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.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. jordi
    August 18, 2009

    Um….Hleb scored for Stuttgart just now :O

  2. OhYes
    August 18, 2009

    More awesome than Pie, this game will be!

    I think it would benefit ManCIty to win this game, so I predict they’ll try very, very hard. Meaning harsh tackles and high tempers.

    I also predict that IBRAMUTHAFUCKINHIMOVIC will tear it up with the help of Messi and my main mang Xavi.

    3-1 to Barcelona. 😮

    P.S. Tevez unfortunately now plays for City. He’s gonna do well, so watch for this midget of the darkside.

    P.P.S. Alves finally scores a long range goal.

  3. Maximus
    August 18, 2009

    Must we really do the ‘1st’ thing here?

    4PM is such a crappy time for me, its either stay at work and watch the whole game or leave in the middle of the first half to go home and miss the first few mins of the second half :-(.

    This is probably gonna be funky with Ibra being new but hopefully he will surprise and integrate well right off the bat! I’m gonna keep an eye out for him dropping back to help pressure and his work rate in general.

    Finally…yes you have eaten…you just haven’t eaten any pasta…

  4. Maximus
    August 18, 2009

    that should have read:

    (I May come off sounding uptight)

    but I said and well yeah…it got taken as an italic code.

  5. Helge
    August 18, 2009

    Oh God, I am seriously delighted that Cesc is playing for Arsenal. That means he will join us in 2 or 3 years, and that’s a better solution for both clubs – well, at least better solution for Barca and Fab himself, Arsenal won’t be happy to lose him when he’s in the perfect footballer’s age and possibly even stronger than nowadays 😉

    Gamper prediction: 3-1 Barca, goals from Yaya, Messi and Ibra!!!

  6. Ramzi
    August 18, 2009

    Cesc Pistol, just so you know, I replied on what you mentioned in the previous post.

  7. Thelonious
    August 18, 2009

    I really don’t think maxwell deserves to play. I have seen him play a lot and he is really unimpressive. Andre Santos starts ahead of him with Brazil, and Abidal is a much better player.

  8. August 18, 2009

    But Thelonious, we don’t have Andre Santos and Abidal appears injured.

  9. Kevo
    August 18, 2009

    3-0 goal by PEP!!!!! from the bench! OMG how does he do it?!?

  10. jordi
    August 18, 2009

    Im not impressed by Adre Santos, and Maicon starts for brazil over Dani, does that mean Dani isnt good enough for us then ?

  11. Tutomate
    August 18, 2009

    Jordi, good point.

    I found Maxwell quite impresivelly actually specially in the sounders game. And when I saw him at the rosebowl.

  12. ElShowDeJason
    August 18, 2009

    woot woot for San Diego time…
    kinda sucks that it wont be televised.
    I’m thinking about moving my fastest laptop and hooking it up to my our 61 inch tv.

    i wanna see Ibra and Messi tear it up, Blaugrana style!

    official Prediction; 4-0. Good guys. Messi, Ibra, Ibra, Pique

  13. OhYes
    August 18, 2009

    We could always play without a LB and only win 3-2

  14. ElShowDeJason
    August 18, 2009

    im changing my official prediction to 4-1. Messi, Ibra, Ibra, Pique, Robinho

  15. ElShowDeJason
    August 18, 2009

    by the way Isaiah, injury update Tweets are genius and infinitely usefull.

    I’d like for them to continue, and I’m wondering what else you have planed for Twitter.

    oh, and about the Cover-It-Live. Can we get the nice, pop-out one rather than the embedded one? oh, and more polls please. (my answers are: “pedro!”, “3”, “natalie portman”, and “no”)

    wow… Apparantly, i’m getting demanding.

    Keep up the good work guys!

  16. Ciaran
    August 18, 2009

    By the way, as an Irishman I have to point out that Stephen Ireland has been by far and away Man City’s best player for the past 12months and will continue to be so regardless of who they sign.
    It’s just a pity that he won’t be playing for Ireland anytime soon… our national team are sh*t

  17. Ciaran
    August 18, 2009

    Hleb could barely control the ball for us and then he does that.
    Stage Fright?

  18. Achraf
    August 18, 2009

    Wow we should definetly sign the guy who scored stutggart”s second goal he can play both in the wing and as a midfielder and he would be cheap. His name is… Oh its hleb couldn’t recognize him playing so damn good hmm. Oh well I figured it out its the language somehow knowing how to speak with his teameates and/or understand his opponents changes his game.

  19. August 18, 2009

    Damn you, Hleb. Really? I scored the same number of real goals that you did last season for Barca and now in your first game, you score? That’s messed up.

    Ciaran- Agree 100% on Ireland. Talk about underrated. He was far and away their best player last season although I do have a soft spot for Vincent Kompany. Everybody from the Offside knows about my biased man crush on Carlitos Tévez (Boca Juniors…yada…yada…Ramzi understands me). We’ll see what happens. If we keep possession and starve their front 9 (or something like that), we’ll have a good shot. Kompany is their one true competent enforcer.

    Why all the talk about Abidal being injured? I haven’t seen anything on Sport or EMD and they are usually on top of things like that like lice on my dog.

  20. Ciaran
    August 18, 2009

    Actually, as an attacking & competitive midfielder, capable of filling in for Xavi or Iniesta, I can’t think of anyone else of the class of Stephen Ireland who can score goals and make assists in the quantity that our two do.

    Can’t imagine with City’s zillions that they would sell their best player for the fee that we would want to spend though

  21. Alex
    August 18, 2009

    OK, I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but………. Will the actual La Sexta web page broadcast both the EE game and Gamper game live? Anyone have confirmation on this rather than speculation, I’m tryin to plan my work schedule tomorrow is all.

  22. OhYes
    August 18, 2009

    How many horses have we killed?? lol

  23. Alex
    August 18, 2009

    Well, we killed at least 37 Eto’o debate horses, thats for dam sure.

  24. ElShowDeJason
    August 18, 2009

    in ref. to Hleb.

    no matter what happens this season, Hleb WILL NOT play for Barcelona again.

    That said, we shoul not complain when he executes incredible feats of football talent, thinking to ourselves, “why couldn’t he do that for us?”

    No, we should be happy everytime he plays well… Why? Because everytime he plays well his market price goes up, and the price we sell him for will get closer and closer to the absurd amount we paid Arsenal for him.

  25. jordi
    August 18, 2009

    Besides, Pedro can get more playing time now anyway.

  26. Kxevin
    August 18, 2009

    Um, not to rain on the Hleb parade, but Stuttgart and the Bundesliga ain’t Barcelona and the Liga. Just wanted to throw that out there.

    The official site just says that Abidal and Henry picked up knocks v Bilbao, probably from being used as kicking posts. Wonder what a “slight niggle” is?

    Txiki B. and Guardiola think that the club is missing a “few pieces” on the roster. But again, they don’t want to sign crap. Two weeks left in the transfer window, so we’ll have to see what transpires.

  27. Kxevin
    August 18, 2009

    Oh, and Celtic really aren’t quite there, are they?

    On the up side, Fox Soccer’s Champions League stuff is just fine, with real announcers and everything. No complaints so far, and they will be using local HD affiliates as well as FX HD for matches, once things get hot and heavy.

    This Gamper match, by the by, is going to be a good test, that we might even fail with Abidal out. SWP and Adebayor, coupled with Robinho and Tevez give them all of the things that annoy the crap out of our defense: A creative, mobile winger, a really fast attacker and a big, strong striker with good feet. Should be a cracker. I think Citeh will be taking it a lot more seriously than we are, frankly. Guardiola seems rather focused on the Super Cup, as he noted in his press conference that the European Cup winner, of late, always seems to lose the Super Cup.

    I’d like to break that trend, and so would he.

  28. August 18, 2009

    The flip side to that, Kevin, is that the EPL is already in full session whereas La Liga hasn’t started yet. There has to at least be a possibility of Citeh resting some folks in anticipation for this weekend. Then again, they are pretty damn deep up top, aren’t they? If Abidal IS out then it’ll be a hell of a first test for Maxwell.

    I really can’t wait for Ibra to debut. So excited to see what he can do.

  29. Eduard
    August 18, 2009

    can’t wait to watch the game and BAS.

    Saw the first have of the Celtic-Arsenal game. I think to myself, so glad I was raised a cule. I’ve never seen VV pass it to the other golie. Almunia and Celtic golie were just passing back and forth for most that half.

  30. miz
    August 18, 2009

    anyone can advise website to watch the live broadcasting for the game?

  31. Kxevin
    August 18, 2009

    We’re going to have a LiveBlog miz (I think….hope), and people will post good streams at that time. It seems to vary.

  32. Dave
    August 18, 2009

    So is there any truth to what I hear about Barca being ready to make an offer for Nemanja Vidic? I heard this from, so, naturally, this coud be a complete load of crap, like many of the other stories on that site. I can’t find news of this anywhere else. Does anyone know if this is true?

  33. miz
    August 19, 2009

    i think no need for defender…pls fill up hole in midfielder..that’s the main position in our team. heart of the style play..keita / yaya join africa cup, we finish…iniesta n xavi injured..we are done..haha..pls get somebody to backup.. i trust busi..but to be consistent in few games..bit tough job for him.. get somebody..pls pep..

  34. Kxevin
    August 19, 2009

    Vidic’s name keeps popping up. He’s good, but don’t forget that Eto’o turned him inside out in the CL Final. I don’t think the talk is serious.

  35. August 19, 2009

    Hey Kxevin and Isaiah!

    Great posts.. shared this blog with my other Barca friends and admittedly it’s definitely one of the funnier ones i’ve come across. The “La Liga Loca” is great too although your articles are more frequent and definitely more Barca centric, which works just fine for us.

    I remember last december, Yaya’s agent almost threw a spanner in the works by saying he might leave if he doesn’t get more playing time. Wow! aren’t we glad that didn’t happen. silently hums.. (Whats that coming over the hill… is it a monster?)

    There was some buzz about this guy thiago but i haven’t seen him playing at all. Is he any good?

  36. Kxevin
    August 19, 2009

    Welcome, Reagan. It’s difficult to know as Thiago has received limited time with the big boys. But if the transfer market freeze rumors are true, I expect that we’ll be seeing some of him, Dos Santos and Assulin this season. You can easily see Iniesta taking the engine room from Xavi, flanked by a kid….say, a midfield of Iniesta, The Yaya and Dos Santos.

    I wouldn’t run a big match with that group, but I’d be okay for most of La Liga, except for the top 4 or 5 clubs.

  37. ElShowDeJason
    August 19, 2009


    “Those whom Guardiola thinks should play regularly but have no place yet in his side will be loaned – as Victor Sanchez, Jeffren Suarez and Alberto Botia have already been.”

    I didn’t know FF had been loaned out! 😉

  38. August 19, 2009

    i guess so.. I watched JDS and he looks like he’s going to be playing a bit season.

    But the Barca policy of loaning out players is defintely flawed because i don’t recall a single player who’s gone out on loan and come back a better player and fit into the barca style of play. Saviola, Riquelme for example, did exceptionally well while on loan but still struggled to hold on to a place in the side when they came back. Thats probably going to be the case with Kerrison, Henrique and the other youngsters who have gone on loan. Caceres on the other hand may be an exception here because he already knows the Barca style of play and he will develop into a ‘No mistake” defender at Juventus.

    Hleb has run his mouth too much to the media to have any hope of a comeback next year.

  39. Jnice
    August 19, 2009

    Thiago trained with the squad yesterday, so maybe that’s Pep’s way of saying “you’ll get your chance… soon.”

    I wonder if Henrique will be included in the squad list for the Gamper match. At least let him feel the seats on the bench. Damn.

  40. Jnice
    August 19, 2009

    I kinda wish those shirts we will be rockin’ today were our away shirts. Kinda.

  41. Jnice
    August 19, 2009

    Oh and I hope we get to see The YAYA playing in Xavi or Iniesta’s position. At least for a little bit.

  42. ElShowDeJason
    August 19, 2009

    @ Jnice

    maybe some:



  43. Jnice
    August 19, 2009

    I like that, Jason.

    All of Pep’s comments seem like Yaya will for sure play that position today. That looks like a great midfield combination.

  44. Mher
    August 19, 2009

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

  45. August 19, 2009


    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.

  46. Jnice
    August 19, 2009

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

  47. August 19, 2009

    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.

  48. August 19, 2009

    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.

  49. August 19, 2009

    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.

  50. August 19, 2009

    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.

  51. Achraf
    August 19, 2009

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

  52. August 19, 2009

    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.

  53. Cesc Pistol
    August 19, 2009

    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.

  54. There’s certainly a lot to understand about this. I imagine you designed some very good things.Maintain doing work ,excellent employment!

  55. Oluwatobi Isreal
    July 21, 2010

    i really welcome Hleb….barcelona

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