Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Barça Update: Double Dutch Edition

In the town/where I was born...

Okay, so I didn't update after the Barcelona game this weekend, but lest you think I only update when Barça wins, I have an excuse. This excuse is called Irish Breakfast, and the resultant food coma kept me out of blogging commission until now.

Since I have two games to relate, I'll keep them quick.

Saturday, after watching the mighty Celtic get their mighty arses handed to them by Rangers (3-0), Barcelona went out and got torpedoed 3-1 by Villareal, better known by the best nickname in all of sport - the Yellow Submarine. Best. Nickname. Ever. Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch the game. Susie and I were on an intercambio with our Ukrainian/Basque couple.

Tonight, Barça squared off against Rangers in the Champions League, with a chance to all but guarantee passage to the knockout stages with a win. Thanks to some horrendous and egregious refereeing, coupled with Rangers typically thuggish play, Barcelona managed only a 0-0 draw.

Editorial note: I've read about Rangers, I've played against them in PlayStation FIFA, but I've never experienced an honest-to-God Rangers game before this week. After two, I can say this. I hate them. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. I hate Rangers with the fire of a thousand suns. I have never seen a team so bent on thuggery as a stratagem, or a team so quick to appeal for a card when they get breathed on wrong. They infuriate me so much, I told Susie that if DaMarcus Beasley scored against Barça, I would never cheer for him again. And I meant it. Rangers can die.

Ahem. Anyway, Barcelona could have really used those three points. All they would have needed realistically would have been one more win in three matches, two of which would be at home. But, coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Here are the standings for La Liga after this weekend's matches, with Champions League standings following tonight's matches.

La Liga Standings (Jornada 8)
1) Real Madrid / 6-1-1 / 19 points / +12
2) Villareal / 6-2-0 / 18 points / +5
3) Valencia / 6-2-2 / 18 points / +3
4) Barcelona / 5-1-2 / 17 points / +10
5) Espanyol / 5-2-1 / 16 points / +3

Champions League Group E
1) Barcelona / 2-0-1 / 7 points / +5
2) Rangers / 2-0-1 / 7 points / +4
3) Lyon / 1-0-2 / 3 points / -4
4) Stuttgart / 0-0-3 / 0 points / -7

Pelé Sez: It's getting crowded at the top. Nearly a quarter of the way through the season, you usually start to see some separation in the standings. But after this weekend, the top five are separated by only three points. Real Madrid finally dropped a game, but Barcelona again kept pace by losing. The beneficiaries, Villareal (now in second) and Espanyol (now fifth) are going to make this an interesting contest. The next big contests for Barça will be the Rangers rematch on November 7th (Champions League) and at Espanyol on December 2nd (La Liga). Espanyol/Barcelona is typically a charged affair, and it will be even more meaningful if Espanyol can hang around the top of the table for the next month. Could we see two Barcelona-based teams in next year's Champions League? We'll see! Love! Love! Love!

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