Sabtu, 21 November 2009

Preview: La Liga

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 07: Lionel Messi of Barcelona scores from a penalty kick during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Mallorca at the Camp Nou Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona

21st November, 2009

San Mamés

Kick-Off: 22:00 CET / 21:00 GMT


Barcelona will likely have enjoyed the international break as the club were starting to look shaky at times heading into this Athletic vs Barcelona match.

There’s a huge gap that separates the top teams in Spain and the rest of the pack. Barcelona and Real Madrid are the obvious giants, so when Barcelona struggled to a 1-1 draw with Osasuna and two very poor Champions League performances against Rubin Kazan, perhaps it was good timing for the international matches.

Nevertheless, Barcelona are still flying high and topping the La Liga table with a one point advantage over Real Madrid.

The club are yet to lose in the league and with the tools available to them, Barcelona will be expected, once again, to win in this Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao clash.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao will welcome the defending La Liga champions to the San Mames stadium on Saturday for this Athletic vs Barcelona match, looking to build off a fine derby win over Racing Santander.

Joaquin Caparros’ side put in a very impressive performance as the Basque side deservedly walked out 2-0 winners. The win must be considered even more impressive as Athletic were without their star striker Fernando Llorente.

The Spanish international will likely be back in action for Athletic - Barcelona on Saturday, and his goal scoring prowess will certainly be welcome against the Champions.

Bilbao currently sit in the middle of the table and their record of five wins, five losses and one draw indicates that is where they belong.

From time to time the club puts in a really amazing performance, but they must be considered a mid-to-bottom half of the table kind of team.


Barcelona won all three of the meetings between the clubs last season. The Barca - Athletic Bilbao clash at Camp Nou ended 2-0, whilst the reverse Athletic - Barcelona match finished 1-0 in favour of the Catalan side.

A 4-1 thumping of Bilbao in the final of the Copa del Rey was undoubtedly the highlight of the three for Barcelona. Whilst Saturday's match should be a little more evenly-matched, expect Barcelona to bounce back from their recent blip in form and post a victory.

Athletic vs Barcelona Prediction: Athletic 0 - Barcelona 1

FC Barcelona Player Profiles: Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 29:  Pedro Rodriguez of Barcelona celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Champions League group F match between Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev at the Camp Nou Stadium on September 29, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 2-1.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma could not have made a better start to his Barcelona career in his most extravagant dreams.

Pedro, in case you didn't already know it, was the 22-year-old almost unknown player who came onto the pitch for the culmination of the 2009 Champions' League Final victory over Manchester United, replacing the tired and injured Andrés Iniesta.

Not only that, but, at the beginning of the '09/'10 season, Pedro not only came onto the pitch as substitute for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the European Super Cup Final against Shakhtar Donetsk; he also scored the winning goal of the game in the 115th minute.

A native of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and a player originally for the San Isidro club from that island, Pedro continues the Barcelona tradition of bringing through young players as well as buying established superstars of the world game.

It is this philosophy that has helped Guardiola establish such a fervent team spirit and sense of togetherness amongst his men. None of the Barça players considers himself to be a 'superstar'; they are all part of a team.

Pedro, who is able to play in any of the forward positions, is predominantly left-footed and, during his three seasons of regular reserve football, became well— known for his powerful shooting and his fearless attitude on the pitch.

He is a non—stop chaser and his constant harrying is often very disconcerting for opposition defenders.

Making his first two appearances for the Barcelona La Liga team during the '07/'08 season, Pedro developed sufficiently to make a total of 14 more appearances last season, including the final of the Copa del Rey. This, and his appearance in the Champions League Final, serves to illustrate the confidence the coaching staff must have in this inexperienced player.

Although clearly not expected to play in all the first team games this season, Pedro has already demonstrated his value to the squad and justified the new contract he signed in the summer. With a goal and an 'assist' in the final of the Spanish Super Cup to help secure victory against Athletic Bilbao, he began the season in style.

His progress has been further emphasised by a goal against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League at the Camp Nou – a left foot strike.

Pedro followed this up in October by scoring his first League goal, the only goal of the game, against Almería – this time with his right foot.

B y the end of October, the young striker had already appeared in 7 league games and 2 Champions League ties, so is now firmly established as a member of the Barcelona first team squad.

Senin, 16 November 2009

Jonathan:”I will improve”

Jonathan Dos Santos Barca B 1110

In an interview after Barca B in over Sabadell (3-0), Barca Atlètic midfielder and Mexican Jonathan Dos Santos (19) repeated his willingness to continue growing, either in Barca B or the first team: “My goal is to do my best at Barça Atlètic, gaining valuable playing time and helping the team win the points. If God wills it, within a short or long term I hope to be with the first team.”

Dos Santos recent good performances even earned him a call up for the Mexican national team last month but the youngster is still focused and prepared to play in both first and second team: “I am so lucky to have all my coaches. For me there is no radical change, although very different football is played by both sides, I think I’m adjusting well. Little by little I will improve.”

Statistics: Higher attendances than last season

Camp Nou fc barcelona

The average attendance at the Nou Camp so far this season has been 12,000 higher than last year, with an average of 75,000 at each game.

The average attendance at the stadium so far this season after six games is 74.254, 12.256 more than for the first six games of last season, when the average was 61.998.

This year’s figures are pretty much in line with those of 2004-05 (74.273 , 2005-06 (73.025 ) and 2006-07 (72.550 ), though still short of the numbers for2007-08 (82.002).