Barcelona prepare for Joan Gamper and UEFA Super Cup without Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez is a doubt for Barcelona’s two games this week as he continues to struggle with an injury, whilst the team use Monday’s Trofeu Joan Gamper as ideal preparation for Friday’s UEFA Super Cup.

Sanchez made his debut for the Blaugrana in the Supercopa de Espana first leg clash with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, and impressed Pep Guardiola enough to describe him as having done ‘the running of six players’. The game came after just three training sessions with his new teammates.

However, three days later for the second leg, Sanchez pulled up in the pre-match warm-up with a thigh strain and was forced to postpone his home debut. Barca are preparing for the Tropheu Joan Gamper today without Sanchez’ projected involvement, and whilst also remaining a doubt for Friday’s UEFA Super Cup, the 22-year-old is still expected to travel with the squad to Monaco.

The young attacking winger signed from Udinese this summer for an initial fee of €26m, and is the first Chilean to play for Barcelona.

Barcelona are preparing for tonight’s annual friendly, the Trofeu Joan Gamper, and welcome Napoli to the Camp Nou. Whilst new signing Sanchez is set to miss out, interest surrounds the summer’s other high-profile signing Cesc Fabregas, and his projected involvement.

Marca are speculating that the starting line-up for the game – now seen as an important test going into the UEFA Super Cup in light of the players’ strike in the League – could see Guardiola field a four-man midfield.

That would be a diamond shape with Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Fabregas. Carles Puyol is not yet fit to take part, with a three-man defence of Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Eric Abidal anticipated, and Pedro Rodriguez, Lionel Messi and David Villa likely to line up in attack.

Any switch to a 3-4-3 system would interestingly see Guardiola return to a tactical shape used by Johan Cruyff during his time as Coach, one that also fielded Guardiola in his team.

Guardiola could become the most successful Barca Coach outright on Friday should he pick up the UEFA Super Cup, as it would be his 12th trophy. Last week’s Supercopa de Espana victory drew him level with Cruyff on 11 titles.

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