Agent Zero

One of the most difficult – and overlooked – positions in all of sports is the goalkeeper. In many ways, they are the most important player in the defense. In a team like FC Barcelona, they are important tactically as well. As they can see the whole pitch, the keeper is often called upon to play the ball just like a midfield player. Being a keeper is an important job. Which is why I’m proud to say ours is Marc-André ter Stegen.

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Ousmane Who? Semedo shows exactly why he’s Alves’ heir apparent

Let’s get one thing clear from the get-go: Ousmane Dembele is one of the most talented players in world football, and this writer’s first-choice signing to replace Neymar when the Brazilian announced his departure. The young Frenchman playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is a tantalizing prospect, one which, when Dembele adapts to his new teammates, will bear great fruit for Ernesto Valverde.

The fact is, though, that against Juventus FC there was another player, also signed this summer, who impressed in a position where Barca have had a lot of trouble over the past couple of seasons. Nelson Semedo was bought and presented at Barcelona without too much fanfare and early rumours surrounding the Portuguese full-back stated that he was ‘worse than Douglas’. It’s safe to say that the Juve game put such rumours firmly into the metaphorical trash can, where they belong, as Semedo was a key component in a comprehensive performance by Valverde’s men. To put into context just how impressive Semedo has been, and how much Barca have needed a player like him, there’s a need to understand exactly why the right-back role has been such a problem for the club. A big part of that problem, ironically, was Dani Alves, and just how good he was at doing exactly what was needed of him at the right time.

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Back in the Hole

Note: This is a post by our new writer Yazdan Basir. You can congratulate [or argue with] him on Twitter at 

He blogs as ThoughtBox. Check out his previous work here.

All the passmap graphics come courtesy of  @11tegen11 who kindly gave us permission to repost them here.


The role “centre-forward” is used interchangeably with “striker” nowadays and the term “False 9” is thrown around frequently in discussions without many knowing what it is really is.

To understand it better, false 9 needs to be seen as a role rather than a position. Only a handful of players in the world are able to execute it as required and that too within a stable structure around them. Wayne Rooney was tried as a false 9 by Sir Alex, Totti played this role as well at Roma and even Cesc Fabregas was deployed in the hole for Spain at the EUROs. But it is Messi who performs the role to perfection.

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Player Ratings: FC Barcelona vs. RCD Espanyol

In the end Barcelona ended up dominating Espanyol in the Catalan Derby, but not after a a few early visits from lady luck. All four of the squad’s new summer signings took part in the match and all four showed glimmering glimpses of what Culés can expect in the coming months. Critics may argue the club is missing a player the caliber of Philippe Coutinho but currently the squad sits first in La Liga four points in front of Real Madrid.

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Crisis? Disaster? Just how bad was this summer for Barcelona?

This is a guest post from Gerry Johnston. Johnston is a 32 year old writer from Ireland. He currently writes about La Liga for www.laliganews.co.uk. Gerry has been a Barcelona fan since 1996; you can follow him on Twitter @gjsportsblog. 


Much has been made of Barcelona’s summer with words like crisis and disaster being the most used adjectives to describe what went on at Camp Nou. However, are things really as bad as is being made out in the media and by the grief loving element within Barcelona’s online fan base?

There can be no doubt things didn’t go as the club planned this summer or in fact over the last twelve months or so but for the purposes of this article let’s take a look at some of the main factors so we can consider if things are just as bad as they are being portrayed.

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The Rise of Samuel Umtiti

Note: This is a post by our new writer Yazdan Basir. You can congratulate [or argue with] him on Twitter at 

He blogs as ThoughtBox. Check out his previous work here.


If I ask you to name Luis Enrique’s best signing for Barcelona you’ll most likely to answer Luis Suarez.

A rare breed might say Marc-Andre Ter Stegen instead. And while you’re not wrong and it’s your opinion, the point here is that none of you will say Samuel Umtiti, a player whose rise to Barcelona’s and France’s starting eleven has been absolutely phenomenal. A signing made with the future in mind.

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Benedito Offers Barça a Glimmer of Hope

While hashtag trends are gaining popularity on social media and messages are reaching the club, there’s something else going on behind the scenes – something that’s part of the bigger picture.

Back in June this year, Agusti Benedito (the man in the photo above) told the media that he was starting a vote of no-confidence against Barcelona’s board due to Sandro Rosell’s and Josep Bartomeu’s institutional mismanagement of the club. The Rosell-Bartomeu era has been full of corruption, shady deals, and a murder of the values of the club. This can be clearly seen from the fact that Sandro Rosell (president from 2010-2014) was thrown into jail for money-laundering in May after stepping down from the club due to the everything that happened during the Neymar transfer. (Rosell hid the cost of Neymar using false contracts – something that can put you in jail in Spain for up to 6-years). When Rosell resigned, his vice-president Bartomeu stepped up and nothing changed for the club.

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Player Ratings: FC Barcelona vs. Real Betis

We are all Barcelona. The city needed a victory and the club delivered in the fashion of a two to nil victory over Real Betis. Incredibly the thing the match missed the most was a goal by the great Lionel Messi. FC Barcelona dominated the match, but things could have been much different if not for a world class tackle from Javier Mascherano.

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A game of perspective: An analysis on the start of the season

The first game of the league season is officially out of the way and as culés we honestly couldn’t have asked for a better start in terms of both results and performance. After honouring the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona and playing with Barcelona not just in their hearts, but on the backs of their shirts as well, the team recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory.

This victory has been perceived in different ways, but for most of us non-pessimists who want the team to move on from the shambolic Super Cup games this was a welcome step in the right direction. It wasn’t just a positive result, but a positive performance too.

Perspective is important in a game like this as there needs to be a balance, between optimism and downright negativity, and in order to paint an accurate picture of what this game means it is important to compare it to the aforementioned Super Cup games against Real Madrid; in particular the more recent second leg.

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A Series of Unfortunate Events

Note: This is a post by our new writer Yazdan Basir. You can congratulate [or argue with] him on Twitter at 

He blogs as ThoughtBox. Check out his previous work here.

 

The defeat to Madrid in this year’s Spanish Supercup hurt more than any other previous defeat. Not because we lost to Madrid – El Clasico is always a 50-50 affair – but because the signs of a decaying squad were on full display. Los Blancos have players like Isco and Kovacic available to bring off the bench, while we’re stuck with Alcacer and Gomes.

And this is where the problem starts.

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