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FC Barcelona News: 15 February 2011; Barcelona, A year Unbeaten On the Road, Thoughts On the Arsenal Game

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Best team in first decade of 21st century | FCBarcelona
At the end of 2010, culminating in the winning of La Liga, FC Barcelona took over from Manchester United in first place in the classification. Manchester United topped the European rankings last year, leading FC Barcelona by 17 points, the ninth time in ten years that they had finished top.

Pedro: "It’ll be different from last year" | FCBarcelona
The Champions League is back on Wednesday, and Pedro Rodriguez, who appeared at the press conference today, warned about Arsenal, the opposition in the last 16. "They're a great team and very difficult opposition with very good players, especially up front" he said. The Canary islander believes that the current form of Cesc and Van Persie will make it "a very difficult tie, different from last year as maybe they are more dangerous."

Barcelona Consider Closing Argentine Academy In Cost-Cutting Exercise - Report | Goal
Expansion reports that Barcelona are embarking on a process of reducing unprofitable investments and projects to ease the massive debt the Spanish club holds, and a prime target for closure is the Buenos Aires-based feeder club. The academy has failed to capture the next generation of Argentine talent as hoped, and its elevated running costs are a big expense for the Blaugrana.

David Villa Grateful To Barcelona For Rescuing Him From Transfer Uncertainty | Goal
Barcelona striker David Villa says that he is well settled at Camp Nou since joining the Spanish champions from Valencia in the summer and believes that the lack of uncertainty over his future has helped him concentrate on the football pitch.

Laporta seeks Cesc 'justice' | Sky Sports
Laporta doubts whether Fabregas will be back at Camp Nou this summer, but is confident that the work he started will be followed through. "What happened at that time was that we wanted to make the investment in Villa before the World Cup," Laporta said on Barca's failed attempts to land the Spain international in 2010. "We had tried the previous year and could not sign him because Valencia asked a lot of money.

Barça, a year unbeaten on the road | FCBarcelona
Incredible but true. Following the draw against Sporting on Saturday, Guardiola’s team has gone a whole year without losing away from home. The last defeat was on February 14th 2010, when Atletico Madrid beat them 2-1.

Arsenal's Theo Walcott Is ‘One Of The Most Dangerous Players I Have Ever Played Against’ - Barcelona’s Lionel Messi | Goal
"When we were playing Arsenal at the Emirates we were so in control of the game at 2-0, with all respect Arsenal were not even in the game. "Then Theo came on and changed the game. He pretty much single-handedly salvaged a draw that night."

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta: We Want Wembley Champions League Final Spot | Goal
Speaking to Calcio 2000 magazine, the World Cup winner said the Blaugrana's main ambition this season is glory in Europe. "It would be stupendous to get to the Champions League final at Wembley," Iniesta said.

Five Ways Barcelona Can Beat Arsenal | Goal
In truth, there's only one way Barca can defeat Arsenal, and that's because there's only one way Barca play: possession, attacking football. Pep Guardiola does not change his approach, playing system, formation, or tactics for any opponent. What he does change, though, is his specific instructions to his superstars during the game.

Unsung Busquets a rock for club and country | Reuters
If a random poll of soccer fans was taken and they were asked to name Spain's key players during last year's World Cup triumph, the chances are nobody would mention Sergio Busquets. The 22-year-old Barcelona midfielder operates in the unglamorous defensive midfield role for club and country and is usually overshadowed by higher-profile team mates like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and David Villa.

Barca 'want smaller Liga, larger CL' | Eurosport
"What would be very interesting for us however is over the next 10 years creating smaller domestic leagues and a larger Champions League," Faus, who is responsible for economic affairs at the Catalan club, said in an interview at Nou Camp stadium.

Victor Valdes: Iker Casillas' Red Card For Real Madrid Against Espanyol Was Unfair | Goal
“I have saw the incident repeatedly and I do not think the expulsion was fair. The players did not seem to be in direct contact, but I understand that it was difficult for the referee to make this decision.”

I Enjoy The Pressure Of The Champions League - Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho | Goal
“When Real Madrid were knocked out by Lyon last season, I remember they had a chance to score a second goal, but Lyon tied and the game ended later. But this pressure is something that makes me feel comfortable. I do not feel pressure when the Champions League is coming, but an appetite for playing in it.”

Osasuna appoint Mendilibar | Eurosport
The 49-year-old Mendilibar, former coach of Athletic Bilbao and Valladolid, has agreed a contract until the end of next season and will be presented at a news conference on Tuesday, the club said on their website.

Real Madrid To Make Approach For Juventus Stopper Giorgio Chiellini - Report | Goal
La Gazzetta dello Sport comments that Los Blancos coach Jose Mourinho is making provisions for the possibility that their Portuguese stopper will refuse to renew his contract, which expires in 2012, and may have to consider selling him in the summer.

Gunners check on Lopez | Sky Sports
The Gunners have long been linked with a new shot-stopper and seemingly they are considering a summer swoop. Spanish sources claim they have been assessing Lopez for the last two months and reports have been good.

Baena blow for Espanyol | LFP
Espanyol midfielder Raúl Baena is expected to miss the next month of Liga BBVA action after suffering a Grade II injury to his left thigh muscle. Doctors estimate that the player will be able to return to first team duties in four to six weeks' time.

Hercules Midfielder Royston Drenthe Ruled Out For Three Weeks With Hamstring Injury | Goal
The Dutch international has struggled for fitness since the beginning of 2011, only making two substitute appearances since the winter break, and after undergoing an MRI scan this morning, the Alicante club has confirmed that he will require at least three weeks of recuperation.

Larrea facing 10-day lay-off | LFP
Levante midfielder Gorka Larrea is expected to be out of action for the next 10 days after doctors discovered inflammation to muscles in the player's shin, thought be have been caused by a blow.

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