The boys are freezing their patatas in Moscow, but Cesc has said that, “the pitch and the cold won’t be a problem or an excuse.”
The game is less than an hour away now – 6pm CET ‘cos they’re in Russia.
To get into the mood, I’m listening to this:
Barça heads into the game knowing that a win will seal a place in the next Champions League round.
The track record isn’t that great in Russia and little wonder, because it’s BLOODY FREEZING and our boys don’t do cold. Apparently, Russian players love it:
At least we can say that Barça has never lost in the Motherland. 5 draws and 1 win. That win came in 2002/03 against Lokomotiv Moscow (1-3) and Valdés, Puyol and Xavi played in that game. Same again, please.
Spartak has some injury issues, but who doesn’t? You can bet that whoever plays, they’ll play hard and tough. Just don’t knock Messi over, because your artificial turf will leave bad carpet burns and he’ll have a hard time explaining them to Antonella.
Nicolás Pareja is suspended for Spartak, and Song is one Yellow card away from missing the next game.
As well as the artificial pitch, they have fans who celebrate like this, as I whimper quietly to myself, thinking of the Camp Nou matches where we sit next to the sweet little Catalan grandpa and grandma, who tap their walking canes in time to the music as we spiritedly sing, “Tots units fem força”:
Not only has no Russian team knocked over the Blaugrana but, for all his trying, Spartak’s head coach hasn’t either, to date.
Team is: Valdés – Alves Pique Mascherano Alba – Xavi Busquets Cesc – Pedro Messi Iniesta
Bench: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Song, Dos Santos, Villa, Deulofeu
Iniesta on the Left – again??? After Pep left, you said that this wasn’t going to happen, Tito!
The team is sporting the latest in anti-cold thermal wear tonight. Just don’t give them any weapons because then they’ll be mistaken for bank robbers.