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La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 4

September 17th, 2012

Barcelona remains unbeaten in the Spanish league with 12 points after four matches and is now 8 points ahead of current title holders Real Madrid. Barça’s arch-rivals have won just one of their matches so far and drawn another and, according to a Catalan news report, the first time in the history if the league that they have fallen 8 points behind the league leader. However, on the down side, it was confirmed yesterday that Carles Puyol has injured his left knee, a strain of the posterior cruciate ligament, and will be out of action for six weeks.

This week sees the start of Barcelona’s Champions League campaign, with their first match in the group stage against Spartak Moscow at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

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Dominant Barcelona Take the Points at Getafe

September 17th, 2012

FC Barcelona were in fine form on Saturday evening as they beat Getafe 4-1 in Madrid. It was a complete performance by Barça – lively in attack and defensively very sound. The goals came from Messi, who got two, Adriano and David Villa. Pablo Sarabia got a consolation for the home side, who barely had a sniff of the Barcelona goal all match.

Assistant coach Jordi Roura took Tito Vilanova’s place on the touchline, as the main man served out the second game of his suspension.

High in the stand at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Vilanova will have been pleased with the first half display, in a fixture that saw Pep Guardiola’s side slip to defeat last season. Barcelona found their touch quickly and started combining to great effect, even without mainstays like the injured Dani Alves and Messi, who was on the bench.

Tello had a chance four minutes in, when he used his lightning pace to rush past the Getafe backline, but saw his shot saved low by Moya. A little later Thiago controlled the ball deep in the Getafe half, strode forward and produced a rasping shot that crashed off the crossbar. Xavi then went close with an effort of his own

The pressure was building now, and it culminated with a goal – Cesc did well to get past two Getafe defenders before laying it off for Adriano, who tucked it home. Thiago might have made it two when he chested down a pinpoint pass by Tello, but Moya was alert and made a nearpost save.

Getafe hadn’t posed much of a threat, but forced Valdés into action just before half-time, when the Barça ‘keeper scrambled away a Pedro León free-kick.

The second half was much of the same from the visitors. Barcelona controlled possession and hardly looked troubled at the back. Tello had a couple of chances, the first of which was curled wide and the second well saved by Moya. Messi, on for Thiago, was denied what looked like a penalty when Miguel Torres brought him down but appeared to make no contact with the ball.

The referee had no choice but to point to the spot later when Pedro cut inside Valera and was caught by the defender. Messi scored, via Moya’s palm.

The onslaught continued into the final stages of the match – Montoya broke down the right, and his low cross was deflected into Messi’s path, who made no mistake from six yards out.

With just over 10 minutes to go, Getafe pulled a goal back to make it 3-1, when a shot by Sarabia took a wild deflection off Mascherano and left Valdés with no chance. But it had been a thoroughly professional performance by Barcelona, and this was underlined in injury time, when David Villa scored from a delightful Xavi pass. The Asturian forward strode into the area and placed his shot in between Moya’s legs to end the match at 4-1 to Barcelona.

1-0 Adriano (min 32)
2-0 Messi (min 72)
3-0 Messi (min 76)
3-1 Mascherano (min 77)
4-1 Villa (min 89)


La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 3

September 3rd, 2012

Barcelona opened their lead at the top of the table at the weekend being the only team to win all three of their encounters so far. Real Madrid won their first match of the season putting them on four points down in ninth place. However, it is still early days and there is plenty of time for Madrid to close the gap. Barça’s next match is against Getafe on September 15th.

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Barcelona Do Enough Against Valencia

September 3rd, 2012

Barcelona produced a workmanlike performance to see off a gritty Valencia team with a 1-0 victory at the Camp Nou on Sunday night. Chances were rare for both teams, and Barça had to withstand a late push by Valencia to get the win. The only goal of the night was a spectacular strike by Adriano.

In the first half Barcelona were handed the task of breaking down a Valencia team that was sitting deep and defending doggedly. Alex Song made his league debut, and took his place in Busquets’ role in front of the back four.

Barça needed a little time to size up their opposition, but were soon keeping the ball and beginning to find threatening positions. It was Valencia though that created the first real opportunity – Soldado trapped a long pass, cut inside Piqué and curled a dangerous-looking shot just past the right post from the edge of the area, with Valdés at full-stretch.

But for the remainder of the half Barcelona proceeded with relative comfort and were soon finding space. Messi had two headed opportunities, the first of which flew over the bar, but the second drew an acrobatic save from Diego Alves. The threat was growing, but when the opener did arrive, it came from an unlikely source.

Barcelona worked a short corner on the left, and the ball found its way to left-back Adriano, who trapped it on the angle of the area and curled a rasping shot into the top right-hand corner, leaving Diego Alves helpless.

The chances continued to flow – Xavi threaded a fantastic pass that Pedro met on the volley, but Alves got down to make the save. Minutes later Messi put Cesc through on goal with plenty of time, but the midfielder’s chipped effort grazed the outside of the post.

Barça conjured two good chances at the beginning of the second half, but slowly faded. The first was perhaps the best of the night. Alexis worked the ball cleverly to the by line on the right and cut back for Cesc who was in space seven yards out. The former Arsenal man took his shot first-time but managed to clear the cross-bar by a couple of yards.

Then, after a flowing passing move Adriano cut in from the right, where he was now positioned after an injury to Dani Alves, but his left-footed shot was hit straight at Valencia’s ‘keeper.

In the final half-hour the game stagnated. Barcelona lost some attacking cohesion, and Valencia’s confidence started to grow. They thought they had equalized when Víctor Ruíz turned the ball in at the back-post from a free-kick, but the defender was correctly ruled offside.

As the clock ticked down, it was Valencia who created the best chances, but they were little more than glimpses of goal. Víctor Ruíz headed a corner well over, with Valdes looking uncomfortable, and then Jonas hit a volley from 25-yards out on the right, which flew just over the bar.

1-0 Adriano (min 21)


La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 2

August 28th, 2012

FC Barcelona has started out the season pretty much ideally, with six points out of two games. On the other hand Real Madrid has slipped badly and put them on the defensive. While their draw against Valencia – who Barcelona are playing on Sunday – might have been foreseen, they would have been aiming to beat Getafe.

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Messi to the Rescue with Late Strikes

August 27th, 2012

Barcelona snatched a 2-1 win thanks to two late goals by Lionel Messi away at CA Osasuna on Sunday evening. Barça’s opponents were energetic and enterprising, creating a number of chances in an entertaining and even encounter. Joseba Llorente scored a volley in the first half, but Barcelona fought back in the last 15 minutes. Messi scored a tap in, then curled a stylish shot in from the edge of the area.

Unlike many Primera Division opponents Osasuna try to attack rather than counter against Barça, which, combined with a less than ideal playing surface, makes for a tricky away trip.

Osasuna were positive from the start and could have had a goal inside a minute when Cejudo got away from Pique and unleashed a near-post shot that drew a world-class one-handed save from Valdes.

Barça responded with a chance of their own; Iniesta guided a sublime pass through for Alexis, but Andres in the Osasuna goal was quick off his line to close the angle and make the save.

The came an Osasuna goal – Lamah picked up the ball on the left flank and curled in a deep cross to the back-post that Joseba volleyed in from an acute angle, leaving Valdes with no chance.

Barcelona continued to create chances. Tello drew a save from Andres, and then Iniesta missed what looked like a simple chance – Alexis was released down the right flank and, with just the ‘keeper to beat, squared for Iniesta. But just before it reached his foot the ball took an unfortunate bounce, and was duly sent flying over the bar from eight yards.

Valdes had to be sharp to keep out a low shot from Lamah and then Joseba Llorente’s follow up was blocked by some determined defending. Troubled as they were at the back, Barcelona were a constant threat at the other end – just before the break, Messi rounded Andres, but the ‘keeper recovered to make an important save.

Osasuna continued to pressure Barcelona in the second half. Lamah might have scored after a powerful run and shot, and, soon after, Osasuna almost added to their one-goal lead when Busquets was robbed in front of his area. The ball broke for Nino, who was one-on-one with Valdes, but his low shot grazed the right post and went out for a goal kick.

After key changes and with just 15 minutes remaining, Barcelona finally clicked into gear. After good work by Pedro on the right side of the box, Alexis seized on a mistake by an Osasuna defender, and squared for Messi who slid in and scored from five yards out.

Osasuna lost a man when midfielder Punal was shown a straight red for protesting a possible offside in the build up. And seconds later, Messi had scored again. This time Jordi Alba crossed low from the left and Messi tucked a low strike inside the left post to claim a hard-fought and valuable away win.


La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 1

August 21st, 2012

The first match of the 2012-2013 Spanish League kicked off this weekend with Barcelona playing Real Sociedad on Sunday. Some matches were left for Monday, when Barça was playing the Gamper. However, the first week’s league table now stands as below.

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New Era Begins with Goal Glut

August 20th, 2012

New manager Tito Vilanova got off to an impressive start, as Barcelona cruised past Real Sociedad with a 5-1 win, and David Villa marked his return to fitness by scoring a late goal. Messi got on the score-sheet with two, and he was also joined by Pedro and Puyol in the first half.

It was a match remarkable for its landmarks – the first competitive game for Vilanova as manager, while Jordi Alba marked his first league start at left-back. The transition was as seamless as anyone could have hoped, with Barcelona displaying their famous attacking finesse and putting Real Sociedad to the sword.

The first half was a real goal-fest, as Barcelona settled quickly into their possession game, producing lightning-quick combinations and carving the visitors open time and again. Real Sociedad were swamped, but managed to build a couple of isolated attacks on the break.

There were two goals in the first ten minutes alone. First Puyol rose to head in a Xavi corner, getting the better of Ansotegi who vainly claimed a foul by Barça’s captain.

But less than three minutes after going behind, Real Sociedad responsed with a swift attack. Illarramendi received the ball from Xabi Prieto, and spread it to Chory Castro, whose emphatic finish beat Valdes high at the near post.

At this point, Messi entered the game. And with just 11 minutes on the board, the little Argentine grabbed the lead. Pedro squared a short pass for him, and he let it run across his body, bustled past a marker and dispatched a great effort into the top-left corner.

But he wasn’t done there – five minutes later Cristian Tello strode down the left side and although his cross was a little scuffed, Messi responded faster than anyone and fired the ball home with little fuss.

After four goals in less than 20 minutes the game settled into a pattern of Barcelona attacking with a little more patience, waiting for chances rather than forcing them.

The next big one fell to Messi again, after he was set free by a delightful reverse pass by Cesc. This time Bravo saved with his legs. But then, just before the break, Pedro put Barcelona 4-1 up when he coolly tucked Tello’s accurate cross into the bottom left corner first-time after a stylish passage of touch football.

The second half was a more controlled performance from Barça, remarkable mainly for David Villa reintroduction to the team. He scored with five minutes to go when Iniesta dribbled his way to the byline to the left side of the goal and produced a deft cutback for the Asturian striker, who curled a left-footed shot in to the top-right corner.

Before this a stunning passage of one-touch interplay between Messi and Pedro produced a chance that Messi put just wide.

It was a satisfying night for Barcelona and Vilanova, with injuries to Puyol and Iniesta to dampen the mood at the Camp Nou.

1-0 Puyol (min 3)
1-1 Castro (min 8)
2-1 Messi (min 10)
3-1 Messi (min 15)
4-1 Pedro (min 40)
5-1 Villa (min 82)


FC Barcelona tickets now available to order for 2012/2013 season

July 11th, 2012

Tickets for the forthcoming season of la liga, starting in August, are now available from Simply Barcelona Tickets.

The highlights of the season are, as usual, the clasicos, those hard fought battles between Barça and arch-rival Real Madrid. With Tito Vilanova in charge, after the departure of Pep Guardiola from the role after four fabulous years, little is likely to change.

However, fans of the Catalan club are looking for Vilanova to turn around the situation from the 2011-12 season which saw Madrid climb safely to the head of the table after a number of less than spectacular results from Barcelona.

However, that’s all relative as Barcelona where still head and shoulders ahead of third place Valencia. While Barça trailed Madrid by nine points, Valencia were behind them a full thirty points!

Check out Barça’s full fixture list for la liga and reserve your FC Barcelona tickets from Simply Barcelona Tickets this year.


La liga 2011/2012 – standing after week 38

May 14th, 2012

The Spanish League is over for another year, with Real Madrid getting 100 points. While Barcelona trailed by nine points on 91, third place Valencia were 30 points behind. Levante, the minnows that took an early lead in the league finished in a very respectible 6th place, and a place in the Europa League.

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