Mallorca 0 – Barcelona 3

Source - ElMundoDeportivo

The boys got another important 3 points tonight.  I think many felt tonight could be a possible banana skin, maybe a draw, but Barça were professional and solid throughout.  Despite the first 30 minutes being rather dull, mostly due to Mallorca’s defensive tactics coupled with extremely hard work, Iniesta’s first game as captain will be remembered with a victory.

As I mentioned, the first 30 minutes had very few real moments to report.  Mallorca were not troubling the backline at all, aside from the time Nsue was in space on the right and put in a little cross.  But, their defensive set out with 2 anchoring midfielders and tireless running was making our game look somewhat uncomfortable.  The only real bright spark in that first half an hour was coming from believe it or not, Seydou Keita.  Within the first 5 minutes of the games he did two excellent pieces of defensive work, running back and putting in clean tackles to retrieve possession.  Then in the 14th minute, he did a nice little turn on the ball before sending a tame shot into Aouate’s hands (it was with his unfavored right foot though).

In the 38th minute, the breakthrough did come through, and  we can thank Keita for much of it.  He played a 1-2 with Busquets, then another 1-2 with Messi.  As soon as Messi released the ball back to the man from Mali, he started dashing into space behind the defense.  Keita was quick to read the run, and just flicked it casually over the back line.  Still, there was a lot of work to be done.  The ball bounced very high and for many it would have been too awkward to handle.  But our genius number 10 touched it every so slightly with either his chest or even his face, setting it up to be looped over the big Israeli keeper with his head.  It was really a playground style goal, just pure inspiration and improvisation.  I think Aouate even made a little joke about it as the half time whistle blew.

We then really pushed hard in the final 5 minutes to double our advantage.  Villa had a great chance in the 40th minute when Maxwell played a perfect ball through the defense.  But Villa was indecisive with what he wanted to do, and instead of just having a one time strike at it, he let the ball almost go by and the chance was lost.

Just a minute later, Messi could have doubled his goal count.  Adriano sent a lovely ball through, Messi then decided to dribble past Aouate, but the angle he then created was too tight and as he tried to square it, Mallorca defenders were in the way.

Finally, in the 2nd minute of injury time, Villa had another half chance at the edge of the box, but again some hesitation let the moment pass.

We started the 2nd half and despite our slender advantage, Mallorca really didn’t look they were going to be getting through.  Pique and Abidal were absolutely bossing that area of the pitch.  Messi was looking hungry but a couple of times he was a bit selfish in possession when he tried to take on too many defenders when Adriano was clearly open on the right side.

But, calling Messi selfish is basically ridiculous because of the amount of assists he does make, and come the 57th minute he made another.  Now, Villa was frustrating me tonight.  His touch was poor and in his mind he looked unsure of himself.  And yes, he is offside a lot.  That is however his game.  He plays right off the shoulder of the backline and he will get caught out, maybe 3 or 4 times, but then, the one time, it comes off perfectly and he is in acres of space.  Reminds me very much of the legendary Pipo Inzaghi..  So for the goal, Messi got the ball really deep in our half, he spotted Villa making the diagonal run off the defenders and split the defense with a perfect pass.  This time the right back, Cendros (who was having a great game), didn’t push up fast enough and Villa was through.  He touched it past Aouate but for a moment you thought it wasn’t going to come off.  It did however and he just passed it easily into the open net.  2-0, and really, it was game over then.

In the 66th minute, Pedro made it 3 with a super strike.  He was having a quiet game thus far, as well as being kicked around a bit, but this time it almost was if enough was enough.  He got the ball on the left, cut in and just whacked the ball with all his frustration and it just fizzled over Aouate with whicked curve and dip.

For all Mallorca’s running it was 3-0 and no way back.  Pep made some good substitutions in the 69th minute, giving Pedro and Villa a rest, surely with the Valencia game on Wednesday in mind.  Afellay came on for Pedro, Bojan for Villa.

In the 73rd minute we had a decent chance to make it 4.  Afellay skipped past the defender on the right before laying a perfectly weighted ball through to Iniesta.  Aouate game out nicely for Mallorca and Iniesta was forced to touch it wide.  However the angle closed down to quickly and he couldn’t direct it back on goal, hitting the side net instead.  Still, it was nice to see Afellay getting into the groove a bit.

And that was that.  In the 85th minute, Montoya came on for Adriano, which I think was his La Liga debut, but not Barça debut.

For the most part, I’m very happy with the game.  Mallorca were no pushovers and they hussled as hard as anyone I’ve seen, so we worked for this victory.  This time however, we took our chances when we got them.  Keita did splendidly well tonight, and Pinto was safe enough also.  Abidal was once again beastly in defense, never putting a foot wrong and really just impressing again.  Pique was his solid self again, particularly in the air.  Busquets was very good and Messi was all over the place.  If anything, I was again rather disappointed with Adriano.  He was quite awful going forward and had some really unsafe and poor touches, but his game improved towards the end.  Villa isn’t dazzling us all but when he gets the chance, he slots it away.

Let’s hope Depo manage to ruin the night for Madrid as they have so often in the past 10 years or so.

Just a few days rest and then a huge game at the Mestalla Wednesday night.

 

 

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14 Responses to Mallorca 0 – Barcelona 3

  1. Lockie17 says:

    Very good win tonight at a canter if i am honest, this was supposed to be a potential slip up for us tonight and they way we handled it and got the 3 points was very impressive. BBoy don’t agree with your summary of Adriano, i actually thought he had a decent game today, not in Alves league granted but more than an adequate back up, Afelay looked better when he come on and played a lovely ball for the Don which he was unlucky not to score.
    Not sure what everyone else thinks but i am beginning to get sick of people knocking us after a draw and a 1-2 defeat against Arsenal, i live in England and watch the Revista La Liga show religiously they are talking about us being in crisis and the pendulum swinging towards Madrid, were struggling to play our normal game and so on, its absolute crap if you ask me. Yes we did struggle against Bilbao but hey there the games that wins you titles and we aint going to win every game by 3 and 4 goals, that Bilbao game could prove to be a very good lesson for the latter rounds of the Champions League if we progress. At current with around 17 minutes left Madrid are drawing with Depor and the 7 point gap will be back!
    Lets get behind our team and support them through thick and thin, we are all witnessing something special here enjoy it while you can!

  2. Lockie17 says:

    Madrid Draw 0-0!!!!

  3. Lee says:

    I wish we’d sub Messi. I think the season is more important than winning any particular golden boot awards–and also by subbing him we’d let some younger strikers gain confidence. We’ve entered the injury time of year (poor Arsenal, but I will not pretend to be grieving too badly for those cradle robbers!). So much of the season will depend on being healthy, and if we lose Messi, well, that’s a disaster. Yet he is never subbed, even though Pep of course wants to. It’s selfish on his part. I hate to say it but it’s true. Messi needs to rest. He’s part of a team.

    Keita, as you noted, played very well. We looked good.

  4. barcacentralomer says:

    BB, like Lockie I also don’t agree with your assessment of Adriano. I think he had a reasonable game and for a utility player like him with no defined position, yesterday was a satisfactory day at the office. A big cheer for Abidal who continues to prove his prowess in the CB role and providing some stability to a makeshift defence.

    @Lockie: Regarding Messi being subbed, I think not just Messi but a lot of the regular starting XI need to be subbed once we have the 3 points in the bag. The youngsters and the bench warmers also need to get involved now and then so hopefully Pep and Co. will bring them on now more often especially with the recent injuries.

  5. barcacentralomer says:

    @ Lee: Oops I thought it was Lockie’s observation. Keita is another of the unsung heroes who go about their work quietly.

  6. blaugranaboy says:

    hi guys, good to get some chatter going. in terms of adriano, i suppose im being harsh on him because i actually rate him as quite a good player. i dont know how much you watched him at sevilla but i always had an admiring eye for him and so often when we would face him id be like “this guy is great”. and i dont think he has brought that yet. ive rewatched the game and stick by my comments. he was fine in terms of tracking back and defending, but going forward he gave very little quality. the only passes he completed were ones backwards, usually to the person he passed to. on two occasions in particular he really messed up when we were building from the back. he had heavy touches and then tried to improvise a dribble past the Mallorca players, but it went horribly wrong and he needed abidal or busquets to bail him out of his error. i just think he can be a lot better than this going forward.

    otherwise, how great is it that deportivo continued their anti-madrid magic. i watched up until half time but then fell asleep as the game was direly boring. was so happy to wake up in the middle of the night, check my pc and see 0-0. lol. wonderful. two full victories is a really super margin and i think we are going to need in in the coming weeks.

  7. bc9jaCulé says:

    Good, good game overall and Depor made it all the more better — it was a double victory for us last night in my humble opinion. Messi, Abidal and Iniesta were all superb and obviously, Keita filled in perfectly well too. But, Adriano and Maxwell still got some serious catching-up to do.

    @ Bboy: About Villa’s goal, your review tells me Messi made the assist but I think it was Sergio B. Clarifications please? And what site can I get to download our games so that I can watch them all over? Thanks.

    Força Barça!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. blaugranaboy says:

    apologies everyone, it was busquets.

  9. bc9jaCulé says:

    @Bboy: Apologies acknowledged. Any hint on the site I asked about? Thanks in advance.

  10. Caleb says:

    @bc9jaCulé:

    try matchhighlight.com

    Also good performance from the team. Abidal is still playing at an extremely high level. I think he’s earned a two year extension. I’m okay with Messi playing. He loves playing and I love watching him. He’s had very few injuries while Pep has been the coach (especially when compared to pre-Pep Messi), so I’ll leave it up to Pep to call the shots on that one.

  11. bc9jaCulé says:

    Thanks a lot Caleb. I’ll take a shot @ it. Here’s hopin’ Messi gets a hatrick @ Valencia while Villa and Pedrito complete the MANITA CYCLE.

    Força Barça!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. FCB-Parbo says:

    I’m so very proud of the team. A huge win and they did it with four key players out. The 2nd tier players had stepped up big time. So congrats to everyone.

    Hey lockie, I can understand your frustration about that thing called “Barca being in crisis”. But so did the Madrid press. And look what we got in return. Madrid got a draw and Arsenal lost against Birmingham. You can now LOL. So Arsenal still without a silverware this season. Just bcoz they have a win over Barca that doesn’t mean they are super above us. So the fans got a hard smack in their face. Lol.

    And Mou crying and whining that they have lost points just bcoz they haven’t got a day more to rest. What a joke!!! But Pep doesn’t do that when Barca don’t get time to rest.

  13. bc9jaCulé says:

    Mourinho can beef all the more about the fixtures schedule if that would suffice for him as an excuse for failin’ to win against Deportivo. Anyways, it’s a lame excuse and if he can’t get used to it, he should simply forget about winnin’ any silverware for Madrid — now or ever.

    What annoyed me and made me laugh almost @ the same time was his bitchin’ about Deportivo’s defensive tactics in the second half assertin’ that: “We played against one goalkeeper and ten defenders”. What a shameless crybaby. Wasn’t that the same tactics he employed to play against us –when he was @ Inter — in the semis of the CL last year? He sure had a taste of his own pill and all he could do was grumble about it?! His reactions to such tactics were a bit rich and quite over the top………… Mourinho is a complete JOKE!!! Besides, opposition teams play against Barça with such tactics almost every other game. So, hold your peace Mourinho.

    PS:
    1) Just learnt Pep may not or in fact, will not travel with the team to Valencia due to back pains.
    Well, Tito, our assistant coach, is more than capable of stirrin’ the wheels and here’s wishin’ Pep a speedy recovery.

    2) I’m glad Xavi and Jef are back from their injury spells. Any info on when Puyol and Valdes will be back?

  14. Pingback: Mallorca Tier

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