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In the Catalans' first friendly of the summer, Phil Kitromilides is predicting at least four goals for Tito Vilanova's side, and has also picked out an 11/1 value selection

Barcelona's new era under coach Tito Vilanova begins this afternoon as the side face Hamburg in their first friendly of the pre-season.

With the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Victor Valdes unavailable for selection, it will be far from the Catalans' strongest XI which takes to the field against the side who finished 15th in the Bundesliga last season.

Yet Barca are offered at 1/2 (1.50) with Paddy Power to claim a victory and although the side will no doubt have an experimental feel to it, talents like Alexis Sanchez and Dani Alves are expected to feature, thus maintaining an intimidating attacking threat for the Catalans.

Meanwhile Hamburg, who it should be noted have already begun their pre-season with some impressive friendly victories, are priced at 9/2 (5.50) while the draw is available at 3/1 (4.00).

As ever when Barcelona play, the bookmakers expect there to be goals and the price of 4/9 (1.44) on over 2.5 to be scored in the match is indicative of the offensive prowess of the Copa del Rey holders.

Having netted 20 goals in the last five competitive matches of the Spanish season, Barca certainly ended on a goalscoring high and will be keen to start this campaign as they mean to go on.

Therefore the price of 11/10 (2.10) for over 3.5 goals to be scored looks tempting and is higher than usually offered for a league match involving the Catalans.

This bet paid out in their last four league matches of the season, and while pre-season friendlies are typically used for experimenting, the strength in depth of Barcelona's squad means that even without some of their most high-profile names, they are extremely capable to find goals.

Yet if Barcelona look like scoring, they could perhaps be a little susceptible to conceding.

With Javier Mascherano likely to be paired at centre-back with either Marc Bartra or Marc Muniesa and the erratically flamboyant Jose Manuel Pinto in goal, the Barca back line does not inspire a huge amount of confidence for punters.

This of course is a good sign for the selection of over 3.5 goals to be scored, but those looking for a small value bet could do worse than invest in a 2-2 draw offered at 11/1 (12.00). This bet paid out in Hamburg's last home friendly a couple of weeks ago, and is worthy of a small investment.


BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Over 3.5 goals at 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power
Correct score 2-2 at 11/1 (12.00) with Paddy Power

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.

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