This mouth-watering duel between the two Spanish giants will decide a big portion of La Liga title. Both clubs and managers are trying to deny this but reality states that both teams are fully capable of taking maximum points the rest of the way. Fans around the globe will tune in to arguably the most prestigious rivalry game in club soccer. Most of the top footballers on Earth will be on display. Here is the breakdown:
Real Madrid 4-2-3-1– Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Garay, Arbeloa, Gago, Xabi Alonso, Ronaldo, Van Der Vaart, Marcelo, Higuain
FC Barcelona 4-3-3– Valdes, Dani Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell, Xavi, Busquets, Keita, Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
The pressure is entirely on one team here. That team is Real Madrid. They only have the league title to play for and are playing at home. Let’s not forget the massive 250 million euro investment in the summer to bring in new players with the specific goal to dethrone Barcelona. Los merengues clear intention is to try to take away ball possession from Barcelona. The inclusion of Xabi Alonso and Gago as two defensive mids show this. Neither is a defensive specialist but both are great with the ball at their feet. The same goes for Marcelo. They will have a tough time doing this since no team in world football can hold the ball better than the Blaugranas. If their attempt to hold possession fails, beware of their counter attacks. That is where they feel most comfortable and have the power and pace of Cristano Ronaldo and Higuain who have struck up a lethal partnership. They will need to capitalize on all their opportunities if they are to secure 3 points. Defensively they will struggle to cope with the little magicians; Messi, Iniesta, Pedro, and Xavi. Casillas will need to have another huge game!
Barcelona will do the same thing they always do – monopolize possession. Who on Earth does it better? Who in the history of the game does it better than this team? They play by memory and have a team identity nobody in world football can duplicate. Their confidence is peaking and they come into this game dreaming of duplicating last seasons historic 6-2 win at the Bernabeu to clinch the league title. This season it won’t be so easy. Messi seems to be in the best form of his career (funny to say since he’s only 22) and has developed further this season playing as a withdrawn center forward instead of the right wing. Xavi is just unbelievable managing each game with complete class! The key here will be the defense being at their very best when Madrid break on the counter. Maxwell seems to be the weakest link and Ronaldo will be coming at him constantly to exploit it. Can Pique be at his best with Puyol to keep Ronaldo under control?
Man of the Match? – Which superstar will steal the show? Will Messi continue with his red hot spell and single handedly win this clasico? Can he bag some more goals to clinch the golden boot? Will Ronaldo be able to finally eclipse Messi on the night? He’s always been 2nd best going head to head. The sleeper? Gonzalo Higuain, if you can call him that with his 24 league goals.
Prediction– Messi continues his fine form and leads Barca to the top of the table with another brilliant display.
FC Barcelona – 2
Real Madrid – 1