Catalan Super Cup: FC Barcelona 0-1 RCD Espanyol: Match Review

A recap of the action, as Espanyol escaped Tarragona with the Catalan Super Cup

FC Barcelona will be disappointed to leave Tarragona tonight on the losing side, as despite dominating possession against their local rivals, RCD Espanyol escaped with the Catalan Super Cup, courtesy of an early goal from Felipe Caicedo. Quique Sanchez Flores will be pleased with the victory, but there are question marks over how his side could allow themselves to be dominated by what was effectively a second-string Barcelona line-up.


While the move might land the club in a little bit of hot water with the Catalan Football Federation, Luis Enrique only named six first team players in his squad for the match – and all six started against a very strong Espanyol side. Andre Gomes featured at pivote, while Arda Turan started on the right-hand side of attack – as Luis Enrique looked to experiment with this relatively inexperienced squad.

The Blaugrana started the match positively and in typical Barça fashion; they monopolised possession from the outset and they were winning the territorial battle too, forcing Espanyol deep into their own half. At face value, it appeared to be a positive start – but with so many experienced faces in the Espanyol line-up, the danger was that this played right into Quique Sanchez Flores’ gameplan.

Espanyol seemed content to sit back, absorb the pressure and try their luck on the counter – and on their very first attack of the game, that approach paid dividends. Ecuadorian striker, Felipe Caicedo, was simply too powerful and quick for this makeshift Barcelona defense, and after displaying great composure to escape the challenge of goalkeeper, Jordi Masip, he slotted the ball into the empty net to hand his side the lead.

Barcelona’s best chance of the first half also came on the counter; Denis Suarez found space to burst in behind the retreating Espanyol defense, but his shot was ably stopped by Roberto. Summer signing, Paco Alcacer, was largely disappointing and for a period the former Valencia man dropped into midfield with Denis assuming a false nine position at times – you question whether this was intentional from Enrique, or merely a response to the struggles we were experiencing in breaking Espanyol down.

In many ways, if you ignore the scoreline, this was your quintessential Catalan derby; Barcelona were dominating almost every statistic, Espanyol were often a little close to the line with their physical play – and the chances were coming at a premium. This was a close game, even in spite of the gulf in experience between the two line-ups – and certainly through the first half of action, this was much more than a friendly match.


As the second half kicked off, there was little change in the flow and style of the game, almost as if the half-time break had never happened. Barcelona continued to boss possession, and Espanyol continued to frustrate them as soon as they entered the final third. In truth, there wasn’t a lot to report back about in the early stage. A brief error from the TV3 crew was perhaps the most noteworthy moment as Felipe Caicedo was momentarily sent off by the TV director – even if he only received a yellow from the referee.

Around the hour mark, we started to see a few glimpses of action; Barcelona finally created another chance with a low cross into the area but Paco Alcacer squandered it with a rushed finish. His connection was below par, and the chance went begging as a result.

Nili drove a fierce effort just wide of the post a few minutes later, before Enrique took the opportunity to rotate in some other members of the B team. Jesus Alfaro replaced Arda Turan, leaving Denis, Gomes and Alcacer as the only remaining outfield senior team members.

In particular, Denis should be singled out for prasie for his performance today as he looked sharp and was often at the forefront of our brightest attacking moments — forcing perhaps the most uncomfortable save of the evening from Roberto, with his awkward bouncing effort. In any case, this simply wasn’t Barcelona’s night, and Espanyol will be pleased to be able to claim some silverware after such a mediocre start to their La Liga campaign.

Barcelona: Masip | Nili, Marlon, Mathieu (Martinez), Moises (Palencia) | Gomes, Alena, Denis | Arda (Alfaro), Alcacer, Carbonell


Espanyol: Roberto | Alvarez, Demichelis, D. Reyes, Duarte | Melendo, Roca (Fuego) | J.A. Reyes (Sanchez), Sevilla, Jurado | Caicedo (Moreno)

Goals: Caicedo (9’)

Barcelona vs Espanyol, Catalan Super Cup: Confirmed Lineups, Live Game Thread

Live game thread with confirmed lineups for the Catalan Super Cup final between Barcelona and Espanyol

Catalan Super Cup: Final
Nou Estadi, Tarragona, Spain
Kickoff: Tuesday, 25 October 2016, 20:30 CET


Starting Lineups


Barcelona: 25. Jordi Masip; 20. Nili, 5. Marlon Santos, 24. Jeremy Mathieu, 23. Moisés Delgado; 14. Álex Carbonell, 21. Andre Gomes, 8. Carles Aleña; 6. Denis Suarez, 17. Paco Alcacer, 7. Arda Turan
Substitutes: 13. José Aurelio Suárez, 3. José Antonio Martínez, 12. Sergi Palencia, 16. Gerard Gumbau, 22. Ferrán Sarsanedas, 9. Jesús Alfaro, 19. Rafa Mújica

CoachLuis Enrique


RCD Espanyol: Roberto; Martín Demichelis, Diego Reyes, Rubén Duarte, Víctor Álvarez; Salva Sevilla, Marc Roca; José Antonio Reyes, José Manuel Jurado, Óscar Melendo; Felipe Caicedo

Substitutes: Diego López, Víctor Sánchez, Aarón Martín, Javi López, Gerard, Javi Fuego, Pape Diop, David López, Léo Baptistão

Coach: Quique Sánchez Flores

Barcelona vs. Espanyol is a Time to Test Out Replacements for Suárez, Iniesta, Busquets and Roberto

The Catalan Supercup might be essentially a training match, but it will be a time to see how key subs will perform.

Barcelona has four key question marks in depth: subs for Luis Suárez, the injured Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, and Sergi Roberto. The Catalan Supercup will be an audition for replacements, likely Paco Alcácer, André Gomes, Denis Suárez and either Nili or Sergi Palencia, respectively.

Luis Suárez and Busquets have been among Barcelona’s most-used players, while Luis Enrique has had to change formations to rest Roberto. Meanwhile, Iniesta’s injury leaves a spot open in the starting XI.

Alcácer will be searching for his first goal in a Blaugrana shirt as he tries to get into rhythm. He’s been unlucky at points, and he looks short on confidence right now, not to mention unsure of what to do in the system. He needs this game to pick up rhythm and give El Pistolero a breather.

Busquets has been playing a lot too, and Gomes has been OK as his deputy, but he’s clearly not 100% comfortable either. Being an alternative to Busquets there will maximize his playing time and help his adaptation, as well.

Denis Suárez could become Iniesta’s replacement in the starting XI as the captain heals from an injury that will keep him off the pitch for a month or two. He’ll have a hard time pushing Arda Turan out of there, but he’s a very good player. Either way, he will make his claim to be a bigger part of the rotation. He has some very big shoes to fill, and Barcelona is filled with talented midfielders. Denis will have to continue to work hard if he wants to make the spot his.

Finally, Roberto has essentially no backup as Aleix Vidal does not seem to be in Lucho’s plans. A B teamer could really make an impression and put himself as the #2 RB. Both Nili and Palencia can play on the right, though Palencia will likely feature on the left. In a way both will be competing against each other.

FC Barcelona News: 25 October 2016; Four Up for Ballon d’Or, Squad Named for Catalan Super Cup

Iniesta, Suárez, Messi and Neymar Jr up for Ballon d’Or award | FC Barcelona
Andrés Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Leo Messi and Neymar Jr are the four FC Barcelona players nominated for the Ballon d’Or award. The club captain and the front three form part of a 30-man list put forward by France Football which was announced on Monday.

FC Barcelona announce squad for Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol | Barca Blaugranes
The next Barcelona match is upon us! The Blaugrana travel to Tarragona on Tuesday for the second installement of the Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol, and coach Luis Enrique has named an 18-man squad for the match.

Catalunya Super Cup: Separate contest for elite clubs FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol | FC Barcelona
Catalonia’s leading professional clubs, FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, go head-to-head in Tarragona on Tuesday night (9.30pm CET) in the Catalunya Super Cup. Barça will be defending their title in only the second edition of the event in its modern format. But in different guises, its history dates back more than one hundred years.

Robert Fernández: To be champions you must have good players and a solid group | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernández spoke to Barça TV programme ‘Hora B’ where he spoke about the current state of the team as well as plenty of other important topics surrounding the club. “In order to compete and to be champions you must have good players and have a good group,” Fernández said before adding that “if you do not have a good squad it is tough to win complicated games”.

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu welcomes Nikken Sekkei CEO to Camp Nou | FC Barcelona
The President of FC Barcelona, Mr. Josep Maria Bartomeu, welcomed to Camp Nou on Monday Mr. Tadao Kamei, the President and CEO of Nikken Sekkei, just hours before the inauguration of the Japanese architecture and engineering firm’s new office in Barcelona, which is its first in Europe.

Barcelona vs Espanyol, 2016 Catalan Super Cup: Team news, possible lineups, injury updates, more

The ultimate guide for Tuesday’s (almost) friendly

Hey, there’s a Barcelona match coming up! The Blaugrana will try to pick up some silverware on Tuesday in the Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol, in the second installment of a preseason trophy that takes place in October, for some weird reason.

This is still the local derby, though, and it’s an important game. Luis Enrique will give rest to 10 first team players, but some reserves and Barça B stars will get valuable minutes in their bids to impress the manager, and they’ll have to be at their best against a strong Espanyol side.

Below is the match guide for you! All the info you need on the team, including the lineup predictions, which are impossible but we gave it a try! If you’re planning on watching the game, then you need to know this stuff:

Barcelona squad: Masip, J. Suárez, Denis Suárez, Arda Turan, Paco Alcácer, Jeremy Mathieu, André Gomes, Palencia, Rafa Mújica, Nili Perdomo, Marlon Santos, Moises Delgado, José Martínez, Sarsanedas, Carles Aleña, Alfaro, Gumbau, Carbonell

Out: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne, Rakitic, Busquets, Messi, Suárez, Neymar (rest), Piqué, Alba, Iniesta, Cillessen, Aleix Vidal, Rafinha (injury)


Espanyol squad: Roberto, Diego López, Demichelis, Rubén Duarte, Víctor Sánchez, Víctor Álvarez, Gerard, Salva Sevilla, Reyes, Caicedo, Leo Baptistao, Jurado, David López, Javi López, Javi Fuego, P. Diop, Diego Reyes, Marc Roca, Aarón, Óscar Melendo

Out: Óscar Duarte, Álvaro Vázquez (injury)

Possible Lineups

OFFICIAL: Four Barcelona players nominated for Ballon D’Or Award

Messi, Iniesta, Neymar and Suárez! Congrats, boys!

The Ballon D’Or has changed this year, but one thing stays the same: Barcelona stars are on the shortlist.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Neymar Jr. and Andrés Iniesta have been included in a 30-man list of nominees for the Golden Ball, given to the best footballer in each calendar year.

Magazine France Football and FIFA used to give out this award together, but they’ve parted ways a few months ago, and the Ballon D’Or once again belongs solely to France Football, which means that only journalists chosen by the magazine will be voting on the award instead of the ridiculous FIFA process, which gave coaches and captains from every country in the world a vote, which always meant Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo winning.

France Football voters actually watch football, and their choices over the years have been a more accurate reflection of the actual best players from each year. There won’t be a three-man shortlist anymore, and the winner will be announced in December, not during a January Gala.

This is the full list of BDO nominees, which includes 13 La Liga players:

Sergio Agüero, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gareth Bale, Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Paulo Dybala, Diego Godín, Antoine Griezmann, Gonzalo Higuain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrés Iniesta, Koke, Toni Kroos, Robert Lewandowski, Hugo Lloris, Riyad Mahrez, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, Neymar, Dimitri Payet, Pepe, Paul Pogba, Rui Patricio, Sergio Ramos, Luis Suárez, Jamie Vardy, Arturo Vidal

Who do you think deserves to win the Ballon D’Or this year? Comment away!

FC Barcelona announce squad for Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol

Luis Enrique has called 18 players, 12 from Barça B, to form the squad for Tuesday’s Catalan Super Cup game

The next Barcelona match is upon us! The Blaugrana travel to Tarragona on Tuesday for the second installement of the Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol, and coach Luis Enrique has named an 18-man squad for the match:

Goalkeepers: Jordi Masip, José Suárez

Defenders: Jérémy Mathieu, Marlon Santos, José Martínez, Sergi Palencia, Nili, Moises Delgado

Midfielders: André Gomes, Denis Suarez, Arda Turan, Gerard Gumbau, Carles Aleñá, Alex Carbonell, Ferran Sarsanedas,

Forwards: Paco Alcácer, Rafa Mujica, Jesus Alfaro

This isn’t the most important match in history, which means Lucho will give minutes only to reserves and Barça B stars, with ten key starters given a day off. Only six first teamers have been called up, while six other players miss out through injury (Piqué, Alba, Cillessen, Iniesta, Rafinha, Aleix Vidal).

Projected starting lineup (4-3-3, right-left):

Masip | Palencia, Marlon, Mathieu, Nili | Aleñá, Gomes, Denis | Mujica, Alcácer, Arda

The match starts at 9:30pm CET / 8:30pm BST / 3:30pm ET, 12:30pm PT / 1am IST (India, next day), and you can join us to follow and comment all the action.


Catalan Super Cup: FC Barcelona vs RCD Espanyol: Match Preview

A preview of the second-ever Catalan Super Cup, as an experimental Barcelona squad take on Espanyol in Tarragona

The rest of the world might not count this as a competitive fixture, but here at Barca Blaugranes we’re going to do our best to bring you coverage of the Catalan Super Cup, which is set to be contested tomorrow evening at the Nou Estadi in nearby Tarragona. Keep your eyes peeled for team news, our usual live thread and of course a recap of all the action tomorrow, but for now let’s take a look ahead to the fixture as we first ask the question: what even is the Catalan Super Cup anyway?

Well, the Catalan Super Cup was and is supposed to be an annual showdown between the region’s two biggest clubs, FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. The previous iteration of the competition was suspended indefinitely in 2012 due to disagreements between the two clubs, but it was re-established in 2014, with the Blaugrana winning the inaugural edition on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Girona.

Now, two years later, here we are, preparing to kick-start what could well become an annual event on the FC Barcelona calendar.

OK, so that’s what the Catalan Super Cup is, but I know what you’re thinking, you watch Barcelona play upwards of 60 matches a season; why should you care about this one?

Aside from providing us with a chance to watch the next generation of potential Barcelona talent in action, this year’s edition will also give us the opportunity to take another look at some of our fringe players. In other words, it’s the perfect opportunity for Enrique to truly learn about the depth of his squad – and to hopefully hand a confidence boost to some of the players that need it the most.



While the majority of Barcelona’s first team have been granted some well-deserved rest, Luis Enrique has ensured that at least a few of the squad are ready for action tomorrow. So even if the squad for the last Catalan Super Cup boasted players such as Gerard Pique, Alexis Sanchez, Xavi Hernandez and Luis Suarez, we are still going to see a few established stars in the starting XI tomorrow.

Jordi Masip is the only goalkeeper from the first team squad called up for the game tomorrow, and therefore reason suggests that he will be the man starting in goal. Jeremy Mathieu is the only defender from the senior squad on the roster, so expect him to start – with a few B team players for company. Brazilian centre-half, Marlon, is a near sure-fire bet to start in the centre of defense after his impressive preseason, but he could be challenged by Barca B ever-present, Jose Antonio Martinez who joined in the summer from Sevilla.

The right and left-back berths are likely to fall to Nili and Sergi Palencia respectively, although Enrique could move Mathieu out wide to accommodate Marlon, if he feels as though that is necessary. Moises Delgado will provide cover for the left-back position, albeit off the bench.

Denis Suarez, Andre Gomes and Arda Turan are all likely to be in action at one stage or another during the night; even if the latter is more likely to be seen in an offensive position. Gerard Gumbau and Ferran Sarsanedas will battle it out to start at pivote, with La Masia’s latest crown jewel, Carles Alena probable to see extended game-time off the bench, or perhaps from the start if Lucho wishes to experiment with Gomes at the pivote spot. Alex Carbonell rounds off the list of available midfielders, and he too could see some action off the bench.

In attack, the headline should be that Paco Alcacer is going to start – and after looking short of confidence in recent appearances, it is imperative that Enrique makes him feel comfortable tomorrow. A confident Alcacer could do wonders for our season, as there can be no doubting his ability – it’s just whether he feels “at home” in a Blaugrana jersey. As mentioned earlier, Arda Turan is probable to start in his preferred position on the left, with Rafa Mujica likely to get the nod ahead of Jesus Alfaro for the final spot, if only for his goal in preseason against Premier League champions, Leicester City.


To those who hadn’t heard of the Catalan Super Cup and assumed that it didn’t matter, you might want to take a trip down to Montjuic and try to explain that to RCD Espanyol and Quique Sanchez Flores. While Barcelona are resting a litany of key players, Quique has named just one player from the B team in his squad for tomorrow night, as he clearly wants his side to return home with the silverware.

Whether he rotates from the usual La Liga line-up remains to be seen, but a lot of the Espanyol squad will need no introduction. Diego Lopez, Jose Antonio Reyes, Jose Manuel Jurado, Leo Baptistao and Martin Demichellis; these are all players with proven records at some of the biggest clubs in Europe – and while they may be underperforming in La Liga, they will be more than a match for our experimental squad.


It’s going to be tough to see us securing a result against such a strong squad; I think Espanyol will edge it in the second half to leave us somewhat disappointed marking perhaps the first time in recent memory that a preview of mine has ended with a prediction against us. 1-2 to our neighbours.

FC Barcelona News: 24 October 2016; Preparations Begin for Catalan Super Cup

FC Barcelona schedule for a week with Catalan Super Cup and Granada visit | FC Barcelona
Following the 4-0 defeat of Man City and Saturday’s gripping 3-2 win at Valencia in the league Barça go into another week with two games. First up they have the Catalan Super Cup match against local rivals Espanyol and the Saturday after, Granada are the Liga guests at the Camp Nou. Manager Luis Enrique has training sessions planned for all other days apart from Wednesday, which will be a day off for the first team players.

Messages of support pour in for injured Andrés Iniesta | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona players send their wishes to the captain following his injury at Valencia.

FC Barcelona’s top moments of the week | FC Barcelona
The midweek clash against the English side saw the return of Pep Guardiola, who spoke to the press about his time with Barça and his good relationships with the players and staff at the club. But it would be his friend Luis Enrique who would end the day happiest, with Barça earning a 4-0 win on the night.

FC Barcelona’s late win over Valencia, by the numbers | FC Barcelona
Leo Messi, with his brace, and Luis Suárez with his goal at Mestalla in the team’s epic 3-2 win on Saturday sees the pair go to the top of the scoring charts with seven each. In what was a fast and frantic game full of major incidents and goals, there were also plenty of stats and facts to pull out of the encounter.

Rival watch: FC Barcelona rise to third while next opponents Granada stay winless | FC Barcelona
Wow, Messi’s last minute penalty at Mestalla made a huge difference! Had the game with Valencia ended 2-2, Barça would now be fifth in the Liga table. But instead, the 3-2 win means that after the remaining fixtures were played on Sunday, the Catalans have moved up to third, just two points off the lead.

Girona v FC Barcelona U19: Ninth straight league success (0-1) | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona U19 clinched a precious three points against Girona by a solitary goal scored by Jeremy Guillemenot in the first half.Barça had the better of the early exchanges with Lee threatening within the first ten minutes with a shot from inside the area which had to be dealt with by the opposing keeper.

La Liga News: 24 October 2016; Alvaro Morata Sends Real Madrid Top, Sevilla Down Atletico Madrid

Late Alvaro Morata fires Real Madrid past Athletic Bilbao, atop La Liga table – ESPN
Substitute Alvaro Morata was the hero for Real Madrid as they claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. A straightforward night seemed on the cards when Karim Benzema gave them a seventh-minute lead, but a combination of Athletic’s doggedness and Real’s ragged defending allowed Sabin Merino to score a 27th-minute equaliser.

Morata the hero for Madrid – but ‘untouchable’ BBC a big problem for Zidane & Real –
Alvaro Morata made it a 24th birthday to remember. Even though the Spain striker was left on the bench by Zinedine Zidane until late in the second half, the former Juventus forward bundled home the winner against Athletic Club to give Real Madrid a special gift – outright leadership of La Liga.

Cristiano Ronaldo has NEVER started a Real Madrid season this badly –
Real Madrid may have scraped a victory over Athletic Club to regain their spot at the top of La Liga on Sunday, but all is not well with their star attraction. Cristiano Ronaldo has been out of sorts since the beginning of the campaign, and has now officially registered his worst start to the season since joining the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez defends Bernabeu plans at AGM – ESPN FC
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has defended multi-million euro plans to redevelop the Bernabeu at a stormy Annual General Meeting. The event saw socios group Compromiso Blanco question Perez’s management of the club.

Sevilla shock Atletico Madrid – ESPN
Sevilla climbed above Atletico Madrid and into top spot as Steven Nzonzi’s cool finish sealed a tight game at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan. The home side were just about worth the 1-0 win which maintains their 100 per cent home record in LaLiga after five matches as Jorge Sampaoli got one over on fellow Argentinian coach Diego Simeone.

Wonder goal not enough as Las Palmas sunk by Yellow Submarine – ESPN
Villarreal continued their positive start to the season as Cedric Bakambu’s stoppage-time goal completed a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Las Palmas at El Madrigal. Fran Escriba’s men fell behind to a world-class strike from Kevin-Prince Boateng in the first half but equalised in the 64th minute with a Nicola Sansone penalty.

Iago Aspas bags a brace as Celta win Galician derby – ESPN
Celta Vigo claimed Galician bragging rights with a 4-1 LaLiga derby victory over Deportivo La Coruna at Balaidos. The game was delicately poised 1-1 at half-time with Raul Albentosa’s first Deportivo goal quickly cancelling out Hugo Mallo’s powerful strike.

Malaga smack four past Leganes – ESPN
Malaga claimed a convincing 4-0 victory over Leganes at La Rosaleda to leapfrog their opponents in LaLiga. The visitors from the Madrid suburbs made a promising start but two quickfire goals just before half-time, the first a Jony penalty and the second a counter-attack finished by Chory Castro, left them with an awful lot to do.