Playing in their 33rd league game of the season, Barca looked to move past their disastrous outing in Munich when taking the pitch at the historic San Mames stadium for the last time. While Leo came close to sealing the victory for the Blaugrana, the hosts managed to equalize in the dying minutes of the game sending both teams out with a point a piece.
With the return leg against Bayern looming, Tito rested Iniesta and Messi, who is still not fully fit, but otherwise went with a strong starting side playing VV in net; Dani and Jordi on either side of Pique and Abi in the back, then Song filling in for the injured Busi alongside Xavi and Thiago in midfield, while Pedro, Alexis, and Cesc, deputizing for Messi, started up front. Pinto, Bartra, Adriano, Villa and Tello kept Messi and Iniesta company on the bench. On the other end, Athletic started Iraizoz; Iraola, Ekiza, SanJose, Aurtenetxe; Gurpegi, Herrera, De Marcos; Susaeta, Aduriz and Muniain.
Before I start, if you are here expecting to see some sort of champions league we are sorry for ourselves story or some angry rant about the end of Barcelona’s era as a football power in the universe, please look away now.
However, if you’re interested in reading how Barcelona can win their 4th league title in 5 years, by all means please come in.
Let’s not kid ourselves: this is an awful result. Though it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that Barça can score a manita at home, given last night’s performance, hoping should only be done by trained professionals who don’t mind getting their heart trampled on repeatedly. For the rest of you, you can bask in the consolation that there will be no Clásico Champions League final to drive us to drink and ruination.
Tito Vilanova went for what seemed the obvious starting XI: VV, Dani Alves, Piqué, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi and Pedrito. Considering the injuries and suspensions (and that, in spite of his inspiring performance on the weekend, Abidal is not yet ready to play two high-intensity games in one week), and with a last-minute hope-for-the-best all-clear for Messi, it was the best we could do.
It was before the era of twitter. Yea, there was a life before then. Even before the era of mobiles. No sophisticated gimmicks. Just a herd of boys wearing their Laundry-tortured football shorts and clumsy shirts, surrounding a TV and watching a football match. A bunch of them support their team, the rest cheers against.
An electrified stream of euphoria, and joy dipped in irritated current splashing its stingy boosts all over the crowd with every pass, run, or scoring opportunity. Then BANG! A goal, and one part of the crowd folds all over the other, teasing them to anger level. But it was joy all over the place. Oh, beside one guy whose nickname was Sattoof (for whatever reason), who was the reference of the tripe, especially when he only wanted to be invisible.
Sattoof was the kind of boys who take his team’s matches way more seriously than the rest. He was a Juventus supporter – for the record. His anger after a Juventus loss was so bold and entertaining that even the Juventus fans of the group used to tease him as well when their team losses. So you can imagine. Read the rest of this entry »
Not exactly an inspiring match from Barça, but they got the job done all the same. Abidal playing 90 minutes was the was easily best thing about this snore-fest. Read the rest of this entry »
After a week of rest obtained by ignoring the Copa Catalunya (the Barça B babies beat Tarragona for a spot in the final, to be played against Espanyol at some yet-to-be-determined date in front of a crowd of three bored pigeons), Barça must drag themselves back to the office to welcome Levante at home.
After a surprising flirtation with the top spots (including a fleeting fourth place), Levante are firmly back in the middle of the Liga table, virtually safe from relegation and with very few hopes of playing in Europe. This, along with the fact that Barça have always won when playing Levante at the Camp Nou, should mean that Tito and Roura can relax a little and give us another display of rotations and new faces, keeping an eye on Tuesday’s visit to Bayern. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Rest everyone!’ seemed to be the theme for the evening. Barça fans are (understandably) spooked by the prospect of Bayern looming in the horizon, and with so many injuries and exhaustion beleaguering an already small squad, the solution seems simple: pack all players in bubble wrap and keep spraying them with magic spray until the Champions League semis are here.
The problem is, we haven’t yet won La Liga. Yes, we have a massive advantage. Yes, we have relatively soft matches left. Yes, we’ll probably make it. But we can’t let our guard down until the Liga is mathematically won. I’m sure some old Barça fans here can share memories of why. So, Tito needed to field a strong team while resting key players (he left Messi, Pinto, Busquets, Iniesta and Alba at home), and he did with a selection of VV, Alves, Bartra, Adriano, Montoya, Song, Xavi, Thiago, Cesc, Alexis and Tello. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a rather exciting week, with reaching the semi finals of the Champions League, drawing Bayern Munich, and of course, Abidal’s return. After Wednesday’s match against PSG, I need a break. So Barça, please just get the job done tomorrow and make sure no one gets injured…*cough* Adriano, I’m looking at you. Read the rest of this entry »
We watch the ceremonies so you don’t have to waste your precious time in watching UEFA officials grinning at each other. And so, we are delighted (and terrified) to inform you that our rival for the Champions League semifinals in this Year Of The Lord 2013 is… Bayern Munich!!!
The first leg will be played at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday April 23rd, and the return leg will be played at the Camp Nou on Wednesday May 1st (set-up for another ‘epic’ remuntada at home?).
So, prepare your Pep jokes, your “FCB squared” jokes, and your “uh-oh, no defenders” jokes. It’s going to be exciting!
We made it! We did it! We squeaked past Ibra and his Merry Men! And we had to bring in an injured player in order to do it!
You know those pieces on Barça’s Messi-dependence you quietly shoved out of sight after Saturday’s Messi-less win? If there’s ever a time to dust them off and parade them around, it’s now! Hurry, before we play the next match!