Vissel Kobe vs FC Barcelona Lineups and Clash
Barcelona have taken on Vissel Kobe in a friendly in Tokyo. The Catalan club are in a much stronger position this time around than they were in 2019.
Franck Kessie and Eric Garcia were on target for the visitors in the first half at the National Stadium of Japan.
Xavi has included a lot of youngsters and fringe players in his side. Julian Araujo makes his debut while Pau Prim and Dani Rodriguez are also in the starting XI.
Vissel Kobe Lineup
The 2022-23 campaign ended for Barcelona with a 2-1 loss to Celta Vigo, and the La Liga champions have jetted straight to Japan for a friendly with Vissel Kobe on Tuesday morning. Xavi’s side will be favorites in the Barcelona vs Vissel Kobe betting odds for this glamour friendly, with the Catalans expected to field a full-strength team.
Vissel Kobe are currently top of the J1 League table with a seven-game unbeaten run. Takayuki Yoshida’s side are bolstered by the signing of world-class stars such as Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Germany’s 2014 World Cup winner Lukas Podolski.
During the club’s American tour, the Japanese side will play three games in Orange County in the United Soccer League (USL). The first game of this three-match series will be against MLS outfit Columbus Crew SC on January 28th at the Honda Center. The second game will be against local USL affiliate Orange County SC on February 2nd at the Championship Soccer Stadium, and the final match will be against MLS club Toronto FC on February 5th at the same venue.
Barca have included a number of youngsters in the squad for this trip, with Julian Araujo making his debut in the number 2 shirt. Hector Fort is also set to feature, as well as Marc Guiu and Pau Prim.
The Spaniards have also added a host of experienced players to the mix, including former Manchester United midfielder Javier Hernandez and ex-Chelsea forward Pedro. They will be hoping that these additions can help them maintain their title challenge this season, which is likely to see them battle it out with FC Tokyo for the crown.
Despite this, the Spanish giants are likely to take a relaxed approach to this friendly, and will aim to play some attractive football. They will be hoping to replicate some of the attacking flair that has helped them dominate this season, and with the likes of Iniesta and Villa on board, they should have no trouble scoring plenty of goals. The 2-0 victory over Valencia was one of the most entertaining of the season, and they will hope to repeat that performance in Tokyo.
Barcelona are coming off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Celta Vigo on their final league match of the season and will be eager to make amends in this friendly against Vissel Kobe. The Catalonia club have clinched the Spanish top flight title with two games to spare and will be hoping to get the 2022-23 campaign off to a winning start.
The Blaugrana have an opportunity to give a lot of the fringe players a chance, particularly youngsters like Ansu Fati and Pablo Torres who will be eager to prove their worth in this fixture. The Spaniards have been defensively brilliant all season and could rotate a bit more here as a result.
It is likely that Xavi will go with the same lineup as he did against Yokohama FC, although it is possible that Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets could be pushed out of their first-team places in favour of Julian Araujo and Marc Guilherme. Both players have been playing well of late and should feature in this game.
In the centre of the park, Xavi may opt to play either of the Kounde and Christensen pairings in a 4-3-3 formation. That would allow the Catalonian side to make the most of their many centre-backs while allowing both of the midfielders to provide greater presence in the middle of the park.
Both of these options will leave the likes of Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo and Ousmane Dembele on the bench – however, it is also possible that Xavi could deploy an out-and-out attacking 4-4-2 formation for this match.
Kounde and Christensen are likely to start in the middle of the park alongside Hector Fort, Gavi and Raphinha. This could see a more fluid Barcelona lineup, particularly with the potential inclusion of Lionel Messi should the Argentine be fit enough to play. This would free up space for the likes of Marc Guiu and Hector Fort to operate as full-backs while allowing Pedri and Kessie to tuck in behind. Whether or not this would be a viable option remains to be seen though.
Vissel Kobe vs Barcelona Predictions
Barcelona are looking to get a head start on the next season when they play this exhibition match against Vissel Kobe in Japan. The Catalan giants won La Liga this season, and they will be looking to add another victory to their growing list of achievements. The Spanish champions will be without a number of key players, including Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The pair is on extended leave, while defender Gerard Pique is recovering from a minor injury. This should see Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet combine in the centre of defence.
Despite the absence of a few of their top players, Barcelona are expected to win this game. The club has won 28 league matches this season, and they were the best team defensively in the entire top-five European leagues. The visitors are in fine form, and they have a number of former Barcelona players, including the likes of Ivan Rakitic, David Villa, and Sergio Busquets.
Vissel Kobe have been in superb form of late, and they are currently at the top of the Japanese league with 33 points from 15 games. They beat Tokyo FC 3-2 in their most recent match, and the team has shown that they can compete with some of the best in the world.
The two teams have met in a friendly before, with the last encounter taking place in 2019. Both sides are on the up, and it will be interesting to see who can come out on top.
Barcelona are the clear favourites for this game, and they will be looking to continue their winning streak against a team that has struggled for form. The visitors are flying off on holiday, and they want to finish the season in style with a win. This will be a difficult game for Vissel Kobe, but the Catalan giants are the better side on paper, and they should be able to cruise to victory. The home side will try to play a good game, but they do not have the quality and experience to go all the way against the Spanish giants.
Vissel Kobe vs Barcelona Odds
Barcelona will look to end the 2022-23 season on a high note with a win in their first match since sealing La Liga on Sunday night. The Catalan outfit jetted off straight after their final game of the season to play Takayuki Yoshida’s Vissel Kobe in Tokyo. The visitors are coming off the back of a 3-2 victory over FC Tokyo to extend their winning streak in the J1 League.
The two teams have only met once before, which was a friendly back in 2019. The Catalan giants won that match 2-0. The two teams will face off at the National Stadium of Japan in Tokyo on Tuesday morning.
Xavi’s Barcelona team will be boosted by the inclusion of Andres Iniesta in their squad for this friendly match. The midfielder will come up against his old side in what is likely to be his final appearance for the club before he retires at the end of the season.
It’s expected that Xavi will select a strong squad for the clash with Vissel Kobe. Barcelona will be hoping to finish their campaign on a positive note after some mixed results in the last few games of the season.
Iniesta has been a key member of the Barcelona midfield for much of this season, but he wasn’t able to leave his mark on the title run-in as the Blaugrana fell short of their goalscoring ambitions. The former Spain international will be keen to make an impression against his old side.
Both sides are likely to have their fair share of chances in the clash. Antoine Griezmann is likely to be included in the starting lineup for Barcelona, while Vissel Kobe’s midfielders will try to disrupt the Catalan side’s attack.
The number of cards is likely to be low for the match. Both sides are usually disciplined and will be looking to avoid any unnecessary bookings in the clash. The total number of cards in the league this season is 81.