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Sep 23, 2010

David Villa struck in the second half to help FC Barcelona defeat his former club at the Camp Nou. With Real Madrid winning yesterday this three points has to be considered more than valuable. After a goal-less first half, Villa struck ealry in second half to down a team with whom he tasted his first success. This was no way considered a clinical performance nor the usual silky and controlled Barca style, but still as I mentioned it is still three points won. We struggled to impose ourselves and that emphasized the importance of messi in the side. Xavi and Iniesta were once again below par and that is what worrying me the most. If they both are playing well then they will create chances for all, but that wasn't the case. Guardiola reshuffled his defense a bit - Milito and Puyol formed the centre of defense with Alves and Maxwell on the flanks. Busquets once again played the semi-DM, semi-CB role with Xavi and Keita completing the midfield. As expected Iniesta moved forward to provide a bit more experience in attack with the absence of Messi and formed the attacking trio with Villa and Bojan.

FC Barcelona fails to find any rhythm in First Half

Have to admit that there were few moment of action in the first half. This one was one of the most poorest first half performance seen in recent times. We were missing Messi's dynamism on the pitch and none of the other players were able to replace evn an iota of that. Guardiola's decision to play Guardiola as a modern day libero was stupid and contributed heavily in failing to impose authority in the midfield. It ws Villa who tested the goal keepr with a good shot from a tight angle after receiving the ball from Iniesta. The best chance of the night fell to Iniesta when a long ball from Milito found the little master on the right, but the goal keeper produced a brilliant save to deny him the goal. The next meaningful action came in the 32nd minute when Maxwell send in a great ball to Villa but his shot was once again easily saved. After that Keita had a harmless shot at the goal keeper from outside the box in the 42nd minute. But if Villa had kept his composure we could have going into the break with one goal lead. In the 44th minute Villa was put forward with a great pass from Iniesta, he had the option of crossing to Bojan in the middle but went alone hitting the sidenetting.

Barca Shows More Intent in The Second Half

Once again we were much better in the second half. Guardiola took off Keita and Puyol and brought in Pedro and Pique. We started to press froward from the word go. Iniesta had the first shot on target in the 46th minute. In the 49th minute David Villa put Barca ahead with a great finish after a great Alves pass put him ahead on the right. We looked confident in defending the lead and didn't see any frantic pressing for the second after that. In the 69th minute Milito did well to intervene to deny Gijon from scoring an equaliser. In the 70th minute Guardiola brought in Mascherano in place of an out of sort Bojan. In the 86th minute Villa tried and audacious chipped curler, had that gone in would have been a contender for the goal of season, Again that didn't by much. In the 90th minute Gijon won a corner, taht was pretty much nervouse. Pique conceded free kick on the left of box from that but it was dealt well. Have to admit that Gijon wasted what could have been an interesting oppurtunity.



For all the possession we had, we created very little clear cut oppurtunity. Sporting Gijon came to Camp Nou accepting that they will not be taking anything out of this game nd that definitely helped us. I would write another piece on the libero nonsense done with Busquets. The first half was pretty bad but we improved in the second. Bojan was the biggest disappointment. At times he shows a flash of promise but then it all fizzles down. The biggest probelm is that he doesn't try much and the Camp Nou public made him know their displeasure. It is pretty difficult to determine who was the best Barcelona player on the pitch. No one did anything special to get that distintion. Milito looked out of sort in the first half, but once paired with Pique he was back to his best. There was one more reasonfor that as Busquets moved back to a traditional DM in the second half. Iniesta showed some flash of brilliance but was very erratic. Xavi had one of those unusual nights with so many misplaced passes. Villa did take his goal well but should have done better with the chances in first half. For me the best Barca player was Maxwell, who worked really hard going forward and also in defense.

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3 comments:

Monch said...

Those of us who are old enough to remember the Soviet national Ice hockey team during the 1980s, can certainly find some clear similarities between that team which was called the Big Red Machine, and our resent Barca team. That devastating machine was built of 5 components that had functioned permanently together for a long time. They were all players of high qualities, but what had made the team so unstoppable was not merely the qualities of the players, it was in fact the constancy of the formation /playing concept, and the presence of the same highly qualified players in team over a long period of time, Something that has converted that team into a mythical team in the history of sport.
Messi is one of the main components of the Big Barca Machine. The team can’t be expected to function as it usually does without him. The Machine will run well of course, but it will never go with the same ease and fluency.

sumoflabarelli said...

I think you're being a little unfair here. We were hardly some sort of headless snake without Messi, although not having him denied us a lot more than just a clinical finisher; realistically, we only scored one more goal than we did on Sunday, and the reasons were largely the same. Pundits have said that we would have run over Atletico had it not been for their keeper having the game of his life, last night it was the turn of Sporting's central defenders who time and again shut out attacks especially from Villa, Iniesta and Alves.

Seeing as we had the vast majority of the possession, we clearly still bossed the game from midfield, the same as we always do, and we still pressed from the front to win the ball back when we lost it.

Equally, I don't think I've seen Iniesta, strike as many shots on target as he has since coming home from the world cup ever, and to me, his dribbling and passing looks as good as ever.

Not only that, but we didn't concede any soft goals like we did over the weekend.

So come on guys, that we didn't steamroller over the opposition might just be down to the fact that they defended better than Panathanaikos or Racing, rather than our not playing so well.

What do you think?

Bibin said...

I thought we lacked imagination in the fianl third. yes they did defend well and actually had no intent to scoring. But still we shoudl have created more chances.

As far as Iniesta is concerned, I am also glad that he is trying to take his chances.

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