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Match report

Weakened Barça squad dominates in Mallorca

February 28th, 2011
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Even when Barça isn’t playing at its best, the squad can still manage to pull out some spectacular results. On Saturday the team faced Mallorca, with Puyol, Xavi, Valdes and Jeffren injured and Dani Alves off because of suspension. While they found it difficult to get going at the start, once they really got into the game they made it count.

The first half was rather slow for the Catalans, who were struggling to make any serious impact against Mallorca. However, as their game came together both Messi and Adriano came close; and then in the 38th minute Messi headed the ball into the net to open the scoring.

After the break Barça seemed to have been rejuvenated and looking like they meant business. Possession was up and it looked to be only a matter of time before they scored again; that goal came eventually when Villa connected with the ball from Busquets. And minutes later Pedro ensured that all three points would be Barça’s with the third of the night.

Meanwhile Real Madrid dropped two points after a goalless draw against Deportivo, leaving FC Barcelona seven points ahead on 68.  This next week’s going to be a tough one though, with Valencia on Wednesday, Zaragoza on Saturday and Arsenal the following Tuesday – it’s make or break for Barça’s Champions League ambitions.

0-1, Messi (min 38)
0-2, Villa (min 57)
0-3, Pedro (min 66)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
25
22
2
1
76
13
68
2
Real Madrid
25
19
4
2
55
19
61
3
Valencia
25
15
6
4
40
26
51
4
Villarreal
25
14
5
6
44
26
47
5
Espanyol
25
13
1
11
34
36
40
6
Athletic Bilbao
25
12
2
11
39
36
38
7
Sevilla
25
10
5
10
38
40
35
8
Atlético Madrid
25
10
4
11
35
33
34
9
Real Sociedad
25
11
1
13
36
41
34
10
Getafe
25
9
5
11
35
38
32
11
Mallorca
25
9
4
12
25
34
31
12
Racing Santander
25
7
8
10
23
35
29
13
Levante
25
8
3
14
26
37
27
14
Deportivo
25
6
9
9
21
35
27
15
Hércules
25
7
5
13
24
38
26
16
Osasuna
25
6
7
12
26
32
25
17
Sporting Gijón
25
5
10
10
23
31
25
18
Zaragoza
25
5
9
11
22
37
24
19
Almería
24
4
9
11
24
40
21
20
Málaga
24
5
5
14
31
50
20

Barcelona scrapes win against Athletic

February 21st, 2011

Athletic Bilbao are never a walkover and despite beating them 3-1 back in September in the first leg of the league, Barça also has two draws against Athletic this season in the Copa del Rey giving them, perhaps, something to prove.

David Villa quickly opened up the scoring for Barcelona with a fourth minute goal. However, despite the team going full out to attack the Athletic goal they failed to put it home. Meanwhile, Pinto – on in place of Valdes – proved his worth with a great save in the 36th minute.

After the half time break Athletic came on to attack; within five minutes the Basques fired from the penalty spot for an equaliser. Barça kept up the pressure and came close to scoring. However, it wasn’t until the 77th minute that Messi scored Barça’s second from an Alves cross.

Barcelona kept hold of three points and remain five points clear of Real Madrid.

1-0 Villa (min 4)
1-1 Iraola (min 50)
2-1 Messi (min 77)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
24
21
2
1
73
13
65
2
Real Madrid
24
19
3
2
55
19
60
3
Valencia
24
14
6
4
38
25
48
4
Villarreal
24
14
4
6
42
24
46
5
Athletic Bilbao
24
12
2
10
38
34
38
6
Espanyol
24
12
1
11
30
35
37
7
Sevilla
24
10
4
10
36
38
34
8
Atlético Madrid
24
10
3
11
33
31
33
9
Getafe
24
9
4
11
35
38
31
10
Real Sociedad
23
10
1
12
34
37
31
11
Mallorca
23
9
4
10
25
30
31
12
Racing Santander
24
7
7
10
21
33
28
13
Deportivo
24
6
8
9
21
35
26
14
Osasuna
24
6
7
11
25
30
25
15
Hércules
24
7
4
13
24
38
25
16
Sporting Gijón
24
5
9
10
23
31
24
17
Levante
24
7
3
14
24
36
24
18
Zaragoza
24
5
8
11
22
37
23
19
Almería
24
4
9
11
24
40
21
20
Málaga
24
5
5
14
31
50
20

Barça defeated by Gunners

February 17th, 2011

Barcelona took a few minutes to settle into the game until a few minutes into the game Messi took his first opportunity of the match. Although the ball went wide, the players seemed to find their stride afterwards, perhaps gaining some confidence. Possession from then on was high and Barça had a few unsuccessful attempts at the Arsenal goal. However, in the 26th minutes a Messi assist to Villa resulted in the first goal of the match.

A few minutes later Messi appeared to have scored again. Unfortunately it was judged to be offside, although replays would suggest it should have been allowed; they would also seem to suggest an Arsenal handball.

After the break neither team seemed to be creating any real danger and the game was drifting. However, Arsenal picked up the pace again and in the 78th minute Van Persie managed to put the ball past Valdes; five minutes later Arshavin scored a second for Arsenal.

Despite some great play in the last couple of minutes, Barça failed to claw back a goal to equalise, leaving the final score 2-1 to Arsenal. However, all is not lost – the Gunners visit the Nou Camp next month and all Barça needs is a 1-0 win to go through.

0-1 Villa (min 26)
1-1 Van Persie (min 78)
2-1 Arshavin (min 83)

End of Barça’s record winning streak

February 14th, 2011

Real Madrid closed the gap over the weekend to 5 points after Barça’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Gijon, putting an end to the Catalan’s incredible winning streak of 16 league wins.

The hosts were quick to make sure that Barcelona were unable to get into their normal stride, which paid off in the 16th minute with a goal from Barral. Meanwhile Barça were unable to get through to really test the Sporting goal.

After the break Barcelona came on with a new sense of purpose. While there were some good opportunities, the Sporting goalkeeper refused to be intimidated and it wasn’t until the 79th minute that Villa equalised off a Messi assist.

While it is a shame to have dropped 2 points, Barcelona still have a good margin over Madrid and provided they hold their nerve and don’t suffer any serious injuries they remain favourites to take the title. Barça’s next match is against Arsenal on Wednesday.

1-0, Barral (min 16)
1-1, Villa (min 79)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
23
20
2
1
71
12
62
2
Real Madrid
23
18
3
2
53
19
57
3
Valencia
23
14
5
4
38
25
47
4
Villarreal
23
14
3
6
41
23
45
5
Athletic Bilbao
22
12
2
8
37
31
38
6
Espanyol
23
12
1
10
30
31
37
7
Getafe
23
9
4
10
35
37
31
8
Sevilla
23
9
4
10
35
38
31
9
Real Sociedad
23
10
1
12
34
37
31
10
Atlético Madrid
23
9
3
11
32
31
30
11
Mallorca
22
8
4
10
24
30
28
12
Racing Santander
23
6
7
10
20
33
25
13
Hércules
23
7
4
12
24
37
25
14
Deportivo
23
6
7
9
20
34
25
15
Levante
23
7
3
13
24
34
24
16
Sporting Gijón
23
5
8
10
23
31
23
17
Zaragoza
23
5
8
10
22
36
23
18
Osasuna
23
5
7
11
21
30
22
19
Almería
23
4
8
11
23
39
20
20
Málaga
23
5
4
14
30
49
19

Barça breaks Real Madrid’s 50 year record

February 7th, 2011

Leo Messi’s hat-trick against Atletico de Madrid on Saturday created a new record for winning 16 league matches on the trot, beating a 50 year old record set by Real Madrid. It also marked Barça’s 700th goal at the Nou Camp since its inauguration in 1957.

Barça’s domination from the start – 80% possession – paid of in the 16th minute when Messi beat the Atletico defence to put the ball home. And 12 minutes later, after missing from an Alves assist, he put the ball in the back of the net for the second time. When Atletico came of after the break it was with a new sense of determination, although they created little in the way of real opportunities. Meanwhile Barcelona continued working, which paid off in the 78th minute with Messi’s third goal of the match.

The result leaves Barça on 61 points with Real Madrid seven points behind. As well as creating a new record for the number of league wins, the match also returned Messi’s status as the top goal scorer in the league.

1-0, Messi (min 16)
2-0, Messi (min 28)
3-0, Messi (min 78)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
22
20
1
1
70
11
61
2
Real Madrid
22
17
3
2
52
19
54
3
Villarreal
22
14
3
5
41
22
45
4
Valencia
22
13
5
4
36
24
44
5
Athletic Bilbao
22
12
2
8
37
31
38
6
Espanyol
22
12
1
9
30
30
37
7
Sevilla
22
9
4
9
33
35
31
8
Atlético Madrid
22
9
3
10
31
29
30
9
Getafe
22
9
3
10
33
35
30
10
Real Sociedad
22
9
1
12
33
37
28
11
Mallorca
22
8
4
10
24
30
28
12
Zaragoza
22
5
8
9
21
34
23
13
Sporting Gijón
22
5
7
10
22
30
22
14
Osasuna
22
5
7
10
21
29
22
15
Hércules
22
6
4
12
22
36
22
16
Racing Santander
22
5
7
10
17
31
22
17
Deportivo
22
5
7
9
19
34
22
18
Levante
22
6
3
13
23
34
21
19
Almería
22
4
8
10
23
38
20
20
Málaga
22
5
3
14
28
47
18

Barça through to Copa del Rey final

February 3rd, 2011

Barcelona have reached the final of the Copa del Rey for the 35th time after beating Almeria last night to go through 8-0 on aggregate.The final will be played against Real Madrid on April 23rd, celebrated across Catalonia as Sant Jordi’s Day. The match will be played in Sevilla.

0-1 Adriano (min 34)
0-2 Thiago (min 56)
0-3 Afellay (min 66)

Barça opens up gap with Madrid, equals La Liga record

January 31st, 2011

Saturday night’s marked Barça’s 15th successive league victory, matching the current La Liga record, when they beat the the only team to have beaten them during the current league season, Hercules.

While the result was a good one, Hercules certainly didn’t let the Catalans walk over them. After Pedro’s goal at the end of the first half, Barcelona remained just one goal up until three minutes before the end of the match, when Hercules were one man down.

Leo Messi made it 2-0 in the 87th minute; and he scored again in the 89th minute to make it 3-0.

The result is that Barcelona are now seven points clear of Real Madrid, after their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Osasuna. Things aren’t looking good in the Madrid camp, with Jose Mourinho strongly suggesting that he won’t be around next season. Given Madrid’s history, I wonder if he’ll last until the end of the season, given that his relationship with the club’s top brass is almost non-existent .

0-1 Pedro (min 43)
0-2 Messi (min 87)
0-3 Messi (min 89)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
21
19
1
1
67
11
58
2
Real Madrid
21
16
3
2
48
18
51
3
Villarreal
21
14
3
4
41
21
45
4
Valencia
20
12
4
4
33
23
40
5
Espanyol
21
12
1
8
28
27
37
6
Athletic Bilbao
21
11
2
8
34
31
35
7
Atlético Madrid
21
9
3
9
31
26
30
8
Sevilla
21
9
3
9
33
35
30
9
Real Sociedad
21
9
1
11
32
33
28
10
Getafe
21
8
3
10
29
34
27
11
Mallorca
21
8
3
10
23
29
27
12
Sporting Gijón
21
5
7
9
22
27
22
13
Hércules
21
6
4
11
22
34
22
14
Deportivo
21
5
7
8
18
30
22
15
Zaragoza
21
5
7
9
20
33
22
16
Osasuna
21
5
6
10
20
28
21
17
Racing Santander
20
5
5
10
15
29
20
18
Levante
21
5
3
13
22
34
18
19
Almería
21
3
8
10
20
36
17
20
Málaga
21
5
2
14
28
47
17

Yet another 5-0 result for Barça

January 27th, 2011

FC Barcelona scored another 5 goals last night in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, all but guaranteeing their place in the final. Leo Messi scored two goals, with Barça up three within the first quarter of an hour.

1-0 Messi (min 9)
2-0 Villa (min 11)
3-0 Messi (min 15)
4-0 Pedro (min 30)
5-0 Keita (min 89)

Guardiola matches record 14 successive league wins

January 24th, 2011

Racing Santander visited a cold Nou Camp on Saturday night to mark the second half of the season. Mirroring the start of the season, Barça again beat Racing 3-0 with a goal from Pedro two minutes in to get the Catalans off to a fast start. The other two goals came from Leo Messi from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute – he kicked it in decisively, after having missed a penalty on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey match against Betis. And the final goal was scored by Iniesta from a Pedro assist.

While Barcelona won their 14th successive league match this season, equalling the record set under Frank Rijkaard in 2005/2006, things don’t appear to be going so well for Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho who is locked in bitter conflict with his club’s Director General, Jorge Valdano and hinting that this season could be his last.

Some Spanish pundits are saying that if the gap opens between the arch rivals then the league is already over. However, while Barça are playing extremely well at the moment all it would take would be a string of injuries or some other bad luck to tip the balance.

1-0, Pedro (min 2)
2-0, Messi (pen, min 33)
3-0, Iniesta (min 66)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
20
18
1
1
64
11
55
2
Real Madrid
20
16
3
1
48
17
51
3
Villarreal
20
13
3
4
40
21
42
4
Valencia
20
12
4
4
33
23
40
5
Espanyol
20
12
1
7
28
26
37
6
Atlético Madrid
20
9
3
8
31
24
30
7
Sevilla
20
9
2
9
30
32
29
8
Athletic Bilbao
19
9
2
8
29
31
29
9
Mallorca
20
8
3
9
23
25
27
10
Getafe
20
8
3
9
29
32
27
11
Real Sociedad
20
8
1
11
30
33
25
12
Hércules
19
6
4
9
22
28
22
13
Deportivo
20
5
6
8
15
27
21
14
Racing Santander
20
5
5
10
15
29
20
15
Sporting Gijón
20
4
7
9
18
27
19
16
Zaragoza
20
4
7
9
18
32
19
17
Osasuna
20
4
6
10
19
28
18
18
Almería
20
3
8
9
20
34
17
19
Málaga
20
5
2
13
27
45
17
20
Levante
20
4
3
13
20
34
15

Check out Barcelona Tickets for the remainder of the season by visiting our homepage.

Barça through to Copa del Rey semi-final despite defeat

January 20th, 2011

Barcelona suffered their first defeat in several months last night, when they were beaten 3-1 by Betis. The hosts were really going for it, with two goals within 7 minutes and it was only Messi who saved some face for Barça with a goal in the 37th minute – although that didn’t stop Betis from scoring a third goal just before the half time whistle.

However, with 5-0 to their name in the home leg, FC Barcelona goes through anyway, and will face Almeria next week at the Nou Camp. You can find tickets available on the home page.

1-0 Molina (min 1)
2-0 Molina (min 7)
2-1 Messi (min 37)
3-1 Arzu (min 45+1)

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