Spanish Super Cup 2023: Who are the best Barcelona players to watch? Lewandowski, Pedri, Dembélé…
Sat neck and neck at the top of LaLiga table, winning or losing the Super Cup could have a knock-on effect for Real Madrid and Barcelona.
There has been little to separate them in LaLiga since the season started. Barcelona top the standings on 41 points, Madrid are in close pursuit after having led for much of the campaign, on 38. Realistically, only one other club could nudge both Barça and Madrid down a place to clinch the league - Real Sociedad are three points adrift of second place after Saturday’s Basque derby win, although they have played a game more than the top two.
So this year’s LaLiga will most likely be a two-horse race between the usual suspects - and is one of the reasons why winning this edition of the Spanish Super Cup could well be consequential in what happens next in the title race. Victory would be a significant psychological and morale boost for the cup winners, defeat on the other hand might have a negative impact. With just three points between them now, and a date at Camp Nou on the horizon in mid-March, both Xavi and Ancelotti will be trying to keep their teams’ momentum going.
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From what we saw in last week’s semi-finals, and looking at their positions in LaLiga, we could be in for another close contest. Both semis were taken to extra-time and both decided from the penalty spot. Physically, that would have taken its toll on the players - Barça, who played on Thursday, have had one day less to rest; Madrid meanwhile, have been dealing with ongoing injury problems, affecting the defence in particular.
Madrid beat Barca 3-1 at the Bernabéu in LaLiga back in October - the only time Xavi’s side have been beaten in domestic competition this season. There is also a huge difference in both team’s defensive records - Barça have shipped just six goals in 16 games, no team in Europe can boast those figures; Madrid on the other hand are conceding an average of a goal a game - 16 goals against in 16 outings, although Ancelotti insists that his team is defending better now and have addressed any tactical mistakes.
What time does the 2023 Spanish Super Cup final kick off?
The final kicks off at 10 p.m. local time on Sunday 15 January at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that’s 2pm ET and 11am PT. We will be bringing you live coverage of the game right here on AS USA.
Who are Barcelona ‘s players to watch in the Spanish Super Cup 2023 final against Barcelona?
Xavi’s Barcelona are solid at the back and ruthless in attack. They have only failed to score in four games so far this season (three of them in the Champions League) and have kept an incredible 11 clean sheets in LaLiga. Let’s take a look at some of the players behind those figures.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The German goalkeeper has been practically unbeatable, out of the 16 teams Barca have faced in LaLiga, only four - Real Sociedad, Real Madrid, Osasuna and Espanyol, have managed to find a way past him. He was the hero of the semi-final against Betis, saving two spot-kicks in the shootout. He was susceptible in the team’s disastrous Champions League campaign, conceding 11 times as the Catalans exited at the group stage. Nevertheless, he has the best figures in Europe and is on course to pick up his first Zamora award.
Recently returned to the side after a while out recovering from an adductor injury. The Uruguayan was a first-choice up until he succumbed to injury in Week 6. Physically strong as an ox, tactically astute, versatile and he can score the odd goal or two. In his pre-match presser, Xavi described him as “an extraordinary defender” - one who can play in either of the centre-back positions or at right-back.
Skillful, agile, creative… all of the finest attributes associated with the Canary Islands school of football. Pedri has all but two of Barcelona’s games this season, starting 14 in LaLiga and five in the Champions League. He was on the bench for the Matchday 6 game against Viktoria Plzen and rested for the recent Copa del Rey tie against Intercity. His contribution to the team so far, aside from his vision and combinative play, has been three goals in the league in 1,733 minutes on-field.
The master finisher, poacher, absolutely lethal anywhere inside the box - Lewa’s insatiable thirst for goals has shown no signs of letting up even now at 34 years of age. He’s continued to produce a regular supply of goals, just as he did at his previous clubs Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. This season, his overall tally stands at 19 goals in 21 games between LaLiga, Champions League and Super Cup. He is the leading goal scorer in LaLiga on 13 goals - all of them from outfield play.
Now in his sixth season at Camp Nou, Dembélé has finally started showing his talents on a regular basis. Inconsistency and injury problems held him back during his first few seasons but the French winger seems to have gained a new lease of life after renewing his contract last summer. Pacy, unconventional and difficult to defend against, Dembélé creates goals and scores them. This season, his figures are his best yet - seven goals and another seven set up for his team mates. He will be a handful for whoever Ancelotti decides to field at left-back this evening.
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