John's usual Preview by Numbers will be up in a few hours, if a proper match preview is what you're looking for. However, I'm sick to my back teeth of these jerkoffs, and I can't let this tie go without getting a lot of things off my chest.
I hate Barcelona. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE Barcelona. I hate them more than Tottenham. I hate them more than us singing Tottenham songs in the pub when we're not fucking playing them (and my god, I hate that so much). I hate them more than Chelsea. I hate them more than Manchester United, or their noisy little neighbors. I hate them more than Real Madrid, who I legitimately think is the worst and most vile club in the world - but hey, at least they're honest about what they are, and that's to their credit.
Barcelona is the quintessential wolf in sheep's clothing. They are a petulant, petty, horrible bastard of a club dressed up as everyone's second-favorite bunch of footballing magicians.
Mes que un club. The balls - the absolute, brass fucking BALLS this club has to trot out that utter tripe. How arrogant can you get? Look, I get that there was a time in history where their very existence was a legitimate protest against an evil dictator. There was also once a time where traveling across the Atlantic Ocean involved a 3-month journey on a leaky sailboat, but we've managed to move on from that, too.
More than a club - yeah, sure. That holier-than-thou sheen sure looks a little faded now that you've got "Qatar Airways" emblazoned on those famously once-pristine shirts of yours. I'm sure the thousands of people dead creating those white elephants out there in the desert are convinced that you're somehow better than the rest of us punters.
Let's be honest with ourselves, here. It is exceedingly likely that these guys are going to turn us over properly, especially when we have to play them in their shithole of a ground. That's fine, but I'm still not impressed. You've spent the GDP of Madagascar to put together a team that monsters what essentially is the Scottish Premier League, Southern Division. If our only real competition was a Real Madrid side that was the living embodiment of Zoolander, we'd have the league wrapped up by St. Patrick's Day, too. Yeah, Messi and Bitey and Neymar are as good a front three as you'd ever want to see. So what? All you've really proven is that it's easy to get all the shiny metal things when you're playing Football Manager with the cheat codes on, playing against teams with all the fight and spirit of Shane MacGowan after an 18-hour bender.
I mean, fucking Getafe...Sporting Gijon...Las Palmas...Levante. My god. Teams made up of guys working part-time as waiters at the local tapas bars in a town of like 20,000 people, and you call that a league. Get to fuck. Your games against relegation shite-fodder are like hungover kickabouts in the sunshine, while West Brom and Norwich and Villa are flying around at 200 MPH trying to murder us. Can you imagine these show ponies playing in a league where no one bends over just because you have a bit of a famous name on the back of your shirt?
Don't even get me started about that perfect little angel Leo Messi, either. God, what a fucking con and a swindle that guy is. Great player, but don't buy the nice-boy act for a second. Underneath the grinning choirboy bullshit is a vindictive, arrogant little bastard. There is no better example in all of football of a guy who probably did horrible shit as a kid and then got his siblings in trouble for it by running and telling when Mom and Dad came home. Anyway, that synchronized-gymnastics PK they took the other day is a perfect example - what possible reason do you need to pull that bullshit in a 3-1 game after 80 minutes, when the penalty is going to make it 4-1 anyway? Make no mistake, that was a cat toying with the already-beaten mouse for a hot second before it rips the poor thing's head off, for no other reason than because they can. They're bullies, plain and simple. Good thing I wasn't Celta Vigo's keeper, I'd have damn well lamped him one if he tried that one on me.
So yeah, there they are, our perfect little footballing Harry Potters. Pay no mind to that hyperactive lunatic Busquets slyly fouling anything that moves. The only difference between him and their other psycho, Mascherano, is that least the latter is honest about what he does. "Oh, but Busquets can play football too!" Yeah? So what, he's still a cheat and a prick.
It is honestly one of the great joys of my life that we've been able to unload so much useless bullshit on them over the years, in their excitement to poach anyone on our team who could kick a ball. The Fabregas "Barcelona DNA" thing still rankles, and I found it galling to see Thierry Henry in their shirt. But, pawning off Alex Song, and Alex Hleb, and Gio van Bronckhorst, and the way past-it Emmanuel Petit, and Tom Vermaelen? Absolute high comedy. Between these dozy fuckers and Manchester City, they pretty much built our stadium for us. Oh, and cheers for Alexis too, by the way. That one's gone OK for us.
Is this petty and vindictive? Is it ever! As an added bonus, here is the great and mighty Barcelona being undone by a partially-formed Scottish fetus. I mean, imagine, losing to Celtic. They're my second team and all, but I'd be embarrassed if our fucking academy team lost to anyone north of Hadrian's Wall.
Anyway, in closing, there is nothing wrong with FC Barcelona that a well-placed meteor strike on the Nou Camp wouldn't solve. Fuck them, fuck Leo Messi, fuck their supporters, and fuck the fact that they're probably going to kick our asses. How I will HOWL with laughter if by some act of god we somehow knock these preening best-in-show glamour models out.