FC Barcelona 2011- Best Matches and Goals

This image is etched into the minds of every Barca fan, the moment when Abidal lifted the champions league trophy. After a successful liver tumor operation, Abidal was able to return to the field in just two months and help Barcelona win their 3rd champions league trophy in 6 years.

Here are the rest of my top 5 moments of Barcelona’s record breaking 2011 season.

5) Barca sweeps competition for the FIFA world player award with Messi, Iniesta, and Xavi as finalists. All three home grown products of the youth system, Barcelona shows the world how to create footballers.

4) Messi and Iniesta put on a show against Arsenal in the Champions League. A goal only Messi could score as he delicately receives the ball and chips it up over the charging keeper. The magic starts with Iniesta as you watch him carefully juke the defenders out of position with a fake shot and then chip the ball up through the tightest of spaces to land perfectly at Messi’s feet. This goal displays the pinnacle of Barca magic which no other team can produce.

3) David Villa’s wonder-strikes against Real Madrid/Manchester United. A tribute to David Villa, whose emergence in big games and important solo goals gave Barcelona the boost they lacked the previous year in their conquest of all competitions. When a striker can score despite the defense and keeper being in perfect position, as was the case in the Madrid goal, he is invincible, and world class strikers are defined by those kinds of goals. But more remarkably was his ability to check his ego, and be willing to partner with Messi and Pedro, and take less goals in exchange for trophies. Villa would be the leading scorer at any other club he played for, but he was willing to let Messi carry the torch, and this selflessness was what Barca lacked last year, and made the difference in their titles won.

2) Barcelona’s dominance against Real Madrid. The two teams met for a record amount games in all competitions, and Barcelona rose victorious. Most notably was their record breaking 5-0 destruction of Real Madrid in the the league at the Camp Nou, and Messi leading the charge as Barcelona knocked Real out of the Champions League semi finals. It was thrilling to win the League and Champions league, but doing so in the face of Real Madrid made it legendary. Messi continued to rise up during the biggest games, and no better example was his brilliant solo goal against Real Madrid as he continues to outperform his arch rival Ronaldo head to head.

1) Barcelona- European Champions. The holy grail for all European teams, Barca made the finals look easy. Nothing could mean more than these words, coming from possibly the greatest coach of all time Sir Alex Ferguson :

          “They play the right way and they enjoy their football. They do mesmerise you with their passing and we never really did control Messi. In my time as manager, it’s the best team I’ve faced.”

That’s saying something, considering Fergie started managing in 1974 and has faced all the best teams since then with his historic Manchester United sqauds.

For more top moments and photo galleries check out this 2011 photo review of Barca:





Barcelona 9 – L’Hospitalet 0 (Game analysis and new record!)

Here are the highlights from this game

After Pedro’s penalty goal, Barca never looked back and tallied 9 goals in a total rout of L’hospitalet, spreading the ball around and allowing several B team players to jump in on the scoring action.

The score sheet as it looked at the end, with newcomers Thiago, Cuenca, and Tello getting a brace. But the game was more than just that.

Important points

Cuenca again proved to be a monster from the winger spot. He had 2 goals, at least 2 assists, was involved in even more goals and created even more chances that others squandered. They had no answer for him on the wing and his quick step and decisive crosses are going to be deadly, especially with people like Messi and Fabregas who are surgeons in tight spaces in the box. Notably though, Cuenca’s amazing performance came on the heels of him refusing to sign a contract extension with Barca, a move to get more money. Fortunately for him (or unfortunately for Barca) it seemed to work, with him proving during this game to be indispensable, and outright disastrous if he were to get swooped up by Madrid. More on Cuenca’s contract situation:


Barcelona held onto yet another record over Madrid

It seems like in the last two years Barca has redefined all of the La Liga records, including most wins, most games without conceding, and last night they held onto the record of most goals in a year with an astounding 170. Barca had the record with 154 in 2010, but this year Real Madrid broke it with 167. That stood for 1 day until Barcelona got the last word, and with one fell swoop crushed the record and reset it at 170. Toma Madridistas!!

FC Barcelona – L´Hospitalet 22-12-2011 4:00 pm EST

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.

Post Game Tweets (Barca vs Levante, Dec. 3rd)

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!


Barcelona Vs. Levante (Line ups)

Alexis – Messi – Cuenca

Xavi- Busquets- Fabregas- Iniesta

Abidal- Puyol- Mascherano


Super excited for this game. A real test of where Barca stands after coping with their change in formation and recent injury blows. Notably they start with the 3-4-3 again, and Alexis earned the spot up top. Also look for Cuenca to make in impact with his blistering crosses and excellent ability to take on the fullbacks.

If Barca can make it through the first 15 minutes or so without conceding, they should be able to settle the game down and grind out a win. With the 3-4-3 they have looked vulnerable at the start of games and Milan was able to score while other teams like Getafe and Rayo also had good luck attacking from the flanks, but were unable to capitalize.

Barcelona Vs. Levante (Preview)

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.

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.