Once again the team celebrates in the Ciutat de Valencia stadium after drawing 1-1 against Levante, with the league-winning goal a header from an African player. Champions! 92 points ensures that no matter what happens in the final two matches (Depor, at Málaga) we’ve earned our third consecutive league trophy.
Given the outcome of the league clasico at the Bernabeu, the title comes as no surprise, but it is no less thrilling and no less enjoyable. It is a monumental achievement, an immense project completed, and a testament to the skill and dedication of the players and coaching staff. There are still 6 points to play for, but so far the squad has racked up 92 points, 92 goals scored, and just 20 conceded. There were a myriad of enjoyable matches, breathtaking moments of magic (mostly from Messi), and the occasional blip that reminds us all that this sport is fickle and fleeting.
The squad is exhausted and their performance against Levante showed that. There was little movement, little flair, and little incisiveness. Part of it is Iniesta’s absence, part of it Puyol’s fitness problems, and part of it knowing that just a point will get you what you were dreaming of. The last 20 minutes were barely a game with Barça passing the ball calmly from side to side in the back, simply keeping the ball away from Levante, who were happy to collect a point and essentially ensure their survival in the top flight, though a victory would have definitively ensured it.
Farcical, to a certain degree, but then again, Levante coming out to play would have meant Messi scoring. He took on 5 defenders on a regular basis and very nearly scored anyway despite his and the team’s general disinterest after the 30th minute (and Pique’s decided noncommittal to the act of making contact with the ball when swing his leg around—he looked like me only he didn’t score an own goal). Afellay looked good throughout and could have used a bit more incisive playmaking from Xavi and wing support from Alves, but Levante did a good job of pouncing on counter attacks and pushing the Brazilian back to his supposed actual position: defender.
Martin Ferguson was there taking notes once again for his brother and while we know what he wrote during the Espanyol match, this time around he probably just wrote “they pass a lot” and went out for paella. Everyone knows how to beat us, it’s just a matter of actually doing it, so United should seriously look into this whole Spanish vacation racket Martin has going on. We’re not actually playing in Ibiza next week.
For those of you wondering, Barça’s parade is scheduled for Friday (May 13) and I don’t believe Sergio Ramos has been invited, so the trophy should actually make it to the display case without needing extensive repairs. It will nestle right in with its 20 other brethren. Unless trophies are feminine, in which case, sistren?
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