Preview: Barcelona vs. Tottenham Hotspur – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s friendly clash between Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur cap off their preparations for the 2023-24 campaign on Tuesday, as Xavi‘s men welcome their English counterparts to the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys for the next edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy.

The Spanish champions ended their USA tour with a 1-0 triumph over Italian giants AC Milan last week, while Spurs thumped Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 at the weekend.

Match preview

Barcelona head coach Xavi on July 30, 2023© Reuters

Conceding five goals to Arsenal was hardly the ideal way for Barcelona to kick off their warm-up period for the new term, but once the cobwebs had been blown off, Xavi’s side demonstrated their title-winning credentials in what remained of the Soccer Champions tour.

Following their 5-3 defeat to the Gunners, Xavi’s men thumped long-time adversaries Real Madrid 3-0 in a typically fiery Clasico, before getting the better of AC Milan in Nevada courtesy of a solitary Ansu Fati strike last Tuesday, although goalkeeper Inaki Pena had to be called upon to keep the Rossoneri at bay.

While Barcelona have now touched back down on Catalonian soil, Xavi’s men will be playing in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings for the 2023-24 campaign, as the 54,000-capacity Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys – which hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics – will be their headquarters while renovations take place at Camp Nou.

A change in scenery should pale into insignificance for Barcelona, though, as La Blaugrana are aiming to get their hands on the friendly Joan Gamper Trophy for the 46th time, having posted a 6-0 romping over Mexican side UNAM in the 2022 edition.

The tournament hosts have now won each of the last 10 Joan Gamper Trophy matches since a 1-0 loss to Sampdoria in 2012, while Tottenham will be making just their second appearance in the friendly competition, having managed a 2-1 win over Milan in 1986 during the days of the four-team tournament.

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Ange Postecoglou pictured in July 2023© Reuters

For the past couple of weeks, barely a day has gone by without another update on the future of Tottenham talisman Harry Kane, but the England skipper remains totally unfazed by the ever-growing speculation and demonstrated as such when Shakhtar came to town.

Spurs welcomed their Ukrainian counterparts to North London on Sunday for a charity friendly, with funds being raised to help those affected by the Russian invasion, and Kane put in a true captain’s performance with a magnificent four-goal haul in front of his adoring fans.

Dane Scarlett – who certainly has a lot to live up to if he wants to follow in Kane’s footsteps – was also in target in Ange Postecoglou‘s first home game in charge, as Spurs recorded back-to-back 5-1 wins following their thrashing of Lion City Sailors in Singapore.

The Joan Gamper Trophy represents the last exhibition game on Tottenham’s schedule before they open their Premier League season away to London rivals Brentford on August 13, by which point Kane will supposedly pledge his allegiance to Spurs for the 2023-24 season if Bayern Munich are still unable to twist Daniel Levy‘s arm.

Kane was on target when Spurs tackled Barcelona in the 2018-19 Champions League group stage, but the Lilywhites went down 4-2 at Wembley that day before a 1-1 draw in Catalonia not long after, and they also failed to get the better of their Spanish counterparts in the 1981-82 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals.

Barcelona friendly form:

Tottenham Hotspur friendly form:

Team News

Gavi celebrates scoring for Barcelona on February 5, 2023© Reuters

Barcelona head coach Xavi is unlikely to be working with a fully-fit squad for the Joan Gamper Trophy, as Gavi (back) and Andreas Christensen (ankle) reported to the training ground on their Friday day off to continue their recoveries.

Ilkay Gundogan may also be touch-and-go for this one after sitting out the friendly with Milan due to adductor discomfort, while fellow new signing Inigo Martinez is still recovering from his foot injury and may miss the start of the campaign.

Franck Kessie and Ousmane Dembele were also not given any minutes last time out, but the pair are now closing in on transfers away from the club, and Xavi ought to field his strongest possible XI with only one tune-up game left on the calendar.

As if a 48-hour turnaround was not already taxing enough for Tottenham, Postecoglou is also without several long-term injury victims in Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Rodrigo Bentancur (ACL), Bryan Gil (groin), while Richarlison also missed out against Shakhtar due to a knock.

However, the Brazilian is reportedly expected to be fit for the trip to Catalonia, although Fraser Forster is doubtful due to a back concern, while Tanguy Ndombele also missed the 5-1 win on Sunday due to unexplained reasons, which may very well have been tactical from Postecoglou.

The Australian named a strong lineup for the visit of Shakhtar but will no doubt ring some changes on Tuesday given the lack of recuperation time, potentially offering Sergio Reguilon, Manor Solomon, Giovani Lo Celso, Yves Bissouma and Eric Dier routes back into the first XI.

Micky van de Ven was spotted at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday ahead of his £43m move from Wolfsburg, but it is difficult to see the Dutchman being considered for his debut here, even if he is unveiled within the next 48 hours.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Garcia, Balde; Pedri, Romeu, De Jong; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Porro, Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon; Skipp, Bissouma, Lo Celso; Solomon, Richarlison, Perisic

SM words green background

We say: Barcelona 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham may have found the back of the net 10 times in their last 180 minutes of friendly football, but Postecoglou’s weary side are surely destined to come out second best on Tuesday.

Barcelona’s pre-season has not been perfect by any stretch, but the well-rested Catalans have no intention of losing their grip on the Joan Gamper Trophy and should run out comfortable winners against a rejigged Spurs XI.

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