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Matchday 1 (Group D) - Tuesday 12th September

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Tuesday 12th September, 2017
Barcelona vs Juventus
Olympiacos vs Sporting Lisbon

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For me Juve have been brilliant in the first half. Better than Barça and have had more control of the situation with their counters. Barcelona want to control the ball in midfield and they still have errors in their game in that area which is why I think Valverde should do the unforgivable and give Juventus the ball tactically and go for the counter themselves. It won't happen but unless something changes, this won't give a feeling of security. 

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Class goal by Messi.

It's been very difficult to break Juve down, who have been strong defensively and looked deadly on the counter, but I think Barcelona have looked pretty good tonight(despite a lack of chances), the midfield haven't been bossed(Iniesta has shown that he still has it) and the players are pressing well off the ball, which has always been an important aspect about Barça's game, but been lacking for a while. Positive signs so far, although it's still early and there is another half to go.

Semedo tonight has been up and down the pitch and been arguably the most solid player defensively. The club looked to have really found something there.

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6 minutes ago, SirBalon said:

For me Juve have been brilliant in the first half. Better than Barça and have had more control of the situation with their counters. Barcelona want to control the ball in midfield and they still have errors in their game in that area which is why I think Valverde should do the unforgivable and give Juventus the ball tactically and go for the counter themselves. It won't happen but unless something changes, this won't give a feeling of security. 

A goal may open the game up now though. I also don't think it's been a bad performance at all considering how this game could have been going at this stage last season. Still a lot of improvements to be made but there have been plenty of positives to take for me.

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There's one thing for sure... If the defensive issue means running then Barzagli commits a foul because he is the slowest defender in the universe.

Barça playing much better so far in this second half and look like commanders of the game. 

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18 minutes ago, The Rebel CRS said:

A goal may open the game up now though. I also don't think it's been a bad performance at all considering how this game could have been going at this stage last season. Still a lot of improvements to be made but there have been plenty of positives to take for me.

For me there were too many errors in midfield in that first half mate. You could see Barcelona wanted to control the game via a measured passing game but with the minimum of pressure some Barcelona players were committing unforced errors. Plus Suárez was terrible in the first half.

But you were right that the Messi goal changed it all. 

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1 minute ago, Cannabis said:

I don't want to speak too soon but if this ends in another clean sheet it'll be a seriously impressive achievement from Barcelona to string so many of them together. 

They were just talking about that on Spanish tv.

Messi again! :congrats:

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1 minute ago, Cannabis said:

That's suicidal from Juventus, they've pushed players forward to get back into the game but it's just too easy for Barcelona to counter-attack. In the blink of an eye Iniesta has played through Lionel and in this kind of form he's not going to miss. 

World-class, 3-0.

Do you think Messi will capture Hamsik's level mate?

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Sickening how he's light years better than any one that has ever played the game. 

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FC BARCELONA 3-0 JUVENTUS (FT)

 

The second half performance was a master display and the late first half goal by Messi was probably the cause of this.  Another thing to take into account is how different Ernesto Valverde is to Luis Enrique in his outlook on the squad because Andrés Iniesta has so far played 4 out of 4 games from the start which is good to see.  He seems to have given belief to the side in that they can compete as they are against anyone and that a game (his words) has to be played before it's won by anyone.  Messi was just astronomical to be honest...  He controlled everything from midfield to the attack and I'm not even talking about the fact he scored two of the three goals which just adds more credence to his standing as one of the greatest if not the greatest of all time (arguably).  How he can keep on being a protagonist at this level for so long seems impossible from what I've witnessed in my lifetime.

I thought Juve were pretty decent in the first half and had some deadly counters which could've painted a whole different picture on the outcome of the game so early on.  But the team grew in confidence and the Lionel Messi goal on the stroke of half time changed it all.  It brought back the belief they'd lost last season and confidence is probably the biggest player in football.

Great start!

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I was always taught that the sure way to wear out a clutch is to keep your foot on that damned pedal!  Seems there's more than one way to do it!

Games are won and lost at the highest levels and the difference between teams at those levels tends to be narrowed down to small details.  Those small details can determine a game or even a tie which is what sport is all about.  To judge a player or a team on that when there is so much competition is naïve to say the least.

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Even though Messi will get the headlines(and rightfully) tonight after a masterful performance where he was all over the pitch, the whole team are really looking up for it at the moment and with a point to prove. Ter Stegen, Semedo, Umtiti, Pique, Alba, Iniesta and Rakitic are all playing well and Busquets is slowly starting to regain his form.

It's mainly about getting Dembele settled and Suarez back back to his best again, which I'm sure he will if the team keep playing like this, then you have a quality side there. It's been as solid a start to the season as you could wish for after the 2 supercopa games. 4 games, 12 goals scored, 0 goals conceded.

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40 minutes ago, SirBalon said:

FC BARCELONA 3-0 JUVENTUS (FT)

 

The second half performance was a master display and the late first half goal by Messi was probably the cause of this.  Another thing to take into account is how different Ernesto Valverde is to Luis Enrique in his outlook on the squad because Andrés Iniesta has so far played 4 out of 4 games from the start which is good to see.  He seems to have given belief to the side in that they can compete as they are against anyone and that a game (his words) has to be played before it's won by anyone.  Messi was just astronomical to be honest...  He controlled everything from midfield to the attack and I'm not even talking about the fact he scored two of the three goals which just adds more credence to his standing as one of the greatest if not the greatest of all time (arguably).  How he can keep on being a protagonist at this level for so long seems impossible from what I've witnessed in my lifetime.

I thought Juve were pretty decent in the first half and had some deadly counters which could've painted a whole different picture on the outcome of the game so early on.  But the team grew in confidence and the Lionel Messi goal on the stroke of half time changed it all.  It brought back the belief they'd lost last season and confidence is probably the biggest player in football.

Great start!

I think Iniesta was suffering from fatigue and probably carrying injuries towards the end of last season and this was likely why Enrique rested him so much.

Andres has also recently started 2 games for Spain recently, playing 90 minutes in one. But I still do think he needs to be rested more than other key players, even if not as much so as Enrique did. It's not necessarily an age thing(a player of his mould can go on until retirement), but he does have a tendency to pick injuries up and this needs to be avoided, as he has shown that he's still vital to the way the team function.

Messi and Iniesta need to renew soon as there is no way the club can lose these.

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38 minutes ago, The Rebel CRS said:

Even though Messi will get the headlines(and rightfully) tonight after a masterful performance where he was all over the pitch, the whole team are really looking up for it at the moment and with a point to prove. Ter Stegen, Semedo, Umtiti, Pique, Alba, Iniesta and Rakitic are all playing well and Busquets is slowly starting to regain his form.

It's mainly about getting Dembele settled and Suarez back back to his best again, which I'm sure he will if the team keep playing like this, then you have a quality side there. It's been as solid a start to the season as you could wish for after the 2 supercopa games. 4 games, 12 goals scored, 0 goals conceded.

The Spanish press are saying that Messi's second half performance when he really upped a gear was down to him getting upset in an argument (an uncharacteristic one for him) he had with the referee when he was calling for a yellow card.  This has some credence because if we go back three years to the Copa del Rey Final against Athletic Bilbao where he got pissed off with the treatment he was getting from Etxeita and San José (I think it was them) the whole game without the ref getting involved and letting it go, he then went on to score that wonder goal and his face was one of anger.  He seems to need to be spurred on and when that happens then we get Super Messi instead of the usual genius we have anyway.

The press are also saying that Suárez' lack in form may have something to do with Dembélé playing in a position he enjoys more when cutting in.  Luis Suárez can play where he's been playing these past two games but his favoured side is from the right into the left.  I'm not sure I fully agree with this though because Dembélé assisted him in his first goal of the season over the weekend and his form was already strange before the young French player made his debut.  But they may have a point.

Rakitić has indeed raised his form...  He has been questioned big timesaver the past year and a bit and it seems that a new coach has given him the free will to prove a point as it seems Luis Enrique with the way he is had already clocked him and when Luis Enrique has it in for you it's difficult to get back into his good books...  That's a fact!

Busquets has been playing brilliantly so far in what we've had in this short time this season.  Again I'm going to cite the Spanish press because they're insinuating that the international break worked wonders for Sergio Busquets in that he liberated himself with a team full of confidence like Spain is playing right now.  Confidence is key for a footballer and that may have a large part to do with all of this coupled with positive results after the Supercopa de España debacle.

The defence will only be more confident too as we can see in some very important saves Marc André ter Stegen has been dong recently...  That and the centre backs forming a unit has meant that the back line feel solid.  There's another important point to be added there with Jordi Alba who with the departure of Neymar has once again been given the whole wing to himself and he was quoted as saying after the Espanyol victory that he needed that...  That he had missed all that space and that his football is based on using a large amount of pitch for himself.

It's still early days though, but all a team can do is win and that's what they've been doing which gives them leverage for any error that may occur (and it will) along the way.

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img_epolo_20170913-082933_imagenes_md_ot

This morning's front page on Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport which goes a long with what Brian has been saying in that he's gone down a level...  They only gave him a 9 and not a 10... xD

Jokes aside...  The front page headline states Messi was "Stunning" and they then go onto say how Messi is a martian and that football hasn't seen anything like it since Maradona, only that this saga has lasted quite a bit longer.

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Worth noting that the defence of Juventus is hardly the same, selling Bonucci was madness and Chiellinin is injured. I think Turin will be a more reflective game.

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Congrats to Barcelona for beating a juventus that improved this season(compared to the team that dominated Barcelona last season) No Bonucci, Alves, and a struggling dybala. sandro was fucking awful, i remember a few members here rating him highly and once again Gonzalo chokes versus a good team. 

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8 minutes ago, The Artful Dodger said:

Worth noting that the defence of Juventus is hardly the same, selling Bonucci was madness and Chiellinin is injured. I think Turin will be a more reflective game.

A lot is said about Chiellini, and he has been (and is) a top defender, but the best defender the club had was Bonucci and they shot themselves in the foot with that one...  Indeed it was madness!  Chiellini is a great leader but not one of the great defenders.

Barça had players out and that had just returned from injury when they were knocked-out by Juve last season in the Champions League.  That's part of the game and why top sides build great squads.

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Definitely but ultimately this is only a group game, I wouldn't read too much in to Juventus' performance. Last year Barca were great in the group and pretty blunt when it came to the crunch.

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6 minutes ago, The Artful Dodger said:

Definitely but ultimately this is only a group game, I wouldn't read too much in to Juventus' performance. Last year Barca were great in the group and pretty blunt when it came to the crunch.

They weren't great actually

Lack of depth and injuries affected Barca early on. They were lucky City cocked up at the Nou Camp. 

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The boy Teso must be hurting after another turnaround. Not that long ago he was all over Barca not being able to beat Juve and Messi unable to score against them. 

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This is still early days and you can only win the games that are put in front of you. Confidence is a big factor and it could play in Barcelona's favour so as to be able to have a good Champions League.

For me there's a lack of depth after the first team which can compete against any team. Let's see what happens deeper into the season. 

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