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Senior Poster of the year 2007
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UD ALMERIA vs FC BARCELONA
Estadio Juegos del Mediterráneo (Almeria) | Sat, Mar 6 | 20:00 CET



As always until the end of the season, extremely important game in front of us. This weekend has a special importance though. Barcelona have a very tough visit to Almería, a team that lives a sweet moment, who didn't lose a game of the last 5 they played. Right after we finish our game, Real Madrid receive the visit of Sevilla in another important game.

Barcelona must keep the good image of the last game against Málaga, but they also need to recover the efficiency in front of the rival's goal to avoid accidents.

In front of us, Juanma Lillo's Almeria. Lillo is a good friend of Pep Guardiola and was supposed to be the coach of our team, if Bassat's candidature had won back in 2003. Juanma Lillo is a coach that has a reputation of a man who likes good football and, even though he has to adapt to the circumstances, Lillo will want to battle on the field.

We must win our game, independently of what Madrid do. But it would be good that Madrid start their game knowing that whatever they do, they will be behind us in the standings. Let's do our job and put pressure.

FORÇA BARÇA!
 

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Big, big game this weekend. As K4 has already mentioned, Almeria are in their best moment of the season for them being unbeaten in the last 5 games so it won't be easy but a win is a must.....as always!
 

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Ok, 5 unbeaten games in a row is enough for a club like Almeria :D

0-2 win.
 

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It's still a worrying game, Almeria's good form aside.

We had a dumb week of international games and there was no way to prepare the game, not to talk about possible tiredness.

I don't think it'll be easy at all. Now, I wonder which will be Pep's approach. The guy is a mystery to me.
 

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Are the international commitments really that much of an issue? None of the players that were called up travelled very far except for Márquez and Dos Santos so jet lag and/or lack of match preparation won't be an issue, I think. Another point to note is that none of Zlatan, Touré, Maxwell or Milito participated in any international games this week. If you add to this the fact that we have only had one game every seven days or so for the past five weeks (the recent Stuttgart game being the combo breaker), then you really can't speak of tiredness as a factor. But perhaps someone would like to make the argument that the team will be in a bit of disarray from not having practised together for a while and/or from players finding it hard to swtich from one style of play to another in such a short amount of time? Well, to this I say that the spanish national side which featured no less than five players from our starting line-up, play a very similar brand of football to Barcelona and inspite of them facing greater difficulties from a sporting perspective than we can ever complain about, they have actually been playing a lot better than us for some time now.... Strange. Apart from these five spanish players, only Messi, Alves and Henry saw any action. So to me, the above argument doesn't hold up in this instance.

I just don't think we should be making excuses for any possible bad result, instead we should remember the Barcelona mantra of humbleness that was so well marketed last season and not pretend like we haven't played quite slow and disorganized since the beginning of the 09-10 campaign or try to hide this fact by looking for external factors as the source of our troubles.

Let's just hope the boys adopt the right attitude and manage to bring back the intensity of last season.
 

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They're on a nice little run which I think is due to come to an end but they definitely are a tough little outfit especially at the Mediterraneo. Have to be very wary indeed here but I don't think fatigue should be an excuse as Noumenon pointed out.
 

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Since they are active parts of the mess, it's good to mention the refs.

We have Zaragoza man Carlos Clos Gómez (37), who officiated Sevilla-FCB 0-1 in January for the CdR. He expelled Pique in 2008 against the yellow divers when we won by 1-2.

"They" have Basque Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez (43), who officiated the previous game Sevilla-RM 2-1, too. Then, Valencia-RM 3-0 last year; he expelled Ramos in 2008 against Malaga (4-3 for the coconuts), and so on. We have won many tough games with him in charge, like Getafe and Atletico away (0-2, 1-3).
 

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The 18-man squad:

Valdés, Pinto
Márquez, Puyol, Milito, Maxwell, Chygrynskiy, Alves,
Touré, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets,
Jeffren, Henry, Pedro, Ibrahimovic, Bojan, Messi

My guess and opinion:
Valdes
Alves-Puyol-Milito-Maxwell
Xavi-Touré-Iniesta
Messi-Ibra-Pedro
 

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The 18-man squad:

Valdés, Pinto
Márquez, Puyol, Milito, Maxwell, Chygrynskiy, Alves,
Touré, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets,
Jeffren, Henry, Pedro, Ibrahimovic, Bojan, Messi

My guess and opinion:
Valdes
Alves-Puyol-Milito-Maxwell
Xavi-Touré-Iniesta
Messi-Ibra-Pedro
That Formation needs a passing center back. Either Marquez or Chygy. Marquez just got back from the long trip so I guess chygy will be fine.
 

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Hard to fathom how much money this club has wasted on CBs, starting with paying 18 million Euros for a very average and clusmy Caceres and 25 million for someone who gets to "slow" as his top speed however good his technique is.

Anyway, please a nice comfortable win and Zlatan scoring.
 

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ESPN Soccernet Eduardo Alvez's prediction
Almeria (13th) - Barcelona (1st): Draw

Almeria have not lost in their last five matches (three wins, two draws). After a rough first half of the season, they are now nine points clear of the relegation zone, so the pressure has decreased noticeably in the last three weeks. The 'Lillo Effect' seems to be working at full steam, and he knows how to motivate his players for this type of match, for which he's been preparing this whole week.

On the other corner, Futbol Club Barcelona. Most of their starters played mid-season matches with their national teams, some of them quite rough. The team have already showed signs of tiredness, and were only six minutes away from proving Mr Ball right last week. I believe they will tie this one and the next weekend, with a full week of rest, destroy Valencia at the Camp Nou.
 

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Moe's perspective

Good for ESPN but here is my perspective :)

The STATS

Almeria have played 11 games at home in the league prior to this one.

They've scored 13 goals and conceded 12. Thus so far they hold to an average of scoring 1 and conceding 1 every home game. Their home record is: 5 wins, 4 draws, and only 2 defeats. That translates into a good 9 times out of 11 times that they've avoided a loss at home, meaning that teams find it hard to visit Almeria and come away with the full 3 points which is what Barca will be aiming for.

Barca's record away from home is 8 wins, 3 draws, and 1 defeat. Scoring 25 and conceding 6 away from the Camp Nou. This translates into a 2 goal average per game while conceding at 0.5 goals/game - a better defensive record than our own at the camp nou.

The Reality

Statistics could be quite deceiving especially when Barca are concerned because all teams change their style drastically when our team visits. Almeria might have conceded only 1 per game at home playing against other La Liga teams but against Barca they wont be adventurous and will aim to take 1 point from this game- a boring draw.

Opponent Form


They have won their last 2 games(1 home and 1 away) against Atletico Madrid and Racing without conceding a single goal. Thus this is a team in fine form at the moment. The majority of their players did not play midweek internationals so they are relatively more fresh as well.

Opponent Firepower

This is not a one-man firepower team. The goals have come from Uche(5), Crusat(4),Soriano(4), and Piatti(4).

Players missing

Corona(1 goal) and Nieto might miss but this is unlikely according to latest reports. No players are suspended but Soriano has 9 yellows before this game.
 

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Keirrison was Txiki's business, but yeah, handing Pep the general manager role indeed seems a bit risky considering his 'taste' of players.. :pp
 

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Confirmed lineup:

Valdes
Alves - Puyol - Milito - Maxwell
Xavi - Toure - Iniesta
Messi - Ibra - Pedro


Bench: Pinto, Marquez, Chygrynskiy, Busquets, Jeffren, Bojan, Henry
 
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