Yes, that’s right folks, the day where Real Madrid fly to Barcelona to face their heated rivals at Camp Nou.
Not too bad, really. However, via Twitter, the favors are running high on Real Madrid’s side. My opinion is that I want a clean match, but given past Clasico history (and the current Barcelona lineup and Real Madrid’s Pepe and Angel Di Maria) that probably won’t happen.
Here’s where things get interesting. This could be the last time these Spanish giants face each other this season, UNLESS they both advance to the finals of Champions League. As of now, Real Madrid are Liga leaders, with a steady 4-points ahead of Barcelona.
Either way, a win or a loss, wouldn’t effect Real Madrid’s lead. It would either put them up an extra 3 points, or drop them to a 1-point lead. To keep Liga interesting and supporters biting their nails, a draw would do both clubs good. Frankly, I love having the competition, not knowing who is going to come out the champions. However, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want Real Madrid to show Barcelona whose really the Kings of Spanish futbol.
Now, let me just say, I checked Bleacher Report earlier and they had a poll going on the odds of Real Madrid winning or Barca winning. Their results?
In previous El Clasico articles, I’ve thrown around million of stats around that probably have everyone whose not a regular supporter of either clubs, confused. So this preview shall be nothing of the sorts. Using my knowledge of both clubs and this current season, I’m going to put together a pros/cons for each club, things for you, the viewer, to watch out for when watching this big match-up on Saturday. For once, I’m going to take away my biased opinion and focus on observations I’ve made throughout the season. Sound fair? Let’s get started!
Real Madrid Pros
- Madrid’s Fabulous Trio – Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuaín and Karim Benzema are in the Top 5 of La Liga’s Top Scorers this season
- Alongside the forwards, we have a pretty strong midfield that are just as capable of scoring goals
- Mesut Özil has 15 assists this season & would be a key player if he started Saturday
- It’ll only take one goal for Real Madrid to break their goal of 107 goals in one season
- Right now, their season stats are 27 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses
Real Madrid Cons
- Pepe – Grant it he is one of the best defenders in Liga, he still has some major anger issues he needs to sort out before Saturday. We don’t want another Messi incident.
- Angel Di María – Don’t do anything stupid.
- The defense is struggling, let’s face it. With any hope of winning, Madrid’s defense needs a readjustment, which means Álvaro Arbeloa needs to start focusing. We can’t rely on Sergio Ramos all the time.
- Yellow cards. We’ve racked up a lot, the past couple weeks, so in order to keep the same lineup for every match until the end of Liga, Madrid need to veer away from contesting or any fouls. Cristiano Ronaldo especially, one more yellow & he’ll miss the big match against Sevilla next week.
FC Barcelona Pros
- Lionel Messi – Tied with Cristiano for most goals this season (41) and is Barça’s main goal scorer.
- Defense – If Piqué is playing, Madrid will have problems finding the back of the net.
- Barça have won their last 11 matches and will have the home advantage
- They know how to beat Madrid
FC Barcelona Cons
- Sergio Busquets – Stay on your feet, great defender, but the football pitch isn’t a place for theatrics.
- Cesc Fabregas – Lately Fabregas has been falling into the mist in the midfield, never to return again.
- Offense – Everyone needs to help Messi out Saturday. He can’t be the only one scoring
- When something doesn’t go their way, prepare for a cloud of Barça players contesting every foul that comes their way.
Also, watch out for the ref. In El Clasicos, it has been known that refs get a little card happy towards both clubs.
Real Madrid Starting 11: Iker Casillas (G); Álvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo (D); Xabi Alonso, Angel Di María, Mesut Özil, Kaka (M); Cristiano Ronaldo & Karim Benzema (F).
FC Barcelona Starting 11: Victor Valdes (G); Gerard Piqué, Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets (D); Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago (M); Lionel Messi, Pedro (F)
Final Score: 2-1 Madrid OR a 2-2 draw
It’s no doubt that tomorrow will be a fantastic and exciting match-up with a side of feisty, but it’s also one of the most pivotal matches of the season, so enjoy El Clasico! You can watch it on ESPN3.com at 2 p.m. ET.