It’s time for the biggest match in club football as Real Madrid travels to Catalunya to lock horns with eternal rivals FC Barcelona, a fixture better known as ‘El Clasico’. This weekend is the first of the two Clasicos scheduled to happen in LaLiga also the first in the post-Messi era. Fans cannot wait to see how their sides perform against each other given both squads have changed considerably from last season.
As such, Real Madrid is riding on a fresh 0-5 victory against Shakhtar at Kyiv in the Champions League, whereas Barcelona has found their way back to victories with a 3-1 win over Valencia in LaLiga and a narrow 1-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League. However, Real Madrid is looking much the stronger side in comparison to the seventh-placed Catalans after eight Matchdays in the league. Here are three reasons why Los Blancos should have better of the Blaugrana this weekend.
3. Real Madrid’s first-choice midfield is back at the perfect time
First and most importantly, Real Madrid’s holy trinity in the middle of the park is back. And, they would be expected to start in El Clasico. Carlo Ancelotti isn’t a big fan of frequent rotations and why change a winning side? At least for the next game, I think starting Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Carlos Casemiro would be the best bet for Real Madrid.
With the three playing the way they did in the last game, Real Madrid would control play and dictate the game’s momentum. Toni Kroos had a vintage outing against Shakhtar placing accurate long balls to shift play and Modric had a magical assist to set up Vinicius for his first goal. For Casemiro, it was a long-awaited return to form as the Brazilian kept contributing consistently with his ball wins in midfield. A return to Real Madrid’s tried and tested 4-3-3 made all the difference and they’d now eye the weekend to make it four Clasico wins in a row.
Barcelona on the other hand will miss their wunderkind, Pedri, who is a massive powerhouse in midfield. Sergio Busquets aside, there hasn’t been a second consistent performer for Barcelona in the midfield. The likes of Frenkie de Jong and Gavi haven’t been at their best. Even in the last game against Dynamo Kyiv, they walked out with a match rating of 6.7 and 6.3 respectively, per SofaScore, with no real impact on the game. Barcelona couldn’t manufacture clear scoring opportunities and looked out of gas creatively in the final third.
As such, Real Madrid is emerging the clear winners in the midfield and as it is, the team that wins the battle in the middle of the park does most of the saying in the match. And, with a very in-form attack in front of the midfield three, Real Madrid looks much the more threatening side.