FC Barcelona 2011/2012-The Current Season Progress

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: FC Barcelona players pose for a team picture prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League group H match between FC Barcelona and FC Viktoria Plzen at the Camp Nou stadium on October 19, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

 

 

Review, Analysis and Drawing some Conclusions.

 

Well if you have just woke up from a coma thank you for joining us. We are currently running towards the mid-season, taking part in two competitions, The La Liga and The Champions league. The UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Supercopa have both already registered into this season's trophy book. Every single player, the staff and all the Cules out there are already looking forward to the start of the King's Cup (Copa del Rey) and the Club World Cup, and all those listed will be hoping for the best if the 2008/2009 season is to be emulated.

Well before you judge the author please spare a few moments and get to know me a bit...

 

... I am no journalist, but what I am is a die hard Cule and a third year Major in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (Wits-South Africa). So I guess you understand that a man in my field has to enjoy writing reports, analysing and concluding based on facts and available data. That brings me to what I'm not; I am no psychic nor am I stupid enough to think that people who do not support my team are idiots (This was directed to me a couple of times, hope I'm not the only one).

So here we go Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

 

1.      Overall performance

We have undergone a range of behavioral changes, we Cules so far, mainly guided by emotions of joy and disappointments. You see people getting ready to jump every time with their nerves at the highest whenever the team produces a moment of magic, some of us even go as far as threatening the television set when things don't go as expected. But with all that, the team and its fans still have no idea how a 2011/2012 defeat tastes like.

Twelve games were played so far, distributed across the 4 competitions we've appeared in. The first game was a nerve-wracking El Clasico, one of the most highly anticipated season openers ever (if you overlook the non-football stuff). The recent Barcelona match was what I think to have been one of the longest 90 minutes I've ever had to sit for a Barca game. They just couldn't seem to finish off the minnows; I'm of course referring the Champions League match against FC Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday (19 October). After 12  games, our stats read as follows:

 

Table 1: Current Season Statistics

 

Games

Goals

Assists

Goals conceded

Clean sheets

Goal scorers

Current position

League

6

26

18

4

4

9

1

UCL

3

9

5

2

2

4

Joint top

SpanishSupercup

2

5

4

4

0

3

Won

UEFA Supercup

1

2

1

0

1

2

Won

Total

12

42

28

10

7

18

2 down, 4 to go

 

o   The Scorers: The Blaugrana have scored 42 goals (this number includes 3 own goals - credit to the team's outstanding level of pressing.), 9 different players were able to find the back of the net and all but one goal (Villa stunner free kick) were scored from open play. Our front men account for 27 of the goals or 64 percent (Messi_16, Villa_7, Pedro_3 and a goal for newbie Alexis). The engine of the squad, being the midfield, have the bragging rights as well with a stunning 26 percent of the goals (11) with new boy Cesc Fabregas topping the list with 5 goals followed by Xavi_3, Iniesta_2 and the La Masia grad Thiago with his sole league opener. Adriano represents our solid rear guard with a goal, a thunderous strike which turned out to be a match winner against Sporting Gijon on a day when our boys just could not seem to find their shooting boots.

o   The Creators: Barca can be proud to have a total of 12 members of the squad who were able to make that final touch of the ball before someone else scored. If this doesn't scream team play I don't know what does. No wonder the team loves midfielders so much. Messi of course leads the charts with a stunning 10 assists out of the total 28, Fabregas and Thiago with 3 each while there are 2 each from Alves, Iniesta and Villa. There is a single assist each from Abidal, Alexis, Pique, Xavi, Pedro and Adriano.

o   The Defenders: These guys represent one of the best defence in the world, even without a consistent CB pairing. They spend most of their time in the opposition's half, pressing, while watching each others' back to register a total of 7 clean sheets in 12 games with their ball playing goalie.

o   The Manager: Well I'm not sure I have any perfect words to describe Pep. This guy was still standing up and giving orders while his boys were registering their eighth goal against Osasuna, which sums up the passion the guy has for the game. He wants to win it all; he wants to be uncatchable by the time he retires. At only 40, he still has a long way to go.

 

Top of the Liga, top of the UCL... I'm not sure about you friends but I'm not complain inthis department.

*******************************************************************************************************

2. The Not So Good

o   Injuries

Well if you haven't complained about this yet you surely aren't following the game.HAMSTRINGS have been spoken about I don't how many times since the season started. Our boys Fabregas and Alexis were settling in just fine until the devil struck. While Fab knows the Barca game, I am more worried about Alexis because he will have to go back to square one when he comes back. Our backline has been missing the solid Pique-Puyol paring for a while and they have just started to regain match fitness, but neither is quite there yet.

Iniesta has showed us on the recent Champions League fixture what we are missing when he's injured. Abidal was almost heavily touched by the demon as well, at least he recovered faster, and for the first time the International break brought a couple of smiles on the face of us cules. The heartbreaking story of the current season will have to be the injury to Ibrahim Afellay, my favourite Dutch boy. They say he will be lucky if he makes it for a game before end of season. I hope he emulates Abidal and comes back to lift a trophy.

After seeing Messi almost limping off I realised I/someone needs to figure out what the heck is going on. Might it be the preseason most Cules are claiming we never had? Bad training routines? The Cesc curse others are talking about? I honestly don't know.

·  The 2-2 curse

I literally laughed when writing the phrase above because people were talking about it so much they almost believed it. It wasn't like anything changed; we dominated the games (except for the Clasico 2-2) and had our usual 67 percent average possession. We blamed our players for the opposition's brilliant play. Yes some few errors were made as well but that was nothing new, they are made all the time. Remember Messi's goal against Porto? If we appreciate taking advantage of opposition's lapse in judgment, we should also have the guts to realise that our players are human too. I couldn't believe people were literally angry at Villa for that back pass.

On my previous fanpost, someone mentioned that we are a little complacent at times; I won't disagree. The team shouldn't stop even after going 10 goals up.

o   The 3-4-3

Well I said earlier that I work with data, so I'm not gonna lie and say it's perfect. It needs our players to be extra aware and be ultra team players. The only times they've perfected it they had midfielders dropping back to help the defence. That extra confidence they have at home makes it better as well and it’s perfect for ultra defensive teams. With the right moments to experiment and perfect it, I see it being used against big teams as well.

********************************************************************************************************

3. Now what?

Well the team shouldn't stop; they are currently having one of the best starts ever. The bad games are a mixture of draws and two nil wins. This is the best team in the world, it's no coincidence that critics out there are calling them favourites for every competition they are in.

The King's Cup will be starting soon, the Club World Cup too. The boys should keep on going with the current pace, or better, to be able to challenge for all remaining 4 trophies.

 

What I think: Well I trust in Pep for a lot of things, I know he won't disappoint (he never has). I just hope he continues with the rotations, including substituting Messi once in a while. We want our genius fit at the business end of the season. I honestly don't care, if we continue winning by the "narrow 2 goals" for the rest of the campaign.

*************************************

 

Our team is still perfect, if there is a flaw, I haven't spotted it yet. Please tell me about the flaw you've spotted in the comments. Do not forget to mention how YOU feel so far about this season and whether you think a mid-season review is necessary or not.

 

Barca! Barca! Baaaaaaaarca!

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