Spanish Supercup review: FC Barcelona 3 – 2 Real Madrid: Pito Vilanova strikes back!By: Natasha | August 24th, 2012
Just who is Pito Vilanova and what is he doing coaching Barça?
Mourinho certainly doesn’t know who Pito Vilanova is. Do you?
Ah, wait, wait, I’ve got it…Pito Vilanova…sounds like the dude who led Barça to victory last night. Yeah. The name sounds familiar…
And that was Tito’s first Clásico. A win! The first half of this match might as well not exist. But bearing in mind that this is one of the first matches of the season, coupled with the heat in Barcelona, you can’t blame the players for being tired. The first half was slow from both teams and I have the grand total of three sentences worth of notes that aren’t worth the bother of typing out. I’m sure they went something like, “first half: nothing has happened. As you were.”
Tito sent out the following: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Messi, Pedro and Alexis. I was slightly surprised he chose Adriano over Jordi Alba, but apart from that, a strong team.
So, lets see. The good? Alves was on form and actually…wait for it…defending! He kept Coentrão fairly quiet. Piqué seemed to be back at his best and I’m hoping this is a sign of things to come. The bad? Valdés’ awful mistake. I don’t want to criticise him unfairly, but this was a terrible error and it was entirely his fault. I expected better from him and Di Maria’s goal made for an unfortunate ending to the match. The ugly? Oh, I can’t say Mou’s face? Alright then. Alexis. I will leave this until later.
Apparently this was a 3-2 that should have been a 4-1. I can agree with that. I thought Barça played extremely well and a special mention must go to the defence. The same defence that was all over the place during the previous season. The match was still won, but it should have been won 3-1. We’ll see during the second leg whether or not Madrid’s second goal was of any importance. One positive to take from this result is that Barça can’t afford to listlessly pass the ball around the Bernabéu in a week’s time. They don’t have enough of a lead to do that and they need to take the game to Madrid. The first Liga Clásico is scheduled for the 7th of October, about 6 weeks away. No, the Supercup isn’t of massive importance, but Barça will benefit from the psychological advantage of being the better team over these two legs.
Taking the first half out of the equation, the second half was enjoyable. There weren’t even any red cards! No fights! No eye poking! I put that down to the presence of The Observer, Mr Satorra. We saw Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso be their usual irritating selves but the match was surprisingly hassle-free. Perhaps that’s what happens when Pepe isn’t around to dish out some kung-fu moves. I’d say any match without Pepe present can only lead to good things. We saw five goals during the second half, the first being scored by Ronaldo, from a set piece. Of course. But only a minute after Ronaldo’s goal, Mascherano provided an excellent assist to Pedro. Not quite a Maschegol, but I’ll take it. Looks like Pedro is finding his form again after last season was littered with performances below his standard. GO PEDRO! I believe Mou complained this goal was offside. I call this an excuse.
We saw a penalty awarded as a result of Ramos fouling Iniesta in the box, which was a legitimate call, unlike some (actually no, make that all) of Alexis’ protests. The penalty was taken by Messi with ease and put Barça a goal ahead. Messi’s penalty was probably his only stand out moment of the match. He was off for the majority of the match and the chances he did have, he didn’t finish. But you know who did put home his chance? Xavi. The link up between him and Iniesta was perfect and was definitely the goal of the night, unless you want to choose Di Maria’s goal, purely for the comedy value…
You gotta feel for VV. I’ve see a lot of people defending him and saying we shouldn’t criticise him, and then I’ve seen people furious with him. I’m not sure. It wasn’t just your average mistake; it was a pretty big mistake and I know Valdés to be much better than that. Still, lets hope that’s the last of his mistakes for a few months at least. Better now during a relatively unimportant match than in a league deciding Clásico. And look, the people calling for Valdés to be replaced by Pinto for the second leg really need to recall the time’s VV has saved the team on countless occasions. I can’t think of a better goalkeeper for this team. Can you?
Now, Alexis. What exactly are you doing? He’s been here for a year and I am not feeling him at all. He doesn’t work hard enough to win the ball and when he does have it, he’s not doing enough with it. He dives. He dives A LOT. People are starting to notice this and are rightfully unimpressed. I am sure the non-Barça fans will dismiss this gleefully as “typical Barça” but let it be known that it’s not a trait I, and most others, like to see. The diving needs to stop and it’s beginning to taint what should be a very talented player. It’s not just his diving that’s causing problems, it’s his attitude in general. I’m not sure what’s happened but it needs to be addressed. Also, if you’ve managed to read up to this point and would like to comment about Busquets “being the worst diver of all”, I suggest you take your thoughts elsewhere because I’m not here to discuss him.
Valdés – 6. Until “that moment”, he actually had a strong match. Shame people aren’t going to remember that, though…
Alves – 7. Much better than he was against Real Sociedad. Firing crosses into the box from all angles and it was unfortunate that no one was there to receive them.
Piqué – 8. An excellent performance. Good to see him back at this level. Lets hope it stays that way and he can prove the doubters wrong.
Mascherano – 8. Perfect assist. Nothing but praise for our two centre backs. I particularly enjoyed his challenge on Coentrao and he was even awarded a yellow card as a prize! Woo!
Adriano – 6. Well…I hardly noticed him. He has his moments of greatness in the past but last night was not one of them. It’s not that he does things wrong or badly, but he didn’t bring much to the table and didn’t contribute to the attack.
Busquets – 7. You’d think the poor boy had a sign on his head saying “foul me!”. Oh Busi. Spot on as usual, though. That Song dude was right – Busquets is the best DM out there.
Iniesta – 7. After a pretty poor first half, he moved up a gear for the second half and redeemed himself. You saw his assist. And it was a brilliant one, at that.
Xavi – 7. And from Iniesta’s assist came Xavi’s goal. Excellent stuff. He also kept the ball more than usual, probably down to our attack not willing to…attack.
Messi – 6. Is this harsh? I don’t think it is. He scored the penalty, yes, and that was his contribution to the match.
Alexis – 4. I don’t have anything positive to say about him based on his performance during this match. Boy needs to sort out his attitude and then we’ll talk.
Pedro – 7. He needs to sustain this new found form, but I think he’s getting there. An on-form Pedro is almost like a new signing – fresh and ready to play his heart out.
And there you have it. Like I’ve mentioned, it’s important to remember that in the grand scheme of the season ahead, the Spanish Supercup isn’t a huge deal. And can I remind everyone that this was a win? We’re not going to see another 5-0 for a long time, you greedy fans.
To the Bernabéu!