Lionel Messi will be looking for his first ever away goal at Espanyol as Barca takes on that “other” team from Barcelona. Espanyol is a very difficult team to beat at home, but Barcelona should have everyone available for the game except Villa. Regardless this will be one of the most difficult games for Barca until they meet Real Madrid again, and if they let Espanyol hang around the game could get very complicated. Look for Messi and Fabregas to try to combine in the first 25 minutes to put the game at ease.
Barcelona go into this game with almost the entire first team on holidays already. With a 1-0 lead coming in Barca will need to get at least one goal to relax everyone. Expect Pedro, Thiago, Cuenca, Pinto, and some of the other B team players that have been getting time like Fontas to carry the load in this game.
3-4-3 vs 4-3-3 vs 4-2-2-2- WTF?! Confused by all these crazy starting line ups Guardiola uses? Ever wonder what a ‘9’ is? Let alone a false ‘9’? Stay tuned for a series of posts explaining as quickly and easily as possible what all this nonsense means, and why Barcelona under Guardiola has completely revolutionized the modern game. And I’m not talking about from back when the dudes wore girl shorts, I’m talking about in the last 5 years.
Check out this quote by Mourinho, the “special one”, in 2006 at Chelsea.
“You can have players who don’t run. In our team at Chelsea we have three attacking players but I don’t want them chasing full-backs and making themselves tired…” In essence he was content to wait until the ball was brought into his half and the defense could break it down.
Now if you’ve EVER watched Barca, chances are you know this sight well
That’s right. Its Pedro ninja kicking a defender to get the ball back. In all seriously, Pedro, Villa, Sanchez, whoever is playing up top have a relentless work rate when they lose the ball. Barcelona’s defense starts with the forwards, and as Pep put it, its easier to go 20 meters go goal than 50m if you wait till the ball is in your own half to win it back.
The ultimate proof: Real Madrid now under Mourinho has adopted the full field press, and it has been arguably more aggressive than Barcelona’s. Clearly, losing to this Barca side over and over again over the last few years has caused Mourinho to rethink his justification of players who ‘dont run.’
Fabregas says: Excellent performence from the boys tonight. I am very happy for the 2 goals. Now is time to rest for the 2 important games next week.
Victor Valdes says: I think this win says everything about how the team are doing, the way were playing, the amazing amount of goals we have at home. I am personally happy about the way I played during the game. Levante are a good side and they play good football.
Andres Iniesta says: Im happy for the victory and for being able to play all 90 minutes! now to prepare for the champions league before thinking about el clasico. Un abrazo a todos!!
Dani alves says: Great game, Im very happy to be part of such a great group!
With El Clasico looming on Dec 10th, Barcelona have one more chance with their full squad to prepare (the midweek clash at Bate will feature some B team players as Barca have already finished top of the group).
Pep has recently been featuring a 3-4-3, and I expect that to be the case here if he intents to use that against Madrid. An experimental line-up, but the pieces seem to be falling in place for it to work. Lets just hope its soon enough.
Levante is the surprise club of La Liga and will not be a push over. If Barca makes the mistake of looking too far ahead to Madrid, Levante are more than capable of making them pay. However, playing at the Camp Nou has meant invincibility so far this year, and I expect Barca to continue that streak in a close match.
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!!
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