Posts Tagged ‘Nou Camp’

Dear Barcelona

06/07/2010

So you today say you won’t wait much longer for Cesc Fabregas. Is that a promise? Will you just piss off if Arsenal continue their refusal to sell? That would be nice.

The daily ‘negotiating’ tactics are pretty hilarious, and it seems the more silent Arsenal remain, the more desperate Barcelona start to sound.

Barcelona won’t pay over the odds. Of course,why should they? Arsenal should just accept the opening offer and sell their captain and one of the best midfielders in Europe for little more than the Catalans received for Yaya bloody Toure. Oh wait… Also, if they want to move on to Mascherano or Robben please be my guest. It’s not like they lack enough diving players already.

Sandro Rosell also regrets the topic being public as it “increases the selling club’s expectations”. And whose fault is that exactly? Arsenal have made all of about two statements on the matter; I think he needs to be looking closer to home. They will never pay 50 or 60 million euros? They won’t even get to negotiate let alone buy if they don’t.

Because he's worth it.

Is saying you won’t wait meant to be a threat? Let’s not forget which club is in the position of power here. Arsenal have no need, and no desire to sell. Yes, Fabregas may want to join Barcelona but he is also Arsenal club captain and last time I checked he still has four years left on his contract. If it came down to a war of stubbornness Arsenal can simply hold him to it.

Oh and getting your whole squad to day by day comment that Cesc’s heart belongs to/is already in Barca does not reduce the fee. It just makes you sound like twats.

I could hazard a guess at what the FC in FC Barcelona stands for but this is a family blog...

If you want to buy Cesc Fabregas, offer a proper transfer fee. Like you did for David Villa. Like you did for Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Arsenal should really call Inter for some tips on how to screw Barcelona over).

Arsenal will then say no, and you can be on your merry way. At least until next summer. Thanks.

T.

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Champions League Semi Final Preview – Barcelona vs. Chelsea

28/04/2009

Tonight see the first of the two Champions League semi finals and feature Chelsea against the one non English team remaining in the competition – Barcelona. The first leg is in the Camp Nou and Chelsea will be looking to do something only five teams have managed this year in league and Europe – prevent Barcelona from winning. Barcelona have been knocked out by English sides for the past two years losing to Man Utd last year and Liverpool in 2006/07. They did beat Arsenal in the final in 2005/06. There’s plenty of history against Chelsea too.  

Part IV

 

Formidable

Yep, Barca have been nearly unstoppable at home, losing just twice against Espanyol and Shakhtar (with a reserve side) while drawing three. They’ve scored a ridiculous 73 goals in 22 games, that’s 3.3 goals a match. Their away form isn’t exactly bad either but they will look to establish a lead to take to Stamford Bridge. There are loads of stats that show just how amazing their attack is. 

They have something like 136 goals in all competitions. They probably won’t all fit on one dvd.

The front three of Eto’o, Messi and Henry have scored 66 in the league and 90 in total. That’s as many as every Chelsea combined in league, FA cup and Europe.

They’ve scored six goals four times, five goals five times (including thrice in Europe) and four goals six times.

Can Chelsea’s defence stop them?  They have some injury worries. Terry and Alex will play but a half fit Bosingwa will be playing out of position at left back to try and mark Messi while Ivanovic will probably get the nod at right back. It’s a bit makeshift and will no doubt need help from Essien and a deep lying Ballack.

 

Hiddink knows

Ever since Guus Hiddink came in on his temporary contract, Chelsea have markedly improved. Performance is up, and the players look like they’re playing for the manager (unlike with Big Phil). Tactically Hiddink is a master, as shown by his dismantling of Rafa’s plans in the quarter finals. You also don’t have as much international success as he has had (with poor teams like South Korea and Australia) if you’re a mug. Didier the Drogba has decided that he still wants to play for Chelsea and has reinstalled himself as first choice striker. He is in great form at the moment (see his performance in the FA Cup semi) and the Blues will need a big performance from him if they are to get anything from this game. It will be interesting to see who plays in the wide positions alongside him. Malouda has been playing well recently on the left so should start while Kalou will probably get the nod out right for his workrate. I certainly don’t see Malouda getting too much change out of right back Dani Alves which means Kalou becomes all the more important on the right wing.  Abidal is a vastly overrated left back and that could potentially be a weakness. Drogba will try and be as physical as possible with the centre back pairing of Pique and Puyol and could get some joy.

I have special powers

I have special powers. Like making this border wider than it should be.

 

Midfield battles

Though we’ve talked a lot about the attacking options for both sides, this game will be won and lost in midfield. Critically, Chelsea need to stop Barcelona getting their fluent passing game going. It’s vital Lampard, Essien and Mikel/Ballack harry and harass the Barca midfield trio. Messi may pull the strings further forward but the Spanish combo of Iniesta and Xavi set the tempo. They are usually paired with Toure, who will relish going head to head with Essien. Ballack especially has to put a high level of effort in. He should get the nod based on his experience but he’ll need produce a vintage performance to ensure he’s not chasing shadows all evening.

 

History

We mentioned earlier how these two clubs have met plenty of times in recent history. Most recently and most tetchily was the the group stages in 2006/07 but the sides also met in the first knockout round in 2005/06 and 2004/05. They shared a win each, with the latter being memorable for Mourinho accusing Rijkaard of influencing Anders Frisk. This incident eventually led to Frisk retiring such was the abuse he got from Chelsea fans. Those three consecutive years of meeting had a lot of hype (thanks to Jose) but the most memorable battle came before Mourinho’s time in the 1999/00 quarter finals. Chelsea took a 3-1 lead to the Nou Camp but couldn’t hold against Rivaldo et al and were beaten 5-1 after extra time. If this year’s tie is half as exciting I’ll be a happy man.

Blame Jose.

Blame Jose.

 

Messi & the hatchetman

Yes Henry and Eto’o have scored a silly number of goals but one made dominates Barca’s attacking play – Lionel Messi. 34 goals in all comps means just one thing – just how will hatchet man John Terry stop him? Normally I’d suggest Carvalho would be the one to do the job but in a game of such importance I think brave captain JT will take on the responsibility. Which method will he choose?

1. Shoulder charge:

Effective but Messi may be too short.

Effective but Messi may be too short.

 

2. Reverse headbutt:

Ultimate courage - hurt yourself by breaking Messi's foot.

Ultimate courage - hurt yourself by breaking Messi's foot.

 

3. Close combat stealth hug:

Stealth - pretend to hug then choose close combat technique

Stealth - pretend to hug then choose close combat technique.

 

4. Lean on me:

Pretty standard - use all game like a jab.

Pretty standard - use all game like a jab.

 

5. Captain’s influence: 

Influence the ref - get Messi booked

Influence the ref - get Messi booked

 

6. Self tug:

Pretend your shirt is being pulled. Get Messi booked.

Pretend your shirt is being pulled. Get Messi booked.

 

7. Filthy tackle: 

Filthy tackle - take him out.

Filthy tackle - take him out.

 

8. Watergate: 

Wildcard: flood the pitch with your tears - Messi can't play pretty football.

Wildcard: flood the pitch with your tears - Messi can't play pretty football.

 

I fancy a bit of 7 and 5 with a sprinkling of 3. It won’t be enough though as Barca take a lead into the second leg.

 

T.

Champions League Quarter Final Preview – Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

08/04/2009

In the last of our rather late Champions League previews we focus on the tie between Barcelona and Bayern Munich. This is the only game without English interest but it could well be the most explosive quarter final given it features the two top scoring teams this year. Both have 24 from eight games, though half of Bayern’s total came against sorry Sporting Lisbon in the last round. Managers Guardiola and Klinsmann met as players for Barca and Bayern in the Uefa Cup semi finals back in 1995/96 (back when it was worth winning) and the Champions League group stages in 1998/99 – Bayern won both the Uefa semi and both CL group games but I think it may be a different story this time.

Pep and Papin

Pep and Papin

 

Super Barca

Under new manager Pep Guardiola, Barcelona have been transformed this season. Key signings like Daniel Alves were made in the summer and star strikers Eto’o and Henry decided to stay and decided to get fit respectively. The result has been dominance at home and abroad with a frankly ridiculous 122 goals in all competitions this season. They are averaging a shade under three goals a game in the league while building up a six point lead at the top with a +61 goal difference. +61! In Europe they strolled through the group stages before dispatching Lyon with a 5-2 destruction  in the second leg at the Camp Nou. They have failed to score just twice in the league and have scored six goals in a game four times. Their defence isn’t bad (24 conceded in 29 league games, but 11 in 8 in Europe) so it’s not a case of we’ll just score one more than you, but the focus as always with a Barcelona team is to keep attacking so if anything the strikers have compensated for any defensive frailties.

If he can do that with his lips, think what his feet are capable of...

If he can do that with his lips, think what his feet are capable of...

 

Not so super Bayern

In contrast to Barcelona’s dominating ways, Bayern have struggled in the Bundesliga currently lying fourth, though just three points behind the leaders Wolfsburg. Those leaders handed them a 5-1 spanking on Saturday so Bayern don’t come into this game in the best of form. Grafite scored a lovely backheel that made their defence look silly. Their attack is pretty good and led by Ribery. Bayern have scored more than two a game domestically with 54 but their defence can be leaky with 36 conceded. Just seven clean sheets have been kept while three or more have been let in five times. Europe has provided relative comfort away from their domestic issues. They went unbeaten in the group stages (which included Lyon) and we’ve mentioned the record win over Sporting. 

How to wrongfoot three players...

How to wrongfoot three players...

 

Key men

Eto’o and Henry have scored over between them but Barca’s key man these days is Leo Messi. Arguably the best player in the world right now, he has scored 30 times for Barca this year. He will look to attack the Bayern defence from the right wing but has to ability to be effective anywhere in the front third. He’ll be ably supported by Dani Alves who will run up and down the right touchline all night long and Xavi who will look to control things from the centre of midfield.

Bayern meanwhile have their own genius winger in Franck Ribery. Him playing well is the key to Bayern getting anything from this game and the Frenchman will look to continue his good recent form in which he scored both times in France’s pair of 1-0 wins over Lithuania. Up front Podolski and Toni will look to aerially attack the Barca defence and test Victor Valdes, who let’s be honest is a bit rubbish.

King of the Bavarian castle.

King of the Bavarian castle.

 

Prediction

I simply can’t see anything other than a Barcelona win tonight. Going forward I think they’ll have too much for Bayern’s defence and it woudn’t surprise me to see them score three or even four goals. I think Bayern have enough going forward to score themselves and Toni and Podolski can certainly cause Marquez and Pique some problems. Ribery may well be better off starting on the right wing so he can attack Sylvinho rather than Daniel Alves but I imagine he will have licence to do as he pleases. If Bayern are still in it for the return leg at the Allianz Arena then it will be a job well done but I fear Barcelona could somewhat humiliate them this evening. I agree with the Football Guy, 4-1.

 

T.


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