Barcelona v/s Real Madrid aka El Clásico : Preview

It’s Matchday 10 in La Liga Santander and it’s the biggest match on the Earth to take your attention to it. It’s the El Clasico. Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in the first of the three El Clasico’s slated to be played in the 2021 – 2022 footballing calendar.

The top two sides in Spanish and European history aren’t where we thought they would be. Real Madrid sits 3rd in the table behind Real Soceidad and Osasuna, albeit with a game in hand, while Barcelona sits a dismal 7th.

While Real Madrid has been very impressive under Carlo Ancelotti or Don Carlo as he is fondly called, Barcelona has seemed to struggle a lot under Ronald Koeman. Barcelona comes into this match on the back of two victories in form of Valencia and Dynamo Kyiv. Real Madrid thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League as a preparation for this match.

These two sides faced each other last time out at the Bernabeu where Real Madrid came away with a narrow 2 – 1 victory.

This will also be the first Clasico for Barcelona without Lionel Messi in the team in many many years. Real Madrid, on the other hand, will also miss the services of Sergio Ramos as he has also left the club.

The result of this match could well go on to define the future of Ronald Koeman at the club. This match could well go on to define how the table shapes up as we move towards the end of the first half of the season. Real Madrid sits at 3rd, 3 and 1 points behind 1st placed Real Sociedad and 2nd placed Osasuna respectively with a game in hand. Barcelona, sit at 7th just two points behind Real Madrid with a game in hand. If Barcelona wins this one, they will go above Real Madrid in the table on to 2nd or 3rd in what will come as a huge boost for Ronald Koeman’s men. Real Madrid, meanwhile can again go to the top of the league if they manage to defeat the Blaugranas.

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F.C. BARCELONA VS REAL MADRID C.F. – STATS

  1. Barcelona have failed to win any of their last four games against Los Blancos (D1, L3). If they fail to win this game, it will be their longest run without winning against a specific side since May 2008, which also came against Real Madrid. (D2, L3)
  2. Real Madrid have won their last three games against Barcelona in all competitions. They have not won four or more against them since 1965 – a run of seven games (One in Copa Del Rey and Six in La Liga).
  3. Since winning 1 – 3 in October 2020, Real Madrid can record consecutive away wins against Barcelona for the 3rd time in history of La Liga and 2nd time at the Camp Nou after three wins between 1963 and 1965.
  4. Barcelona have scored in all but one out of 35 home games in La Liga – 79 goals in total with average of 2.3 goals per game. They’ve only failed to score against Atletico Madrid in May 2020.
  5. Real Madrid can suffer back to back defeats in La Liga for the first time since final two match days of 2018/19 season under Zinedine Zidane, following their loss to Espanyol.

Form Guide

F.C. Barcelona – D W L L W W

Real Madrid C.F. – W W D L L W

F.C. BARCELONA VS REAL MADRID C.F. – TEAM NEWS

Barcelona

Barca will be without the services of Martin Brathwaite and Ousmane Dembele who continue to sit out with long-term injuries. Pedri and Ronald Araujo are also slated to miss the game. Jordi Alba picked up an injury in the Champions League outing against Kyiv and is a doubt. In his absence, Alejandro Balde could make his Clasico debut.

Sergi Roberto is expected to come into the starting lineup in place of Oscar Mingueza while the rest of the defense will be completed by Eric Garcia and Gerard Pique. Ansu Fati could come in to replace Luuk De Jong in the lineup while the midfield is expected to remain the same.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Formation – 4 – 3 – 3

Marc Andre Ter Stegen

Sergi Roberto Gerard Pique Eric Garcia Jordi Alba

Frenkie De Jong Sergio Busquets Gavi

Sergino Dest Memphis Depay Ansu Fati

El Classico
Barcelona v/s Real Madrid

Real Madrid

Ferland Mendy is back for the Los Blancos which comes as a huge boost for them. Dani Ceballos and Gareth Bale will not make this trip as they sit out with their respective injuries. Ancelotti received some boost as he is expected to have both Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard fit in time for this game. Isco and Jovic are doubtful while Benzema is expected to spearhead the attack again.

Formation – 4 – 3 – 3

Thibaut Courtois

Nacho Eder Militao David Alaba Ferland Mendy

Luka Modric Casemiro Toni Kroos

Rodrygo Goes Karim Benzema Vinicius Junior

Tactical Analysis

Barcelona

Ronald Koeman, the current manager of the Blaugranas is a decent and smart witty coach with clever tactics. He has rolled out a host of formations at the Barcelona side since his inception last year around. In some matches, he has also produced some bizarre line–ups and unorthodox tactics which all but ensured a win for them. In the second half of the season last year, Barcelona played some outstanding football under him.

 It’s time to take a good note of how the Catalonians play under the Dutchman. First of all, Koeman has made Barcelona play in numerous formations. Sometimes it has been 3 – 1 – 4 – 2, sometimes 3 – 5 – 2 or 3 – 4 – 3, and lastly seem to have stabilized to a 4 – 3 – 3 build-up. His line–up is hard to predict though but we will discuss here the primary Koeman-ball style of play. Here, De Jong, Busquets, and Gavi are the pivotal players in the starting XI. Busquets plays just in front of the two defenders and performs a dual role in the side. He acts as a blocker in front of Garcia and Pique which thwarts down the middle attacks. Additionally, he helps in building the attacks quite well with his wide range of passing and creativity in helping their cause.

De Jong is a player who likes to create the play from the deep. He devises the attacks right from the deep and also advances well right on time. Gavi, the Spanish wonder kid, has been their most energetic player on the pitch. He helps in regaining lost possessions and acts as a supplier to their frontline while also taking deadly runs into the box. On the whole, this midfield is so complete, flexible, well-shaped, and composed.

Any one of the three can stay back and help the defenders while the other two may progress forward. Dest and Alba act as inverted fullbacks who are lively on the wings to send in crosses into the box. Fate/Luuk De Jong, Depay, Aguero form the attacking third who have the ability to develop attacks from anywhere around the box. Depay or Luuk will play as the center-forward whose main aim will be to capitalize on the error-prone Madrid defense. Thus while attacking, Barcelona looks like a 3 – 2 – 5 formation team. And when they defend, they become a 5 – 3 – 2 side. Full backs trackback along with the midfielders and form a channel play among them. Some of them make advancements to snatch the ball while the other stays as a cover.

Koeman (Barcelona) and Ancelotti (Madrid)
Koeman (Barcelona) and Ancelotti (Madrid)

Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti, the new manager of the Los Blancos this season, has an excellent style of managing his team. He is a shrewd, clever, and intelligent personality who knows how to get the best out of his team. We will take a quick look at Madrid’s style of play under him this season. The most significant improvement under Ancelotti has been the rise of Vinicius and Benzema. Benzema’s meteoric rise has been mainly due to the freedom offered by Ancelotti to him (which was earlier absent). He now switches to the wings to deliver crosses, drops deep to build up attacks as well as remains well on the position in the center of the penalty box to score from there.

Vinicius’s progress has been primarily due to Ancelotti offering lots of space on the left-wing solely to him. It allows him to create the play and also to drop back while the team has lost possession. When in attack, Madrid transforms basically to a 2 – 1 – 2 – 5 formation. Militao and Alaba remain on the back while only one of Casemiro or Kroos stays back as a blocker to blunt counter-attacks. Modric and the other midfielder remain as a box-to-box attackers. In the attacking third, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Vazquez/Carvajal, Modric-Kroos, Benzema, Hazard quickly interchange positions among themselves to create a cloud of uncertainty in the opposition marker’s mind. They play short passes inside the box while also crossing frequently to create opportunities for goals.

During defending, Madrid transforms to a 5 – 4 – 1 formation. Vinicius and Rodrygo/Hazard tracks back quickly to help fullbacks in the flanks. Casemiro acts as a ball-snatcher in front of Militao and Alaba. Kroos and Modric prevent any formation of attacks down the middle. The Los Blancos press high nowadays and they create a swift network among them while vying for the ball. They coordinate well in groups of 3 – 4 players and then press which forces the opposition to lose the ball automatically. In counters, the role of Vazquez, Modric, Rodrygo becomes important as they remain back to thwart it.

Players to watch out for

Barcelona

Pablo Gavi

He is only 17 years old and he’s competing like a guy who’s 30 years old”
Xavi may not be at FC Barcelona, yet, but he surely acknowledges the talents of the young guns at Catalonia. Whilst FC Barcelona has endured one of their worst starts in a league season so far, the talent of Gavi has turned out to be a glimmer of hope and expectation for Cules around the world. Undoubtedly, his tenacity and line-breaking movements will be vital if Barcelona are to earn any sort of points in the upcoming Clasico.

Marc Andre Ter Stegen

The German shot-stopper may not be in his best form at the moment. However, against a dangerous-looking Real Madrid attack, Ter Stegen will be crucial to FC Barcelona’s chances, especially considering the fact that they defense issues at the back. Barcelona will want him to be at his very best. Barcelona hopes that he transforms into his Stegen Airlines, as he is fondly called to save from the attacking threat of Real Madrid.

Players to watch out for in this clasico
Players to watch out for in this Clasico: Ter Stegen and Courtois Gavi and Casemiro

Real Madrid

Casemiro

The Brazilian midfield maestro is one of the most dependable men in the Los Blancos starting lineup. He has shown some astonishing consistency over the years and gave fascinating performances whenever it mattered the most. Casemiro controls the whole of Madrid’s midfield, establishing himself as one of the best CDMs in the world right now. He contributes well in the defense as well as helps in building up attacks. The return of Kroos will also boost him as he is a completely different player in the presence of Kroos. No wonder he will be loom to step up against Barcelona and produce a usual Casemiro-esque performance.

Thibaut Courtois

Madrid would require him to pull off those mesmerizing saves which he can to keep Barcelona from scoring. His quality is unmatched for and Madrid would want him to show those displays to help his team in getting the win. Courtois has been so consistent under the sticks for the Los Merengues year in and year out. He has turned out to be the savior of the sinking ship of Madrid innumerable times. Whenever it came to big games, the Blancos’ custodian has stood with bold fists. Undoubtedly, Ancelotti would hope that his star man comes good against the Blaugranas on Sunday night.

El Clasico Rivalry NextGen : Ansu Fati – The rising sensation V/S Reincarnated Vinicius Jr

This Clasico will be the first Clasico for many without 2 iconic of this game both have left but rivalry in Clasico must go on. Now it’s upon NextGen to carry their respective teams and this century-old rivalry ahead. Yes, it’s two young left-wingers to whom people look like symbols of EL Clasicos henceforth.

Vinicius has burst on the scene this season and has now become one of Madrid’s most important attackers. The Brazilian who has been criticized ever since he signed for Madrid, is finally showing what he is worthy of. The only thing lacking in the Vinicius game was converting the chances and scoring regularly. That is exactly what he has done this season having scored 8 and assisted 5.

El Clasico Rivalry NextGen : Ansu Fati – The rising sensation V/S Reincarnated Vinicius Jr
El Clasico Rivalry NextGen: Ansu Fati – The rising sensation V/S Reincarnated Vinicius Jr

Ansu Fati joined LaMasia at age 10 and has been constantly performing since his youth days. Last season he, unfortunately, got injured. Ansu has returned from injury with a bang and has scored 2 since coming back although Ansu is still not ready to play full 90 minutes he although still is a great asset to the team and will surely provide some breathtaking performance tomorrow, Ansu was bold enough to take the famous number 10 jersey which was left vacant after Messi’s departure and till now he has done a great job to continue Leo’s legacy.

These 2 have the capability to carry on the legacy left behind by Messi and Ronaldo and maybe create a whole new one for the years to come. It will be a great treat to watch these 2 go head to head tomorrow in the biggest football game on the planet.

Conclusion

Real Madrid comes into this match as the favorites are given their run of form. Ronald Koeman and Barcelona would want to win this match and show that he can take the team to a good run. Despite Barcelona’s worrying form this season. Also, the fact that Ronald Koeman hasn’t won any games in his Barcelona Managerial career against Real and Atletico Madrid worrying. If Barcelona can get their Left flank running with Jordi Alba Gavi and Ansu Fati all combining well, it can be a problem for Madrid. This may prove too much for Nacho. Real Madrid, meanwhile need to win the midfield battle and supply balls to Benzema and Vinicius who will do the deed.

It’ll be an exciting match between the two best sides of the game. Neither side is as good as they were a few years back. Expect the most entertaining El Clasico of recent times filled with lots of goals and action. We predict

Barcelona 2 – 2 Real Madrid

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