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Simon Heptinstall On December - 8 - 2011

La Liga: El Classico Preview

Ronaldo-Messi-El Classico

For better or for worse Spanish football these days seem to be defined by only two matches. This weekend we see the first of these matches, the first El Classico. For the past three seasons Barcelona have got the better of Real Madrid both in terms of the El Classico and over the course of a season. This season feels different however. Maybe this will finally be the season that Real Madrid strike back and take first blood in their head to head battle with their greatest rival. Barcelona have been poor away from home by their standards and there is a feeling of real momentum behind this Madrid team spearheaded by The Special One.

An early season blip by Real Madrid handed the initiative to Barcelona and even after only two games many thought that the pattern of the season was already established. Barcelona were ahead of Real Madrid and it would simply continue to be that way until May. But things soon changed and Barcelona find themselves in an unusual position, for once they have to go to Real Madrid and win. The pressure is on them and for the first time in years they go to the Bernabeu knowing that anything other than a win will keep the momentum firmly with Real Madrid. This may seem a slight over reaction with half of the season still to play and with Barcelona still to host Real Madrid at the Nou Camp. But consider this. If Barcelona draw this weekend and Real Madrid win their game in hand, the point’s difference will be increased to six. With such a powerful Madrid team in front of them, suddenly Barcelonas margin of error becomes very small indeed. A win for them on Saturday will change the whole dynamic of the league.

So how will both teams approach the game? Well despite a draw being an acceptable result for Madrid don’t expect them to sit back and just hold out for ninety minutes. Mourinho is of course no stranger to a back to the walls job and is not afraid to drain a match of footballing beauty in order to gain the necessary result. Madrid must attack Barcelona and they will in all likelihood do so. If they can get the ball off their great rivals that is. This Real Madrid side is a different animal to the one that played second fiddle to Barcelona last season. After a year or working with his team and building a formidable squad, Mouirnho has the Madrid giants hitting their peak at just the right time. And with home advantage for the first El Classico for a change everything should be in place for Madrid to take full advantage of a Barcelona team who have struggled away from home at times this season. Any kind of victory for Madrid would be hailed as a turning point in this great rivalry but if Real were to win and to do so in an attractive and comprehensive manner then it would do more than simply increase their lead in the race for the title, it would send a message. A message that the old Real Madrid are back.

For Barcelona there is only one style of play. They are a team built on controlling the game and simply out playing their opponents. Their ability to retain possession and then hit their opponents with pace and deadly skill have made them the team of their generation. Even for a Real Madrid team full of confidence and with home advantage this is the acid test. Barcelona are still the gold standard for football clubs across the globe and to write this team off or bet against them is to do so at your peril. In Messi they still possess the greatest player of the modern era and unlike Ronaldo he has delivered time and again in these matches. Real Madrid have destroyed most of the teams that have come before them this season but as we know Barcelona are no ordinary team and their style of play has simply overwhelmed Real Madrid in recent times. If they are able to get their passing game going on Saturday then once again Barcelona could be the team standing tall as the final whistle blows.

So who will win the first El Classico the season? This is arguably the tightest match up in years and for once Real Madrid will not go into the game with an inferiority complex and this could be huge. If Mourniho and his players get their tactics right and take their chances this could become a famous night for Los Blancos. For Barcelona they will no doubt face an early onslaught from Madrid who will be looking to knock Barcelona out of their natural rhythm. If Barcelona can start strong, weather the storm and get their passing game going they could once again be victorious. This instalment of the El Classico is simply too close to call but Real Madrid have their best chance in years to score a league victory over Barcelona. If they are to consider themselves truly the best team in Spain then surely they must prove it Saturday night.

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3 Responses so far.

  1. ADELEYE ADETUNJI says:

    Let Madrid double their strength and team,FC BARCELONA will still come out VICTORIOUS. 0-3 or more BARCA FOR EVER. A-TJ.

  2. Real madrid should proof to us weither they are the best spanish club on saturday night

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