Gamper Preview: Barcelona – Manchester City, Wednesday 4pmEST

Once again it appears that this match will not be televised in the United States. That’s extremely disappointing because it is also the debut for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who should not only get the start, but should do so alongside Messi, who is returning from injury as well.

August 19 is also World Humanitarian Day, so keep that in mind while watching our boys play in their Més shirts. Awesomeness. I guess that means ManCity will wear their black away jerseys.

Our squad is currently a bit thin thanks Iniesta and Márquez being injured and not expected to return until the first league game (meaning they’ll miss not only the Gamper, but also the 2nd leg of the SuperCop and the UEFA Super Cup); also doubtful for tomorrow are Henry and Abidal, who trained away from the group to work on their specific injuries. I’m assuming that Henry will not risked and that either Pedro! or Bojan will take his place in the starting lineup tomorrow. Abidal, too, could sit this one out, meaning that if anyone wanted to see Alves and Maxwell on the same field, this might be the perfect opportunity to do so. Without Henry’s defense, however, that might not be the best option (thought it might be the only option), especially considering Manchester City’s recent investment in their front, uh, 12.

Not that I’m worried about anything other than a Yaya-on-Kolo collision causing a mega earthquake that could, potentially, kill us all by converting all matter into anti-matter in a brilliant, epic, and actually quite beautiful moment. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that.*

I know admittedly little about Manchester City other than what is published in the tabloids, which, as we all know from perusing EMD, Sport, and Marca (or the badly interpreted versions of those stories), there is a world of difference between what is said in newspapers and what is really happening in a club. There are new additions to their squad, of course, and they’re coming off a 2-0 away win in their EPL debut against Blackburn Rovers.

The names they have are a list of who isn’t quite who in the world of football, but it’s impressive nonetheless: Robinho, Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor, SWP, Carlos Tevez. There are others, of course (Stephen Ireland and Craig Bellamy are probably reading this wondering what my problem is). I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’ll come out firing on all cylinders. And they’re going to The Great Wall of Yaya, whose midget assassins will tear asunder all that has been built at MCFC over the summer. We do not take prisoners and we do not give mercy. We are FCB and som un and this is the Gamper.

Remember the last Gamper? 2-1, suckas, thanks to El Capitan coming through in the clutch. That was a goal made from the heart and soul that is somewhere within the sinews and hair that make up Carles Puyol (isn’t he all heart and soul, though? Doesn’t he embody that old adage about working hard for your dreams? Or is the only adage he listens to the one that goes “Carles Puyol will rip your heart from your chest if you dare get near his goal”?). This game isn’t so much a big test as an awesome test. I may be belittling them, but ManCity isn’t a joke and we’re going to have to play well to beat them. I think we will, though, and I think we’ll do so with or without Henry and Abidal.

How well can Pedro! and/or Banjo Crickets play with  Ibracadabra? For that matter, how well can Messi and Xavi play with him? There will be some misfires, there will be some miscommunication, but I agree with my main man, the Kxevin, that if Ibrahimovic gets 45 minutes, he scores. ManCity doesn’t have anything to prove, really, and they’re not going to play too hard, I wouldn’t think, but it won’t be a walk in the park. It’s just that we’re going to be targeting Ibra so that he can get on the sheet and get the crowd rockin’ and rollin’, Mexican wavin’, and chantin’.

Our lineup: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell, Xavi, The Yaya, Keita, Bojan, Ibrahimovic, Messi.

Official Prediction: 2-1, with goals from Ibra and our super sub Pedro!. Just realize that this is going to be a strange game for us as we try to include a new player as well as Maxwell on the left. But, um, yeah, do you think ManCity is practicing with a ball on their field? I think that would be unfair of their coach, since they won’t see it during the game. Pwnd.

* If you eat anti-pasta and then pasta, have you eaten at all?

Game times:

Local/Spanish time: 10pm
New York/EST: 4pm
Chicago/CST/Mexico City: 3pm
San Diego: 1pm
Sydney, Australia: 6am, August 20
Singapore: 4am, Thursday, August 20
India: 1:30am, Thursday, August 20
Saudi Arabia/Kuwait/Jordan: 11pm

If you can make a case for somewhere else being included, please let me know, but for the most part, this list should allow you to do the additions or subtractions more easily.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Playing against a shit club or not Hleb’s goal was fucking beautiful. I hope we see FF tomorrow as well btw.

  2. @Jason:

    If so, then you need to change your predictions may be, adding a goal for Yaya.

    Ps, Hleb scored a goal in the league where Ribery playes. It will be good to compare the two players during the season (even though ribery obviously has more service around him). Lets see how far the french is better so we can guess how much he really worth 😉

    And I hope to see Tevez playing today, even though I doubt he starts. Being the new boy keeps him behind the other second strikers in the picking order, with Ade as a target man.

    And I like Ireland, their best player.

  3. Ramzi, I was going to say that too. If Yaya plays there, he will score. And dribble past his brother in the process.

  4. Nice article on Fontas in Sport today. His father is a long time soci and he has been going to the Camp Nou almost his whole life. As a juvenil, he played more as a defensive midfielder (hence his good ball handling), and was made captain over some older players. He’s also a smart kid who attends college at the same time he plays for Barcelona. Looks like a keeper to me.

    EMD claims Messi and Zlatan will both play 45 minutes today.

    Vic Vasquez is sadly still not recovered from his catastrophic knee injury. He can shoot with no pain but if he runs at full speed he starts feeling pain. Here’s hoping he doesn’t turn into Milito Part II. Sad story, that. Maybe its just me but if Barca has the money, they should take a page from Man U and just send players to the US to James Andrews for knee operations. The Catalan doctors have been off the mark lately with those.

  5. Interesting info about Fontas, Hector. I admit I am not a close follower to all the youth ranks, but this guy name came up as a surprise for me. While we were following some other youth defenders developement, ut of sudden he is there. Even muniesa was a known name since a while ago. But Fontas, Personally I wasn’t aware he exist. Dont know why.

    After Andrade and Milito the injury threat became a nightmare. Two huge qualities in one year and now Vasquez.

    I am not sure if the Catalan doctors are not doing the job right. Last season we were able to treat, rehabilitate fast and send back to the field almost completely fit. Some injuries are complicated. Nesta had to deal with that nightmare, even though he left to US to treat his injury but it didn’t help.

  6. Same thing happened to me with Fontas. I had honestly never even heard of him before he debuted this preseason. Talk about coming out of nowhere.

    Who do you mean by Andrade? Maxwell?

    You are certainly right on about most injuries last year. What worries me is that lately we are 0 out of 2 on serious (ACL) knee injuries. On the other hand, in the NFL which is a much rougher spot, players usually come back from ACL’s on schedule. Some are never the same but lately its as if its a routine surgery. Andrews is the most renown doctor in the US for that stuff. I think they sent Hargreaves there in January. If he saves HIS knees, then you know the guy is good. We’ll have to see this season.

  7. Andrade(you always need to check spellings with me), the portugese defender who played for deportivo. He was one of our three options beside Milito and Chivu (my favorite back then till his agent ruined his chance to join us from Roma).

    He ended up signing for Juventus, getting injured, back to action then the injury bounced back. Finished. I liked his quality defense if you forgive some of his rare naps.

    If I remember well, Andrews also treated Ronaldo (the great ronaldo, not the recent one). He saved his career, for a while. So I agree, he is themost reliable for these cases.

  8. Jorge andrade is the only one who played for both deportivo and juventus and got a serious injury in between

  9. You guys probably saw this already but apparently Gai, Thiago, Montoya (right FB), and Bartras (CB) have all been called up from Barca Athletic for the Gamper. Maybe a half with the starters and a half with the kids?

    Nice to see Thiago getting a chance after missing the preseason for being at the U-19’s and being seemingly passed by JDS on the “next midfielder to be promoted” category.

    Something that has not been talked about is Guardiola’s comments after the supercup that Pedro! can play midfield. Could he well be our midfield re-enforcement? His mere establishment as a starter could already help the midfield by ensuring that Iniesta either plays at midfield or rests.

  10. You guys surprise me once more, I agree that while Fontas was not one of the famous ones he was definitely known. He even played in the Copa Catalunya match against Sant Andreu which we lost 3-1and he assisted the first goal scored by Busquets. This was supposed to be played by our ‘senior team’.

    Anyhow, I just checked out that last season the attendance for the Gamper was 71,210. While it’s much lower than what we had against Inter (98,599) I would think that it’s not really that bad at all. No? Hoping for a good game, a good stream and a goal from Ibra.

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