Written by Will Parchman

This is something of a running feature at the 91st Minute. We ogle Barcelona’s youth setup, which produces so many absurdly un-age specific goals that it looks like grown men shrunken into hilarious kids’ bodies with huge heads. It’s a wonderful time for the whole family.

The great thing about these goals is the goal itself is rarely the highlight. The iceberg under the surface is the best part. Plus, this week there’s the added bonus of an Arctic Monkeys track over the video. No techno! Party time.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

In lieu of saying one has integrity and the other doesn’t, I’ll simply point knowingly to these two exhibits and allow you to draw whatever conclusions come to mind.

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Written by Will Parchman

In lieu of calling this rivalry The SUPERDUPER CLASICO or whatever tripe the Galaxy and Chivas USA are dreaming up next, watch this video and be amazed.

This is field-level access stuff. We’re talking team bus, mixed zone interviews, the warm-up… everything short of Messi preening himself in front of a mirror. Scope it.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

celtic

Barcelona’s Champions League visit to Glasgow was a relatively easy walkover, a 1-0 win that wasn’t even that close. Celtic’s Scott Brown saw red for kicking Neymar (ah the joy) in the second half to make Barca’s three points even more simple than it otherwise would’ve been.

But at least those plucky Scots made it fun for themselves. In addition to that tifo up there (which I think Portland and Seattle could out-do, but that’s neither here nor there) they belted out this pregame version of YNWA, which was beautiful and probably necessary to convince themselves the next 90 minutes weren’t going to be that painful.

Oh well. At least Samaras still runs funny.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

The relative shortness of this clip is mitigated by its beauty. Anyone who’s attempted to ping the ball around utilizing that kind of silkiness, effortlessness and sheer muscle memory knows that it is nigh impossible. So to see Barca do it game after game is something of a soccer miracle.

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Written by Will Parchman

I know you’ve been pining for it, and who am I to disappoint you, loyal 91st Minute reader?

It’s a mid-September edition of Barcelona’s regular series, “This could have been you if you were born a world class soccer player destined for fame, fortune and everything that goes with it. I thank you all.” Sorry, I think that actually dovetailed into Queen lyrics.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

When perusing YouTube highlight clips, you kind of expect saccharine, dancey Europop to smother the whole thing. Usually, this more or less ruins the viewing experience. Unless you want a nice morning fist pump with your Gareth Bale goals compilation, best to play it light with the music.

See, Neymar somehow nullifies the crap music because, well, he’s Neymar. And if you’d had any doubts about him immediately coming into Barcelona and redefining the world ‘silk,’ yeah, think again.

Don’t lie. You can watch Neymar dribble through defenders like they were Scooby Doo villains all day. So let’s do that.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Qatar Airways is Barcelona’s kit sponsor, the first such arrangement in the club’s history. So it’s no surprise that the ads are beginning to roll out.

Admittedly, this one’s pretty cool. It envisions a Barcelona city in which Neymar kicks your luggage at you and Pique strangely has to work at customs while Iniesta paints walls with soccer balls. What did Pique do to piss off Qatar?

My biggest issue: how is Busquets not leading the Barcelona school of performing arts? You flub a line in Macbeth, hit the deck, writhe like your vocal chords just got snipped and then peek out to make sure everyone is really, really upset for you. When that fails, just kick everyone. Busquets is a natural already.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

 

There are obvious things to say, and then there’s this: Barcelona is going to be a lot of fun to watch for the next eight months. These two quick-hitter videos are a major reason why.

One is Neymar doing very Neymar-y things, dribbling through basalt cliffs and Krakens and Liam Neeson in Thailand. The other is a fun little clip where we get to live as Xavi’s feet for a tight-alley Barcelona passing drill. I watched the Xavi one like six times. It looks too easy.

FIFA 14 online Barcelona spammers, get your trigger fingers ready. You’re about to unleash the fury.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Tactically, Pep Guardiola accomplished a fair bit at Barcelona. Ignoring the trophies and focusing instead on the play that won them, Guardiola’s tactical gadgetry set the tone for what the national team assumed not long after the run began. Suicidal pressure, a razor’s edge of a back line, formulaic passing matrixes and an unselfish superstar.

What you had was a nominal 4-3-3, with Iniesta and Xavi sitting above Busquets in the midfield and Messi dropping in as something not totally unlike a false nine. The possession system was freer, though, and it allowed Pep’s system to breathe holistically like a lung. Iniesta could play tucked just inside the attackers and spring them with tightly controlled short passes or deliver those killer through balls he’s known for. They’d collapse the wings and play without a striker or create width with Abidal and Alves.

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