Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Good Morning!

Welcome to a special edition of The Legend of Carl Awesome. Through the miracle of the internet, your humble correspondents are able to present you with a rundown of the Manchester Derby (and the first half of Arsenal-Wolves) as viewed through our twisted and biased lens. Three points if you make it to the end:

Citeh's buildup is good, but every time they start to look a little threatening, the final ball is laughably bad.
06:54:19 Juan: im glad carlos and silva decided to do their best mls impression for these first 10 minutes
06:54:42 Jim: great passing and then a horrible final ball
06:56:02 Juan: did you catch up on my suarez take
06:56:16 Jim: i did indeed
06:56:25 Juan: it's not a bad ceiling, right?
06:56:27 Juan: arshavin?
06:56:32 Jim: not at all
06:56:45 Juan: i actually took a long time thinking who it could be
06:56:48 Jim: also, i love the podcast talking about how arshavin is unreasonably hated
06:58:54 Juan: the podcast was great
06:59:08 Jim: it's as good as the arsecast is terrible
06:59:12 Jim: well, maybe that's pushing it
06:59:34 Juan: yeah, only because by that logic the "footballistically arsenal" dudes would win a new nobel prize in spoken word

Lots of fouls, midfield getting congested.
07:05:24 Juan: this is getting a bit chippy
07:06:07 Jim: do you mean kompany's foul?
07:06:16 Juan: yes
07:06:18 Juan: then o'shea
07:06:19 Jim: yeah
07:09:09 Jim: anderson, please close your mouth
07:09:18 Juan: lol
07:09:34 Juan: he thinks it's closed jim
07:11:39 Jim: rooney is trying to get a yellow card with his "english determination"
07:12:00 Jim: wow, he almost succeeded, too
07:12:09 Juan: like a mule plowing a field
07:12:13 Jim: indeed
07:12:15 Jim: a donkey with a huge cart strapped to its back
07:12:15 Juan: the english players add so much to the game
07:12:25 Jim: running at full speed

Scholes sends a long, perfect cross-field ball to the wing.
07:14:14 Jim: i know scholes is an annoying old ginger, but he can still spread that ball around like buttah
07:15:12 Juan: like warm butter on a nice pancake
07:15:20 Jim: on that note, i think a good argument that xavi is overrated is to ask yourself: would it really make a difference if paul scholes replaced him in the barca midfield?
07:15:31 Jim: honestly, he'd probably do just fine
07:15:39 Juan: yeah, arsene wenger ruined scholes for me with his hilarious, "he's a great player with a shaky past" line, or something like that
07:17:09 Jim: definitely a lot of terrible fouls
07:17:18 Jim: he never actually learned how to tackle
07:17:40 Jim: and he's infamous for stupid, blatant handballs
07:18:03 Juan: yeah he did that against wolves
07:18:08 Juan: was he even carded for that?
07:18:18 Jim: yeah, yellow card
07:19:26 Jim: a classic:
07:19:41 Juan: stupid
07:19:51 Juan: it should have been the color of his crotch

Nani scores! 1 nil to United.
07:26:15 Jim: darn
07:26:25 Jim: how did they let that happen
07:26:47 Juan: cuz nani is nice
07:26:58 Juan: "nice" like how a dude would use it to describe a girl
07:26:59 Jim: yeah
07:27:08 Juan: quite a touch there
07:27:15 Jim: that crazy backflip he does is also pretty impressive
07:27:23 Jim: "we do what we waaaaant"
07:27:28 Jim: i kind of love that they sing that
07:27:49 Juan: what's the end of that?
07:28:08 Jim: and then "we're man united, and we do want we want"
07:28:17 Juan: ha
07:28:42 Juan: i need a piss test for ryan giggs, please
07:29:05 Juan: hes looking awfully frisky today
07:29:51 Jim: it's because sir alex switched him to a blend of chow for more mature pets
07:30:16 Juan: LOL
07:30:25 Juan: did you just make that up?
07:30:27 Juan: that is golden
07:30:29 Juan: i read it twice
07:30:34 Jim: haha i did
07:30:40 Juan: fantastic sir
07:30:41 Juan: well in
07:31:00 Jim: thank you

The speed of the match increases as Citeh realize they're in trouble and United try to put the match to bed with a quick follow-up before halftime.
07:31:08 Juan: dang
07:31:15 Juan: these players are really good when they open up
07:31:24 Juan: we need more soccer all star games
07:31:29 Jim: i agree
07:31:44 Juan: sometimes its not fun being so disciplined
07:34:57 Jim: i was reading the other day about soccer strategies
07:35:05 Jim: how it's not really a quest to find a perfect one
07:35:11 Jim: it's more like rock, paper, scissors
07:35:33 Jim: and how liverpool were playing an 80s style lineup with basically 3 center backs against chelsea
07:35:35 Jim: and it worked
07:35:35 Juan: rock paper scissors and barcelona
07:35:40 Jim: ah yes
07:35:46 Jim: i forgot that one
07:35:47 Juan: hahah that's what they'd say
07:35:48 Juan: anyway
07:35:48 Juan: go on
07:35:50 Jim: "gun" = barcelona
07:36:14 Juan: it's like rock paper glock

Hating on Soccernet...

07:36:36 Jim:
07:36:53 Jim: one of the few times that soccernet has genuinely entertained and/or educated me about anything
07:36:56 Juan: yeah i read that
07:36:59 Juan: it's because hes freelance
07:37:03 Jim: must be
07:37:03 Juan: and doesn't actually work for them
07:37:49 Jim: yeah
07:38:03 Juan: which is probably better for espn
07:38:11 Juan: i find it hard to believe the higher ups don't realize they're mostly shit
07:38:25 Juan: they brought in [david] hirshey, they allow some more freelance stuff
07:38:32 Juan: espn now has a really big investment in soccer
07:38:36 Jim: hirshey cracks me up
07:39:03 Juan: yeah i like hirshey

Halftime Highlights and Some Internet Browsing.
07:40:23 Jim: here's a heartwarming story:
07:40:32 Jim: i like what he said to beckham, i think that's exactly what i would have said
07:41:25 Juan: i mean, we would have said it in a very inappropriate tone
07:41:30 Jim: it's true
07:41:31 Juan: but yes, on print it would look the same
07:41:41 Jim: i would have said it while slowly unbuttoning my shirt
07:41:57 Juan: and shielding your kids' eyes
07:42:10 Jim: "kids, go wait in the car"
07:42:28 Juan: "daddy is gonna show david how much he loves him"
07:42:35 Jim: AHAHAHA
07:42:46 Juan: hahaha im dying over here
07:42:48 Jim: if i don't stop laughing, my girlfriend is going to come in here
07:42:58 Jim: and ask what's so funny that made me wake her up
07:43:09 Jim: and i'll have to explain that i'm making jokes about being gay with david beckham
07:43:27 Juan: she'll probably nod and just turn and walk away
07:44:05 Juan: "kids, go tell mom to put on her david beckham jersey for when i get home"
07:44:34 Jim: LOL

Citeh substitution: Edin Dzeko comes on for James Milner.
08:04:11 Juan: um
08:04:13 Juan: jesus christ
08:04:17 Juan: how big is edin dzeko?
08:04:27 Jim: fairly large
08:04:30 Juan: dude looks like a monster
08:05:59 Jim: actually, according to wikipedia, dude is 6'4
08:06:04 Jim: that's pretty huge
08:06:12 Jim: not llorente huge, but close
08:06:56 Jim: like the bosnian paul bunyan

Good run and cross from Wright-Phillips. Dzeko's ensuing shot deflects off Silva and into the goal! All square again.
08:08:24 Juan: hey-o
08:08:29 Juan: this is the best result for us
08:08:39 Jim: oh snap
08:08:56 Jim: aw a-aww yeahh
08:09:30 Jim: that's the first useful thing i've seen shaun wright-phillips do in like four years
08:09:51 Juan: yeah, wenger was right about him

Ball played into Tevez, Van der Sar makes a fantastic save. Flag was up, however.

08:11:10 Juan: only van der saar saves that
08:11:13 Juan: what an asshole
08:11:23 Jim: point blank
08:11:44 Jim: how does a man that old have reflexes like a cat?
08:12:06 Juan: they're gonna hurt once he leaves...
08:12:12 Jim: reina?
08:12:19 Juan: ... for like, a game, then they'll buy another good goalie, since that's what serious teams do
08:12:52 Jim: good thing we have a good goalie now in woldcheck szczczc kenny chesney
08:13:00 Juan: HAHAHAH
08:13:05 Juan: kenny chesney
08:13:38 Jim: honestly, when his family was on ellis island, he was probably kenny sczeszny or whatever
08:13:45 Jim: and the immigration officials were like f that
08:14:08 Jim: your name is chesney and you're going to be a country singer

A lull in the action, then Berbatov shows off his skills.

08:16:13 Juan: jesus berba
08:16:14 Juan: just class
08:16:27 Jim: holy crap
08:17:02 Jim: lazy, languid moves
08:17:08 Jim: as he slicks back his hair
08:17:14 Jim: and allows the barest of smiles
08:17:18 Juan: and sprays himself with deodorant
08:17:27 Jim: yeah, covers himself with davidoff's cool water
08:17:30 Juan: he's the continental
08:17:30 Jim: that's what he bathes in

Wayne Rooney scores perhaps the finest goal I've ever seen.
08:21:38 Juan: wow
08:21:42 Jim: oh
08:21:45 Juan: wow
08:21:50 Jim: oh
08:21:54 Juan: um
08:21:55 Juan: wow
08:21:58 Juan: what
08:21:58 Juan: the
08:21:59 Jim: oh my
08:21:59 Juan: fuck
08:22:06 Jim: oh my goodness
08:22:13 Juan: thats a joke, right?
08:22:14 Juan: holy fuck
08:22:19 Juan: that replay is just, wow
08:22:21 Jim: jesus dude
08:22:23 Jim: that is perfect
08:22:28 Juan: even ferguson goes, FUCK
08:22:36 Jim: OH MY GOD
08:22:39 Jim: look at that thing
08:22:46 Jim: chicharito went crazy
08:23:10 Juan: hahahah my goodness
08:23:19 Jim: they do what they want, apparently
08:23:25 Juan: wait
08:23:28 Juan: there's more replays
08:23:37 Juan: ones where joe hart seems a little displeased
08:24:24 Jim: alright citeh, what do you have to say about that?

David Beckham is in attendance! Meanwhile, Citeh look shell-shocked.
08:25:28 Jim: love you david
08:25:58 Juan: how do you recover from that?
08:26:15 Juan: somewhere, noel gallagher just shot up heroin

Final whistle.
08:38:15 Juan: whatever, this is probably better for the world this way
08:38:22 Jim: yeah
08:38:29 Jim: also, that goal
08:38:48 Jim: just absurd
08:39:00 Jim: united will lose to liverpool
08:39:07 Jim: there's no doubt in my mind
08:39:41 Jim: and they could lose to us, too

On Rooney's Overhead Laser Beam, which will henceforth be abbreviated "RGAC" (Rooney's Goal Against Citeh)...
08:40:16 Jim: even good rooney has only a few of those goals in his locker
08:41:05 Juan: whatever
08:41:08 Juan: welcome to the club, citeh
08:41:14 Jim: yep
08:41:18 Juan: wondergoals always beat arsenal
08:41:22 Jim: it's true
08:41:26 Jim: even that last newcastle goal
08:41:32 Jim: i would say: borderline wonder
08:42:08 Juan: borderline?
08:42:12 Juan: jim, it was voted goal of the month
08:42:31 Jim: after rooney's goal...
08:42:35 Juan: well
08:42:39 Jim: i'm no longer impressed by anything.
08:42:48 Juan: we should do that...
08:42:51 Juan: just raise the bar after that
08:42:55 Juan: expecting all goals to look like that
08:43:16 Jim: be like "that was a nice goal. i rate it 1/10th Rooney's goal against Citeh
08:43:33 Jim: or "wow, what a strike: 0.25 Rooney's goal against citeh"
08:45:08 Juan: "i mean, it wasnt an overhead volley to the upper 90"
08:45:14 Juan: "but i guess it was a nice goal by you, too"
08:45:21 Jim: tiote's goal was like 70% RGAC
08:45:37 Jim: great technique
08:45:45 Jim: but he wasn't upside down when he did it
08:46:25 Juan: "Flaws - wasn't done upside down"
08:46:44 Jim: "also, was not flying through the air and contorting his body like an acrobat"
08:46:54 Jim: "-25 RGAC points"

Gearing Up for the Mighty Arsenal...
08:47:15 Juan: alrighty
08:47:20 Juan: 13 minutes till arsenal
08:47:22 Jim: yep
08:47:25 Juan: HOLLER
08:47:29 Jim: you staying on, or heading out?
08:47:36 Juan: i'm staying
08:47:38 Jim: because i think this conversation should continue
08:47:41 Jim: through the first half
08:47:45 Juan: i have a hangover that would kill me if i tried to get up
08:47:54 Jim: big night last night?
08:48:05 Juan: 5 exams in 5 days ended last night sir

ESPN shows highlights from last weekend's disaster.
08:56:36 Juan: thank you, espn
08:56:43 Juan: i had forgotten what happened against newcastle
08:58:05 Jim: i've honestly been trying to forget
08:58:20 Juan: last saturday should be called "Match Fixing Day"
08:58:35 Juan: league wide match-fixing day occurred just 7 days ago

Kickoff for Arsenal. Torrential rain and hail.

09:02:13 Jim: uh, look at this hail
09:02:29 Juan: hail?
09:02:36 Juan: jesus
09:03:06 Juan: hahah based on this winter i thought you were talking about stl
09:03:13 Jim: haha no
09:03:51 Juan: VP is looking fresh today...
09:03:51 Jim: wolves only play well against good teams
09:03:55 Jim: yeah, wilshere too
09:03:59 Juan: he'll probably tear his acl
09:04:19 Jim: dammit juan

Free kick outside the box to Arsenal.
09:04:21 Jim: come on rvp
09:04:27 Jim: do it
09:04:33 Juan: do it
09:04:34 Juan: do it
09:04:36 Jim: dooooo it
09:04:42 Jim: long run up
09:04:48 Juan: do not sail this over the goal
09:04:51 Juan: do not sail this over the goal
09:04:51 Jim: dang

Some slick moves from Adam Hamill. It comes to nothing, and shortly thereafter, RVP strikes and it's 1 nil to the Arsenal!

09:16:56 Jim: wowww
09:17:02 Juan: wow
09:17:04 Juan: just like that
09:17:10 Jim: rvp's goal is nice
09:17:16 Juan: he doesnt appear to be hurt either
09:17:17 Jim: 20% RGAC?
09:17:17 Juan: amazing
09:17:21 Jim: and not hurt
09:17:31 Juan: he had a little sideways going
09:17:33 Juan: i might go 30%
09:17:42 Juan: off foot
09:17:45 Juan: very nice
09:17:55 Jim: yeah

One of us is failing in his duties...
09:32:32 Juan: stop getting ready for brunch jim and watch the game
09:34:24 Jim: sorry dude
09:34:25 Jim: wha happened
09:34:30 Juan: hahaha
09:34:36 Juan: um, arshavin on a break
09:34:44 Juan: walcott with a gaping goal
09:34:46 Juan: saved
09:38:16 Juan: we're locking down though
09:39:04 Jim: djourou and sagna are so good
09:39:27 Juan: sagna especially
09:39:37 Juan: jury is still out for me on djourou
09:39:45 Juan: after that last play, i can see why people hype him

Djourou gets away with a clumsy tackle inside the area. At the other end, Arshavin appears to be brought down.
09:42:19 Jim: great tackle
09:42:43 Jim: or not
09:42:48 Jim: but it looked like one
09:42:51 Jim: in real time
09:43:48 Juan: how does he not give that?
09:43:55 Jim: replay shows that it’s pretty minimal contact
09:44:00 Juan: oh i see
09:44:02 Jim: but i thought it was a pen, i was fooled
09:44:07 Juan: me too
09:44:11 Jim: well honestly, i've seen that given
09:44:14 Juan: i dont know man
09:44:17 Juan: his jersey gets tugged
09:44:21 Juan: that should be an automatic
09:44:27 Jim: that's what i initially thought, too
09:44:29 Juan: apparently this ref has only given 4 pens all year
09:44:42 Juan: that is to say, double what phil bought in 1 game

09:53:11 Jim: bring us to victory
09:53:41 Juan: alright sir
09:53:43 Juan: I’ll send some emails
09:54:05 Juan: enjoy your hollandaise sauce

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Your Fans Just Know What You Need, But I Know What You Want" - Luis Suarez

To think, Luis Suarez's career at Liverpool, for a moment, was at the feet of Andy Wilkinson. No, no, it wasn't the way you might think. It was a little more subtle than a two footed challenge from behind.

It was Wilkinson, a member of the Disturbed Donkey Football Club, also called Stoke City, who failed to clear Suarez's dramatic debut goal off the line. You shouldn't be surprised I guess, Wilkinson has spent his whole career one step behind the game. This time though, a studs up challenge to the ball wouldn't reduce it's will to go in.

Might this be destiny?

It sure seems that way. Let's consider the circumstances of his move. The transfer comes months after The Hand of God remix (feat. Double Fist Pump Celebration). Luis is also not the first highly rated Uruguayan striker to come to England. The one before Suarez, uh, didn't really pan out. And we all know the media is about as friendly as the sun is shining in England.

Add to that how Liverpool was in drop zone this year a stunning 9 (!) games into their campaign. That is not a typo. So yeah, Liverpool is capable of struggling as of late. It's not just Arsenal in the midst of an extremely weird EPL this season, wondering how they're so far up the table.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Luis is "replacing" Fernando Torres.

Did I leave anything out? Africa killer, Forlán's legacy, reactionary media, struggling team with a usually delusional fan-base, replacing El Niño... yeah I think that covers it. Out of those 6 potentially suffocating factors, 4 of them come into play if Wilkinson is a half-step faster.

My heart, of course, would love it if Suarez is hugely successful at Liverpool, but my head says it won't happen. The Luis I know would have to change a few things to be a star in England. For starters he would have to lose the knack he, and other Uruguayan players have for missing the easy goal. 81 goals in 110 appearances for Ajax is something special, considering that it could have been 162. His biggest strength is creating chances, or at least receiving the chances, damnt you know what I mean. I can look past "easy" misses; it's the opportunities to score that matter. Luis is great at that since he's basically an onside Pipo Inzaghi when it comes scoring opportunities. He just has a tendency to squander chances.

It's simple really, the EPL is much less understanding when it comes to misses. Luis will have to survive that, because it's going to happen. Consider it a TLOCA guarantee.

He'll also have to adapt to the England. That is to say, he'll have to grow stronger leg bones so that they don't get broken so easily, develop a dislike for the sun, shed the hatred from a largely xenophobic population, and brush off a media that killed princess Diana. You may have noticed, but these are all the things that Forlán didn't do. Diego, I must mention, also took 26 games to get his first goal for United, a statistic I still can't believe.

The good news, and never remind me that I wrote this, is that Andy Carroll is a good striking partner. He's physical, capable of finishing all of Luis' crosses, and likely to get into more trouble off the field. Andy also cost more too, so in theory he should get more flak if Liverpool burn out.

So my final answer is this - Suarez can be as successful as Andrei Arshavin, or as unsuccessful as Giovani Dos Santos. Let's hope it's the first guy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You're Welcome. Sincerely, Barcelona FC

Why there was confetti I'm not sure, but with my arms out I looked to the sky as the over-head camera slowly spun higher and higher into the air. The crowd clapped and barefoot children that had rushed the field lovingly brushed the confetti off of my shoulder. Moments ago, in the 93rd minute, I had given Diego Forlán a lovely through-ball that he finished emphatically in the top corner. His goal was the third that beat Barcelona, 3 to 2.

I was enjoying my dream as the train arrived and when I stepped on I was greeted by an ominous sign; someone had thrown up all over ground. Suddenly the empty train made sense to me now. So did all the horrified faces that expected me to step in the vomit. (Ding ding ding) Before I could run out of the doors closed behind me. I held my nose and turned away. Yep, an ominous sign indeed.

I arrive at the stadium and sit in my seat the exact moment Atlético Madrid comes out to warm up. Booooo, the crowd says, but they don't really mean it. I scan the players on the field frantically until I find you-know-who and remember to breathe again. You see, I had read a rumor on the interwebs that Quique Sanchez Flores, the Atlético manager, would not be starting the World Cup's best player. Phew. He's in the building everyone, no need to panic!

Oh. Oh wait. He's wearing warm-ups. Well not just warm-ups, he's wearing the full warm-up outfit that 10 other players and 1 goalie are not wearing. I count the passing-lines again. Shit! Ten. Hold-up, I think I got 9. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Diego doesn't warm up with the rest of the proletariat. ...8, 9, ten. Shit!! Diego is not starting. Damn you Quique, damn you to hell. To make matters worse, Javier Mascherano walks over to Doug and starts chatting him up. I may be a thousand meters away, but I can tell Diego's not really in to the convo.

So I watch them converse for longer than I would have liked and Mascherano finally walks away. An errant ball flies at Diego and he back-heels it back to where it came. That moment of class is quickly ruined because Gabby Milito jogs over and starts conversing with Forlán. Is this some kind of sick joke?

Once the game starts and I finally have clear, incontrovertible proof that Diego Forlán is in fact, not starting, a wave of bitterness overwhelms me.

Really? Really everyone? Barcelona is so unbeatable that Q. Florez Sanchez , having lost 3 out of the previous 3 games, thinks it's best to try a defensive formation against The Barcelona Futbol Club, aka, Barça F. Baby, the greatest team alive. The same squad that put a 5-hand on Real Madrid. The same squad that causes managers to rest 8 of their 11 starters? The squad that made one manager say, "If it were up to me we'd give them 6 points every year and play 36 games."

Alright that last one wasn't true, but still, can't we even try to compete against them, guys? The answer that Atlético gave was, no (!), and the same is true for 16 other teams in La Liga that mention Leonel Messi in their press-conferences just to get some air-time. It's starting to get annoying.

Oh look, Messi scored. Oh look, Messi scored again. No doubt he's getting a hat-trick tonight... yawn (yawn). The half-time whistle blows and I'm given 15 minutes to try and regain my composure. The Pakistani ooh'ing and aw'ing over simple passes and yelling Bar-sha, instead of Bar-sa, definitely got to me. Let's be frank, I was having a meltdown.

Of course, Doug E. Fresh snaps me back to reality. He has come out to warm up - just him and the trainer - and it's clear he's coming on to begin the second half. I crack a smile and dopamine washes over me. "Time to get the camera out!!" I say to myself, in Barefoot Contessa's voice. (I had already taken, um, 10 pictures of him standing on the field an hour ago.)

The players take the field for the second half and the 4th referee finally holds up the neon lights everyone came here to watch. 7. Yes. Atlético comes out of the gates with some giddy-up, naturally, and for a brief moment they look threatening. My bias knows no end, so I'll let Jimbo tell the story: "Scoreline was maybe a little misleading at the end, especially because Atletico were like 3x better with Forlan on the field". I concur.

Messi, of course, bags his hat-trick. Before I let you know how sour these grapes are, I would like to point out that two of his three goals that night were very fortuitous. Deflections that could have gone anywhere settled at his feet warmly, while goalies and defenders flailed around like pigeons scattering from a running child. He's getting all the breaks, the whole team is, there's no point in denying it. I'm not trying to say they didn't earn it, you know, the same way Dimitar Berbatov deserves all his near-post goals.

The full-time whistle sounded, and immediately the anthem blasted from the speakers. Diego played well. It was in a 3-nil loss in which he played only 45 minutes and his manager conceded before the team bus arrived, but he played well nonetheless. There was a moment around the 60th minute when he seemed to pull the earth out of orbit. He received the ball near the corner flag and dribbled at Pique. Gerard Pique everyone. The like, greatest defender on this earth. Gerard assumed his crouch and strafed, ready for yet another shot defended or pass deflected to fill up his stat sheet. Diego, maintaining his stride, looked down, feinted a cross, made a cut and effortlessly skipped around Pique. My heart stopped. It was still 2-nil at this point and Doug just made Gerard Pique look like a Serie A defender. The cross lead to nothing, Kun flubed the shot, but it did lead to my epiphany.

Yes, you are witnessing a team that only comes around every fifty years. You are all privileged to know someone, who knows someone, who has season tickets to the Camp Nou. But that doesn't mean this squad is unbeatable. The respect given to this team hours and even days before their "competition" steps on the field is too much. And not every pass they make is inch perfect. I was there, I watched every pass. It's gotten to the point where Xavi or Iniesta get away with mistakes and bad touches simply because they've been given too much respect.

There are only three instances when the opposition played Barcelona FC straight up, as equals. The first was Hercules, they won, the second was Real Madrid, they lost by I forget how many (no I don't, it was five), and the third was Espanyol, who lost 5-1. The remaining 16 teams in La Liga should be ashamed. The rest of La Liga comes out on the pitch and metaphorically empties their pockets and hands over their car keys. "Thanks for beating us so easily!", they whisper face down with their arms behind their backs.

You're welcome.

Sincerely, Barcelona FC