MONACO - AUGUST 26: Head coach Josep Guardiola of FC Barcelona gestures during the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto at Louis II Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
My apologies for the shortest ever Weekly Review (last week’s entry). I didn’t intend to write, or rather not write a write up of last weeks’ events, it just happened. Apparently some people don’t understand the meaning of a deadline, nor do they read emails. They just do as they please. Barca Blaugranes recently reached a (mini)landmark, which is a good thing. However, there’s lots of room for improvement. If this is the best we can do, I might as well "resign" now. But don’t get your hopes up just now. I’ll be around for a while.
Now let’s get down to business. Our parent company, SB Nation just launched an iPhone app, which you should definitely download and install. It grants you access to all 300+ SB Nation blogs, and enables you to read and post comments. I know I took full advantage of it when I was dragged to movies to watch the latest romantic comedy with my date. Lord knows I love women, but there are only so many rom-coms I can endure before I finally snap. Although I can’t complain too much, this week has been very kind to me, football-wise. FC Barcelona emerged victorious against fellow European title holders, FC Porto, and secured the second trophy of the season. That game saw new signing, Cesc Fabregas, open his Blaugrana account with a delightful goal that sealed the match in FC Barcelona’s favor.
We at Barca Blaugranes had a new addition of our own, Inder Methil, whose worst fear has partially become reality, FC Barcelona have drawn Serie A winners, AC Milan, in their Champions League group.
UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona’s potential pitfalls
In the worst scenario, the Blaugrana may end up in the group of death which could include A.C Milan, Manchester City F.C and Borussia Dortmund. Let us all hope and pray that doesn’t happen. If this team goes on to win the Champions League again, it will be hard to deny them the "Greatest Ever" tag, but for that to happen, the holy trinity (Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi) will have to be in top form. Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique will have to be fit and attentive. Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez will have to integrate as quickly as possible and support Xavi and Lionel Messi.
With all due respect to AC Milan, I just can’t see them challenging FC Barcelona, at least not with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the starting line-up. Take Ibrahimovic off the equation and it becomes a different matter altogether. There’s a reason he is dubbed Ibraflop, a nickname hard earned, and more importantly, well deserved. Any team that features Ibrahimovic will not win the Champions League. After the group stages Kung-Fu Ibra will just disappear. Jose has written a wonderful editorial about him, Barca, Milan and the Champions League. However, you will have to wait another two weeks before that story is published. I can’t let a great story like this go to waste. Once again, there is an (actually a lot) upside of being the Editor-in-Chief – I get to read every story in advance.
Unfortunately one team didn’t qualify for this year’s Champions League campaign, Udinese Calcio. Whether this is the direct result of FC Barcelona’s robbery is debatable.
UEFA Champions League: How FC Barcelona robbed Arsenal FC and Udinese
In conclusion, Barca have acquired two players who would command undisputed starting positions in any squad, at prices that I think are way below their respective market values. If you take the inflated market into your calculations, I think you will have to agree and if you're not convinced yet? Well, let's wait for the (business) end of the season, I'm confident I'll be proven right. Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas are worth their weight in gold and the Blaugrana got them for- what will be seen in hindsight- peanuts.
Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that FC Barcelona significantly weakened Udinese and Arsenal FC. The latter have been on the receiving end of the worst battering in recent EPL-history (perhaps of all-time); Manchester United destroyed Arsenal FC with an aggregate scoreline of 8-2. And since the noisy neighbors of Manchester City also trashed their London opponents, Tottenham Hotspurs, 5-1, I can only assume the Queen is not amused. As far as I can tell, the two Manchester sides look good value to claim the title this season. Not that I have any particular interest in the EPL – I’m a La Liga guy. More often than not the Primera Division is referred to as the continental mirror image of the SPL, a dull and boring two-horse race.
Could this be the year a new contender outside of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid emerge for the title?
La Liga is constantly referred to, sometimes in a derogatory manner, as a two horse race; and it is widely accepted that the gap between Barcelona/Real Madrid and all the rest is an ever widening one. However, there are numerous instances littered throughout the storied past of the Spanish league where an unfancied member of the chasing pack broke free and upset the apple cart somewhat.
But is the English Premier League really any different? To my knowledge only three teams have won the EPL title since 2000, Arsenal London, Manchester United and Cheslea FC. How many teams have won La Liga in the very same time frame? Three: Valencia CF, Real Madrid & FC Barcelona. Whatever. I’m just glad I can enjoy La Liga again. Let’s hope Villarreal aren’t at their best tomorrow. Just thinking about FC Barcelona’s makeshift defense gives me headaches of epic proportions.
FC Barcelona vs Villarreal CF: Match Preview
Though Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol were already ruled out for this match, FC Barcelona’s injured list has grown longer. Full-back Adriano picked up a muscular injury in the 2-0 triumph over FC Porto, and news emanating out of the Camp Nou today is that Dani Alves is suspended, having accumulated five yellow cards in the previous season.
Sometimes I wish Pep Guardiola wouldn’t put so much faith in La Masia. Maybe our guest editor, We ain’t got no history’s Graham MacAree has solved the mystery regarding the much famed Barca academy…
FC Barcelona And The Magic Of La Masia
Catelonia sits atop a radioactive region of the earth that effects a mutation in children's vision and spacial awareness centres (a.k.a. ‘Barca DNA'). The way one might test this would be removing a player's brain for medical studies. Unfortunately, Cesc Fabregas is too expensive to be expendable. Perhaps you can buy Oriol Romeu back this summer and do a little science.
I guess that would explain a couple of things. Are any of Europe’s top sides willing to part with a decent amount of money for über-talented Barca defender Andreu Fontas? Why Oriol Romeu??? Why not Fontas? He is lighting quick…in comparison to a turtle and braver than a mouse. I plead with all the moneybags, please buy Andreu Fontas. He’s Catalan, plays for FC Barcelona and a La Masia product – HE MUST BE GOOD!
Anyways I’m outta here. If I’m lucky I’ll witness Real Madrid NOT win against Real Zaragoza (sorry Gabe, I do root for Zaragoza!).
Yours truly (not really yours, I’m dating but you get the idea behind it)
The Ting Tings - Great DJ (Calvin Harris Remix)
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