entertainment

Well-known member
So Xavi turned it down. Probably wise. Bit of a shit situation for Valverde though. From his point of view he can say that he is on course to win the league for the third time in a row and they are still in the Champions' League after topping their group. For most clubs that would be enough. Obviously Barcelona aren't most clubs but given they are dominant in the league it seems that there are two complaints that can be levelled at this side; they haven't won the CL and the way they are playing. Now, even Barcelona can't expect to completely dominate the CL because it's stuffed with all the teams who aren't most clubs, maybe a return of something like once every four years is reasonable, or maybe they are unhappy cos they have not made the final for a few years or maybe it's the manner in which they caved the last two times. Personally I think that that is the problem, the way they lost and the way they win when they do win - but partly the issue is spoilt fans, no-one can maintain the level they were at in 2012 or whatever it was forever, that can't be the normal. Same as Man Utd fans are finding out in the Prem. It's very hard to stay better than everyone else when there are about ten other clubs that are demanding the same and have the resources to make it just as realistic.
If I were Valverde I'd do my best to cling on until the end of the season, you never know, they might win the CL and suddenly he's a hero.
They could've won the CL last year and most fans would have still wanted him out.

Not one single player has improved under him. Barca fans are obviously looking at Klopp and Pep and watching how those guys are making their players better, while the opposite is happening over there. Coutinho is a good example. Brought for big money. Slid right in place for the first half season and looked like the saviour too balance out the creative overweight from Messi's right wing. Started by showing great alacrity, initiative and defensive responsibility. Really stood out in a team that was, and is, otherwise lethargic and timid. After that half a year, he looked around and saw that no-one was putting in the same work as him and started slagging off a bit. Then went the foundation of what he'd built his game on under Klopp and then went his confidence. Now, at Bayern, he's looking like a different player again. Dembele, Arthur, Semedo, Frenkie de Jong, Griezmann, none of them have progressed in any way whatsoever since their first game at Barca.

But really, the number one thing, the thing that exacerbates every other issue, lets pressure from opponents escalate into grand collapses and overall just makes for boring ass football, is that they don't run for each other. Absolutely no intensity. I think that's what fans are asking for more than anything.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Well he'd have had a lot more bargaining power if he had won the CL.
But yeah, it's interesting, what a coach/manager or whatever has to do. Once upon a time they bought players and ran the team and who knows what else beside... diet, fitness training and so on. Nowadays buying is out of their hands (they may have some input of course) and fitness etc so it's all about what happens on the pitch. The coach picks the team and the tactics and controls what they do on the pitch and not much else - and as a result those tactics are expected to be perfect. Part of that I guess is this thing of improving players - I've never seen it to the extent that Klopp and Guardiola manage it, it's really something special and really kinda new to me. I don't know who else can do that. Certainly not Valverde I guess, especially from what you said above. One thing though, isn't part of the problem with Coutinho etc that they get played out of position or used in the wrong way because there are a number of untouchable players in the team who can't be moved around or expected to do anything different from what they like doing and have got used to being allowed to do? That means that the manager is trying to get the most out of these second-tier players (who are there to be the first-tier players in a year or two) with one hand tied behind his back.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
A while back there was a clip of him driving around in his car listening to the Champions League theme. That was the moment I knew he was destined for greatness.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
In his first game at Barca, they play the second highest amount of passes in football history lol.

They weren't perfectly coherent but there was definitely a new attitude in the team. Much more intiative, much more courage in the passes.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
The goal was brilliant. Busquets had his best game in months. Over a thousand passes. 80-something % possession. You love to see it.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
But what I read was, yeah, Busquets is great if there is no pressing from the other team and he has loads of times on the ball and doesn't need to run.... but still doesn't mean he can play against Liverpool or whatever.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
Busquets hasn't looked that good in years actually.

He's a true pivot. Can't do much on his own but brilliant when there's stuff going on around him. When the ball and the players are all moving in and out of the middle area, he'll get the ball and find the pass that no-one else has seen. But when there isn't much going on around him, he's really no use because everybody can see everything.

I'm very positive about Setien.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...arsenal-chelsea-red-card-philsophical-matters

"Arsenal’s defence posed an interesting philosophical question. Could it be the case that a David Luiz-shaped hole, the absence of David Luiz, is more defensively resilient than the actual, material David Luiz? Is the hypothetical David Luiz, an entity best expressed as (David Luiz – David Luiz) more effective as a defensive rallying point than the real thing?"

Arsenal's mental fragility is fascinating. Even more fascinating now when contrasted against Liverpool, who have found a way to keep on finding a way to win all season.

Torreira was meant to fix it, a Vieira update, and instead gradually started to succumb to a mystery virus affecting his ability not to mentally collapse. I can appreciate David Luiz's footballing talents, but the idea that Arsenal actually thought he would provide defensive steel is mystifying - it's too perfect of a bad decision to be true.
 
Last edited:

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I like how with Arsenal especially you get a very strong sense of a football teams character being a product not just of players and manager but the entire structure of fans and board and history and etc. Magic.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
It's like the club is under a 20-year curse. Klopp or Guardiola could come in and it would still be a disaster. They could sign Messi and he'd be a clown within months.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yeah it's Theseus' Ship where you can change every single component but it's still the same ship (or philosopher's axe or Trigger's broom - whatever).
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
But when did the curse start? Arsenal were at one stage the epitome of resilience. It must have been aroundabout the time that they moved to the Emirates, which is obviously situated on some unholy ancient burial ground.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
It's weird that they were known for grinding out crappy wins and so on - "Boring Boring Arsenal" and "One nil to the Arsenal" - for years under Graham... then under Wenger they reinvented themselves as this bunch of effete fancy dans who stroked the ball around like a proto-Barca with Henry scoring beautiful goals. And then they somehow regressed to being pretty much a shadow of both these former selves. Playing much less attractive football and regularly slumping to five goal spannerings.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
It's a bit of a biopic when you put it like that - starts off with dull, reasonably successful life, then ascends into the stratosphere through the patronage of a mysterious Frenchman, but it can't last and his life falls apart in painstakingly humiliating fashion. Directed by Tommy Wiseau.
 
Top