Queasy Catalans—will Barça have the guts to take on Arsenal?


Okay, so I’ll admit that this would have been a lot more fun had we man-handled Man U instead of getting kicked off the pitch (maybe Ten Hag had his minions read my cheeky preview to get them fired up). That would have dovetailed nicely with our evisceration of the MLS All-Stars and allowed to me take the piss out of the bout of gastroenteritis that ran through the Barça squad (half-clever, that one…). As it stands, though, it looks like the illness has run its course. Whether players have fully recovered is another question.

Gastroenteritis causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, and a few other symptoms but usually runs its course in around 72 hours. Barça cancelled Sunday’s friendly with Juventus, and here it is Tuesday with our match on Wednesday. They’re being understandably quiet about just who and how many were affected and who’ll be available to play. Whether that cancellation puts any pressure on Xavi to give more time to his preferred XI is a question too murky to ponder, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

The more-intriguing tea leaves to read relate to Barça’s ongoing financial struggles. Due to massive spending from 2016 to 2020, payroll ballooned by 61%, UEFA has issued fines (probably the least of the club’s worries), and transfer business has ground to a halt. Ilkay Gündogan and Iñigo Martínez have joined on free transfers, and Oriel Romeu has joined on a £3m fee. This from a club that frequently spends closer to £150m per season and has come close to spending £400m. Key (or at least expensive) players like Griezmann, Neto, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, Depay, Aubameyang and Trincão have left, often on free transfers or very low fees. The club has been forced (or has chosen for principled reasons) to accelerate the addition of players from La Masia to varying degrees of success. It’s really quite something to see such a club reduced to scrounging around for discount players and potential starlets after (and as a result of) splurging on players like Griezmann, de Jong, Lewandowski, Torres, Dembélé, and Coutinho in recent years.

Still, this is still very, very close to the squad that won La Liga with a ten-point gap to second-placed Real Madrid. Even if this is their first preseason friendly and our fifth, woe betide us if we waltz in expecting a cakewalk. Yes, again, it is still a friendly, and our opponents are a bit unsettled both on and off the pitch—but these are reasons that, if anything, put more pressure on us to win. Should we lose, the always rational and level-headed post-match reaction will decry Arsenal’s wasteful spending, Arteta’s dreadful tactics, and the squad’s awful chemistry. Victory—again, even in a preseason friendly—would cram our critics’ craws with walnuts and give us some valuable confidence going forward.

“We battered Barça” is something that’s always worth saying, whether it’s the dog days of summer or the early days of spring, when there’s a nifty little trophy on offer.

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10 thoughts on “Queasy Catalans—will Barça have the guts to take on Arsenal?

  1. coolerculers

    lol you deluded goon. even half strength Barca has more quality than full strength Arsenal, you’re lucky that you’re catching us at a low point, you better hope & pray you get this result because you’d have no chance when playing us in a match that matters.

    1. Andy

      Ha ha ha, deluded you mug! You lot would struggle for top ten in a The Premiership! Me and 10 of my mates would probably get 3rd in that two bob league you play in, and that’s only because you and that other state run shower of c##ts pay everyone off… well not so much now your skint I supposed! Good luck now you have to work with a spurs size budget!

      Jesus Jon, where do all these melts come from? Can Barça not even afford their own blogs these days??

      1. Gooneramthisdownyourthroats

        Mate your win loss 4ecord against Barca is 3-0 including the only CL final you lot managed to hobble into somehow. Just because you finally have something of a playing style that isn’t a hangover from the 90’s XD Don’t forget who your coach learned football u der and where his coach used to play. Fucking second rate play style copycats come to beat us at our own game? Bitch please.

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          Thanks for stopping by, random Barca fan. I’d ask that you pump the brakes just a bit. It’s a preseason friendly after all – nothing at stake, so why get your knickers in a twist?

          As for that CL final we “hobbled” into, I seem to believe us taking a well-deserved lead despite being down a man. What’s more, we had you pegged back after taking that lead. It took Barca almost 40 minutes to equalise.

          Arteta never spent a minute playing under Guardiola and was identified as a future manager years before he was an assistant to Guardiola for all of 3.5 seasons.If anything, Guardiola recognised Arteta as managerial material way back during their shared time together as Barca players.

          If Arteta is little more than a copycat, it speaks volumes about Guardiola that a novice manager can imitate his tactics with one of the youngest, thinnest squads in the league. No one in last season’s squad was an established, world-class player. Guardiola’s only done what he’s done because he’s always had world-class players at just about every position – plus a decent number of them keeping sideline seats from floating away. “Bitch please” indeed.

          Something tells me you won’t be back around to reply. More’s the pity.

  2. palladio43

    A late arrival from Jon….. this must be the result of sleeping late after vacationing all day along the ever-warming Atlantic. This match may be a problem publicity-wise for Arsenal. Should the match proceed and Arsenal romps or wins decisively, everyone will claim it was due to the ailing, barely capable of standing, let alone dribbling or kicking Barca players. Should it be close or even a draw, there may be discussion or review as to who played (for either side) and was the result due to more tinkering on the part of Arteta, of players still being integrated, or the same for Barca. Should Barca win, whether barely or decisively, knives will be drawn everywhere and questions will then arise as to whether money has been misspent on players, whether we need to spend even more to fill holes not yet filled, whether money already spent on players might have been better spent on seeking a better manager capable of achieving more with this group, whether poor choices have been made as to who we brought in and who is leaving or has departed, or any of many other alternatives and options.
    Thus, this might be a no-win situation unless, of course, everyone at Barca is pronounced fully fit and capable, half of Arsenal develops gastro symptoms, and the Gunners still go out and thrash Barca. Then, of course, the entire Gooner nation will proclaim it is the second coming of whatever, with Arsenal now destined to win the PL, FA, and every other competition including the CL, without the need of any of the many names still bandied about as still under consideration or needed.

    1. Eoin ó Conchobhair

      Yeah, it’s probably best to just treat it as a friendly and nothing more. Nothing to really gain or lose here other than whatever confidence boost might come from defeating the almighty Barca with their “mes que un club” nonsense”.

      1. Debdeep Chattoraj

        Wouldn’t be much of a bosst if Barca weren’t actually mighty and if their motto nonsense 😉 Heheh what’s Arsenal’s motto again? Oh we aren’t Chelsea?

  3. A Simple Truth

    On the heels of our rather ineffectual United encounter this match clearly means exponentially more to the cultish bunch than the supposed naysayers, which should make things a little more interesting…I would suspect that Arteta will tinker with the formation, as this fixture should give him the perfect opportunity to be experimental, as it’s preseason, while likewise providing him with a built-in excuse, should things go sideways…for someone of his managerial ilk this should be a win-win wet dream…of course, I could be wrong and he could go into full-on chickensh** mode, like in the past, and play his best 11 off the hop in the hopes of raising spirits after our recent blanking, but I think that would be another short-sighted mistake on his part

  4. jw1

    Heheh, heh.
    The Calamities are coming! The Calamities are coming!

    You’d have thought Barca would have fielded a team of staff versus Juve– just to get their share of gate receipts. What happens when no one watches broadcast TV anymore? Do they get to keep the cash they scarpered with? Have they begun to sell first-born male children yet?

  5. Pingback: "Spanish Stoke" Barcelona wave the white flag against Arsenal... - Woolwich 1886, an Arsenal site

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