Real Sociedad 1, Barça 2, aka “What Anoeta curse?”

Ah, the cursed international break and a match that filled many culers hearts and minds with trepidation: a trip to Anoeta to face a resurgent La Real, right after the break.

Messi and Pique didn’t travel to be with their teams but pretty much everyone else did. And Messi always says that he is a little rusty after a break, even a rest period.

Meanwhile, La Real is playing fantastic football this year, pressing, taking advantage of opponent errors created off the press and scoring smart, timely goals. The team that finished mid-table last year will definitely be higher this season if their current form holds, something that makes the view of them as a pushover, or this being a flawed win, rather surprising. It was a good football team that played a smart match to take advantage of opponent weaknesses.

Of course La Real scored first. The script called for it. It all began with a foul that shouldn’t have been, for my money, when Sergi Roberto went shoulder to shoulder with a La Real attacker, who went down as if poleaxed. The ensuing set piece saw Semedo outjumped and a carom fall directly to Aritz Elustondo, who stroked home.

That their goal came so early was quite a good thing, as it gave the team and Valverde time to figure out just why in the hell everyone was so desultory, seemingly committed to little more than making life as easy as possible for La Real and its press. Even as the team was drawn up intelligently, with a closed-off midfield and choosing to leave Semedo alone on the right, the ball and players still moved entirely too slowly for Barça, making the press as simple as strolling rather than running. Cliches such as a team wanting it more abounded, but it was true. La Real had that lead and was playing to keep it, and everybody was off for Barça with a few (thankful exceptions).

Dembele was making like Caga Tio with his giveaways, and even Messi was being dispossessed with alarming frequency as the La Real press closed down any thread with alacrity. Suarez, who had a rather good match, was a firestarter, making like the human wrecking ball that he customarily is when on form. Those Uruguay goals seem to have done his psyche good, as he is at the phase of his career where confidence matters as much as skill and execution. He has to believe, or he gets down on himself and a hole gets deeper and deeper.

There wasn’t any midfield fluency because, again, everything was too slow and La Real was closing it all down. To Valverde’s credit, he understood exactly what was needed. The second half began with a sub of Coutinho for Semedo, an moving Sergi Roberto over to right back. Both instances accelerate play, the Brazilian exactly the right thing needed as he made runs at the defense with pace and creativity, and Sergi Roberto made the right side an active part of the attack.

Semedo is an odd case. He is faster, has more ball skills and attacking flair than Sergi Roberto. He also defends better. Yet in the match yesterday, he was a tentative mess who justified the decision of Real Sociedad to leave him alone. When he got the ball his reaction seemed to be to run counter to his instinct, even of last year, which was to drive at the box. He was quite poor, and if he doesn’t raise his game, could end up on the failed transfer ledger.

The difference Sergi Roberto makes was quite apparent. Link-up play improved, as did forward passes to and from the right side. Suddenly the La Real defenders had more space to cover. Then Busquets replaced Rafinha, moving Rakitic forward and forcing La Real to contend with the Gala XI. They couldn’t. The goals were scrappy and ugly, but a byproduct of pace and creativity, and pressure.

That said, Rulli, the La Real keeper, didn’t cover himself in glory on either goal. In the first. a missed clearance off a Pique header from a set piece, saw Suarez lash home. The team celebrated as Pique made like Puyol, urging them to get back to work as the job wasn’t finished. Three minutes later it was, as again a scramble in the box saw a poor Rulli clearance attempt from another set piece, and Dembele smiting a deflected goal.

The easy thing is to say that the additions of Busquets and Coutinho made the difference, but that was only part of it. The larger picture saw Barça coming into the match late in the first half, as Pique had a pair of excellent chances go just over the bar and just wide of goal. The team was accelerating play and finding a way into the match even before the subs.

What will also be missed is that where La Real’s keeper let down the side, Ter Stegen turned in a man of the match performance with a trio of spectacular saves in open space, to keep his team from going down 2-0 and almost certainly putting paid to the idea of full points. His ability to make the right move to not only close down an attacker but then evince the reflexes to make the save is remarkable. He was MOTM, and nobody else was even in the frame.

The other difficulty is seen with the addition of Coutinho, which brings into the frame a fourth attacker who, along with Dembele, Messi and Suarez is slack on defending. Any lost possession will bring a jailbreak counter of the type we saw repeatedly from La Real, and will see again and again until Valverde figures out how to solve it. One way will be to play tighter, even as the people whose minds haven’t moved on from 2009 crave something different, don’t understand the difficulties in playing The Way now, in a game that has done so much to adapt to that threat.

For one, the Guardiola teams attacked and defended with eleven. Not seven or eight. Yes, those teams defended with possession, but they also had proper defensive players that could correct errors, in addition to an active press that helped hold up any counterattacks until the defense could get set, or Abidal could come in to save the day.

In the here and now, when Dembele or Messi lose possession it’s usually at a point on the pitch where defenders are pressed up and Busquets, never the fleetest of foot, often has to make a gamble to intervene. If that fails, the attack is at the back line, usually with numbers as Barça players scramble to get back, but lack the overall pace to do so. It’s why defending often seems so desperate with Valverde’s side. Because it is. Possession numbers are usually in the 60s and 70s, but it’s what happens when possession is lost that is so different today.

Valverde’s last sub was Arturo Vidal, presumably to add some stability to the midfield, but the modern game has moved to the flanks, where opponents, whether they choose the left or right side of the Barça defense, will always be able to find playing space. So many views of the complexities of this team are excessively simplistic, rooted in notions such as possession football, or the vaunted juego de posicion. The game is more complex. Just take, for example, Sergi Roberto. His quality in attack is without question. But as a right back, he lacks both lock down pace and defensive qualities, so he has to sit off the opposing winger. This means the pass is always completed, and then the defense has to react when the ball, as it invariably does, goes into the box. Or the winger just dribbles past him.

On the left, Jordi Alba is an easy physical mismatch, so he too, for different reasons, usually plays off his man, so again, playing space is available on that side, assuming the winger just doesn’t dribble past him. Mids aren’t as active in defending as they used to be, so the result is that lost possession, or pretty much any possession at all, is significantly more dangerous that it was in the days of “Run, you bastards, run!” And numerical mismatches abound, as do late runners who are unmarked. It’s math. And the roster is, in a word, slow. The only player in the XI with real pace is Dembele, who defends like a Parisian with new shoes in a field of dog poop.

The “Valverde out,” or “Valverde lacks big-club mentality” crowd finds the easy solutions as they crow about a coach not playing with balls, without understanding just what playing with balls means in the context of an eleven-man roster with ambitious opponents who play off the counter, four non-defenders and a bunch of turtles in the XI. Compare now to then. Alves was fast, Henry was fast, as were Eto’o, and Abidal. Xavi helped with the press, and Iniesta was quick. Messi was a demon when an opponent had the ball. None of that is true now, and it is a problem that Valverde is going to have to solve to help his team reach its potential.

Meanwhile, Barça has a 100 percent record. It has romped, played in a cabbage patch and survived the curse of Anoeta. Champions League begins midweek (another reason for the slight rotation attempted by Valverde), a challenge that will present a different set of difficulties to be solved.

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Written by:

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


  1. mvarfi
    September 16, 2018

    Thanks Kxevin, as per usual, for the right mixture of clear headedness and affection.

    • ikool
      September 16, 2018

      Exactly, well done kxevin

  2. Grindelwald
    September 16, 2018

    Another dose of calmness in the ever calescent culeverse.
    Good game against a midtable team: great game when taken in contest of the international break and our history at this ground.
    EV is a realist who sometimes comes across as a pragmatist, I’ve never had anything but respect for him, but his method and decisions at times makes one reconsider if he’s really the coach to satiate the cavernous hunger of the cules forces. His decision to start Rafinha (who last played 2 months ago) and Roberto (suspect ball handling skills) in midfield against a team that’s sure to press the center of the park, while also playing Rakitic at DMF seems like he undermined his opponent. Rakitic is an odd choice as he’s the player with the most game time since January, yet he’s received no substantial rest!
    Happy for the well fought 3 points though, and the saviouresque Dembele goals at crucial moments, also Suarez improved performances is a sign of good things.

    • ikool
      September 16, 2018

      Your first statement is the perfect summary. We see the faults/ errors but we don’t go running in the streets with flaming torches cos we also see the positives and remember to put things in the right context

  3. ooga aga
    September 16, 2018

    “The pitch looks like a lunar landing” – Ray Hudson, yesterday

    Ugly goals, ugly win, but again, context is everything. Guardiola grounded out lots of results away from home, too, and the team often looked lame after international breaks. I remember that quite clearly.

    Glad I’m not on Twitter and able to relive it through the telling of Kxevin.

    I think we will see a different type of performance at home Tuesday against PSV.

  4. TITO
    September 16, 2018

    Well, after such statements in the begining of the season about the CL im looking forward to see how we will manage it.
    Our away games will tell us a lot. Hope we do win a game here and there.

  5. Jamal103
    September 16, 2018

    Your take on Semedo and absence of commensurate criticism for Sergi’s performance in the first half speaks volumes about your personal biases Kevin.

    • September 16, 2018

      If you are going to come at me, come correct:

      Just take, for example, Sergi Roberto. His quality in attack is without question. But as a right back, he lacks both lock down pace and defensive qualities, so he has to sit off the opposing winger. This means the pass is always completed, and then the defense has to react when the ball, as it invariably does, goes into the box. Or the winger just dribbles past him.

      Yes, I discussed Semedo in this particular instance. He was noteworthy. Other players will be at other times. If you can’t manage to deal with that witihout accusations of bias, maybe this isn’t the ideal space for you. Because it is going to happen again. And again. Over the years, I have been accused of loving and hating many a player. As those sorts of accusations go, you are a short-timer.

      Further, what of what I said about Semedo wasn’t true? We all know his talent. But he is playing like a tentative mess. No idea why, but he will play his way onto the “technical decision” side of things in short order. Valverde doesn’t mess about with that kind of stuff.

      Finally and frankly, I don’t care what anyone thinks about any player. The luxury of not being a fan of any of them gives me a certain liberty when it comes to evaluating them. That is a liberty that I take, and enjoy.

  6. squeen
    September 17, 2018

    Turning your comment on its head a bit: help me understand what folks who strongly favor Semedo see in him (because you are not alone). Yes, he’s a fast runner—but is that all you’re looking for in a football game: a footrace?

    • Grindelwald
      September 17, 2018

      He’s a fast runner, adequately strong, good defensively, has excellent dribbling skills – he’s better at all this than S.R. what semedo lack is end product and his interplay with Messi & other mids, but that can only be improved with prolonged playing time.
      Imo, he should be used in the earlier stages of Copa games so as to build the connection needed and also boost his morale and understanding of the barca game. For now, S.R. is the better option (and that mean we’re doomed against proper counterattacking teams).

    • squeen
      September 17, 2018

      When you say Semedo is “good defensively”. Which set of skills is that? Is it: Getting back quick? Pressuring? 50/50? Tackles? Positioning in the box? Aerially in the box?

      Of the later two (in the box), I have not been impressed. Nor does he seem to make tackles. On a postive note, I have liked how he fights wingers off the ball some times. In that aspect SR usually just “sits off” as Kxevin mentions (with hands behind back)—but clearly he’s been told to do that (as oppose to lunging in and losing his mark).

      I haven’t been able to watch the game because of DirecTV and BeIN sport’s squabble, so I was interested to read from Kxevin that he thought getting SR in right-back helped in the second half, because I had also read (elsewhere) that SR in attacking midfield was ineffective during the first half.

      I do maintain SR at right-back effectively lets Barca have an extra midfielder on the field, much as Dani Alvez and Jordi Alba did/do—both of whom by the way have been equally criticized in the past for their defensive weaknesses—and truly enables playing in the “Barca style”.

  7. Jim
    September 17, 2018

    Yup, the season’s warming up now both here and on the pitch ! So, what if anything have we learned so far ? Well, not much we can be sure about but there are some signs, for me at least.

    The first is a well done to EV for keeping the 4-4-3. At least so far and at an away ground which has caused us problems, plus some players on international duty. You just know he’d rather have a tighter formation but even so no way is the result anything other than a great one. I don’t believe in hoodoo grounds but at this ground and with a pacy decent team fired up this was always going to be difficult. If you’d said to me you will score 8 at home followed by an away win at Anoeta I’d have bitten your hand off. No, the football isn’t flowing yet but that could come once he gets the ( correct!) starting eleven. At the moment it’s more important to shut the back door.

    EV must be having kittens though at the ease with which RS made their way to TS. Tomorrow’s home tie in the CL will be pretty informative for me in how he lines up. My bet is that he ends up going back to the notional 4-4-2. Hope not . . .

    Not that anyone did ask me about the lineup but if they had before the match I’d have said you’d be better off putting the kettle on and settling down with a good book. That was a shocking choice of midfield right from the get go, rotation or not. Rakitic is no Busquets and neither SR nor Rafinha are really Barca standard mids. I was fast becoming depressed by how deep Messi was having to come when in recent weeks he’s been quite advanced for him. It’s just too much for him to do for a whole game. Things improved quality wise with the arrival of Busi and Coutinho ( although Coutinho brought other issues defensively. He’s also going to have to start to vary his shooting. It was comical seeing the keeper flying towards the top corner almost before he’d hit it ! )

    Semedo vs SR ? At the moment I’m pretty much in agreement with Kxevin. Semedo has by far the higher ceiling there but at the moment doesn’t have the confidence to use his pace and dribbling skills in attack. It’s not difficult. EV just puts his arm round him and says “Two choices, Nelson. Show us us the qualities we saw when we bought you and we know you have. If you get the ball in space attack their box, looking for Messi and Suarez but if not go yourself. We have faith in you.” The unsaid would be “or you keep wasting the time and space by turning back and slowing everything down and you join the list of leavers” . I still reckon he can be great for us. Genuine pace, surprisingly strong, better nose for defensive trouble then SR but sadly not better overall at the moment. SR is what he is. Not a starter but better than the other options.

    The goal we lost wasn’t great and it’ll be a long season if we keep losing them. The guy got a run and jump on Semedo who had only a standing jump ( and not a great one at that.) I speak as one who hated corners or set pieces against us because I hated the thought of a head clash or the melee that attends such events. Choices I remember being given by one unsympathetic manager were :
    1. Win it !
    2. Make sure HE doesn’t win it by shoving/ barging/ pulling at the relevant time or jumping in front of him to put him off.
    3. If unable to do 1 or 2, watch for the second ball and get in there quick.
    4. If unable to deliver any of the above, come and sit beside me !

    Semedo did none of the three , SR I have no idea what he even thought he was doing there but he did none of them, unspoken in this so far was Rakitic who was playing the role of Alice in Wonderland – nearest to the man who scored ( should have been marking him) and then when the ball came back tucked himself safely out of the way in the defence. All of which left it to Pique to leave his position in front of goal to attack the ball. Not good and will hopefully be the subject of some discussion at training.

    I thought our goals were good in that they were the sort that only happen if you have alert bodies in the box reading the game. Watch particularly how Suarez muscles the defender far enough out of the road to give himself time to open his body to put the ball into the corner.

    So, to come back to my question at the start. I think I know that

    – Somebody has had a word with EV that more is expected attacking wise this year and he is just in the process of working out how he can deliver this. He’ll need time and space to do this. Good start will help here although mistakes in the CL could prove fatal.

    – Semedo won’t get many more chances to show us his worth. Agree with the comment that EV neither forgives nor forgets

    – Rafinha may have had his last chance. A pity as he hasn’t really had a good run at anything due to injury.

    – Rakitic’s coat, for me, is now on a shoogly peg ( Scottish expression). Sorry guys, I know he loves puppies and is a super role model who never puts a foot wrong but he provided little cover for the defence in the Busi role and it’s a case of ” got here as soon as I could” for the pressing. If you think that’s unwarranted then you need to consider ( don’t dare!) dropping Busi because we’re short of legs with both. At least Rafinha could get about the pitch but his passing is nowhere near as tight as Rakitic’s.

    – Arthur’s time has arrived, possibly earlier than is good for him but it has nonetheless.

    – I’d add Suarez ( and possibly Pique and Alba ) to Messi as undroppable but that is a problem. Suarez in particular as we have nobody who could even deputise adequately. We need to move in the January window to give him a chance for rest in the second half of the season if he’s gonna keep attending the NT. Thought he was great in this game but what an energy expended chasing.

    What I don’t know is what Vidal is being brought on for. If it’s to shut the game down I’m not seeing it. Is it just me? I feel bad as he’s just arrived.

    Anyway, thank God the CL is here and I can have decent coverage of the game on BT Sport. Worth putting up with Michael Owen for the quality of the picture.

  8. mvarfi
    September 17, 2018

    I liked the way EV prioritized.
    He gave Semedo a chance right before the CL starts. He opted to have a more rested Busi and Coutinho rather than a more rested Raqitic for Tuesday. He couldn’t use Denis Suarez as he was cleared by the medical team only on Sunday. Arthur has yet to start. It would have been cruel to have given him his first at Anoeta after an international break. Both Alena and Samper have just recovered from injuries. Vidal is the least assimilated of all the new signings. What other options did Valverde have? If you disagree with the timing of the rotation, that’s fine. But aren’t we all dwelling on our less than ideal speed in mid park, ok, all over the park? Would a slightly more tired Coutinto and Busi have helped matters on Tuesday? Against a team we’ve never played against. Unless you think PSV is a lesser opponent than Real Sociedad, I don’t understand your shock at EV’s choice of midfield. It seems to me he chose to gamble against a devil we know, rather than one we don’t.

    PS. I think he’ll stick with 4-3-3 at home.

  9. Hamid
    September 17, 2018

    What if what you see is all there is? What if Valverde, unlike most us, has a better understanding of the shortcomings of the current Barcelona squad? Kevin has highlighted a few of them in this post and others. The chemistry within the team is a sporadic event, the technical genius is restricted to a couple of players (when they are inspired), players’ creativity is hindered by pressure, squad renewal is taking more time than it should, younger/new players are not trusted, get frustrated and decide to leave. Let’s also add some out-of-the-field factors: a board that is focused on the short term, a financial balance threatened by high salaries, a split fan base, more determined and confident opponents.
    The good news is that despite all this, the team has managed to produce decent football and win trophies we should all be proud of, given the high quality and competitiveness of Spanish football. But my realism tells me that we don’t have the quality to win the CL this year or anytime soon. Fundamental changes are needed and the more we wait, the more difficult they will become.

    • Andh'ol Roin
      September 18, 2018

      i am afraid my young sir that you mistaken what is one of the most creative pond of frogs to some “couple of players (when they are inspired)”, Mind you, this side is unoiled, but once it will be and Vidal, Dembele or Coutinho start finding a consistent form, with a rested Busi and Raki, i think we can handle “the pressure”. My concerns are for Jordi and Semedo, but Semedo will get games and i’ve no doubt SR will play on the left from time to time cause why not.
      But let it gel first.

    • mvarfi
      September 18, 2018

      Still got the blues?

  10. georgjorge
    September 18, 2018

    That Démbéle goal was glorious. The feint, the pace, the shot…and what is almost as good is that this young player, who seems to interact fine with Messi otherwise, didn’t waste a second on looking for him in that situation but had the confidence to do what he did. Incredible.

    I’ve no idea why Umtiti found it necessary to collect his second yellow after an already unnecessary first one, but maybe it was to show that this Barca can up the score even with ten men on the field?

    • mvarfi
      September 18, 2018

      It’s a pity, but Titi sacrificed himself for a clean sheet.

  11. TITO
    September 18, 2018

    I dont mind his second yellow, but that first one was very stupid.

  12. Jamal103
    September 18, 2018

    Sergi poor again, as per usual.

  13. mvarfi
    September 18, 2018

    Just watched PSG draw a blank against Liverpool. I rooted for the Reds. Their relentless, teenage intensity is both entertaining and endearing to watch, still, not my cup of tea.
    On to watch Inter v. Tottenham now…

    PS. It was remarkable, especially in the second half, to see what Kxevin has pointed out. That the game has shifted to the flanks. There was a giant hole in the midfield.

    • September 20, 2018

      Flanks have been always important in football. Many greats got their name from there 🙂

  14. Hamid
    September 19, 2018

    I was not able to watch the game yesterday. All cable TV carriers in Canada lost CL broadcast rights to a streaming service by the name of DAZN. Any tips anyone? It’s really a pity!!

  15. Jim
    September 19, 2018

    Well, the positives first. EV did stick with a 4-4-3 for most of the match which was good to see. We looked up for it and we’re getting bodies into the box which, as folks will know, was my biggest gripe last year. And it’s no surprise that, partly because of that, Suarez had a great game. Just get a video of the highlights and look at his movement and vision for goals three and four. Superb. Plus Messi was playing on the right ( largely) and the new further up position for much of the time. And how much better is he closer to goal.

    I thought top performers on the night were Pique, Alba, Busi, Messi and to a lesser extent ( yes, lesser, ). Dembele. He still loses the ball far too much, maybe always will and his feet are quicker than his brain but boy is there talent there ! All good.

    Again, though, I didn’t think the mids gave the defence enough protection and didn’t see EV’s tactical response to the breakaway. That still needs sorted. I was also a little more concerned by Umtiti than some. I’ve said in the past how good I think he’s going to be if he continues to learn but he’s still in that mode. He had a mixed game, some good play especially on the ball but he came through the back two or three times in the first half alone, played them onside another couple and got himself sent off inside a minute After we went 3 up !!! That’s not taking one for the team. That’s crazy. I also didn’t like his gesturing at Alba (after a break ) who had just sprinted all the way from the opposition penalty box and almost made it back whereas the player to cause the bother had initially been within three yards of Rakitic who let him go with a whimper.

    However, maybe the biggest plus of the night for me was the appearance of Arthur. I know he was only on for about 12 minutes but in that space of time I saw the technical skills, the courage on the ball, the peripheral vision and the desire to be always on the ball that I remember from someone else a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . .

    Just quickly in response to some of the comments.

    I’m still not sure why folk think the game has moved to the wings. Yes, if you are up against two banks of four, wide is your best bet but folk forget that it is largely only us who suffer this. Try telling that about the wings to Neymar who stood wide filing his nails for 70 minutes last night and who as soon as he was moved into the middle ( said years ago he has to play there ) . Try telling in Scotland Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Henderson or Davie Cooper , George Best in England, Robben or Ribery or even R10 that the game has recently done that. It depends totally on the individual game.

    I do think we have the squad to win the CL this year but yes we have two or three who will need taken care of in terms of rotation and it may depend on whether the subs can do enough not to let us down and give EV the courage to play them.

    Oh, and, Hamid I feel your pain. Fans need to give football a message about this fragmentation. Mind you, I’ve not made a great start having signed up to some Michie mouse outfit chosen to show Spanish football this season.

    Finally, I loved the picture of the guy kneeling down behind the FK wall to stop Messi hitting it under theM. Do we have a pic of him lying on the ground looking up as Messi curled the ball over the wall ?

    • mvarfi
      September 19, 2018

      I don’t know that the game has moved to the wings. I don’t watch enough football to draw conclusions about emerging trends. However, and since Kxevin has mentioned it a couple of times, it was on my mind as I was watching PSG embarrass itself. At one point, I found myself asking “where’s the midfield?”, as there was no action happening through the middle for a looong stretch of time. It was a momentary observation. I’m sure Kxevin would be able to elaborate more on why he thinks this is, and where he thinks it’s more prevalent. I’m curious.

    • September 20, 2018

      Jim, ha ha me too. I bursted with laughter seeing that defender. It was like a comedy movie. ha ha.
      Yes, Arthur shows so many signs of a Barca mf, seems to love the ball and looks like he is seeing every pass that is available. Xavi might be salivating hoping to coach him in future. 🙂
      Rakitic made an Iniestaeque assist:)
      That pass from Messi to Suarez in the first half, great even by his standards. it was unbelievable when the commentator mentioned nothing about the pass, but only about the run of Suarez. I knew it was not you, as you would have mentioned the quality of pass too 🙂
      RM looks better than the hatrick wining teams. Do they have steroids for CL ha ha.

    • squeen
      September 20, 2018

      On the Rakitic assist: those are footskills (and vision) he just plain lacked when he started for Barca 4+ years ago.

      The club has made him a better player.

    • mvarfi
      September 24, 2018

      I haven’t heard anything, but that’s not saying much. All I know is that only the other day Valverde was saying that Coutinho is “a player who can really tip the balance of a game”. Positively, obviously. My impression is that he’s not an easy coach to convince.

  16. christembassykapo
    September 19, 2018

    For me I think we had a stunning match, kudos to EV for his bravery and am glad to see his manning up, normally at 1-0 EV probably would have been thinking of a way to shut down the game, but he allowed the onslaught to continue and boy was I all smiles at the end of the day. For me the match was very entertaining and thumbs up to all the players.

    The highlight for me was dembouz that dude had been on some cold hard something, he has added more cylinders and is firing on all of them, what a goal, his confidence is like honey to my soul,
    I think his the missing link that had given EV the confidence to stay 4-3-3 in his formation, you don’t want that guy running at your defenders, did anybody catch what v he did to that defender at the edge (left flank ) of the box, crazy!!!! bouz!!

    Rakitic was amazing on the midfield sensational everywhere, did an awesome Job, that Vidal guy, I think he makes me miss Paulinho, not really feeling him mehhhn!
    Well Messi same old story nothing new, just the usual everyday free kick, and heart trick, making complex quadratic equations look like normal 1,2,3,,,
    As for me am cool with EV like I said his got my support now.

  17. Víctor
    September 21, 2018

    The bummer was Umtiti’s red card… not really needed, it potentially meant that the score would go 3-1, not a disaster by any means… Barcelona surely can hold up with that score…

    So, I’m guessing we are gonna see Lenglet next game…

  18. Khing_prince
    September 23, 2018

    RED AGAIN:Lenglet are you flipping kidding me

  19. Jassper
    September 23, 2018

    so frustrating…. its a straight red…

  20. TITO
    September 23, 2018

    It was never a red card. Never.

  21. September 24, 2018

    Red card was kind of 50/50 for me. But what really made me mad is VAR not using for Busquets foul at the end. The replay was so clear. If VAR is going to be only selectively used, then we might get a lot of burnt. Bravo Messi for not shaking Manzano’s hands at the end..
    I need to rewatch again, as it was a bad fbook experience, but I thought, we actually played good before and after the card. Am still not sure if its a good idea to use 2 new players on the mi..
    Arthur – except for a mistake he gives lot of promise.
    Vidal – except for goal scoring, he might be a slight improvement on Paulinho
    Semedo – gaining confidence slightly. He needs more time with our best players and we have a good player for the future
    Suarez – except for goal scoring part, Suarez seems to be on steroids. he was very good
    Lenglet was fine till the card
    Pique – really shame on that goal, but he more than made up for it with his second half performance.
    Alba – couple of poor decision making and/or executions, he could have helped to earn 2 more points
    Dembele – seems he has had chats with Banega.. I hope he dont go that way when he is good hes brilliant and when hes bad he becomes a pain.

    We are still no.1 and there were some brilliant passing moments in this game. I loved how we passed the ball out early in the first half – I think it was 0-0 then..

    • Adekay
      September 24, 2018

      it seems you really need to enlighten some people what Suarez adds to this side aside from goals.
      As for the VAR aspect, before each game the conditions in which VAR will be used is always stated.
      P.S=> They also did it when we were playing with ten men @ 2-2(playing out from the back)

  22. squeen
    September 24, 2018

    I keep hearing there’s an issue between Valverde and Coutinho. What’s the deal there? Just media hype?

    • mvarfi
      September 24, 2018

      Oops, replied to the wrong comment…

  23. Víctor
    September 24, 2018

    I’m going to differ from many Barcelona fans worldwide, but I do not celebrate Messi’s refusal to shake hands with the ref.

    I mean, I do see why he refused to do so, but it’s not something to cheer for. Had it been Cristiano (instead of Messi) those fans would be saying that “he’s a little b*tch, sore loser, etc…”

    • Jassper
      September 24, 2018

      as captain of the team, you expect him to congratulate the ref after that match???

    • Víctor
      September 24, 2018

      A handshake is not a congratulation…

  24. mvarfi
    September 24, 2018

    A sore loser’s reaction would have been avoiding or ignoring the referee. Messi refused to shake hands, but he acknowledged Manzano. Judging by his body language and facial expression, Messi’s parting words were likely stern. He wasn’t being ungracious, he was being the captain. He represents all Barca players.

    • Víctor
      September 25, 2018

      My point is that if Cristiano (or any other rival player that is disliked, like Ramos) happens to do that, many in here would be bashing that player for that attitude. People would be saying things like: “oh please, grow up, referee’s are humans and do mistakes… besides, the refs have ‘helped’ you in the past, about time a ref’s mistake went against your team”…

      Just ask yourself, a referee doesn’t give a couple of fouls that would favor RM, and he sends off a RM player for a “controversial call”… Real Madrid loses/draws that match and then Sergio Ramos refuses to shake hands with the referee after the match… what would you think of that particular action?

  25. Jim
    September 24, 2018

    Yeah, I’m with Victor on this. I don’t like a refusal to shake hands with the ref. You’re the Barcelona captain, you need to be bigger than that. Besides, what was his complaint ? That the ref had a bad game ? Does the ref refuse to shake a player’s hand if the player has a stinker ?

    Apart from that I’ve seen worse refereeing performances. For me, the red card was at least 50/50 and tbh if it had been against us I’d have been shouting for it. Didn’t see it in real time but the slomo was pretty conclusive. If that’s not an ” unnatural” position for the elbow I don’t know what is. Of course, it all came from Lenglet’s ( wrong) decision to try to turn back inside rather than get rid of the ball. If you’re back in defence and under heavy pressure you don’t try to dribble – ever ! So no sympathy for him from me. Remember, it wasn’t the ref who called the elbow to start with. It was VAR. Once he knew they were calling his attention to it, it would have taken a lot to see the elbow and then judge it didn’t merit a red. Possibility of a pen with Busi but not stonewall for me.

    With regard to the game I was enjoying it before the red. Good to see Arthur and Vidal get a chance and while neither was outstanding the ball was moving about well and they didn’t look out of place. Arthur in particular for me. Still to see him under a heavy press and still to see how good he can be going forward but looks good. Nice to see Vidal play better after his forgettable appearances so far. The red changed a lot, not least giving them a heap of confidence.

    Their goals were interesting for me. The first curiosity is why EV didn’t just shove Umtiti on straight away. We played for over ten minutes with a re-galvanised Girona with Busi who isn’t a CB instead. Don’t often see a manager wait that long. To make the change. The reason I mention this is that with Umiti or even Lenglet there that cross ball would probably not have reached Pique. Busi’s attempt to leave the ground wasn’t great to say the least. I think Pique expected him to at least get some of his head onto it. Having said that Pique should still have moved forward to attack the ball. He had just looked behind him, saw Stuani and should have waved Semedo closer in behind him to watch the player so he was free to move forward to cut the gap between himself and Busi. Anyway, . . . he didn’t.

    Second was unfortunate for me. Nobody did anything wrong so I suppose it goes down as good play from them although luck played a big part. The fly in the ointment was the player offside. We were holding a line, he was off and we were expecting a ball through to him. No worry. However, that very ball was played towards him was ignored by him, moving out of the road and the little whippet was off from a perfectly onside position. That took us by surprise. It happens occasionally. We could have put a bit more pressure on the passer but I couldn’t make out who should have done that.

    Other highlights for me were Messi ( that FK which hit the bar was otherworldly ) and just his general appetitie, Suarez’s energy and the determination of Pique to make up for their goals. That header of his was unbelievable. It hurt my neck just watching it.

    A word on Coutinho. I’ve no idea whether an issue has developed between him and EV. Do we have any source for that rumour ?. If not, I’d discount it. However, I could see a situation where EV is weighing up whether he can afford to start him regularly because of his lack of defensive qualities. His tracking back appears to be perfunctory and I’m guessing EV worries about him in a three man midfield. Huge upside in playing him in terms of creativity but for me Coutinho is needing to work a little on his physical side to give him the energy to get up and down the field a little better.

    If I were Lenglet, however, I’d be more than a little worried today. As someone has said EV doesn’t forgive or forget. His defending up to the red card wasn’t great and I can see TV getting the nod for the CL which would be a blow to Lenglet.

    Finally, a little praise for Messi after saying he was wrong not to shake hands. Well done to the Wee man , firstly for getting rid of that godawful beard , but more importantly for going to the gala despite his ridiculous omission from the top three. Not sure how you can omit the golden shoe winner and include the goal scorer who finished 8th and is nowhere in assists ! But well done to Leo anyway. Touch of class.

    • September 25, 2018

      Jim. I respect your opinion about the ref.
      But this is the same guy who in almost every time give us something terrible. If Lenglet’s elbow needed VAR, he was not too far away when Busquets was fouled, and it was a double foul – first contact was out of the box and second just inside. Ok he dont want us to give a penalty (remember the year when he didnt allow us a goal when the ball went 2 foots inside the line, he was awarded the best Ref in liga), but he could have given the fkick. But he knows Messi is more dangerous in f.kicks so how can he. Like a veteran ref said publicly in radio, its not that refs are bribed or anything, but most of liga refs are EE fans!

      For me not shaking was the best protest our captain could do..
      And apologising later was the right thing too. Captain showing political class, ha ha 🙂

    • Víctor
      September 25, 2018

      You should look into VAR’s criteria… they aren’t going to review every action that aren’t that clear for the referee.

      In Lenglet’s case, the criteria was to see if he did deserve a straight red card. In Busquet’s case it didn’t apply because the referee never saw a possible penalty foul. As far as I know, VAR can be applied in doubt for the following cases:

      – to see if there was a foul deserving a penalty or not
      – if a player commits a foul worthy of a red card
      – a controversial goal
      – mistaken identity

      For example: they aren’t going to use VAR to review a doubtful “common foul” in the middle of the pitch.

      And yes, I hate to say it, but Lenglet’s foul can be worthy of a red card. Of course, it is up to ref’s interpretation if it’s yellow or red, but that elbow movement is worthy of a card. That arm movement is not a natural one… in my criteria, a play like that should be always a red card…

      I happen to agree with Barsalev wrote, if an opponent does that foul to any player of my team I’d surely be saying that that player deserves to be sent off… and surely, I’d like to see that criteria applied equally… is not uncommon to see Barça’s rivals doing all kinds of fouls worthy of red card just to be shrugged off or given a yellow card…

    • September 26, 2018

      Agree with the point on VAR guidelines. I was wrong.
      But my issue with Manzano is about his non call for Busquets. For him to ignore a double foul??, that too with this history for calls againt us..

  26. Jim
    September 24, 2018

    Hmm, having said that I see reports are now saying that Messi is no longer expected to attend the gala due to ” personal reasons”. Hope there’s nothing wrong.

  27. mvarfi
    September 24, 2018

    If a player has a real stinker, he’s usually not around to shake hands with the ref at the end. That’s on account that he’s been ordered off the field by the arbiter. On the other hand, if a ref has a real stinker, the players can’t fire him, all they can do is complain. Hardly the same thing.
    Context matters. I wouldn’t be surprised if Messi did not allow himself to be ‘bigger than that’ because of the ref’s history of unfair calls.
    Our difference of opinion on Messi’s refusal to shake hands stems from how we view the red card incident, which changed the flow of the game massively. You’re, at beston, on the fence about it. I’m not. Not a red card for me.

  28. Khing_prince
    September 24, 2018

    Fifa has seriously turned their award into a laughing stock. They really let themselves down.

    • Víctor
      September 25, 2018

      Those awards are always based on subjectivities… so, yes, many times these awards will be considered “a joke” by many, because it didn’t go according to our way of thinking.

      Did Modric deserve it? My answer is “maybe”, he did have a great season afterall and he reached the WC final… so, giving him that award doesn’t seem unfair to me.

    • Adekay
      September 25, 2018

      I hope you know he was not talking about the main award alone.
      Salah winning the puskas.
      Degea in the FIFA pro xi in place of Courtois who won the golden glove and the best goal keeper.
      Salah who was the third best player in the world not even in the starting line up.
      Then there is Dani Alves

    • Khing_prince
      September 25, 2018

      Thanks ADEKAY, I mean what was up with Salah winning the puskas award, He didn’t even win goal of the month in his league and plus that is the type of goal coutinho thrives on. Fifa were bias with there awards, I like Modric but can’t shake the feeling that Cristiano got robbed and this is coming from someone that absolutely despises CR7

    • Adekay
      September 26, 2018

      Enter Your Comment…k also feel the same way, even if modric case could be argued about for THE BEST. I believed Ronaldo should have won UEFA men’s award

  29. mvarfi
    September 25, 2018

    VICTOR, I’m not on Twitter, so I’m not aware of the amount of gleeful pride at Messi’s reaction. But, I’ll take your word for it. Personally, I didn’t experience any joyful feelings watching Messi interact with Manzano. I was still seething. That red card should not have stood. I’ve replayed the 32nd to 35th minutes several times. I’ve seen the same thing every time. Lenglet steals the ball cleanly and well before the Girona player’s knee smashes against his. His elbow then, is raised high for balance. His left knee gets knocked a little backwards. As a result, the elbow has to move up. It’s a counter motion. The sequence of action makes perfect sense: ball removal, knee clash, elbow to face. Lenglet was more stationary than his opponent. He was coming at Lenglet more than the other way around. Even he admitted as much by apologizing to Lenglet. The person who actually experienced the foul, doesn’t think Lenglet fouled him. It’s funny that anyone would disagree with that.

    The “bashing of any player for an attitude display” is enhanced if the player is disliked, I’ll give you that. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m so blind with hate or love that I can’t recognize unfair calls, regardless of who benefits from them. If it was Ramos in Messi’s shoes and the game had played out exactly the same, then his refusal to shake hands with Manzano would have made sense as well. To me. Any other hypothetical scenarios, like the one you suggest, the answer is: I don’t know what I would think. Context with its particular minutiae has to be experienced first, then reacted to.

  30. Víctor
    September 25, 2018

    I didn’t say everyone cheered Messi for that, but many did,… I know twitter doesn’t really reflect all Barca’s fans opinions, but it does reflect an important portion of it.

    Either way, on Lenglet, he was already raising his elbow before the knee clash, and even accounting for balance there, I don’t see the “natural need” to raise the elbow that high… like I said, for me that’s a red card… but I can see the case saying that it should be a yellow instead.

    • mvarfi
      September 25, 2018

      Nope. The elbow was raised either at the exact same time or a fraction before the knees clash. Lenglet anticipates it. He can see it coming. The elbow shoots up in a “bracing” sort of way. There’s no time to deliberate. His body reacts naturally.

    • mvarfi
      September 25, 2018

      Meant to write “after” not ” before” in: “the elbow was raised either at the exact time of a fraction before the knees clash…”

    • Víctor
      September 25, 2018

      I said that he was raising the elbow before the clash, from the replays and even with pauses and so, I see that… he is already going to raise the elbow that high before that… and while I’m not a sports professional, I still think that it was an unnecessary movement… no need to raise the elbow that high.

      Either way, Barcelona appealed the suspension but it was rejected…

  31. Khing_prince
    September 25, 2018

    It’s funny we’re even arguing this. All signs point to it being a mistake. We were in the lead and plus Lenglet is not known to be an aggressive player or a sly cheathouse like Ramos, I believe the elbows were up for balance durh!!!. Not a red card for me.

    • Jim
      September 25, 2018

      Guys, we know the one thing you can’t do is lead with an elbow, unintentionally or not. Nobody asks if someone lunges in two footed whether they intended harm or not . I don’t think Lenglet’s intended harm but that’s irrelevant. It’s dangerous. We also know how elbows are regarded by the authorities as particularly dangerous for causing harm. You can’t blame the ref for having his attention drawn by two or three colleagues to an incident he didn’t see, having to make a quick decision, looking at it a couple of times, seeing clear elbow and deciding it has to be a red.. Elbow to face is regarded as particularly dangerous whether or not it was intentional, and rightly so. I’ve had an unintentional not particularly heavy one on the cheek and it broke my cheekbone. As others have said, it could have been a yellow for me but I still can’t argue vehemently with a red.

      Anyway, I come back to it not happening if he hadn’t tried to dribble out from the back.

    • mvarfi
      September 25, 2018

      I agree with everything you say except two important details. The first, that Lenglet led with his elbow. He didn’t. He led with a clean tackle. The elbow-to-face was a result of the knees clashing. That was clear to see on the replays, which brings me to the second detail, that it wasn’t the ref’s fault for how his decision-making unfolded. It’s the ref’s responsibility to be fair in the end. He wasn’t.
      Verbal ping-pong can be fun, but only if people’s minds are not already made up.

    • September 26, 2018

      Considering that even the player, who supposedly got the elbow, apologised to Lenglet says a lot.

  32. Khing_prince
    September 25, 2018

    Jim I seem to disagree with the issue of trying to dribble out from the back, Picture This; If he had pulled it off unscathed?. My guess is that people wouldn’t have made a fuss, they would have been hailing him but because of the actual outcome he’s recieving flak. It’s okay when pique or umtiti does it but not cool when lenglet does it, that’s so bias.

    • Jim
      September 26, 2018

      No, Khing_Prince, it might be for others but it wouldn’t be okay ( for me) if either Pique or Umtiti did it ( Umtiti actually does do it occasionally and it worries me to death as there is no need. ). I’d rather they hoofed it out of the park and gave us a chance to regroup. If you’ve been around a while you’ll know that I’m not a fan of defenders leaping into the tackle, tackling when they don’t have to or trying to dribble when they are effectively last man back. You might manage it nine times out of ten and on the other one they score, likely as not. You get rid of it they score 0/10. Simples !

  33. mvarfi
    September 25, 2018

    What’s the rational behind UEFA’s disclosing of the players’ and coaches’ top three choices for the Best? It seems to me transparency in this case is counterproductive. Anonymous voting would be more sensible. Glad it’s over though, we can all move on now.

  34. Jim
    September 26, 2018

    Hmm, interesting team lineup for tonight. I’m guessing Umtiti at LB? Good chance for Munir to show if he can be a reliable rotation option for Suarez. Nice to see Suaraz and Alba getting a rest before we play Bilbao and Spurs, two hard games.

  35. TITO
    September 26, 2018

    Well, it appears that Girona and Leganes are also hard games.

  36. Jassper
    September 26, 2018

    rotation policy my foot!!!!

  37. TITO
    September 26, 2018

    And it’s all Mascherano’s fault.

  38. Víctor
    September 26, 2018

    Well, two defensives blunders cost us big time. I mean, we sure love to have a quality attack and midfield, but defense is never to be neglected…

  39. Víctor
    September 26, 2018

    I saw someone write on twitter that Pique is past his prime… well, Pique is quite a difficult choice to be honest; yes he commits mistakes oftenly, but he also makes great plays from time to time, not to mention that he is already a legend in the Barcelona fanbase… taking him out of the XI would surely be controversial and generally not well taken.

  40. Khing_prince
    September 26, 2018

    Can’t wrap my head around this. Why do we play like crap when we rotate the gala xi, Heck rotating only one player seems to mess with our wires. Can’t help but wonder what Pep could have done with this group of players?. Going to bed #pissedoff

  41. Hristo
    September 26, 2018

    During BB live blog i predicted what and how would we play. Had called Roberto and Pique tandem a defensive calamity.

    When u guys wake up and understand that Valverde is killing us.
    The writer of this blog Kevin has to take responsibility for this website is created to withhold the clubs Values. Not this shit.
    I’m reading the comments here and i see thow poor the tactical knowledge of the game here is.
    I’m happy to explain to u what when wrong, as have been dead right week in and week out.
    Ans I’m not using hindsight. I can prove i had predicted the tactical outcome of the selections each week.

    Valverde Out
    Valverde Out
    Valverde Out
    Valverde Out

    I want an article from Levon. Now!
    Im calling u out man

    • Khing_prince
      September 26, 2018

      Don’t do that bro, Nobody deserves to write about that shit-show. And we’re the team supposed to carry champions league, can’t wait to go to the allianz arena. Much happier now tho, EE is losing!!!

    • Khing_prince
      September 26, 2018

      I repeat EE is losing!!!

    • khaddafi
      September 26, 2018

      I actually stopped commenting here when I discovered the writer and most of the commenters were not ready to really tell themselves the real truth.

      Mostly of the times either no one wants to criticize the coach or the board for their shoddy deals.

      I started out with the criticism of LE from his first in 2015 season up until the calamitous final season despite having the most ruthless front 3 in world football at his disposal.

      Everyone blamed Neymar, blamed piques but no one was willing to see the calamity coming. Everyone was blinded by the treble in his debut season {orchestrated by 4 factors non directly attributed to the coach

      Two in form and competitive goal keepers,

      Juan Carlos undue reported to be responsible for the solid defense and its ability to score from set piracies

      Xavi the on field coach and midfield general,

      And the MSN front 3. The deadliest in the game.}

      I remember then using the analogy of him having a Ferrari and driving it like a Fiat.

      In comes the “Lifeless” one EV. I still complained from his first games (el classico) still people on here said it was too early to criticize him. People went on and got carried away with the unbeaten run up until the disastrous end to the CL and the unbeaten. Yet peole made a case for him that the players were tired, his substitute were not working for him etc.

      Now we have started this season just as lifeless as the coach himself. Valverde is at his best a middle table coach. A coach who scores a single goal and the next thing he thinks of is defending a single goal lead. A top table coach has to be ruthless with his opponents. It creates a psychological fear in other teams and ultimately makes the vulnerable to defeats. This is something PEP has perfected.

      If we keep on defending the mediocrity of the coach and the board and blaming the players, i hate to see a day Barça will be struggling to qualify for the CL. With this kind of displays, it is only a matter of time before Barça starts exiting the CL from second round (we are already stuck on quarter final and our game play keeps getting poorer each season)

      Verlverde and the board out now before it’s too late.

    • Hristo
      September 26, 2018

      I think this is social phenomenon. If I’m not mistaking most of the community here are Americans. Americans really don’t like to challenge authority. More like following ghe established trend

    • Doug
      September 26, 2018

      Wow – you have no idea what you’re talking about. Americans don’t like to challenge authority? Your head must be buried in the sand.

    • Hristo
      September 27, 2018

      I mean, the people of America chose and reelected Bush twice – wow. And then Trump. Trump… Wow… How poor is that… Can’t place two amd two together. If that is not a geographical anthropological phenomenon, i don’t known what is

  42. Hristo
    September 26, 2018

    I’m tired of writing. Here is word from a fellow cule

    This loss will be spun in a way to divert the blame from EV, just as the one against Roma was

    Yes Pique was horrible but there was so much more wrong with this game from a tactical standpoint.

    Roberto at RB continues to be a defensive catastrophe that is conveniently ignored. Our right side is dead and there is no emphasis on width whatsoever. Coutinho is continuously played in a position that inhibits his best traits and makes us defensively worse. Vidal is being wasted on the bench.

    We cannot withstand any kind of pressing because of this horrible midfield setup and the godawful spacing between the lines in a dysfunctional formation comprised of players playing out of position. The build-up is so slow that it makes it ridiculously easy for opponents to figure out our routine and plug in spaces the ball would be played.

    There is literally no positive to be seen from Valverde. The mirage of us being defensively better has been lifted this season because Umtiti and MAtS are human now, and with Iniesta gone the midfield is significantly worse (as expected). He doesn’t trust the new signings either nor does he seem capable of grooming young players with potential into anything meaningful.

    There once was a maiden from Stoneberry Hollow 
    She didn’t talk much but boy did she swallow 
    I have a nice lance that she sat upon 
    The maiden from Stoneberry who was also your mom – Jimmy

    Posted  by Syre  on Sep 26, 2018 | 1:08 PM upreply  rec  flag

  43. Víctor
    September 26, 2018

    Yes, Real Madrid is losing right now… but somehow I think that they’ll be able to turn it over… not saying that they are gonna win the match, but I don’t see them losing against Sevilla.

    Either way, let’s face a reality: our defense is not really good right now. That surely can be a reason to rely more on attack (not need to defend when you have the ball, right?) but sadly our attack doesn’t have a Xavi or a Iniesta anymore… Valverde needs to find a balance with the team, prioritizing possession is not for this squad… I think that we should try to improve the defense and go for more direct attacking football…

    • Khing_prince
      September 26, 2018

      Or maybe we should sack EV. EE is down by 3 now

    • Hristo
      September 26, 2018

      Victor, get your head our of your ass. How can even think about RM.
      What u do i running from responsibility, in your mind

  44. Hristo
    September 26, 2018

    Sack him

    • Jim
      September 26, 2018

      Not unhappy that RM are losing but we need to concentrate on ourselves. That was not good at all.

      We also probably ( understandably ! ) need to take a little time to calm down before discussing it rationally.

  45. khaddafi
    September 26, 2018

    The tactical errors this season are to much to just point to one or two things.

    It shows the coach is all round poor tactically.

    Please no one should come here with the last season unbeaten run BS.

  46. Grindelwald
    September 26, 2018

    Even though barca fans expectations are at an all time low, EV & the players still manage to disappoint consistently. I never had the misfortune of watching the early 2000s barca, but I’m pretty sure this team does have lots of semblance to that inglorious era.
    This quagmire is a result of utter neglects by the Boards and has reached a critical point that it’s so obvious even to an outsider. The greater portion of the blame lies with the boards.
    Madrid losing 3-0 tonight is hardly a consolation to our present predicament. At least Madrid’s game isn’t as dull & lifeless.
    We can never win a champs league with EV at the helm, we’ll be even overachieving by reaching the QFs, it’s pretty obvious that the first stepping in stemming this tide is by releasing EV at the end of this season.

    • Hristo
      September 26, 2018

      Fuck man, come on… The end of the season! I was hoping next week. Like Benitez was…

  47. Víctor
    September 26, 2018

    Madrid losing 3-0 doesn’t make Barcelona’s disaster any less embarrassing, but it gives you a bit of relief at least. And it’s also a reminder that the season is a long one and we shouldn’t give up hope for having one or two bad games when we have more than 30 games ahead…

  48. georgjorge
    September 26, 2018

    I haven’t seen the game, so can’t comment on that. And I have no problem with people calling for EV to be sacked with arguments and respect.

    It’s just that I really like this space, and would like if it didn’t become one where commenters attacked each other and the writers over and over. There are enough places like that on the internet.

    • Hristo
      September 26, 2018

      It’s not about attacking. Its about facing the facts. You know, I’ve been pointing out clear facts for many months. I do point my finger at the writers who have decided to look away and seek to see the positive side of a shit.
      And a shit no matter how positive you are is still shit. We flush shit out. We don’t call one such a flower. The writer here is unintentionally building hope and winding up readers

    • georgjorge
      September 26, 2018

      There are two answers to your post.

      The first is that you are not in possession of all the facts while others are telling lies and make-believe. What you have is an opinion, and some good points, just like most people on this site.

      The second is that for quite a long time you have been on here, railing against the writers and commenters not taking your point of view. I understand trying to get your arguments through to others, but you are insulting other people on here just for seeing things differently about a football team we all watch on television. That’s out of proportion.

    • squeen
      September 26, 2018

      Total agree with you GeorgJorge — too much bile and righteous indignation. It turns my stomach. Make me want to skip reading the comments altogether.

    • Doug
      September 26, 2018

      Why do other posts have to accept your point of view? You’re not making any sense.

  49. Jamal103
    September 26, 2018

    I dont know how many times I will have to yell from the mountain tops that Sergi is not good enough to start for this team. You can talk about all his excellent attacking capacity/chemistry with Messi but that doesnt matter one modicum if he can’t defend. Defense wins you championships.

    I shudder to think how people would criticize Semedo if he had a game like that. We had users on here criticizing Semedo for his lack of offensive play and saying that “he didnt really make that spot his”. Talk to your insurance to see if they’ll cover a general eye exam, you’re 2 years overdue.

    Semedo deserves to start. And if we’re not happy with him, we can buy a new RB in winter/summer but please stop playing that defensive liability just bc of a goal he scored 2 years ago off a great pass. Opposition coaches see Sergi on the right and they plan their tactics with him in mind. His presence also forces Pique to pull more the right which undoubtedly makes both Pique and Rakitic look worse than they are.

  50. okutennn
    September 26, 2018

    Its frustrating. culdn’t watch d game beyond eighty minutes. it starts like this n may get out of control. the only problem is messi would b there to peper over d cracks.but he can’t do it alone.OK maybe we get away with mediocre play in d liga n win bcos of messi. UCL finds out d weakness in barca. we should play better with Arthur n coutinho in our ranks. its just left to vv to facilitate it.

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