Apr 28, 2011
FC Barcelona looks favourite to play the final in wembley with a 2-0 away victory
Mourinho's biggest wish coming into this match was to see one FC Barcelona player sent off, he got his wish granted. but the problem for him was the one who got sent back was on our bench and to make matters worse Pepe and he himself got sent off to make matters easy for Barca. FC barcelona made the most of the numerical adavantage scoring two late goals through Messi and most probably may have booked a place in the final in Wembley. Mourinho is sure to start crying over the red card, but as per the law oif the game Pepe went at Alves legs with his studs and it is seriously a straight red card. Guardiola went with the usual 4-3-3 formation in this match. With Iniesta ruled out, Guardiola decided to bring in Keita into the midfield which also had Xavi and Mascherano. The defense had Alves, Pique, Mascherano and Puyol. The front trio remained unchanged with Villa, Pedro and Messi upfront. Mourinho lined up his boys in a very much expected way - Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol and Marcelo in defense. Diarra, Pepe and Alonso formed the midfield and Ozil, Maria and Ronaldo formed the front trio.
Apr 26, 2011
What a difference ten days make? When this El Clasico series began we were firmly the hot favourite and buzzing with confidence. But two matches into the series we suddenly are the slight underdog and not only some serious doubts have started to creep in. Guardiola could be seriously thinking about what he has done to irk the footballing Gods. The ever increasing list of injuries is quite worrying for anyone at this moment we have four players out injured - Abidal, Adriano, Maxwell and Bojan. All our normal left back options are in that list. To make matters worse, there are serious doubts about fitness of Andres Iniesta. Going by the latest news Iniesta may actually make the starting eleven as he has recovered from that injury concern. Guardiola has announced a list of 20 players who has already made their way to Real Madrid. the squad list is Valdes, Pinto, Pique, Milito, Puyol, Alves, Iniesta, Xavi, Mascherano, Busquets, Afellay, Pedro, Villa , Messi, Jeffren, Keita, Fontas and Barca B start Thiago, Montoya and Sergi Roberto. The good news is Milito and Puyol making the list, especially our Captain Carles Puyol being fit.
Apr 24, 2011
FC Barcelona secured three precious point tonight at the Camp Nou with a not so inspiring performance against Osasuna. Goals from David Villa and Lionel Messi maintained Barca's eight point lead on top ahead of the big away leg of Champions League this Wednesday. Real Madrid who played earlier at Valencia, has cut the lead back to five points with a spectacular 6-3 thrashing. Valencia players were so focussed on giving that Guard of Honour, that they were all over the pitch once that match started. So our effort naturally was to have the lead restore to eleven ahead of the crucial Champiosn league encounter with Real Madrid. Osasuna were lying at sixteenth position and that meant they will fight tooth and nails to stay afloat. Guardiola rested Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Pedro for this match, actually they started on the bench. Puyol and Pique were ommitted from the squad. The defense had Alves, Mascherano, Milito and Maxwell infront of Valdes. The midfield had Busquets, Thiago and Keita formed the midfield. Jeffren, Villa and Afellay made the front trio.
Apr 21, 2011
It took me almost a day to come to terms with the defat and start looking at what all went wrong in the match. Victories and defeats are a part and parcel of this gane. This unique team has made us all hook onto victories that we at times find it difficult to come to terms with defeat. The bottomline is that yesterday the best team won. Yup, Real Madrid was the better team when you take the overall game into perspective and they deserved the triumph. All the players have expressed an eagerness to get over this result as soon as possible and start afresh in the pursuit of La Liga and Champions League title. We were rocked yet again by another injury news. This time it is Adriano, who in recent outings were our best defender and now would be out for atleast 3-4 weeks. Now that's driving me crazy to see Adriano going out when Puyol is coming back to the team.
Cristiano Ronaldo's goal secured Copa del Rey triumph over FC Barcelona
Guardiola had the first taste of defeat in an El Clasico match and a cup final with a 1-0 defeat against arch-rival Real Madrid. In a toughly contested final it was a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo which secured the first trophy available in Spain to Real madrid. Has to admit that pretty sloppy performance in the first half was responsible for giving the initiative to Real madrid and losing this match. With this win the initiative has gone to Madrid based side and now Real Madrid definitely has the initiative going into Champions League tie. Guardiola as said in the pre-match press conference went with Pinto in the goal. Puyol missed out of the starting eleven, that means Mascherano came into the side after the one match suspension. The defense had Alves, Pique, Mascherano and Adriano. The midfield had the usual formation of Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta. The front trio remain unchanged with Pedro, Messi and Villa. Mourinho as expected moved Ramos to centre back and brought in Arbeloa. The other change from Saturday were Ozil coming in for Benzema, that meant Ronaldo was playing in the centre forward role.
Apr 19, 2011
FC Barcelona will be looking to officially win their first silverware of this season, when they take on Real Madrid in the final of Copa del Rey tomorrow night. Ok, technically since we have already won the Spanish super cup, this is going to be the second silverware and applying common sense this would be actually our third, considering that we have almost sealed the La Liga trophy with the draw at Bernebeu. Since Mathematically Real Madrid have the chance to win the league and the fact that Super cup is kind of a silverware which always is a timid affair, the Copa Del Rey as I said officially would be the first Silverware could win this season. After the 1-1 draw at Bernebeu, both cammps were in overdrive, claiming victory belongs to them. Real Madrid did took pride of the fact that they almost won against us after going down to ten players and a goald down. The criticism of Stefano did dampen that spirit a bit but still they seemed up beat. Meanwhile the Catalan press celebrated the fact that we have pushed Real madrid out of the League with that draw. There were a lot of criticism about Mourinho's strategy but in the end eventhough we were done in by a dubious penalty call, we the general optimism was that such a tough fight prepares the team well for the tough task ahead. Mestalla, where the final is due to take place tomorrow has been a very good ground for us as far as King's cup is considered. Two seasons ago we won their first Silverware of that season by defeating Bilbao 4-1. The last time Real Madrid met Barca at Mestalla in Copa del Rey final, they ended as the losing team which happened in 1990.
Apr 17, 2011
FC Barcelona failed to muster three points against ten men Real madrid
FC Barcelona maintained their eight points lead at the top of table with a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernebeu. Messi never had scored against Mourinho and Ronaldo niether against Barca coming into this match. In the end both of broken that dubious record were broken courtesy of penalties on either end. Mourinho will claim moral victory as he managed to draw with Barca with ten man. So this result put Wednesday's final a huge affair.Guardiola started with Puyol who just came back from injury. He partnered Pique, Alves and Adriano in the defense. The midfield had Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets, Messi, Pedro and Villa made the attacking trio. Mourinho went with a tighter defense with Pep playing a deep lying midfielder role. We believe that he will employ this tactic, but never expected him to do this in the League match. They had Ramos, Albiol, Carvalho and Marcelo in defense. Pepe played the deep lying midfielder role. Khedira and Alonso played the usual double pivot role in midfield. Mari, Benzema and Ronaldo made the attacking trio. Without Ozil, this was a very defensive set up and Mourinho was looking to break Guardiola's winning streak with such a line-up.
Apr 15, 2011
FC barcelona vs Real Madrid Clash promises to be a Classic
Update: Puyol has been declared fit and is included in squad.
So it's officially starts tomorrow - The Grand Series of El Clasico. FC Barcelona will be going to Bernebeu to kill any ray of hope that lingers in the Real Madrid fans and players' mind of lifting the La Liga trophy. The funny part is that they may not have to force a victory to do that. Guardiola's boys enters this game in a bouyant mood, aided by the fact that they have registered five consecutive victories against their arch rivals. Not only they have done that, they have scored 16 goals in that process and the last match ended in a massive 5-0 victory at the Camp Nou. So, why shouldn't they be bouyant. But resting on the laurels of the last 5-0 victory could backfire on them. Real Madrid may be eight points behind us but they have looked more like a team than they appeared in the previous encounter. Add to that Real Madrid is playing at the Bernebeu, a fortress for most of the part of their season(barring Sporting defeat). Most of the top team across Europe and Spain have tried to defeat them this season at their home but only Sporting succeeded. So its better to treat it like our own Hercules defeat.
Apr 14, 2011
The War Between Barca and Real Madrid will begin this Saturday
So, it's officially on - The El Clasico Grand series. In a La Liga season, the two classic encounter between Real Madrid and Fc Barcelona is always the most anticipated and the most followed event. In most of the season, it also tends to be the most decisive considering the domination of the Spain's top two in top flight football. But in recent memory or the time since I have followed La Liga, I have never heard of five Clasico matches in a season - one has been done with and the rest four are just days away from us. In the start of any season every Barca or Real Madrid fans biggest dream is not only to win every silverware available but also to beat their greatest rival on the way to it. Usually such wishes remain simply dreams, but this season they have wings attached to it. It is difficult to predict who will emerge from this Grand series victorious and the extend of that victory. Already war calls are ringing from both band aided mercilessly by numerous accusations hurled at each other, through media channels loyal to each other. What I am attempting to do here is to break up each of these clashes and highlight the most important.
Apr 13, 2011
Clinical Barca seal Semi-Final spot
FC Barcelona finished off the good work they did in the first leg with a 1-0 victory against Shaktar at the Donbass Arena. In an arena, where many of the Europe's finest struggled, Barca produced a very efficient display to book their place in yet another Champions League semi-final and an aggregate score of 6-1. Lionel Messi has started a new goal scoring streak scoing in the second consecutive match. Let's all hope he carries on with the streak for the next two to three weeks atleast. Guardiola was taking Shaktar very seriously and decided against resting any of his major stars. Victor Valdes was back in goal. Busquets and Pique formed the centre of defense with Alves and Adriano playing the full back role. I expected Milito to start as I very much expect him to start against Real Madrid. The midfield had Mascherano, Xavi and Keita. The front trio was made up of Villa, Messi and Afellay. Meanwhile Shaktar also didn't have their normal defensive line availabe - Chygrynskiy, Srna, Kucher and Razvan Rat all were our for this tie.
Apr 11, 2011
Carrying a 5-1 lead from the first leg, the biggest worry for Guardiola could be complecency creeping among his wards. He will be without the service of Iniesta, who is suspended for this leg but otherwise have taken almost all available players to Ukraine. Iniesta could definitely do well with some deserving rest and most probably we can expect Guardiola to rest more players. Shaktar Donetsk has one of the most amazing home record all over Europe. They haven't lost a home match in 58 consecutive matches and clubbed with the climate over there - our boys could be in for a tough night. The 5-1 scoreline is not going to bother Shaktar and they will be going to go out with their heads held high. That could be a big problem for Barca, a Shaktar which has nothing to lose could be really handful for us. Even in the first leg, Shaktar did trouble us at times especially with their pace. So what we need tomorrow night is an efficient performance, that could be consider as a trial run for the match at Bernebeu.
Apr 10, 2011
Ok, this was supposed to be a walk in the aprk with a big scoreline. But it turned out in the end as a huge struggle. FC Barcelona looked completely out of focus and had to comeback from a goal down in this match against the bottom placed team in La Liga. In the end we managed to secure the three points and keep the eight point cushion going into the "El Clasico" at the Bernebeu. In what was a very tough match two goals from Messi and one from Thiago cancelled out the opening goal from Corona. There was confusion over who would be the goal keeper but all those confusion were laid to rest after Pinto was declared fit. The defense had Alves, Pique, Milito and Maxwell. Guardiola decided against resting xavi for this match. So we had Xavi, Thiago and Mascherano made the midfield. Iniesta, Messi and Bojan formed the front trio.
Apr 8, 2011
Ok, tomorrow Almeria visits the Camp Nou. I am just trying to remind you that, Its no wonder that everyones focus is alreday on the Clasico at the Bernebeu. But we have a task on hand tomorrow, before we can think about our Eternal Rivals. Considering the fact that nobody expected Sporting to win at Bernebeu, it would be foolish to consider that we are going to win tomorrow by just turning up. With a series of Clasico on the corner, it is pretty easy for all of us and our players to lose focus. Almeria is currently lying at the bottom of the table and should possess little threat to us. But still it's a job that has to be done with. The last time we met Almeria in the league, we all knew what happened. That 8-0 victory was followed by a 3-0 away victory against Panathanaikos and then the great 5-0 victory over Real Madrid. The omens are good once again, after tomorrow's match against Almeria we will be travelling away in Europe then will meet Real Madrid. The last two matches exposed enough of defensive fragilities in the side and with Puyol's continuing absence, Guardiola would be looking for back up players against Almeria.
Apr 7, 2011
FC Barcelona thrashes Shaktar Donetsk to take a firm step to Semi-Final
FC Barcelona has taken a firm step to set up an El Clasico clash in this season's Champions League semi-final with the demolition of Shaktar Donetsk at Camp Nou. Iniesta, Alves, Keita, Pique and Xavi scored for Barca in a very thrilling 5-1 victory against the Ukranian Champions. The 5-1 scoreline has to be termed a bit unfair to Shaktar, as they gave Barca a definite scare. With this victory there could be a real possibility of El Clasico overdose in coming weeks. Guardiola definitely would have to think about his defense after the game as they were found wanting at times.With Puyol absent, we once again saw Pique and Busquets joining together in the heart fo defense. Adriano and Alves played the usual full back role. The midfield had Keita, Xavi and Mascherano. The front line had Iniesta, Messi and Villa. Pedro was declared fit but only started from the bench. The other substitutes were the ever present Milito, Bojan along with Thiago, Maxwell, Afellay and Mino. Shaktar had six Brazilian in their line-up, Shaktar would be a handful for Barca on the counter.
Apr 5, 2011
FC Barcelona will resume their quest to regain Champions League title when they host Shaktar Donetsk tomorrow night at the Camp Nou. Considering Guardiola's away record in Europe ( He is yet to win a Champions League away leg in the knock out stage), you don't have to be a genius to realise hos important is this match. Our last visit to Shaktar ened in a very tight 2-1 victory for us. The victory on that day came very late and in a bit of controversial circumstances. So it is safe to say that we should definitely have to finish the game at home tomorow night. Shaktar is kind of a bogey team who could trouble Barca, something the best in Spain and Europe failed to do. They would prefer to play a defensive setup at Camp Nou and would look to hurt us on the counter. If we don't secure atleast a two goal advantage, we could be in some trouble with our visit to Ukraine. And moreover the visit to Ukraine comes just ahead of teh Bernebeu visit and we would ideally like to rest some of the stars to the build up of that.
Apr 3, 2011
FC Barcelona has one hand on the La Liga Trophy
FC Barcelona has opened up an eight point lead at the top of the league with a hard fought 1-0 victory at El Madrigal. On a night in which Jose Mourinho's unbeaten home record ended with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Gijon, Pique's goal was enough to secure three points for us. With such a lead the title hunt has effectively come to an end for Real Madrid. Mathematically they still have a chance but practically its an impossible task for Jose Mourinho. Guardiola brought in some changes to the defense - Busquets and Pique formed the cetre defensive pair with Alves and Adriano lining up as full backs. The midfield had Mascherano, Thiago and Keita. Affellay, Iniesta and Villa formed the midfield. Messi started on the bench and Valdes wore the captain's armband. What would have been a very crucial game was made much easier by the fact that Real Madrid lost their unbeaten home record to Sporting Gijon early on the night.
Apr 2, 2011
Apr 1, 2011
|David Villa against Villareal|
As I said in my last post, this is going to be the most vital game of this season. Its all about not conceding any ground to Real Madrid before meeting them at their home in two weeks time. Lionel Messi was a serious doubt for this fixture when I wrote the last post, but luckily our worst fears were removed when the club doctor's ruled out any injury to Messi. Now most probably he will play in this match but we still will be missing Xavi, who is suspended for this match. Bojan Krkic who had an injury scare while playing for Spanish U-21 side has recovered, but we still have major absentees in the defense namely Abidal and Puyol.