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Sep 1, 2008

Iniesta looks dejectedFC Barcelona was condemned to their second consecutive away defeat by newly promoted Numancia. Numancia created history last night by defeating Barcelona for the first time in the history. An early Mario goal was enough to spoil Guardiola's debut as manager in the La Liga. FC Barcelona is showing every signs of continuing their awful away record of last season in to this one. Last season they managed to win just five games away from home. I have written a post regarding FC Barcelona's problems titled, Watch Out Pep, many of the matters written there is proven right again. There were statement issued by coach and players about the intentions to win well and win back fans confidence. But nothing happened last night. FC Barcelona started the match with the line-up I predicted in my preview to this match. Alves and Abidal joined Puyol and Marquez in defense. Toure was at last picked to anchor the defensive role in midfield. Iniesta and Xavi formed the attacking pair behind Henry, Eto and Messi.

The first half began well with both the team running into each other at regular occasion. Abidal, who had a particularly bad night was the first one to create one chance; yup he created it for Numancia. He made a mess of clearing a ball in the 6th minute which fell straight to Numancia forward who shot high. FC Barcelona saw their first attack in the 7th minute after good work from Henry but his shot from a very tight angle was comfortably blocked by the goal keeper. In the 10th minute Iniesta cleverly clips the ball to Messi who breaks the offside trap and places the ball to Xavi who did well to lob it back to Eto; but Eto's shot was agaonisingly wide. FC Barcelona payed for the lost chance in the 13th minute when Numancia scored to go one ahead. The move started in the midfield when Alves carelessly gave away the ball. The ball reached Bellvis on the left whose cross picked up unmarked Mario (doesn't surprise isn't it?); Valdez had no chance against Mario. Abidal could be held responsible for leaving Mario free when he rushed into the middle, but Yaya or Xavi never tried to switch into the vacuum left by Abidal on the left. All this pre-season we were conceding goals in the same fashion. Guardiola needs to immediately look into this. Barcelona players switches position effectively in attack but does not know what to do in defense. FC Barcelona responded immediately to the goal with a great pass from Messi to henry who shot straight at Goalie. He should have passed it to Eto who was in a better position. In the 16th minute Eto's shot from outside the box clipped the crossbar after a lovely lay-off by Iniesta. After this through out the first half Barcelona found it difficult to break a crowded, determined Numancia defense. In 22nd minute Alves got into act and provided a great pass from right, but no one could get on to the pass. Then late in the first half Xavi had a half chance but he shot wide.

The second half started similiar with Barcelona finding it difficult to find a way pass the Numancia defense. In the 49th minute Messi's shot was defelected wide by defense after a great play by this little genius. In the 54th minute Henry's unassuming cross from far left was almost turned into the goal by the Numancia defense. Guardiola brought in Hleb for Toure, Bojan for Henry and Keita in for Iniesta and the tempo of the game began to change. In the 69th minute the Numanicia goal keeper brought in a good save to deny Eto. In the 72nd minute Bojan was denied by the goalie after a great work in the box. But the best chance fell to Bojan in the 76th minute when he headed awfully wide with the Goal Keeper half beaten from an excellent chip from Messi. In the 78th minute Messi shot from outside the box was straight at goalie and Keita shot wide from long range in the 86th minute. Why Barcelona waited till the last period to try some long range shot is baffling? Especially when it was clear that it would be difficult to break a crowded Numancia defense, Xavi and Toure should have tried this much early. This would have drawn the defense out of the box leaving spaces. Another easy chance was wasted in the 87th minute when Eto headed wide from a great Keita pass. Then in the last minute of normal time Barcelona won a free kick outside the box who shot hit the post. That may summarize the entire night, with Barcelona failing to find the net and any luck.

Barcelona fans might be upset, but still justify the defeat in the name of "No Luck". But everyone should remember that we are doing this for quite some tim and it needs some serious look-in. Barcelona's style is the short passes clubbed with Individual flair. But they have to have a plan-B; it is easy to try some long range shots from Xavi and Toure especially the defense is stuck in the box. This will draw the defense out and leave spaces. Whatever we have to give credit where it is due. Numancia defense was exceptional; they didn't do anything spectacular but knew what they were doing. They effectively shut off Messi that forced him to move into the middle from right. Abidal had a terrible night, Messi was average with losing almost all of the one on one battles; Alves looked pathetic with his crosses; Iniesta was literally invisible and Eto wasn't sharp. that sums up all the match perfectly.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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