Barcelona 4- Rayo 0 Match highlights and breakdown

The Highlights:

The Breakdown:

A quick breakdown of Barcelona’s goals yesterday. As I was saying the emergence of a legitimate threat from the outside strikers was going to be key to Barcelona regaining their form. Every team’s strategy has been to clog messi by throwing bodies at him, and as the defense gravitates and spaces open, someone has to exploit them. Finally, they did.

This is the first goal. if you look messi (at the bottom with the ball ) is making his run and as usual the ENTIRE defense has collapsed around him. Seven players within 10 Meters of him. Notice on top however Sanchez (above the ref) is perfectly positioned to receive this ball and slot it into the net. His finish was brilliant.

This is the third goal. If you notice that is Pique driving into ACRES of space in the defense, created by Sanchez at the VERY top of the screen holding his ground wide, and dani alves (off the screen at the very bottom right) who eventually gets the ball. Messi (on the bottom left just outside the circle) has drawn the defensive midfielders to himself. As pique charges, the defense is essentially exposed with their pants down, and Pique runs straight at the two centre halves and sets up a perfect goal.


This is the final goal. Messi has received a pass and is headed toward goal. Compare this to the first photo, where they were willing to leave the strikers wide open in order to stop messi. Now, after Sanchez and villa combine for 3 goals, they decide that they are legitimate threats that must be accounted for, and they are marked very tightly. This of course leaves messi 1v1 which is always going to be a disaster. He bursts around his man and slots home a perfect finish. But it is that emergence of villa and Sanchez play that allowed this play to happen.

Post Game Tweets (Barca vs Rayo, Nov 29th)

Fabregas says: Great result! Glad to get back on the field with my teammates.

David Villa says:  “We are a team with lots of players in front of the ball, we have loads of options. There’s only one ball and we can’t all receive it. When I don’t get it, I try to create space for others”

Victor Valdes says: Great victory on a Rayo Vallecano that made us work very hard. Three very important points today!!! Un abrazo a todos!!

Andres Iniesta says: I am content for the victory and for being albe to have returned to play!!”  (On Villa and Sanchez finding the net ): “It’s great news, we all know that strikers live to score goals. It’s great for them and it’s good for the team.”

Dani alves says: Good game!! good work!! We’ll continue to fight!!

Puyol says: I’m a god damn lion

pique says: fucking monkeeeeyys

Barcelona vs. Rayo (4-0)

Barcelona’s attack finally hit on all cylinders as they crushed Rayo and extended their home record to 34 goals for, 0 against. Astonishing.

Sanchez and Villa answered the call- stepping up and delivering a scintillating first half performance totally 3 goals. They looked hungry as they made streaking runs through the Rayo defense, slicing their way into the box and creating chaos. Their positioning without the ball was as wide as a whales vagina and this created room for iniesta to wreak havoc, as well as Dani alves’ penetrating runs. Both of these were missing in the recent lackluster form, but were showcased here as they accounted for 3 assists in the space that the forwards opened up.

Tactics were brilliant this game, and except for Valdez almost slam dunking a wayward cross into his own net, Rayo had a few half chances at best.

And pique, please never dive in the box again. you embarrass everyone . That is all.

 

sidenote : did we just get through a game analysis without mentioning messi? He was a mere bystander today (and by his divine standards that means that he still got 1 goal and 1 assist) but for once the genesis of all of Barcas creativity did not have to come through the Messiah, and as he marauded around pulling droves of defenders in his wake, FINALLY someone was able to capitalize on some goals.

Barcelona Vs. Rayo Vallecano lineups

Villa- Messi- Sanchez

Keita- Xavi- Iniesta

Abidal- Mascherano- Pique- Alves

Valdez

As predicted, Iniesta is back into the lineup. Im excited to see pep still has faith in Villa and has included him. As I said before, he is making an impact and his goal tally will catch up eventually. This will be a statement game heading into December for both of the strikers. They must find the net.

also would like to see pedro and cesc come on late to get some touches

Why Messi is superior to Cristiano Ronaldo

 

The Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi debate continues to be one of the hottest topics in world sport. Both are fabulous footballers that are essential to the successes of powerhouse clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona respectively.

Indeed there have been many opinion pieces written by journalists and fans alike which aim to demonstrate why Ronaldo or Messi is the world’s best footballer.

As a Messi supporter myself, one of the key arguments that Ronaldo fans come up with surrounds the Real Madrid star’s so called ability to carry a team on his shoulders.

Ronaldo supporters however seem to believe that Messi’s brilliance is made possible only by the chemistry he shares with Barcelona team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

While there is no denying that Xavi and Iniesta play a vital role in Messi’s success as a footballer, there is also significant evidence to suggest that Ronaldo is just as reliant on his Madrid team-mates.

During the 2010-11 season, Ronaldo scored 53 goals in all competitions – a remarkable achievement from the Portuguese international.

However, a closer look at Ronaldo’s goals suggests that the Madrid superstar is not the most complete footballer as most Ronaldo supporters would argue.

Of Ronaldo’s 53 goals last season, 32 of those strikes were either simple tap-ins or the result of a direct assist from a Madrid team-mate.

Furthermore, Ronaldo also scored 14 goals from dead ball situations, with nine of those strikes coming from the penalty spot, and the remaining five coming from his famous free kicks.

And most importantly, out of Ronaldo’s 53 goals, only seven of those strikes showcased Ronaldo’s so-called individual brilliance (dribbling past opponents, overhead kicks, shots from outside the box etc). Those goals were scored against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Villarreal, Real Soceidad, Athletic Bilbao, Tottenham and Almeria respectively.

While there is no denying that Ronaldo is a very influential footballer for Madrid, a closer examination of his goal scoring feats last season suggests that he is far from being the complete individual footballer many make him out to be.

Although Messi’s dependence on Xavi and Iniesta has been overstated as the strong point in the Barcelona forwards game, Ronaldo’s goal scoring success also owes a lot to the magnificent assists from Madrid stars such as Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira.

Fast forward to the present season and Ronaldo’s reliance on the above players continues to be significant.

At present, Ronaldo has scored 16 goals this season for Madrid, with seven of those strikes again coming from easy tap-ins made possible by the wonderful service his Madrid team-mates provide.

Add the fact that Ronaldo has also scored six penalties this year and you can already see that 13 of his 16 goals so far this season have showcased nothing of the spectacular individual athleticism that supposedly makes the Madrid star a better player than Messi.

One could even argue that Ronaldo relies more on his team-mates than Messi does at FC Barcelona.

Let’s cast our minds back to last season’s Champions League semi-final clashes between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Messi’s performances over the two legs were vastly superior to Ronaldo’s performances.

At the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo hardly presented himself as a threat to Barcelona’s defence. On the other hand, Messi scored two goals, the second of which saw the Argentine dribble past numerous Madrid defenders to slot home.

Messi’s second goal in particular showcased the Argentine’s capacity to produce individual brilliance without direct intervention from the likes of Xavi or Iniesta.

Ronaldo however has yet to score a goal of similiar stature, and this is largely because of his heavy, but very understated reliance on his Madrid team-mates.

If Ronaldo can somehow begin to replicate Messi’s individual brilliance when it counts, than the comparisons between these two supreme footballers should rightfully intensify.

Until then however, Ronaldo’s goal scoring feats for Madrid do little to suggest that he is a more complete footballer than his FC Barcelona counterpart.

Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano (Preview)

Mid week clash with a mid-table team. Expect Barca to bring back Iniesta or Cesc in this match, and to start with Pedro in forward. Rayo Vallecano is the epitome of average this season, with 15 goals for and 15 against landing right in the middle of all the statistics.

I’d like to see Villa or Pedro get on the score sheet and get some confidence heading into the start of December’s run of games. Sanchez also has the possibly of starting but I expect Cesc to start over him if he is fit. Messi needs help, and Sanchez was unable to deliver in his last start.

Prediction: Barca’s Camp Nou excellence will continue as they calmly dispatch another team at home

Moving Forward

With Barcelona hosting Rayo Vallecano at home on Tues, they continue their grueling stretch of a game every 4 days, which will continue into mid December and culminate with the Clubs world cup.

With iniesta and adriano expected back, be ready for an overhall of the midfield. Also, I would be shocked if Messi was not rested at least once in the next week, probably in the UCL against Bate. He hates not starting, and plays with the passion of a child when it comes to that, but after his lack of a spark in the last game I expect Guardiola to do the responsible thing and give him a break.

While two of the upcoming fixtures (BATE and RAYO) provide a chance for guardiola to get some of his upcoming attackers some experience (the likes of Sanchez, Cuenca and other reserve players), the Clasico is looming and I would also like to see him get his first teamers firing on all cylinders heading into that crucial match up.