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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

FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

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.

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