As they say, nice guys finish last. This has more or less been my experience. So knowing this, if I’m still nice, does that make me an idiot? Sure feels like it.
story of my life
What I got to, what I got to do to wake you up
To shake you up, to break the structure up.
Barca Musings: Villa’s Return | Fabregas on Fire | Defensive Distresses | A non-Messi starting XI (?!)
This past week, we saw Tito field a starting XI that did not feature Messi for the first time this season and the team was able to secure a safe victory despite the absence of other important players such as Xavi and Busquets. The best part of the result was that Villa opened the scoring with an absolutely beautiful strike. This was the first time in the season that he started two consecutive games, scoring in both. In fact, he now has 5 goals in just 334 minutes of play. Compared to Messi’s 13 goals from playing all but 58 minutes in La Liga, his scoring rate is very similar to Leo’s: no mean feat, especially for a player returning from injury. His return from injury and almost instant success really underscores what an incredibly fine striker Villa is. I am a huge Villa fan; he exemplifies the qualities that a striker should possess: guile, clinical finishing and the ability to score with both feet. The same cant be said for the latest signing up front: Alexis, who is most classifiable as a winger. There has been some recent debate in the blogosphere of whether Villa should start in place of Alexis. Now, first off, I dont think that is a valid line of thought, since there are 2 spots open up front, actually make that 3 spots up front if we remove the implicit assumption that one is always reserved for La Pulga. All the same, if I was Tito and had to choose between Villa or Alexis to start, I’d choose Villa 10 out of 10. times. Apart from the fact that Villa is plain better up front in terms of quality and experience, Villa deserves more time given what he has been through to get back to top form and besides, the man has only a few years left in him at the top level. I and many other sports commentators agree that the single biggest reason for Barcelona’s loss of the CL and La Liga titles last year was Villa’s absence. His out and out striker mentality was sorely missed and the reliance on Messi to score became an overreliance. A weakness top teams perceived and exploited fully.
But back to Alexis, when people talk about his pros all that is in his favor is everything outside of striking: as in creating space for Messi, high work rate and defensive pressure. We already have one player who does that: Pedro, two players would be stupid and would give Messi even more of a status than he is already given on the field. Which brings me to two other points: First, Messi is incredibly important to Barca and is a virtuoso on the field. But at the same time, games and competitions are won by teams and centering a team around one individual is foolish even if that individual were the greatest player of all time. I have held that opinion for quite a while and last season really should have driven that point home. Attacking duties have to be distributed up front, last year my boy Fabregas stepped up admirably but he is no Benzema or Higuain. Villa is needed up front. The other of my points is that Alexis defensive pressure is only of nontrivial value when we are fielding a poor back-line which is unfortunately the case at the moment. And Tito should really focus on changing the latter reality than rely on a winger to win back the ball. And this means buying a real CB. The purchase of Song made no sense to me whatsoever. Was Tito trying to invest in his youth CBs (Bartra, Muniesa, Fontas) rather than sign a new CB? Well thats a zero sum game as Song would will take a place in the midfield if not defense. This is even more puzzling considering the fact that we already have a world class backup DM to our world class DM: Mascherano, who now seems to been permanently placed in defense and as we have seen in the big matches this is not a good thing (for Barca or Mascherano).
But the other big positive of this season is Fabregas’s form. He is hands down my favorite non-defense player. I believe that he is the future of Barcelona and he will serve better than Xavi or Iniesta could inidividually. He is said to be the heir to Xavi’s throne as the orchestrator, but I believe he is more than that. He is more of a cross between Xavi and Iniesta while possessing additional qualities of his own. And what is even more striking is his linkups with Messi last season even overshadowed Xavi-Iniesta-Messi interplay and that was just his first season at Barca. I have high hopes for Fabregas’s future. I see him being the captain of Barca and Spain by the time he retires. I think he will even beat out his best friend Pique and even Messi for the captains armband at Barca. Moreover, this talk about Fabregas moving away even for a short while is downright stupid in my opinion. I dont think thats good for either Barca or Fabregas. And whats important about his amazing skill as a playmaker is that Barca can operate without Messi. Why? Simply because pinning all of Barca’s goals on one person is just not good practice. I really want to see Tito field more starting XIs without Messi and prove me right. Barcelona’s insane 9-0 route of Hospitalet last season is a strong case in point. As talented as Messi is, i think other talent at Barca should be given time and opportunity to shine as well and this means resting Messi from time to time.
Well this has been a fun 5AM write up. I hope my body can shut itself down now at least, I really dont want to miss the Celta Vigo game in 7 hours. If I remember correctly, winning this match would create a new league record for Barca and Tito, and I would like to watch that happen live.
Green Energy is not about tree-hugging. Its not about not burning dead animal. Its not even about preventing the extinction of humanity. Its about keeping the price of oil below blood. A threshold humanity has disgracefully already crossed.
I realized I think about the biggest and (perhaps) most subjective of things and I study the smallest and (perhaps) most objective of beings. Infinitely big and infinitesimally small. Odd brain buddies (?)