Super Cup Preview: Barça – Shakhtar; 2:30pmEST, FSC/FSE

The second trophy of the season is up for grabs at a neutral venue: Monaco’s Stade Louis II. It only holds 18,500 (if it were any bigger, it wouldn’t fit in the principality), so the crowd won’t be quite as raucous as you might expect for a match pitting the defending Champions League and UEFA Cup champions. The UEFA Super Cup, a one-off match designed as a pseudo friendly that gets everyone’s blood pumping before the domestic leagues are in full swing, is an excellent way for those who won the UEFA Cup (now Europa Cup). I’m not convinced of the need for such a match, but it’s fun nonetheless and offers up some extra silverware for the cabinet.

FCB last played in this match in August 2006, when Dani Alves and Sevilla beat them. So only our little Brazilian hummingbird has ever won this trophy. There are connections to AS Monaco as well that are documented here, the most notable of which is The Yaya’s stint there before he began playing for us.

So, it’s Shakhtar that we face. A team that we played twice in the CL group stage last year with varying results (1-2 away win that came in the last moments and a 2-3 home loss after passage had already been assured). I remember those games as tough, as full of knee-to-thigh tackles, and also including some big galumph of a Brazilian named Brandao. He is no longer there, having moved to Marseille, which is good for us because he 1) pissed me off and 2) was actually pretty good. Nice to know he’s no longer around.

Then there’s this other guy you may have heard of: Dmytro Chyhrynskiy. Yeah. Some guy. I’m assuming that he won’t be playing tomorrow because everyone has confirmed that he will be transferring to us. But he’s there in Monaco with the team, so I suppose he could be selected, though that makes fairly little sense from my perspective. He wouldn’t be able to go in hard on any of our players for fear that he would injure someone and then have to become their teammate immediately afterward. That wouldn’t be the best way to integrate yourself into the squad. And if he’s not willing to go in hard, then Shakhtar probably doesn’t want him out there being all baby-ish and giving up massive amounts of space, possession, and shots on goal. No reason for that, if you ask me. So he shouldn’t start.

To our squad, though: Guardiola has named all 24 available players for this one, meaning there’s will be lots of fresh, young faces on our bench, but out in the field I expect a fairly serious squad. Part of that is that Messi and Alves will miss Monday’s league opener because they’re going to train with their respective national teams to prepare for the Argentina-Brasil match that’s coming up. I expect a more serious lineup for this match than for the Gijon match simply because this is for a trophy rather than the first of 38 matches. It is, of course, possible that we’re going to see a mix of 1st team regulars and some 2nd team members, but I’m going to err on the side of “let’s win this thing” because I know that Pep is aware that Shakhtar wants something out of this game and will be going all-out in order to win. So, our lineup:

Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal, Busi, The Yaya, Xavi, Henry, Ibra, Messi.

I’m sort of more hoping that The Yaya will get to play a more offensive-oriented role and that’s why I put him there. He’s the best DM there is (sorry, Hector, he’s above Masch in my world view, which is, of course highly biased), but that doesn’t necessarily make him a worse attacking mid than Busi or Keita. Or Gudjohnsen. So I’m saying we go with him rotating with Busi a bit (who can also take over some of the creative parts of the role). That way we have Keita fresh for Monday’s game and since The Yaya never gets tired, it’s not really a big deal to play him twice in 4 days. Xavi also does not get tired, but on Monday we’ll be starting this one pale guy so Xavi can rest then.

Another thing that I have incorporated into this lineup is the ability to sub Maxwell on if we’re not doing well and also if we are doing well and we don’t use him, Maxwell will be fresh for Monday’s game. Not that Le Greyhound isn’t capable of playing two games in such quick succession, it’s just that we need not expend his energy when we have Maxwell to back him up. I somehow don’t see us handing Chyhrynskiy his fist start on Monday, so I think it’ll be Marquez and Pique in the middle with Puyol or Henrique on the wing.

Our plan of attack will, no doubt, be, uh to gain possession and never give the ball back. Yeah. I think I’ve finally figured this whole system out. I think. Shakhtar will have to press the hell out of us to have a chance; for some reason I’m expecting a fairly open game that will be entertaining and will also result in us winning.

Official prediction: 3-1 Barcelona takes home the title.  Sweet.

Would anyone like to run the Liveblog tomorrow? I, unfortunately, will not be able to do so. Volunteer in the comments or via an email.

Match times:

Local/Monaco: 8:30pm
New York/EST: 2:30pm
San Diego: 11:30am

Add On by Hector- Scouting video of Shaktar against Werder Bremen in last year’s UEFA Cup Final. Alas, the notes are in Spanish although a lot of it is self-explanatory. Suffice to say that the most interesting find for me is that Shaktar has a mess when it comes to marking set pieces. They often use a mix of zone and man coverage and even sometimes only use man. One would think that would be confusing to the players and apparently it is. With all of our new big tall guys, this is something to keep an eye on.

By Isaiah

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


  1. I’d volunteer but I’ll be 10 minutes late (most likely).

    Ah well.. Hopefully it ends well..I don’t really want anyone from the A team except for Alves and Messi to be out there. Liga>SuperCup.

  2. I volunteer to run the live blog.

    We need somewhere to complain about the lousy internet feeds (for those of us without a broadcast option).

  3. Isaiah, Chygrnskiy and Shaktar’s manager, Lucescu have confirmed that he will play in tomorrows match. He is going to be super duper nervous.

  4. Yeah, Dani said he is going to play because he is “not as important to Brazil as Messi is to Argentina.”

  5. Amazing that in the 12 finalists for players of the year, there were 5 canteranos. Valdes, Pique, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.
    And damn if Butragueño wasn’t watching the balls out the corner of his eye. Talk about doctored draws. I was tearing my hair out.

  6. If I recall, didn’t Shaktar’s coach try to get on Pep’s face after the first leg of last year’s CL group stage match. He was upset because Shaktar were up by a goal, then Pep took Messi off the bench and within 5 minutes we had the lead. Shaktar coach called him a “coward” or what not, so I’m guessing Shaktar really want this.

  7. Monday? First league game vs Gijon.
    Isaiah Im availbale as well but I’ll be watching it on tv so I dnt know if I’ll be ahead of those who are streaming. I’ll be careful.

  8. Yeah, Eduar, the manager was rather incensed back then, but he put more of the blame on Bojan who kept on playing when the guy was down on the field. (faking) He has since had only nice words to say about Barça and said that he forgives Bojan since he is young and he was just trying to play the game or something like that.

  9. Random, but EMD have a clip of Chygrynskiy being asked if he is going to play for Barça in English and he answered back in English, so that’s one way Pep and other teammates besides Yaya can communicate with him.

  10. Jnice, somehow I think Chygrynskyy will be motivated to do the ub-hleb thing and get some spanish lessons, at least, if not catalan. So that english will probably only be needed for so long.

    I wonder if the team provides translators for team meetings? I can imagine that Pep wants to give his speeches only once, probably in the most common language.

  11. Starting time is xx:45, not 30.

    Damn, imagine Chygnasty lives up to his name against us and hurts Messi… can’t think about it.
    Winning is important, but not getting injured is even more important for me (you know, the Super Cup isn’t such a big deal).

    Prediction 2:2 (dunno if there will be extra time or a straight penalty shootout)

  12. Yeah, Soto, I feel that way, too. Just for the early months , it is good that he can speak a bit of English.

  13. Does anyone else see the new guy’s name and think “Chagrinsky”? It’s not giving me a good feeling. At least he has bad hair, though…that’s definitely a positive sign.

  14. inNYC, what’s the Chagrinsky reference? Chagrinksy Agrocorporation? Chagrinsky elevator corp? Yeah I googled that shit.

    I feel like I should get that reference, though.

  15. Thanks, Hector, that’s a good video.

    I’d read something about Chygnasty playing, but was like “what? no way” cause it makes no sense. Why is Guardiola allowing this to happen? Why would Chygnasty allow this to happen?

    No one wins at this rate, least of all Lucescu, who gets a non-entity at center back, right?

  16. It makes no sense to me either, Isaiah.

    We’ll see what happens but, like Mr. Spock would say “that’s not logical, Captain”.

    Also, it seems Pep is screaming bloody murder about the state of the pitch.

  17. i hate mourinho’s punk ass for playing ibrahimovic days before the swede’s deal was to be done & dusted. asshole. i can’t see why anyone would let this happen again.

  18. Maybe they feel since it will be Dima’s last european game for a year so they dont want to take it from him lol.

  19. I feel like with that billionaire of an owner, we had no choice. It was part of the deal to let him play. I’m not worried about injury, but I feel he will start off with us on the wrong foot because he will be graded off this match.

  20. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh

  21. UCL 2008-2009 FC Barcelona The Road To Rome (2009)




  22. i think alves said that he’s not leaving early to train with brazil because he’s not a starting player and his presence isn’t as important as messi’s. he’ll most likely be available for the first game and will fly to brazil the night of

  23. oops didn’t read back on comments before i posted that ^^^

    it was already clarified before, aha my bad. i was gone the whooooole day with the thought of inter&barca hanging over my shoulder

  24. “Lucescu and Guardiola worked together at Brescia as manager and player respectively. The Shakhtar coach assured reporters that they maintain a good relationship despite the clash last season in Donetsk:”

    I didn’t know he was the manager of Pep at Brescia. Cool.

  25. Oh and from this tidbit from Lucescu, “I can confirm Chygrynskyy’s transfer to FC Barcelona but on condition that he plays the Super Cup final and then makes himself available to his new club”, we can see that him playing today was definitely one of the conditions of him being allowed to go.

  26. This might sound weird… but I’m kind of honored that the Trollers chose me to imitate.

    However, the proper syntax, perfect grammar, lack of ellipses all indicate that it was not me.
    Oh, and for me to berate someone for antagonizing trollers would be extremely hypocritical, because when it comes to trollers, i am usually faced with a dilemma between reason/logic (ignoring them), or childishness (meet them with condescension) I usually chose the later. 🙂

    but guys, please, don’t get all worked up… we’re off polishing trophies and getting new ones. Chelsea are not. Their fans are a wee bit bored.

  27. Sky Sports are confirming the sales of both Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben



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