Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Wembley Ramble, Back to the future.

The Wembley Ramble, Back to the future.

This team WILL win more leagues, This teamWill win more Champions leagues, And its not an impossible fantasy to say that this team WILL win the treble again one day.

Its the "WILL'' of confidence. Having the youth academy of Barcelona, the WILL turns to inject unpredictable future with lot of certainty. Without delay, lets introduce our boys who turned to men:

Montoya: Very good when it come to driving the gear forward, with decent defensive qualities He may end up being our new sergio, but on the right. Yet I don’t expect him to have lot of impact before 2 years from now.

Dalmau: Decent fullback. I believe having montoya and Delmau means that we will need no more Alves transfers anymore to cover a righ back weakness. At least one of them will turn to be a starter as an Alves heir.

Rueda: Not the flashy kind of midfielders as it seems. But will be a good utility midfielder. Yet, he needs to be more focused on improving passing skills if he wants to graduate from Barcelona university.

Espasandin: First game performed better than the next. But he is 24 years old. So I assume that he is just a player to strengthen Barcelona athletic.

VicSan: I said it before that he is not a CB. A DM or even a FB, but he is definitely not a CB. His versatility is his main strength. Yet, he really needs to improve dramatically to survive. Having busquets and co makes me feel he will have it tough to survive in this team. Hope he hide some surprises, Good ones.

Assulin: He showed some signs of talent. In general he was fine. But let’s forget the "new Messi" expectations or else he will be evaluated harshly as the time goes by. He does the pressure in the midfield and on opponent defence. He seemed to be more a pace-y type of players than being a skilful. He is not an option for the flank this season as some Barcelona fans expected before, still too early Even though he will have some playing time. He plays in a position where we have lot of youth to compete with, but some flashes along the two games showed his real potentials, one of the guaranteed cards for the future. Patience, Patience.

Jeffren: This guy causes me lot of stress while watching him. He milks all the cows at the farm perfectly and then kicks all the milk to the soil. His damn last touch! He is talented, he is skilful and he has the Bull style that makes him my primary hope for the flank on the long term. But he needs to put more focus on his last pass. After the dribbling, running, whatever, he just takes the last touch for granted. If there is a reason why pedro was selected for the first team last summer over jeff, its that. If he can reserve more of his Focusing Karma till the last moment, he will be the big thing this season. He has the "it" to give the Busquets impact. A player to watch.

Pedro: He knows its make or break this season, and he seems to be up for it. There is more pressure on him than any other young player at the moment, beside Bojan. He plays on the flank, where we have other youth. He took the primary chance by being promoted last season. So time is not on his side. But what we have seen in the past two games generate optimism regarding the future of the lad. Not sure how long will it takes him till (if) he becomes a starter. But at least he will turn to be a quality player to create depth. He is polishing a killing instinct in front of the goal. Having him, Jeff, Bojan and Gai was the main reason why I wasn’t so excited about signing a pure wing this summer. It would have been disastrous in my opinion because we would have lost at least two of our young guns. Henry and Iniesta are in the first row, Then Bojan and pedro in the second row, then Jeffren, then Gai. We do NOT need a left wing.

Rochina: Huge. I wondered for a moment why did we sign Keirrison? (just for a moment, though). In the first game, His first few minutes were bad. Then he started to show why he is one of the promising lads we have. He has lot of potentials to play with his back to the goal. Exchange passes Masiah style. Good positioning. Have the confidence and courage (may be some ego and arrogance as well - Hopefully). Good on the flanks as well. I would have preferred him playing the "9" position in the second game while Bojan plays on the flank, because that’s how I see it happening few years from now. I believe Pep wanted to test him on the flank in the second game after using him at the centre in the first. He holds the ball too much sometimes. He wasn’t one of the most impressive boys over the two games, but I predict fast improvement. Keep an eye on this guy. You will not regret.

Fontas: To have massive number of talented midfielders at Barcelona youth academy is nothing new. But to have that number of talented defenders is pretty surprising for me to be honest. No wonder botia was loaned out and caceres is in a big trouble. This guy was the best surprise in this tournament. Coming from no where and planting the seed of hope in our heart. Not ready for big times yet, but now we know him by name.

Krkic: I still expect more. He scored two goals in two games. He showed more maturity and lead the young team upfront. I really hope he get more opportunities to play this season than last season. He needs it and he has what it takes to be there on the pitch. He has the clinical finish of a striker, but I prefer him on the flanks. With all the talent he has, it’s still a challenging situation for him to cement his role at Barcelona. That’s why the coming season will be “The one” for Bojan. He needs that mean mentality to be able to dominate his opponent. The talent is there, the skills as well. But there is an impression of fragility that you get while watching him which he needs to overcome in order to make it on the highest level. I wish he does. And it has to happen this season. Lot of pressure on him, something I don’t like because he is still a kid and we must not forget that. Yet, high expectations, recent signings, and the mine of massive talents we have at the moment dictate this situation. A great talent for the future, but future starts today.

Dos Santos: The bright future is calling this boy. I dare to say the future of Barcelona at the midfield. Dictates tempo, sew the passing canvass perfectly. Good pressure on the opponent midfield. Demanding the ball in the right space. I believe he will be a copa del rey starter this season. From there on, only his performance will decide to what extend he will be used in the liga games. Yet, not a player to promote to the first team at the moment. He needs to play week in week out, and that’s only available at Barcelona athletic.

Saying all that, it’s important not to repeat the Dos Santos-senior mistake again with any of the new youth players. Patience is needed. I hope we will not see a day when Barcelona fans whistle against any of the new youth, Regardless of their performance. I hope we will not have a “Jeffren Vs Pedro”, “Gio Vs Thiago” environment where the fans feel the need to burry one just because they worship the other. It happened before with the “Gio Vs Bojan” case and it had an impact on the Mexican boy. We do not want to lose a new talented player. EPL teams are robbing enough. Playing all the youth we selected at Wembley causes lot of concerns for me already.

Moving to the veterans:

Muniesa: Alright, he was caught out of position in some cases. There was some lack of chemistry in the box with his compatriots, but its all understandable. I said it before and I say it now. Since Iniesta’s debut, No one impressed me since the first moment the way this guy did. And in this tournament he cemented his place for the trip to USA, and for some more action next season. A natural leader, Puyolish style. Solid, confident, and needless to say that he has the passing thing, Pique flavour. I will be extremely shocked if few years from now, this guy didn’t contribute with pique creating the best CB duet Barcelona ever had.

One last ramble:

Henrique: Well, he is also a young player. Lot of anxiety shadowed his performance in the first two games that I can’t really evaluate his potentials He needs more time to express himself. He has the calmness and the passing skills that caceres lack. Had some good moments but his overall performance was not something to praise. I will save some ink, so he better get advantage of that and inspire me, or else…

Caceres: Chocolate and Chicken, I like both. But not together in the same dish of course. The guy has massive potentials – the Chicken- but not exactly for Barcelona- The chocolate. For Barcelona the ability to defend spaces is vital. Positioning is crucial. And Passing excellence is a must. Unless if nothing revolutionary happens, I hate to say it but he may not have a future in this team. I always supported him because for his age he still has the time to progress and overcome his defects. Yet, when I scan the youth defenders we have, I believe it may not worth keeping him. He may need two seasons to become ready. Muniesa within two years may reach a level caceres will never dream about. Henrique may also exceed caceres potentials with time, and he is more versatile. Hope he proves me wrong but unless if he will be employed as a left backward, I can’t see him a Barcelona Player for long. Even as a left back, he still has a lot to learn, and we have quality youth to count on, as well.

Pinto: Solid back up for valdis, but even if it’s a friendly game, you are not allowed to show of. What a bad attitude and lack of focus in the first game. No surprise that Guardiola benched him in the second game, using the third and first keepers along the two halves.

Gudjohnsen: If we signed no midfielders, this guy must stay.

Yaya: He insists on proving my point. He seems to be tied to a tree by playing as a defensive midfielder, which forbids him from releasing all his supernatural potentials. He is a quality Defensive mid, but when Pep uses him as a Centre midfielder for a sequence of games, there will be no way back. That comprehends the Mascherano transfer if it happens. In between Mascherano and Xavi, this guy will upgrade this team to a new level. He can defend, he can pass, he can shoot, he can dribble, he can run into the box creating two towers with ibra for the Alvis-iniesta crossing machines, and he can score as well. A perfect Box-to-Box midfielder whom we can’t afford losing as a Defensive midfielder till we get a quality replacement there.

Beside, he Will boost the overall squad quality and depth by moving to his natural position.in the midfield with all the rotations of Iniesta/Xavi, Yaya/Keita, Mascherano/Busquets, and Upfront with Iniesta/(Henry or Bojan), Ibra/(Henry or Bojan), Messi/(Pedro or Jeff or iniesta/Ibra if needed) added to all the string of youth players. Not a very popular options basically because people usually fear change. But I will keep nagging on it till it happens. Sue me.

Ramzi Tanani


Knives Out said...

Great article Ramzi. Truly a wonderful read. Look forward to seeing more of Dos Santos, Toure (but of course :P), Assulin, and the likes.

Anonymous said...

I saw the first game at Wembley and the second on tele. I totally agree with Krkic, Muniesa, Fontas & Rochina.. For me the 4 best youngsters.

The thing Muniesa has to much of, Fontas has to little: presence & determination.

From the moment Muniesa was on the pitch, he was hungry for the ball. He intercepted, he wasn't afraid to compete with the strikers, he dared to run with the ball, go up front..

Fontas played very well, but it seems to me he was a bit impressed. He seemed a bit scared to lead the way. Maybe because he played with Abidal to the left, Yaya in front & Caceres to the right of him, players with more experience. If he, one day, has the character so say "i'm here, try to keep me out of the team", he'll be really good.

Only about Dos Santos i might disagree, i always said his brother wouldn't make it, and, okay he's very young, but i kinda have same feeling about him.

Krkic has a lot of talent, but i expect a bit more. I think the problem is in his head: he loves this team so much, he's afraid to do something wrong and if he does, he let's it hang a bit.. That will go away with the years passing, but will he get enough time? Has he got enough patience?

Never heard of Rochina, but man, did he play a nice game vs spurs. It's true, not the best first few minuts, but from then on.. good runs, good passing, good vision..

Messi108 said...

Great article Ramzi.

shanewhitehouse said...

hey pep did you get my email

Zairus said...

great article ramzi after a long absence.

surely muniesa will be a puyol type defender. his agresiveness the hunger of the ball is too much. Maybe exprience will teach him how to wisely commit.

two years ago 2007, Barca Juvenil B came here to Malaysia participated youth cup arranged by Danone. They were physically outshoned by MU kids.

wasnt sure Rochina was there or not. But i do recgonised Jonathan and Thiago. Thiago much better than Jonathan. He was like a young deco in the making. Jonathan has a barca DNA. Seeing this Xavi will say to Iniesta "this kid will make us retired"

Moltisanti said...

Great articte as usual Ramzi.

The dos Santos thing: His brother had/has an attitude problem so it was the best for us he left.

Gudjonhsen: a must sell even if we don't sign any midfielders. I'd rather watch us play with 10 against 11 than watch him. That's how bad he is.

ocho said...

I must admit I've contributed to the daily traffic on this site, yet never really participated in the regular discussions. Generally, I - like most people here - have genuinely enjoyed reading through Ramzi's analyses over the past year or so and I'm once again in near-complete agreement.
There are a few things I'd like to add to this though... 1) While VicSan is young and was at a point seen as a promising talent (namely due to his versatility), I must say that over the past year he has far from impressed and often appeared unsettled. Considering the talent on the youth roster, I'm surprised he's not currently on the verge of a loan spell (or dare I say - on the verge of a premature exit). 2) While securing Valdes led to losing the option of signing Asenjo, I believe it's about time we sell/release Jorquera or Pinto to provide Mino with more opportunities to participate with the senior team. While all the talk's been understandably about a Jorquera exit - I personally wouldn't mind seeing Pinto leave us either. 3) While I agree with the point about Guddy, it would be a real shame if we can't capture Mascherano or someone of equivalent talent (talk of Poulsen is upsetting my stomach). 4) Finally, after watching a few of Mexico's games on their way to winning the CONCACAF - I must say, I hope Gio Dos Santos gets more playing time this season at Tottenham since that would only provide us with an opportunity to buy back a player who's developing quite well - especially when put under pressure to perform.
Sorry about the ramble (now I know how it feels to be Ramzi!)..

JR said...

Nice read, but I don't agree about Bojan. The kid is very young, and this season is not at all the season it has to happen.

He has already shown he's one for the future, but he's only 18 and I expect him to be nothing more than a squad player for at least another two years.

Also don't agree with him being best at the wing. He's a natural finisher, it would be like putting David Villa on the wing.

BarcaFan(BiH) said...


Your articles are my favorite thing about this blog (apart from the daily news updates). Please keep them coming and on a regular basis. I love your insight into everything about the game. You are the best. I repeat, eastily my favorite thing bout this blog next to the news. You are a rock.

Knives Out said...

On a side note, what do you guys think about this:

I wrote a rather stinging comment on this article (going by the nick poseur). Would like to know what you folks think.

kjs said...

I agree with pretty much everything you said. The thing about Bojan that concerns me is that in order to break into the starting lineup he'll have to play as a winger. But I don't know if he has enough pace.

cr9 said...

@Knives Out

sorry dude it was a rabish article written by a typical zlatan hater.and don't mind but ur comment was also pretty rubbish

Knives Out said...

For someone who uses 'cr9' as his handle, makes me surely wonder your credibility to judge something as rubbish.

bus breaker said...

don't mind.i knives out.i also find your article pretty boring.it's basically a arsenal fan site so no wonder they are trying to impose negative image of fc barcelona and our new no. 9 zlatan ibrahimovic

shanewhitehouse said...

hey pep did you get my email?

Anonymous said...

Dear Ramzi,
How many times did you watch these 2 games?
Did you watch them only one time and you were able to write so many details?

kranki said...

Great article Ramzi. Very good points throughout.

I only disagree on one point. That is Caceres. I don't think he should be sold. I liked his aggressiveness in these games and thought I saw improvements. I still think he can be made good. Maybe a loan to Juventus would be a good thing. His problems in the past is that he has been too rash in his tackles, maybe playing in the more methodical Italian league would help him develop his game.

I am also glad you posted a realistic view on Assulin. Everybody keeps gushing over this kid, but from what I saw on the pitch, he is still not there yet. He needs a few more years to mature as a player I think.

Also VicSan, have not been impressed. I don't think he is barca material and should be permitted to go so he can have some playing time somewhere else.

I was impressed by Dalmau, Dos Santos and Rochina. Very promising.

PD said...

Guys quote of the day - or should i say joke of the day ---

"If necessary, we'll find the Spanish players we would like for the squad in our youth system." - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez

Youth Academy - lol ... :-D

OLALEKAN said...

it was a nice aticle,i accept with all but what i think is that espasandi is a a good player for barca,i think he should be sold,even muniesa can play on that left side of the defence better than he does,he is too old for the athletics. the players i can give a real credit to that i will also want to see play for the first team this season is gai,muniesa,jonathan,rochina(the best for the cup) montoya,fontas and rueda. BUT i love all the lads.

Sílvia said...

Good analysis.
In these first two preseason matches I especially liked Muniesa, Fontàs, Rochina and Jonathan. Pedro is more mature and Victor Sánchez is slowing its progression.

Engineer said...

Exclusive interview with Joan Laporta (in English!) talking about Zlatan.

Interviewer is the Blonde Swedish girl we all saw yesterday at the press conference,


ograsrot said...

Where on the internet can one watch barca atletic play during regular season? Unfourntunatly not on Veetle.com...

Does anyone know? - I would love to follow the youth team as well,

i_love_boobs_and_barca said...

Engineer: Thanks for that Blonde Swedish girl!!!

i_love_boobs_and_barca said...

Ramzi, a superb article, again. Agree on everything, especially about Yaya. The guy is the king.

Anurag said...

niiice stuff Ramzi.

BTW, werent you also writing an aftermath season ramble?

Xaviniesta said...

lol always nice to read you ramz, i kind of get lost in the literariness (if thats a word) but all things kind of come together in the end hehe.

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