An estimated 500 million people will turn their attention to the Camp Nou as Barcelona lock horns once again with Real Madrid on On Saturday at 5pm afor the biggest fixture in world football.
The expectation is as big as ever as new stars take to the field and two new managers line up in the dugouts. Barcelona sit top of the table on 25 points while Real Madrid are 3rd on 22 points. Although early in the season these Clasicos have often proved vital come seasons end.
The most notable change for Real is in the dugout as the experienced Carlo Ancelotti steps in to try and win La Decima there 10th champions league. Although trying to move on from the Mourinho era Ancelotti will probably take a leaf out of Mourinhos book against their rivals in Mourinhos plan against Barcelona.
They played a high line tightly, with marked Messi strangling the Barcelona midfield to stop their passing game and hit them on the counter attack, it has worked and against them last year, they won 3 drew 2 and lost 1 match against the Catalans.
Madird have brought in a host of young Spanish footballers (Isco,Asier Illaramendi, Dani Carvajal and Nacho) and of course Gareth Bale who is expected to start on the bench due to the lack of fitness and the form of Angel Di Maria.
Also a change in the Barcelona dugout as new coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino steps in to fill the void of Tito Villanova.
Although a new manager the Barcelona “Tiki Taka” playing style remains mostly the same although Barca now can play a bit more direct if needed this could be crucial as Madrid have figured out how to limit Barcas passing style.
Their one signing of the summer is the exciting Neymar who has made a fine start to life in Catalonia getting 2 goals and 5 assists so far. Don’t expect anything new in terms of tactics for Barcelona they will probably start with their usual style and maybe change if things go south.
Asier Illaramendi vs Sergio Busquets
Illaramendi was brought during the summer as a long term replacement for Xabi Alonso although with Alonso injured he will have big shoes to fill.
Busquets will be dictating the play as both like getting the ball and keeping it, whoever comes on top will be a crucial as they will have to be defensively solid due to the vast array of attacking talent on both sides.
Sergio Ramos Vs Gerard Pique
The two Spanish centre halfs are both leaders for their team and will have to be at their best if either are going to win the match.
They both know in these matches one slip off concentration will most likely lead to a goal and they will have to make sure they and the rest of their defence stays sharp.
Cristiano Ronaldo Vs Lionel Messi
The main attraction will be the two best players in the world squaring off against each other once again.
Clasicos have sometimes just been about Ronaldo and Messi and you can see why with Ronaldo scoring 15 goals in 12 games this season and Messi 12 in 10.
Ronaldo has scored 6 in his last 6 clasicos while Messi has scored 5 in his last 6. Both will be out to prove why they should win the Ballon D’or and whoever performs the best will have a massive impact on the game.
Expected line ups
Lopez, Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo
Illaramendei,Khedira,Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo
Valdes,Alves,Pique, Puyol, Adriano
Xavi Iniesta Busquets
It will be extremely tight with two very even teams and I expect a fantastic match. So a high scoring draw with a possible 2-2 being the final result.