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FC Barcelona vs. Levante UD, 1-0

CescAnteLevantePorAndreuDalmau

With Messi and Busquets still recovering from recent injuries and Xavi starting on the bench in anticipation of Tuesday's Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich, this was not exactly the most scintillating of encounters. Levante really parked the bus in front of their goal, and despite having 80% possession, Barcelona were not able to get past it for most of the match. Iniesta seemed not quite himself, frequently losing the ball, Fabregas was practically a nonentity, and Villa became visibly more frustrated as the match wore on. Our best chance came when Iniesta tripped over a defender's leg on the goal line and was awarded a dubious penalty, but unfortunately the Levante keeper guessed correctly and blocked Villa's shot, and then Fabregas completely flubbed the rebound. Later we should have gotten a penalty for a blatant handball in the box, and again when Villa was pulled away while attempting to receive the ball, but those weren't given.

In the second half, Xavi replaced Iniesta, followed by Pedro for Thiago and Alexis for Tello. Pedro had one very good chance, but the Levante keeper leaped up to make an excellent save. But I have to say that Alexis made a difference as soon as he came on, not because Tello had played badly, but because he was so sharp on the ball that I just knew good things were about to happen. Sure enough, it only took Alexis a few minutes to beat his marker and send a perfect cross into the box for Fabregas, who fortunately took just a couple of touches before slamming it past the keeper. With the summer transfer window looming, Alexis is clearly eager to demonstrate his worth to the team, and he and Fabregas have in fact teamed up to good effect several times in the second half of the season.

Man of the Match, though, was definitely Eric Abidal, who played a full ninety minutes in central defense and created a sense of calm and order that had been much missed of late. Not that our defense was perfect today - Victor Valdes, finally back from his four match ban, was left with classic wtf? face at least once - but it was much better than some of the other options we've tried.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sageharper
Apr. 21st, 2013 12:18 pm (UTC)
Grinding out a win for sure, but the prettiest most fascinating football isn't going to happen every single time, and we got three points so that's ok (yeah I didn't grow up watching the EPL).

The penalty shout didn't look that bad, but eh like you say cancels out the times we blatantly should have had one. Can't quite believe they messed it up that badly.

That's true, Alexis did have a pretty decent game, must be getting his confidence back and it's very encouraging. Tello has pace but his final ball is often lousy.

Abi was the absolute boss. You watch that and would never have known he was out for a year.

VV has such an adorable wtf face.

Champions league is going to be so exciting, slightly terrifying because Bayern are good; but think we can grind out a result. Overall I'm gunning for a Barca-Dortmund final, that really will be fascinating pretty football (and legit excuse to indulge my new found appreciation for Mats Hummels). Dortmund have done so well and are adorable, so they deserve it.

Really I just want someone to humiliate Real. Still wishing horrible things on Mou (I want Lopez to screw up, but it's nothing personal; second keeper is always pawn in Mou's sick games). He has poisoned the crowd against Casillas, they were chanting about it last night, and that's it I'm done. These are not people who should ever get to have nice things.

There's lots of talk in England that Mou is going back to Chelsea. No idea how much truth is in that, but if he does that's fine by me, only have to acknowledge his crazy for two games a year then.
flywoman
Apr. 21st, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
Apparently Levante's goal was also wrongly called offside...

I just want Mou to go down. I can't believe that they were chanting against Casillas. Iker, come to Barcelona! You would make Xavi so happy!
sageharper
Apr. 21st, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
Hmm can't really remember that one, there's always debate but then it's done now.

Totally. Can't even work out what you could say or why.
He so should, there should be a benevolent fund. Aww it so would, the bromance cuteness would almost be too true. Right when we're in the market for a keeper no less.
flywoman
Apr. 22nd, 2013 12:05 am (UTC)
IKR???? We need a world-class keeper, so... If Mou doesn't get booted, Iker should seriously consider it. Would be just like the Spain NT minus Ramos and Arbeloa (and since Arbeloa broke his wrist, probably just as well).
sageharper
Apr. 22nd, 2013 08:42 am (UTC)
Exactly, I know he's being loyal and that's sweet but you don't get playing time for being nice. He'd fit right in and be happy.
True that, mind you we need another defender too so maybe we could get Ramos to on a two for one.

I want Xabi to leave too, and go back to Liverpool. He was so good, and 'Gerrlonso the reunion tour' needs to happen.
flywoman
Apr. 22nd, 2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
YES, he should also bring Ramos with him. Then Mou can stay at Madrid and I will feel much less conflicted.
sageharper
Apr. 22nd, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
Exactly, as Sese & Geri teamed up ever so well at the euros.
Me too. :)

I totally just wrote some suitably cathartic fic on the general subject, and feel a lot better now.
jezziejay
Apr. 21st, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
Go Barca! They got the league tied up yet?

And, speaking of football - did you see this??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLfSdfJ9TqY
flywoman
Apr. 21st, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
It will be one more match (at least) to tie up the league.

And Christ, what a brute. I can't believe that some people think he would be a good forward for Barca.
sageharper
Apr. 21st, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's all on the news here obviously. Just can't begin to understand it, that's just so senseless and blatant. So embarrassed for the whole EPL. The fact he has done it before, they will have to be tough on it then.

He wouldn't have a chance with Barca. Talent matters sure, but with the ethos of the club you need good character too.
flywoman
Apr. 22nd, 2013 12:03 am (UTC)
As it's the second time, they had better be harsh.

Yes, exactly, they would never bring someone with a reputation like that. Maybe he should keep Pepe company at Real ;).
sageharper
Apr. 22nd, 2013 08:44 am (UTC)
True, will have to see how it pans out.

Yeah he'd right in there.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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