This year the Spanish Super Copa will showcase Barcelona, the 2012/2013 La Liga winners, against the 2012/2013 Copa Del Rey Champions Atletico Madrid. The first leg will be played in the Estadio Vicente Calderón in Madrid and the second will be played at Camp Nou in Barcelona. Last year Barcelona lost the Super Copa to bitter rivals, Real Madrid on away goals and this year the Blaugrana will look to bring home the cup. They will have to do it against a very young and exciting Atletico Madrid side, however. During the transfer window period, Atletico lost a key player on their roster, striker Radamel Falcao. However, last Sunday during league play, they did not show any signs of slowing down with a 3-1 win against Sevilla. Barcelona looked like a team that did now show any signs of slowing down as well. They will also look to build momentum off the 7-0 rout against Levante. Both clubs have very exciting and talented players to be presented come Wednesday in this year’s Super Copa.
Coming off a great performance against Levante on Sunday, scoring two goals and an setting up another, Lionel Messi will look to show once again why he is the best football player in the world today. Messi looked like he left off where he finished last year in a history making season. Messi continues to be a goal scoring threat every time he touches the ball, and also a guy who can create chances and opportunities for others on the field by disturbing a very good final ball. There is a reason why Messi received the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the fourth straight year in a row, he is the complete player, and he can spread fear into the hearts of any defender or coaching staff. The Argentine can open things up for the Catalan’s on Wednesday by scoring early and often. Atletico’s defense is very young and with Messi controlling the tempo of the game, they will be force to adjust to Barca’s style of one touch passing and quick fast breaks. His speed and quickness on and off the ball may be a problem for Atletico’s defense as well. Look for Messi to have yet another great performance.
By far, Barcelona’s player of the game last Sunday was midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The Spanish international had an outstanding game against Levante, with two assists and also taking his chances when he needed to shoot on goal. Fabregas has proven that he is a very important aspect to Barcelona’s line up and one of their most soft spoken players on the roster. Fabregas has gone under the radar since re-joining with Barcelona two years ago, because he is surrounded with world class players such as Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. However, Fabregas has proven time and time again that he can also be considered in the conversation of being a world class footballer as well. He showed how he has come into his own last Sunday. If Fabregas wants to have yet another great performance, he must do what he did in the Levante game on Wednesday against Atletico Madrid. He must create chances, not only for himself by making great runs down the field, but also by setting up scoring opportunities for players like Messi or Alexis Sanchez. If Fabregas has another performance like he did on Sunday, he will have another player of the game type performance against Atletico, who are a few steps up in competition from what Barcelona dealt with over the weekend.
One of Atletico Madrid’s biggest threats has to be forward Diego Costa. Many questions were asked during the offseason in who was going to be Falcao’s replacement for the upcoming season. Last Sunday that question was answered for Atletico, Costa contributed big time in last weekend’s 3-1 win, and he scored two goals and was clearly the best player on the field. Costa, will need to showcase more of his talents and skills against the Barcelona back four. Barcelona’s weak point is their defense, and with Costa’s ability to score and produce big plays, Atletico can have a chance to pull out a win against last season’s league champions. Costa must prove to not only his club and teammates, but also everyone who will be watching Atletico during this game and all season long, that the club can move forward without Falcao and he will be the one to fill in the void that seemed lost after the Colombian Falcao’s transfer to the French club Monaco. Costa can provide the spark that Atletico will be looking for all season long, starting with this game against Barcelona.
Another player who must come up big against Barcelona is goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. His performance over the weekend was very good, having four saves on five shots that were on target, and only allowing one goal in the win against Sevilla. Courtois must perform the same way against Barcelona if Atletico wants to come out of the first leg with a win. He must keep a clean sheet at minimum and try to keep his team in the game, in order for Atletico to move forward and have more of an opportunity for the offense to create goal scoring chances, rather than trying to playing catch up soccer. Courtois has to come up with the big saves and watch Barca’s quick one touch passing that they are famous for, and also the fast breaks that not only are created by the forwards and midfielders, but also defenders such as Gerard Pique and Dani Alves who can provide goal scoring chance for Barcelona as well. If the defense can keep the shot total to a minimum, then Courtois will have a great game against Barcelona.
One player that Barcelona can rely on as a playmaker and someone who can make plays on both sides of the ball, is defender Dani Alves. The Brazilian international, has a quick burst of speed which he can use to go up and down the field whenever Barcelona is on the ball or trying to defend a goal. Alves is a shutdown defender who can drive forwards crazy and also can score if needed. Last Sunday Alves helped in the 7-0 win, scoring one goal in the first half and providing very solid defense. If Barcelona wants to win this game on Wednesday, they will need Alves to step up and shutdown the Atletico attack and also provided offense with distributing the ball and scoring when called upon. Alves is a very dangerous player and can be one of the major reasons for a Barcelona victory on the road. If Alves is at his top form on Wednesday, which he usually is, then Barcelona will have no worries on offense or defense.
Both teams are capable of pulling out a win in the first leg. Both teams have very good talent that will be showcased well on Wednesday. However, at the moment Barcelona look to have more strength on all parts of the field. In the end Barcelona will come out with a 2-1 victory on the road over Atletico Madrid.