Once again, Barcelona's heavily packed fixture list meant there was no way the senior team would attend the Copa Catalunya. The Catalan FA may be disappointed, as well as a few Catalan nationalists, but with the team already weary of fatigue and injury, it was the only sensible choice.
The Barcelona B team will thus fill the void, as they are slated to dispute the semis against Gimnastic de Tarragona at the Nou Estadi today, April 17th, at 21:30 (CET).
In any case, Barca B have enough quality to win the tournament - they are still in Segunda, after all, while Gimnastic are in the third tier (though they are the current cup holders).
Barca B coach Eusebio Sacristan said he was "excited" to challenge for the regional tournament. The cup may be of fairly minor importance, but it wouldn't look bad on his C.V.
If reports in Catalonia are accurate, Barcelona is readying to offer Eusebio a renewal, which would be a controversial step. After the departure of Luis Enrique Martinez to AS Roma, Eusebio took the reins as head coach of the B team in 2011.
While they finished 3rd in the last year with Luis Enrique, the B team, now led by Eusebio, are in eighth place in Segunda for the second season running. Barca B's astonishing record this season - the most goals scored and conceded in Segunda at the same time - provides a mixed bag to say the least.
But what bothers Cules more than that is the accusation that he's doing a poor job developing talent and maintaining relationships with the Blaugrana's bright prospects. Some fans would argue that Eusebio is too resultist, thinking about how each win will look on his C.V. and not whether it's helping the youngsters have a future in the senior team.
For example. Eusebio has stuck with David Lomban in the center of defense despite the obviously disappointing record, and despite the fact Lomban is 25 and thus probably not in the senior team's plans.
The Copa Catalunya in this context hardly matters as a cup. Rather, it matters as a competition and an opportunity for growth. It's another chance to give the youngsters some experience with knockout football.
Eusebio will be adding another slide to his presentation to try to impress his employers. The suits seem to be on their edge of their seats, but the fans don't seem to find his Power Point too convincing.