Preview: FC Barcelona vs Getafe (game 23 liga 2012/13)

9 Feb

Following a week of international friendlies Barça return to action with a league game against Getafe at Camp Nou which will kick off at the unusual time of 12 o’clock midday. The kick off time means a new routine for the players who will stay in a hotel tonight instead of with their families. There will be an 8.00 am wake-up call followed by breakfast at 8.30 before the team makes the short trip to Camp Nou at around 10.30.International breaks are inevitable but irritating all the same. However, I decided to watch Spain play Uruguay because of the seven La Masia products starting for La Roja and also for Carles Puyol’s 100th international appearance. Puyol’s 45 minutes were not his best but there were good performances from Fabregas and Valdés while Pedro continues to find the net more easily in internationals.

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Getafe (game 23 liga 2012/13).

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Getafe (game 23 liga 2012/13).

Valencia 1 FC Barcelona 1

4 Feb

Barça had to settle for a point after a complicated game against Valencia at Mestalla tonight. Ever Banega fired Valencia deservedly in front after 33 minutes but a Leo Messi penalty five minutes later after Pedro was brought down by Joao Pereira brought Barça level. Chances fell to both teams in the second half to take all three points but Cesc Fabregas and substitute David Villa missed Barça’s best opportunies while Valencia were denied at the end by a splendid double save by Victor Valdés.Jordi Roura made only two changes to the team that drew 1-1 at Madrid on Wednesday. Victor Valdés returned in goal while Javier Mascherano replaced Carles Puyol in defence. For Valencia, Vicente Guaita was preferred over Diego Alves in goal while Ernesto Valverde’s decision to play Banega suggests the player was not drunk, just late, for Friday’s training session.

via Valencia 1 FC Barcelona 1.

via Valencia 1 FC Barcelona 1.

Preview: Valencia vs FC Barcelona (game 22 liga 2012/13)

2 Feb

With the fallout from Wednesday’s cup clásico still making the headlines Barça return to Liga action tomorrow evening with a trip down the coast for a complicated game against Valencia at Mestalla (Sunday 7 pm). After Atlético Madrid’s defeat at San Mames last weekend Barça’s lead over Los Colchoneros at the top of the table has returned to eleven points while Real Madrid remain fifteen points adrift in third place.Before moving on to tomorrow’s game I should comment on the some of the post-clásico accusations and what may become known as Messigate or Bobogate. The original source-less accusation that Messi called Arbeloa “bobo” (dunce/dumbass) in front of his wife in the Bernabéu carpark before turning on Karanka to say “What the **** are you looking at, Mourinho’s puppet” were yesterday confirmed by Madrid’s Deep Throat José Callejon.

via Preview: Valencia vs FC Barcelona (game 22 liga 2012/13).

via Preview: Valencia vs FC Barcelona (game 22 liga 2012/13).

Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey Semi-Final first leg)

31 Jan

A goal from Raphael Varane ten minutes from time denied Barça a victory at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium tonight. Cesc Fabregas has given Barça the lead early in the second half but Barça missed chances to add further goals and Varane’s equalizer now leaves the tie wide open for the second leg at Camp Nou in four weeks’ time.As expected Jordi Roura opted for Barça’s cup once de gala with Pinto in goal, Alves, Piqué, Puyol and Alba in defence, a midfield of Xavi, Busquets and Fabregas, and Pedro, Messi and Iniesta leading the line. José Mourinho had to deal with the absences of Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao and Di Maria. His big surprise was giving a debut to new signing Diego Lopez in goal, which suggests quite clearly that Antonio Adan was used in Mourinho’s ongoing dispute with Casillas, going with a starting XI of Diego Lopez, Essien, Varane, Carvalho, Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Callejon, Ozil, Ronaldo, Benzema in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

via Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey Semi-Final first leg).

via Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey Semi-Final first leg).

Preview: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg)

29 Jan

The first Clásico of 2013 takes place tomorrow night (Wednesday, 9 pm) as Real Madrid and Barça meet in the Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg at the Santiago Bernabéu. Jordi Roura has named 19 players for the trip to the Spanish capital, leaving only Martin Montoya, Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello in Barcelona along with the unavailable Eric Abidal, Marc Muniesa and Johnathan dos Santos.Real Madrid have been having a torrid time this season. Reports of dressing room discontent with coach José Mourinho have been plentiful and poor results in the league have left them fifteen points adrift of Barça at the top of the table. There is no doubt that Mourinho’s style of management has brought a certain amount of success to the teams he has coached, but at the same time it is clear that his manner also creates problems.

via Preview: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg).

via Preview: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg).

FC Barcelona 5 Osasuna 1

28 Jan

Four more goals from the unstoppable Leo Messi and another from Pedro Rodriguez earned Barça a 5-1 victory over Osasuna at Camp Nou tonight. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner put Barça in front early on before Raoul Loé fired in an equalizer after 23 minutes. Osasuna were reduced to ten men soon after when Alejandro Arribas was dismissed after two separate handballs. The second incident also won Barça a penalty which Messi hammered home, and from then in it was all too easy as Pedro, Messi and Messi again finished the job to put Barça eleven points clear at the top of La Liga after Atlético’s defeat at San Mames.With an eye on Wednesday’s cup clásico, Jordi Roura made five changes to the team that won at Malaga in the quarter finals. Victor Valdés returned in goal for his first game at Camp Nou since his announcement that he won’t renew his contract – the crowd’s reaction to Valdés was generally positive. Adriano and Puyol came in for Jordi Alba and Piqué in defence, Thiago replaced Fabregas in midfield while up front we played with David Villa on the left instead of Andrés Iniesta.

via FC Barcelona 5 Osasuna 1.

via FC Barcelona 5 Osasuna 1.

Preview: FC Barcelona vs Osasuna (game 21 liga 2012/13)

27 Jan

Leo Messi trained normally with the group this morning and will be available for Barça’s league game at home to Osasuna tomorrow (Sunday 7 pm). The team will train again tomorrow morning at Camp Nou before Jordi Roura decides which players are in best shape for the job, while no doubt keeping in mind the coming challenge of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final at Real Madrid.Team selection is a complicated business in a situation like this. Everybody knows La Liga is more important than La Copa and after dropping three points at Real Sociedad last week we definitely don’t want to lose any more points tomorrow. At the same time it is fair to say that our lead of eight points over Atlético and fifteen over Madrid still allows us some margin of error.

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Osasuna (game 21 liga 2012/13).

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Osasuna (game 21 liga 2012/13).