The Joan Gamper Trophy is the annual curtain-riser for Barcelona’s football season where the Spanish club plays against some other team in what is the last pre-season friendly before the actual business starts. Named in honour of Joan Gamper, a founding member, player, and later president of the club, it is a game where the Spanish giants present their new signings in front of the Blaugrana faithful.
This time, the Spanish club have sent an invitation out to Tottenham Hotspur which will see Ange Postecoglou’s rejuvenated team make a trip to Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys as they look to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the Premier League curtain riser against Brentford later this weekend.
Barcelona’s famous Camp Nou usually plays host to the Gamper Trophy but with the stadium under renovation, the Spanish club have shifted base to the Montjuïc stadium for the current season.
Spurs, under Ange Postecoglou, have had a pretty good pre-season where the signs have been mostly promising. Despite starting off with a disappointing 3-2 loss to West Ham United, the signs of improvement have been there for everyone to see.
Tottenham followed up on their loss to the Hammers with a 5-1 trashing of Lion City Sailors. This was then followed up by an even more impressive performance against Shakhtar Donetsk with Spurs winning by the same scoreline again, thanks to four goals from Harry Kane.
Mirroring Tottenham’s pre-season, Barcelona also had one game cancelled against Juventus. Their first game of the pre-season ended in a 3-5 loss to Arsenal but they have followed it up with two impressive performances against top teams.
The Spanish side were clearly the better side against bitter rivals Real Madrid in a game that they won 3-0 and they also managed to eke out a 1-0 win against AC Milan in what was a closely contested contest.
Ryan Sessegnon and Rodrigo Bentancur are long-term absentees for Tottenham as they are in the process of recovering from their long-term injuries. Bryan Gil recently underwent surgery and is unlikely to be a part of the travel party.
Richarlison missed the game against Shakhtar due to a knock but he is expected to be available for the game against Barcelona. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is constantly linked with an exit from the club and it remains to be seen if he features.
The same can be said about Davinson Sanchez, Joe Rodon and Tanguy Ndombele. All three players are closing in on an exit from the club and Ange Postecoglou might not want to risk them.
The situation with Harry Kane is different though. Tottenham want to stay and despite impending negotiations with Bayern Munich, he is almost guaranteed to start against Xavi Hernandez’s team.
Andreas Christensen suffered an injury against Real Madrid and has not featured since. Inigo Martinez is also recovering from a previous injury and might be rested for this game.
Ilkay Gundogan also suffered a knock in the game against Real Madrid but he might be available to feature against Tottenham. Elsewhere, Ousmane Dembele’s deal to PSG has not gone through yet but he is unlikely to be played by Xavi today.
Another name who is likely to be absent is Franck Kessie, a former Tottenham target who is closing in on a move to Al Ahli. He is unlikely to even be a part of the squad.
Player to Watch out for
Tottenham: Harry Kane
Tottenham fans have been really toyed with this summer when it comes to the future of Harry Kane and we still do not know for sure if he will stay at the club or move to Bayern Munich.
The English superstar has apparently made it clear to Bayern that he would consider a move only if it is agreed upon before the start of the Premier League season, which happens to be this weekend.
However, none of this seems to deter the player himself who is coming into this game on the back of one of his best performances in recent times – a game where he found the back of the net as many as four times.
For all we know, this could be the last time we see Kane in a Tottenham shirt. Thus, he is definitely the player to watch out for from a Tottenham perspective.
Barcelona: Ferran Torres
Barcelona are yet to see the best of Ferran Torres. For all his talent and undeniable potential, he has struggled to cut it in Spain so far but this pre-season has been a very different story.
The club’s top goalscorer this pre-season, Ferran has made such an impact in the minimum time he has spent on the pitch. He has looked much fitter and more confident in front of the goal.
Considering the current situation with Ousmane Dembele, and the fact that Ferran has been in form, there is every chance that Xavi chooses to start him this game against Tottenham.
Ange Postecoglou’s men need to be wary of the threat that the Spanish forward nicknamed ‘The Bull’ brings to the table and come up with a plan to stop him tonight.
Guglielmo Vicario; Pedro Porro, Cristian Romero, Ben Davies, Destiny Udogie; Oliver Skipp, Yves Bissouma; Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison, Son Heung-Min; Harry Kane.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Alejandro Balde; Oriol Romeu, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha.