La Liga 2011-12 Schedule Out

We all love ourselves some RFEF. Technical glitches and refusal to tell us when matches will be more than 2 weeks in advance means there’s lots of guesswork left, but La Liga’s schedule is out. Or at least the framework for it is.

Round 1 21 August 2011 Málaga v Barcelona
Round 2 28 August 2011 Barcelona v Villarreal
Round 3 9 September 2011 Real Sociedad v Barcelona
Round 4 18 September 2011 Barcelona v Osasuna
Round 5 21 September 2011 Valencia v Barcelona
Round 6 25 September 2011 Barcelona v Atlético Madrid
Round 7 2 October 2011 Sporting Gijón v Barcelona
Round 8 16 October 2011 Barcelona v Racing
Round 9 23 October 2011 Barcelona v Sevilla
Round 10 26 October 2011 Granada v Barcelona
Round 11 30 October 2011 Barcelona v Mallorca
Round 12 6 November 2011 Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona
Round 13 20 November 2011 Barcelona v Real Zaragoza
Round 14 27 November 2011 Getafe v Barcelona
Round 15 4 December 2011 Barcelona v Levante
Round 16 11 December 2011 Real Madrid v Barcelona
Round 17 18 December 2011 Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano
Round 18 8 January 2012 Espanyol v Barcelona
Round 19 15 January 2012 Barcelona v Real Betis
Round 20 22 January 2012 Barcelona v Málaga
Round 21 29 January 2012 Villarreal v Barcelona
Round 22 5 February 2012 Barcelona v Real Sociedad
Round 23 12 February 2012 Osasuna v Barcelona
Round 24 19 February 2012 Barcelona v Valencia
Round 25 26 February 2012 Atlético Madrid v Barcelona
Round 26 4 March 2012 Barcelona v Sporting
Round 27 11 March 2012 Racing v Barcelona
Round 28 18 March 2012 Sevilla v Barcelona
Round 29 21 March 2012 Barcelona v Granada
Round 30 25 March 2012 Mallorca v Barcelona
Round 31 1 April 2012 Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao
Round 32 8 April 2012 Real Zaragoza v Barcelona
Round 33 11 April 2012 Barcelona v Getafe
Round 34 15 April 2012 Levante v Barcelona
Round 35 22 April 2012 Barcelona v Real Madrid
Round 36 29 April 2012 Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona
Round 37 6 May 2012 Barcelona v Espanyol
Round 38 13 May 2012 Real Betis v Barcelona


So we start the year at Malaga and end it at Real Betis. Add in the August 14 and August 17 dates with Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa and we’ve got ourselves one hell of a ride starting in just over 1 month. We’re also visiting Madrid for el clásico in the first half of the season instead of the other way around, which is a fun change of pace from the last couple of years. We also host the Catalan derby on the second-to-last weekend of the season.

Shiver me timbers, it’s going to be a good one. Villarreal in the second week could present serious problems, especially if Rossi is still there and wants to show us what we’re missing out on. Then again, maybe Alexis Sanchez will want to show the world why he was worth the price. Or neither of those things will come true. Who knows?

Our only “stretch of death” is Valencia followed by Atletico Madrid. Given that I haven’t compared the probable Champions League dates, I don’t know if there’s another set that will be tricky (last group stage matchday should be directly before the first clásico) and given that we have no idea who will be in the CL group, it’s best not to speculate.

The Club World Cup is scheduled to start on December 8, but Barça doesn’t participate until December 15 when we’re slotted into the semifinals. Rumors suggest that the first clásico will be changed to accommodate travel to Japan where the tournament will take place (specifically, the team plays in Yokohama where the final will also be held). Traveling to Japan and playing a competitive match on short notice would be difficult, but not unheard of if the team is able to go directly from Madrid rather than returning to Barcelona. At least they won’t have to drive…

What are your thoughts on the schedule?

Categorized as Team News

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


    1. I din;t think I’ve ever seen him play for Madrid–is that because he’s rubbish, or injury prone, or both?

      (Or, I suppose, neither)

    2. Gago isn’t creative. Thats what Argentina needs. Theyre playing 1 DM and 2 box to box midfielders. Pastore should be on for him!

  1. He has Pastore just sitting there. And he brings on Gago – a player who hasn’t played much at all the past year.

    What is going on? Is Batista really this clueless? His love for deep lying midfielders is just weird.

  2. That would have been such a great goal for Colombia! It gave Burdisso a bloody nose.

  3. Ice got Pastore on my bench and my offence is lacking, well obviously
    Ill bring on Gago!

  4. Falcao is the business. He is so good. Great movement. Great intelligence.

    How Columbia is not winning this match is amazing.

    And Messi threads the needle and Kun blows the touch. Nothing is working for the Argie attack.

  5. 72nd minute, 0-0… predictions?

    Argentina to win on the back of a moment of individual brilliance. The atrocity of Argentina’s performance gets papered over. :\

    1. It’s too late to bring on Palermo. I hope Colombia snatches this at the last minute.

  6. So presumably with Higuain coming on, Messi is gonna play in MF? I’d hope so, but thats such a waste of his talent.

  7. Batista just doesn’t get it.

    His problem is the midfield. Moving Messi back to play the 10 may add creativity there but it takes his best player away from goal.

    He takes Cambiasso off and plays another deep midfielder in with Gago. Never mind that Gago is awful. Tactically he plays like for like.

    With Tevez playing awfully and ARG having o width he puts in Higuain and takes off Banega. Messi is now even farther from goal.

    Gago and Higuain were hurt all season long. They’ve barely played. And those are the two players he goes to to change the match.

    1. I can already hear “See that freekick? Messi’s heart isn’t into Argentina. He scores those all the time at Barcelona.”

    2. The commentator said it. Something like – I see no fire, no focus. Lackadaisical. Blah, blah.

      Argggh! Are they blind?! Don’t they see how hard he’s working?! But the team. The team is a disaster. Thanks to the stupid coach.

  8. If Messi wants to save his international career he is going to have to take control of the situation and dictate what is to be done.

    Neither Batista nor the AFA is competent to do so.

    Messi is going to need to speak up and demand changes. It’s not him nor his style but desperate situations call for dramatic action.

    1. I agree one hundred percent. The guy gives his all for his country. Plays needless friendlies for them when he desperately needs rest. Yet, they question his commitment? He needs to speak up, and let them know what is what! Batista is a fool!

    2. True. He should do this.

      I haven’t forgiven Peckerman for the botched ’06 WC but he at least formed a team around Riquelme, who was his best playmaker, and whose best form is comes out through a supportive team.

      Batista should do the same for Messi. Form a team to support him. And bring on some consultant who can make sense of the players they have and how they should be used.

    3. But that’s never going to happen. Messi is borderline autistic, he’ll never be a player that takes over a changing room.

  9. Tomorrow’s headline: “Messi lets Argentina down again while Tevez struggles heroically.”

    Ugh. 😥

    1. Or “Colombia miraculously held by Argentina despite several clear scoring opportunities.”

      Poor Leo is going to get ripped apart tomorrow. I don’t even really care about this competition, but I want our players to do well, especially Messi. I feel so bad for him.

      The other thing that pisses me off is that Batista keeps saying he wants to emulate Barça. NOTHING he is doing is anything like Barcelona’s tactics. He has no clue how to work to Messi’s strengths. He doesn’t seem to care about all possession. His players don’t pressure for the ball like Barça’s do. He doesn’t have an attacking midfield and wingers. Initially I was excited to see him take over, but at this point I have completely lost faith in him.

    2. This, exactly. That’s what I feel when I say below that there’s Messi doing everything asked of him, and his teammates and coach especially aren’t holding up their end of the deal.

    3. This is so very sad. I can’t stand people hating on our flea. So sad. And the unfairness of it…

    1. i only saw the 2nd half, but painful it was. If Colombia could shoot anywhere but where the keeper was, it was theirs for the taking.

      Is it just me or did seem his teammates ignored him close to goal? Or maybe just Tevez doesn’t like to pass to anyone.

      Euler, thank you for your excellent analysis as always.

  10. Messi is being booed by the crowd!

    Such ingrates. And ignorants. Sorry.

    But if they didn’t see how much effort and skill Messi displayed out there, they should stop watching football and stop calling themselves fans. They’re just a mob. A mob that encourages this failure by loving Tevez to a fault. And how dare they boo Messi??!!

    1. Lets be honest, Argentine people are not exactly known for going by their heads, are they. They follow their heart and truth is that Tevez is player of their heart while Messi is not.

      Messi is player of our hearts as Barca fans.

    2. I have nothing against Teves, in particular. I love Argentina and have supported them for decades. But it’s killing me that the coach makes absurd line-up decisions to pander to the crowd and that the crowd voice their displeasure so openly of Messi – when he’s the one who wants Argentina to do well so badly.

      He has achieved everything at individual and club level. It’s for Argentina now that he’s working so hard.

      Argh. So very frustrated.

    3. Don’t worry, when Argentina start winning, which they will, they will love Messi like they’ve never loved Tevez

  11. Batista has major problems on his hands and he seems incapable of dealing with them.

    This is just awful football from ARG. They are broken as a system. It’s not one player or an isolated series of plays. It’s the whole thing.

    And Batista is in a big fix. Teves is contributing nothing. But I really wonder if Batista has the stomach to stop playing Tevez while they are playing in Arg. He completely caved to public opinion in putting Tevez on the team and then starting him.

    Arg was very lucky even to get a point from this game. They should have lost. Columbia had so many good chances.

    And from the changes batista made today – it doesn’t seem as if he understands what the true problems on the team are. Inserting Gago and Higuain – neither of whom has played much at all over the past season – when the true problems is in advanced midfield – it just speaks to Batista either not seeing what the problem is or not being willing to take the chances needed to fix them.

    I have no idea why Batista dislikes Pastore so much.

    ARG is very, very fortunate to be in such a weak group. If they advance they will have done so through a good bit of luck.

  12. Messi was good nor bad today. As for Argentina press blaming Messi, they know it makes good copy. Best for Messi would be to just ignore it.

    Argentina as a footballing nation is playing the worst football i have seen in last 25 years of my watching football. They are simply bad. I am not really sure about Batista, is he really that clueless or is there a grand plan behind. Right now, i am with the Batista clueless camp.

    Lavezzi again had a poor match. Milito and Mascherano had very poor matches as well. As for Gago, he was ok for me. Though why not introduce Pastore is something which is beyond me. Tevez with Messi is simply not working.

    If Batista starts with Lavezzi, Tevez and Milito in next match, he will take a big risk on his reputation.

    Argentina, if they do not find right combination straight away might even lost to Costa Rica next week and get out of the tournament, which will be fair assessment of their performance. If not, they are for sure getting out in QF’s.

    As Argentina fan, this entire situation is breaking my heart but do not see any way out.

    Bring back Maradona! At least he gave entertaining press conferences.

    1. “If Batista starts with Lavezzi, Tevez and Milito in next match, he will take a big risk on his reputation.”

      I thought Tevez is a ‘man of the people’?

  13. Horrible, horrible match. No midfield creativity, Messi relied on for all inspiration. So so frustrating and sad for him.

    Why isn’t Di Maria starting? Pastore? They can offer creativity in midfield, take the pressure off of Messi and leave him free to score. Not there. Not even subbed on.

    Tevez is useless, while Aguero is a consistent threat. Why isn’t Aguero starting?

    Argentina will be lucky not to be eliminated in the quarterfinals, if they can even get out of the group stage.

  14. Uh… I liked the fit of the Colombian kit?

    Watching the post-game on Telefutura. With condensed highlights, it becomes even more stark that Colombia showed serious attacking threat (albeit ultimately counting for nothing without actual goals) and Argentina had difficulty stringing together a meaningful attack.

    The look on Messi’s face toward the end… How anyone can doubt where his heart is, is beyond me. I have to wonder how heartbreaking it must be for him, if he ever looks around and thinks, I’m doing everything asked of me, why can’t the others hold up their end of the deal? Because that’s a team of seriously talented players, so frustrating to see that potential wasted.

  15. I am not an Albiceleste fan. I am a Lo Roja/Cule. But the frustration on Messi’s face and his discomfort was very very difficult to see. For people from India, this frustration in a sport icon must be reminiscent of what Indian cricketing genius Sachin Tendulkar went through in the 1990s, when the Indian team had assorted talent but never got its act together and were overly dependent on Tendulkar to deliver the goods. The frustration and angst that I saw in young Tendulkar (in his early and mid 20s) is exactly what I see in 23 year old Leo Messi. I just hope that he comes out of the Copa unscathed physically even if scarred mentally.

    Argentina seems to be a very uneven squad with some rank mediocrities inhabiting the same team as some special talents. And as Euler points out, the tactical acumen or lack of it has not helped at all. We were all gaga whenever Messi played in deep for Barca, for we knew that was a prelude to great things in the advanced third for the likes of Villa and Pedro. But seeing Messi play so deep without concomitant coordination by other Argentine players around him and all that disjointedness is highly irritating to watch. Getting his legs snapped at all the time and getting no recompense in terms of buildup further must be terribly frustrating for the genial genius.

    One can only hope that the drift in Argentinian soccer does not continue forever during Messi’s peak years.

    1. The comparison with Tendulkar is unfair. He is a big game choker :).
      Messi isnt.

    2. I’m going to laugh if Messi finally wins a World Cup way past his prime in his mid-late 30’s.

  16. You think Brazil women’s team could beat this Argentina? I’d bet on it. By a couple of goals too. Those girls can score.

    My God Argentina though they frustrate me SO MUCH

  17. I think the problem with the Argentina National team is bigger than Maradona/Sergio Batista. Somebody at the AFA has lost their marbles and the result has percolated down to the poor choices in coaches and overall football played by the Argentinian national team.

    Pep will have a big job on his hand repairing Messi after the Copa.

    1. Pep will have a big job on his hand repairing Messi after the Copa.

      My biggest fear!

    2. Juanjo Brau is there, right? really wish Pep is there right now, too… 🙁

  18. it’s so painful to watch… painful… 🙁
    I can’t even begin to understand Batista’s “tactic”…

    I just want to give Messi legos and ice creams…and a big hug…

    the only entertaining part of the game is when Lady Gago came in and everyone made a poker face…

  19. The moment that caught my eye late at the game.messi standing near the halfline,staring and then he rolled his jersey and covered his sad to c that.

    messi was ok,but still 2 fantastic through balls,both missed.

    been an argie fan for a long time,may be i support the argie more passionately then barca.but batista is so damn clueless.

  20. Clearly there are tactical problems with the Argentine midfield and forward line. Euler and others have outlined a number of strategies to deal with this (the use of wingbacks, replacing Tevez with a forward that can play wide, Pastore over Lady Gago, etc.). Whether Batista makes these type of tactical changes is a mystery illuminated only by crystal balls and burning herbs — which is to say we won’t know until the next game is over.

    But the defense worries me more because I see no tactical path to fix it. Even with wingbacks that include DiMaria, the centerback situation is dismal. I have enjoyed Milito’s play in previous years and respected his tenacious return after a gruesome injury, but the man is done. He can not be a part of your defensive backbone. But what can you do? You country is gifted with great striking talent — though not properly used, currently — and seems to lack any quality defenders to shore things up. What do you do?

    I have no idea.

  21. Didnt watch the game. I waited till I knew the selection and slept as it sounded too predictable to waste the night watching.

    The problem is not the offense line -it is there where it leaves the impact -because so far Argentina didnt play against very strong teams.

    The problem is in the Midfield that lacks everything in buildup and offense, then the defense behind especially the lack of contribution offensewise for the fullbacks, leaving the wingers to do it all the way -while they are both better when they cut inside in a space.

  22. I never thought that I would proclaim the following, but I have to:
    Maradona is not the worst coach that Argentina has ever had. Because there is a new epitome of absolutle ignorance and incompetence.

    What Argentina is practicing under Batista during the Copa so far is pure self-destruction. How on earth can Batista choose Lavezzi over Aguero, Gago(!) over Pastore?
    How on earth can he play almost the same line-up again, albeit it most obviously failed against the 97th ranked team on the FIFA world ranking?

    Everybody played awful, it almost hurt my eyes to watch it. I think I will not watch a Copa match again this year, because so far each match I’ve seen was horrific. This is the worst Copa that I can remember, not only with regards to the performance of Argentina.

    I wouldn’t care about it if it wasn’t for Leo… the cameras were once again focusing on him, and he’ll be the scape goat of the Argentina media once again, right?!?
    All the other players were as bad or worse (e.g. Burdisso, Milito, Banega, Lavezzi) than Messi, Messi was not as much involved in the match as he was against Bolivia – but guess why?
    Because Batista, the world’s worst coach ever, has figured out that Messi should stay up front and dropped back way too often against Bolivia (as he said in a pk). So what does he do? Tells me Messi to stay up front without making any tactical/personal changes to the midfield. I’m not a coach, but I think that Batista is absolutely clueless and he has not managed to instill any system into the team! 🙁

    When Messi almost cried on the pitch, my heart also bleeded. And my anger towards Batista, the AFA, Grondona etc. aroused once again. Accompanied by the anger is a pure lack of understanding for the Argentinean fans who never show up any banners or protest against the authorities of their football association.

    When at the end of the first half, Messi’s foot was stuck in the lawn, I seriously hoped for a light injury that ends his Copa tripo and thus spares him a lot of the now upcoming criticism.

    How can the performance of a team that beat Spain, Portugal and Brazil in the last 9 months suffer from such a huge decline??? For me, Batista is the culprit.

    Argentinean football is dead, and I don’t even know how to revive it as long as the AFA exists in its current way.

    PS: I think it will be quite easy to repair Messi after the Copa. He just wants to play football and have fun on the pitch, as soon as he returns and plays in a real team, the joy will be back. Yesterday, there was no joy at all, all the players looked uncomfortable. Oh… if Messi had just chosen to play for Spain, how awesome would that have been?

    1. PPS: I didn’t talk about the defense, because that is a hopeless case anyway (even in the under-XY teams, I didn’t see a promising talent yet).
      But fact is that the midfield and the attack have the potential to be worldclass, and I believe there are many coaches who could use that potential at least 10 times better than the current coach does…

  23. Milito is …..
    Using 3 Deep Lying Midfielders is ….


    Messi will have to play on the wing since Fullbacks aren’t roaming or providing depth at all, I don’t care that Tevez is loved by Argentinines or that Lavezzi has a tattoo, They both aren’t doing anything, even Di Maria would do better.

    Everytime Argentina attacks, You only see the 3 FWs doing the work with the 7 others in their centre half, Everytime Messi has the ball, he faces 4 players.

    It’s too late to write Arg off as they need some changes to make them click, especially with Uru,Bra,Chi among others not looking that convincing.

    1. Yeah, I think that is the line-up that should be used. Batista being a chicken he could even put Tevez in there instead of Higuain to please the masses.

      He could even put Parejo in CB and put Masch in DCM instead of Cambiasso, if he thinks Masch to be “reckless” in CB.

      Anyway, its amazing to see a coach so clueless on this level, its incredible.

  24. No wonder the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland did well, they’re one of the few national sides that are actually properly organized, properly set-up, players picked into a proper system based on merit, well-coached (Del Bosque, Low..), tactically solid.. with those advantages the sheer talent Spain has even almost seems like overkill.

    Look at the other NTs. Argentina has no decent system or clear identity to speak of, the AFA sucks, their tactics are awful, and their player selection seems to pander more for public support than maximizing their output. England, even lack of technical ability aside, suffer from players being picked for reputation over skill, being stuck into tactics and positions they don’t fit into, and so on. Italy and France were both disasters under Domenech and Lippi for such various reasons. Ivory Coast and many of the other African nations also suffered from screwed-up national federations, reputation-based selections, individual play instead of playing for a defined system, etc.

    The only top NTs I see with a clear and defined system and identity, good tactical coaches, a team and not individuals, players picked on form and merit not public demands or reputation, coaches not sucking out of fear of media mockery or being sacked at the slightest problem, etc are Spain, Germany, Holland, Uruguay… oh wait, that’s the four semi-finalists at the World Cup! Coincidence? Nope. The likes of Chile and Ghana, as well.

    Makes you wonder what kind of corrupt/evil/incompetent gits get the top jobs in national federations when it’s so clear what path to take to maximize chances of success but they refuse to take them and massively decrease the chances of THEIR own countries winning tournaments.

  25. So more doctored ‘quotes’ of Dani Alves (this time) have appeared in the English media *sigh*

  26. Batista dirige el Titanic al iceberg

    I wish that was the headline of an Argentinean newspaper, but it’s only from -_-

    @hammeronmessi: Naive? Naiveté is usually based on inexperience and not always the fault of the person who is accused of it.
    The word naive doesn’t do justice to Batista, I think he is simply clueless/stupid/incompetent/feckless and so on.

  27. The English media & football fans are loving the failings of Argentina & blaming much of it on Messi -‘Argentina persisted with the misfiring Messi’ says The Guardian, whilst The Independent says ‘Messi…exerted little influence and even blasted a free kick over the top’.

    A comment from an Aston Villa fan on reads ‘Why are pplz suprised messi isnt scoring? he hardly never scores outside barca, pplz are just slow every time he plays outside barca he does nothing…did u see him in the w.c?? im a a.villa man and saw c.ronaldo up close 4 me in terms of strength, power, scoring is the best in the world. say wat u will about cr7 but his not scared to try new leagues unlike messi whos smart enough to know he wudnt last in epl’

    Yawn yawn yawn…

  28. Pozzo is making sense at last!
    Says a fair price must be paid for sanchez! 😛

  29. Pozzo back to his old tricks:

    Pozzo (owner Udinese): “A fair price should be paid for Sanchez. So far we talked with 2 clubs but it didn’t lead to anything serious” [rkk]

    via Pep @ Barcastuff..

  30. At least Maradona’s Argentina beat good but not top-top teams like South Korea, Nigeria, Greece and Mexico (who are actually very good more so than the previous three). Colombia are a good side but this Argentina looks terrible so far against the likes of Bolivia as well.

    Let’s hope they recover from this, change the system, buck up, and win the Copa America.

  31. The only good coach Argentina has had in past few years has been Pekerman. Yes, he messed up the game against Germany by leaving Messi on the bench, but with him Argentina had an identity. And he wasn’t the sort to play a player just to please the crowds. I remember him doing his best to protect Messi from all of…. well, this.

  32. Not sure which is more depressing, the Argentina game or TFC losing 5-0 to the Red Bulls. Oy. 🙁

    How many more days till La Liga starts again?

  33. Ah, I just saw my second team Valencia got Piatti from Almeria. Probably old news but it must have happened during a spell where I wasn’t checking footie sites much, maybe on the days I was out. Happy right now.

    They do have a pretty great squad, loads of depth too, now.
    Diego Alves is a massive improvement on their goalkeeping position, as is Rami for their defense. They signed Piatti and Dani Parejo so now they have those two and Topal, Tino Costa, Banega, Mata, Albelda… and the likes of Jordi Alba, Pablo Hernandez and co out wide, with Aduriz and Soldado up top.

    That’s a stacked midfield and serious quality all over the pitch. Strengthen the defense a little further and they’ll be back to the feared Valencia side of mid-2000s at least, if not quite the level of the title-winning Valencia sides of the early 2000s.

    If the big two weren’t so extremely strong right now, they’d be major title contenders. They did finish with ~65 points last year and are much stronger now (especially defensively).

    1. I’m excited for Valencia. Unless they do something retarded like sack Emery- which they were considering last season apparently, so wouldn’t put it past them- they are slowly but steadily becoming very strong. They were a serious threat in Europe up until their sudden implosion in 2007, never surprising to see them in the quarters and so on back then.

      I see them as starting to make deep runs in Europe regularly from now on, regulars to the QFs or so if they don’t meet a giant in the round of 16. Last season their problems were their defense/goalkeeping and, in Europe, lack of finishing. The defense is set to get much better, and the attack looks more dangerous now. I’m optimistic.

  34. There are a huge number of issues with the Argentinian national team and they are 3 common problems faced by all associations.

    1. Picking a squad of your 23 best players and hoping that they fit is completely pointless.

    Argentina have picked Messi, Tevez, Lavezzi, Higuain, Aguero & Milito yet 5 of these are what you would consider second strikers. Only Milito is a no.9.
    Di Maria is a left winger yet there is no right winger in the squad.
    Banega, Biglia & Gago are all the same player with different levels of skill while the closest replacement to Mascherano in terms of abilities is right back Zabaleta.
    Pastore is the only true attacking central midfielder in the squad and has no alternative so he can’t be part of the first XI.
    Look at Fred in the Brazilian NT, he doesn’t fit in to the squad and tactically he gives them nothing.

    2. Allowing your best players’ best position at club level dictate the formation you play.

    Picking Messi as a false ‘9’ without having any of the other players capable of playing in this system is wasting his talents and the talents of his teammates.
    Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t fit in the the 4-2-3-1 that Portugal have always played so they have modified it.

    3. Picking your best players instead of your best team.

    Tevez doesn’t fit into this system’s XI, neither does Lavezzi.
    Stephen Gerrard is often played as a left midfielder for England even though he can’t play there
    Robinho in Brazilian NT doesn’t have the workrate or productivity but still gets picked.
    On the flip side, Fernando Torres doesn’t quite fit into Spain’s system so he gets benched.

    Successful squads have a system which works, players that work in that system and play the players that work best in that system. There is still room in the squad for players that can change your team when needed without changing your system completely.

    Argentina have fallen into each of these downfalls which is causing them huge issues.
    Argentina finished playing 4-2-4 without any wide players. Interesting but unsuccessful.

    Here’s what I would do…

    Zanetti | Burdisso | Pareja | Di Maria
    Zabaletta | Garay | Milito | Rojo

    Pastore | Mascherano | Banega
    Lucho | Cambiasso | Gago


    Higuain | Aguero
    Milito | Lavezzi

    1. Haha. It’s only in the past year that my country is even interested in futbol.

      And only in the past year that they’re competing internationally (in the region). They stopped playing international games for many years. So no one to root for really.

      I’ve supported Argentina and the Dutch since I’ve followed futbol.

      I have been disappointed for so many WC’s now. I thought 2006 was the year. But Peckerman botched it against Germany bigtime.

      I started supporting Spain in ’06 though. I felt sorry for them in ’02 for what I thought was a super bad ref call in Korea. I thought they’d do better in ’06. Happy that their potential was realized in ’08. But after many major changes.

      Batista should learn from Aragones. It was after dropping Raul and playing these not-so-famous-and-popular players did Spain win the Euro.

    2. Only in the past year that they’re competing internationally? I’m intrigued – where are you from?

    3. The Philippines.

      I exaggerate a bit. I’m sure we play in the region (South East Asia) but we never qualify for anything so it was pretty useless.

      Last year though, many half-Filipino players of small clubs from all over the world (Netherlands, Germany, England) joined the team and have gained so much support and adulation (as they are all good-looking, it turns out) and have actually been having a good run.

      This whole thing started when two Filipino/English brothers who used to play for the Chelsea youth team went home. Suddenly, many (half)Filipino players from all over joined them. It’s a good start. Hope we eventually develop a good system and start playing well enough for international matches.

  35. Abidal declined his renewal offer!!

    What happened? Why?!

    Rossel – what have you done? I cannot imagine what terms they must have offered for him to refuse.

    Argh. This is getting worse and worse.

    No new signings and our best LB not renewing. YET. Hopefully.

    1. its kind of weird. not sure whether it is rosells fault though, since we dont know what is happening. Hasn’t Abidal repeatedly said that he wanted to retire with Barça, even before his operation? So why doesn’t he accept the terms? Are they so bad or does he want Dani Alves type money?

    2. Exactly! I don’t understand what it could be. And he’s always said he doesn’t care about the money. He just wants to play for Barca and it’s not like it’s going to be a long contract. He’s just closing out his career.

      It could only be an insulting offer for him not to accept.

      Argh. I don’t get it.

    3. Don’t be ridiculous. Abidal is still in France, isn’t he? All this panic over a “report” from a Spanish newspaper.

    4. It’s a one-sentence throwaway in an EMD piece on a meeting between the chiefs about transfers. I can’t imagine there wouldn’t have been a full story. The question is worth asking, but everything that we know about the player and how he feels about the club argues against that.

  36. Guardian’s transfer wrapup suggests that Chelsea would let Drogba go for 10m? Dayum! I’d do that in about two seconds, and the one would be the pause as I reached for my checkbook.

    1. Hmmmm….great player. Awesome skill-set. I’m not sure he would get on well with Pep, though…

    2. That would be the concern, wouldn’t it? But man, imagine what he would do with some of those Xaviniesta passes, or Alves crosses. He is direct, lethal and strong as a bull. I can’t imagine we’re considering it even for a second, though.

    3. and he would add some much needed long distance shooting also. Plus aerial threat. It could be friggin awesome.

      Twice the player Larsson was. Too bad he only has half of Larssons’s humility 🙁

    4. Dunno if you have watched Drogba lately. He has dumbed down a lot. I dislike Chelsea from yore and used to dislike Drogba by induction especially after 2009. But he has changed lot.

    5. Yes – I agree with privateeye about Drogba’s behaviour. He seems to have calmed down after Ballack left Chelsea. I’m sure that Ballack was the real trouble-maker, and the others followed his “lead”.

    6. The asking price might be cheap, but his wages would be very high, so it’s not quite as much of a steal as it appears. And we would only have him for a year or two most likely. Better to invest in someone younger, I think. Still, if it did happen I don’t think his ego would be a problem. He would know coming in he wouldn’t be the star.

    7. Yes, he would know that coming in. But what if he doesn’t adapt to our system and as a result Pep doesn’t play him as regularly as he would like? How would he handle that?

      Good point about the wages – hadn’t thought of that. Still, an awesome player with a lot of heart.

    1. um…no…he doesn’t, but that’s a really interesting site I just bookmarked you have there. 🙂

  37. Bleh, rumours that EE and Barça are willing to pay the 45mill for Neymar… heck no. For that kind of money, might as well buy Aguero and sell Jeffren + Bojan, a large amount in generous payment installments and the remaining amount in nr. of appearances, wins etc. all in the same deal. Kun is only 23, a measly 1 year older than Sanchez but way more proven.

    1. You want a crazy rumor? How about Malaga offering 35 million for Sneijder? Pellegrini is going to have way too many options to not get into the top 4… but hopefully Villarreal can fight to keep their top 4 spot anyway.

  38. Ibrahimovic said he could be the coach of Barca because we have a star-studded team, and of cos he had to believe he is even better than Pep.

    It’s only until we see another star-studded team play like crap then we know how good Pep is, and how difficult the job actually is. I imagined Batista being our coach for a second, and decided to quit the thought, because comparing amateurs and masters is just pointless.

    Messi struggled, so did Tevez, and you bet Lavezzi felt the same. Perhaps only Milito didn’t feel that way with his ‘confidence’. Mascherano made more sliding tackles than he did with us in the whole season last night. There was only Columbia last night, Argentina wasn’t a team. More like A for Aguero, R for Romero, G for Gabi, E for Ever… It was a shame.

    Yawn… when will ARG learn how to pass the ball and make space for passes? It’s perhaps a mystery…


    Hi! Everyone.

    1. that’s hilarious. he couldn’t adapt to our style of play but he could coach us?

    2. In a way I compare what Pep does with Barca, to what Phil Jackson did in basketball, and what Tony Dungy did in American Football. As strange as it sounds, it takes a special sort of coach to get the best out of superstars.

      And continuing the analogy a bit further. Few would debate that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player who ever lived, but he didn’t start winning until he had the right people around him. In a TEAM sport how much a player is able to achieve depends on, surprise surprise, the team.

  39. u17 Uruguay just beat Brazil 3-0 in the semifinal. The country sure seems to be on an upswing!

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