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Aug 30, 2011

Following yesternight's demolition of Villareal more and more people are vying for the much coveted 3-4-3 fomation to be used at Barca. Already everyone is going gaga over the fact that we played almost 9 midfielde players and one defender in the starting line-up. A look into the line-up which started explains why people are so thrilled - Busquest, Mascherano who played in defense are natural defensive midfield players. Iniesta, Thiago, Keita and Fabregas played in midfield and obviously they are midfielders. Sanches, Messi and Pedro formed the attacking trio but dropped into midfield in many occasions to build up the attack. Everyone is forgetting abidal who also played like a midfielder and made the maximum challenges in the ttacking half rather than the defensive. That puts 10 midfielders and one keeper in the final count. Victor Valdes was the most isolated person in the whole of Nou Camp last night. You could easily count the number of occasion he touched the ball and that explained our dominance in the match. So how good is the 3-4-3 formation and is it going to displace the coveted 4-3-3 formation at Barca?

FC Barcelona started their La Liga title defense with a 5-0 thumping of fellow Champions League colleague, Villareal. Thiago opened the scoring for Barca and Cesc, Messi with two, Sanchez all completed the Manita list. It was important for us to start well in the league not only to warn our La Liga rivals but also the Continental rivals like Manchester United etc. The official line-up threw a bit of surprise to all. There were talks of Guardiola using 3-4-3 to accomadate Fabregas and finally we saw it or precisely 3-1-3-3 formation. We had Valdes in goal. The 3 men defense had Busquets, Abidal and Mascherano. Keita played as the holding midfielder just ahead of defense flanked with Thiago and Iniesta on two flanks. Fabregas formed the attacking midfielder and infront of him Messi, Pedro and Alexis formed the attacking trio.

Aug 27, 2011

FC Barcelona won the 2011 UEFA Super Cup by defeating Europa Cup Winner, FC Porto 2-0 at the St.Louis stadium in Monaco. Goals from Messi and another from Cesc Fabregas sealed a record 11th Trophy for Guardiola as a coach. FC Porto really made life difficult for Barca with their high pressure. The match was exvenly placed when messi took the lead from a horrendous mistake from guardin and it took a late Cesc Fabregas goal to make the match safe for us. Guardiola once again continued with his experiment of using Keita as a holding midfield player, a role in which Keita has been found wanting in recent matches. The other midfielders were without any surprise Iniesta and Xavi. The front line had that usual look of Pedro, Villa and Messi. The defense in the absence of both Puyol and Pique featured Abidal and Macherano in the centre. The Brazilians Alves and Adriano occupied their respective fullback roles.

Aug 26, 2011

Aug 25, 2011

FC Barcelona has been drawn into Group H of 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Goup stage. AC Milan from Italy, Bate Borisov from Belarus and FC Viktoria Plzeň from Czech republic joined Barca in Group H to make for an interesting group. AC Milan is seven times Champions whereas Borisov is playing in Champions League for the second time and FC Viktoria Plzeň will make their Champions League debut this season. With two minows AC Milan and Barca is expected to go through this group, but it should be interesting with Ibrahimovic facing his former team and coach FC Barcelona. The event started with Carles Puyol bringing in the UEFA Champions league trophy dressed in the team trave shirt and shorts. Have to admit that everyone were a bit shocked to see him wearing such casuals in a very formal occasion like this. That was followed by the usual draw which was led by Figo, Sir Bobby Charlton, Gullit and Matthias. In the night Lionel Messi was presented with the first ever UEFA Best Player in Europe Award after a live voting by football journalist. It wasn't much of a surprise as that had his name all over it from the start. I have to admit I didn't like the award a bit, UEFA needed to use their imagination a bit more.

Aug 24, 2011

Aug 23, 2011

FC Barcelona won the 46th edition of the annual pre-season friendly Joan Gamper tournament at Camp Nou with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Napoli. With this victory Barca has won the trophy which is named after the founder of the club for the 35th time. For Guardiola it's not a bad trophy to win, as the last two times he won the same, he went on to win the Champion League as a coach. In the 2009-10 season, Manchester City beat us to our own trophy and strangely Guardiola's team went down to Inter in the Champions League semi-final. So it's a very good way to start the season, or precisely end the pre-season. Highlights of the match has been included in the end of the post. Goals from Cesc Fabregas, Keita gave Barca a 2-0 lead. After the break Pedro made it 3-0 and then a brace from the genius Messi made it 5-0. Even though it was a friendly, the second half saw one of the best passage of one touch football you will ever witness, climaxing with Lionel Messi's first goal of the match.

Aug 18, 2011

Video Highlights after the jump

FC Barcelona won this seasons Spanish Super Cup in the end of a sensational match which ended 3-2 in favor of the host at Camp Nou. Two goals from Messi and one from Iniesta took Guardiola to yet another title. The match also some disgraceful scenes at the end courtesy of the fight started by Real madrid players. It was quite shocking to see Mourinho getting involved unwarrantly or may be he was cleaning Tito's nose. The match also showed that most of the players are very much away from full match fitness, but their hunger to win still remain. As Xavi said it is guaranteed to remain their till Mourinho is at Real Madrid. As expected Guardiola chose to start with the best available eleven. Valdes once again in the goal; the defense had Alves, Pique, Mascherano, and Abidal. Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi made the midfield. And teh front trio was the usual MVP - Messi, Villa and Pedro. Real Madrid meanwhile had a similar starting line-up which started on sunday minus Marcelo - Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Coentrao, xabi Alonso, Khedira, DiMaria, Ozil, Ronaldo and Benzema.

Aug 16, 2011

Aug 15, 2011

Cesc Fabregas has officially signed the deal with FC Barcelona which will keep him at the club till 2016. He earlier had the official medical test done and cleared. The club has revealed that his buyout clause has been kept at 200 Million. There are steady rumours that he now will make his official Barca debut against Real Madrid at Camp Nou, maybe from the bench. Follow the link for more pics.

The first leg of the Spanish Super Cup of this season ended with a thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernebeu stadium in Madrid. Realm madrid fans would have been wondering how on earth they failed to save the match, may be how on earth we scored two goals. I haven't seen a Barca side in near memory being so overly dominated especially in the midfield. And to be honest a 2-2 draw was a bit unfair to Real Madrid, but then you have to put down your chances. As I said in the preview Real madrid had an extensive pre-season with the majority of first teamers constantly palying together and that really showed in their performance.Guardiola decided to start both Pique and Busquets who were carrying knocks from the bench. The official line-up had Valdes on goal, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal and Adriano in defense. Thiago, Keita and Iniesta made the midfield. Alexis, Messi and Villa made the front trio. Victor Valdes was given the honour of leading the side. I have to admit that I was not keen on two selection in theat line-up - 1) Keita playing the defensive midfield role and 2) Alexis starting as he has never played along with any of theese guys. The atmosphere for the tie had already become volatile with some crazy people stoning the bus carrying Barcelona directors. Mourinho started with Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, , Marcelo, Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo, Benzema.

Aug 13, 2011

FC Barcelona will be playing their first competitive match of the 2011-12 season at Santiago Bernebeu stadium tomorrow night. The Spanish Super cup in contrast to their Premier League rivals is a two legged affair and we do have the advantage of playing teh second leg at home. Real Madrid and Barcelona had kind of a contrasting pre-season tour. Real Madrid won almost all their pre-season matches and did score lots of goals in those. In contrast we had a mixed result with wins and loss sandwiched between the draws. It is not a big matter of concern for us as we played our kids in most of the matches, whereas they played the stablished stars. Still the fact that majority of their stars has been playing togetehr in the pre-season gives them a bit more better preperation. But then ours is a team where the first eleven hasn't much changed in the last two seasons and should feel fine without much pre-season togetherness. We saw the example of that last season when Messi waljed into the team just like that in the second leg of super leg and won us the match. The build up to the Super Cup has been a very quiet affair till now but it is expected to get heaten up once the first leg get over at Madrid, the reason - Jose Mourinho.

Aug 12, 2011

After a very hard and prolonged courting FC barcelona looks to have finally managed to land themselves their most priced catch for some season - Cesc fabregas. Nothing has been official as I write this post, but the rumours are emerging pretty fats and strong. Both Puyol and Pique has expressed their delight over the conclusion of their deal in their respective twitter accounts, Valdes almost gave away the news in the press conference, yes definitely there is a change in the mood at everyone associated with Barca. Two days before Guardian broke out the story of Arsenal accepting defeat in keeping both Cesc and Nasri. Have to admit I never trusted anything said in their, you can't blame me as this deal has been concluded atleast a 100 times in media over the past two season. Now it looks like Guardian story is emerging as a very credible one. Meanwhile Sport and Mundo should feel agitated as I am giving credit to Guardian for this story rather than them - they have been saying this from the last two seasons. As I said above, nothing has been officially confirmed but you could definitely smell it, and also the club is expected to make an offical statement pretty soon. The midfielder is expected to travel to Barca this weekend to complete the transfer and most probably will attend the Super Cup match at Bernebeu.

Aug 4, 2011

It's not that usual to wake up in the morning and read a scoreline where FC Barcelona is at the end of a 4-1 mauling. This was definitely one of those day, hope it's the last. The funny part was that I woke up ealry and watched Villa's goal live but couldn't hold my head still and went back to sleeping. So checking the score when I woke up was a bigger shock than it usually would have been. But the scale of shock I experienced was miniscule, compared to the reactions of Barca fans at some very popular Barca blogs. I mean when you hear terms like "Pedro is Crap", "We will be murdered by Real Madrid", "Deulofeu is shit" etc you actually know there is something wrong in the world. Yes, a 4-1 defeat is a bit hard and could have been avoided but if we look at the defense we had before conceding the goals, you could definitely see the light side of it. Chivas Guadalajara is a very good side and some of teh goals were absolutely brilliant. The confidence of Fabian in the way he scored his goals is a demonstration of how good a side they are.

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