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Category Archives: Barcelona
Auxerre vs Real Madrid
– Real Madrid started with a 4-3-3 system, but the only midfielder that could move the ball cleverly was Xabi Alonso. Lass is too defensive-minded and Khedira is a box-to-box player. So, there were problemas with the well organized Auxerre. Anyway, the three strikers were very static, so they didn’t create any spaces in the french team defense and almost didn’t create any opportunities.
– Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuaín are anxious. Every time they get the ball they try to do an individual move. Moreover, the portuguese is not dribbling anybody. Mourinho have to change that.
– Real Madrid always tried to attack throught the centre when they should have opened the field. When Di Maria came in, late in the second half, the game changed a bit, and that was the way to score the first and last goal.
– The positive part: The Special One is The Lucky One too. Three points and no goals conceded, and top of the group.
Rubin Kazan vs Barcelona
– Maxwell is not good enought for Barcelona. He’s a good full back, but not a world class player as Dani Alves. Barcelona is lacking of depth and speed when their attack through left side.
– Select Mascherano and Busquets together is not a good idea when you play against such a defensive team. They are two of the best defensive midfielders in the world, but they play better behind the ball, and against Rubin Kazan, Barcelona should have been put players between Kazan’s defense and midfield.
– Villa is not at his best. I don’t know if he needs more minutes with their new teammates or if he’s going throught a bad patch, but he’s not the goalscorer he used to be.
– I don’t like Rubin’s tactic, but it’s valid, and it worked. Their match was almost perfect.
Valencia vs Manchester United
– It’s difficult to create something with Albelda and Tino Costa as midfielders. With Manuel Fernandes it would have been better, obviously with Ever Banega, that was injured.
– Valencia is playing better with two strikers. The progression of Aduriz is beeing impressive, and he starts being a very complete forward.
– Manchester United is smaller without Rooney and Scholes. And I can’t think in many players who had wasted his talent as Dimitar Berbatov.
– Small things always help big teams. Manchester United was lucky, and they won a match that deserved a draw.
Internazionale 4 – 0 Werder Bremen
Tottenham 4 – 1 Twente
Shalke 2 – 0 Benfica
H. Tel-Aviv 1 – 3 Lyon
Rangers 1 – 0 Bursaspor
Valencia 0 – 1 Manchester United: 85′ Chicharito Hernández
Panathinaikos 0 – 2 Kobenhavn
Rubin Kazan 1 – 1 Barcelona: 30′ Noboa (pen) [1-0], 60′ Villa (pen) [1-1]
Basel 1 – 2 Bayern
Roma 2 – 1 Cluj
Spartak Moscow 3 – 0 Zilina
Chelsea 2 – 0 Marseille
Ajax 1 – 1 Milán
Auxerre 0 – 1 Real Madrid: 83′, Di Maria
Partizan 1 – 3 Arsenal
Braga 0 – 3 Shaktar Donetsk
The most decisive match of the year, much more than 3 points are at stake, the whole world watching 22 men fighting on the ground, and so on…Many clichés and trivialities surround this beautiful football game which involves a long-time rivalry prompted by social, politic and of course sporting subjects.
Yet, we should point out one of those phrases we hear over and over during the previous week – “no matter whether they are in or off form, when the times comes no one knows what will happen”. Or paraphrasing Cristiano Ronaldo’s words, “it doesn’t really matter who will play the match”.
THE SURPRISE FACTOR
December 13th, 2008.
Barcelona beat Real Madrid (2-0, goals by Eto’o and Messi) five days after Bernd Schuster got the sack from his job at the Bernabéu stadium. The German manager told the media that it was “impossible to win the derby against Barcelona”, in the press conference after losing to Sevilla 3-4 at home. He was immediately fired, as Juande Ramos took the charge and ended up losing in the most important game of the year, as his predecessor had foretold.
We could say that was the first time in many years where we could see a final result which met the previous expectations. Mostly, the surprise factor plays an important role in these kind of matches – it did in the famous 3-3 tie, when Messi began to be recognized as one of the best players of the world thanks to his three goals, or in the last chorreo* (2-6), when Barça took the first step to achieve their famous treble.
La Liga’s Saturday matches: Deportivo-Sevilla, R.Madrid-Valladolid and Valencia-Barça – Goals & Highlights
4-0 in 40 minutes in a Spanish clásico against a team that’s currently playing in UEFA Champions League, just like they did last year in a similar situation – overwhelming, extraordinary, superb,…you can pick the adjective, it will fit perfectly.
However, there’s a difference with last year’s match in Camp Nou (which finished 6-1 for Barça): on that day, blaugranas were more like an avalanche, today, though, they won 3 points by walking around on the field – they didn’t even need to hit the gas in order to beat their rivals. It was humiliating for Atlético fans. Even more for Abel, who said they were “already losing 2-0 before the match started”.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká, Benzema, Ibrahimovic and Ribéry’s shattered signing – 4 world-class players that would have been 5 if the French man had joined Real Madrid.
How many times have they said that Premier League and Serie A got seriously affected by those sales to Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively? Lots.
Here in this blog, we even said that Franck Ribéry was the last ace the Spanish League needed to leave European giants like Manchester United, Chelsea or Inter with no available stars to sign, at least no one valued at more than €60m.
What about Wayne Rooney? What if he came to Spain to play in La Liga? Yes, that would be certainly hard, I’d say almost impossible. Alex Ferguson wouldn’t let him go after seeing the Portuguese winger leaving England to play in the Bernabéu. Though, we all were entirely sure that the Scotch man wouldn’t allow him to take his bags and say goodbye to the Old Trafford crew. But he did.
Here they are, again. Barcelona finished their greatest season by beating Shakhtar Donetsk in Monaco and getting their 3rd European Super Cup. Pedro‘s goal in the 25th minute of extra time was enough to demolish the Ukrainian wall, which was raised by Lucescu as soon as Frank De Bleeckere kicked the match off.
The UEFA Cup winners’ proposal was acceptable, like any other one based on the defensive balance and a polished strategy, but I still think that if any team wants to defeat the Catalans in an important meeting like today’s game or Champions League semifinals (blue eyes rolling), they have to try to steal the ball and play some offensive football. Those who attempted to beat Barça by placing 10 men in the box failed; those who really faced and played on equal terms to Guardiola’s guys obtained good results in those games (see Atlético 4-3 Barcelona in Vicente Calderón, few months ago), or at least they were close.
However, Lucescu didn’t try to change his tactics and he just hoped they would reach the penalties with the initial score. Poor guys – 115 minutes running after the ball and they got back home with no reward but a silver medal hanging on their necks. But, as the title says, it was just a matter of time for the blaugranas to score their first goal. They got it late, but they did get it, as everyone but the Romanian coach expected them to.
Anyway, this final match is now over and the Spanish giants could achieve their only challenge left in 2008/09 season, though they could fill out the best year ever for an European team if they become champions in the next FIFA Club World Cup which will take place in December.
Who do you think could really face this superb team? Maybe that idyllic Real Madrid everyone talks about, probably Manchester United at their highest level or even Chelsea if they start changing their mentality from now on.
Today’s quote: “There are no favourites in the derby, those who are going through their worst period often win in these matches”, José Mourinho talks about tomorrow’s Milan-Inter.
Today’s news: Arsène Wenger acuses UEFA of a ‘witch-hunt’ after they decided to judge Eduardo’s diving in Celtic’s game.