Barcelona are determined to regain the Champion’s League trophy they lost last year to Chelsea. Tito Vilanova is trying to add his name to the elite list of managers who have lifted the World’s best club competition. He will join Barcelona legends Johann Cruyff and Pep Guardiola if he is successful and Barca are strong favourites to get off to a winning start tonight against Spartak Moscow.
The Moscow coach, Valeri Karpin, has stated that all the pressure is on Barcelona while his team can play with freedom, and he may be right. Barcelona are well used to the pressure, however, and have done it all before. Puyol, Alba and Iniesta are still missing and Alexis has been back in training.
Mascherano will come into the back four and Adriano will continue in place of Alba. Barca will probably go with a rotating front three of Messi, Pedro and Fabregas that will be a nightmare for the Moscow defence. Thiago is set to start again with Busquets and Xavi in midfield.
Barcelona have the option of David Villa but will probably continue to reintroduce the striker gradually. Messi needs 10 goals in this season’s competition to overtake Shevchenko and van Nistelrooy to be second in the all time list behind Raul. You wouldn’t bet against him.