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. 4-0 already? This is supposed to be a friendly. Shouldn’t we let them at least score one? 🙂

  2. With Busi and Masche coming in at the same time, Busi went to defensive mid and Masche to center back.

    Has Masche played DM even once this preseason? Wondering if Pep is going beyond just having him as a fill-in CB, and grooming him as a full-time defender instead, presumably as Puyol’s successor.

  3. Wow, I just saw Perdo’s goal, what spectacular reflexes he has to get on the end of that rebound! Tito will be happy, that was one of his special set pieces, you could tell.

    1. Great to see tactics like that being applied to free kicks, with Pedro being placed in the wall and taking off as soon as Messi kicked the ball – maybe before. It was a set move to get the rebound ball in case the freekick didn’t go in, but his jumping header was awesome!

  4. Napoli is not match fit and they’ve been chasing the ball for so long. They are exhausted.

    I think the team should ease up at this point. This has been embarrassing enough for Napoli.

    1. Felt sorry for Napoli as if they were not chasing enough shadows. When Xavi, Busi and Messi were on the pitch the speed of the ball was just crazy.

  5. Sergi Roberto has played well too.

    Love our passing this match (although we can’t look too deep into this).

  6. The real lesson to take away from this match was how well the young players did against the senior Napoli side.

    Sergi and Cuenca were great in attack. Fontas was very good. Bartra did well. JDS was fine in his time. Thiago of course. The only one who looked uncomfortable was kiko.

  7. Fun match. Great passing and ball movement throughout. Good finishing for the most part. All the kids played extremely well too (minus Kiko).

  8. Well, that was a lovely palate-cleanser after those Clasicos.


    * Depth is a lot better than a year ago. Subbed at every position but keeper without losing overall quality.

    * Pep’s drive to playing 0-10-0 continues with Cesc playing false Messi and Masche moving to CB

    * Villa and Kiko need counseling for their hairdos

    * Defenses can’t cede Barcelona width or they will be skewered. Adriano showing promise of turning into a mirror-Alves.

    * Messi guy is pretty good.

  9. Pique has changed into jeans now, wasn’t he playing oh it’s just me and my stream.

  10. Did you guys notice Zubi gesturing to Rosell that it’s over and Rosell putting his hand over his mouth to cover him smiling his ass off 😆
    That was funny.

  11. barcastuff barcastuff
    Cesc: “Playing as false centre forward? It’s clear I’m no Messi, but I felt comfortable at that position.” #fcblive

    This is what he learned at Arsenal. Unlikely he’s able to adapt to that role playing within the barcelona system alone.

    It was an open question about whether cesc could play that role. If he can it really transforms how the team can structure and utilize it’s depth.

    Cesc adapting to that false 9 role and Keita adopting to DM are the two big issues regarding depth on the squad.

    If those two things (or at least one of the two) happen then this team is going to be set.

    1. By the end of the first half I thought he was playing a bit deeper into midfield. What was the formation then? Or was it only for a short time when he had to collect the ball.

    2. Cesc is going to interpret and implement that role much differently than Messi.

      Often today, Cesc wound up playing the role more as a midfielder than striker. Which of course makes sense given his experience.

      Messi drops to midfield to collect the ball and quickly looks to drag the defense out of shape or exploit the space he’s found.

      Cesc dropped to midfield and often just started playing midfield.

      It’s a hybrid role – part midfield part striker. Messi emphasizes the striker part. It’s only natural for cesc to emphasize the midfielder part. He’ll need time to adjust.

      And as it is – Sanchez will be very well adapted to that role. It’s just that if Cesc can do it effectively it will allow them to keep Sanchez wide if they want to. It increases their flexibility.

    3. Thanks that makes sense. I loved the fact that the defenders sort of didn’t know how to mark him. I think i also saw him playing wide as well but not sure. Can’t wait to see this team in full flow.

  12. Any pics of Kiko and Villa ? I heard that their hair was a new tactical system that Pep is using.

  13. Can’t wait to get home and watch the second half that I missed. Sounds like our guys and we all had some MUCH needed fun.

  14. Just a quick note to the BFB team behind the scenes, the “schedule” section still shows last seasons

  15. That was a FUN match to be at Camp Nou for! So much more relaxing when it’s a friendly and there’s nothing riding on it.

    The atmosphere was simply awesome in the stadium. There was some pre-match entertainment, and the Barca women’s team came out onto the pitch to show off their Copa de La Reina trophy.

    Then there was a dance segment(!) where they inflated 4 balloon-thingies with the dates and locations of the 4 Champions League wins before the team came out to be introduced.

    First all the management and training staff came onto the pitch. The biggest cheer and chanting was for Tito!

    The team came on next – one-by-one – and of course, Messi was the last one out to the biggest cheer.

    The game was wonderful to watch. Napoli didn’t get much of the ball. Great to see Fabregas slot in almost seamlessly – and in a wandering false 9 position. The B team boys were great too. Fontas had a solid game down the back next to Pique, with a few gulp moments, but then Napoli hardly challenged the back-line.

    Adriano was dynamic up the left wing. Keita was quiet for the first 10 minutes, but once he got into the match, he owned it. (He got the Estrella Damm Man of the Match Trophy at the end.)

    The whole team played very well, although I’d have to say that, out of all of them, Thiago was the one who didn’t flow as well as the others. He needs to calm down, not try to be the hero all the time, and lose the frilliness in his play – less movements to do the same thing. He lost a lot of ball, and wasn’t really aware of where his team-mates were in relation to his position. His defence was better than his attack tonight.

    Lots of fun!

    1. Glad you had fun. Look forward to the full report!

      As for your comment on the last thread,
      “This getting old-thing is not good!”,
      I’d say true, but it sure beats the alternative! Glad you’re doing better, though!

    2. I’m so jealous of you.
      congrats, it must be really fun to be there!

      and happy to hear that Tito got the biggest cheer, he deserved it after a madman almost make him half blind.

      Thiago was the one who didn’t flow as well as the others. He needs to calm down, not try to be the hero all the time, and lose the frilliness in his play – less movements to do the same thing.

      agree with you, that’s what I thought as well.
      he needs to calm down, he’s only 20, no need to rush things.

    3. The biggest cheer and chanting was for Tito!

      Awwwww!!!! I have often said that Tito deserves to get more credit for what he does. Too bad it had to take Mourinho’s idiocy for him to get it.

    4. Michele, one ‘L’, my belle! Happy you had fun! Share similar feelings on Thiago to you. But more importantly, what do you think of Villa’s hair? I, for one, think he looks really pretty.

    5. Miguel, one ‘L’, my fell-ow! Thanks!

      I think that Villa should shave his hair until he learns to stay onside and score goals. 😛

  16. Hair is the only crisis and our biggest problem in the squad at the moment.

    Cesc (Wolverine Hair) is the highest priority, then Villa (Emo Hair) and Kiko (It’s-Just-Bad-Hair).

    1. When Pinto isn’t included in this list, it demonstrates just how dire of a hair situation the squad is in.

      I will say, from my time living in Barcelona, it is a Top 5 hair disaster city of the world.

    2. Youve obviously never been to New Zealand. When I was there a couple years ago mullets and rat tails were still in fashion.

    3. Pinto’s braid hair is bad. but you know, he is Pinto.
      his hair fit with his crazy attitude. 😆

    4. I actually like Villa’s new hair style; it makes him look younger 🙂 As for the rest, yeah Barca need to call fashion police to patrol the dressing room. Oh, I also hate those blue socks especially when roll up above the knees.

  17. OK, I’m still watching the game, but I wanted to point out Villa’s awesomeness around the 18:00 mark:

    Cesc passes the ball to Iniesta who threads it through a slew of defenders. Villa understands the ball isn’t meant for him and hurdles it, taking two defenders with him and away from Cesc, who controls the ball neatly and…boots it into space. Oh well. Excellent reading of the situation from Villa, though!

  18. My 2 cents:
    Possession, circulation and movement were great for the 1st time this preseason although it has to be noted we weren’t being pressed as EE does.

    Thiago was somehow off today. Hope holds on to every chance he gets as if his life depends on it. We don’t want him to turn into another Bojan.

    What I would like to see more of this season is more Adriano at LB and more Abidal at CB. Creating chances from our left side has always been very low compared to our right side because Max and Abi just don’t have that attacking sense that Dani has. Putting Adriano there will really help us in unlocking defenses. Maybe Abidal should play as LB in the big games when we need more of a balance (one attacking side & one defensive side).

    1. To our surprise, they didn’t parade the trophy around the pitch, as they usually do. They accepted the trophies and walked off the pitch. Bit disappointed in that, as we stayed to watch!

  19. I’m going against the party line here. Took a very quick spin through some highlights, and thought that Kiko Femenia did rather well. He had very good movement and linkup play with the midfield and Montoya, before trying to gild the lily later into his stint, and got all funky on us.

    Thiago showed that he is a kid. Too showy, too flamboyant for his own good, which wasn’t very good.

    This Fabregas guy is pretty good. So is Cuenca. Where did he come from, except outta nowhere. Dos Santos looked much more composed today. Wonder if ZubiZa’s words that he will be valuable to the first team this year helped his confidence?

    They should have let that Napoli goal stand, just because it was so spectacular. Sometimes, in friendlies, refs should say “We know that was offside, but DAMN, yo!”

    Oh, and Adriano got a new tattoo this off season, I hear. It says “Sell Maxwell.” Holy crap, is he an improved player so far this season.

    1. Yeah, I didn’t think Kiko was bad either, it’s just that everyone else was so very good. Considering his age and experience, he did OK.

      Cuenca was playing for a third division side last year. Now Guardiola seems to have made him a special project, and he is taking every chance he gets to impress. It’s working so far.

  20. interesting to note that 2 years ago I was an Arsenal fan and now I’m kinda smirking that they got hosed by Liverpool this weekend. I really don’t like that team. Didn’t like Lehmann, Adebayor (except that reverse kick against Villareal) or Gallas; don’t like RVP; Diaby was a joke and terrible for their brand of football. I did like Toure, Fabregas, and Henry. I guess now that they’re gone, and pretty much every other player with a good personality (many of them don’t have personalities)there is no reason for me to cheer for them. I never did like their fans or Wenger (especially his transfer policy). I guess now the question for me is: should I pick a new EPL team to cheer for if there isn’t better football to watch (Barca or Milan) or should I just be completely indifferent. Life is full of tough decisions

    1. I used to also like Ronaldo’s United side back when they were plenty of fun in 2008 or so, actually watch their league games at times and root for them and stuff, but after the team morphed into the much less fun side of the past two seasons I just became completely indifferent to the EPL. Part of this being realizing how technically lacking their games are when I watch Barca regularly, of course.

      At times I hope Arsenal or City or Liverpool do well, but I also laugh my ass off whenever they screw up, I dislike Chelsea but ambivalently, and don’t like or dislike United- right now I’m going slightly for City, just because they have Yaya, Silva, Kun and Balotelli and cos all the other EPL trolls who always troll on Barca (Chelsea and Arsenal fans) hate City’s guts.

      So yeah no need to root for a team in particular, just watch it will a Troll Face and enjoy the occasional spells of nice play (70% of them coming from Silva, lately) while laughing at how so many of the big teams screw up hilariously at times.

    2. I’m still looking. I’ve been rooting for Arsenal for two years but I’ve never really been commited to them. I’ve really kinda had it with them, Wenger, and their fans ’bout now. ‘Pool looks like they could be fun to root for. United displayed such class when we faced them (and their fans seem to be nice too) that they’re an option. City has players I love, but also some I can’t stand. Ofcourse there’s always Stoke…

      Really though, to me picking an EPL team is just a way to make Saturday mornings more interesting while I’m waiting for the good stuff to come on the tube.

    3. I started following City more closely last year, thinking that they were starting to build a nice team. This year, they’ll definitely be more on my radar, as I think that Arsenal has lost its way. Liverpool might surprise, too.

    4. I have been an Arsenal fan since I first got interested in football, helped along by one Thierry Henry. For all the mismanagement by Wenger and trolling of Barça by deluded Gooners, I still support the team. I hope they can pull a decent season out of the bag, but it’s not looking good.

      I like Liverpool and love King Kenny, so I am really looking forward to a great season from them.

      I loathe Chelsea, but they have so many players I like right now it is quite upsetting for me (Torres, Mata, Romeu, Drogba).

  21. Pinto played heaps better than what he played in the preseason games. He didn’t make a step wrong. Another good start from Fabregas and was unlucky to get another goal earlier before he scored the first. The first goal was of great brilliance with Adriano doing an effective step over to beat the defender and cross it in to see a nice tap into the goal. I really do think that Adriano has improved. I saw him against Arsenal in the second leg in the Champions Leg and he was missing shots, terrible crosses and couldn’t pass the ball directly to a player. It was great to see him play really good today.
    it was great performance by the team and it was a good warm up game before the UEFA SuperCup against Porto.

  22. Well, might be one of those bullshit rags- I don’t know which of the Italian sports tabloids are rubbish, like Sun etc in England- but:

    “Barcelona? They are the best team in Europe for me. However, only 50 per cent of their success is down to class, skill and tactics. The other half is a result of the luck they’ve had,” Berlusconi said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    The current Barcelona side would tear the current Milan side to shreds. Not saying out of bias, but really that Milan side are very very far below the quality of Barcelona right now, especially in controlling midfield.

    1. And this from the man who fell asleep during the 2009 Champions League match in Roma. Yeah, right……. 🙂

  23. I downloaded and watched the game + the pre-game presentation.

    would anyone know where to find a translation of Pep’s speech? he spoke for a half a minute or so and wanted to know what he said about our upcoming season.

    I also noticed what looked like some sort of kids’ zone in the stands, if it is so, pretty cool way to keep the kids away from the ultras.

    About the game, with one word I’d describe it as “fun”. I enjoyed every minute of it. Montoya needs to get a shout out, he started off pretty good although he didn’t do much offensively along with kiko, but he looked very good.

    Best moment of the game would have to be Pep’s reaction after the team hit the woodwork three times in two minutes. Best Pep-face EVER!!!!

    Speaking of Pep, he looked very keen for this game, despite only being a friendly.

    1. Puyol spoke first, and welcomed the new players. He commented on the already-won title (Supercopa) and that the team wanted more. With the fans help and support the team will be out to make history.


      Pep started off by thanking Bojan, Jeffren and Milito for their contributions over the past seasons.

      He then went on to say that winning games and competitions is harder than it looks, and to win competitions again and again is even harder. (with reference to the 4 balloons on the pitch that each signified a Champions League win.)

      He went on to say that the team will continue to perform with integrity, and that, as fans, we have his word of honour that the team will continue to strive for success. He thanked the fans and asked them to continue supporting the team.

    2. thanks for the translation nzm,

      really well spoken by both Pep and Puyol, good that Pep thanked the recently sold players

  24. Watched the whole game last night with hubby. Fun, fun game except for fealing a little sorry for Napoli. I’m glad that most of our starters were in together at one point for some practice. Kiko is still learning. He just came over from Hercules and wasn’t raised in our system. He needs time so I give him a pass. Thiago proved why Pep wanted Cesc. He’s still a kid. Slow and steady integration in Thiago’s case will make him a better player. Cuenca does seem like he has the potential to be the next Pedro. Will somebody please feed that child something before the next gust of wind blows him away.

    But on the whole, the story of the night was:
    Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
    Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
    Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
    Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
    Hair, flow it, show it
    Long as God can grow, my hair(from “Hair”)

    For the love of Messi get those boys to a barber!

    1. Apparently they alll had an agreement that they would change their hairstyles if they won Champions League. Straight after, Alves went blonde, and Messi cut his, but the others haven’t followed suit. As I wrote earlier, I believe that Villa should be forced to shave until he can stay onside and score!

    2. I give Kiko a pass on this because of youth. Pinto gets a pass because his hair suits his personality, although he seems to play better with the “plait of power”. Cesc and Villa are two nice looking guys, though. Fix the hair so we girls can properly gawk at you again!

    3. That’s a pretty awesome pact. 😀

      And I’m glad Alves only kept his for a short while, as that blonde silliness was just weird!

    4. I refuse to believe Puyol was part of any such pact! If he cuts his curls he loses all his strength, you know.

    5. Didn’t Puyol go some extreme measures towards keeping his hair, refusing to cut his hair off for.. I don’t remember right now, someone remind me? It was something funny.

  25. They didn’t show this game so I couldn’t watch it, but the comments here made me really curious about the hair on show so I checked out the match galleries. You guys are right, Villa’s hair is really bad. And has Fabregas ever stopped grinning that all-teeth-showing smile since he came here? Even the photos from this are all shiny whites same expression.

  26. Also, Barcastuff tells me Keirrison has officially moved to Brazil.

    I have to say I am rather delighted with the overall transfer action this summer. We got the players who didn’t play with us out so we can get some money and no wages out for them plus they can get proper playing time, we replaced the players who only barely played with us with more quality, we got a couple of our more promising talents out in situations where they can improve rapidly at a top club in Italy and England… Bringing Sanchez and finally Fabregas in, promoting Thiago and Fontas, Bojan out on a sort of loan, Jeffren out for actual money, Keirrison out, Milito has left, Romeu with buy-back can develop in a physical league at the top level, etc.

    Hleb will be staying due to his current injury of course but he will recover and become a crucial squad player, filling in in the midfield and making a couple of crucial assists alongside Fabregas to give us the win in a couple of games *hehehe optimism*

  27. I am going to personally shoot anyone who is going to say that xavi will go down in couple of years. A midfielder usually achieves his prime towards the 28 years of age. He has past that. If anything can be said of him, with every year he finds extremely impossible angles to put the ball through(extremely impossible because only he can see that). I would say he will peak really when he is 33 years old, that’s couple of years from now. Xavi’s game is not based on speed but vision and that’s exponentially rising by every match.

  28. I love Dr. Cugat, btw:

    Ramon Cugat (doctor): “Puyol will be back in 3 weeks, mid-September. He still can play for several years at the highest level.” [cope]

    Cugat (doctor): “As for injuries, it’s better for Cesc to be at Barça. He didn’t have serious injuries but the work at Arsenal didn’t help.”

    Heh heh heh. 🙂

  29. Didn’t see the game, alas, but watched the highlights. Poor Cavani. How many times does one score a goal like that…only for it to be disallowed – that SUCKS!

    Funny how Cesc has won over all the haters after 10 minutes in the clasico and a friendly! 😀

    1. I don’t believe Fabregas had any haters as much as he had people questioning his price, necessity and motives. You can’t deny his talent.

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