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Three thoughts on Sporting Gijon v. Barcelona October 2, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Spanish soccer.
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1. Could Alberto Botia become the next Cesc Fabregas (in transfer terms)? — Like Fabregas and Gerard Pique, the Gijon center-back left Barcelona very young, although on otherwise very different circumstances. Botia looked good against Barcelona, and indeed whenever I’ve seen him, he’s looked like the real deal. Considering that Barcelona only has two oft-injured senior center backs in its squad, it doesn’t seem inconceivable that Botia return.

2. Was that a 3-3-4? It appeared that Barcelona used Adriano, Lionel Messi, Pedro and David Villa in forward roles, although you might argue that Pedro was actually playing Cesc Fabregas’ do-whatever-you-want role. The game did not suggest that, whatever the formation, it was tremendously effective — Pedro is, after all, a very different player from Fabregas. It’s also interesting that Adriano is now part of the attacking rotation.

3. Is Dani Alves the boy that cried wolf? In the second half, David Barral punched Barcelona’s Brazilian right back across the face in midair. It was emblematic of Sporting’s especially violent approach to dealing with Barcelona — they seemed particularly keen to give an extra kick to players who were already going down. This violence seemed to target specifically Alves and Sergio Busquets, men who have a reputation for exaggeration. When the referee deemed disinclined to take Alves reaction to Barral’s fist seriously, that made sense: Alves and Busquets fake injury all the time, so you can probably get away with more violence against them.

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