Gamper Match Comments Post

Last year when I was losing my mind in the middle of a 4 hour lecture on the Krebs Cycle Dr. Fong,  a veritable reservoir of wisdom, looked up from where he was droning on and said “Ok everyone, take this moment and take a cleansing breath before we start the second half of lecture.” The more intense life gets, the more difficult it is to find time for a cleansing breath – but these are the times when it is most important.

This brings us to the annual Joan Gamper Trophy. Named after one of the founding members of the club who later became president, this glorified friendly is scheduled perfectly to be the cleansing breath the team needs early in the season. Sandwiched between an, unsurprisingly, ugly finish to the Spanish Super Cup with our eternal rivals and the upcoming European Super Cup against Porto; this is the perfect opportunity for the team to get some much needed match practice before they try to win their second real trophy of the season. When you consider the cancellation of last weekends Liga games this friendly couldn’t have come at a better time.

This will be the 46th iteration of the Gamper Trophy, with Barcelona winning 34 of the last 45. Before you write this trophy off as meaningless, Pep has won the trophy twice since he took over – and won the Champions League both of those years as well. It may not be perfectly predictive, but I’d rather not take any chances.

Expect to see Pep play around with his tactics and players in this match. Fabregas should get some time on the pitch to let him get comfortable with the team (as if he wasn’t already), but Sanchez has been nursing a knock and might have to sit this one out. Guardiola called up six players from the B team for the match tonight: Montoya, Bartra, Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Kiko Femenia, and Cuenca, so expect to see most of them on the pitch at some point. (Kari is so disappointed Carmona didn’t get called up she isn’t running a liveblog).

With coaches, presidents, and players from each club tripping over each other to praise the other team this should be a nice change from the morbo fallout that always seems to occur after we face a Mourinho-led team. So enjoy the cleansing breath- once La Liga starts it may be awhile before we get another one.

The match starts at 2:30 PM EST. Today.

Not a real trophy? Say that to Cesc.

 Starting XI:  Pinto – Montoya Pique Fontas Adriano – Cesc Keita Thiago – KikoFemenia Villa Iniesta

Bench:  Valdes, Alves, Bartra, Abidal, Mascherano, Busquets, Dos Santos, Xavi, Sergi Roberto, Cuenca, Messi, Pedro


  1. Kari is so disappointed Carmona didn’t get called up she isn’t running a liveblog.


  2. Ah a match. I missed Barca match this weekend. Hope the strike ends soon.

    Well, the line ups are fun so it will be interesting to see what goes on. Hope we win though as Calvin has made it so clear that we will win CL if we win this one.

  3. A start for Kiko! This will be fun. Looking forward to a match free of ~drama~ for a change.

  4. Guys (and especially Calvin, nice article, thnx!) excuse me for continuing the last blog’s comments but I have something to add that has not yet been said.

    I agree with every single word Kari wrote on her last blog.

    Now, personally I would just about be able to stomach EE’s reckless approach to our players’ health were it not for the disgusting media campaign of which their coach, players and media (blogs, AS, Marca, fansites, etc.) are guilty off.

    I would like to make the comparison to my country’s (Holland) world cup last year.

    We played a very physical and defensive brand of soccer, and even more so in the final. A lot of my countrymen were not proud of how we played a style so contrary to our tradition of fluid, attacking football. Yet we recognized that our defense was so weak that we would never go all the way were we to rely on our usual approach (this is besides the point).

    More to the point is that we did not belittle our opponents, we did not foul them out of spite nor did we foul them just to injure them when the match was all but finished. And no claims were made after the match that our opponents were diving.

    Moreover, when De Jong broke another leg while playing for Man City last season, our coach Van Marwijk refused to call him up for 2 matches to let him know that this is simply not acceptable.

    Now…like EE, Holland has a strong tradition of beautiful football. Unlike EE, the majority of Dutch people were at least ashamed of the way we played during the WC (had we won all of us would be delighted, but still)…Something which is sorely missing from EE fans imo.


    Bassam posted this last thread to prove some sort of clue what it was. All I see is clips from a different style of football under different presidents, different coaches, and completely different players, under a different era of the game. also, that Roberto Carlos is short as hell.

    What’s this have to do with last week?

    1. That Clasico is always filled with dirty tackles. Sort of a justification for all the cynical challenges.

      Marcelo hammered Cesc? So, what? The real farce was Barca clearing the bench. Did you see such a thing in the highlights? So un-Clasico like. The real shame was all the diving and ref-surrounding from Barca. Do you see such things from M@###d?. Who are Barca to tell M@###d how to play? Those smug SOBs. If Xavi and Pique criticize M@###d’s approach, then its okay for Mou to insult Tito/slander UNICEF.

      And don’t start about Messi. Who does he think he is? How dare he support charities to show off when we are flipping off after he’s scored the umpteenth goal against M@###d? Why don’t the press laud the role model that is Cristiano who acts so selflessly on the pitch? Hypocrites! Classless!!

  6. Why is everyone freaking out about Villa’s hair? What did he do to it? I must know immediately!

  7. So there is news filtering out that Cesc is playing the “false Messi” position. Can anyone confirm this? Hows he look there?

    1. It’s… fluid. Villa is on the left, Kiko on the right. Iniesta and Cesc are sort of taking turns in the forward middle position, cycling forward and back. Thiago is in there too.

      But at the moment is does look like Cesc is more advanced than Iniesta. Interesting!

    1. Just watched Cesc’s goal (thanks to barcastuff for posting it), and based on that and the Supercopa, can we say that Adriano and Cesc already have a good working relationship? 😀

    2. It was a prettiful goal! Keita’s was awesome too. Our babies are doing well against a full strength Napoli. Villa’s bad hair day is interfering with his finishing.

  8. If the team is able to stay motivated this season we are going to steamroll our way through the season

  9. What a beautiful pass by Cesc to David Villa who should have done better. Cesc is having a great game. He is so smooth. He has the same composure as our maestro Xavi and the ability to find space and timing for his runs. We are Stacked!

  10. Good first half. Iniesta a beast. Montoya and Adriano doing extremely well. Cesc too.

    Villa looks good, I like his dummy for that Fabregas chance, but he has to finish better.

    1. True, i forgive him for the second one but the first one he shoulda scored. I agree he’s playing well.

  11. Cesc is playing really well, it’s like he’s been here since forever. My God we have a great team. I feel for Pep cos he’s gonna have a serious headache with Cesc, Iniesta and Xavi. And to think this isn’t even our first choice starting lineup.

  12. If pep puts xavi in there it will be the most bizzare midfield line ever. Most teams dont even have one of these so much creative players.

  13. I would like to see the current lineup for 15 minutes more with Messi and minus Kiko (sorry).

    via @gemmaherrero: Zubizarreta: “Afellay se queda”.

  14. Off topic but just wanna congratulate Kari on her previous post. It was really good it was even on Sid Lowe’s twitter. Good job BFBers.

  15. did Cesc play as a “false nine”?

    cause it’s great to know that last year we have no one to replace “false nine” posisiton when Messi is unavailable, now we have two! (Cesc and Alexis)

    to have Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, and Thiago in one midfield is an absolute criminal.

    1. Yes, Cesc is basically playing Messi’s role. He is the most advanced player in the middle, typically as far forward as the wingers.

      And doing very well there I’d say. Feeling good about my prediction we’d play a lot with one of Cesc/Thiago/Iniesta acting as a forward with three midfielders behind him… 🙂

  16. OK, I just saw a pic of Villa;s hair. 😆

    Jeffren must have taken all the hair gel to Portugal with him.

    Or Pique “borrowed” it to fill Cesc’s locker with. 😈

  17. Just got back from a meeting and saw Cesc’s goal. Jazzed for him, also that Adriano provided such a nice cross for the assist.

    Alves pushing forward on the right has been a huge part of our offense, I believe he had our second-most number of assists last year, after Leo. If Adriano can provide a similar kind of offensive quality, it will be huge. After Cesc’s goal and Messi’s winner against Madrid, both set up by Adriano, I am getting excited for that.

  18. Cesc as a false Messi? Now, what tactical genius saw that coming?

    Can’t wait to watch this later. Recording it. Thank you, ESPNDeportes.

    1. Cesc as a false Messi? Now, what tactical genius saw that coming?

      I believe I used that exact phrase a week or two ago… 🙂

  19. 3-0 Barça!

    Great save on Leo’s free kick, but Pedro heads the loose ball in

    BTW Xavi is in for Thiago.

  20. Abidal, Busi, Masche all in for Adriano, Keita, Fontas

    We have a pretty good team. 🙂

  21. Brilliant! I don’t even know what to say. I know it’s only Napoli but this team brings me such joy.

  22. I tune in into the stream and we score 2 goals in 3 minutes, yay. I know it’s a meaningless friendly, but is Barca playing hot or what?!

  23. In Serie play tends to be very narrow. Napoli is trying to stay extremely compact to eliminate space between the lines and they are staying very narrow.

    And they are getting roasted off the flanks again and again. Adriano in the first half. P! now. Cuenca as well.

    This has been a fascinating match. You get a real sense for how Pep is thinking about using Cesc.

    There are a lot of weapons on this team.

    And that’s without Sanchez who has a chance to be a great player even compared to his barca teammates.

    1. I wouldn’t have thunk that. Haven’t watched the game yet. I thought Napoli was the exception to Serie A sides playing narrow, Mazzarri usually rocking the 3-4-3. A big part of their being title contenders last year.

    2. Miguel – yes – Napoli don’t attack narrowly. What I meant was from the point of view of their defense.

      They are used to defending sides that attack in narrow formations.

      They are tending to defend that way today. But barca aren’t attacking narrowly.

      And Napoli are getting killed off the flank both in terms of positioning and pace.

    3. The pitch size also may not have contributed to their cause. Camp Nou is one of the larger pitches. If they are used to a tighter formation, that too would have been against their game.

  24. BTW, anyone watching the manyoo game? The fans seemed to chant something about Barcelona near the end of the first half, but I couldn’t quite make it out.

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