Match Review: FC Barcelona vs. Malaga CF

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19:  Gerard Pique of Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Malaga CF at Camp Nou stadium on November 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19: Gerard Pique of Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Malaga CF at Camp Nou stadium on November 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

FC Barcelona failed to impress at home and to keep pace with Real Madrid. On a night where the club sorely missed Lionel Messi, Barcelona were only able to tie a very defensive Malaga. Ten men behind the ball for Malaga meant Barcelona’s offense was severely limited to wide play and the individual magic of Neymar.

Without Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Luis Suárez the offense of the club can only come from so many places. Javier Mascherano has been one of those sources lately. The match began on one of those what if scenarios from a long ball of his. Paco Alcácer scored a just offside goal in the third minute. This match desperately needed his first goal for the club but it did not come. Paco was mostly invisible during the match except a decent chip to Neymar in the ninth minute, and he was easily overshadowed by former club member Sandro now of Malaga.

Sergi Roberto had a strong early match with good overlaps yet numerous crosses that went to no avail. He and Javier were the toughest defenders on the night for the club if you consider Gerard Piqué played more as a number nine. He was strong in the box on set plays especially in the 12th and 13th minutes when two shots of his were denied.

Neymar tried to do his best Messi impersonation with numerous cuts in from the left side and cross field switches to Roberto and Arda Turan. Unfortunately when he lost the ball it lead to Malaga’s best chances on goal. Neymar’s giveaway in the 23rd minute lead to a  decent Sandro break. Two shots by Rafinha in the 21st and 31st minutes and a low cross from Lucas Digne followed by a wide Sergio Busquets miss in the 44th minute were Barça’s only other chances of note during the first half.

A shout for a penalty saw Arda getting called for a foul in the 53rd minute. In the 56th Malaga almost scored after Marc-André ter Stegen charged but missed the ball on another break opportunity. Things turned in Barcelona’s favor in the 68th minute when a nasty tackle by Real Madrid loanee Diego Llorente saw the ref hold up a straight red. Barcelona were unable to capitalize on their twenty minute man advantage.

In the 83rd André Gomes almost played hero when his shot bounced off the crossbar. Piqué put in the rebound but he was offside. Barcelona were denied another penalty call in the 85th when striker Piqué was pulled down inside the box. Time wasting saw the match go deep into extra time. Age old foil of Barcelona Idriss Carlos Kameni struck again by denying a header from Neymar that should have won the match in the 94th minute. Things began to boil over when Juankar of Malaga saw a red for saying the magic words to the referee. The match ended nil to nil.

Barcelona were missing a moment of magic during the match. Neymar tried to supply it but was denied. Does he play better for Brazil than Barcelona? How much does the club depend on an aging Andrés Iniesta? Denis Suarez failed to impress. Speaking of depending, what about Messidependencia? What would the club ever do without the greatest player in history?

 

 

 

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  • Kneowell Anyanwu

    Yeah on a day like this it is easy for sandro to overshadow even luis suarez, we had over 80% possession but Paco never saw the ball, he was running in between lines and making spaces but it was difficult to get the ball to him, stats says he received no more than 5 passes all game long, the only time he was unmarked in the box was when rafinha took that shot that kameni saved, Paco was 2-3 yards ahead of rafinha, had a clearer view on goal and unmarked, if only rafinha passed that ball to him instead of shooting…. Messidependencia? Why is this always the case when we draw/lose a game without messi? Why doesn’t anyone remember it when we win without messi? Not like I don’t know the huge impact messi imposes on a game don’t get me wrong, but why wasn’t this brought up back in 2014 when we lost to malaga at home and drew away all with messi on the pitch? Over 7 years with no victory at anoeta since pep and messi was present in all of them what happened? Do we really expect not to miss messi in all of our games? As far as am concerned Messi is the sought of field operative the CIA would term “The Asset”. He’s that bad ass guy to contact when all other field operatives fail to deliver. The Asset is deployed when the CIA wants to give their all in a mission. Luckily we have the Asset on all of our missions and we have gotten way too used to having him and playing without him is now tagged messidependencia. We just must tag something on to our loses and draws don’t we? We just have to put the blame on something or someone! We do not recognise the place of historical games in the course of the season. We just can call an unfortunate game what it is and move on. Let’s not forget that pep ran out of ideas playing teams that park the bus like malaga, it is always a pretty difficult kind of game to win when the opposition holds up with max concentration, to get that first goal that unlocks the game can be quiet difficult (and yes we got the goal, but we were robbed, as we were robbed penalties) though we could go ahead to win by 4 or 5 goals after that first goal. Can’t wait to see how we fare in anoeta, we had better win that one tho and break the long standing curse. Neymar needs to be rested against celtic prior to the anoeta game, arda can play upfront with messi and suarez who’s now had some rest. 4 points adrift isn’t insurmountable, I still have complete faith in this team.

    • Grega Kavčič

      You remeber a few easy games that we won without Messi, but never the game. For us that actually watch the game it is quite clear to see, how much Messi is missed. Malaga was not that good defensive, far from Alaves level. This team right now would not qualify for CL positions without Messi. Neymar is really bad when Messi is not arround, he is tense makes all the wrong decisions and failes to convert. Suarez instead of Paco would not have helped, maybe he would have a moment of his but not likely. He would however get “rid” of Pique’s interferrence in attack.

      Lucho sucks so baaaaad at not only buying bot more so integrating squad players. He is completely incompetent and these issues highlight this perfectly. These players are not on a blind test, they were watched/scouted deemed technicaly good enough for barca an the club paying a lot of monney for them.

      The injuries do not help, but LE brought it to this, that Suarez must be banned for Paco to feature. I hope the CDR games will be enough to get something out of the bench or else we will just have to hope our little magician does the treble dance for the whole team again as with argentina.

      You always write how LE won the titles like Barca is a mid table team… well they are not! These results are far from the potential of the team and the coach is the most to blame like conte is the most to credit for Chelsea form right now and then Klopp and so on…

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        Yes Grega, it is easy to remember the games messi don’t play cos they aren’t much, I already pointed out that there isn’t a way on earth the greatest player of all times won’t be missed and to think the team will play the same way without. Him is insanity at best hence the word “messidependencia”. And yes, that defence is pretty tight for any team that doesn’t have messi in it, messi himself is a first hand witness to drawing or losing to malaga, the problem with malaga and everyother bus parking team is in getting that first goal which pretty much just opens the floodgates for more goals.

        We won’t qualify for UCL? Well, has barca achieved anything in the last 8 years without messi? You know the answer right? Are we gonna achieve anything post messi? Maybe some 6 years from now we will tell.

        Neymar being bad without messi? That’s reasoning is inductive at best because Neymar pretty much ran the show last season in messi’s absence, and has also done so once or twice this season, he’s just had too much to play and needs rest in my opinion that all.

        • Grega Kavčič

          Those few games were played with a completely different Neymar or some other influence. After those few games he was always bad without Messi.

          It’s not that Messi works for him it’s like Messi takes the pressure of of him. He looks a bit tense, even with Brazil he is relaxed. Looks like he has all the right players arround him in brazil right now. We should buy Coutinho just for Neymar’s sake. He will be thinking of leaving soon if he plays shitty and get’s called out on it.

          Don’t talk about these players like they are Granada or sporting. Barca players even without Messi should be favorites in any match! They are payed acordingly too if you noticed we lead real by a cool 15% on that front weekly.

          We the critics know we cannot win the treble every year and win every game, but playing a team so talented, handpicked and payed like their weight in gold far below their potential is not a pleasant thing to watch.

          I love watching Dortmund and Liverpool and am a bit of a fan in their leagues, but I do not expect them to be on barca’s level but they are if you cut Messi out of this team.

          Right now it looks like he should be payed 150mil and the others combined 50mil. :S

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            You know the thing is, barca has a way of magnifying a player’s image, that we are not on the same level with those clubs doesn’t imply our players are better than theirs in all departments else we wouldn’t be talking about buying a coutinho or a veratti. The same suarez that averages 30 goals in liverpool now scores over 50 goals here (messi being the big difference). We simply can’t look anything like barca we have grown to know without a magician, it was ronaldinho at some point, now it’s messi.

          • Grega Kavčič

            It is a legit tactic but this time it went out of control, Pique did more damage than good. I do not believe the goal was legit.

            There must be a ballance. A CB just forcing himself up front to play a tactic that barca never used with good reason. This is how united played under moyes and LVG…hoof the ball to Fellaini so he can save the day in the last minutes.

            Pique took atleast two GREAT balls off of Paco and he was far from scoring on any of those… it was just too much of Pique all of a sudden. You have elite attacking players on the field and play long ball to pique from the 70 minute onwards? If you believe this to be ok, you really should be checked out. It was Pique who decided to force himself up front not LE instructing him, I think this also pissed LE off.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            All of a sudden Paco is termed elite…Lmao. It’s alright i’ll allow that slide.apparently you don’t even understand much of the changes lucho make and that’s why you always call him tactically inept. Yes pique strides upfront on his own and then returns, but he remained upfront once rakitic came in. Rakitic is a defensive substitute in this case, busquet replace pique behind and then rakitic took busquet’s place. This allowed us commit pique upfront without compromising our defense. You clearly don’t pay attention to these shifts on the pitch do you? If ramos didn’t poke his nose into the box to save madrid on 2 occasions (even with elite BBC on the pitch), I believe madrid would be 2 UCL trophies shy of 11

          • Eivind Niclasen

            I will have to disagree with you on this part of the debate. Piqué would have saved the day for us, if the referee had allowed him to. Not only did he score a perfectly legitimate goal, he was also robbed of a stonewall penalty when a defender had to desperately grab his right thigh when he was through on goal and about to shoot.

            In spite of playing badly, Barca could easily have put two past Kameni all thanks to Piqué, who played like a man possessed. MOTM for me on Saturday and only ruined by a biased referee, which is something you can´t blame our no.3 for. To be a no.9 for Barca, movement is essential. Look at Suarez, even on one of his bad days he still works his socks off. Paco, on the other hand, spent most of the match against Malaga doing the mannequin challenge. He situated himself between two hulking CBs while waiting to receive the ball. Guess what, it never arrived, and why would it? He isn´t exactly a towering forward like Peter Crouch or Miroslav Klose ready to score by winning aerial battles against an oversized backline. People moan about Malaga having a player sent off around the hour mark, but until then Barca had practically played 2/3 of the game with ten men thanks to Paco´s static (lack of) presence on the pitch. He didn´t even touch the ball one single time between minute 10 and minute 41. That´s 31 minutes and with 80 percent possession. Surely a new record at the Camp Nou, wouldn´t you think?

            I am convinced there is an agenda going on in Spain right now. It feels similar to Pep´s final season when RM were handed the league practically for free. It was a long season of institutional matchfixing courtesy of the RFEF, while Guardiola´s passing machine went considerably down in terms of verve and pace hence making it easier to defend against us. Saturday´s game against Malaga, as well as the home game against Atletico, were examples of Barca playing at a considerably slower pace than normal. It may be down to the players not having gelled just yet, we´ll see. Here´s to hoping for an emphatic comeback at the cursed Anoeta on Sunday. Lucho better field his strongest XI and tell them to pound La Real into submission from the word go.

        • Serkan Savas

          i will very simply tell you why Neymar is crappy. It’s because Neymar makes it hard on himself, and place a little game inside a game very often and forgets this is a team sport, and outside of his almost insane obsession with dribbling anything that’s in front of him toward a one-on-one with the goalkeeper he’s hurting the team. Eventually it works sometimes, but often at the cost of the team participating. He’s so obsessive it seems his mentality is better suited for an individual sport, not football. I’d rather have 2 or 3 slightly less talented dribblers but more intelligent teamplayers than 1 Neymar who seems to want to be the superhero but ignores his teammate or involves them in plays so late the opponent defense is well and organized again and any ellement of surprise is long gone.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            I agree with your assessment of Neymar, but that’s who he is, he showboats everywhere no matter the jersey he’s wearing, fortunately for him his manager allows everyone express themselves on the field of play and judging by the results, it’s worked often times than not

          • Serkan Savas

            you’re obsessed with results and short term alone. This means we’re fundamentally so far from eachother in how we look at the game and what we vallue that any discussion is completely useless. There’s no compromise in this for me, my believes on what is important are far from just winning right now. And i do agree players need some freedom to express themselves, but not at the expense of the team. but, to delph deeper in to this, i’d have to believe therés any gain i can get with you but like i said we’re too fundamentally apart so it would just cost me effort that would go to waste.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Maybe, but you have also failed to convince anyone how lucho has hurt the club on a long term. If you fail on the short term as a manger then the long term is bleak at best, we are not looking for ways to get out of a pit we fell into under tata, we are rather looking at improving what we have built under lucho, and trust me there is a lot of room for improvement, and lucho hasn’t hampered the future of the club in anyway if you ask me

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        Suarez to get rid of pique? Come on! Pique going forward was a tactical shift which could have paid off if the ref didn’t call off a legitimate goal by pique.

        Pique is to barca what ramos is to madrid, they both have a thing for scoring very important goals especially when the forwards aren’t firing e.g against monglabadash this season.

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        To whom much is given they say, much is expected. Barca isn’t a mid table team, Barca tops the Ivy league of the biggest clubs, up there with realmadrid maybe. But make no mistake about it, Barca is the most demanding club in the world, barca is the only club right now that cares about more than just winning, barca cares about every single pass and decision that led to a win, the demands are ridiculously high that fans like you call for the head of coaches even when they are doing what they were hired to do – win trophies. A David moyes can stay in Everton for 14 years without winning a needle but yet the fans would be satisfied with finishing between 6th to 10th position every season. An Arsene wenger can go 10 years trophyless in arsenal (though a big club) and still go unscatted, but this isn’t the case at barca, win trophies or resign is the order of the day here. Conte and Kloop are having good spells with their various clubs, but you can compare them with lucho because they haven’t won anything yet, they have a certain pep to contend with, even if they end this season trophyless they would probably be given another chance the next season. All I’m trying to say Grega is that it is even more difficult and more demanding to coach a club like barca than it is managing a chelsea, arsenal and liverpool which are all big clubs, let alone a mid table club that’s contended with finishing anywhere around midtable

        • Grega Kavčič

          No! No no! Just….NO!

          Coaches such as Moyes at Everton were doing good, that’s why he got the united job in the first place. When you are a Barca coach you have by far the best player in the world and the best team in the world to HIDE behind.

          We will never solve this issue we have, becouse I can never prove LE is worse than 50% of the coaches in the world and you cannot prove the opposite, that he elevates the team atleast a bit. We have hints here and there like when he was tinkering and even this year he was subbing like a fool but nothing concrete. There are coaches out there with distinct game plans and styles who’s work can be clearly seen like for instance Klopp, Conte, Pep, Simeone, Mou…

          … and then we have the Zidanes and Lucho’s who have the Ivy league clubs as you said and can hide behind top players who can dig them out of a rut in no time.

          Well thank the heavens we have Messi, but even with him much like Argentina we would be sooo much better with a REAL coach.

          PS. We can have these talks this season, at the end LE will quit anyway. He will take a sabbatical like the wordly pep did, but will be funny to see which clubs come after him…. Roma? 😀

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Here’s the team Serkan, you can’t be betting on another manager to better manage a team selected by another, pep chose his team, chose his acquisition, he ignored Neymar and suarez in their respective clubs and chose the people he bought. If pep were still in charge, I doubt we’ll have some of the players we have now, if kloop was in charge, I doubt he’ll buy the players lucho has bought so far, the likes of rakitic, suarez, umtiti, rafinha, kept roberto and all, kloop would constitute his own team, he may opt to bring in some of his guys at dortmund instead, and nothing absolutely nothing points to the fact that he will be a success with his players as we have seen times and again that being successful elsewhere as a player doesn’t translate to being successful in barca

    • Serkan Savas

      you’re really the best guy here in making excuses for our horrific manager who happens to win some prices with the best squad in Europe, with players jampacked with so much experience and some of the most sought after players on earth. Lucho is a mediocre manager, at best. There’s at least 20 better managers in Europe. There’s so many holes in our play. Our squad depth has never been as good as now, yet somehow, our team is still like Madrid’s galacticos from back in the day, nothing but a collection of good players, but hardly a great functioning unit. and that’s only 1 person’s fault, the head coach. We can still win everything, but it won’t be Lucho’s win, because we aren’t a titan team steamrolling opponents left and right, which by the squad we have, we should be. New players mostly not functioning is not the players fault anymore, it happens too often, when are apologists going to wake up and realize Lucho has not brought a stability and system into the team that makes it easier to integrate new players? Why do so many new signings suddenly forget how to play football? Lucho is crap, deal with it. i’ll be enjoying reading your essays making up new analysis in defense of him trying to rationalize the underachieving mess this Barca is.

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        Damn Savas where have you been? Damn I missed you! Lol. I believe I already answered most of your questions below

        • Serkan Savas

          i know, man. i was talking smack about Neymar in real life and throwing shoes at the tv . that and what i explained before, i’m tired of trying to argue with the stubbornly ignorant :P. whatever i said 2-3 or 4 years ago, i keep seeing it confirmed over and over and over and over. There’s only so much i can be right in and keep trying to stay humble, my man! lol i’m good knowing i’m right, i don’t need anyone’s confirmation anymore, i have enough self criticizing ability. peace!

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        Lol, you know, the problem with y’all is short memory. Y’all probably forgot how we played on our way to winning the treble, we evicerated opponents beating the best clubs in Europe one after the other, pep’s team inclusive. Everyone was involved and we played as a single unit alternating between positional plays and passes to fast counter attacks (which pep forbids until ofcourse he had to use it against barca some few weeks ago).
        The truth is there isn’t a system that provides a template stable enough to just plug and play players at will, you know why? Because the so called system depends on players to create it, this explains why there will always be some flop buys, pep had some flop buys in barca, also had to let go plenty for his conceived system to work.
        Ofcourse I haven’t claimed that this team is playing wonderfully just yet, ofcourse there are holes, but I do recognise the team is work in progress unlike persons like you who expects players to fit into a rigid system you imagine to exist. Wake up dude, lucho hasn’t come to build a starfish shaped or diamond shaped team. Lucho’s team is like an amoeba that engulf’s the opponent the way it presents itself. It allows players express themselves while performing their basic functions.
        Look at it this other way, pep’s best barca was something like this alves-pique-puyol-abidal-busquet-xavi-inieta-messi-henry-eto or messi-pedro-villa. Pep’s defense is better than what we have now, his midfield is better too, and the forward isn’t far from what we have now, how then did lucho reach 100 wins faster than pep? Pep’s team had all the experience, individual brilliance and the most sought after players too. Can you explain that? Ofcourse you can’t, you’ll rather choose to live in self denial. Kloop? I’ll wait one more season for him to win a trophy with liverpool, cos the last I checked pep annihilated him in Germany. Sampoali, i’ll wait to see what he achieves with season too, he inherited a europa cup winning side, let’s see him replicate that then we can open talks on that topic

        • Grega Kavčič

          What the f*** ? The team that won the treble showed the middle finger to LE and united themselves. That team is nowhere to be found. Watch the games after Anoeta it was complete beautifull madness and a disgruntled lucho on the sidelines…perfect.

          They did get along after beating Bayern and at the end of the year but that was just so so. He almost quit after the treble for F**** sake.

          • Serkan Savas

            you know how we beat Bayern? i’m not saying i’m not happy, but we beat bayern-light. no Robben, no Ribery, no Alaba. You know how much of a drop that is for Bayern? Especially since they did not have Coman or Costa yet, they had no real flanks, and that is exactly where we would’ve had big problems. I am a barca supporter, but right now i am not a fan of our team, for a pretty long time now.
            But if i bring this up apparantly people need to go back to 2013 when we didn’t have messi or something, that’s not even an argument. I wanted to see us beat Bayern at full strength, and see Ribery and Robben eat crap lol I cheered like any other supporter, like a crazy man, i was very happy. but i am also very realistic. and i fully agree with your point, it was indeed the team that pulled itself together DESPITE lucho, not because of him.

          • Grega Kavčič

            The really great games I was refering to were Villareal league and CDR, Atletico league…

            That was spectacular football

          • Serkan Savas

            true, but even the great games i remember, the best football was with the old guard all available. with iniesta, messi, busquets, pique, alba all on the field. And admitedly when Alba, Iniesta and Messi are all three of them are on the field, Neymar functions better because he’s got less of a chance to try to act like captain-i’ve-got-this . You know, i’d say with Klopp or Pep i’d feel comfortable to bet the roof over my head we’d play alot more spectaculair and dominant football as a team.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Here’s the team Serkan, you can’t be betting on another manager to better manage a team selected by another, pep chose his team, chose his acquisition, he ignored Neymar and suarez in their respective clubs and chose the people he bought. If pep were still in charge, I doubt we’ll have some of the players we have now, if kloop was in charge, I doubt he’ll buy the players lucho has bought so far, the likes of rakitic, suarez, umtiti, rafinha, kept roberto and all, kloop would constitute his own team, he may opt to bring in some of his guys at dortmund instead, and nothing absolutely nothing points to the fact that he will be a success with his players as we have seen times and again that being successful elsewhere as a player doesn’t translate to being successful in barca

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Serkan has it even occurred to you that should Lucho leave today the board would rather consider an Unzue or a barca B coach before they look at anyone else? Have you asked yourself why that is?

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Trust me Serkan, no one wanted to beat a full bayern as much as I wanted to, but like you rightly pointed out, they beat a barca with alex song in the ranks and without messi.

            This is where I have a problem with you guys, If the team pulled itself together despite lucho and not because of him, then why isn’t the team pulling itself together now despite lucho? Why put all the wins on the team and all the losses and draws on lucho? Do you clearly see the cowardly travesty in your own reasoning?

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Heheheh Grega, you just can’t get over yourself can you? Yeah I get it, the team decided it’s starting 11 (which was fairly constant except when xavi was brought in to quiet things down a bit) the team made all the substitutions which included playing xavi, barta (who assisted a messi in the bayern game you mentioned) Munir etc. Lmao! Knock yourself out with your delusions Grega don’t try to hypnotise us into thinking same, your opinions are safe with you homie.

        • Grega Kavčič

          You missed the boat to be a Penaldo fan? You write just like that. Titles titles titles. I don’t care if these coaches do not win anything they don’t have Messi, Iniesta, Neymar, Suarez… If Klopp had Suarez he would be leading the EPL by 5 atleast.

          So…you like Penaldo for the b’dor 2016 do you? He has the titles remember?

          … for a f*** individual trophy. :S

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Lol, didn’t someone just say he doesn’t expect us to win all the matches, but you expect kloop to win all of his with 5 points ahead if he had suarez? Did you really think a brandan Rogers didn’t do a good job at liverpool, the only reason why you don’t call him alongside kloop is because he missed the EPL tittle by whiskers. Like it or not tittle put managers and players on the spotlight, it’s one reason why we are among the greatest! You can’t just sweep that aside, football anyday anytime is all about winning titles. Isn’t that why mourinho and ancelloti are up there with great managers? Not because they play wonderful football but because they are mercenaries for titles. If you don’t care about titles then you shouldn’t be here, you should be at arsenal, I believe they play fantastic football too. Being a cule and saying you don’t care about titles is pure hypocrisy!

        • Serkan Savas

          i think we watch football in a completely different way. that’s why i don’t vacate here anymore. Therés too big of a gap between what i see and what most people here see. And a big part is honestly an unwillingness to see certain things for what they are. It’s almost like how americans talk about politics, it never goes anywhere because of an unwillingness to look at things realistically and it’s more about wanting to be right. So i gave up on trying get the acknowledgement here and let it all play out. Dude, you’re putting Pedro and Villa on a level with Neymar and Suarez, or even close, is just pure delusional. Both Neymar and Suarez are leagues above both Pedro and Villa. Suarez proved himself over longer periods of time absolutely everywhere he played to be a beast. Villa got lucky he got to play with some amazing players, that’s it, he’s not absolute world class. Putting Lucho even close to Pep is dillususional but to argue that if you still think that’s a reasonable argument to make at this point in time, for me is pointless, because it’s simply wilful ignorance and stuborn to the max. Abidal is not a better player than Alba, physically bigger is all Abidal had over Alba, but Alba is a beast on his day, he covers the entire flank and his positional intelligence is well above Abidal. As soon as he doesn’t play you notice just how much he’s missed. if you truly believe lucho comes close to Klopp, wth am i supposed to say? you’re intentionally trying to be right instead of realistic, it’s about winning an argument here and not about reality, and that’s where i prefer to opt-out and just let you live in madness and own these boards. 😛 Are you seriously watching these games by teams like Liverpool, Dortmund, even Bayern? And take in to account who they have on the field, how much they pay for them, and put it in perspective to what we do? No hard feelings but if we’re both watching all these games carefully closely for years now, and this is the gap in what we see happening, it’s hopeless to argue.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Oh well, we can’t all see things from same perspective can we? You may be counting the pulses of these players on the pitch, while I may only be looking at how they influence the game, that’s also a big gap in perspective. I didn’t say villa pedro are on the same level with suarez and neymar but I said they are close, I noticed how u deliberately didn’t mention henry/ etoo. You also have to put into account that the messi we have then isn’t what we have now, pep enjoyed the best of messi. I was only trying to put both teams side by side to show you the difference isn’t much, put has a far better midfield but ofcourse you won’t point that, you’ll rather punch holes out cos you think it’s about winning an argument than about reality. You can’t isolate managers for comparison without looking at what they’ve achieved with their teams. Pep has set a standard in barca so unhealthily high that even a lucho has to be judged by same yardstick, and if you judge by those yardsticks lucho isn’t doing badly. Period!

          • Pius Kamau

            Kneowell,…okay let me just use few words to back up these gentlemen here Serkan and Grega Kavcic….
            I know it’s impossible to convince you otherwise because you’ve been the most aggressive and “religious” Lucho apologist. I’ll actually just use point forms.
            – Lucho didn’t win the treble playing the best football in Europe because of his tactical and coaching brilliance, NO!….he won mainly because ALL our FIRST 11 players were FIT during all those decisive matches in the latter part of the season & also he was largely aided by the remnants of Pep Guardiola’s team that actually formed the tactical backbone of the 2015 TREBLE winning season – Messi (heart and soul of everything we do in attack) – Iniesta & Busi (heart and soul of our midfield) – Alves, Pique & Masch (heart and soul of our defense)
            Only credit I give Lucho is adding a rigorous fitness regime and adding some counter attacking element to our play…nothing else really, YES the Suarezs, Neymars and Rakitics helped but it was the core Pep players who were the actual heart and soul of the entire team. Should I remind you that it’s the senior players who decided to come together and address the difficulties and differences they were having with the coach?
            – Last but not least coaches like Klopp, Pep, Tuchel, Marcelinho make average players look world class, they’re especially good with youngsters, under Lucho our collective passing and positional play has gone to the dogs, that is something I cannot debate because we all have eyes to see what’s before us.
            Whenever he tries some tactical adjustments they usually backfire and it’s the individual brilliance or the opponents wastefulness that bails us out.
            I used to defend Lucho in the first season…but…not anymore!!

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Remember that messi, xavi, iniesta, puyol, abidal, abidal, eto,toure didn’t all debuted under pep? Pep also built a structure all on inherited old guards, injecting just a few, just the same way he is doing now with city with addition of a few, will you say the city is successful with the addition of gundogan? Just like pep, lucho only brought in players that are supposed to help strengthen the team, the key word being “help”.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            I am not saying that lucho is a genius tactically, I have never said so, all I’m saying is that with the little he is, he ain’t doing badly. Lucho isn’t good with youngsters? Like roberto? Or roberto isn’t world class? Like rafinha? Or Mats, or Neymar? Did every youngster succeed under pep? Cuenca? Fontas? Nolito? Bojan, giovani dos Santos? Jonathan dos Santos? Should I keep naming? You guys probably think barca is the only club in the world where coaches fall out with players, ofcourse senior players will always have a say in a club, a Totti in Roma for instance was revered more than the coach, you should watch manchester united trainings and see rooney pass instructions to the players on the training ground even with a mourinho in training, you think these things only happen in barca? Isn’t it the same players that fucked mou over at chelsea that conte is using now? Did conte have to sweep them all off? These are all facts you can’t deny, not even your hatred for lucho can mask them

          • Nony

            That counter attacking play won us the treble, delivered victories in circumstances where pep had seemed to run out of ideas. I agree Lucho may not have the tactical brilliance of Pep but i also think we continue to live in the shadow of Pep’s era so much that will fail to appreciate evolution in Lucho’s braca…guys let’s be more objective than subjective

          • Pius Kamau

            Nony…”evolution” of Barca?…how exactly have we evolved?
            In Lucho’s first season we just become more direct and slightly more pragmatic and opponents didn’t quite expect that so it worked, and also so because our starting 11 were on fire for the rest of the second half of 2014-15 season and the first half of 2015-16 season. How many times did Lucho use the SAME STARTING 11 when we went 40+ games unbeaten?….did he dare make significant tactical alterations during that period?…
            Barcelona’s famed passing and positional football (to some of us) has massively deteriorated under Luis Enrique simply because he’s no innovator, he is no tactical mastermind, he doesn’t improve anything during training…….(you guys might want to watch Lucho’s training sessions & compare them to Klopp’s or Pep’s)
            I don’t know exactly how you call our deteriorating brand of attacking and possession football “evolution”

      • Grega Kavčič

        Wow… I would have never guessed that someone shares my view exactly as I expect a lot more blind Kneowells out there. Thank you for this piece, together we atleast put a page of text together vs. 5 pages of his. 😀

        • Kneowell Anyanwu

          Lol, this isn’t war of words Grega, your opinions are nothing but wishful thinking, barca still won’t consider the best manager out there before what it has. Pep, is one of our own, tito is, lucho is, Unzue will probably follow, with xavi to come next, your wishful thinking of hiring kloop and all that? Will probably never happen. Get used to it

  • Aminu Bilyaminu

    I think the idea didn’t work Munir should have stayed & I would have liked to see Thiago Alcantara come back to Barca