Friday, October 21, 2011

Desperately Seeking Barca

Watching desperately seeking Susan and embroidering my Boomshakalaka piece.
Photo by Kate* on Flickr

Correspondent Ed is desperate.  In so many ways:

While Manchester United were putting together one of the most forgettable displays in recent memory against a team which not even Fergie knows the name of, and while City was fighting for its life against a Villarreal team that hadn’t yet won a game in Champions League, Barcelona was absolutely toying with the leader of the Czech league and waltzing their way to yet another victory in Europe.   Iniesta to Messi to Iniesta to Messi to Iniesta to the back of the goal might be hard to say but it’s surely amazing to watch.  It looks so easy; if only it were.

Barca possessed the ball 78% of the time in a 2 to nothing victory that coulda woulda shoulda been more like 10 to nothing.  The Czechs never had any opportunities, never had the ball, and looked like a bunch of 8 year olds trying to make it in an adult league.  At the end of the game I half expected Barca coach Pep Guardiola to give the Czech coast a good old fashioned noogie.
So why do I bring this up?  Because, as Fergie and most of Europe knows, winning the EPL is great, but winning the Champions League is what it’s all about.  And right now neither City nor United – the two teams that will be battling Sunday for the top spot in England – look even close to being up to the task.   
As everyone must recall, last year Barca absolutely pummeled United in the finals, and they did this to United at Wembley.  Since that game, I believe that Fergie has made it his goal to take down the miniature titans of Spain, and I believe his offseason additions of speed were designed to do just that.  And at the beginning of the year this new United Squad looked like they might be world beaters.  They even beat a Messi-less Barca in a pre-season friendly.  But as the season has worn on, much of the sparkle has been lost, and while United has looked solid, they haven’t looked to be even close to the level of the Catalans.
City, I had hoped, would come together as a team this season and challenge United not only in the EPL but also in the Champions League.  As far as I’m concerned, the more top teams in the EPL the better.  But a beating by Bayern Munich a week ago and their aforementioned recent scramble for life has made them look, well, mediocre.  Or maybe even just good.  But definitely not Barca-like, or even Barca-lite. 
As regular FOF readers may recall, following the final at Wembley  I penned two articles that asked the question of whether Barca was great because of the system or the players.  As the games pass, I’m still not sure what the final answer is.  But as a fan of the EPL I am envious.  I desperately want to see someone in the EPL start to look as majestic as Barca.  I desperately want to see an EPL team simply dismantle an opponent and look like they’re not even trying.   I desperately want to stop watching Spain have all the fun.  But right now my desperation seems to be nothing more than that, as no one that I’ve been watching looks up to the challenge.

This is farlieonfootie for October 22.

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