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Feb 22, 2009

FC Barcelona were condemned to their second defeat of this season after going down 2-1 at home to local rivals Espanyol. On a very ill tempered night ex-barca player Ivan De La Pena scored twice to hand Barca a rare defeat on a night where the defending champions Real Madrid cruised to a 6-1 victory against Real Betis, a team against which Barca failed to win last week. Where it is a sign of the momentum in the league shifting towards Real Madrid is yet to be seen; but the confidence in Real Madrid tracks are undeniable after they managed to cut 5 points from the lead within two weeks. Eventhough a seven point lead is very substantial, Guardiola has a very tough job on hand. His problems will be made more complicated by the fact that Abidla was injured last night and will be out for 6-8 weeks. Valdes was chosen as expected at the goal. The defensive line had Alves, Pique, Marquez and Abidal. The midfield was made up of Xavi, Toure and Keita. The front troika remained as expected with Messi, Eto and Henry combining together.

FC Barcelona had the majority of possession for the first half but never created any decent chances early on. The first real chance came when Thierry Henry headed high from a great cross from Messi. Messi cut past defenders and crossed the ball from the end line but Henry missed it badly. In the 22nd minute a high challenge on Abidal saw the player injured. In the 28th minute messi was brought down and it became a tug of war after that between players. In the 38th minute Keita weas red carded for a two footed challenge on Moises but the replay showed it as not worthy of a red card as the referee deemed. From then on Espanyol raised their game and Barca eventually played for being reduced to ten men. Guardiola changed the formation to 4-3-2 after the break. In the 50th minute Espanyol scored their first from a counter attack with Pena heading the ball from a Nene cross. In the 54th minute Valdes made Barca task even worse by giving the ball staright to Pena who made not mistake in lifting the ball over Valdes with ease. In the 62nd minute Toure scored for Barca to cut the lead after a Xavi free kick was poorly cleared by Espanyol defense. In the 65th minute to everyone surprise Eto was taken off and was replaced by Gudjohnsen. Busquets moved to the front supporting Messi and that made sure that we had only one player up front. In the 70th minute nietehr Busquets nor Messi nor Gudjohnsen failed to get at the end of a great Xavi free kick. Gudjohnsen had two chances towards the end but blasted one high and the other was blocked.

This was the worst game Barca played after a long time. They looked very loose last night. The refereeing of Ferreiro was pathetic and that didn't help Barca's course either. But blaming the referee is not the solution and we have been playing poorly after the break. The only match where we played well throughout was the match against Gijon where the front three were doing their defensive duties upfront perfectly. But the way referee reacts when other team players are hell bent on hurting Barca players is awful. This is one tactics showed by Real Madrid in their match against Barca at Camp Nou in December and everyone is continuing this. Guardiola has to address the dip inform and see how much did Eto's tantrums last week upset the team. If we are going to play the same way we will be doomed in Lyon on wednesday. It is so surprising how Keita got red carded but nothing for Sergio Sanchez for the challenge on Abidal. For once Lyon will start favourite in the first leg.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eto's tantrums last week upset the team..Please give me a break!Everything bad happens to barcelona it's Eto'o's fault how long will you keep disrespecting this player?It's 70 pourcent because of him that barcelona won all those trophees so far.It's obvious that Guardiola does nt like him and THAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM!I mean this guy is a scoring machine but the coach disrespect him and made him play according to the highligh i watched out of his position worse took him out after the second half..Just because he wanted to prove a point.If guardiola manages to put his feeling apart and coach as a profesional lbarcelona would be unbeatable.Go ETO'O WE LOVE YOU.yOU AR THE GREATEST

Bibin said...

There is no dis respect to Eto. Please see my past post, I was most critical about Guardiola's decision about Eto. But that doesn't mean that he can do whatever he feels. What was the need to talk all non-sense when the two parties have decided to resume talks in summer. Especially with a week left for UCL knockout matches. I believe even Eto realises that and made a statement immediately after the game saying that he only want to stay with the club.

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