We are a little under 24 hours removed from last night’s match, and I am still a little annoyed with the circumstances surrounding that missed penalty. FC Barcelona were not at their dominant best by any stretch of the imagination, and this was down to Sevilla’s game plan, which was executed well. I would say perfectly, but no-one would have wanted their goal-keeper to be subjected to such a torrent of pressure.
Javi Varas was simply outstanding, and his penalty save on Lionel Messi was just the tip of the iceberg. However, all Culés will feel aggrieved by the manner of the miss. Fredi Kanoute was taking gamesmanship to a whole new level last night, and quite simply, it was deplorable.
This morning reports have surfaced that suggest that Cesc Fabregas racially abused the Malian. The whole incident was unsavoury, but who can really say if Fabregas was being racist? Unless you were on the pitch, you do not know for sure. Earlier this season, David Villa was the subject of rumours suggesting that he called Mesut Ozil a Nazi and insulted Islam. These rumours were also unfounded pieces of garbage, but the damage is done.
Cesc Fabregas has no history of racism, and he plays alongside another Malian, Seydou Keita. David Villa is another case: why would he insult Islam with Eric Abidal and Ibrahim Afellay in the squad? Something does not add up whatever way you look at it.
On the other hand, Barcelona cannot blame Fredi Kanoute for everything. The manner of victory on Wednesday left many disappointed, and the draw yesterday points to some fundamental problems. These problems are ever so minute, but such details are what Pep Guardiola lives for.
Guardiola studies hours of footage before each game, and he should have seen these problems coming. Lionel Messi played well in both games, but it is clear to me that he needs a rest. Sure, he may not like it, but it is a necessity. He looked jaded, and his performance dropped as a result. Passes went straight to the Sevilla/Plzen defence and his runs were frequently hopeful, and he ran into a cul-de-sac of players on more than one occasion. In short, it was not the real Lionel Messi, and with Granada upcoming on Tuesday, Pep has the opportunity to rest his star man.
Barcelona were also guilty of over-elaborating in some cases, with one-twos in place of shots on goal. I know how small these "flaws" are, but they need to be corrected before they truly affect the Blaugrana.
With Real Madrid still putting in Jekyll and Hyde performances, it remains to be seen whether Barcelona will be retaining their crown this year and despite the claims of the international press, La Liga is not a two-horse race.
As you may have noticed, we have a new writer on the site, Guidance Mhlari and you may know him better as Guide7. He expressed an interest in joining the site with us, and after we took a look at example work, we were glad to welcome him aboard. If you wish to follow in his footsteps, merely contact me or Bostjan via the email links below on the masthead.
In more good news, Gerard Pique has returned to training, meaning Alexis Sanchez and Ibrahim Afellay are the only two missing for Tuesday’s match with Granada. Barcelona B won yesterday as well, 4-1 against Aloycano, but the game was not broadcast at all meaning a review of that match will be difficult.
Anyway, apologies for being so brief, but look out for more content to be posted in the next few days, with an exclusive interview at the top of that list. For now, all that remains is a congratulation to New Zealand, and to Manchester City, but today also put things into context around the sporting world.
Whatever the problems football has, we should count ourselves lucky that it will never endanger lives, so spare a thought for the family of Marco Simoncelli after today’s horror incident.