Sunday, 10 May 2009

Preview : Villarreal

Venue : Camp Nou, Barcelona


Before I begin the preview, let me say a few words to Rafouka who had some harsh criticism for my last preview. Rafouka, do you see these previews that I do? I do not get paid to do them. Do you see the videos that I tirelessly supply? I do not get paid to do that either. Do you see the hours I spend as a moderator in the Barca Chat? I do not get paid to do that. Do you see the articles that Ramzi writes? He does not get paid to do them. You see all of the stories that Pep finds and puts on this blog? He does not get paid to do this. And there are many others who give of their time freely such as Kamikaze Kontiki, hamad ali and barca al to name a few.

We all do this because of our love for Barca and for the people that come onto this blog. We all have lives outside of this blog and we could all spend our time doing other things besides writing articles/previews or finding stories and videos or doing translations for this blog. I have never claimed to be a "genuis" (sic) as you stated and the day somebody comes along that thinks they can do a better job than myself I will happily step aside and allow them to give the people who read this blog a better insight into Barcelona's upcoming matches.

Do you think it is easy for me to spend hours of my time going through past games to look for trends, goals scored, goals conceded, formations used, history and quotations from players about the game? Do you think that after the deflating 0-0 draw with Chelsea I felt happy or enthusiastic to have to write another preview in 2 days time? I'm all for critiquing of my previews and suggestions of how to improve things on this blog, but you Sir had nothing constructive to say. You slam my previews because I do not predict a Barcelona win every game and imply that I am somehow not as good a fan because of this. I may be a Barcelona fan Sir, but I am not delusional, Barcelona are going to lose and draw some games every season, no team has ever played a season in the modern era and gone unbeaten in all of the competitions and quite frankly I feel secure in saying no team ever will.

Finally I saw you mentioned tactics, let me explain something to you, we can only look at certain trends here and attempt to extrapolate from them. When we talk about Iniesta being a key player on the left flank in a certain game, we are only attempting to give the fans an idea of what could happen. Nobody here has an inside link to the Camp Nou or Pep Guardiola, we can only give our opinion of what could happen. Let me just close off this statement by saying that the day that my previews do not find favour with the fans, I will happily walk away from it with no hesitation.


On to the preview then, after a week of utter ecstasy for the Blaugrana and their fans, the team nears the end of this difficult stretch of games that is the make or break portion of its season. With the win over Madrid and the scoring draw at Stamford Bridge, Barca have taken two giant steps towards turning this season from a record breaking season into a legendary season that will be spoken about 100 years from now by the Blaugrana fans at that time. Barcelona could even clinch the league season on Sunday against Villareal provided Real Madrid drop points on Saturday. Even a Madrid draw and a Barcelona win would hand the Cules the title as Barcelona would be 9 points clear with 3 remaining games. This would mean that Real Madrid could only tie Barcelona on points and since La Liga is decided on a head to head basis if teams end up tied on points and Barcelona beat Real Madrid home and away this season for an aggregate of 8-2, the La liga title would be clinched by the Blaugrana.

Previous Game

Barcelona went into Madrid and thrashed the Merengues 6-2 in what was one of the biggest losses in the Clasico and the most goals conceded by either team in a Clasico. The performance by Barcelona was a joy to behold and was almost the perfect game from the Blaugrana. A concern for Guardiola would have to be the ease with which Barcelona conceded goals from free headers which has seemed to plague the Blaugrana the entire season.

Villareal meanwhile warmed up for their trip to the Nou Camp by slumping to a disappointing 2-0 home loss to Sevilla. Sevilla had been in awful form losing their last 4 games to Getafe, Valencia, Barcelona and Real Madrid and one would really have expected Villareal to make that 5 straight losses for Sevilla.

Current Form

Villareal had a bad month of April, winning 2 out of 7 games in all competitions and going out of the Champions League to Arsenal in the process. That bad form seemed to have continued into the month of May with Villareal opening the month with the aforementioned loss to Sevilla. In this run Villareal have scored 5 goals while shipping an alarming 13 goals. They have had their injury worries this season with Captain Marcos Senna injuring himself after Santi Carzola was ruled out of the rest of the season earlier that month.

Barcelona meanwhile have been rolling along continuing there relentless march towards the title having last lost a game on the 1st of March against Atletico Madrid. In that time they have advanced to the Champions League Final, the Copa del Rey final and taken themselves to within touching distance of the La Liga title. In the process they have won 10 games and drawn 5, scoring a remarkable 38 goals and conceding 9. This fantastic run has not come without their price however Rafa Marquez having been ruled out for the rest of the season and Thierry Henry is going to miss the Copa del Rey final and could very well miss the Champions League final as well.

Player Profiles
Bojan vs Rossi


In this matchup we could see two future global superstars of football. Bojan the Golden Boy of Barcelona and Spain comes up against Giuseppe Rossi the future of the Italian National team. Krkic, born in Catalonia to Spanish and Serbian parents, shot to prominence as a youngster when he scored 899 goals in 7 years in the Barcelona youth system. A call up to the Spanish u-17 national team quickly followed and Bojan proved his class leading Spain to the U-17 European crown (scoring the winner against England in the final) and also to 2nd place in the FIFA U-17 World Championship (where he finished as top scorer for Spain and joint 3rd top scorer for the tournament, he also copped the Bronze ball for the 3rd best player in the tournament).

A promotion to the Barca first team followed last year (becoming the youngest ever barca player to play in a champions league game as well as being the youngest ever Barcelona player to score in La Liga along with being the 2nd youngest player to ever score in the champions league and the first person born in the 1990's to play in the Champions League) and he proved he was not out of his depth scoring 10 league goals last year. Chances have been more limited for the wunderkid this year but he has still managed 9 goals in all competitions just 2 less than his total for last year.

With Thierry Henry out for some weeks still and the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, Guardiola may turn to his young prodigy as he attempts to keep the squad fresh during this difficult run of games. Pep already turned to Bojan this season for the Almeria game and the youngster did not fail to deliver netting both goals on that occasion in a 2-0 win.

If Bojan is an example of how young players can be developed in the area where they are from Rossi is the antithesis. Born in the United States of America to Italian immigrants, Rossi moved to Italy when he was offered a spot at the youth team of Parma in the year 2000. He stayed there for 4 years until Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United came calling at which point he moved to England to join, the Manchester United Youth team. Rossi proceeded to score at a prolific rate for Manchester United's youth and reserve teams, but found first team opportunities limited.

He managed to score his first goal for Manchester United's senior team in 2005, but spent part of 2006 on loan at Newcastle United before moving back to Italy to Parma for a season loan in 2007 where he scored 9 goals in 19 games. Fed up with waiting for opportunities at Old Trafford, Rossi then moved to Spain for Villareal where he has scored 23 league goals in 54 games. He was so highly respected by Ferguson that Manchester United insisted that a buy-back clause be inserted into the deal with Villareal before he left. Scoring at a rate of a goal every two games in the last 3 years Rossi has already played in the 3 top leagues in Europe at the tender age of 22. He went to the Olympics at the start of this season and gave his best scoring 4 goals in 4 games which was enough to take Italy to the quarterfinals but no further. Villareal's top scorer this season with 15 goals in all competitions, Rossi will undoubtedly have to play some role if the "yellow submarine" are to get anything at the Camp Nou.

TACTICS AND FORMATION

Villareal have favoured a 4-4-2 lineup this season, however they may consider playing an extra man in the midfield as they did in the first meeting between these two teams at El Madrigal. The fear of being demolished like Real Madrid (6-2), Sevilla (4-0) and Valencia (4-0) earlier this season means that Villareal will look to attempt to close down the free flowing play of Barca and stifle the creativity of the Blaugrana's midfield.

Barcelona on the other hand with one eye on the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday may consider resting a few players. We could see some of the players that have played less, such as Caceres, Bojan, Hleb and Gudjohnsen get some minutes in to improve their match fitness and confidence before the Copa del Rey.

Predicted Lineups


Barcelona : Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Caceres, Abidal, Xavi, Gudjohnsen, Keita, Bojan, Etoo, Messi

Villareal : Diego Lopez, Angel, Godin, Gonzalo, Capdevila, Cani, Mati Fernandez, Eguren, Ibagaza, Nihat, Rossi

RECENT MATCHUPS IN CAMP NOU

04/05 Barcelona 3 - 3 Villareal
05/06 Barcelona 1 - 0 Villareal
06/07 Barcelona 4 - 0 Villareal
07/08 Barcelona 1 - 0 Villareal (Copa del Rey Quarter final 2nd leg)
07/08 Barcelona 1 - 2 Villareal

Villareal have won only once in their last 5 visits to the Camp Nou losing 3 and drawing 1. The one draw came after Barcelona had already claimed the league title and had nothing to really play for. In this Run Villareal have scored 5 goals (albeit in only 2 games) and conceded 10.

Conclusion: It does not look good for Villareal. Barca will clinch the league title with a on Sunday and the party will well and truly be on in the Camp Nou. Villareal have an average away record in La Liga winning 5 of their 17 away games so for drawing 7 and losing the other 5. They have scored 22 goals away from home but conceded 24. They have conceded an alarming 17 goals in the first 30 mins out games out of a total of 37 goals. This does not bode well for them as Barcelona have scored an amazing 27 goals between mins 16 and 30 (the most of any time portion of games for the season) of games this season out of their total 100 and 36 goals in the first 30 mins. Villareal have also conceded 10 goals in mins 76 to 90 where as Barca have scored 22 in that time period. Overall just too much firepower for poor Villareal who will attempt to play spoiler and stop the part in Barcelona for 1 more week.

Prediction : Barcelona 4 Villarreal 0

Happy times against Villarreal



Note : Special thanks to M10 for the vid.

13 comments:

hamad_ali said...

keep doin what u do best barca4life at least u contribute something for all cules to enjoy .
there will always be critics and haters just as there are fans , and i think that i speak for most visiters when i say that we all appreciate your work .

and for once i really hope you get the result right this time ;P

Anurag said...

hey barca4life, its ok man. all of us who visit this blog regularly do it because of ppl like you and ramzi. cheers. hope barca give iniesta the best birthday gift possible by crushing villarreal tonight.

ej said...

Guys thanks for the hard work , really much thanks , just want you to know that mose os us appreciate what you do.

and the way you even react to requests (see the one with post game interviews) you could told us go and read the interviews somewhere else , instead you brough us the interviews in english as a video !! :)(which is 1000 times better)


really thank you all a lot and i hope barca win laliga tonight

Aeneas said...

Good lineup, personally would have preferred Gudjohnsen in the Chelsea game as well given his premier league experience.

is that picture an action shot of Busquets howler last December?

kamikaze kontiki said...

Real have lost we have the chance to win the league. GO BARCA !!! Tonight is the night. The first title of the season comes our way and after this it will be easier to focus on the CL.

Great preview as usual Barca4life and thanks for defending all of us who contribute to this blog.

Personally, I think, Busquets will start and this is the perfect opportunity for him to regain form. If Villareal start Ibagaza then all their plays will be channelled through him and Busquets will have a relatively uncomplicated task of stopping just one person to have a major impact on the game.

As for criticism, all criticism is welcome and many of you may notice that Pep reads a lot of the comments and uses the ideas suggested by many readers. The point is that in any criticism the strength of your argument, the reasons you give and what you say is important. This is what people read and what they respond to. Personal attacks just reflect poorly on the person commentating. We do not know each other personally, barca4life, pep, ramzi, etc are not friends, I meet up with in a bar every saturday. The logic behind their comments and articles is persuasive so even if barca4life's predictions do not come true or Ramzi's tactical suggestions are not what are actually implemented, we still respond to their rationale because it is impressive.

So I hope all readers will be as effective in providing forceful arguments, intelligent comments and fresh ideas and not descend to personal criticisms, character assualts or the most common suggestions that others are not truly followers of Barça.

Ondra said...

Will Barca recieve the cup tonight if they win?

Aussie Barca Fan said...

You guys all do a wonderful job on this site. The reviews are very good and polished. The comments are interesting and tasteful and there is a good vibe going around. For people like me who live on the other side of the world, this gives me an opportunity to connect with Barca fans without driving my wife crazy talking about Barca lol

For everyone else who contributes by writing their comments and thoughts I am grateful to them also. It's others like Knives who does commentry, Noubarca, Harsh, Kamikazi, CanadianBarca, Stigsby who all deserve mentions for stiring up everyone on chat during matchdays.

I hope this blog continues. This is our time to celebrate winning La Liga and hopefully the Del Ray and CL to come.

Visca el Barca from Aussieland lol

Harshawardhan said...

This chat is a delight and the work done by everyone is really appreciable..
its become a habit to log on to the blog every single day (sometimes 2wice or 3rice!) and log on to the match chat every match day and enjoy the game with fellow cules..
Mes que un blog!
Mes que un club!

Anonymous said...

NO one should be criticising anyones contributions. Its what makes this site so great, keep it up

blablabla37 said...

Keep up the good work guys! I, and i think i speak for 99% of us, appreciate it a lot!

As for the predicted line-up, i think that Barça will start most of the big guns for a last time to try and make sure we seal the victory tonight. I think winning La Liga asap has more priority than the Copa del Rey final.
I predicted the 1-1 draw this week and i also predicted that Chelsea would score first so i'll try to be just as spot on now.

I think it will end 3-1 for Barça with us scoring first then Villareal will equalise but in the end we will walk away comfortable winners. Eto'o will score today.

noubarca said...

I feel ur pain B4L. some folks run their mouth like dysentary. I had to log out of the chat room cos I was called "dumb" for questioning Pep.G's selection of our back 4 against Chelsea. I came back wen Iniesta scored. I was too happy to stay away from the chat room. I have been called names several times by a dude (Memo). We cant all agree otherwise, it would be "boring".. but thats not to say we should call folks names and critisize them harshly. I believe in constructive critisism. But You guys keep up the good work. I love reading the previews..yet I dont agree with everything in it. And am so glad I got mentioned by a dude for helping wiv comentary...lol.. dont mind me..I am jsut wating to win the liga 2nite

Anonymous said...

What exactly did Rafouka say?

barca4life said...

Check my last preview anony

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