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Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


TANGENTS

Catalan Derby Displays Fighting Spirit of Barcelona’s City Rivals, Espanyol

Written by on January 8, 2012 | 1 Comment »
Posted in Barcelona, Espanyol, General, La Liga

There could be no greater curse than playing alongside a team that is considered the “best in the world” by millions of fans worldwide. Perhaps even worse has to be sharing a city with said team, and constantly playing in their shadow.

Espanyol; a team currently ranked #9 in the La Liga standings faced Barcelona at Cornella el Prat, a stadium where they have yet to beat Barcelona. Only managing to create two victories over their last ten meetings, one cannot help but wonder how a team that is only marginally outdone by Barcelona could manage such unimpressive numbers? The two teams have met 78 times; Barca victorious in 27 of those, Espanyol with 25, and following today’s match- a total of 26 draws.

As Espanyol emerged, they seemed to enter the field determined to win. The fans seemed as enthused as the players – everyone anxious for the match to commence. Guardiola had chosen the same squad formation as the one utilized in the game against Real Madrid on December 10th; Fabregas, Messi and Sanchez up top for Barcelona.

From the minute the whistle blew; energy and enthusiasm were abundant. Espanyol managing to ruffle Barca’s defense in the 5th minute with a huge opportunity to take the lead early in the match, but Cesc Fabregas would ensure the lead for FCB in the 15th minute.

Following Barcelona’s goal, Espanyol seemed determined to find an equalizer; setting up multiple chances in both halves, so when Alvaro finally found the net in the 85th, it was both well deserved and well received by the Espanyol fans who were sent into a frenzy.

Despair evident on the faces of Puyol, Pique and Valdes. They were merely minutes away from securing a victory, but in futbol one play can change a whole game.

Barcelona attempted to regain the lead, and it seemed as though they would manage to pull it off as a triple threat in the 92nd minute put all the fans on the edge of their seats; first touch by Messi, then a ball passed to Pedro by Pique shut out by Espanyol defense, and finally an attempt by Iniesta.

Although many may argue that Barcelona was robbed off a penalty kick in the box, following a handball during the 92nd minute action, one must admit that there was more than one handball in this match; some called and some simply disregarded.

As the final whistle blew, Barcelona and Espanyol remained tied. One can not overlook the fact that Espanyol put up an admirable fight, and even though Barcelona had 64% possession…Espanyol didn’t seem too far behind Guardiola’s squad.

Barcelona remains in 2nd place, 5 points behind Real Madrid. Barcelona’s next match is scheduled for January 12th when they face Osasuna in the second round of Copa Del Rey.

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One response to “Catalan Derby Displays Fighting Spirit of Barcelona’s City Rivals, Espanyol”

  1. Barcelona doesnt have the quality of the past nor the depth. The best trio up top was messi, eto’o, and henry. Each the best considered players in CONMEBOL, CAF, and UEFA at least once in their careers.
    When they let that trio leave it was a mistake in my view. yes, Barca have well trained youth, but when you are vying to be the best in the world, it is the subtlest differences that make clubs victors over others.
    Second, with Villa out the depth of Barcelona up top is dangerously low, for the quality they need. Messi this season has done more backtracking than I have seen him do in years.
    I have said it from the beginning that Real Madrid can win the la liga, uefa cl, and the copa del rey without beating Barcelona.
    Real Madrid was able to rebound off of the classico because their squad is so deep, and healthy. Mourinho is such a stickler for fitness and has such depth. Kaka, the great Kaka is fighting for a spot. That says it all.
    I remember last season in UEFA many talked about the problem of big money teams, but people have seen recently the value of big money.
    Real Madrid’s ability to recover from the classico failure. And, down to ten men ManC’s ability to nearly tie ManU. Money made that possible, because money provided for a deep squad.
    And, now ManC only have three possible trophies to win, EPL, Europa and the Carling cup, with a still very deep squad.

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