Monday, October 8, 2007

Barça Update: Perfect Afternoon

You know that feeling you get around the beginning of October, when the windows are open, the game is on, your team is winning comfortably, and life is good? That was the scene at the Italian Bar on Sunday for the Barça game. We showed up just as the Juventus-Fiorentina Serie A match was winding down (did I mention it's an Italian Bar, complete with mosaic Juventus crest in the floor by the bar?), ready to bolt to our alternate viewing place if the Italian football continued on the TV. Fortunately, as soon as the final whistle blew on the 1-1 draw, Sky Sports switched to Canal+ and life was good for everyone except the bartender.*

Despite unusually poor form, Barcelona found themselves up 2-0 inside of half an hour, which more often than not results in cruising to victory and enjoying the game for its own sake. As an added bonus the bar, Stuzzichini, has no glass in the windows and the wooden shutters were wide open, letting air and sunshine into the bar. Barça games typically start anywhere from 9:30 to 10:00 at night, but this one kicked off at 5:00. All that was missing was the rustle of falling leaves and the sound of steaks on the grill, but you'll hear no complaints from me.

Well, Ruud Van Nistelroy popped one in the net for Real Madrid in the 71st minute, keeping Barça out of first place for another week, but a good chase is hardly a complaint. I'd just prefer if Real were trying to keep pace with us. Next up, it's off to the Submarine for another 5:00 start. They should consider making a habit of this. Oh, and here are the standings:

La Liga - Jornada 7

1) Real Madrid / 6-0-1 / 19 points / +13
2) Barcelona / 5-0-2 / 17 points / +12
3) Villareal / 5-2-0 / 15 points / +3
4) Valencia / 5-2-0 / 15 points / +1
5) Espanyol / 4-2-1 / 13 points / +2

*Juve lost the lead on a late penalty that was this close to being saved. The bartender muttered something along the lines of forgetting that this day had ever happened as he delivered our pizzas.

Pelé Sez: After seven matches in La Liga, we're finally starting to see some space in the standings. Only Barcelona and Real Madrid remain undefeated. Horrendous Levante have sacked their coach, the first Liga team to do so this year. One point from seven matches will do that. We have a newcomer to the top five, Barcelona's other team, RCD Espanyol, thanks to the continuing Sevilla tank job. Sevilla now find themselves in fifteenth place, only one point clear of relegation, after being in second only two weeks ago. What is relegation? Tune in for a special Pelé Sez for an in depth discussion of the best idea in sports not found in America. As far as the upcoming schedule, Barça have no breaks, with third place Villareal followed by a Champions League clash with Rangers (at Ibrox, coming off an Old Firm game, no less). If Barcelona can come away with points in both matches, they will establish themselves a side to be reckoned with at home and throughout Europe, as well. Love! Love! Love!

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