Barca v Atletico Match Comments post

Everyone, no LiveBlog for this one, sorry. Your humble admins are, admittedly, being derelict in their duty. Hopefully, this match comments post will serve everyone’s needs.

By Kxevin

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


  1. I was hoping Henry would be the one to be subbed out..he’s getting beat up out there..not very nice

  2. When are we going to realize that if we don’t step back up our offense, they are going to keep scoring on our defense

  3. You’d think that with all of those defenders, someone would try very hard to not be sloppy and lazy!


    Also evidently, maxwell and alves playing together with 2 slow defenders and busi is a BAD IDEA

  5. I like it when Messi gets pissed. This ref really did suck tho. Let Atleti kick the team around and didn’t call the obvious red.

  6. I’ve got to say…game sucked once Busi gave them their first goal, but I think Messi’s last goal will silence some critics.

  7. CHygrynsky is a tad too slow to play behind quite error prone busquets, If Busi keeps this shit up its gonna be worrying in the ACN.. Good Hustle by all the rest though, especially Messi, was all over the place even defending.. Congrats

    1. He had quite a terrific game..I was also quite surprised to see Henry bring in the same level of play he gave last season. Honestly I thought he would start tapering off but today showed that’s not the case.

    2. Yeah, i thought Henry might get a notch lower, but he seems keen on not letting that happen, he’s trying real hard and giving it his all, can’t wait till he scores and starts rolling again..

  8. Image of Messi after he scored the last goal:


    I’m hoping he was looking at the ref, he looks slightly disgusted.

  9. excellent win. though i did feel that we took it easy in second half. messi was excellent. henry too who sadly missed on a goal.

  10. Just started watching, and I have to ask if everyone is aware of how staggering that Ibra goal was? Holy crap, now we have three attackers who can conrrol and shoot in the same motion?

  11. I want to keep this short. I thought Atleti played relatively well against us, exploiting the defensive pressing that we subject teams to, and keeping us away from the ball. As Hector would say, we’re crap without the ball. But as Kevin would say, if you attack us, we will kill you; it’s only a matter of time.

    I’m seeing a lot of Henry love here…that our front three is on fire…but frankly I’ve seen much better from him. His age really showed in this match. He got that early shot off, which probably sparked us for that second-minute goal, but though he got more time on the ball than usual most of the time he was getting manned by that young boy he was up against (fair or foul). Which brings up the question…is this the year you play him down the middle more? Can’t say he looked great in the middle but he looked much less frustrated.

    I can’t defend Keita this time, his giveaways, always from passes into space, came to be ridiculous. Great D for awhile, then petered out. Goal or not, he was culpable for much of the times when Atleti bossed things (and yes, Atleti did indeed boss some respectable stretches of the game). But as bad as he was, he wasn’t nearly as craptastic as Busquets, who simply did not look good enough for the team. Very disappointing. Both goals…the first certainly, and the second perhaps he should’ve been marking Forlan with the CBs wide…were partly his fault. Fantastic assist, though.

    Maxwell got better throughout the game, but he gives up corners too easily, and he’s far too prepared to backpass. Some of the sort of “you pull the strings” passes he made could’ve been dangerous. And boy did he ever get ripped apart in the first half.

    There’s something not quite right about the Txigi/Pique pairing. I don’t know exactly what it is. But Kun had quite a few half-chances, balls were coming over the top too much, and too many people were left onside. Txigi made some good passes, but if his job is to make the best defensive plays the most consistently, he did not do it. Pique was strong, however.

    Iniesta isn’t quite back yet. Last year he would’ve never let that dude jump over him to head for the second goal. Height is no excuse. But he will be fantastic, we’re all sure, and his offense was very gratifying.

    Alves was an absolute stud, offensively and defensively, just confident as hell (MOTM, just maybe). Ibra played his best game yet, what a beauty of a goal. Xavi played the part of the captain to excellence, never giving the ball up. Messi? Between scoring a goal, setting up one for Alves, and ripping that ass up for the fourth, was as good as we can expect (MOTM…just maybe). Though he really should’ve had another assist or two…really. Way too put the knife in the heart at the end, because if the game ended with Atleti at the end of the highlight reel, I don’t know. Too many questions about this game.

    Massive goals, outstanding. But Pep’s going to be on the team because the defending has been much, much better in the past. And the two goals were totally unnecessary, for me, quite soft. The scoreline didn’t tell the real story, I think, and the negatives outweigh the positives today.

    1. I thought Keita had a good game. He got himself a goal (nice box breaking and run) and did what he always does; silently having a good game and letting the likes of Xavi and Messi the space to operate and do their thing. In fact, I’d say he’s like Gilberto Silva when he was on Arsenal; the “Invisible Wall”, the man that’s always there when you double up on Aguero and/or Forlan.

      Can’t say the same for Busi though. Ugh, he was killing me with some of the giveaways and overall sloppy play. It’s good that he played this game and (hopefully) played of his rust. Can you imagine seeing Busi’s play against Valencia or Inter (if he played)? With the pace they have, Eto’o and Villa’d have a field day!

    2. Busquets is definitely a worry. I wasn’t convinced when Kevin started saying it but this was just awful. He looked like he just got called up from the youth ranks. He has the talent…I would go far as to say that the pass he made for Ibra was better than any pass Xavi made all day…but he just has to do better.

      Invisible wall. Keita had some good defense at the beginning but I thought he lost the thread quickly. His through passes just killed me.

      In retrospect, maybe I should be more optimistic. If we have an “okay, not great, not quite good” day as far as total play goes and we still score five goals, others should worry (and they will). But those two concessions…could’ve been more…were dreadful.

      Oh, Atletico. We thrash you in our home and then…

  12. I’d like a little overview of our strategies on goal kicks, because it seemed to me that the middle of the field in front of goal is quite open and as we saw today can easily be exploited if we do not win the header around midfield. Is it on the CBs to close down the center once the ball is away? Or was it on Busi for not closing down the center? I’m still trying to grasp everything that is going on within our system.

    1. I was wondering the same thing on that second goal. But overall, balls over the top really gave Kun(! Kun! Kun!) a lot of opportunities. Perhaps Txigi and Pique are a bit too like-for-like?

  13. if I’m reading Sport correctly, seems like Guardiola was angry at how the team played. can understand given the 2 goals conceded and the sloppy 2nd half, but maybe playing Busquets with Maxwell and Txigrinski still adapting to the system wasn’t a good idea. Busi had better improved by the time ACN comes along

  14. Atletico are a special team. Even when they are 4 goals down, they will still have Aguero and Forlan up front. This means when ever there is a counter and one of either Aguero or Forlan gets the ball, it looks like they have a lot of space in the midfield. Add one more player like Maxi Rodriguez, or Simao to the middle and they have tonnes of space. This is the reason why Atletico Madrid and Barca games are spectacular and have lots of goals. I love these games. In practice though, most of the times they were not able to convert their opportunities and it took only a moment for the Barca players to form a 4 by 4 defensive wall, retrieve the ball, and get back to attacking.
    Now, I see that Sergi Busquets and Seydou Keita have come under some criticism for their display.
    Firstly, regarding Busquets, the holding midfielder role is very difficult, especially so in a tactical formation adopted by Barcelona. In my opinion he did very well. Considering he had players like Maxi, Simao, Forlan and Aguero hounding him.
    Regarding, Keita, he had a spectacular game. He was fouled a lot. Still he kept working till the end and made play after play.
    Regarding the goals conceded – from my experience as a holding midfielder and after watching the match: First goal: I believe Busquets intended for the ball to fall on the wing and not behind Chigrinsky as it did, the play and the intention was right, but the execution let him down.
    The second goal: It was a brilliant interception(nothing Iniesta could do about that), the ball went straight to Forlan in acres of space, and what do you expect form the golden boot winner from last year.

    1. Er. Well if you have playing experience than you have more than I have. But Maxi, Forlan, and Aguero shouldn’t be hounding Busquets, it should be Busquets hounding them. I’ll accept your calls on the goals, except that Iniesta could do nothing about the assist on the second. Come on, he looked like he was crossing his fingers for the whistle. All it took to keep that from happening was awareness.

      If I could watch the match again I might be open to re-evaluate Keita. Though Messi did the hard (and creative) work, Keita did get the fourth goal and two possessions on the buildup (pass to Ibra, goal), and I will say that he worked the whole 90 minutes. What stuck with me was those terrible passes, those moments when he miscommunicated (do I get the ball or does Henry get it…anyone remember that one? Then he threw up his arms), and seeing little else, save some good stops in the beginning (when Henry got owned, only for Keita to sweep it up and put it in the box for Ibra? Brilliant). If I watched again and only watched him, perhaps I’d get a different impression.

  15. Yeah, Guardiola was not happy. Here are the cliff notes from the press conference:

    – He did not like the game at all. We did not control it.

    – There were many errors that took place when it came time to take decisions.

    – We ran too much and were too hasty in some actions.

    – Our lines were too far apart, leading to many counterattacking opportunities for Atletico.

    – We won on the basis of being direct and efficient but it could have gone either way. Settling on an up and down game is a tossup. We won today because we got “heads” but any other day we could have gotten “tails”.

    – We won because of our intensity but we have to learn to control that intensity because we rushed too many plays.

    – He praised the three forwards for their defensive work. “If we won, its thanks to them. Their defensive effort, especially Ibra and Titi, was barbarous (i.e. great)”.

    – He also had special words for Ibra: “Ibra’s movement was scandalously good but the team did not find him. However, this is a process and every game he and the team understand each other better.”

    Some of my takes:

    Regarding Keita, did you guys wonder where Maxi Rodriguez’s ghost was? He was in Keita’s pocket. That said, he needs to be more decisive in the possession game.

    Defensive Mid for us is such a vital and complicated position and we have a 21 year old kid playing it. Its very unforgiving.

    Our CB’s did not push up enough at all therefore leaving Busi on a bit of an island at times. Our whole backline gave away too many long balls instead of patiently building up play.

    1. CBs not pushing up. Perhaps that’s the “something” that I was wondering about with Txigi/Pique.

  16. Great to read Pep’s analysis. He’s being a little hard on the team. They controlled the match throughout and only the defensive lapses brought Atletico back in.

    Some encouraging signs up front, none more so than the sight of Ibra pressing his socks off. Problem at the back is going to be resisting the urge to swap every game. The top teams all have a settled defence. I certainly don’t know what our best back four is yet.

    Can’t finish without a word about Xavi. We’re privileged to be watching the best midfielder in the world at his peak and its a blast šŸ™‚

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