On Sunday night the biggest rivalry in club football gets back underway in the Santiago Bernabeu in what could be a potentially title deciding game.
When the fixture lists come out for the season in Spain everyone looks for when the Clasicos are on. The build-up doesn’t last days or weeks it lasts months and now with only days to go, the excitement has reached fever pitch as an estimated 500 million people are expected to watch the match.
It’s perfectly set up to be a classic, Real Madrid are in 1st place, 4 points ahead of Barcelona who are in 3rd. An in-form Madrid know a win will effectively put Barcelona out of the title race who know they need a win to keep up the pressure on their arch rivals.
Madrid come into the game on the back of a comfortable 3-1 over Schalke in mid-week to confirm their progression to the Champions League quarter finals. It extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 33 games, the last game they lost was the reverse fixture when they lost 2-1 to Barcelona in October, also at home this season they have only lost once.
Barcelona’s form on the other hand has been very inconsistent, they have pulled up some great performances such as their home and away victories to Man City. However in recent times they’ve lost to Valencia, Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid.
There manager Gerardo Martino has been under a lot of criticism from the Catalan media and the club have been rocked by the Neymar controversy and the player himself has been affected. Despite all that this is Barcelona’s biggest game of the season and you can be sure they’re going to turn up.
Madrid do have a couple of injuries in their squad, experienced right back Alvaro Arbeloa and Sami Khedeira will both be out for a couple more weeks more, while one of the stars of the season so far, young Spanish starlet Jesé Rodriguez is out till September with a cruciate ligament injury. While Barcelona have a fully fit squad available to them.
Luka Modric vs Andreas Iniesta
Luka Modric has been one of if not the best central midfielders in Europe this season. He provides the creative spark from the midfield for Madrid and if he is on form and can release the attacking players Real Madrid have at their disposal it could be a long night for Barcelona. Iniesta didn’t start the season well however recently he has looked like his old self again. With his incredible close control, mazy dribbling and incisive passing he has the ability to single hand idly change the game.
Lionel Messi vs Pepe and Ramos
Messi has managed to score 26 goals and he’s in good form having scored a hat-trick at the weekend. Pepe and Ramos have both been rock solid at the heart of the Madrid defence which has only conceded 8 goals in 2014. This will undoubtedly however be their toughest test of the season, but if they can keep up their good form and close down Messi then they could have a massive influence on the result but if they fail to contain Messi then Madrid will be in for a tough night.
BBC vs Barcelona defence
BBC is the nickname given to Real Madrid’s attacking trio (Bale,Benzema,Cristiano) who have all been in red hot form this year. The trio have together scored 76 of Madrid’s 129 goals in all competitions. Barcelona’s defence has not been very solid this season and if they want to win tomorrow then they will need big performances from their whole defence and their goalkeeper if they are to have a chance of winning this game
Carvajal Pepe Ramos Marcelo
Di Maria Alonso Modric
Bale Benzema Ronaldo
|Neymar Da Silva|