Thursday, October 27, 2005

Barca make hard work of it and Real lose again

Didn't see the game last night, was out to dinner but from what I read Barca had another Alaves for eighty minutes until Ronaldinho scored a 'controversial' penalty (ie: it wasn't one) and Larsson neatly chipped Aranu (who was in spectacular form) with two minutes to go, running onto a Ronaldinho pass.

Just as important as Barcas win was Madrids limp 3-1 defeat away to Depor, their second loss on the bounce (the blaugranas draws against Valencia and Depor don't look so bad now) which has seen them drop to fifth and a six point swing to Barca (now third, two points off the top) in just four days.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So Becks gets his red card rescinded...

... while Messis yellow for being hacked down by Cesar Cruchaga (who freely admits it was a foul) stands.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sid Lowe on Joan Laporta

The frequently unfunny and annoying Sid Lowe today writes about Joan Laporta and his friends in fascist places. Read it here.
Belletti out for six weeks, Deco three

Read the official statement here

Deco should be back for the Real game on November 20th but Julio won't be back until the beginning of January. Oleguer better sharpen up.
Barca thump Osasuna

Midway through the second half, with Barca 2-0, the Camp Nou saw what Leo Messi was all about. With Osasuna attacking down the left, he tracked back to close to his own corner flag, won the ball, beat two Osasuna players and tore up the field. No step overs, no flicks, just sheer determination and will. Fuck you Robinho.

After a lacklustre first half with anti-Laporta banners hanging in the stands, Belletti and Deco limping off after 20 and 38 minutes respectively and with the scoreline staying stubornly at 0-0, Barca exploded in the second, Eto'o scoring twice inside nine minutes to put the game beyond a very flat and unthreatening Osasuna. Messi was absolutely sensational. On from the start in place of Giuly, both he and Ronaldinho were a joy to watch, powering forward at every oppertunity.

With Messi playing so well and Giuly scoring when he came on late for Eto'o, I'm curious to see who Riijaard wil start on Wednesday against Malaga. On this form you'd surely have to go for Messi.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Iniesta left out

For the first time in over a year, Andres Iniesta has been left out of the match squad for the Osasuna game tonight. Hardly surprising considering the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco and Xavi have found themselves sitting in the stands of late. Barca have a bigger, fitter squad this year and Iniestas performances have hardly been setting the world alight of late. The full squad is here. Both Giuly and Marquez are fit so I'm hoping Edmilson will stay on the bench. Barca have a run of three home games now in La Liga and considering the oppositon (Osasuna tonight, Malaga and Sociedad) they really ought win all of these games at a stroll.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Osasuna at the Camp Nou and more on the Echevarria affair

Barca play first placed (though not for long I suspect) Osasuna tomorrow evening (9pm GMT, SKy Sports Xtra) Now that the Echevarria affair has concluded hopefully the focus can go back onto the pitch. Rafael Marquez may miss the game, he pulled out of training on Thursday but Giuly, Deco and Gabri are all back and should make the match squad. Oasauna are no great shakes and their form has been up and down. I'd hope for a solid Barca win but with the way they're playing at the moment, lethargic and low on confidence I can see they struggling unless they get off to a quick start. As I'm illmatic at the mo I'll probably catch the game on Saturday with a box of tissues in one hand and a mug of Lemsip in the other *cough*
Fascista resigns

Hours after he was publicly backed by Joan Laporta, Alejandro Echevarria has resigned as director of FC Barcelona. More on this in the morning as I really need to go to bed now but suffice to say, if I were Sandro Rosell I'd be rather happy with the mess that Laporta has created. He's going to have to do alot more than promise Thierry Henry to win back the members after this debacle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Well at least they didn't conceed...

It seems that Frank Riijkaard and I are back on the same page. Well almost. Out went Oleguer and Edmilson and in came Mark Van Bommel and Marquez and for the first time in over a month Barca kept a clean sheet. That said, they were playing Panathinaikos. Still, it's a start. What I was surprised by though was Larsson starting for the injured Giuly instead of Messi. Larsson is a striker and playing him out on the right is a bit of a waste. If he's going to come in for anyone it should be Eto'o, but of course it's not going to be Eto'o.

Speaking of Messi, he again looked very threatening when he came on. It pains me that administrative stupidity and incompetence has effectively ruled him out of La Liga matches until January.

The aforementioned Eto'o had the best chances, two late in the second half in a game that the blaugrana really ought to have won against an incredibly defensive, hard tackling (read dirty) and limited Greek side.

Van Bommel, who came off for forever injured Motta, making his first appearence of the season since he stepped on a rake/ slipped on a banana skin/ walked under a ladder in pre-season, was booked so he'll miss the return leg at the Camp Nou in November.

Barca still top the group wtih seven points and ought win it rather easily with Bremen and Udine drawing 1-1 last night.

Read the completely biased match report from here

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The current state of play at the Camp Nou

Good article from The Guardian on Friday about the current difficulties facing the Laporta Presidency, from fascista Alejandro Echevarria to the farce that is Leo Messis registration. Worth a read.
The Panathinaikos game

Barca play in Greece tonight after Saturdays collapse at the Riazor and whatever of a win, I'm hoping for a clean sheet. From having the best defence in La Liga last season, thus far, after seven games and ten goals conceeded, they have one of the worst.

Oleguer has been playing poorly (both at right back and in the centre) and Rijkaards decission to persist with and out-of-sorts Edmilson in the holding midfield role ahead of Marquez has meant that he has had little protection. I'd like to see both Oleguer and Edmilson dropped to the bench with Marquez coming in alongside Puyol and Mark Van Bommel (who's been fantastic in the two games I've seen him play) in midfield, behind Xavi and Deco.

With his situation in La Liga still up in the air, I'd expect Messi to come in from the start for Giuly. He was quite superb in the game against Udine.

I should catch the highlights late tonight so I'll post a match report of sorts here in the morning.