It is that time of the year again; when the biggest rivalry in club football takes center stage; the El Clasico attracts viewership from all over the world with Billions of people glued to their sits to see to of the most successful teams in the world that parade the best players in the world go head to head. The past week has been one of mixed fortunes for both sides; Real Madrid advanced to another Semi Final of the Champions League while Barcelona got shut out in two legs by Juventus.
With Barcelona three Points adrift of Real Madrid who have a game in hand we take a look at how crucial this game could be for both teams.
Confidence – a tale of different levels
Barcelona might have had a win in between their unfortunately sandwiched square up with Juventus over two legs; that labored 3 – 2 win over Soceidad but it’s glaring enough to observe that the players are not on the wavelength their fans expect. Front trio of Messi, Suárez and Neymar have incongruously turned up for most part of the season, defensively porous and lacking some tactical depth.
Without been mirthful, Barcelona’s Achilles heel this term has been their defensive frailties even an outgoing Luis Enrique looks uncertain at finding a solution to it. Piqué looks here nor there, Umtiti is still an apprentice, Jordi Alba not getting a proper look in, Sergio Roberto even a right back.
Belly of the team is another blot entirely on the team. Rakitic and Andrés Iniesta haven’t played with same energy and guile we are all used to – especially if Sergio Busquets is unavailable.
Unlike Catalonia, it’s a more solid and stable environment in the Los Merengue’s Camp in Madrid. This Real Madrid team looks very gallant not overly in terms of quality but owing to a galvanized concinnity that Zizou has imbibed in it. Every player knows their role and stance in the team as we saw when Isco gave a particularly impressive performance against Gijon which forced Zidane’s hands to start him against Bayern which they won after extra time 6 – 3 on aggregate. While Lionel Messi has struggled in big games this season, Cristiano Ronaldo scored five against Bayern over two legs – you can say who is clearly up for the Clasico
The stinging difference between Zidane and Lucho is that the former has been assured of his job whatever happens this season why latter has chosen to err on the safe side and can’t handle the pressure the Nou Camp job entails – a summer exit beckons.
Zidane has managed to use every player to their maximum potential and has tried to inculcate a steely part to his game with the emergence and fantastic play of Brazilian Casemiro conjoined with the recruitment of players from the youth ranks – likes of Marco Asensio joining the mix
Lucho can’t boast of that, he recruited badly, it’s almost a paradox. Paco Alcacer, Arda Turan and Denis Suarez have been either a waste of resources or time. Only Alex Vidal could hold his head high after a shaky start to his Barca career but has been cut short due to a broken leg. Tussling between formations 4 – 3 – 3 and 3 – 4 – 3 is another problem, the latter seems to cage their attacks because it gives the MSN limited space to operate.
With La Masia looking like it has lost its mojo; they obviously need to buy big and smart too in the summer.
In it’s entirety, I expect an explosive game, El Clasico is always a personable fixture to watch. Madrid Left back tagged it as ‘a game the world wants to watch’. That’s the brevity of it but for the first time in a month of Sundays, not many will fancy Barcelona on this one.