Thailand vs. Barcelona: Complete Preview, Team News and Projected Lineup

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 28, 2017

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - AUGUST 04:  (ISRAEL OUT) FC Barcelona players arrive to take part in a training session on August 4, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Members of the FC Barcelona squad have travelled to the Middle East to visit Israel and the West Bank as part of a two-day 'peace tour'.  (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

Barcelona continue their preseason preparations with a visit to the Far East and a game against a Thailand XI.

The Blaugrana have had an impressive couple of weeks losing just one from four against a strong Bayern Munich side.

A draw in Poland against Lechia Gdansk was sandwiched by a 7-0 thrashing of Valerenga and a routine 8-0 dismantling of a very poor Santos side.

By contrast, the Thai XI have played just a single game in the same time span.

Liverpool were the visitors to the Rajamangala National Stadium and a routine 3-0 victory for the Anfield outfit was flattering on the hosts.

That their goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool was man of the match tells you more than a scoreline ever could.

Given the contrasting fortunes of either side, one can be fairly sure that the home side won't provide the sternest test for the Blaugrana.

Superior players, team dynamic and fitness should all ensure that Barcelona will triumph in this match, the only question will be by how many.

With under a fortnight to go until the curtain is raised on another La Liga campaign, Gerardo Martino has another opportunity to fine-tune and refine his squad in time for the visit of Levante to the Camp Nou on Sunday week.


Date: Wednesday August 7

Venue: Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand 

Kick Off: 19:00 (Local time), 13:00 (GMT), 08:00 (Eastern)


Men to watch

It hardly needs mentioning that Lionel Messi and Neymar will be the star attractions.

Despite the latter reportedly suffering from anaemia, expect him to play a similar part to that which he did against his old club, perhaps coming from the bench again to replace Messi.

Messi has been in fine form himself, scoring in three of the four games that Barca have already been involved in this summer, and there are plenty of other players with points to prove to Martino, most notably Cesc Fabregas.

He, along with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Barca B starlet Jean-Marie Dongou et al will hope to give the new man in charge something to ponder.

Having a new man at the helm certainly ensures that all players remain hungry and eager to impress.

Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta should have more than enough in their locker to comfortably contain the likes of Pokkhao Anan, Adul Lahsoh and Chanathip Songkrasin in the Thai midfield.

Teerasil Dangda will spearhead the Thai frontline, and, with chances at a premium, he and the less prolific Adisak Kraisorn will need to bring their A-game to have any chance whatsoever of troubling Victor Valdes.


Potential lineups

Barcelona should at least start with the same XI as they did against Santos.

A strong side would surely be a prerequisite for this match given it's high profile nature in the locale, but an almost blanket change at half time will also not be beyond the realms of possibility.

Starting XI should therefore be: Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi.

Subs from: Jose Manuel Pinto, Oier Olazabal, Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra, Frank Bagnack, Adriano, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, Sergi Roberto, Dani Nieto, Jean Marie Dongou, Neymar

Barca travel to Malaysia immediately after this friendly to complete their tour and Gerardo Martino will surely be keen to keep as many staff as possible fresh for the visit of Levante.

Unless there are fitness reasons involved, there is simply no need for him to risk playing his star men for a full 90 minutes against such opposition.

Expect Thailand to set up a they did against Liverpool: Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, Narubadin Weerawatnodom, Atit Daosawang, Puttinan Wannasri, Panupong Wongsa, Pairote Sokan, Chanathip Songkrasin, Pokkhao Anan, Adul Lahsoh, Teerasil Dangda and Adisak Kraisorn.


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