Betting match preview: Tottenham v Barcelona (Wembley Cup)

Tottenham v Barcelona, Wembley Cup, July 24, 2009

Tottenham: 11/4, Draw: 23/10, Barcelona: 10/11

The Wembley Cup promises to be one of the most attractive tournaments leading up to the 2009/2010 campaign with Barcelona taking headline billing alongside Spurs, Celtic and Al Ahly.

This is Barca’s first game since their famous 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Champions League in Rome and it is fair to say Pep Guardiola won’t be rolling out the pre-match film mix of Gladiator and some opera to get his players in the mood, as he did in May.

The Catalan giants are obviously the favourites to win this tournament but this is their first game of the summer and they will be conscious of the fact that the Spanish league campaign does not commence until late August.

Plenty of big names have not even travelled to London (Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Dani Alves), which means Pep Guardiola is expected to play a number of youth products who will no doubt play football the Barca way.

If Samuel Eto’o can resolve his transfer from Barcelona to Inter we may see Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s debut at Wembley but if not the Catalan giants have plenty of incredible attacking talent to test the Spurs defence. The front three are likely to be Bojan Krkic, Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry.

The Frenchman for one will likely be up for this match as he has made no secret of his contempt for Tottenham. But, Barca’s desire to win the inaugural Wembley Cup may not be so great and the fact they only started pre-season training earlier this week means Spurs could be a good bet to win this one.

It has been a comfortable start for Harry Redknapp and his players this pre-season with 3-0 wins over Exeter and Bournemouth followed by a 4-0 victory over Peterborough on Tuesday night.

Although Spurs are continually linked with strikers (e.g. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Peter Crouch and Alvaro Negredo), having failed to let in a goal so far in pre-season, the forwards are also faring well. Luka Modric, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent have all scored two each and Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko have also been on the scoresheet.

Tottenham are also traditionally known as a team that wins pre-season games and then fails to start well when the season gets going. Last season was a case in point, as they beat Roma 5-0 at White Hart Lane and then famously picked up just two points from their opening eight league games.

With a big crowd expected at Wembley this game should be full of goals with neither side taking it too seriously and Spurs may even edge it.

101gg predicts: Tottenham 3 – Barcelona 2 (28/1)

Tottenham: 11/4, Draw: 23/10, Barcelona: 10/11

Full match odds here.