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La Liga

Barcelona battle for draw at Mestalla

September 22nd, 2011

FC Barcelona drew 2-2 with Valencia at the Estadio Mestalla on Wednesday night in a frenetic and fast-paced encounter. Valencia took the lead twice, first through an Abidal own goal, and then winger Pablo Hernández, but Barcelona fought back, with Pedro and Cesc getting on the scoresheet.

Barcelona’s evening got off to a difficult start; on the ten-minute mark Valencia winger Jérémy Mathieu drove down the left flank and delivered a teasing cross that Abidal could only turn push past Valdés despite not being under any real pressure. It was an unfortunate blow, but Barça’s response was almost instant.

A fine exhibition of quick passing and movement saw the ball flicked by Cesc to Lionel Messi at the edge of the area. The Argentine forward spotted the run of Pedro Rodríguez and slipped a deft pass between two defenders to the left side of the six-yard box for his teammate to equalise.

Moments later Barcelona could have had a penalty when Adil Rami brought down Messi on the very edge of the penalty box. The French international made no contact with the ball, but somehow escaped punishment for what looked like a clear foul just inside the area.

Valencia were soon causing Barça problems again, pressuring high up the pitch. Once again Mathieu surged down the left side, beating Mascherano and producing yet another dangerous cross. This time Abidal deflected the ball away from goal but only into the path of Pablo Hernández who made no mistake with his finish.

The away side might even have been two goals behind when the move was replicated for a third time, but to Valdés’ relief Soldado somehow managed to nudge Mathieu’s ball past the near post.

Up to half time Guardiola had opted for a three-man defence, but after the break Alves took his place at right-back after starting in midfield. As a result Barcelona looked far more comfortable and faced few defensive scares as the match wore on. Still, Valencia offered plenty of intensity, perhaps best typified by industrious central midfielder Éver Banega.

Barça’s first real sight of goal in the second half came after 20 minutes, when Mascherano crashed a 30 yard shot off the angle of the post and crossbar, with Gaita completely beaten.

Messi was then released by Thiago, but couldn’t quite bring the ball under his spell. Seconds later though, diminutive dynamo produced a perfect chipped pass to find Cesc who made no mistake to take his tally for the season to four goals in four league games.

Messi nearly conjured a match-winning assist late on, when he confounded the entire Valencia defence with a reverse pass for substitute David Villa, but the striker’s shot was well saved. There was still time for a late penalty shout, once again from Messi, but in the end Barcelona had to settle for a hard-earned point at a difficult venue.

1-0, Abidal (own goal) (min 11)
1-1, Pedro (min 13)
2-1, Pablo (min 23)
2-2, Cesc (min 76)


La Liga 2011/12 – standings after week 4

September 19th, 2011

FC Barcelona stormed ahead on Saturday at the Nou Camp against Osasuna in a match that saw Leo Messi score a hattrick. There were goals galore, with two from Villa and one each from Cesc and Xavi plus an Osasuna own goal the final score 8-0.

Real Madrid on the other hand didn’t fare so well, with a 1-0 defeat against lowly Levante, dropping them from the head of the table where they are replaced by Valencia, who Barça faces on Wednesday. You can check out availability of FC Barcelona tickets for home fixtures for the 2011/12 Spanish League now.

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Valencia
3
3
0
0
6
3
9
2
Betis
3
3
0
0
5
2
9
3
Barcelona
3
2
1
0
15
2
7
4
Sevilla
3
2
1
0
5
3
7
5
Real Madrid
3
2
0
1
10
3
6
6
Málaga
3
2
0
1
6
2
6
7
Levante
3
1
2
0
2
1
5
8
Rayo Vallecano
3
1
2
0
2
1
5
9
Atlético Madrid
3
1
1
1
4
1
4
10
Real Sociedad
3
1
1
1
4
4
4
11
Zaragoza
3
1
1
1
2
7
4
12
Osasuna
3
1
1
1
2
9
4
13
Espanyol
3
1
0
2
3
4
3
14
Mallorca
3
1
0
2
1
2
3
15
Granada
3
1
0
2
1
5
3
16
Athletic Bilbao
3
0
1
2
4
6
1
17
Getafe
3
0
1
2
3
6
1
18
Racing Santander
3
0
1
2
3
8
1
19
Villarreal
3
0
1
2
2
8
1
20
Sporting Gijón
3
0
0
3
2
5
0

Barcelona Bag Eight on Memorable Night at Camp Nou

September 18th, 2011

FC Barcelona answered their critics in emphatic style at home to CA Osasuna on Saturday night, thrashing Los Rojillos 8-0. Messi chalked a hat-trick, with David Villa netting two, accompanied by Cesc and Xavi, who scored one goal each. It was a night of spectacular attacking football, and Guardiola’s men were back to their devastating best, enjoying more than 80% possession in the process.

In this fixture Guardiola opted for the 3-4-3 formation that dispatched Villareal so clinically in the first match of the season. A major pre-game positive was the return of Carles Puyol after almost nine months of injury problems. He took his place at the centre of the back three, flanked by Mascherano and Abidal, and looked in good form until coming off early in the second half.

In truth the Barcelona defence was pretty much untested for the whole evening. There was a clear determination to disprove any accusations of complacency after letting two leads slip, against Sociedad and Milan. Indeed Barcelona were in front by the fifth minute; Busquets floated a delightful pass out to Dani Álves, who headed square for Messi to sweep the ball home.

Fàbregas then continued his fine scoring form for his new club; chesting the ball down for Messi, who flicked it over the Osasuna backline for the recent signing to time a perfect left-footed volley past the hapless Fernández.

Barça were now 2-0 up and showed no sign of loosening their grip – Alves skipped down the right flank and curled a sublime cross for Messi, who nodded the ball down but onto the post. Still, the home side would not be denied; after a period of sustained possession Abidal slipped a pass through for David Villa, and the striker rounded Fernández, finishing with his left foot to make it three.

Five minutes later the Asturian was set free down the left once again. This time his attempt was saved, but ricocheted off the unfortunate Roversio and into the empty net. Then, on the 40th minute, Cesc was found in the box by Xavi before pirouetting and squaring for Messi who notched his second and Barcelona’s fifth of the night.

If Osasuna were hoping for a reprieve after half time, their opponents were unwilling to oblige, as within ten minutes Barcelona had scored six. This was perhaps the pick of the bunch; Xavi was put through by another perfectly weighted Messi chip. The midfielder let the ball bounce before lobbing Fernández from the edge of the area.

But Barça still weren’t done – Fàbregas bustled through the beleaguered Osasuna defence to find Villa, who turned the ball home from seven yards. Once again, it was Messi who stole the show, and the Argentine dynamo capped a landmark night for his team when he swapped passes with Cesc and strode clear to find the bottom right corner past Fernández.

1-0 Messi (min 4)
2-0 Cesc (min 13)
3-0 Villa (min 33)
4-0 Roversio own goal (min 39)
5-0 Messi (min 41)
6-0 Xavi (min 56)
7-0 Villa (min 75)
8-0 Messi (min 79)


La Liga 2011/12 – standings after week 3

September 12th, 2011

In the second match of the season, Barcelona slipped while Real Madrid made sure they kept hold of the maximum points available. Check out availability for FC Barcelona tickets for 2011/12 Spanish League now.

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Real Madrid
2
2
0
0
10
2
6
2
Valencia
2
2
0
0
5
3
6
3
Betis
2
2
0
0
2
0
6
4
Barcelona
2
1
1
0
7
2
4
5
Real Sociedad
2
1
1
0
4
3
4
6
Sevilla
2
1
1
0
4
3
4
7
Osasuna
2
1
1
0
2
1
4
8
Espanyol
2
1
0
1
2
2
3
9
Mallorca
2
1
0
1
1
1
3
10
Levante
2
0
2
0
1
1
2
11
Rayo Vallecano
2
0
2
0
1
1
2
12
Racing Santander
2
0
1
1
3
4
1
13
Athletic Bilbao
2
0
1
1
2
3
1
14
Atlético Madrid
2
0
1
1
0
1
1
15
Getafe
2
0
1
1
3
5
1
16
Villarreal
2
0
1
1
2
7
1
17
Zaragoza
2
0
1
1
0
6
1
18
Málaga
1
0
0
1
1
2
0
19
Granada
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
20
Sporting Gijón
2
0
0
2
2
4
0

Barcelona held to surprise draw in San Sebastián

September 11th, 2011

FC Barcelona let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 away at Real Sociedad on Saturday evening. Guardiola’s men had been in total control by half time, leading through goals by Xavi and Fàbregas, but two moments of defensive sloppiness allowed their Basque opponents back into the match.

Blessed with a squad that handle a certain amount of rotation, Guardiola had clearly looked upon this trip to San Sebastián as an opportunity to rest some of his prized talents following a busy international fortnight. This time Iniesta, Villa and Messi all took to the bench, with Sánchez, Fàbregas and Pedro forming an unorthodox front-line. Barça also returned to a 4-3-3, after the successful switch to a three-man defence against Villareal two weeks prior.

Here Barcelona started the first half with real purpose, opening the scoring within the first ten minutes; Cesc dropped deep and spotted the run of Alexis Sánchez, finding him completely free in the area with a ball over the top. The Chilean squared for Xavi, who finished with ease into the empty net.

Just two minutes later, Barcelona extended their lead with a similar move. This time Xavi provided the impetus, clipping a sumptuous lofted pass over the static Sociedad defence for Cesc. The former Arsenal man then laid the ball on for Pedro, before reacting first to Claudio Bravo’s save to finish with ease from seven yards.

Barring a muted call for a penalty when a shot from just outside the area collided with Andreu Fontàs’ shoulder, Real Sociedad offered little attacking threat in the first half. Really, Barça were comfortable, and might have added another goal when yet another high ball from Cesc found Pedro, who saw his attempted lob deflected wide by Bravo.

The second half was a remarkably different contest; Sociedad took to the field with renewed purpose, while a mixture of tiredness and complacency from Barça offered their opponents a route back into the match.

The warning signs were there right from the restart, when Imanol Agirretxe found some space in the Barcelona area before dragging a shot wide on the turn. Barcelona responded with a couple of half chances, for Pedro and Villa, on for the injured Alexis, but the home side was growing in confidence.

Sociedad’s first goal came via a swirling Xavi Prieto cross from the right flank. The flight of the ball caught Sergio Busquets slightly flat-footed, and Agirretxe was able to head the ball home practically unopposed.

Just a few seconds later it was David Villa’s turn to make a gaffe, when he turned just inside the Sociedad half and aimed an ill-advised back pass at Víctor Valdés. Agirretxe latched onto the ball, rounded Valdés and struck the crossbar, but Griezmann was on hand to head the ball home.

Guardiola threw Messi on in search of a winner, but Sociedad were now playing with confidence, and Barcelona had to settle for an unwelcome draw.

0-1 Xavi (min 9)
0-2 Cesc (min 11)
1-2 Agirretxe (min 59)
2-2 Griezman (min 61)


La Liga 2011/12 – standings after week 2

September 2nd, 2011

Barcelona sits in second place in the league after their first match of the 2011/12 La Liga championship, which thanks to the player’s strike is confusingly the second fixture of the season. Now that the dispute has been resolved we can look forward to a thrilling season as both Barça and Real Madrid demonstrated, winning 5-0 and 6-0 respectively.

You can check availability of FC Barcelona tickets for Spanish League matches from Simply Barcelona Tickets.

This weekend sees a break in league football due to international duties, which sees Spain playing Chile in a friendly tonight in Switzerland and the following weekend Barça plays Real Sociedad in their first away match of the season.

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Real Madrid
1
1
0
0
6
0
3
2
Barcelona
1
1
0
0
5
0
3
3
Valencia
1
1
0
0
4
3
3
4
Real Sociedad
1
1
0
0
2
1
3
5
Sevilla
1
1
0
0
2
1
3
6
Betis
1
1
0
0
1
0
3
7
Mallorca
1
1
0
0
1
0
3
8
Athletic Bilbao
1
0
1
0
1
1
1
9
Levante
1
0
1
0
1
1
1
10
Getafe
1
0
1
0
1
1
1
11
Rayo Vallecano
1
0
1
0
1
1
1
12
Atlético Madrid
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
13
Osasuna
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
14
Racing Santander
1
0
0
1
3
4
0
15
Málaga
1
0
0
1
1
2
0
16
Sporting Gijón
1
0
0
1
1
2
0
17
Espanyol
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
18
Granada
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
19
Villarreal
1
0
0
1
0
5
0
20
Zaragoza
1
0
0
1
0
6
0

New Arrivals Shine in Impressive Victory

August 30th, 2011

FC Barcelona were in breathtaking form on Monday night as they defeated Villareal 5-0 at the Camp Nou. Playing with a new formation, Guardiola’s men were in total control from start to finish. New recruits Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sánchez were among the scorers, while Barca’s latest young talent Thiago Alcântara was in excellent shape, weighing in with a goal and two assists.

But it was Lionel Messi who stole the show, as he so often does, providing one assist for Cesc, and scoring two well-taken goals of his own. The performance was a reminder to all that Barcelona are still the team to beat in the Primera División.

Barcelona started with an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation, especially remarkable because it didn’t include a single recognised striker, and, in Abidal, only one experienced defender. The remainder of the three-man backline included Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano, defensive-midfielders until only last season. Keita played in front of the defence, occasionally dropping back to offer support. Pedro and Alexis provided the attacking width, while Messi, Iniesta Thiago and Cesc interchanged to devastating effect.

With this formation Barça were able to maintain their usual lion’s share of possession, all the while offering even more penetrating runs from deep. Cesc’s movement, working in tandem with Messi, was especially unpredictable.

The first real chance of the half fell to Messi, after being released by a clever reverse pass from Pedro. The new Argentine captain’s shot was saved at the near post by Diego López, and Busquets grazed the crossbar when he rose to meet the ensuing corner.

Barça’s opening goal came after Thiago was found just beyond the halfway line by Cesc. The young midfielder drove forward in a diagonal direction until he reached the Villareal area. When a pass failed to present itself he lashed a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

The goal was followed by an isolated reminder of Villareal’s attacking threat, when Rossi latched onto a lofted pass but smashed his effort into the side-netting. At any rate Barcelona were in full control, and doubled their lead before half-time. Messi caressed a sublime through-ball for Cesc, who rounded López to open his league account for Barcelona on his first start.

Pep Guardiola’s men picked up where they left off after the break. Within seconds of the restart Thiago picked out Alexis with a looped pass from the outside of his boot, and the Chilean winger made no mistake one-on-one with Villareal’s exposed ‘keeper.

Just five minutes after this Messi would get on the scoresheet, when he rounded López yet again, after yet another perfect through-ball, this time by Iniesta. Such was Barça’s dominance that they could afford to withdraw both Iniesta and Cesc with more than 20 minutes of the game remaining.

Messi was on the field and still wasn’t finshed; he exchanged passes with Thiago in the Villareal area before tapping home from six yards to make it 5-0.

1-0 Thiago (25′)
2-0 Fabregas (44′)
3-0 Alexis (47′)
4-0 Messi (51′)
5-0 Messi (74′)


La Liga table 2010/11 – final standings

May 23rd, 2011

And so that’s it for another year, at least as far as the Spanish league is concerned and I’d like to thank all our customers for supporting us this year.

FC Barcelona face Manchester United next Saturday in the Champions League final at Wembley, but after that – win or lose – Barça’s players will be off for a little R&R time before heading off for a short tour in the United States and then back home in August to play in the Gamper Trophy and the Spanish Supercup (against Real Madrid again!).

Next season’s fixture list will be drawn in July, if you would like us to let you know when tickets are available you can sign up here – until then we’ll keep you up to date with club news.

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Barcelona’s Youngsters End the Season in Style

May 23rd, 2011

FC Barcelona added extra gloss to a memorable campaign with an impressive 3-1 victory at Málaga on Saturday evening. Pep Guardiola rested his established stars once again, offering yet another tantalising taste of Barcelona’s future, as Bojan, Afellay and Bartra all got on the scoresheet.

In amongst a handful of Barça B stars were Adriano and Abidal, enjoying vital game-time in the build-up to next Saturday’s big game at Wembley. Málaga, on the other hand, were without their usual strikeforce of Baptista and Rondón, while Argentine defender Demichelis was also missing for Los Boquerones.

The first half was a relatively quiet affair. Barcelona’s young midfield, composed of Andreu Fontàs, Sergi Roberto and Thiago Alcántara, took some time to find its feet before settling after about 20 minutes – Jeffrén got clear, but his effort was well saved by Caballero.

And just as Barcelona had started to assert control, Málaga took a surprise lead; a long, raking pass was cut back from the goal line by Juanmi into the path of Sebastián Fernández, whose shot squirmed beneath Pinto in the Barça goal.

Barcelona’s response was almost immediate. Bojan, captain for the day, showed maturity and guile as he bought a foul from Eliseu in the area, much to the protestations of Málaga’s Portuguese midfielder – and the home fans. Barça’s 20 year-old striker dispatched the penalty calmly to level the match just before the break.

As might be expected for a match of little consequence, the second 45 minutes was played out at a relatively low pace, but Barcelona continued to circulate the ball in a style fitting of the club, and continued to create chances in an unforgiving atmosphere.

Jeffrén almost scored a minute after the restart, skipping down the right flank only to angle his low effort into the side netting at the near post. When Barcelona did take the lead it was nothing short of spectacular.

Sergi Roberto drove the ball over to Ibrahim Afellay, who cut inside the defender onto his right-foot 30 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the bottom-right corner.

Dani Alves, Pedro Rodríguez and Javier Mascherano were all introduced, affording Barcelona a little more experience. And it was the diminutive Brazilian right-back who provided the assist for the third goal. His corner was met by young defender Marc Bartra with a towering leap, guiding a perfect header into the top right corner.

In the closing minutes of the match both sets of fans at La Rosaleda registered their appreciation for veteran goalkeeper Cesc Arnau, who was brought on just before full time to play make the final professional appearance of his career. Arnau came through at the ranks at Barcelona, serving as a backup for a number of years before heading for the Costa del Sol a decade ago.

Barcelona’s gaze now turns to Wembley, where Guardiola’s men can emulate Cruyff’s European Cup-winning Dream Team of 1992.

1-0, Seba (min 31)
1-1, Bojan (pen, min 44)
1-2, Afellay (min 76)
1-3, Bartra (min 84)


La Liga table 2010/11 – round 37

May 16th, 2011

With the title already decided, Camp Nou was in a party mood on Sunday night, with Barça’s players celebrating at the end of the match with showers of confetti and throwing red peppers into the crowd.

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