Champion’s League Live: Barca vs. Real Madrid

Will Jose handcuffs his troops at home or will he press like he did in the Copa Del Rey?

Update:

Barca: Víctor Valdés; Daniel Alves, Mascherano, Piqué, Puyol -Busquets, Xavi, Keita – Pedro, Messi, David Villa

Ronaldo starts-up top; Pepe again in the holding role. Albiol called on for Carvahlo.

Madrid line-up: Casillas – Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Marcelo – Diarra, Xabi Alonso, Pepe – Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo, di Maria

The Bernbeau will bare witness today to a revitalized Real Madrid side that is seething with confidence off a Copa Dely Rey win (trophy be damned) and weekend lambasting of Valencia.

Barcelona has continued their strong pace as well, only stumbling thus far in the trophy hunt to Madrid in the Copa.

All eyes today on Jose Mourinho despite Pep Guardiola’s theatrics. Sounds cliche, but Barca will play their game. They try to dictate the game tempo and play to every team they play. They believe they are the best.

Mourinho realized this strength and decided to park the bus so to speak in the first major showdown of his tenure. Bad idea. He put five across the back betting the Barca couldn’t find their way through on the floor and they’d have to come over the top. Didn’t work. Not only didn’t work, completely didn’t work. 5-0 Barca need I remind Real Madrid fans.

Will Pepe be called on to boss the midfield again?

Fast forward to April and the Copa Del Rey and Mourinho’s got a new strategy and dare I say it’s quite similar to the one that Bob Bradley deployed to thwart Argentina. Mourinho took his defender Pepe and put him in the midfield and elected to press the passing lanes, slowing Barca’s attack before it got to Messi and friendly.

With Ricardo Carvalho and Sami Khedira (expected to be replaced by Lassana Diara) out, can Mourinho afford to push Pepe up the pitch?

What will we see tomorrow with Barca seeking at least one crucial away goal? If you remember last year, Mourinho got offensive against a Barca team that had bused it’s way to the San Siro with the soot of a volcano still thick in the air. Result 3-1.

This year? About an hour or so flight from Barcelona to Madrid. No volcano.

What to look at today? Just how offensive is Jose Mourinho at home.

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32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 10:37 AM

    “Mourinho realized this strength and decided to park the bus so to speak in the first major showdown of his tenure.”

    Too Bad Sergio Ramos didn’t do this as well….

    HEYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Reply

  2. Posted by DEEN MOHAMMAD on 2011/04/27 at 11:34 AM

    i hope barca will win

    Reply

  3. vive real madrid

    Reply

  4. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 12:44 PM

    Barca’s substitute keeper Jose Pinto was red carded for some kind of fracas after the HT whistle.

    Reply

  5. Posted by dth on 2011/04/27 at 12:53 PM

    Looks like Madrid have switched to 4-1-3-2. A formation for living dangerously.

    Reply

  6. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 12:59 PM

    I’d be interested to find out how many goals get scored by other teams/Barcelona AFTER Barcelona scores their first goal of the game.

    Reply

  7. Messi has showed a variety of team and dribbling skills.If he carries on like this he might be able to score a magnificent goal.Dani Alves must calm down in times of defending especially now that he’s on a yellow.
    Ronaldo has put a poor effort in his free kicks today and must try to look up for higher shots rather than curling it low.Di Maria must toughen up in order to outwit a defender successfully also he needs to pass quicker where there is space

    Reply

  8. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:06 PM

    annnnnnnnnnnd a STRAIGHT red for Pepe. Real down to 10.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/04/27 at 1:08 PM

      There will be some complaints about this straight red, and they’ll be justified. Poor decision.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:11 PM

        I really really really dislike the team
        (in this case Barcelona) crowding the ref prior to a decision like that. It seems that there should be some kind of precedent set to prevent that kind of situation from happening.

        Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:12 PM

          Also, Mourinho is tossed from the sidelines and is currently passing notes (not kidding) from his seat in the stands.

          Reply

  9. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:22 PM

    Messi Scores!

    Barcelona 1 – Real Madrid 0

    Reply

  10. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:27 PM

    With three red cards given (one in the field of play) and the temperature boiling… I wouldn’t bet against one more…

    This game hasn’t exactly been a great advertisement for the game of football.

    Reply

  11. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:32 PM

    Messi with another and that one is a good one.

    Barcelona 2 – Real Madrid 0

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:36 PM

      For those of you counting… that is 52 goals in 50 games and 11 in 11 Champions league games.

      The mazy back-line-destroying run sends the travelling Barcelona fans into absolute pandemonium.

      Meanwhile Villa off for Serio.
      Yow.

      Reply

  12. Posted by dth on 2011/04/27 at 1:38 PM

    So: what’s your countermove over the offseason, Jose? Does Real have the cash money to shell out to improve the team (remember they refused to spend money to get a backup forward in the January transfer window)? My guess is they sell Kaka, who’s probably worth a good amount on name alone.

    And then where to improve? My bet is Jose goes for his Makelele–Khedira and Alonso are both fine deep-lying midfielders but neither have the natural defensive qualities you’d want. Yann M’Vila, maybe? Maybe a new forward? Who knows?

    Reply

  13. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:47 PM

    I think it is worth pointing out:

    2010/2011 (as it stands)Games GD Points
    1 Barcelona 33 71 88
    2 Real Madrid 33 53 80

    2009/2010 (with Manuel Pellegrini as Real Madrid Coach)

    Games GD Points
    1 Barcelona 38 74 99
    2 Real Madrid 38 67 96

    Reply

  14. Posted by chris on 2011/04/27 at 1:51 PM

    question?
    has it ever been brought up to add post match cards given out based on video review by some sort of Fifa board?
    why does this not happen: diving, intent, missed calls, etc.

    games like today make me feel like there is very little chance soccer will ever REALLy catch on in the USA. this game was NOT fun to watch (minus 20 seconds of messi magic)

    i feel like yellow cards given out for dives post match, would quell a lot of this crap.

    is that crazy?
    and i cant be the only person with this idea?

    anybody?

    Reply

    • Posted by chris on 2011/04/27 at 1:52 PM

      PS: im pretty young in my soccer fandom. so forgive my the naive nature of my comment.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:55 PM

        the following is an important fact to learn early in soccer/football fandom:

        “FIFA doesn’t change”

        this is only closely followed by:

        “FIFA doesn’t like change”

        which is only closely followed by:

        “Never get involved in a land war in ASIA”

        Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/04/28 at 5:56 AM

        Not naive at all, Chris, just ridiculously long overdue. It’s just ludicrous that 11 players are allowed to push and lobby the ref every time a hard or questionable foul is committed. It encourages embellishment on the part of the players and really takes away from the game.
        The post-game review is actually a perfect way to manage this as it exposes what everyone else sees and will eventually slow down this foul-faking nonsense. Otherwise, this game will lose it’s opportunity to take hold here in the states.

        Reply

    • I’ve had the same thoughts/complaints many times after watching the dives of just about every top-level player, but mainly Robben and Ronalod to name two of the most egregious. It’s amazing to watch a replay where two players go into a tackle and one ends up hitting the deck with legs flailing in a way that defies the laws of physics based on how/where they were hit.

      I would love to see this form of retrospective punishment and would volunteer my services.

      Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/04/27 at 4:53 PM

      It has been left up to the individual FA’s to determine retroactive bans for the most part but FIFA/UEFA are not at all clear on that. The English FA doesn’t like to go back and change things if the ref has done anything during the match. The Italian FA banned Milos Krasic for a dive last season based on video evidence.

      Nobody likes diving or whining to the referees. It makes me like Barca that much less.

      Reply

  15. Posted by John on 2011/04/27 at 1:58 PM

    The BBC is reporting:

    UEFA refused to allow either teams’ players or staff to give an initial reaction to events at the Bernabeu. They have locked the sides in their respective dressing rooms in Madrid.

    Reply

  16. Posted by kaya on 2011/04/27 at 11:51 PM

    Well, the media lockout couldn’t last forever.
    Mourinho defies description. I’ve never understood why people get such a kick out of having an arrogant a**hat like him around.

    Reply

  17. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/04/28 at 5:51 AM

    I guess 3 games in 3 wks is a bit much with so much on the line. I don’t understand what the criteria is for red anymore other than the degree of flailing that the tackled player makes. Although disgraceful by Barca on so many levels, Mourinho and Madrid earned a cumulative card with the thug tactics. It’s really getting old watching every touch end with a RM player “biting” an ankle or stamping a foot after the ball is gone. I know that Barca are a frustrating team to play but I cannot imagine that RM mgmt can handle this ugly of a display on a regular basis. They barely bothered to play football today and most just looked to hack someone at every opportunity.
    Still “The Little Tiny Diminutive Majestic Argie” manages to carve his magisterial magic onto the canvas at the Bernabeu and bulge the old onion bag. Or something like that…

    Reply

  18. Posted by ogunbhiyi ahmed on 2011/04/28 at 7:15 AM

    this shows that murinho is too small for gadiolla… UP BARCA

    Reply

  19. Posted by John on 2011/04/28 at 3:15 PM

    Incidentally, a column by Sid Lowe reminded me of something.

    Here is one of the red cards that Madrid received against Barcelona this year: IMHO – a very straight red.

    Then we have Albiol’s red against Barcelona. I really don’t think you get away with this in any league TBH.

    The Angel di Maria red card were two yellows that he did not complain about.

    So realistically Mourinho’s men were down deservedly so in the other Madrid v Barcelona games. This doesn’t excuse flopping or feigning injury, but it does show that Jose’s problems have more to do with his own team and their attack than Barcelona flopping.

    Reply

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