Ceuta 0, Barca 2, aka “From chaos comes beauty”

Get used to seeing this picture, folks, of a player hugging Thiago after yet another bit of well-timed ball movement or brilliance. Just sayin’.

This Copa del Rey opener (for us) against Ceuta, demonstrates the value of having an excellent Segunda side that can be tapped for players, as well as an excellent core of influential veterans. It means that you can rest seven of your choice starters for a big weekend match, and still comfortably dispatch a club whose game plan seemed to be “Get out there, run around and make something happen.” But despite the potential for upsets in this tournament, this just wasn’t going to be one. We simply have too much talent.

Look at it this way. Thiago would be an automatic starter right now, for many a Liga side. For us, he’s the future, an immensely talented kid who we are trying to find playing time for. Bartra and Fontas would also be getting serious playing time. For us, they are a bright, shining future and more importantly, a way to get through the early rounds of what is essentially a meaningless tournament for the biggest clubs, so that you can bring the real players out for the “important” matches, later in the draw.

Guardiola came out with Pinto, Adriano, Bartra, Fontas, Maxwell, Mascherano, Keita, Thiago, Jeffren, Pedro! and Krkic, a lineup known as Killer Bs with some Stiffening. So Keita and sMasch are out there in case the kids screw up, and need a grownup to put the smack down. They were also out there to, along with talented veterans such as Maxwell and Adriano, lend a calm, disciplined air to the proceedings, not that our Killer Bs needed it. We were better than Ceuta at every position, and clearly should have had more than two goals to show for it, but that’s life in the big city.

But we did score two, which is two more than That Other Spanish Club scored against their Segunda B opposition, and what a pair of goals.

The first goal was just Maxwell getting funky with it. It was all Maxwell all the time, as he ripped a shot from a crazy angle into the far side. A Liga keeper probably stops that one, which is why he hasn’t been able to pull it off before now. But a third division keeper just isn’t used to seeing players with that level of skill, so he’s thinking “Okay, I have the near post cov …. what the hell was that? Wait. What just happened? Dang!” Maxwell also opened his account with the club, and what a honey of a goal to have as your first for the club.

Maxwell also fired in the precipitating pass for the second goal, which Thiago touched over to Pedro!, who also opened his account with a no-nonsense finish that was vintage P!.

And that was that. Guardiola lamented us not getting a third goal, and it must be said that that goal should have come. But that’s what the game does. Losing 0-2 at home means that barring anything crazy …. I mean, aliens kidnapped the President, two-headed babies crazy, they are out of this tie, and we can begin thinking about the next round, which will be against a Liga side. Personally, I would roll out with the same lineup. They’ve earned it.

Team: 8. Where did all that directness come from? The A Team dithers and tika-takas, while the B+ side says “Get it up the pitch and into the box. Quit screwing around.” I loved the offensive aggression and directness of play. A very strong, more than competent overall performance from the side.

Guardiola: 7. Right lineup, a little funky on the subs, too slow on the hook for Krkic. Guardiola understood exactly what was needed for this match, and he did it. And the result speaks for itself. He waited too long on the Dos Santos sub, howver. Dos Santos’ play is calmer than Thiago’s, and would have been of value.

Pinto: 6. Nice, solid match. Didn’t have a ton to do, really, but pulled off a nice job of sweeper keeping.

Adriano: 7. You can see why we signed him. Pace galore to get up and down the wing, midfield control and strong passing skills. I’d love to see him with an extended run with the first team to really see what he has.

Bartra: 7. We have Piquenbauer, so what do we call Bartra, who was doing the exact same thing, with the same wonderful effects? Bartrinator? Bartrabauer? Whatever. He was magical. Certainly would have played to a higher rating had he actually been tested.

Fontas: 6. Again, he didn’t have a lot to do, but you can see, just maybe, why the sale of Txigrinski happened. We have these two, plus Muniesa, plus a buy-back option for Botia. Wow. Fontas was just big, strong and competent. You could clearly see DM skills in his play as well. I’ll say it again: The future is bright.

Maxwell: 8. I loved his play today, from the passing and movement to the opportunistic shot that he got off so quickly, and with so much pace. This dude might be the best buy in the club’s history. You could see that he was first team. He was a level above anybody on the opposition.

Mascherano: 8. He, along with Keita, was the spine today. Thiago was a little funky in between bouts of brilliance, but sMasch was the midfield glue. Or more corrrectly, he was the activating agent that mixed with Keita. Excellent passing, and ultimate control of his zone.

Keita: 8. And speaking of Keiteeee, this was yet another excellent, professional performance. You often see first-team players for clubs trying stuff they wouldn’t try against a real side, but not Keita. “I want that ball,” he would say as he rolled up to a Ceuta player, who would usually replay “Okay. Sorry ’bout that. Here you go.” His passing and movement, as always, were exemplary.

Thiago: 6. A weird match for The Future, who still seems to need someone to play off. As the lone playmaker out there, he was roaming too much. You could, however, see flashes of what makes him so amazing in the inch-perfect passes that he laid off for players, time and again. He’s still playing into his talent, however.

Jeffren: 4. Bummer about the injury. He plays too fast, and is too selfish. I love the speed, but he’s still like a driverless Ferrari. Vroom! Screech! Smash! If he passes that ball, he doesn’t get injured. Now he has 4 weeks to think about things. Meanwhile, I’m not sure I see a first-team future for him. He’s already of age, and this should have been a match where he owned. Didn’t happen.

Pedro!: 8. On the other hand, P! was, as Ray Ray says, class in a glass. He, like the other full-on first teamers, played like one. He was full of pace and movement, and was everywhere, tracking back on defense, contesting for possession in midfield and putting in a goal. A true stat-stuffer performance. Hopefully he gained some confidence that will get him untracked in the bigs.

Krkic: 2. He had the captain’s armband and a match that should have played right into his hands. Instead, he was losing balls in the same way, and how he missed that absolute sitter, hitting the crossbar high off a wide-open net from a perfect pass from P!, I am at a loss to explain. I don’t pretend to know what Guardiola has to do to get his confidence back. You can see the talent, but he’s just damaged right now, and might need a change of scenery to undo it.


Nolito (for Jeffren): 3. Might I suggest meditation as the cure for your inability to sit still, sir? Like Jeffren, he plays too fast and too selfishly, as if someone has told him, “You have 12 seconds to make a difference. Ready …. go!” Again, you can see the skills, and he showed better in his last outing, in a Liga match. So we know the talent is there.

Dos Santos (for Thiago): incomplete. How did this happen, Dos Santos coming on as a late sub for Thiago in a Copa match?

We effectively won this tie today with an outstanding team performance. Next up is a stern test against Sevilla, a side that when we last saw them, got spanked in the Super Copa final. They should be spoiling for a fight. Meanwhile, I won’t start my “Dump the Copa” cries just yet, but the deeper we go into this tournament, the more pressure Guardiola will feel to win it. Again, just sayin’.

By Kxevin

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. “He plays too fast, and is too selfish. I love the speed, but he’s still like a driverless Ferrari. Vroom! Screech! Smash!”


  2. puyi: 10++ for allowing himself to be mobbed by the kids at halftime, and requiring a security escort out of the murube. (how did he still manage to lose his shirt when he didn’t play?!!)

    seriously, monster masch!! each passing game i am more and more impressed.

    and jeffren, i felt bad for you when i read your interview about pep choosing the b-team players over you… but now i know why. it takes a mature player to be selfless on the pitch. sorry pep, i will never doubt your judgment again.

  3. Nice interview.
    However , your last question is weird because you obviously know the answer. Dos santos coming in as the sub of thiago happened because thiago is the first one to be promoted in january , and he needs the minutes more than jonathon that will probably not be.

  4. what i keep more from this game(and as kxevin write there a lot of positives)is bartra perfomance.he immpesed me!i start to wonder if we have indeed a small squad or not!

    1. we do in terms of “big games”, the talent is there for the future, lets not rush into saying we should settle with the children, at least not now. Bartra has played a Liga match against Atletico and he shined even at RB ! so Alves or Pique have a replacement or last minute sub.

    2. I dono, Milito when not injured, is good enough for the big games, abidal? maybe not cb for the big games but thats why he is 4th choice.

      you have worst case scenario Mascherano or Busquets as CBs

    1. Murcia and Ceuta are Segunda B teams. They’re in the same group, in fact, with Murcia in first and Ceuta 4 points behind in 6th.

  5. Bojan needs to be loaned in my opinion. When he comes on the pitch he knows that everyone has high expectations and that’s why he is uncomfortable. When he was coming on for ibra, he was alot more calm bc at that time you cudn’t do worse than Ibra. Everytime he got the ball by the box he feels he must shoot and not look for another option even when there are 4 defenders around him!! he wants to take them on (cough Messi cough), I don’t know what to say bout him, 4years in the club + he isn’t young anymore. I think he should be loaned.

    1. “When he was coming on for ibra, he was alot more calm bc at that time you cudn’t do worse than Ibra.”
      Thank you !!! Its what I’ve been saying. He was scoring sitters and now he can’t even score those, its sad, i agree completely loaned out, there comes a time when someone has to say “Ok you tried, you just aren’t the material we need.” He’s already 20, he should attempt his development somewhere the shirt doesn’t weight him down.

    2. He’s already 20 !!!!! What does that mean? How many 20 yr olds are playing in the first teams of the top 10 Eauropean clubs?

      We may end up loaning him, he may never make it but he has done really well to get this far at his age.
      FWIW, i didn’t think he had a bad game. An assist, decent shot and general business although he did miss one. We actually didn’t create a lot after the goals.

  6. I didn’t watch the match but I’m so going to download this!
    I was just hoping that JDS & Thiago get some playing time together but as Sachin mentioned, only 4 players are allowed from reserve side.

    For the 2nd leg, I would like to see;
    Adriano Bartra Fontas Maxwell
    Jds Smash Thiago(1st team already)
    P! Bojan Jeffren(if he makes it)

  7. Hopefully Pedro starts scoring regularly now. Sevilla will be without Palop, so there you go, P!

    Bojan?!? I somehow commiserate with him. Missing such sitters just gets him deeper into the vicious circle. If you put yourself in his position… damn, he must have hit rock-bottom now and there seems no way out.
    He was promoted too early, there was too much pressure from the media by comparing him to Messi, he should have been loaned out for at least one season and I think the worst thing for both his development and the club is to keep Bojan in the first team for another season (or even extend his contract).
    Is it possible to send Bojan to Barca, just like Thiago gets called up for the first team?

    1. The short answer to your last question is no.

      The longer answer involves “yes” but it would require removing his current contract from the books and re-signing him as a B-squad player, which effectively means that no, it’s not possible. He would move on to a different team before he accepted demotion like that.

      It’s also absurd that he put in such a great 1st half and gets little to no credit for it. He was at least in position to get those scoring opportunities that he blew. A truly out-of-form or simply bad striker would not have gotten those chances at all. We deride Villa for not moving enough, but when Bojan moves enough, we deride him for not putting the ball away. So when he starts scoring, we’ll do what, deride him for not doing it fancily enough? Come on.

    2. Ok, thanks for enlightening me about the cotractual restrictions. Now I cannot blame Pep and Luis anymore for their stubbornness of giving Bojan some Barca B minutes:(

    3. Even if it weren’t that complicated, Pep would never send Bojan to play with the B team. You wanna talk about confidence? That’s a confidence killer. No way it would ever happen.

    4. I don’t think he had a great first half, he was descent but any player could do that, the pressure comes when you are the 9, and the man can’t control the ball or complete some descent passes. He’s had plenty of time to be ‘in form’ I think now its just putting excuses for him, and when he does 1 good thing he outdoes it doing 75 bad things.

    5. I have to say there was also a heap of views from posters at the old Offside demanding his promotion along with GDS at the expense of R10. I argued against it at the time and still reckon it has hampered Bojan and the other guy who I no longer care about.

  8. guys do you believe that with the xavi.s problem we wil play some games with two D.M and iniesta playing as xavi?also can tiago play as a starter against small opponents in camp nou alongside mache and busi?or we must use keita more in away games?i am very confused with how pep will handle the possibility xavi play only the difficult games!

  9. Good game and excellent result for us.

    Coming back to Bojan, he is just over 20. He has potential and plays well. Not scoring right now but thats ok as he is not in our first 11. He has enough potential to be in first 11. For me, it would be nice if people just took him for what he is today. I would easily give him at least 2-3 years in colour to prove his mettle so am happy that Pep is giving him contract extension.

    1. 2-3 more?? By the time he’s 24-25 and He’s STILL not good not only will he have damaged barΓ§a but also his own career, because he’d just end up somewhere ‘lower.’
      Loan him now, 2-3 yrs later, if he’s performing descent football than we can sign him back, if he’s not then he can be sold.

  10. Another great review! I’m glad I downloaded this game because the small size of the field made for a great up-close view of the players and I was able to see things I might have missed otherwise. A few thoughts:

    Thiago: I can’t believe this kid is only 19. He looked like one of the grown-ups out there. Maybe not his best performance that I have seen, but what terrific control he has. His passes are gorgeous, and he seems to have a very Xavi-like sense of where everyone is on the field at any given moment. And I like his willingness to run into the box where Xavi maybe wouldn’t.

    Jeffren: This boy just can’t catch a break. Another injury. But to be honest, aside from a few sparkling moments in the opening minutes, I just wasn’t feeling him. Maybe it’s just that he is rusty from not playing in so long, but if he wants to impress Pep he is going to need to up his game. And speaking of which,

    Nolito: I want him to do well, I really do. But he is already 24, and if he is ever going to be promoted from the B team, this is the year he needs to break out. And I just…don’t see it happening for him.

    Mascherano: Considering that he was playing alongside a bunch of kids he hardly knows, he did amazingly well holding the backfield together. I spent a lot of time watching Masch this game, and what I noticed is that he is really really really good at getting the ball off people without even having to tackle them. He just jogs up to someone, sticks his foot in, and jogs off again with the ball, leaving them standing there without a single thing to say about it. Awesome.

    Keita: Never. Stops. Working. That is all.

    Bartra & Fontas: I was maybe not quite as impressed with them as some of you. To me they still look like kids playing with the grown-ups. But they both did fine jobs, made no major mistakes, and I’m sure they have bright futures.

    Bojan: I can’t believe you gave him a lower rating than Jeffren. Bojan was at least trying very hard, which is more than Jeffren did, plus he had that beautiful pass to set up Maxwell’s goal. I would have given him a 3, and Jeffren a 2. It seems to me that Bojan’s main problem (aside from not hitting the net!) is that he gives up balls too easily. If Pedro or Messi is challenged for the ball, 9 times out of 10 they will fight for it with every last breath, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. If Bojan is challenged, about half the time he just walks away from it. Maybe he’s thinking, “No biggie, we’ll just get it back in a few seconds.” But it only takes that few seconds for the other team to score. He needs to smarten up on that immediately.

    Puyol: What? He wasn’t playing? I’m still giving him a 10 for looking like he was having the time of his life on the sidelines and encouraging all the kids. El Grande Capitan!

    1. i agree ill give the captain a 10 for his awesomenessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  11. well my view is pep has a lot of patience but if bojan continue not scoring and in january a team offer 15-20m..then who knows..

  12. Its always a delight to watch our young’uns to play together with the A team like preseason. We are once again reminded of our really bright future thru watching games like this.

    Bartra or Fontas like Pique, in terms of play, Bartra, but Fontas does have that physique to make it too.

    Palop won’t play against us because of injury? is BS.com saying truth this time? It will be a huge difference in our favor if Palop won’t play!

  13. and I agree with Kxevin, that first goal was all Maxwell. Krkic has a hand to it but it’s all Maxwell’s effort to try from that narrow angle. so, I won’t exaggerate that pass to a mega assist.

  14. Now that everyone is giving his view on Bojan, this is mine:

    Pep need to sit and have a talk with him. The key topic is:”We need you ready when you are 24 years old. Just like Iniesta, Till then, no pressure on you.”. We sign a striker to complete a primary offense line of Messi-Striker-Villa, while having Pedro as a game changer (plus rotation). Then we start picking the right matches and minutes for Bojan to gradually develop his readiness for the big stage. When he is 24 years old (or earlier if he improve enough), the club makes the decesion. Either he end up being a key player. A squad player. Or on the transfer list.

    I will think a thousand times before offloading a player with obvious talent like Bojan, who knows the club and the football executed here. But I also consider it a Russian roulette attempt to push him to the front and get him burned. It may work, but the risk is too high to worth trying.

    The club committed enough mistakes already to damage his development. He also contributed when he put Barca between two choices “either promote me or I leave”. Now its time to do things right.

    1. it’s true — if it werent for injury crisis several years back rijkaard wouldnt have given him nearly so much time, and, due to seeing him so much back then, we now all think he’s more than he really is — a kid.

    2. Agreed absolutely, Ramzi. It’s not his fault that we have left ourselves short up front. Sadly, I can’t see how we give him this space to develop in the current situation.

  15. Kev – Didn’t you say Bojan was damaged goods at some point last year? Sounded familiar. Hopefully he doesn’t keep cycling between clinical and needing some sort of clinic.

  16. Mmmmm…Bojan – what has happened to him? I hate to say that I think he peeked last year and he’s really lost it. It’s not so much that he can’t get the ball in the back of the net (which is a big problem), but he loses the ball too many times. Doesn’t seem to be able to control the ball when it’s passed to him. If he does control it, you can be assured he is going to take the selfish shot – no matter how bad the angle or who is in a better scoring position. Frustrating.

  17. Speaking of Bojan, Goal.com is reporting “Chelsea And West Ham Linked With Move For Barcelona Starlet Bojan Krkic.”

    To quote the report “Chelsea, who are in the hunt for a long-term replacement for ageing strike duo Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.”

    No Comment.

  18. This review was meant to be, kids. I wrote it, thought about it, then posted it. And just as I posted, a huge gust of wind took the cable/computer service. Awesome! Clearly the deities meant for this to happen.

    Bartra and Fontas just knocked me the hell out, particularly Bartra. I’m still agin the notion of selling a player right out from under a coach, but when you watch those dudes then realize what we have out and about as well….

  19. This game for me could’ve been won by a way higher scoreline, the chances were there, but it seemed as if the team just started “crawling” after the 60-70 min mark, it almost got a little boring to me, if you see the liveblog, the Bojan discussion even took over because there was hardly anything to see, and for the first game I think the kid’s shouldve done more. That being said, I was more impressed by Bartra than anyone else, the kid is cool and collected, doesn’t rush, he is the next Puyol to me, because he can also play the RB position well. Fontas seems way more nervous than Bartra, a little more rushed on the ball but nothing more minutes can’t fix.

  20. Sell him. This summer. I do not believe in ANY player holding this club hostage. What, does this guy think they stopped making forward-thinking right backs when they made Dani Alves?

    Agent Joaquin Macanas told the Spanish media: “Dani is one of the best defenders in the world and the big clubs desire his services.

    “We only ask that Barca value him in reality for his work and development during these years.”

    1. He is only speaking the truth. Dani Alves IS one of the best defenders in the world, and there are other major clubs that would buy him in a heartbeat. His work-rate is immense, and he has been of tremendous value to this team. I can’t say if his demands are outrageous, since I don’t know the details (and neither do you), but you can’t fault the guy for wanting to be paid what he is worth. At least he’s not running his mouth and pissing off the fans a la Rooney. I just wish they would come to an agreement already.

    2. I don’t think that players or their agents should negotiate in the media. Usually when that happens, the player and his agent have an inflated value of what his services are worth. Alves’ best year for us has still been his first one. He tailed off last season, and is showing signs of some diminution this season, as well.

      So for me, the question is if we can sell Alves for 35m, a not-outrageous figure given that we sold The Yaya for 30m, are we that much worse off with someone such as Van Der Wiel at right back, the starter at that position for the World Cup finalists?

      Good question. I just find that kind of stuff loathsome, and believe that you should be able to negotiate with a club in the right way. Our club has never not paid someone fairly, in the case of every contract that has come up.

      Another good question is are the new guys also bringing a new way of doing business, that treats Euros with a lot more care than “Sure, you can have a raise!” Laporta.

    3. Well, that is the question, isn’t it? I suspect Rosell wants this contract negotiation to be an example of his “hard line” (or, as he would put it, “prudence”) where finances are concerned. That is all well and good, but if we end up losing Alves because the club is being too inflexible, I will be pissed. Sure, there are other good defenders we could buy, and for cheaper than what Dani would make us by selling him, but whoever it is would have to start from scratch learning the system, fitting in with the team, adapting to Pep’s methods. It might work out, it might not. Why take the chance? And if by “diminution”, you mean Dani is tired because the dude has played in every single game for us this season except this last Copa game plus his international service, and is feeling the effects of that, then yes, I agree. NO one is working harder on this team than Dani right now.

      I do agree about not using the media as a bargaining tool, but Dani himself hasn’t made any statements that I aware of. This quote from his agent is pretty mild. Where is it from, anyway? A press release? or did someone just ask him how the negotiations were going and he answered honestly? Now if he starts making Raiola-like pronouncements, I will join you in denouncing him. πŸ˜€

  21. Ramzi is right on Krkic …. sort of.

    I do think that Guardiola needs to sit him down and have a talk with him, in an attempt to bring him back, to try to minimize the immense pressure that he clearly is feeling. Every miss, every lost ball, you can see the anguish on his face. He just isn’t playing with the same joy and lack of pressure that he was early on in his career.

    So I wouldn’t even put a time frame on it. But I do think that this is “put up or shut up” time for Krkic. It’s four years with the first team, in a system that he knows intimately, and a system that has given him every opportunity to succeed. It’s just him and Villa. His path to success will never, EVER be clearer than it is right now. If we sign another striker because he can’t cut it, I don’t see him psyche getting any better. Then he’s thinking, “I cost the club money because I’m not measuring up.”

    Having said that, I will say that it vexes the crap out of me that we have to sign a striker because the Great Semi-Catalan Hope can’t make it happen. It isn’t as if he’s working his way into a new system, with new personnel. He understands exactly how our system works, and how to play. He scored about a bazillion goals as a youth player. As I see it, there are a number of reasons for his complexities:

    1. He just can’t cut it against grownups. He’s the great college player who can’t truly make it in the pros.

    2. He is psychologically damaged. The burden of the shirt, as someone mentions above, is a heavy one. The burden of being the Barca 9, replacing the likes of Eto’o and Ibrahimovic, is an even bigger burden. That his club desperately needs him, makes the weight quite possibly too much to bear.

    I don’t know what the answer is, and I trust Guardiola to handle it. But the young man definitely has talent. I don’t think that giving him even more time is the answer. At some point the club has to take a risk. I know that he didn’t cost us a cent, but he’s costing us a roster spot, and will cost us money when we have to buy a striker. But right now, we have two strikers who can’t put the ball in the net. That has to change.

    And speaking of talent, I also wonder why we aren’t giving the likes of Keirrison even a look. We own him. What does it hurt? Here we are, guiding Krkic along a rose petal-strewn, lighted path to success with chance after glorious chance, and the closest Keirrison got to wearing the shirt was during his signing photo opportunity.

    1. Keirrison wasn’t even given 10 seconds to prove his worth. Why didn’t Guardiola play him in the Pre-Season ? I know that Keirrison wasn’t on his wish list and was brought by Txiki B. Give the guy a chance.

      Via Pep’s Twitter :
      Zaragoza and Racing Santander are interested to sign Barcelona loanout Keirrison (now at Santos) in the January transfer window.

      If it’s on loan, I agree. He’s not getting enough play time at Santos. He should get used to the Spanish game if he is ever going to play for us.

      If it’s up to me, Bring him back Mid-Season. If he flops, sell him. We just keep loaning him. We’re wasting his career if we sell him eventually.

  22. Regarding Bojan, I actually thought he was OK for the first half. Some bad (like that horror miss) but mostly good. In the second half though he was clearly getting more and more frustrated and desperate to score and his form was getting worse and worse.

    I think he should not start for a few games but as often as possible be brought on as a sub for the last 20-30 minutes. He actually played very well as a substitute on Saturday away to Zaragoza. Once he starts scoring goals and getting confidence they can start him again. Pretty much exactly the same thing happened last year.

    The problem with Bojan seems to be that once he lands on a bad patch of form he can stay there for a while. Maybe the club has access to good sport’s psychologists that can work with him?

  23. *http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2010/10/27/is-it-the-end-for-benzema-and-bojan.aspx

  24. 3 for nolito in his like what, 2nd or third 3rd game??? besides he wasn’t even supposed to play that early. It’s not like he’s jeffren or something that has been two years or more with us. And 6 for thiagowhen nolito gets a 3? You obviously love thiago I love thiago too and didn’t see the game 100 percent focused but IMO he didn’t play well. It’s not the same thing to play with xavi and iniesta than keita masche but everyone expected much more from him knowing the talent he has and that now should be his time. It was his game yesterday, he is the reason why we didn’t sign ozil people say. can’t disagree more on those ratings.

    1. I’m interested to know why you don’t think Thiago played well? What do you think he did wrong? To me he seemed quite dominant in the midfield and his partnership with Mascherano was excellent. He may have misshot a few passes that he otherwise would have nailed, but that’s about all I can find to criticize.

    2. You’ll make me watch the game again πŸ˜‰ didn’t see it properly I repeat.

      demand the ball more, go upward, make more runs, more dribbles shots if he could, one-two’s, defend more, control the timing of the game. It sounds harsh and it shouldn’t but if he has to live up to the expectations now, we haven’t signed a single offensive mid/winger so he has to. If he had he would have gotten a 7 or 8 which he didn’t. He’s great but I think yesterday he was not that great.

      It’s clear that if you are facing thiago keita and masche you’re gonna go all out on thiago ’cause keita is no threat. That’s how much talent thiago has. Maybe he was well covered yesterday, but I expected more he was the only creative mid with two great bodyguards.

      But I wanted to talk about nolito not thiago!!! πŸ˜€

    3. my negative view of nolito that he was trying very hard to do a “messi” (i.e dibble past 3 or 4 players and score), not even iniesta does that when he is deployed as a winger.
      also i really think the ratings will never please everybody, because almost everyone has his own ratings. luckily its a burden i dont have to carry.

    4. I have to agree with Poipoi here. Thiago was not comfortable with his role yesterday. He created more confusion in the buildup than he contributed.

    5. Thiago was okay, but for me, especially in the 2nd half, he didn’t command the ball enough. I don’t know whether he was confused or what, but he didn’t look as confident in the midfield as he usually looks. He did well enough, but JDS should have come in for him way earlier.

    6. I agree he needs to impose himself more. Said this last week when he came on.Its early days yet for him,but with his ability he will have to learn to command ala Xavi.

    7. So if you “didn’t see the game 100 percent focused,” maybe you should. Then we can have a discussion.

    8. it’s just what I felt from seeing the game and also what I’ve heard in the radio, not just me. just saying that a 3 for a second timer is kinda tough, he had really really nice dribbles. in fact nolito had never played during the 1st half with the team me thinks. and I love him ok?

    9. Okay, you love him. NOW we’re getting somewhere. πŸ˜€ Recall that I love no one.

      Nice dribbles, good movement. And if he’s playing, I don’t worry about contextual stuff such as first, second or third time, in good or bad ratings. He looked better as a sub with the first team. It happens.

      And for me, no excuses. He came in too early. So what? Maybe he ate something bad at Pans & Co. before the helicopter flight. Not my problem.

      As for why a higher rating for Thiago than Nolito, Thiago had a much better match. Excellent passes and movement, assist (however inadvertent) on the Pedro! goal. He’s played better, but he played to, in my view, a 6.

  25. I am just glad that we can debate a 20 year old strikers position in the team, one with a ton of talent it must be said. It is a luxury,

  26. I can be critical with BFB but what you said is just false. If we ONLY win la copa la copa I at least consider the season as caca (poopoo), and if the same season EE wins la liga as mierda (sh*t)… don’t have to say that if they win CL it would be una puta mierda (…) πŸ˜€

    la copa is only for the dobletes tripletes whateveretes man, it’s a secondary trophy for FCB, no hypocrisy there IMHO. Only small teams take la copa like it should be taken.

  27. Do you mean to adopt an aggressive tone or are you just not aware of it ? By all means point out something that you think is hypocritical and we’ll listen but man that’s some aggression coming thorough there.

  28. Copa del Rey is meaningless. Especially for a Catalan club that doesn’t take the whole del Rey seriously.

    That’s a fact in Spanish football that any observer knows, Mr.”I am a sailor, and I lost my head leg”. You dont like the blog, clear your browser’s history, so you avoid the temptation to visit again.

  29. Bojan’s age doesn’t matter, if he was 28 he’d be frowned upon. The fact is the only years number that matters is 4 with the first team.

    At Barcelona, we want world beaters. We want the players who light up the world at 20, and we have them. Being 20 isn’t an excuse. We want the best, and have the best. Messi’s meteoric rise showcases that, we have and want the talented youngsters to pan out.

    I love Bojan. But no one can defend the fact that he isn’t playing well. It could be a number of things, or it could be one thing. But its still a fact.

    1. You were making a good point (that I still see btw) but you made a mistake in using Messi as an example IMO.

      Messi is a freak–a once in a generation player– and some see him in the Legends category (Pele, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo etc.) already (Personally, I think he’s the best ever–he’s my favourite player after all πŸ˜€ ). There’s a reason for that, which beings in the aforementioned meteoric rise.

      It’s unfair to use Messi as a meter stick, as he’s special.

      I personally believe Bojangles will come good—just like Villa. He didn’t have the best game yesterday, or the game before that, or before that, but I’m already prepared to grit it out. He just needs one goal to get his confidence up, and then he’ll improve.

      I will laugh at all of you when he finally explodes! πŸ˜€

    2. “At Barcelona, we want world beaters. We want the players who light up the world at 20”

      For the record, and if we follow that criteria, We should have offloaded Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, and Valdes to name some.

      Any talks about Bojan being a lost case already is invalid. Period. Where was Villa when he was Bojan’s age? Alves? Abidal? Milito? and almost all the players of the squad.

      The excuse that Bojan already served in the first team for 4 years already is also misleading. The player development need to walk across a specific path to polish his attributes whether it is techniques, mental, or physical.

      That’s exactly why we dont promote a 12 years old wonderkid to the first team to spend 8 years with the big boys and become a world beater.

      The easy way is to just cut the loss and cover behind our mismanagement so we sell him. The responsible decision though is to try to be fair with him. What Bojan need now is to stop treating him as a veteran and help him to stop believing so. Define the role he can play at the club based on the team needs Then engineering a development plan to help him to catch up with his evolution track. And let it be a lesson for the future. Think twice before promoting a 17 years old kid directly to the first team without a transition period.

    3. ‘Where was Villa when he was Bojan’s age? Alves? Abidal? Milito? and almost all the players of the squad.’

      All playing at smaller teams than Barca. I’m all for Bojan being a success but I feel he needs to develop in a more relaxed environment such as not be given the No 9 at the most attacking side in football.
      In a years time we may have other prodigies coming through, what if they’re not afforded the same time Bojan’s being getting.
      Obviously its a good complaint if hes overtaken by a great prospect but for the player to develop he needs a less pressurized setting. And Barca is pressure, its sink or swim just look at Pep’s hair.

      I don’t love any player as some may claim- I love FC Barcelona

  30. But if you look at it objectively, it most emphatically is. The biggest clubs are thinking of 1. Europe, 2. Liga and 3. Um ….

    The Copa del Rey is, like most domestic league competitions, a nice bonbon if you can snag it cheaply (i.e. playing with kids and B-Teamers). Otherwise, it isn’t worth the bother.

    The hypocrisy, however, is the way that the big teams treat the Copa. If it’s the only silver they won, they claim it with pride. Ditto if it completes a treble. But if all that a big club wins is the Copa (or whatever domestic competition, Coppa Italia, FA Cup, etc), that season is considered a failure.

    If you look at the FA Cup in England, it’s the same way. All the biggest clubs empty the bench for that tourney, trying to win it on the cheap, and they’d actually prefer to be out of it, so that it’s one match less during any given week. Those matches are generally scheduled at inconvenient times, after all.

    And note, finally, that my words were essentially meaningless.

    Now, I can appreciate the need to be contrary. I do it a lot. But before you name call, understand the point, the statement and the context. I’m all for discussion and opposing viewpoints, but it helps if they have a leg to stand on.

    For example, the tone of your comment can lead one to construe that “typical BFB hypocrisy” means that WE set the tone for FC Barcelona and its worldview. This isn’t the case, as far as I know. It’s just our assessment of a big club’s worldview. If you support a small club, who thinks that winning the Copa is the greatest thing EVER, rock on. That just isn’t the case with the biggest clubs, and it never will be.

  31. Until winning the Copa del Rey is an automatic berth in the Champions League qualifying stage (as opposed to the 4th place in the league getting that berth), then it will be meaningless to any of the top 8 clubs in Spain. And even then, it will likely be meaningless for Barca and that other club.

    Not that I think this CL qualification scheme should be introduced.

  32. I’ll give Bojan a chance when the new Football Manager comes out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll sell him (cuz I know he won’t go for a loan) and include a buy back clause just in case. πŸ˜€

  33. Nice article here on Josep Colomer and his Aspire Football Dreams program. This, you may recall, is the man most credit for the discovery of the great talent we call the Messiah:


  34. The Bojan “Bojangles, Cuddly Toy” Krkic Situation
    The Sad Story of a Boy Wonder Gone…Less Wonder, More Boy

    by Kari

    (Note that this is all an opinion. No hypocrisy was intended in the writing of this…comment.)

    Bojan Krkic has some of the worst luck I’ve seen in a young player.

    Last season, he had scored the goal against Inter that would have sent us into that historic final and would have made him a hero; a goal possibly bigger than the Iniestazo.

    But then it was disallowed. And we were eliminated. And sprinklers were turned on and, for a time, everything went to hell.


    Although he had picked himself up and scored huge goals for us (which I believe people are not including in their arguments enough, because without them, I honestly believe that we wouldn’t have won La Liga.), I also believe he was the one who had the most goals disallowed (although someone might need to check that, I’m going from memory).

    I’ve said once that he strikes me as a confidence player. I’m not so sure on that now. If you noticed last season, Bojan scored braces–goals in pairs–often. I think he’s a classic striker in he lives on goals. The longer this goal drought goes on, the more he starts to think, and we all know how bad that is to even great players (see one David Villa).

    He’s caught in two minds: he knows that he should relax and that the chances will come his way again (see the casual jog when he loses the ball), but he also feels apprehensive and he needs to do somethingrightnowitcan’twaitNOWNOWNOW to alleviate the pressure from himself and fans’ expectations (see Messiesque dribbles that untimely fail, shots that are too early, passes when he should shoot, shots when he should pass).

    I’m sure everyone’s had that feeling of nervousness; you know you shouldn’t be and that if you are, you’ll mess up, so you tell yourself constantly that you aren’t, but you can’t help it. You work and work in preparation, only for your muscles to stiffen and your mind to race when you get there.

    If we’re going talking about age, let’s not forget that Iniesta didn’t really get a look with us until Xavi got that injury in the 05/06 season; he was 23, turning 24. Xavi wasn’t a world beater at 23 either; gifted, brimming with soon-to-be-unleashed awesomeness, but playing further back than he is now and had more defensive duties–until Pep came and released him from those duties. Messi doesn’t count because he’s special and considered in the contention of All-time Great for a reason.

    Bojan’s problem isn’t that he isn’t good enough–he is and he’s shown that in spurts, and that is his problem. He needs more consistency and he needs to learn to not bring himself down and put more pressure on himself, in short–he needs to relax, really relax. Not this half assed, “I think I can, I thinkknow I can, I know I can do it, I know I ca–OMG, I NEED TO SCORE”, mentality. All the misgivings other commenters have expressed I’m sure goes double for Bojan. He knows better than anyone else that he’s needed and that he needs to improve. He’s also not helping himself by heaping unnecssary pressure on himself–Bojan thinks he can handle it, knows that, at this point, he should be able handle it.

    I think he needs to mature.

    And he is, bit by bit. These experiences are necessary for all young players. It’s frustrating and annoying, but that’s what learning looks like sometimes. Like when math teacher has to sit down and explain the lesson to that one kid that doesn’t get it. But when they finally do… (Asians LOOK OUT! πŸ˜€ <—meant to be a joke, sorry if it offends some. You should take it as a compliment, really. Smart, smart people.)

    Right, so I think I covered most of the topics. (Hands up, who's actually going to read all this verbal diarrhea? No worries, I'm not offended. No, really. Not a all. πŸ˜€ …Oh wait, I forgot the conclusion! English teachers–Soma!–forgive me!)


    (Yes, the caps were necessary)

    1. Unfortunately the mental attributes of players is often overlooked, hence why you have Quaresma like players still attracting transfers. If Bojan is good enough he’ll come good. It’s natural selection, will he triumph or be over taken by a younger player?

  35. My question on the subject of Bojan is whether you think he would score 20 goals if he was a regular starter and played 45-50 games this season. If he could, he would be right on par with where Villa, Raul, Forlan, Torres and Rooney were when they were 20 years old and ahead of pretty much every other striker when they were 20, statistically speaking.

    Personally, I think he would score about 20 goals if he was the starter, if not more. If you look at his scoring record with the club, I think this is a pretty accurate opinion. In fact, last year he scored 11 goals in the equivalent of 16 games (1460 minutes divided by 90). That’s not too shabby. (better than 21 goals in 33 equivalent games from Zlatan). If you extrapolate that out over a complete 50 game season, that would be the equivalent of scoring 34 goals. Wayne Rooney scored 34 goals last year. Again, just sayin’.

    And yes, I realize he has been in the first team for a whole 4 years, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is still only 20. People weren’t yelling “sell rooney, he only scored 19 goals while starting for Man United as a 20 year old and has been playing first team football for 4 years.” I’m not saying we should give him an indefinite amount of time to sort things out, and maybe a loan would straighten him out, but lets at least be realistic with our expectations. Isn’t that what hypothetically got him to where he is right now, expectations that were too high?

    1. I think the argument cannot solely be about goals, since regardless of confidence more goals/games will bring, we are stuck now where we are, namely that Bojan ability(atm) precludes him from playing that much without sacrificing la liga. As some one mentioned earlier, he completely downgrades our whole offensive game by his inability to control the ball, keep the ball, and play simple passes to maintain posession when the shot isn’t on. This is also the main reason Ibra was benched last season.

      I understand what you are saying about his age though. But this is all the more reason why we should rely on him. Keep him by all means and if he comes good we can be pleasantly surprised.

    2. Excellent point, Colby. Going by Isaiah’s statistics, I do believe he could get well over 20 goals a season starting 45-50 games.

  36. Maxwell only scores when Bojan is the captain. I hope Pep realizes this and whenever we need a goal. Enter Maxwell and give the Captain armband to Bojan πŸ˜€

  37. Well Villa starts virtually every game and has only scored 4 goals.
    Bojan proved when he had a run of games that he is capable.
    The problem at the minute is that Pep needs Villa to be firing goals so he is probably playing him more than he would want to be. Pedro isn’t scoring either.
    We, as a team, aren’t performing nearly good enough.
    We spend too much time passing it needlessly around in the midfield and don’t get the ball forward quick enough.

    If you look at EE’s performance against Zaragoza all of their goals were really really easy. We currently don’t score any easy goals except that Messi makes them look easy

    1. Dunno… we create guilt edge chances almost every match. Look at the Zaragoza match… Pedro should have scored his and Dani had a great chance as well. We could have had 4. Same against Atleti, Valencia, Mallorca, Copenhagen, even against Rubin Kazan, Pedro had two great chances in the first half.

      Our midfield isn’t the problem. Our finishing is.

    1. I ordered that waaaaay back in the beginning of October when they said it would be ready to ship in “mid-October”. It finally shipped today. So excited!

    1. Sounds like we’re done with Fabregas, if you read between the lines of what ZubiZa is saying. Which is just as well. Too expensive, and we might already HAVE our own Fabregas.

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