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FC Barcelona vs. Espanyol, 4-0

ThumbsUpTito
Tito Vilanova approves


It was a great relief to see Tito Vilanova back on the bench following his surgery last month, and hopefully he was pleased with his players' performance. FC Barcelona is sometimes not at its best following the Christmas break, given that several key players spend it in South America and can return jet-lagged and out of condition. That seemed to be the case today - Leo Messi gave the ball away a lot and only scored one goal, off a penalty kick, Adriano and Mascherano didn't play, and Dani Alves was all right but didn't really create any chances on the right. However, the rest of the team stepped up, particularly the winning combination of Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas, and Andres Iniesta on the left.

The first goal of the match was crossed in by Iniesta and slammed past keeper Casilla by Xavi Hernandez in the ninth minute. Five minutes later, Cesc indulged in a lovely bit of dribbling and fakery near the endline before passing the ball back to Messi in the center. His shot might have gone in unassisted, but it deflected off the knee of Pedro Rodriguez, giving him the goal credit. Ten minutes after that, Pedro earned a much more legitimate goal, a perfect chip over the keeper from a sweet, sweet pass by Sergio Busquets. And shortly afterwards, Casilla took Cesc down in the box, and Messi got his goal from the resulting penalty shot. That made four goals in the first thirty minutes for Barcelona, in which time Espanyol had created only one opportunity and shot high.

Although they didn't manage to add to their score in the second half, Barcelona hardly diminished in attacking intensity. Pedro should have had a hat trick but was ruled offside repeatedly, at least once incorrectly. Substitute David Villa also had a clear opportunity, but play was stopped for a foul even though Barcelona should have had the advantage. But perhaps it's just as well that Espanyol weren't humiliated too badly, given that many members of each team had just played together for Catalonia in a friendly earlier in the week.

In other news, I missed the Real Madrid match, which apparently was chock-full of drama with a capital M. Jose Mourinho selected Adan over Casillas again, but the back-up keeper was ejected for a clumsy tackle five minutes in, so Casillas got to play anyway - only without the captain's armband. (Cristiano Ronaldo, wearing the armband for the first time in an official match, apparently attempted to offer it to him, but the overture was rebuffed.)

How far can Mourinho's provocations go? Can't the club suspend him or something? Are they only refraining from firing him because of his hefty severance package? This situation has gotten ridiculous imo.

DaniYThiago
Dani and Thiago think so too.


Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
burning_moon117
Jan. 7th, 2013 06:21 am (UTC)
CRon was the captain? But what about Ramos? Or Xabi Alonso?

I haven't watched the game yet, but man, it's crazy Tito is back already! Is he superhuman?
elizaberglund
Jan. 7th, 2013 07:04 am (UTC)
Ahead of CRon are Ramos-suspended, Higuain - didn't start, came on later, Marcelo - injured so CRon


They feed them some gumiberries in la Masia for sure!
flywoman
Jan. 7th, 2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
Yes, Ramos was suspended, Marcelo and Pepe are both injured, and Higuain didn't start. According to Wikipedia, Xabi Alonso is not a vice-captain.

The boys clearly respect Tito a lot. I think they wanted to show how much they admired his strength.
elizaberglund
Jan. 7th, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
Thsi match was great but teh last 20 minutes were rather borring.

I'm glad Tito is back and looks great!

Boys did not relax too much over Christmas . Tito even said that they all worked out and some actually LOST weight! How do one exactly loose weight over Christmas? I want to know their secret!

I saw Real game and ... it was freaking awsome game ! Very entertaining ... and about Iker and armband ... apparently Cron tried to give it to him twice and he twice refused. Oh the drama! ... and I feel sorry for Adan in a way. He is finally getting chances over something like that ... but than, I think he is an idiot really. From his comments about hwo people are disrespectful toward him and how he has been in teh club 16 years ... oh dear, you are a marionette in a game Mou plays with Iker, nothing more and nothing else.
flywoman
Jan. 7th, 2013 12:45 pm (UTC)
It's true, I actually dozed off during part of the match. But there were other factors involved...

Some of the boys lost weight over Christmas? lol. I bet that Cesc was one of them, he was working really hard to get fit again after his injury.

I really wish I'd been able to watch the RM game. Ah, that makes sense, I only saw the clip where Cris offered Iker the armband towards the end. And yeah, Adan is totally being used as Mou's pawn, that crap about players needing to compete for their positions lest they become complacent is just that, crap.
elizaberglund
Jan. 7th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Tito said they did :) I am sure it was Cesc. Who else? No idea really!

It is absolute crap! I mean ... I love Victor like any other cule but ... Iker IS the best goalkeeper in the world. There is no competition, period. He is underperforming? Sure, like the whole team because Mou is ripping it apart! To be honest ... yesterday I caught myself rooting for Madrid boys. That did not happen in a while. You just don't kick the one lying down. ... mou is desperatily trying to save himself and does not care what he destroys in the process. Iker is as much of a Madridista as Xavi is a cule. He is not agreeing with this and is being punished ... and Adan does not seem to realize that he is being used at all. I feel sorry for him but he is also adding to it himself.
flywoman
Jan. 7th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
Iker is a phenomenal goalkeeper, the best in Spain certainly. I felt terrible watching him concede the three goals in the highlights from yesterday's match. My dad says that Del Bosque needs to step in before Iker is psychologically damaged and can't even play his best for the national team. Not gonna happen, of course, but I hope that Iker can keep his confidence and integrity.
elizaberglund
Jan. 7th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
Someone should step in ... either Sara or someone. He must need a lot of support now!
sageharper
Jan. 7th, 2013 11:43 am (UTC)
Tito looked pretty good, and there was a super cute bromance moment where the three coaches were sat in a row and patted each other's knees. Wonderful how the team has been so suppourtive, that's what Barca is really about.

Some of them might have been a bit off the boil, but then the catalans obviously benefited from having played earlier in the week.
Don't mind at all about the first Pedro goal, obviously helped his confidence. This better mean he's going to keep scoring.

lol they're so cute.

I missed the Madrid game too, but damn want to see it now (or at least the highlight show) sounds a total clusterfuck. Even Xabi got booked.
Doesn't Iker always refuse the armband when subbed on? At least he has done with Spain. It's just his thing, but there will be more drama no doubt.
There must be a lot of people who would chip in for Mou's severance, they could go out with collection tins. But seriously they'd surely lose more money long term for not getting the trophies and a demoralised squad.
flywoman
Jan. 7th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
Aww, I saw that knee-patting moment :D.

I didn't mind about the first goal either, it was just pretty funny. Pedro did actually move his knee, so it wasn't total dumb luck. And the second goal was spectacular. Keep it up!

LMAO at Dani's face.

I hadn't realized that Iker usually refused the armband when subbed on with Spain. Maybe he thinks it should only be transferred when the original captain is subbed off.

And hahahaha, I would totally give to that cause. Although I'm torn because RM is definitely more entertaining with Mou around, much as I dislike him.
sageharper
Jan. 7th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Our three wise men on Epiphany, warms the heart. :)

I know, couldn't tell who had scored at first. Might well have gone in anyway without the deflection, but helps to be sure.
Just need to get David & Alexis on that magic juice too then we're golden.

He has the best faces, well him and Xavi. :)

Hmm not sure, just remember that he did when they played in Panama (Torres was captain). Maybe, letting someone else have a go. He's one of the good ones.

Yes me too ... I never activley liked Mou before (when he was at Chelsea) but it's completely soured. The point gap is great, but should be just that we're doing well (and we are) not because RM is imploding. I feel too awful for Iker to really bust out lawnchair & popcorn (Unai is my spirit animal ;)).
The chants at Nou about 'we love you Mou, please stay' were funny though; doubt many Madridistas are saying that.
flywoman
Jan. 7th, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
I know, I'm happy that our boys are doing so well, but it's kind of sad that the gap is so wide now because RM is struggling - better to be first among equals, eh? And I have quite a lot of feelings for Iker and Ramos and Oezil :(.

Funny how Mou looked like our worst nightmare for the first two years... and now he looks like RM's.
sageharper
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, do think so too; it's keeping la liga interesting.
Oh me too, I don't normally notice/like Germans (because of the war), but Ozil has really grown on me lately.

Sounds about right, all that bragging last season over la liga and now look at you. I'm really not convinced about his plan to just focus on CL. That's a huge gamble that a.you can stay in, and b.someone else can beat Barca. They can be big fish in a small pond in la liga, but in CL all the teams are pretty evenly matched.

I'm rooting for Barca obviously, so think it will be between them and a German team in the final (Bayern again, or maybe Dortmund as they've been having a good run. Also need excuse to perv on Mats Hummels).
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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