Lee (stickmarionette) wrote in _fcbarcelona_,

  • Mood:

Wisla 1 - 0 Barca [Barca through 1 - 4 on aggregate]

Most importantly: Barca are safely through to the CL group stages.

The consequences of failure, both financial and sporting, would have been severe. I don't know about you guys, but I was pretty damn terrified at the beginning of the pre-season about qualification. New coach, new players and the boardroom a mess? Yeah. The powers that be were too, which is why they initially fought so hard to keep Messi. But the pre-season was great, and things went okay without Leo, which is nice.

My (hopefully balanced and rational) assessment of things below the cut. It's far too early to start getting hysterical, no? [That goes for the Catalan press: if Marca and AS are saying that it's no big deal, then there really is no need to make drama just yet.]

Good news: maybe everyone will calm down and assess Barca's chances of winning silverware more calmly now. Seriously: new, unexperienced coach, lots of changes in the dressing room, loss of veteran players, institutional unrest. No one should expect miracles, especially early on.

Bad news: any stumbles, even minor ones, will put pressure on Guardiola, as he himself recognises. The result may have been unimportant, but as ridiculous as it may sound, 'crisis' talk is just around the corner, knowing the Spanish press. And in a practical sense, when the La Liga season starts, Real, Sevilla and Villarreal haven't had to rebuild. They won't need time to settle in, which unavoidably puts Barca at a disadvantage.

Good news: marked improvement and plenty of chances in the second half. I'd love to know what was said in the dressing room at half-time, since Pep himself acknowledged that the team's mentality in the first half was wrong. Aggressive substitutions fairly early on [Guddy for Xavi in the 57th minute, Hleb for Iniesta in the 65th] contributed to the improvements.

Bad news: what was going on in the first half? And clearly more defensive drills are needed, because nobody knows how to mark at corners [still].

Good news: Titi was good again, and so were others like Sammy and Dani. The midfield was fine.

Bad news: the weird starting line-up is a direct result of the squad being one winger short. Iniesta is brilliant, but he's wasted stuck out on the right wing. I really hope Txiki is still looking to sign someone. Or if that's not an option anymore, then youth players (and I include Bojan here) should be used more when one of Henry, Eto'o and Messi isn't available.

Good news: I would imagine that a number of changes will be made in the league opener. Marquez will probably be back in for Pique, Messi will start on the right, and Iniesta will probably return to partner Xavi in midfield, all of which should improve attacking fluency. [Yes, even Marquez - his long-range passing has proved very useful in pre-season.] Having said that, the way Guardiola yanked Xavi, Iniesta and Eto'o off in this game was proof of what he said in the pre-game presser: that no one was guaranteed their place, so my predictions could be completely off.

Bad news: Pep has tried a number of 'Plan Bs' in pre-season in terms of formation [this being arguably one of them], and I think only a few have been qualified successes.

[Barca will be seeded in the draw for the group stages when it happens in a few day's time.]

In conclusion, no need to panic, and I expect improvements in Numancia. [Sunday 7PM Barcelona time, guys. I can't wait. Even if Barca have never beaten Numancia away in three attempts.]

Also, before I forget: a very happy 18th birthday to Bojan Krkic for tomorrow!
Tags: bojan krkic, champions league, match report

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded