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Aug 30, 2008

Messi trainsBarcelona opens their La Liga campaign of the 2008-09 tomorrow against newly promoted Numancia at Los Pajaritos. Barcelona would be hoping to wipe out the memories of the Wisla Krakow defeat with their first win away from home in this season's competitive fixture.Moreover Guardiola may want his team to send out a message of intent to the League rival as early as possible. Any stumble at the start may put serious pressure on Guardiola. Numancia is not expected to pose a serious challenge to this strong side; but Guardiola should have already understood that Barcelona's away record and defensive record are not the one which is going to see him through this match. Barcelona should easily outscore their opponents.

Guardiola has announced his squad for the match. Messi comes back to the squad which is as follows : Valdes, Pinto, Caceres, Alves, Abidal, Puyol, Pique, Marquez, Xavi, Gudjohnsen, Keita, Toure Yaya, Iniesta, Messi, Hleb, Henry, Eto'o and Bojan. Valdes is expected to guard the net; but who all will form the Defense is still a question. Most probably we would see a combination of Abidal, Puyol, Marquez and Alves combination. Midfield should be formed by Iniesta and Xavi along with Toure/Keita. Guardiola should resist his temptation to prefer Keita over Toure. The forward line up is guaranteed to be made up of Messi, Eto and Henry. Overall this side should finish off Numancia challenge as early as possible. Then in football you can't predict anything, right?


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