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Oct 5, 2009

With Sevilla beating Real Madrid, FC Barcelona has moved to the top of La Liga with a three point lead. Real Madrid side, who were without Ronaldo went down at Sevilla 2-1. Now Barca is the opnly team which has a cent percent record in this season's League campaign. A three point lead at this early stage will be significant and will help us to put more pressure on the Madrid side in the coming weeks. I had some issues with the blog and could not write about the last match. FC Barcelona surprisingly struggled to a 1-0 victory against Almeria at home. may be the word struggling is a bit of unjustice but we did struggle to find their usual rhythm. It was mainly due to the lack of footballing intent from Almeria which resulted in us having an enormous 71% possession of the game and the creative midfield of Xavi was kept constantly under mark. Chico was assigned to mark him and did that with full commitment showing no intent to touch the ball. But it is again good to see we winning not that beutifully, it shows the grit of the team and I have to appreciate Guardiola's quick thinking to have Marquez move in to Xavi's position while Xavi drag players to the side. At times in this match our finishing was left wanting. But what worries me most is the refreeing in the last two games, we definitely should have had atleast one penalty but like last match that wasn't given.

The Almeria match shows us a pattern of how smaller team might line-up against us. Don't expect them to come and attack us to catch us by surprise, they will be looking only to minimize the extent of loss. Guardiola lined-up Alves, Marquez, Puyol and Maxwell infront of Valdes. Xavi and Iniesta formed the attacking midfield alongside Busquets. Messi, Pedro and Ibrahmovic formed the attacking trio. Our first meaningful atatck came in the 9th minute when Iniest send in a great ball over the defense to Messi, Messi cut inside the defender but shot wide of the far post. Then in the 15th minute Iniesta picked the ball in midfield set on a great run, passed the ball to Messi and continued his run but Messi went for the Goal than trying a pass to Iniesta in the box. In the 16th minute Ibrahmovic did well to get around teh defender in the right side of box and pulled in a great cross to messi whose shot was deflected on to the post by goal keeper. Then in the 31st minute Pedro put Barac ahead with a great goal; Pedro received the ball in the box from Maxwell turned and send in a thunder to the far right top corner. Almeria never cared of going one goal down and continued their game plan.

In the second half Messi saw his shot at the hour mark deflect wide of the post. But earlier in the 56th minute he was the culprit for wasting a great pass from xavi. In the 77th minute Ibrahmovic was denied by the goal keeper. This may not have been a typical performance by Barca especially considering the opposition but still it is a great result considering Madrid lost at Sevilla. This gives us some manouevering space when we go against Valencia after this week's international break. More over there will be wnormous pressure for Real Madrid to negate the deficit as early as possible, after all you don't spend 250 million to trail in the second place.

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