Un Canto Para la Cantera: Sevilla – Barça [Updated]

Oh me oh my, gotta shake off the cobwebs and figure out how I do a preview again. This is going to be rough, not only because I just flew in from Mexico (and boy are my arms tired), but I’ve only been given a few weeks off since I won the World Cup in a blaze of glory. Okay, yeah I didn’t do anything–I didn’t even go to Mexico–but I did watch the World Cup from the comfort of my home and I did think the summer was a bit too short.

There were the obligatory transfer rumors that I didn’t really cover (though I came up with some Banquillo names just in case) and the preseason matches that got my blood pumping and my lady shaking her head far too early in the season. I can’t help it if I scream goal at 8 in the morning while watching the blaugranitos imitating the blaugranotes. And then, of course, there’re the new arrivals to swoon over even as I categorically reject newer arrivals: Villa is going to be wonderful, but let’s bet on the cantera. No to Mascherano, Özil, and Cesc! It’s easy to just accept what’s already been done and just as easy to posture as a cantera-lover for future arrivals. You can always claim you weren’t in favor of so-and-so, look how they failed, I told you so. Or “I’ve grown to love such-and-such, though, he’s really accepted the colors.”

So, then, with that in mind, let’s see how our cantera does against Sevilla. Except, of course, it’s not really our cantera going out there alone. With the Spanish internationals out of the picture, we could actually see a greater number of non-canteranos: Rubén Miño, Adriano, Gabi Milito, Eric Abidal, Maxwell, Seydou Keita, JDS, Thiago, Bojan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi. The entire back line is transfers, with just 5 canteranos (oh no!) filling out the other positions. And it would be 4 were Jose Manuel Pinto not injured. That would be some sort of a record low under Guardiola, I think. (Note: that is a completely unsubstantiated claim, feel free to disprove it in the comments)

The Spanish internationals, of course, could still see time. They had an extra training session, along with the rarely-mentioned Martín Cáceres, and could very well be slated for substitute action. Starting any of them, even Iniesta, would be silly since they only have a couple of training sessions under their belts. They all seemed to take things easy against Mexico, which was nice to see, especially Xavi who is usually a ball of tireless work. And obviously Xavi is still capable of terrific passes, but he needs more training to be ready for the season. Call me silly for eschewing the chance at winning a trophy now for the potential of winning a bigger prize later, but the Super Cup doesn’t have that much romance in it. I don’t mean I don’t care about it, I just mean I’m down with the little ones and the subs getting their chance to shine. They put in the work in the preseason, after all, and it’s not like they’re some group of scrubs hauled in off the street for this one-off match.

Regular readers of this site will know that I believe strongly in JDS and Thiago (and, indeed, more in the former than the latter), so starting them against Sevilla doesn’t strike me as a big deal. Actually, it is a big deal, but not because we’re suddenly short-handed, but rather because I think it will prove how not short-handed we are. If he’s ready to play, you could replace Thiago with Iniesta to provide depth as well as allow JDS to be the “4” as he was against Beijing Gouan. Not that I’m equating Sevilla with Gouan, but JDS has shown, to me at least, that he’s capable of playing with the first team (and I think he’s shown as much to Guardiola too, who has supposedly rejected the Özil deal in favor of the canteranos).

So, then, Sevilla, who are still a good team. Their squad list is: Palop, Javi Varas, Konko, Dabo, Fazio, Squillaci, Escude, Renato, Cigarini, Romaric, Zokora, Navas, Alfaro, Perotti, Diego Capel, Negredo, Kanoute, Luis Fabiano.

Well then. Luis Fabiano versus Eric Abidal (version C.B) may cause some to shudder with fear, but I prefer that to Andreu Fontàs getting a baptism by fire. Jesus Navas will be running rampant down the side, assuming Sevilla forces him to play after his 45 minutes at the Azteca. Whether they’ll start all 3 of Negredo, Kanoute, and Luis Fabiano isn’t really something I’m prepared to go out on a limb on (I have no idea what Antonio Álvarez is planning), but if they do go that route Fontàs would be outclassed by a superior set of attackers in his real debut with the club. And yeah, I know he played in a league match last year, but it was meaningless. Fernando Navarro misses out, which could be a boon for Messi, who will run up against a second choice LB.

So Guardiola will probably surprise us all and start his internationals or maybe all kids or maybe sub himself on and run rampant through the midfield.

Official Prediction: 1-1. I think we’ll pass the ball around a lot and they’ll get one on the break and then we’ll lay siege to them even though they’ll be trying to play with us because they know the second leg will be all the big guns. Our goal by Messi.

UPDATE: Guardiola has released his squad list: Miño, Oier, Alvés, Ibrahimovic, Messi, Bojan, Keita, Milito, Maxwell, Jeffren, Adriano, Abidal, Nolito, Sergi Roberto, Thiago, Sergi Gómez, Jonathan dos Santos, Muniesa, Oriol Romeu.

Note the absences of all the Spanish internationals, including Iniesta, as well as Hleb, Víctor Sánchez, and Cáceres. I stick by my predictions and lineups.

Also, the match is at 9:30pm local time according to the official site (here), which is 3:30pm EST. Check your local time here. It doesn’t appear that this match will be televised live in the US, though it will obviously be on in Spain.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

140 Comments

  1. Eklavya
    August 14, 2010

    BTW, why isn’t Fontas included in the squad?

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      I think Pep wants to bring him along slowly considering he was out for 2 months. He’ll get his chance in the Gamper match, most likely.

    • August 14, 2010

      Its fair and normal to use the players who already served the preseason games. They are even more fit.

  2. barca96
    August 14, 2010

    From El Mundo;

    Questioned about the possible signing of Mascherano, Guardiola said, putting him in the same bracket as the other players who were linked with the club in recent weeks like Oezil, Capoue, Senna etc.

    “Giving my opinion now wouldn’t help. I wouldn’t be doing the club any good if I started saying I like this player or that one. We are linked with many players, but my job is to give my opinion to the board. The board knows what I want for the next year and what I think of the squad. The club is working on different possibilities and I have the final say.”

    Now it doesn’t look like that we are getting any closer to Mascherano after all.

    • Hilal
      August 14, 2010

      Hmmm. Well I am not so sure about that. All Pep is really saying here is that he doesnt want to discuss any possible signings or any players that are linked to the club, which is the smart thing to do. The most important thing I take from this statement is that he has the final say. As long as that remains true then I am not worried.

    • August 14, 2010

      We must not forget that his name is not Mascheranho, or else Sandro would had signed him weeks ago 😀

      On a serious note, even if we want him -and I don’t know because I am living a transfer denial- It was/is good to give it time. Liverpool surrendered to losing him and they need money. Especially after signing a replacement. His price will drop with every day we wait.

      • barca96
        August 14, 2010

        I’d prefer to sign a player asap tbh. The longer we wait the less time the/any player has time to settle in.

        p.s. happy fasting guys

  3. hannibal
    August 14, 2010

    As always this place brings out a lot of fine footballing discussions, an occasional lost idiot but in general, I love this BLOG. I’ve read this blogon a consistent basis ever since the core-writers left The Offside and it ‘satisfies’ my barça hunger.

    I only wonder what happened to Hector (the tactical wizard), must have stopped posting when I was abroad or something?

    On Masherano, I’ll follow Ramzi, his price will drop every day we wait, but I expect him to go to Inter in the end now they’ve sold Crazy Mario.

  4. GREECE BARCA
    August 14, 2010

    ramzi is also a tactical wizard!your articles in footballmoodblog rocks man!

  5. August 14, 2010

    Regarding Isaiah lineup. I may like to keep Messi out for the first half if Alves is fit (he will always like to play in Seville). With alves on the right we can either have Adriano as a left wing (with Ibra and Bojan) or we can have him/Maxwell in the midfield instead of Thiago so we secure the flanks better (Sevilla strength).

  6. August 14, 2010

    – requesting liveblog for the game – 😛

  7. August 14, 2010

    So sport today , fully reversed their approach on ibrahimovic after months of sending him away on loan/transfer/retirement/switching profession to model , rubbished the ibrahimovic rumours stating that “he will stay and compete for a place this season”.
    Just hours after guardiola shockingly admitted that the future for the striker was unclear.
    What the hell? are they after ibra or after guardiola?

    • Luke
      August 14, 2010

      I think a lot of people here read the quotes from Guardiola wrongly earlier. Obviously Ibra was never going anywhere because Man City spent like $55M on Milner and Balotelli after spending over $120M earlier in the summer on other junk. They would have had to make an offer above $40M just to get us to think about it, much less accept.

      I think it may have been frustration with the press at that point. Sport, etc. are useless.

    • Kari
      August 14, 2010

      are they after ibra or after guardiola?

      That’s be the last thing they’d do. Sport had been on this Ibra to Wherever campaign because they knew that he was, essentially, untransferable this summer, being the summer after his first season and, most importantly, Pep’s signing.

      Now the reality that Ibra could in fact be sold has them backtracking, so as to not look like they were trying to drive out Pep signing. After Txigrinsky left, Pep was upset. If Ibra leaves too, it’ll no doubt put doubts in Pep’s mind: who’s calling the shots here? Me and ZubiZa or Rosell? If it’s the latter, expect Pep to be gone.

      I hate Rosell.

  8. Barcathegreatestever
    August 14, 2010

    “For every goal Ibra scores it cost Barca two”
    I used to think that was a little harsh, that maybe one and a half was more accurate.
    Based on the principle of the cost of missed opportunity
    Based on the flow of play Barca has with and without him
    Based on the goal scoring chances Barca produced with and without him

    But I went back and looked at the ties that he was a part of and two is more accurate. Arsenal and El Classico ties are enough. 2-0 with him, ? 5-0 without him.
    1-0 with him, 2-0 without him (away at historically their worst venue I might add.)

    You might argue that oh he came on as a sub and scored in minutes against Real so in fact the ratios are even inverted, but I would just call bullshit cause goals can come in bunches especially at the end of big games.

  9. Kari
    August 14, 2010

    Say what now?!

    /http://www.goal.com/en/news/91/portugal/2010/08/14/2070598/portugal-boss-carlos-queiroz-reveals-nanis-despair-over

  10. August 14, 2010

    So you come here , repeatingly post hate about one of our players , dismiss any comments by any poster trying to explain what are ibra’s uses, and now resorting to cursing against the OP.Not very smart or mature.

  11. Kari
    August 14, 2010

    So these are what Barca trollers are like? Ouch.

    I guess I take this blog for granted. We’ve got such a great bunch here that I sometimes forget there are fans like these ones. Lo siento opposition fans…

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      Yup.

  12. Hilal
    August 14, 2010

    They are a bunch of midgets. A bunch of exceptionally skilled and talented midgets, but midgets nonetheless. None of our strikers, aside from Ibra, has the height of physical presence to act as a true target man. As was witnessed in the WC, Villa is much more effective playing off a big striker than he is leadint the line.

    Who would you have replace Ibra since you are so keen on him leaving?

  13. Kari
    August 14, 2010

    According to sources close to me (okay, Livescore.com), the game is in ~1 hour, so 3:30pm EST, as opposed to the 4:30pm EST I thought it would be.

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      Yeah, lineups should be up in a few. Can’t wait.

  14. Jnice
    August 14, 2010

    Official Lineup: Miño, Alves, S.Gómez, Milito, Abidal, Dos Santos, Romeu, Keita, Bojan, Ibra y Maxwell.

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      Bench: Oier Adriano Muniesa S.Roberto Thiago Jeffren Messi

    • Kari
      August 14, 2010

      So it’s a :

      Mino

      Alves – S.Gomez (33) – Milto – Abidal

      Dos Santos (34) – Romeu (37) – Keita

      Bojan – Ibra – Maxwell

      Mino in goal. Maxwell LW again. JDS in the Xavi role as opposed to the DM one he played last time. Let’s see how this one goes.

      If all else fails, just bring Messi on and switch Bojan to LW.

      • Jnice
        August 14, 2010

        I’m excited to see Romeu in action. Despite what Pep says, I suspect that Romeu’s performance today will determine whether we will purchase another DM.

      • Kari
        August 14, 2010

        My sentiments exactly, although Fontas has yet to feature. If both Romeu and Fontas kill it, then we’re all set for DM: Busi, Fontas, Romeu.

        But I really shouldn’t get ahead of myself. That’s pure fantasy at the moment…

      • Kari
        August 14, 2010

        Nice line-up by Pep tbh. He’s got a nice balance of youth and experience.

        I was kinda looking forward to a JDS – Romeu – Thiago midfield but that would be way too much. Also, I would have liked to see Adriano at LW but there’s plenty of time to see that.

        All in all, it’s looking pretty good. I’m excited for the match!

  15. GREECE BARCA
    August 14, 2010

    yeah!romeu!lets go boys!visca barca!

  16. August 14, 2010

    Im sure he really wants someone like Tevez or Robinho. I bra is fin and he will be a beast this season, with a silly amount of assists. Now lets put this game to bed early so the young boys can get another run out at home.

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