Barcelona got beat fair and square by Real Madrid last night, 4-2, in another exciting game from our boys in blue and red. Unfortunately, the last few exciting games they've turned in have not had incredibly positive results: eliminated from the Champions League by Chelsea, held to a tie at home by Betis, and now a loss at Madrid. Not much to worry about, though, since Barcelona controls its own destiny. They have a six-point lead plus the goal-average, effectively seven points, since if Barça and Madrid end up tied for first place Barça wins out. There are 21 points, seven games, in play, and neither team faces a particularly difficult schedule for the rest of the year.
Barcelona started out very weak on defense again, and Zidane and Ronaldo scored on headers within the first twenty minutes. This is exactly what happened against Betis and Chelsea, allowing the other team to get ahead early. This two-goal lead allowed Madrid to play conservatively, strong on defense (Gravesen was particularly good, and Helguera had probably his best game of the season) and looking for the fast break. Barcelona had a lot of chances at goal but could not seem to score until Etoo recovered a loose ball and poked it in for 2-1. Madrid then scored on another fast break that Raul knocked in right before halftime for 3-1, and it looked like it was pretty much all over.
After the half, Barça came out fighting but just could not seem to score. They had at least eight or nine chances and muffed them all. Meanwhile, Owen, who had an excellent game, as did Beckham, scored 4-1. Barça did not give up, they never do, and had a couple more chances at goal; Ronaldinho scored 4-2 in minute 75 and it looked like Barça might have a chance to tie if a miracle happened, but it didn't and the game ended up 4-2. Fair win to Madrid. The Barcelona press didn't complain too much, the way they usually do when Madrid wins. There weren't really any incredibly questionable calls; the ref was prudent and let them play, and it never got too rough.
Silver lining: The team never gave up. None of the players are in bad form. Some are not on hot streaks, but nobody is looking really bad. There's no reason why they shouldn't win most of the rest of their games, and they ought to be able to get 15 points (five wins out of seven games, or four wins and two draws) in what's left of the season.
Dark cloud: Etoo got hurt and will miss four weeks. Puyol was not playing at 100% because he got hurt a week and a half ago. The defense didn't look good. They can't keep letting other teams score so much, and Valdes did not have a good game, either.
Yeah, but: The reason they got Maxi Lopez was in case Etoo got hurt or needed a rest. Give the kid a chance. He didn't look too good against Betis but last night he was just fine. Ronaldinho looked pretty good. He's not off form, he's coming off an unlucky streak. There's a difference. Deco couldn't play last night, and he'll be coming back for the rest of the season. Give Puyol another week of rest and he'll be 100% next weekend.
We'll see what happens. That's why they play the games.
Wacky Anti-American Crap of the Week:
Wim Wenders, in La Vanguardia April 8: "The US became paranoid and has been living in fear since September 11...the shock, the fear the Americans felt afterward, and how the US government created the conditions to propagate this paranoia in favor of its plans...The windmills (an American film character) has in his mind were created by television propaganda...The paranoid person is incapable of viewing himself objectively...The most tragic thing you have to understand about the US is the lack of information...The American Dream has been fiction for a long time...(Poverty) is a subject that isn't popular in the US because they don't want to know that the wealth of some comes from the poverty of many." Wenders also complains about the fact that nobody in America wants to distribute his new movie and he's had to do it himself.
Let's see, Wim. American people are paranoid and live in fear. The government creates TV propaganda to make them this way so it can stay in power and accomplish its plans, whatever they might be. If Americans complain they're not paranoid they must be wrong, because they can't see themselves objectively, and besides that they're badly-informed, probably because they believe all the government propaganda. Americans are fools who don't understand the American Dream, whatever that is, is dead, and besides, they exploit everybody else to gain their wealth.
Noam Chomsky couldn't have said it better himself. And then Winders wonders why the Americans aren't lining up to see his movie, which, if it's anything like Paris, Texas, or Wings over Berlin, is long and boring and doesn't make much sense.