Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Barca at their Brilliant Best'

La Liga match wrap, Barcelona 4 v Real Zaragoza 1

IF you can get access to ESPN tonight at 8pm AEST, do yourself a favour a tune into the replay of this morning’s round 5 La Liga clash between Barcelona and Real Zaragoza at the Nou Camp.

You won’t regret it, unless of course you’re a Zaragoza fans. But even then you would have to sit there and marvel at the joy of watching Barca in full flow.

For fans of the beautiful game, this was just about as good as it gets, especially in this day and age of stifle, defend-first football. As the reputable commentator Derek Rae gestured, despite the cynicism of his side-kick Tommy Smyth (never the biggest Barca fan), this was “champagne football”, “Barcelona at their brilliant best”.

After a stuttering start to their campaign, with has featured 0-0 draws at both Santander and Osasuna, Barca appear back on course after wins against Lyon, Sevilla and now Zaragoza, admittedly all at home. There are few prettier sights in world football, perhaps with the exception of a free-flowing Arsenal or Roma, than watching Messer’s Messi, Iniesta, Deco, Xavi and Henry in full flight.

The first half was out of this world, and as usually, it was the little Argentine at heart of most that was good, bagging two and playing a lethal had in the third. No Ronnie, no worries.

One regular TRBA reader, Barcelona fan Adam, has been in my ear for the past couple of years, reminding me that it won’t be long before Messi is the best player in the world. Given the trademark smile has disappeared from Ronnie’s face since Germany ‘06, I think it’s fair to say Messi is there, especially since going up a level this season, as many Aussies were privileged to see first hand.

Here, his first was brilliant, driving from deep on the right in trademark style from outside to in, slaloming past defenders with the ball glued to his feet, linking up on the edge of the box with Henry before shaping his first time effort around Cesar Sanchez.

After a wonderful Zapater equaliser, Messi was back at it, profiting from some good ball-winning on the edge of the box from Deco, before playing in the Portuguese playmaker, who teed it up for Iniesta.

While Messi was the chief, he had a whole heap of willing helpers, with Deco seemingly back to his best after a poor last season, his worst since bursting onto the European scene at Porto. Also influential was the mercurial Spaniard, Iniesta, shaping up on the left, in space normally occupied by Ronaldinho.

On one occasion, Iniesta took a sublime 50 metre cross-field ball, cushioning it and dinking it over his marker with just one touch. The gasps from the Nou Camp faithful said it all.

Barca’s only frustration up front was the fact Henry couldn’t open his La Liga account to go with his Champions League tap-in against Lyon, but that was largely down to some good work from Sanchez.

Yet, for all this flow and show, perhaps Barca’s most promising addition is that of holding midfielder Yaya Toure, younger brother of Arsenals’ Kolo, who appears simple, neat and measured in everything he does. It’s early days, but he looks the goods.

So too, on this evidence, do Barca’s hopes of regaining the title they didn’t want last season.

If you missed it, make sure get yourself a copy or tune in to ESPN’s reply tonight. If you managed to catch it this morning, what were your impressions?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tony,

Thanks for the tip-off about the replay will definetely tune in. There is nothing i enjoy more than watching Barca in full flow at the Nou Camp (apart from the Socceroos in a WC :) ). Barca play the way the game should be played, possession football and composed skilful play. As for Messi, no doubt he will be the best!

Peter Kandy

Thu. Sep. 27, 11:58:00 am AEST  
Anonymous sir alex said...

i only saw the 1st half(4-1 up) so am keen to watch the rest tonight.
simply brilliant

Thu. Sep. 27, 12:01:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Poncho said...

Toure had wraps on him as a teenager in Greece. He was smart enough to use Olympiacos as a stepping-stone to Europe. He will become the best holding midfielder in the world!

Thu. Sep. 27, 12:55:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous shaun said...

was extremely impressed with toure in the world cup playing alongside zokora.

i remember hearing big things about him from those in know in greek football and was very happy to hear that he had moved to barca in the summer so i could watch him play again!

Thu. Sep. 27, 01:15:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous wes said...

The first half in particular was an awesome display of football and it looks like since the Lyon match Barca have raised up the stakes.

Thu. Sep. 27, 04:13:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

thanks all for the comments, glad there were others also appreciating it or about to...

they're a talented bunch those toure brothers and I know there's many who feel the younger toure is the more talented of the two, which is good news for Barca cause I've got plenty of time for kolo

Thu. Sep. 27, 05:26:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip Tony. Watched the replay last night - wow, that's football!!!

Fri. Sep. 28, 09:19:00 am AEST  
Blogger Mike Salter said...

Hi Tony,

Downloaded a torrent of the game on your recommendation.

I would just like to say that Messi is football sex. That is all. ;-)

Sun. Sep. 30, 03:21:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Mike, glad you got to see it.....not sure if you saw Barca's 4th against Levante, Messi taking it to the left back? Wow!!

Mon. Oct. 01, 09:54:00 pm AEST  

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