CL. Very good prospect but let’s take a season or two to look at him, especially in Europe next season and then decide.

    • May 4, 2014

      I have no problem with getting David Luiz but I don’t know whether he has ever played as a full back nor do I think he has the skill set for that position, and even less so on the left side of the pitch.

      I agree that Masche is a natural captain, but alas I don’t know whether he should be an undisputed starter for our club. I really hope we keep him, though.

    • agar2515
      May 4, 2014

      Completely agree here with ciaran. With all due respect Peter I have no idea how you came to such conclusions about Luiz. Playing as a DM in Mou’s system is in no way an indication of how he would play for us. The last thing we need is him bombing forward, making reckless challenges and giving away balls. Also, since we are dealing with Mou, and a club flush with cash with no reason to sell his cost would be around 30mil. An absurd amount of money for him. There are better CB’s out there for that kind of money.
      I hear Bayern seems to have Laporte on their radar which would be a definite loss.

    • Peter
      May 4, 2014

      I agree and confess my absolute ignorance with David Luis. It’s all Kxevin’s fault anyway, he’s a known David Luiz apologist. :D. Last time I had good impressions from Luis was at the Confeds, last summer, but he fits the broad requirements I would look for in a CB for Barcelona.

      Like I said, I haven’t had time to watch more games than the absolute minimum(FC Barcelona + 1 more), so whether this and that player fit the team is not really my thing. With lots of qualifiers, a guy like Luis could work out for Barcelona, but like I said in a previous post, I wouldn’t really want to sign him as a starting CB because I have faith in Bartra and a young impressionable player like Laporte who isn’t vice-captain of a national team would be less likely to pout if he isn’t the undisputed starting top dog defender for FC Barcelona. Instead, he may be more likely to learn and compete for the starting spot – and what Barcelona needs are motivated players.

      In other words get them while they’re young and stupid 😛

    • Jim
      May 4, 2014

      I watch David Luiz just about every week and although good on the ball I wouldn’t buy him, especially not at the price Mourinho would charge us. I’m afraid we’re not gonna get anyone who can slot into our first team and actually make a difference for less than £30m. Can’t have Mascherano as captain as he’ll not have much playing time, even if he stays which I doubt. We do need an on pitch leader, though and that’s a problem.

    • ciaran
      May 4, 2014

      For me, it’s Mats Hummels all day long. He’s a great defender and a great footballer full stop. If we can’t get him for whatever reason then as a pure defender Mehdi Benatia should fit the bill. Roma were awful today with him not starting.

      I assume that Masch will be sold, just the impression I get from the rumours and that we will probably be buying a second centre back. He would make a great captain as a guaranteed starter for someone, assuming Napoli…

    • Peter
      May 4, 2014

      I just follow Kxevin’s lead on David Luis here, for me he certainly looks too skinny, but I am comparing him to Puyol.
      I just haven’t had the time to examine any players that could fit the team. There are some who would want to sell Dani Alves and sign Cuadrado. Being this nostalgic culer, I want to recreate Abidal.
      Barcelona for me need a left-footed CB, strong, fast and good in the air. A left-footed CB who has had experience playing as a left back would mean that in a pinch Barcelona could play a back of three tall CBs(say Laporte, Bartra, Pique) with a midfield that includes Mascherano and Busquets.

      As for the price, if Barcelona doesn’t pay up, someone will. Bayern is one rumored contender, PSG last term paid 35 million for Marquinhos who is both skinnier and smaller than Laporte, City and United both have lots of money burning holes in their pockets, Arsenal and even Chelsea might be looking for CBs. If Barcelona doesn’t take a gamble, some club will contact Athletic and say “Shut up and take my money!”

      Are 36 million too much money? Yes and no. If it’s combined with the off-loading of some of the “deadweight” and their corresponding salaries and taxes, the money would be much less. Also, if that player’s presence helps Barcelona reach the final, half of his whole transfer fee(amortized during his contract duration) pays off just from the prize money, not to mention the “market pool”, especially if Barcelona takes out a La Liga club. And this is a young player, his salary would be a fraction of the salary of another established player, and his contract could be prolonged. Also Barcelona could always go the Real way and re-sell him, returning a percentage(that percentage may be above 100% 😉 ) of his total transfer fee.

  15. G6O
    May 4, 2014

    Also, today’s results make yesterday’s lack of effort in the last minute even more criminal – if we had not allowed that goal, the title would have been in our hands now

    • justdoit94
      May 4, 2014

      I was just thinking what if… Man u could really feel down when u think of what if.. What if we hadnt conceded that late goal, la liga would actually be in our hands once more after all of this .
      My god i hope the players learned their lessons

  16. TITO
    May 4, 2014

    When does RM play that game in hand?
    And, shouldn’t all the last round games start in the same time????

    • ciaran
      May 4, 2014

      Wednesday night away to Valladolid. Valla are fighting for survival and are currently in the relegation zone but only by 1 point.
      Madrid then play Celta Vigo where Luis Enrique’s men would be playing for nothing except the possibility of winning us the league.
      They then have Espanyol as their last match but Espanyol will roll over and die as they usually do against Real.

      Atletico are at home to Malaga who have nothing at all to play for.

      We are away to Elche who look like they will stay up but could do with a couple of points to make sure.

    • G6O
      May 4, 2014

      I wasn’t aware they play Espanyol the last game. That makes our calculus for the last game straightforward – if they do not drop more points, then we have to lose against Atletico. Because Espanyol will lose against RM.

      If that wasn’t the case, and the teams are in the following situation:

      1) AM
      2) RM, 2 points behind
      3) us, 3 points behind

      Then I would have played for the win but tried to keep it within a goal until the last minutes so that we can let a goal in if it becomes clear RM are winning.

    • G6O
      May 4, 2014

      Correction – I meant draw against Atletico, we don’t need to lose. They have the head-to-head advantage against RM.

    • TITO
      May 4, 2014

      Let’s see first what Wednesday brings.

      But looking at the way we are playing, it doesn’t look very optimistic that we will get a result against Elche.

      If RM drops points, that i will definitely not understand it if our players don’t raise their game beyond anything that they have this season.

    • agar2515
      May 4, 2014

      If on the last match day, Atl. need a win or draw against us to win the title, I hope we field Pinto and 10 pieces of wood. Simple.

  17. TITO
    May 4, 2014

    But what about the last round? I find it very strange that they all don’t start at the same time.
    At least that’s a habit in other leagues. Especially if the circumstances are or will be as it appears. Strange.

    • mohit
      May 4, 2014

      They will start at the same time. Round 37 and 38, both.

  18. May 4, 2014

    What a match weekend. Ah, the ups and downs of not having your fate in your own hands. Valencia was brave and that bravery ultimately cost them, but let’s also give full credit: that was one pisser of a goal from Ronaldo. If he doesn’t score that one it changes everything. He not only scored it, but it was brilliant.

    So the specter of winning on the final day to give RM the title is still on. They have three matches left, and who knows, in this topsy-turvy Liga, which has been anything but boring. I was expecting a disheartened Valencia to roll over, but as someone reminded me, all of the other semifinal teams struggled in their matches this weekend. Chelsea drew. Atleti lost. Interesting.

    — David Luiz. I don’t know what CB we have on the cards. Nobody does except ZubiZa, but I know that I have heard too much and too often that a player “isn’t Barça quality,” or will do this or do that. My all-time great to this day is still Mascherano, the no-passing card magnet who will leave us playing with 10 men every match he starts.

    We don’t know what a player’s capacity is, or what a player’s capacity is to learn to adapt to a system. I don’t really know enough to be for or against anyone, but I know that the skills I see in Luiz make me not so completely steadfast against his purchase.

    — I know that many people have their coaching candidates, but as I commented in the last thread, if you look at what Laporta did for Guardiola and how he did it, it speaks volumes. Guardiola and Laporta was also the last time that a coach had the full and complete support of the board. I don’t know what candidates are real and which ones are figments of some journalist’s imagination, but I rather imagine they are looking at what happened to Martino, and trying to figure out ways to ensure that the same thing won’t happen to them.

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      I totally agree with Luiz. He is a hell of a player, but supposedly is tainted because he “makes mistakes”. I’m sick of all this talk about this or this player not being world class. At the right price he could be just what we need. Nobody is going to look good defending for Barca. It comes with the territory.
      .

    • BA
      May 5, 2014

      can’t let the bit about Mascherano go without some push-back. Mascherano is an excellent footballer and a good captain (in persona if not in practice), but his purchase was a big tactical mistake on the club’s part.

      he has filled in admirably at CB when called upon, but so has Adriano; that doesn’t mean we *want* either of them playing there or that that position is one in which we should have to put them. the purchase and conversion of Mascherano (a world-class defensive midfielder), instead of an orthodox center-back to fill the shoes of the departed Rafa Marquez and Gabi Milito, was an ad-hoc bit of hubris on the part of the club that we’re only now, after seasons and seasons of inadequate defensive cover, starting to address.

  19. Inamess
    May 4, 2014

    Counterfactual History question:

    March 26: Barcleona v. Celta Vigo minute 19

    Adriano is called for a dubious handball at the edge of the box. The Barcelona players surround the referee after he points to the spot, and he now seems to have changed his mind. He’s now awarded a freekick just on the edge of the penalty area.

    The rest is too painful the recount.

    But there are questions:

    1) How would our season have been different had the referee had the guts to stick with his original call to award a penalty?

    2) Who bears the moral responsibility for the rest of the season that followed:

    A) Adriano for committing a dubious penalty.

    B) Barcelona players for questioning the refs decision.

    C) The ref for not having the balls to stand up to Xavi.

    D) Dark and Satanic Force that is punishing Cules this season for previous transgressions.

  20. May 4, 2014

    For anyone thinking there is a chance that Martino is staying, there is apparently video evidence of a row between he and Tello, where our hopefully sold in summer forward mouths off to Martino, saying it’s disrespectful that he is a “time wasting” sub, etc.

    For me this means he is leaving and the players know it. I would hope that it also means Tello isn’t in Blaugrana next season. That attitude is unacceptable.

    • agar2515
      May 4, 2014

      Beat me to the punch! lol

    • Peter
      May 4, 2014

      I just watched it, and since I can’t lip read Spanish, I’d have to trust Cuatro. I’d rather trust Fox News that there’s a war against Christmas.

    • Peter
      May 4, 2014

      Correction, just watched the catalan TV clip and from what I can get from the body language it’s absolutely unforgivable from Tello. He seems pissed, if not at Tata then taking it out on Tata. Bloody princess.

    • ciaran
      May 4, 2014

      I agree that it’s the wrong reaction but I also understand Tello’s frustration.
      He has been completely wasted by Tata this season. Tello has played just over 900 minutes all season… the equivalent of 10 full matches and has 5 goals and 6 assists in all competitions. So he is responsible for more than a goal a game when he is played.

      Now, I don’t think that Tello has been overly impressive when he has played but since he got that hattrick he has hardly seen the pitch. I’m sure he would be delighted if Martino is gone at the end of the season. He would have been better off if he had been loaned out like Deulofeu was.

    • BA
      May 5, 2014

      too bad Tello, like Sanchez (if the rumours are true) is RIGHT. i’d rather have angry players fighting for a chance to play with an intransigent coach than players sitting the bench passively collecting dust (Gio dos Santos?).

      totally agree with ciaran: Tello HAS been wasted by Martino this season. his speed is a weapon that one would think could work to good effect in the kind of system Martino wants to play, and what did Tello do the last time he started? a hat-trick, was it? then never given a real run in the team; i don’t know what more he’d have to do to earn a shot. yes, Pedro and Alexis have been good this season, and yes Neymar is Neymar, but some tactical versatility and better management of players’ minutes could have resulted in a better shot for a player who’s earned it with his limited appearances this season.

      personally i hope Tello stays on til we can kick Martino to the curb, then hopefully we can get a manager who knows how to use him.

  21. agar2515
    May 4, 2014

    ICYMI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWrxXy1-aFw

    Nothing more need be said about Tata then imo. If freaking TELLO is behaving this way towards him it seems so clear he is on his way out. Tata deserves much more than that. Regardless of his tactical decisions, you respect the coach, and certainly don’t try to show him up as he’s trying to help WIN THE GAME by subbing you on ( even if it is just for time wasting). Then again, Tello probably knows he’s off in the summer too.
    Just really terrible to see.

    • May 4, 2014

      He needs to sit for the rest of season. Or more correctly, sub him in the last two matches in the last 30 seconds of injury time.

    • 86ed
      May 4, 2014

      I would get rid of him right away. Fine him his wages until we have shipped him out. I never want to see him play or even train for Barca again.

    • May 4, 2014

      I’ve felt sorry for Tello all season. Not anymore. He’s lucky Puyol wasn’t on the bench.

    • ciaran
      May 4, 2014

      I think we should have a public stoning, or have him hung, drawn and quartered… Or burn him at the stake. Better yet, sacrifice him to the gods.

      It’s not like he pulled a Tevez and refused to play. We have no idea what went on but he had been treated like shit by Tata. I’d prefer him to stand up for himself than do a JDS and be happy to run down his contract in the stands

    • May 4, 2014

      You just don’t do that. No excuse for me. The coach is the boss. He decides who plays and when. You go in when you are told, and save any crap for another setting.

      For all Tello knows, he might have had the opportunity to be a hero and score the winning goal late in the match. It’s attitude, and attitude of a player who is a superstar. But even a superstar shouldn’t do that. The coach is the Mister. He runs the team.

      Tello was childish and unprofessional. It was for me, a crap move by a player who should know better, and wouldn’t have done to a coach who was staying.

    • Peter
      May 4, 2014

      transfer him to Espanyol. 😛

    • ooga aga
      May 4, 2014

      “treated like shit by Tata” ? ciaran i usually agree with you and love your posts pretty much always, but i dont agree here. tello has messi, neymar, alexis and pedro (…and iniesta…) ahead of him. he has not performed well enough, consistently enough, to get more time in these circumstances. too bad, but not Tata treating him like shit. if he wants to prove he deserves more, he should have run himself into the ground in those 2 minutes he had…thats all he can do…believe me, his attitude will be noted by Zubi and any incoming manager. We dont need that in our team.

    • BA
      May 5, 2014

      seconded. disobedience is one thing, but players who are angry they aren’t playing more after doing well during limited minutes have the right motivation. i want players to climb over each other fighting to get into this team, and i’d rather have Tello, frustrated but talented and useful, than Sergi Roberto, compliant but tactically pointless, any day. the right manager can deal with the former; there is no room in this sort of team for the latter.

      all this “Mister” nonsense: that title and level of respect is earned, not given.

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      I hate to be the odd man out here. But I think this reaction against Tello is unfair. Barcelona fans do not know the exact state of the “locker room” and who has said what to whom. Only rumors and press “reports”. Maybe Tello has been a model citizen this year and just got upset during a private conversation with the coach. Maybe Iniesta put a whoopee cushion under Tata’s seat? We don’t really know exactly what is said by these players and coach behind the scenes.

      I have to say that from what I have seen I like Tello. He brings something different to the team and had the loyalty to stick around despite the club buying Neymar. Maybe he should have just pulled a Thiago and demanded a transfer to Liverpool. Then he wouldn’t be under so much perhaps unfair criticism and be further along in his career.

    • May 4, 2014

      See my comment above. Tello’s behavior is unacceptable.

  22. sandesh
    May 4, 2014

    One issue I have been realizing this season is that most teams around Europe have gotten better at playing against technically superior opponents by closing space and attacking in numbers. At least in EPL and La Liga, there is a trend towards some form of equalization compared to 2-4 years ago.

    This means it aint over until it is mathematically over. I still have (small) hope that Madrid may drop a point in the rest of the three games they have to play. I would want to play as hard as possible, and let the chips fall where they fall. If we beat Atletico and Madrid wins the title, so be it. I would rather have that than us rest players and then Madrid draw their last game, and we curse ourselves for not taking the risk. The important question is; with this climate in the locker room and general pessimism, can Tata come up with a system and motivation to prepare the team to beat Atletico?

  23. May 4, 2014

    I can understand Tello being frustrated with his lack of minutes this season, that’s normal. But disrespecting your coach in public, when an important game is on the line? Unacceptable. Even Bojan didn’t do that. (Or Jeffren, who had more reason.) It is quite obvious to me that Tata has lost the dressing room, if he ever had it. We need a coach that inspires his players, even the ones who don’t get much playing time. That is something Lucho excels at.

    And yeah, Tello has to be sold this summer. He was on his way out the door already, but this will likely seal the deal.

    • Sangoku
      May 5, 2014

      Agreed. I have the utmost respect for Martino and I really think he’s a great coach who could have achieved great things (in his first season in Europe!) had he had the backing of the fans and press, nevermind dealing with all the other crap we’ve endured this season.

      Frankly, I don’t know what I’d prefer anymore. I know that what the team needs now is someone who transmits enthusiasm to the players but I’m also curious to what Martino can achieve with players he brings on his own. When I look at Moyes’ situation, I think that one of the major problems he had was that he inherited a squad from a club legend. How do you manage that?

  24. agar2515
    May 4, 2014

    Am I REALLY reading people attempting to make excuses for Tello?! If Ronaldo did this can you imagine what we would say? Then again, at least CR has EARNED the clout to pout. Tello behaved petulantly, choosing to vent his own frustrations at his coach, on the pitch, on television, with a game still needing to be won. I dont care how slighted he feels, RESPECT THE BADGE. 1000% agree with Kevin, it’s inexcusable.

    • ooga aga
      May 4, 2014

      agree with kxevin, agar and the other re: Tello. I watched the game (on TV) live and could tell by body language and face that Tello was mouthing off to Tata, who as far as I can tell is someone I would like to have a beer with. Not a bad guy. Tello on the other hand has always seemed to me a bit cocky, vain, and entitled, and this seals the deal. while he has had flashes of brilliance he has never been consistently good enough to earn anything more than what he has been given by Tata. Believe me, I am sure Tata would have loved to play Tello more, if he thought he could have faith in him, and if the league werent so tight. Instead Barca havent been consistent enough to have any breathing room, meanwhile messi cant be touched, neymar has to play due to his big $ signing, and pedro and alexis are both much better than Tello. Tata has done no wrong. Tello is in wrong place at wrong time, too bad. But he has no right to act that way towards Tata.

      Of course, now that I spewed off all that, who knows what really happened. Alexis supposedly refused to take his Copa medal due to a spat with Tata, for all we know he had to go wee-wee. Nothing ever came of that, and maybe this is all a media creation. But like I said it doesnt surprise me given my impressions while watching the game in real time.

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      That is an interesting point! Why so much rage against a youth player who we know will not be in the side next year? If he is not just a scapegoat for all of our disappointment with the side this year then I think it is fair to be equally critical of Alexis for supposedly calling Tata a coward and not getting his medal.

      We don’t know everything about the Tello and Sanchez incident and shouldn’t it really be up to Tata about what to do. For all we know each may have apologized for acting like an ass and Tata may be OK with it or not. It’s Tata’s decision.

    • G6O
      May 4, 2014

      I also had such thoughts when watching the game, and expected to see it be discussed after it. But then seconds later Getafe scored and that was obviously a lot more distressing so I kind of forgot that episode. But apparently I am not such a bad readers of body language after all.

      Definitely completely unacceptable and he should not be in the team next season

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      “Earned the Clout to Pout” is an awesome summary for CR. I also like “Done the Jive to Dive”.

  25. Inamess
    May 4, 2014

    I really like sandesh’s point about how smaller sides are getting better at challenging the giants by becoming better teams and attacking and defending better in numbers against their opponents.
    For me football is a team game and individual statistics, while interesting are usually misleading.

    Who scores a goal or gets the assist or is “responsible” when the team concedes a goal. These may be easy questions to answer, but is that all football is about? Maybe those aren’t always the best questions to ask or how we should judge a player. Most of us really only get a chance to see a player who is in view on our TV screens but we don’t really know what each player’s contribution is over the entirety of a game.

    We think we know our players really well and know about the payoffs they bring to the team.

    Alves and Alba contribute to a lot of goals but are also responsible for conceding many too.

    Messi is the best player in the world, but the fact that he doesn’t or can’t press to much diminishes the side. Maybe the player most responsible for an opponent scoring on a counter is not Masch or Valdes but Messi because he didn’t press more up-field.

    We can debate on and on each of our players weaknesses vs. strengths or who is better as well as the value of potential transfers but sometimes this is not that easy to judge.

    Sanchez is great is demon when pressing and defending but also misses “easy goals”. This seems like a fair assessment. However, what I think most of us don’t take into consideration is the talent and effort he puts in to score his goals or even to miss his “sitters”.

    Similar things could be said about Pedro and you could say he is a more reliable goal scorer than Sanchez, but maybe Pedro does not have as much ability to be in the right place at the right time to “miss his sitters” because he doesn’t have the talent earn as many.

    All this leads me to an idea that might be interesting to look at so we may more fairly judge our players’ value. I wonder if there is a statistic available that factors how many goals a team scores vs. concedes while that player is on the pitch.

    For me this would be useful in further evaluating all the questions we constantly debate for the players in our side. For example:

    What is Iniesta’s real contribution to the side? We all love his magic with the ball but how much does he really add to our offense and defense. He may be the most underrated or overrated player in all of world football.

    Who is really better to have at left back Alba or Adriano?

    Is Fabergas a bust that we didn’t realize was so slow or is he the most underrated player on our team? Maybe Xavi still has the ability to look like a boss in midfield, but maybe the team does not actually pull out the victory until he is removed for Fabergas?

    The statistic would look like this: team goals scored minus conceded for each 90 minutes a player is on the pitch in La Liga or Champions League games. I know there are flaws in this statistic but who do you guys think would rank very high or low in this category in the side?

    My best guess is that Pique ranks really high in this category. I would also argue that another high performer is the now demonized Cristian Tello. On the other hand, the player who ranks lowest is probably Pinto, but this should not be another opportunity to a bash player who has been very important to our side in other ways and was unfortunately put into a no win situation.

    Other than those, I really have no clue about most of our other players. I would love to have some feedback about who people think would score high or low in this statistic on our team. Thanks!

    • Gekko64
      May 5, 2014

      that wouldn’t work. reserves would get an inflated score because they tend to play against easier opposition.

    • Inamess
      May 6, 2014

      You are right! That is one of many things that would have to be adjusted for including not counting meaningless goals after a match has been “decided”.

  26. bhed
    May 4, 2014

    Interesting, sabermetrics for football. I wonder if any teams are doing this on a serious level.

    • Inamess
      May 4, 2014

      Thanks!

    • agar2515
      May 4, 2014

      You ( or anyone) just can’t have a go/doubt at Iniesta. It’s impossible. Interesting thoughts though.

    • May 5, 2014

      Some do. Absolutely. Problem is with football is that it is a lot harder to judge statistics than say, baseball, which is almost an individual sport in a team setting, or even other sports like basketball or hockey where there are only five players on the pitch/court/ice/whatever.

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      That I think is the value of such a statistic. It requires no fancy technology or abstract formulas and is completely objective. It also gives us a better way to value midfielders since it is often their play that is most influential in a team scoring or conceding a goal. It could tell us for instance whether Mou was a genius or a moron for getting rid of Mata in a year that he might have been decisive in the SF.

      It is also good from a team’s/coach’s perspective. You were on the pitch when the team scored or conceded so you in part are responsible for either. It just seems like a good mentality for a side to have, particularly for a side where there is a healthy competition for playing time.

    • Nik
      May 5, 2014

      The data is objective, but its interpretation is subjective.

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      You are right. I completely agree that the stat has flaws. But isn’t every statistic subject to interpretation except, of course, wins and losses. As we are finding out as Barca fans stats like number or percent of passes completed, kilometers run, or even a team’s percent of possession don’t tell the whole story.

  27. senyera7
    May 5, 2014

    Hey Kxevin,

    I have a friend who’s a huge culer and also a tech whiz. He wants to set up a site dedicated to “The Pep Years” . A huge and extensive site with match reports,news and the like. So I was wondering if maybe you maintained the archives from the offside blog? Those articles would be perfect for his site. (Don’t worry, credit will be given)

    Thanks

    • ooga aga
      May 5, 2014

      Maybe you friend should just create a link to all the stuff kxev and others wrote rather than uploading it all. He should create his own content and link to others’ content.

    • senyera7
      May 6, 2014

      I think that’s what he means to do, he just doesn’t have the links.

  28. Chiu
    May 5, 2014

    after RM vs Valladolid game, we will get better view about the permutation of last matchday. hope valladolid can hold draw RM at the minimum. Keep hoping guys. Visca Barca!

  29. May 5, 2014

    Levon, Now I am convinced that you and I have a most similar mind.
    I have often wanted to express my frustration at this ‘Tiki taka’ being bandied about as some legitimate term for a long while. You have managed to express it exactly as I’ve wanted to. I’ve never gotten where it began, and how it managed to remain and used by various commentators, pundits and journalists alike.

    It just sounds so cheap. Its tiki taka sometimes, or tiki taki and tippy tappy football. Are you freaking kidding me!

    Well done though man. Finally the ridiculousness of this term is documented somewhere!

  30. May 5, 2014

    Further As Iniesta himself mentioned in a great interview long ago, for him and the team, this style (tiki taka..UGH) was pragmatic and presented the best chance of bossing and then winning a game. When you have players like xavi, messi, iniesta, busquets, pedro, alves, alba etc – small, quick, technical players who can pass short and move extremely well, the style ends up looking or sounding like tiki taka.
    no one calls the chelsea style ‘pow bang crash’ do they?

    This so called death of tiki taka(again ugh) is not because people have found us out and figured out a way to nullify it. Hell no! The death or dying is only due to the players not executing, not moving, not believing enough. That is simply it. Because when this fool proof system is executed the way it should be, there is simply NO tactic that can suppress its efficacy for too long.

  31. May 5, 2014

    And what exactly is the game fate trying to play here?
    Even though a liga title win dedicated to Tito would be a fitting send off to puyol and Valdes, I am not quite sure if Barca deserve the league this year. Atleti really do.
    Also, if there is a chance Puyol could play a last game in front of his home fans, would Barca really go for a win against Atleti if they knew it’d hand EE the league? Wake me up when the season’s over please. I am spent.

    • Peter
      May 5, 2014

      Deserving has nothing to do with it. If teams went to the final based on what they deserve, Borussia would’ve gone to the semis. Barcelona would’ve squeezed a point at least from Granada and would’ve won against Levante.

      Atletico are a great team, but in the long run they need the other La Liga teams to play them as they would a normal team, not Barcelona or Real Madrid.

      If the situation was reversed, if Atletico and Real each had gotten half of what has been heaped onto Barcelona, they would’ve imploded. Imagine Atletico going in the QF at Camp Nou without Courtois and Miranda or Real playing the CdR final with Nacho and Varane in defence and facing an intact centre pair flanked by Alba.

      Anyway, we’ll know what happens in two weeks. Hell, the horse could learn to sing.* 😀

      *http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/sig.html

  32. Rami
    May 5, 2014

    “Getafe and in camp nou… Oh god this is gonna be a drag, At least i’ll enjoy the goals”
    How many of us had this exact thought or something similar, But here is an interesting question, What goes on in the players heads before such a match?
    Am i suggesting complacency?…No, Because complacency suggest something deliberate, Voluntary, Some self awareness is involved, But i believe when our boys say they still give it their all on the pitch like they always used to, Or at least think they do.
    When we were kids growing up, Did we notice our voice changing?, We could have swore that our voices are exactly the same as before, It’s only when we watch an old video until we realize how much we’ve changed.
    After winning so many trophies, Thrashing so many teams, Your attitude, Your way of thinking starts changing, But not in a ‘superficial’ way like we may think, But in the deep layers of your subconscious, Unaware of and out of reach, You can sit in front of a mirror all day long and convince your self how important today’s match is , But you can never approach it the same as before you were saturated with success.
    Why does it take just a few shots from the opponent to score while we need so many, Is it tactics?,Individual errors?, Bad luck?, , A bit of each actually, Yet these don’t explain why do they happen so frequently, Maybe because the opponent is willing to go for that extra inch, that extra millisecond, We?, Well we don’t go for that extra of course, We’re barca, We’ll just create another chance, And here is the funny bit, We actually do!!, Again and again, But it never goes in, The opponent is always that many inches and milliseconds ahead of us.

    It’s human nature to try to explain the unknown, Maybe the unknown makes the brain uncomfortable. Blaming, Finger pointing, Scapegoats, Perhaps all exist as a response to a basic impulse, But i think there is more to it than that, There is some sort of self gratification and sense of accomplishment when someone thinks he knows ‘the answer’, Not only he knows, He can even point his finger at them, X,Y and Z, And in many occasions prejudice is present before hand.

    • icemel
      May 6, 2014

      This^^^

      Too weary to be disgusted, ready to pull for Athletico, waiting for the world cup
      …and in the secret recesses of their minds a lot of the team probably feels the same.
      Fin du cycle is a bitch.

  33. May 5, 2014

    Peter, thank you for those amazing comments. You should apply for a coaching job at Barca.

    I like Tata, but I feel very sorry for him. The Tello moment just substantiated my thoughts on our coach. He seems to have listened too much to the squad and enroute forgot his own methods and authority and is now paying for it, by taking negativity even from some youngster like Tello. What happened to all those values taught at La Masia.

    I hope Tata resigns, before the Club will fire him, to give some pride. Football wise, I cant agree with Tata only for couple of things. We played 5 matches with Atletico, couldnt win even ONCE. Didnt see any tactical understanding or improvement from him,in those matches.
    Secondly, when Alexis and Pedro was on superb form, sidelining them. It is incredible that Alexis, Messi and Pedro has the same number of liga goals as BBC, who are applauded widely.

    • Peter
      May 5, 2014

      I can assure you that what we discuss every day the staff at Barcelona are doing as well, just having much more inside knowledge and the experience to use that knowledge. Fans and especially armchair managers like to think that President, board, coach, staff have no friggin idea and are just getting millions for doing nothing(which is the dream), but it’s nothing like that.

      My comments may seem nice, but that’s because I speak in general terms. For example, the idea that if Barcelona stop the forward pressure the defensive effort from other teams would drop as well depends on a zero sum balance if I may call it that. In other words, if Barcelona drop back, the other team may sit contently in its own half and leave with a happy draw. 😉

      Furthermore, even the requirements for players are subjective and may not be rooted in reality, but instead in nostalgia! And even if the subjective requirements are met it doesn’t guarantee success – because it’s human beings interacting, not pixels on the PS4 with stats attached. This is the “secret” behind every giant slaying we have seen this season. Two teams of eleven human beings go out on the pitch. If both teams play as teams, then the one that has the better combination of skill and cohesion would be more likely to win. Sometimes it’s just down to individual brilliance during ten seconds that turn a whole game on its head.

      Often, however, games are decided by which side is willing to go a little bit further and force itself more. I believe that the extraordinary success of the 2008-2009 team had lots to do with Pep and his pruning and bringing in guys who were prepared to go the extra meter, not mile, just the extra meter, in order to win. The rest, the players left from the 2007-2008 squad had a lot of pent-up anger and frustration from the last Clasico of the season, when they had had to form a guard of honor for Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu before the Clasico. Guys like Puyol and Valdes apparently swore to die before they suffered that dishonour again. The fact that the culerada was united behind the team when that team started winning again, adopting the players, even the new ones in the family, that helped a lot as well.

      This is why I hate the current entitlement tantrums from the fans and the entorno. They were united behind and protective of the players in the 2008-2009 season because those players brought back the joy. This sense of protection is why Mascherano Song, Alba, Alexis, Neymar and Fabregas get the overwhelming majority of the scorn and blame – they came later, when the Six Trophies were already won. It’s funny, sad and ridiculous at the same time, but Mascherano, Villa, Alexis, Cesc, Adriano, all of these were brought by Saint Pep. Saint Pep who just lost a semi-final against Real Madrid 0-4 at Alianz Arena.

      In the end, I think the only way for the “new guys” to win the affection of the culerada would be to to win multiple major trophies without the old guys – but it would still be chalked on “Messi is still the engine”. The situation is that ridiculous.

    • May 5, 2014

      A trophy less season, I hope, will bring bang that passion for that extra meter.
      For the moment, I cant see Barca doing anything other than ‘Messi is still the engine’. In many ways, this is the worst season of Messi in some time, but still is a lot ahead than the other scorers, inspite of Bus watching on the pitch, and inspite of him not being the focal point of attack.
      I am really hoping we wont sell Pedro, Alexis, Cesc and Masche.

    • May 5, 2014

      Absolutely spot on, Peter. The only player with pre-existing scorn was Henry, who arrived before Guardiola.

      I always bang on about double standards and certain players being scapegoated, and people just yell at me and call me a biased jackass, “Sanchez’s Mom” and the like. But as you point out, there is an intolerance among culers that is unsettling, all rooted in this notion that winning is a birthright or something.

      In more than 100 years of existence, Barça has won the Liga championship less than 20% of the time, which is still an astounding success ratio. But failure is the norm, not only for our team but for EVERY team. Sevilla supporters just want to win a match.

      Should we have higher standards because we have better players and a more sparkling past? No team should ever settle for adequacy or not trying its absolute hardest. Yet ours has settled for precisely that too many times this season, and that isn’t the fault of any one player or coach. Run. You want to make tika taka work, then bust your ass to make a passing angle for your teammate, rather than leaving his stranded in the midfield with the ball, wondering what to do.

      Chase someone, tackle someone, DO something to ensure that your team gets the result that it needs. Yes, the board is a bunch of festering fuckheads. So win in SPITE of those assholes and their efforts. Spit in the face of Fate.

      It’s funny that no player is ever good enough for this team any longer. Imagine signing Iniesta right now, and hearing that “He never scores goals,” or Messi. “Another midget. For how much? This stupid board will never sign a 9.”

      And so on.

      Analysis is fun, as we armchair quarterback our way to the perfect team. I just think that too often, analysis goes beyond that into bashing and vendettas. The players don’t know or care that certain people think that certain players are shit and will always be shit. But it goes into a collective karmic pool that, based on my silly cosmic notions, has an effect.

      It’s gloom and doom. Nobody thinks, even if RM drops more points, that we can beat Atleti. Why? We haven’t this season, and why would we start now? But who thought Valencia would draw RM, or that Levante would beat Atleti? You play the matches, do your best and see what happens.

  34. ciaran
    May 5, 2014

    All of the talk of the possibility of us winning the league is still attached to the hope that we can beat Atletico in the last game. Tata has tried 5 times and hasn’t managed it yet. His game plan has been identical every time. His line up has been practically the same and every single time we’ve looked toothless.
    If he lines up with Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Messi & Alexis or whoever up front I’ll go mental.
    I hope he has the balls to actually try to win the game.

    It would be funny if Luis Enrique’s Celta ended up being the team to give us the opportunity to win the league on the final day; assuming he takes over a couple of weeks later.

    • May 5, 2014

      But we have done better than RM against them, yes? Neymar unfortunately isn’t going to be an option for that match, or I would suggest a front line of Pedro/Neymar/Sanchez. That, for me, would show that he had the balls to actually try to win the game. Then Messi comes on at the half when Atleti is feeling the effort a bit, and off we go.

      It all comes down to us beating Elche, and one of the two teams RM has to face before the last week of the season taking points from them.

      Ah, for want of a goal …

    • Gekko64
      May 5, 2014

      well, RM destroyed them in the copa…

  35. May 5, 2014

    According to media reports, Zubizarreta is meeting with Luis Enrique at his home right now.

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 5, 2014

      Zubi ?
      Really ?
      What month is this ?
      Must be August.

    • Peter
      May 5, 2014

      I know it’s just theoretical at this point, but if Martino wins La Liga and is then fired/resigned, it would be the first time probably in history when a coach wins two trophies and is fired. What does that say about FC Barcelona, the culers and the entorno?

    • G6O
      May 5, 2014

      RM have done that on numerous occasions

    • May 5, 2014

      Many have warned about us becoming RM-like in our approach to things. You take a terrified board and yes, there is going to be a hair trigger.

      I know this will upset the “Tata out!” camp, but continuity isn’t a bad thing at this point. United lost at home to Southhampton this weekend. I reckon the “Moyes is clueless” crowd was either silent, or considering how to shift their argument.

      Firing a coach is easy. Fixing the deeper problems is more difficult. No one coach or player is going to fix the stuff that is “wrong” with our team.

    • Peter
      May 5, 2014

      My point exactly. Thanks.

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 5, 2014

      I think zubi don’t have a choice.
      Tata must have pushed the Exit button.

  36. May 5, 2014

    Meanwhile, Balague is blathering on about how other teams have approached Messi, and he thinks he is going to renew until 2019, blablablabla.

    Messi is, and has always been about as likely to leave Barça as Iniesta was during those negotiations. Both players said they want to stay with the club, and have made that clear. So any hooey about “so and so wants to sell Messi,” or “RM tried to buy Messi,” is so much silly season bollocks.

    • kosby
      May 5, 2014

      wow..the similarities are eerie !

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      There are similarities. We still play on the same way and still have troubles against the same type of teams.
      From a organisational standpoint we are still the same group of fans with the same expectations which hinders more than it helps.

      The things that we lack from a sporting side are the same, energy, decisiveness, long distance shooting, height and the ability to win a match when we don’t play well.

      They often say that the sign of a champion is the solu to win when you are not at your best and we don’t have it. When we play poorly we invariably lose. There’s no middle ground for us, we play well and win 4-0 and then a couple of days later we drop points because we are not at our best.

      I think that’s our biggest problem, we are now in a situation that unless we play well we lose and that is unacceptable for a group of players this talented. We see 70% possession and maybe 3 or 4 half decent opportunities and we waste them and give up 2 and concede. I don’t have stats for it but I’m guessing that we concede the most goals per chances conceded in the league.

      When I have spoken about the signings I would like to see I’ve always maintained that I would like a midfielder capable of scoring goals and a striker capable of scoring goals that we don’t currently score.
      I’m not saying that we need to sign a 6ft 4in striker and loft the ball forward at every opportunity but having someone who might win a header doesn’t suddenly mean we won’t play good football. Watch Jackson Martinez and tell me that he couldn’t get goals that we already can’t.

      In midfield we have no one capable of shooting from long range either. Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta are almost no goal threat whatsoever

    • May 5, 2014

      That goals conceded to chances would be interesting.

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      The type of football we play has led to an inequity.
      The quality of chances that we give up does not equate to the quantity of chances that we create in order to score.
      Our style of football, Whatever you want to call it, was an offensive and defensive style combined to diminish the amount of chances that we give up and allow us to create a lot of chances.

      Now, we have 70% possession and sometimes have 20 shots on goal, from which only a couple are genuine goal scoring opportunities. We then give up 2 or 3 one on ones in which we seem to concede too many goals.

      I’d like if we could have a match where we don’t play well and score from a long range shot or a header or something but it doesn’t happen.

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      Just some quick calculations.

      Shots conceded per league game:
      Barca 8.9, Atletico 9, Real Madrid 10.9

      Total shots conceded
      Barca 320, Atletico 324, Real Madrid 381

      League goals conceded:
      Barca 32, Atletico 24, Real Madrid 36

      Shots to goals ratio:
      Barca 10:1, Atletico 13.5:1, Real Madrid 10.58:1

      So we do concede more goals per shots than Real Madrid though only slightly but on average a team needs to take 3.5 more shots on Courtois to score than on us.

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      Just another quick calculation…
      Pinto in his time since Valdes’ injury has faced 49 shots in league games and conceded 7 goals. 7 shots to every 1 goal conceded compared to Courtois’ 13.5.

      This just proves how badly we miss Valdes.

      This doesn’t even take into consideration whether a shot is on target or not. Damning statistics on the different between world class goalkeepers and, let’s just say, average ones.

    • May 5, 2014

      What were Valdes’ numbers, ciaran?

      I also wonder whether the shots to goal calculations look at quality of chances. Generally because of the differences in how we and Atleti defend, if someone gets close enough to our keeper it’s usually a higher-risk chance than trying to shoot through the Atleti back line, there in place.

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 5, 2014

      Scary similarities aside, Gorgeous article.
      Compared to any other football forum, articles here are insanely good.

      Old ones are all pure gold too.
      Felt like christmas when I first stumbled down here.

      At the EE blog, there’re plenty typos, some more swear words & remaining is meh.

      In earlier post, someone provided a link which pointed out Chinks in Atleti’s defence – halfspaces, switching play from flank to flank & such.

      I found nothing new in it.
      As I had good fortune of reading kari’s articles
      & digging old ones,
      I already guessed those points correctly.

      Seems like a good time to be grateful for all the teaching.

  37. KEVpitt
    May 5, 2014

    Cool interview with aguero and messi liked his comment about Figo.

    *Www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7ahbBKEtdY

  38. barca96
    May 5, 2014

    I like what Alves did last weekend but I fear that some fools want to see more of it. A fan provoked Papa Diop hoping to get a reaction.

    • May 5, 2014

      It’s funny, when some crazies were saying that we didn’t exactly yet really KNOW whether ZubiZa was Transfer Satan with extra stupidity, the stonings began. Ah, well. Time will tell.

      I still believe our technical staff is defined more by what they have NOT done than by what they have done.

  39. Inamess
    May 5, 2014

    Here is my theory on the whole Tata question and I apologize upfront if some may find it offensive or even think borders on conspiracy theory.

    My conclusion: Tata is and was going to be fired even if by some fluke the team wins La Liga.

    Whether cules want to face it or not this year does mark “The End of an Era”. As I said before, there is no shame in that. The team will be significantly different next year as our last “End of an Era” 2007, when we hired Pep and he revitalized the team.

    The facts: Since January, this season has been a horror story where almost everything seemed to go wrong for the club. It has been marked by many things that made being a fan of this club a painful experience. These include:

    1) Losing or drawing against many inferior La Liga sides which will probably make us lose La Liga unless some fluke happens. Had we not lost to so many of these teams, we would have already clinched the La Liga title at this point.

    2) Being in the same League as a “Cinderella Story” that has performed much better this season by being what we are not. Athleti play a hard, aggressive, team oriented style that has not lost many games against inferior teams until its last game against Levante. They have also been able to do this on a fraction of our bloated budget for wages and transfers.

    3) We lost in the quarter finals of the Champions League against the above team. In addition, the success of this Athleti is our only hope of the ultimate humiliation for the club and its supporters: a Real treble and Decima.

    4) The team was forced to compete in its most significant games this year with an incredibly deficient CB team and goalie due to injuries to Valdes, Pique, and the chronic lack of fitness of Puyol, the team’s leader and most respected player.

    4) We lost a beloved coach to cancer who was an integral part of the team’s most successful period in its history.

    Now, the question for cules is what is the take home message for this year and where do we go from here. As I see it, there are two dominant competing narratives:

    Narrative 1: The board and Zubi has been incompetent in its transfer purchases over the last 5 years, including not buying at least one quality CB over the last three years and this as Kxevin has said “bordered on criminal”. At the same time our purchase of Fabergas may now have been a disastrous move particularly if he returns to EPL since it will cost us the loss of 2 world class midfielders: Cesc himself and Thiago. The consequences of this if it happens will almost rival that of selling Eto and buying Ibra in that the club has lost two world class players at a position while getting none in return.

    The board should resign for sitting idly and doing everything except improving the team while our rivals have gotten much better. Furthermore, the club, its players, and the Catalonian media have been so provincial that they did not let a capable manager from another country have a chance to implement his ideas for the team, which may in fact have been successful even if its full implementation would have meant a change in the teams identity, style of play, and change in some of its key players, including some legacy players who would not be as important in the new style and may even need to go because their talents were not suited to it. You could argue about who these players would have been, but they certainly include Xavi and Alves, but maybe other players as well. We can only find out what Tata’s complete preference for his team would have been if he writes a tell all book, but unfortunately that won’t happen because nobody would argue (even his biggest detractors) that Tata is not a class individual.

    The club has become too provincial and xenophobic in its glorification of its style of play and its established La Masia products which has unfortunately become “sacred” and is now somehow become tangled up with Catalonian Nationalism. This has also made it really hard on any new player who comes into the club because it’s really hard to come in as an outsider who is unfamiliar with this style of play and finds it hard to fit into a team culture in which insiders are much preferred to outsiders. Finally, The tragic death of one of the team’s beloved coaches I think will now also add to this narrative as now the club will now justify its moves as “Tito would have wanted us to do this”.

    Narrative 2: The club brought in an outsider as coach, who while being a nice guy was not up for the task and really was not ready to coach the team because he was an inexperienced, did not know the intricacies of the club, its culture, its style, and its traditions, or how to inspire and lead the players. The lesson is we need to hire a club legend to coach the team again and have a rebirth under our new Pep.

    Unfortunately Narrative Two seems to work for everyone.

    Again, I humbly submit this for consideration and am not trying to knock a team that I love when its down.

    • May 5, 2014

      You make some excellent points. Just a couple of things:

      — Rumor is that Martino chose to leave the club, activating his out clause, if you believe the rumors to that effect. Others on the heels of that rumor claimed that the board wanted him to stay, but he wanted to leave.

      — If you don’t fix the problems at the top, a new coach and players are just window dressing.

      — If you look at our starting XI, it’s hard to think of a player you could easily replace, and who you might replace him with. The quality is there, but the brain isn’t. This team is fried. The World Cup and immediately after Euro qualifiers couldn’t have come at a worse time for players who need to go lay on a boat for a month, hang with friends and cuddle their loved ones.

      — Martino shows the folly of hiring a coach and saying “Here’s a bunch of players. Now be brilliant. We will be over here in the corner, conspiring about getting our new stadium.”

      Any coach will want input into player decisions. Word was that Martino was a one-year caretaker, which is looking increasingly likely. Even with all that went on, he almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Commendable. He also did it with class and style, which is even more laudable.

      — Our defensive problems begin not at the back line, but at the front line. Our gala XI contains Messi and Neymar, two players with no real interest in tracking back. So right away, we aren’t defending with 11, which is part of the total football philosophy.

      Unfettered runners mean that rather than icing on the cake of a press by the forwards, Xavi is just a turnstile, spinning ineffectively as opponents run past on the counter. Iniesta is usually forward, so Busquets is standing there, ready to jam his finger in the dike.

      At the end of it all is our defenders, non-traditional defenders schooled in a different mode of defending. Small wonder they get caught out when a bunch of attackers runs directly at them.

      The team is right now, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Traditional defenders means a different method of playing for Barça. So you take the risk with the defenders that fit the system, but the risk is in the system breaking down for the abovementioned reasons.

      “Why doesn’t Valdes just hoof it long,” people ask as he plays a troubling pass. “Stupid Valdes just hoofs it long and gives up possession,” people say when Valdes just hoofs it long.

      “Martino doesn’t give youth players a chance.” Which ones are good enough? Then he plays Sergi Roberto, and it’s “Huh! He’s worse than Song. I don’t understand why he didn’t put in Fabregas, etc.”

      It’s impossible right now, without a hefty dose of calmness and humility from culers. Cycles come and go, and losing is part of the end of a cycle. It happens, and will happen again.

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      I completely agree that Martino wanted to leave probably beginning around the time our loss to Real Sociedad and the abuse he got as a result of trying an “experiment” in one game just to see if the team had another way of winning while resting one of our most important players who unfortunately now has been forced to play too much given the current status of our squad.

      I also agree that the fortunes of our team now rely on having Messi and Neymar on the pitch at the same time given all the upside: great offensive power and all the downside: loss of pressing and tracking back and thus a severely weakened defense.

      Let’s hope that Cruijff was wrong and we will be successful with both on the pitch. Thanks for the great feedback!

    • May 5, 2014

      You’re welcome. As a testament to the quality of your comment, what started out as a couple of thoughts became something more substantial.

  40. Jim
    May 5, 2014

    Would we be having this discussion I wonder if Puyol had made it back to fitness? As he himself has said he was led to expect he could make a comeback ( and wouldn’t have stayed if he didn’t believe it ) so the club’s doctors must have thought there was a good chance of him being available for at least some of the bigger games. If you add to that the freak injury to Pique ( how often have I seen forwards make a back for a defender in the same way and the defender walks away uninjured ?) and the lengthy injury to Messi in a WC year which must have played on his mind given the ridiculous expectation on him nationally then add to that we are still in the hunt for the league with two games left is there not a third narrative which goes along the lines of we did pretty well considering everything and were found wanting only in the lack of a CB and some average finishing – and whoever the new coach is maybe couldn’t have done any better ?

    • May 5, 2014

      Excellent points all, Jim. Nothing to add except “Hear, hear,” even as the most cautious among us would have warned against trusting too much in an oft-crocked CB just coming back from a veritable conga line of knocks.

      But hindsight is always 20/20.

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      That is a fair point! I completely agree with all you have said, but it still does not change the fact that the board did not bring in another CB and took its chances. Every team can be devastated by injuries and you could even argue that the board did a bold thing in purchasing Neymar this year in that a season ending injury to Messi would not have ended our season as it probably would have in previous years.

      The team was unlucky in that we did not have an answer to Puyol’s failure to return to previous fitness and Pique and Valdes’ freak injuries. I agree that his was not a likely scenario and no one should be “blamed” for our bad luck but the club still took a big risk. The likelihood of this risk could be argued but let us say it was around 20%. The club did act negligently in not having another solid CB on its roster to be able to handle this scenario which left a back line of Masch and Barta that was severely deficient though I happen to like both of these players and don’t have a problem if one of them is on the pitch without the other.

      The club also took a gamble on retaining a popular player for back up goalie who is important for the team’s morale but probably would not feature in a list of one of the top 500 goalie’s best suited to replace Valdes in crucial games if he became injured.

      Again, we took a chance and it hurt us in the end. No one has a crystal ball but the board’s and Zubi’s job is to put together the best team so that we have the best chance of winning even if freak injuries happen because they almost always do. Unfortunately the team had a deficient answer to these specific injuries which may not have been as unlikely as some might think.

  41. barca96
    May 5, 2014

    Btw, regarding Tello vs. Tata. I think it’s more of Tello being closer to the door than Tata is. It doesn’t give me the impression that Tata has lost the dressing room. If it was Xavi or Messi or any of the captains, it would be a different story altogether as they are more or less the dressing room.

    However, it’s quite strange that Alexis was given the benefit of doubt while most people here and elsewhere were quick to jump on Tello.

    • May 5, 2014

      Sanchez got the benefit of the doubt from some people here, just as Tello did. But the general mood was that it was absolutely unacceptable behavior, just as it is from Tello.

    • May 5, 2014

      Sanchez waited with bitching after the match, not when he got subbed in. Not to excuse Alexis completely but it’s a big difference.

  42. May 5, 2014

    It’s funny, the mood that is greeting the David Luiz rumor. It’s worth reiterating that we shouldn’t just ANYTHING until an official word comes from one of the clubs involved in a transaction, or the player is standing at the Camp Nou, grinning and kissing the crest (lord, how I hate that gesture by new signings).

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      As most people here know, I love transfer rumours. For me it’s the most entertaining thing to think about in the few days before the next match when the season is winding down.
      I watch a lot of football and follow most leagues in Europe to varying degrees so when we are linked to one player or another I make sure I get a few matches worth of a look at those players to assess our potential signings.

      Some other players I just get to see because they are always on TV and David Luiz falls into that category. As an Irishman, I get to watch the EPL every weekend and I have never been convinced by Luiz. He actually impressed me more when all I watched was youtube clips of him at Benfica but since then I’ve been relatively disappointed. Let’s be honest though, virtually every professional player, at least the international level ones, can look good on youtube. Hell if you look up Ricardo Quaresma on youtube you’d be wondering how many times he has won the Balon d’Or.

      For the record, sometimes seeing the new player standing at the Camp Nou, grinning and kissing the crest isn’t enough… Keirrison and Henrique would attest to that 🙂

    • May 5, 2014

      It’s funny, I was able to do that with Balanta, and came away thinking “Holy crap! How much is this dude?!” Then I realized that Argentina attackers are different than the kind of quality Balanta would be facing week in week out if he played for us.

      I go back and forth. One part of me wants to pick up Musacchio on the free, pony up for Laporte and call it a window. The other part of me wonders if that isn’t too facile a solution.

      I wish that I knew, but I don’t. Mascherano taught me that. I would like transfer season a lot more if people didn’t take it all so seriously. Folks get downright angry when someone doesn’t agree with them on a player and his qualities, etc.

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      It’s also less of a risk signing players from the same league. They know the league, the culture and the language…

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      I totally agree and thought about all our great signings form Sevilla: Alves, Adriano, Keita.

      We should probably buy Rakitic if only for that reason!

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2014

      I’d buy Rakitic in a second; the only problem would be playing time.

      My solution would be to have a 4th central defender be the cover for Busquets and have Rakitic as an alternate DM & CM depending on opposition.

      For physical matches he could play a box-to-box midfielder alongside Busquets and for games where we are expected to win easily he could play DM giving more creativity and threat from deep.

      In that scenario I’d sign Daley Blind for 4th CB & 2nd DM with his extra minutes coming from left back. He’s an incredibly intelligent player with a hell of an engine. The way he plays DM for Ajax is almost identical to our CB requirements.

  43. TITO
    May 5, 2014

    Bear in mind that buying the X player just because he is great doesn’t mean that he will succeed in our club.
    I still want Hummels, don’t know why, but i’m somehow convinced that he will be great for us. He just have that bit of intelligence to play with our players.
    And, not to forget something else. Pique is an immediate starter. So we need someone to complement him, and not be Masch. If Masch stays, he’s there to fill up 2 places, the one of a CB and the one of DM.
    If we sell Alves, than we need a fullback as well. And no, i don’t want a world class player, i want a player that suits us. There must be someone out there with such quality.
    As for the front line, i’m satisfied with what we have. I would have just add a tall striker who can play with his feet, intelligent enough and wont mind siting on the bench, a la Larsson. The ones that come to mind are Close and Santa Cruz.

  44. TITO
    May 5, 2014

    Oh, and i would love Hazard to u.s

  45. ciaran
    May 5, 2014

    It’s harder to follow comments further up so I’ll answer your question here Kxevin.
    Valdes average is approx 11 shots per goal conceded, compared to 7 against Pinto.

    My point started off pointing out the deficiencies of our system suggesting that we give away better chances than we tend to create.

    It’s funny that Alexis Sanchez has the reputation of wasting chances when he has scored 18 goals from just 62 shots this season at 3.4 shots per goal and Messi has the reputation of a lethal finisher and average a goal every 5.4 shots.

    Did I mention that I love stats?

    • May 5, 2014

      You and Isaiah! That Sanchez/Messi thing is funny.

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      I agree about Sanchez and also contend that he does not get enough credit for working his ass off to be in the right place to “miss his sitters”. I’ll take a fallible striker who works to get quality shots over a perfect finisher who does not have the quality to be in a position to take that many.

    • G6O
      May 5, 2014

      Messi has missed a lot of shots he usually converts this season, it is not at all surprising the statistics confirm that. Just another aspect of him not being at this usual otherworldly best

  46. Inamess
    May 5, 2014

    While we are on Match.com for our fantasy CB, there are three things I really would like to see from our next CB signing:

    1) someone who is a threat to score on set pieces and is awesome in the air and can defend corners and crosses with Pique.

    2) someone who can scramble like a demon to stop a team that has caught us on the counter and has the speed and all out abandon to stop our opponent from scoring against an outnumbered defense.

    3) Is good enough with his feet and has the passing skills to handle a press and build from the back.

    I think all three skills are necessary and obviously very hard to find in the absence of a 25 year old Puyol. So we must go with the most practical CB who is good at all three. I don’t watch enough of the games of our CB prospects to say who would be the best given these considerations other than to say Luiz may not be bad at all three.

    I would love to know what others think of other prospects given these 3 requirements.

  47. May 5, 2014

    Board member Villarubi said today that the Neymar deal, because of when it happened, destabilized the finances of the club. What he obviously means is “I don’t want any part of that crap,” but still interesting because in effect, bringing Neymar to the club a year early made the deal cost a LOT more.

    Villarubi said that there was pressure from “another club” forcing their hand, despite the rumors that the deal was done when we paid the 10m, and Neymar wasn’t going anywhere except to us.

    What a mess.

    • Inamess
      May 5, 2014

      I think all the shenanigans behind our decision to purchase Neymar this year are going to be worthy of a 500 page book that Sid Lowe or Graham Hunter will write about a decade from now.

      Let’s hope that it has a good ending and won’t be as problematic as the Di Stéfano story.

    • Peter
      May 5, 2014

      Well, it certainly cost about 27 million more(17.1+7.9+2), all already given or to be given in the future to Santos. When you consider the fact that the official transfer budget of the club is 40 million, it becomes clear what Villarubi meant.

Comments are closed.