Champion’s League Live: Barcelona v. Real Madrid

Real Madrid, and Kaka, will need to sell their soul northward and hope for a miracle today...

(More coverage: Op-Ed: Xavi is wrong & why I hate Barcelona

Messi No Le Lanza!….Messi Don’t Dive)

Update: Real Madrid’s line-up: The Special Ones: Casillas; Arbeloa Carvalho Albiol Marcelo; Diara, Alonso; Di Maria Kaka Ronaldo; Higuain

Thought Kaka for DiMaria, not Ozil. Interesting as Real Madrid will play wide.

The Peppies: No suprises for Barca: Valdes – Alves Mascherano Pique Puyol – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Messi did it last week. What say you Ronaldo? Still going to lash out at the coach and make excuses?

Why doesn’t anyone just toss up crosses into the box against Barcelona? At least try it for chrissakes. You’ve got Pique and Busquets and that’s really it back there. I never understand that.

Every team seems hellbent on trying to bring the counter to bear on Barca when they’re advanced up the field, but just like in basketball on a three-point shot, long balls equal long deflections. Either, in this case, Madrid is going to collect the rebound somewhere at the top of the offensive third or there may be an errant deflection that leads to a goal out of nothing.

And, so what if you give up the counter, this is Barcelona, the team that wants to get into their ping-pong passing attack.

At least try that out for a little bit….if you have the ball.

Barcelona and Real Madrid resume their rivalry today and conclude their four match series.

A monumental task today for Real Madrid and you have to believe the visitors are thinking like they do in baseball when a team is down four runs in the late innings. “Just let me get the tying run to the plate.”

To make matters work for Mourinho and company, two-way stalwarts Sami Khedira (injury) and Pepe (last week’s phantom second yellow) are out for the match, leaving Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diari in the middle to fend off the Barca attack.

I, for one, have yet to see the Alonso that was the glue at Anfield for Real Madrid. In big games, he appears to wither away and not look for the ball. Something more is needed out of the Basque midfielder today.

Madrid likely sees Emmanuel Adebayor–with the Special One hoping he’s motivated up top–flanked by Mesut Ozil and Ronaldo, now on the left in place of DiMaria. We saw what happens last week when Ronaldo is left to fend for himself up top. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off, so to speak.

Centering the two is none of than Kaka. (The sacrificing of DiMaria for Kaka would be audacious, but we’ll take our chances with the prediction.)

In the back for Madrid, they’ve got even more problems and are going to have to deal with Barca’s attack with Sergio Ramos watching from the side as well.

Barca will be content to do what they do. Not force the action and carefully dissect Real Madrid’s makeshift defense.

Without a miracle from the Special One today, Madrid likely goes packing.

36 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 9:54 AM

    Neutrals should really be pulling for an early Madrid goal, otherwise this has the potential to get ugly…. again…


  2. Posted by Frank john on 2011/05/03 at 10:11 AM

    Barca is hope to defeat Real morinho today with goaless


  3. Posted by Patrick Kilgore on 2011/05/03 at 10:40 AM

    Without a miracle from the Special One today, Madrid likely goes packing.


  4. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 10:50 AM

    Well now!

    Would you look at that!

    Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain both start.


  5. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 11:12 AM

    Mourinho is (supposedly) not attending the game due to security concerns (and of course being sent off in the first one).


  6. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 11:50 AM

    Incidentally, part of the reason that Xabi was so successful at Liverpool was because he had Mascherano to do the dirty work for him. It was really the two of them that helped each other.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/05/03 at 11:55 AM

      John – Mascherano was not around for Alonso’s most successful Liverpool years which were between 04-06 when he was very dominant in the midfield winning the FA cup as well as the Champions League. I would actually venture to say that his influence was lessened though not his worth, when the Argentine came to Anfield.

      When he arrived, Liverpool did not have a player that could do what he did and being the only one, he really came through. At Madrid, he’s a cog in a wheel. I actually think he does a lot of good things, but they just go unnoticed. The same can be said for his role with the national team


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 11:58 AM

        Hmm, I certainly don’t mean to slag Xabi at all. I’ll leave it at that and go back to watching the game.


        • Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 12:06 PM

          Heh, just went back and looked at the dates, and apparently my mind did it’s own “revisionist history” back there ugh.

          Carry ON.


      • Posted by Bode on 2011/05/03 at 12:40 PM

        Can’t disagree with you more. Alonso’s best year at Liverpool was 08/09, with the team that earned 86 points in the League (which would be good enough to win it this year, or many other years).

        Though Liverpool may not have won any silverware that year, the 08/09 team was MILES ahead of the Champions’ League and FA Cup winning sides of 04-06.


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/05/03 at 12:50 PM

          I guess we will agree to disagree. The 08/09 team had more to do with Torres and Gerrard’s partnership as well Mascherano and Alonso in the midfield. Remember that he was almost replaced by Barry at the start of the season and Benitez had publicly claimed he would prefer Barry. He had a fine season, but his early years at Liverpool were so dominant and refreshing that I believe they were his best. Regardless, I think we will both agree, that Liverpool made a mistake getting rid of him


      • Posted by nelson on 2011/05/04 at 12:46 AM

        he was beast back with riise


  7. Posted by dth on 2011/05/03 at 11:51 AM

    No Mesut Ozil? BOOO!


  8. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 12:08 PM

    So the more I watch this game, the more I get irritated at the way Mourinho set his side out in the first game.

    At home, with the fans at your back and you come in to counter and not press? Wouldn’t you rather set it out to perform with your fans at your back than leave it to having to go play in front of the Barcelona crowd?


  9. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 12:30 PM

    Carvalho is walking a very very very thin line…


  10. Posted by kaya on 2011/05/03 at 12:41 PM

    Beginning to think Tuesday really did mean “hate.”
    His starting lineup for Barca = thigh slapper.
    The Kaka pic you went with is def the most suitable.
    Was Mourinho’s tactic tonight to punish the audience with a poor display from RM? It’s almost like they’re aspiring to make it look like the Barcelona Globetrotters.


  11. Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/05/03 at 12:54 PM

    The ref just cost Real a goal. Mascherano was never going to get to that ball and Ronaldo never fouled him. Am beginning to agree more and more with Tuesday!


    • Posted by Brandon on 2011/05/03 at 7:53 PM

      Real Madrid pulled the same stunts to win free kicks in the other three clasicos. Your comment does not make sense to me at all.


    • Yes. Well. That was certainly a confusing decision. Initially I thought that the ref had decided not to play the advantage and given a free kick for Pique’s foul on Ronaldo. To have it called back after Ronaldo launched himself to make sure the ref saw it and landed on Masch’s legs provided a neat summary of this tie.

      And shortly after it’s Iniesta bringing the vertical game that Barcelona often lack in his absence.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/04 at 5:34 PM

      It was purely accidental, but it was a foul.


  12. Posted by kaya on 2011/05/03 at 1:06 PM

    Apparently Kaka forgot his undershirt.


  13. Posted by John on 2011/05/03 at 1:09 PM

    Ozil on. Ozil makes it happen.


  14. Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/05/03 at 1:29 PM

    Mascherano is disgraceful. He is much too talented to resort to the crap he is pulling


    • Posted by chris on 2011/05/03 at 1:32 PM

      Mascherano is A JOKE. a JOKE!

      how is the called back goal not being talked about more? that was ridiculous..
      mascherano is a joke


  15. Posted by kaya on 2011/05/03 at 1:31 PM

    Ha. Was just going to say you can sacrifice Mascherano to the haters. I’ll still take the rest of my mostly-munchkins Barca.


  16. Posted by dth on 2011/05/03 at 1:43 PM

    I’ll be fascinated for Mourinho’s next move. Apparently Nuri Sahin is Real bound if you believe the papers, which is a damn shame on one hand–I really wanted to see what a full-strength Borussia Dortmund team could do in the Champions League next year–but a weirdly fascinating prospect on the other: the Clasico will consist of a Turko-German midfield on one hand and a pure Catalan midfield on the other.


  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/03 at 6:32 PM

    Very happy that Mourinho’s Madrid got knocked out, especially after the way he set out his stall in the first leg. How many Euros does an egg facial cost in the Spanish capital?

    Will be interesting to see how Madrid do next year in his “second season”.


  18. Posted by nelson on 2011/05/04 at 12:46 AM

    So glad they didn’t win. Being a Spurs fan would hurt just a little more…


  19. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/05/04 at 7:35 AM

    Once again, once the game is played as futbol and not football (American style) Barca shows up as a clearly superior side. Real had to come out and play and found that they couldn’t. Not a supporter of either side but was disgusted by Mourinho’s tactics. And starting Kaka over Ozul was just plain dumb. Kaka’s days as an influential player seem to be far behind him since his last few injuries. Ozul impacts the play of the team whenever he is on the pitch.
    As a number of prior posters noted, Iniesta may be the classiest player in the world. There were about a 1/2 dozen touches or passes yesterday that few others in the world can execute.
    Hats off to Barca and hope that Man U comes to play without their bunkering boots in the final.


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