Saviola and his goals
Eto'o's injury could be a blessing for someone else, a little rabbit, un pibe, who is much loved by the fans. At the moment he is second choice, but he will be pushing for his chances. It is true he was the last in the pecking order of strikes, but that is with Eto'o fit, with Eto'o out for five months, he is the closest they have to Samuel. I believe Javier Saviola's stubbornness will give him many minutes (even with Eto'o fit). Although there is a reason for why Barcelona do not want him. Apart from the much discussed economic reason there is also a more pragmatic one. Saviola is a good player, perhaps not a great one, but a fairly reliable. He could be more of a player for a medium, but ambitious team, but now he is here, we might as well use him. His position at Barcelona does not exist however, he has always played behind the main striker (at River Plate, with Kluivert, Crespo and at Sevilla), Barcelona simply do not play within a system that suits Saviola and he is not good enough to build a team around him. Conceptually y here is just not room for him. He does not seem flexible enough to adapt to being the main striker, or to play on the wing. Rijkaard does not like that he always looks at the ball and not with his head up (look at Xavi, Iniesta, Messi), but also he does not open up the pitch like Giuly (nor does Messi for that matter) and he is not comfortable on his own. The fact is though that we need him now, with only Gudjohnsen as the main striker, he will have to adopt, he will have to score goals. So lets put the discussion of the use of Saviola on the side and just enjoy his goals and effort for the team. Who knows perhaps an Eto'o will come out of his sleeve.
A. Bilbao - Barcelona
I don't like it when Puyol commits a foul, to tell the opponent to get up and not to be a playacting baby. Not fair play. but I guess that is modern football. Eidur Smari in good action, I hope he will connect, otherwise the fans will cry for the rabbit. Beautiful goal by Yeste. Will Eto'o's absence hunt us?
Shocking marking once more. The defense always runs together in a solitary movement with the ball, without bearing in mind a free opponent player.
Almost another Puyol blunder. Intensity, intensity.
Zambrotta making the Italian gesture. Will that bring the Sicilian out of the team?
Well done Messi and clever Eidur. Was more a yellow than red though, if that. Eidur definitely does not run like Samuel, but then no one does.
Rijkaard is doing a gamble. OOOaaaaaaaooooooo.
You die by your beliefs.
Ronaldinho seem so be slightly more alive than against Bremen. he has understood that he is in charge now. the leader. But we need more from the world's best player.
Even Ronaldinho is tracking back. All Bilbao do is kick the ball away so Barcelona have to start all over again.
Puyol is happy to score again. Perhaps he can become a Terry. 6 goals per year.
Eidur has had a great part of the victory. My country man is a tough man, thrown in to the team to be Eto'o and he is not doing badly at all. Marquez is almost scoring. What is going on here? Once can always see when Iniesta is warming up. A glow from the touchline...
The team needs to do more pressing. Leave no time to think for the opposite team. Did we see what Mourinho has thought Eidur Smari or is it a cultural adaptation?
I am really sad about Eto'o, but it will make the victory even sweeter (at the end of the season - if ...). If Saviola comes on and score, it will be a great indication that we will manage without Eto'o.
Gracias a dios el pibito se queda!
Werder Bremen - Barcelona
Finally Iniesta gets his moment in the first team. The surprise must be the inclusion of Oleguer, instead of Zambrotta. No idea why. Has Rijkaard become Benitian in his obsessive rotation. Or is it one of his policies in order to keep all players happy?
The orange outfit looks great.
The first minutes are looking what looks to be a "tough one", is it going to be another Monaco. Another match, where the players thought the job was done before getting on the pitch. I am worried about the sudden "glamour" surrounding the team. I don't doubt that Rijkaard is possessively protective towards his team and works very hard keeping their feet on the ground and their heads hungry, but perhaps Laporta is pushing the team towards ever more exposure. The press and fans are certainly to blame, but is it not normal that a certain euphoria surrounds the team?
Unicef disappears in the orange, is it a golden colour, just not shining. No it is a light blue. Bremen without any advertising, a strange view (apparently there is a court case pending, against their betting sponsors).
While Iniesta is strolling he keeps looking around, just in case he receives the ball, when he does he needs to have all options clear in his head. All antennas alerted in order to direct the game, either pacing it up or down, depending on the result.
Deco goes to ground slightly to easily for my taste. Rijkaard looks classy almost all in black, just a hint of red underneath, he seems to have lost the kilos gained in relaxation.
Academic clinical goal. It was needed. So coldly executed. After a suffering, utterly boring second half, Barcelona scored an undeserved goal. It was one of the most horrid games, where they just did not seem to wake up until they had the knife at their throats.
The team seemed dozed after Eto'o went off. i am seriously worried, it looked bad and proved to be bad.
I believe the team had a lazy attitude, not taking Werder Bremen very seriously, when they do have a decent team. Barcelona lacked intensity, it is nothing new, as they traditionally take 20 minutes to wake up. Ronaldinho was simply dreadful, perhaps the worst game he ever had. After a bright start of the season, where he wanted the world to remember that he was not the new Raúl, he seems to have fallen asleep again. I guess he will wake up for the big week (Real Madrid/Chelsea). I blame Rijkaard for not putting his best players on the pitch, perhaps that has an effect on the team and they don't really take it as seriously as they should. This is not a crisis in the horizon, but their complacency at times is worrying, although last year if I don't remember it wrongly it all started in a similar vein. This year looks like it is going to be a tough one, Valencia and Real Madrid have signed a lot of good players and it will be a fight. No time will be able to afford to loose many points. Eto'o will be profoundly missed, but hopefully he will be back for the crucial bit of the season (march) and I sincerely hope his injury won't have an effect on his future performances. Let's hope that Eto'o's injury will bring the players together and make them fight even more. I think that Eto'o's goals can be partly substituted, but his possessive running and determination - his mind, heart and guts - will be hard to replace.