As the Spanish Super Cup concludes with a stellar Barcelona win in the final over El Clasico rivals Real Madrid, the Catalans now must focus on another cup’s journey: the Copa Del Day, where they next face AD Ceuta in the Round of 16.
Barca vs Ceuta: Match Details
Date: Thursday, 19th January 2023
Competition: Copa Del Ray
Round: Round of 16
Venue: Alfonso Murube
Time: 08:00 pm Central European Time
Barca vs Ceuta: Match Overview
FC Barcelona head into this game off the heels of a trademark Barcelona performance against Clasico rivals Real Madrid, winning 3-1 with arguably one of the best performances under Xavi’s tutelage as Barca manager.
The players were in sync, coordinated beyond prior parallels, and showcased just how promising this project really is, alongside the heights it can truly reach given the right circumstances. If this version of the Catalans continues to persist, there should be no limit on just how rapidly this team can improve and challenge even the very best.
As for their next opponents, AD Ceuta, there seems to be rather a lack of optimism and signs of encouragement. Sitting dead last at 20th in the third division of Spanish football, their recent form does very little to provide any sense of a return to any sort of form either, having barely won 2 of their last 5 games, having lost 2 and drawn once as well during the same period.
Barcelona on the other hand come into this game with massive momentum on their side, with 4 wins and 1 draw from the last 5 games, with a recent final win providing them huge mental relief and further confidence in themselves.
All in all, this is a game FC Barcelona will be heavy favorites to win despite them not playing most of their A-team, and should be able to see through if they play according to their strengths.
Barca vs Ceuta: Potential Line-up
Goalkeeper: Inaki Pena
As has become a recurring pattern in early Copa Del Ray games, the second choice keeper is typically deployed to allow them game time that they typically miss out on. Similarly ought to be the case for Inaki Pena, who will be expected to replace Marc Andre Ter-Stegen in this upcoming game against Ceuta.
Left-back: Jordi Alba
Replaced by Alejandro Balde in the Spanish Super Cup final and to very commendable effect, he might get a chance again here against AD Ceuta to find his own best groove again.
Centre-back: Marcos Alonso
The veteran may be given a start as Xavi may intend to give a rest to his other mainstays in the team, so expecting a rotated squad with Marcos Alonso in it would not come as a surprise.
Centre-back: Eric Garcia
Reportedly Xavi’s “5th-choice center-back”, this match may be as good a chance as any if Garcia is to be given any game time at all this season to potentially showcase if he has more to offer.
Right-back: Sergi Roberto
Second captain Sergi Roberto might be the one to round out this secondary defense of sorts for Barcelona, as he leads this team in their Copa Del Ray quest.
Instrumental in Barcelona’s demolition of Real Madrid in a very unsung role, he is expected to take charge of the midfield against Ceuta as Frenkie De Jong has not been included in the squad to give some deserved rest.
CM: Pablo Torre
The wonderkid got a chance to play against Intercity in Barcelona’s last outing in the Copa Del Ray and was a sight to behold with his performance, he may just be given another go against another low-tiered opposition in the same tournament here.
CM: Franck Kessie
Constantly being linked with a move away from Barcelona that may have swap deals included, the player himself seems adamant on trying to prove himself and keep a place at the club itself.
Left-winger: Ansu Fati
Regaining confidence gradually, games like these will be crucial in aiding Fati to gain back match fitness as well as play more minutes to continue his mental recovery to find his very best form again.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
Reported to be starting this game given his active ban in La Liga, Lewandowski was the 2nd to score in the Super Cup final against Real Madrid. The Pole continues to impress as the goal scorer that he was meant to be when Barcelona brought him in.
Another player who’s being reportedly monitored by other interested clubs who are keen to lure him away from Catalonia, but the Brazilian himself wants to stay as per reports. He needs games like this and must provide consistent performances to prove his worth again.
Barca vs Ceuta: Expected Line-up
Goalkeeper: Inaki Pena
Defenders: Alba, Garcia, Alonso, Roberto
Midfielders: Kessie, Busquets, Torre
Forwards: Fati, Lewandowski, Raphinha