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Feb 22, 2007

Last night 2-1 defeat to Liverpool drops curtain on Barcelona's Champions League dream of this year. The most embarrassing and worrying factor for Frank Rijkaard about the defeat is the ease with which it came searching for Liverpool. Liverpool did not have to play anywhere near their ability to win this game, as Barca played perfect host by delivering the match in a palette to them. This does not come as a surprise as the Catalans recent performance should have warn this coming. Like against Valencia they have their Defence(yesterday Valdes also) to take the full responsibility of the defeat. But Does putting the blame entirely on the defence solves the mystery? No, I absolutely disagree. The blatant Truth is that its their offence's failures which is putting them in precarious position like this.

Last night Liverpool was anything but spectacular. They might have sticked to their task well, but then Barcelona's players attitude helped them well. Every one of the English commentator were praising their defence for the win, but I cannot agree completely over here. Whenever Barcelona upped the tempo Liverpool's defence was found wanting. If it was not for Sissoko or Carragher it would have been a different story. After the initial exchange of play when Barcelona upped the tempo, it looked like Liverpool is going to have lots of trouble. That phase of the match lasted till Deco's first Goal, in which we saw Barcelona's attacking force raiding the Liverpool territory ball after another. But that lasted only till that Goal came and after that Barcelona decided to sit back and enjoy. I don't find the rationale for such a decision, when you know that Anfield is not such an easy Ground. The tactic should have been to score at least 3 Goals and make the Tie safe.

But if we look deeper we can find that this laid back attitude is causing team more matches this season than players injury or players out of form. There was no explanation for team losing yesterday than this attitude, as Liverpool only had an average Game. Nobody ever saw Gerrard or Alonso on the field. But still they managed to Get two away Goals tell the way Barcelona played. When everyone was expecting the team to come and fire in all cylinders after the break, they were content with holding possession. They very well deserve to lose this match. But they could have tried a little harder so that the fans could walk home with some satisfaction.

It didn't came as a surprise that whenever Barca was able to make some impression in the Liverpool D it came from the right of the field through Messi. He might have seemed a little disillusioned in the second half, but he was the only Barca player along with Puyol who played at least well in the match. Last season Barca's strength were the one touch passing football and the pace they showed. It was the pace that combined along with the one touch football and skill which made them so dangerous. This season if we look carefully they are showing some glimpses of one touch football but they miss the pace completely. It cannot be attributed to the absence of Eto, as when Eto was there the same problem existed. Rijkaard has to address this as early as possible or change the 4-3-3 system to some conventional system. The 4-3-3 system needs the two above mentioned quality to be effective and Barca seems to miss at least one of them this season.

It will be honest to say that Barca's chances in the La Liga also will be diminished in the coming weeks. We have to expect Sevilla moving well ahead of them and may be Valencia will slowly overtake Barca for second spot. This could be a good time to see how good is the young talents we are having in our youth systems - Bojan Krkic, Dos santos, Marc Crosas, Olma etc. Rijkaard should start preparing for the next season from now onwards(forget about this season) and see wherever Barca need reinforcements. Certainly Zaragoza will kick them out of Copa del Rey coming 28th and Liverpool will complete formality by humiliating them with mostly a 2-0 defeat in Anfield.

Still as a Barcelona fan I will stay up late night to watch 2nd leg at Anfield hoping Barca beat them at least with a two goal margin. I will also hope we will win at Zaragoza by two goals(We last time lost their 4-1). You might think I am crazy, then without Hope this world will be a difficult place to live in.

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Feb 17, 2007

Bojan Krkic - young star of Barca B

FC Barcelona home grown talent Bojan Krkic, 16 years old from Linyola, has got a great future ahead of him. Last weekend he scored 2 goals in the 3-0 victory over U.E. Lleida and is already the Pichichi of Barca B. He scored 7 goals or a total of 20. Since he is playing as a regular in Quique Costas team the reserve team has changed. Krkic is developing fast and in huige steps. Last year he was promoted with 15 years to the Juvenile (U19) and this year, with 16 years, he should gain some experience in senior football. Now, he is a lready a regular and the top goalscorer of the team.

Football experts are convinced that Bojan will make his debut for the first team next sesaon.

Barca B coach Quique Coasts was in a serious crisis just weeks ago. Barca B was bottom of the table of the Segunda B (Spain´s third Division). But the boy from Linyola, with its self-confidence, skills and overall with his goals got the team back to life.

His stats are impressive. Bojan Krkic scored 7 goals in only 870 minutes playing time. 5 of them in the last 4 matches. He played 11 matches, 9 of them in the starting line-up.
When the youngster joined Barca B this season, the team had only won 1 match so far, since Bojan played they added another 5 victories.

Bojan is happy with his development and revealed:
I am scoring goals and this helps the team to win. Things go very well for me on a personal level and Barça B is improving a lot. I already feel privileged by playing for Barca B with only 16 years. I am very young and I have still a long way to go. This is why I am only thinking of Barca B at the moment.

Bojan Krkic has also been called up for Spain´s U18 to play the Meridian Cup.

Source : Click here

Barca´s Deco: "FC Barcelona the ideal Club for Cristiano ronaldo!"

FC Barcelona´s Portuguese midfield star Deco is convinced that FC Barcelona is the ideal club and Barcelona the best place for international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to play in the future.

Deco believes that 22-year-old Ronaldo should choose Barca over rival´s real Madrid if he should ever decide to leave Manschester United.

Deco explained on Radio Marca:

I would love it, if he came to play at Barca. I believe it is the ideal club for him. There are big clubs interested in Cristiano Ronaldo, but I personally believe that Barca would be better than Madrid, because of the team's form, the city is an ideal place to live, etc.

FC Barcelona's "El Magico" Ronaldinho told English tabloid "SUN" that he and his teammates have to be at their best to beat liverpool to progress to the quarter finals. Despite being branded as favourites ronaldinho insists that the UEFA Champions League clash is anything other than easy.

European champions of 2006 Barca host Liverpool, who won the title one year before, on wednesday night. An exciting tie over two legs is on the agenda and Ronaldinho believes that liverpool has a team able to win the European trophy again. Ronnie explained to the "SUN":

Liverpool won the European Cup two years ago, so we know it could go either way. I think we'll have to be at our very best to make it through to the last eight. Liverpool's incredible win in 2005 was amazing and an achievement we must be aware of. We have to learn from what happened to Milan. It would be a mistake not to consider Liverpool as one of the favourites to win this season's Champions League. Not only have they already won it, they have a team capable of doing it again. But we are a force in this competition and have an obligation to show them our quality too.
We know all about Liverpool. Steven Gerrard is a brilliant midfield player with a lot of force and Xabi Alonso complements him perfectly. They have a good passing range and we have to be very careful they don't release their strikers too much. The likes of Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch are dangerous. The core of Liverpool's side is of a very high standard. They can hurt us on the break, so we must not neglect that threat. The hour of truth has arrived and we fully expect to reach the heights we are capable of reaching. Winning the first leg is important to us. We must make home advantage count because we are going to suffer at Anfield, if we are not in front. I think, we are good enough to win both legs. We have confidence in ourselves and believe we can repeat last season and end the year as Champions League winners again.

If the performance against Racing is anything to go by, then Barcelona might be slowly awaking. They seems to do well in the midfield and defense, but still the forward lineups inability to create chances are becoming a big problem. Last season they had a problem of converting goals from numerous chances they usually creates. But this season, it seems its going other way. They are converting most of their chances, but the chances are very less from a very highly Talented Barcelona side.
The last match against Racing was a decent performance, basic analysis of the game is as follows:

1) Ronaldinho - Got two great goals, first one was pure class and the second one due to poor marking. He didn't tried to do spectacular things and concentrated on his job basically.
2) Saviola - Had a bad day, cannot blame him for that. He is an out and out CF and midfield has to supply balls to him(Which was very less). Most of the time he has to drop back to touch the ball says plenty of Barca's problem this season. It seems he is trying too hard to retain his place in the wake of Eto's coming back from injury. Should be given a start against Valencia.
3) Iniesta - Had a bad day. He is being played out of position. He fits brilliantly in the midfield, where his creativity will gel beautifully with Deco's. Right Forward position is either Guily's or Messi's.
4) Deco - Great as usual.
5) Xavi - Good player. Sometimes seems to getting lost.
6) Marquez - Until we find a good DM its better to have him as DM.
7) Defensive line was really great. There were some problems which should be sorted out.
8) Messi - Looked really good, will be back in may be days.
9) Guily - He was excellent with his pace.

Now concentrating on the Games on hand in the recent future, it is important to have a regular line up and stop shuffling at least until the match against zaragoza is over. So lets identify the line up for these matches.








In the matches against Valencia and Liverpool its very necessary to have a tall DM to complement the defense, so I will prefer marques always. But against Zaragosa I will have Xavi there which will give more attacking option. The match against Valencia is the most crucial of all as it will set the tone for all the other matches. Barcelona has to win this one at any cost. This will give the necessary confidence to proceed further in Champions League and Copa del Rey and increasing the lead in La Liga.
With so much tension looming over the last weeks incidents involving Eto, it is very necessary for the team to have a confident boosting win against Valencia. If that doesn't happen we might see the team losing out of CL and Spanish Cup pretty soon. Its very much essential to the team to gel together. With Messi and Eto back they should be able to perform well and torment their opponents. Messi is the key as his pace will dictate terms. Deco and Ronnie's combination should be complemented by Xavi or Iniesta properly. Hoping for brighter days ahead.

- An Ardent Fan Of F C Barcelona.

Feb 9, 2007

In an interview (spanish) to El Mundo Deportivo, FC Barcelona’s coach Frank Rijkaard talks about Leo Messi’s recovery and the possibility of the Argentinian playing for the first time after his injury in next Sunday’s game against Racing Santander.
Everybody knows what Leo is capable of when he’s on the ball. Watching him, one may think he’s already in top form, but if you pay attention you notice that he needs two minutes to recover after every run he makes; and that’s just in training! So I want to give a warning: Leo is ready to participate and to make the difference with his playing, but we will not take any risks with him. I’m happy about Eto’o because he is back in the team and progressively picking up pace, but from a physical point of view I think right now Leo is a bit more match-ready than him. Eto’o’s injury is different from Leo’s; you have to be more careful with a knee injury because that is a key part of an athlete’s body

If they keep on working the same way and they do not suffer any relapses, they both will probably play next Sunday; I don’t know if the entire game or just some minutes

Feb 8, 2007

England and France suffered morale-sapping setbacks in their Euro 2008 build-ups when they slumped to home defeats on Wednesday.

A sublime goal from Barcelona's Andres Iniesta gave Spain a 1-0 win over Steve McClaren's England in Manchester while Iniesta's club teammate Javier Saviola was on target as Argentina beat France 1-0 in Paris.

But there were no such problems for two other Euro 2008 favourites as Germany cruised past Switzerland 3-1 while the Netherlands trounced Russia 4-1.

Substitute Iniesta settled the game at Old Trafford, England's last home game before they return to a new-look Wembley.

His 20-yard strike left debutant goalkeeper Ben Foster with no chance just after the hour mark.

"It was always going to be difficult with the players we had missing," said McClaren who was without star striker Wayne Rooney.

"When you have to make changes it is difficult to get cohesion and we struggled with that."

At the Stade de France, Saviola's delicate touch was decisive in the 15th minute to defeat the World Cup runners-up.

France pushed for an equaliser but the Argentina defence was well marshalled by captain Roberto Ayala, winning his 107th cap - beating the Argentinian record held by Diego Simeone.

France coach Raymond Domenech said the result had let him frustrated.

"We had everything: there was desire, great movement, great build-up but our last touch was missing," he said.

Argentina coach Alfio Basile was overjoyed with the result.

"It's a great satisfaction to win against France, one of the best teams in the world at the moment," said Basile.

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