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Feb 13, 2011

FC Barcelona's consecutive winning runcame to an end at the most unlikeliest place, Estadio El Molinon. Sporting Gijon made life hell for our boys in the first half and we had to rely on a brilliant finish by Villa to grab the solitary point from the match. With this draw we have now moved eight points clear of Real Madrid. Madrid will be playing Espanyol tomorrow night and have the chance to cut the lead to five points. The biggest point to be seen is how our players get over this small blip when facing Arsenal in the Champions League. Guardiola brought in some changes with an eye on Champions League clash against Arsenal. Alves, Milito, Pique and Maxwell made up the defense. Busquets was rested and that meant Mascherano started along with Iniesta and Messi. The front trio had a new look with winter signing Afellay partnering both Messi and Villa.

The match started with Sporting Gijon taking the fight to the Champions. The first five minutes saw tremendous pressure being applied by the home team with the crowd completely behind them. The defense was being exposed to too much pressure in the opening minutes and Pique at times did let know his displeasure. In the 16th minute Sporting Gijon scored, thanks to all the pressure and David Barral cut inside Pique and Milito and finished to the far corner. Our passing were all over the place and wasn't been helped by the tremendous pressing by Sporting players. In the 30th minute Pique had to produce a masterful intervention to prevent Sporting from scoring the second. In the 32nd minute, Iniesta who had a terrible night till then skipped past two defenders in the box, but his final shot was very well saved by the keeper. We went into the break with a very unfamiliar situation, losing to Sporting Gijon. Most of the players were pretty poor, but the worst of all was Javier Mascherano. It was clear if he stayed on the pitch in the second half, we would be very much reduced to ten men.

Guardiola decided to bring on Pedro for Afellay from the start of second half. We started the second half much much better. In the 54th minute Alves skipped past defenders on the right before squaring to Xavi, but once again the keeper Cuellar was upto the task. In the 56th minute the keeper was called upon once again to deny this time Messi. In the 58th minute Dani Alves went into a crazy run in the box but the Sporting defense somehow managed to stop his shot. In the 66th minute Guardiola replaced Milito with Keita. That substituition put a three man backline with Maxwell, Alves and Pique. In the 80th minute David Villa restroed parity with a great chipped ball after a delightful Messi ball send him through. The chip showed his class and why we paid 40 million for that. Guardiola immediately took off Iniesta and brought in Bojan. In the 87th minute Pedro sliding effort from a Messi cross hit the post. In the 2nd minute of injury time Xavi forced another save from Cuellar.

Had to admit that everyone of ours entire focus was on the wednsday's clash against Arsenal. Guardiola cannot be blamed for the changes he made. The performance of many of our players were really poor in the first half. Mascherano for me was really poor and his job was made hell by Xavi, Iniesta and Messi losing balls easily. Milito had yet another nightmare night, may be a bit of his fault (his positioning sense is still lacking) but majorly none of his colleague offered him any protection. Iniesta had the worst match of this season; Xavi was poor; Messi redeemed himself in the second half. There would be questions that will be raised about our ability to defend against quick counter. Arsenal will present a huge challenge in that sense. But in a positive not, it was better to suffer a small blip ahead of a very important clash against Arsenal.

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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