This Saturday come 7am, the World’s greatest Soccer Rivalry will be taking place, no not Arsenal-Tottenham, but El Clásico. This prestigious and momentous match occurs twice every year, and has major implications for who will be crowned La Liga Campéon. This matchup tends to be very tactical, and more times than often, plays out in a draw. The only difference this year however, is the gap in points between the two all-star teams. Los Blancos find themselves 11 points behind leaders Barcelona, a gap that can almost be written off as impossible to comeback from. Let’s take a look at how I think this rivalry will play out, predicted XI’s, some key matchups on the pitch, and who I think will take home the 3 points.
Barcelona: Ter (tookerderbs) Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Paulinho; Messi, Suarez
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo
Ronaldo vs. Roberto/Semedo:
So it has not been confirmed whether Sergi Roberto or Nelson Semedo will be starting at the RB position, but regardless of who does start, there is no doubt that they will have their plate full with Ronaldo running at them for 90 minutes. CR7 is coming back from nursing an injury, and Zidane has stated that he will start tomorrow. Let’s be honest, nobody can contain Ronaldo, the key here will be trying to slow him down a bit. Regardless, look for relentless sprints and dribbles from CR7 down the right flank.
Busquets vs. Isco:
The little Spaniard has impressed us all this season, to say the least. Not only has he cemented a spot in the starting XI, but he has bullied the midfield throughout the season. Busquets on the other hand, is as solid a rock as can be. He is the glue that holds together the midfield, and without him, Isco and Co. could severely exploit Barcelona’s midfield.
Benzema vs. Pique:
Gerard Pique will likely be tasked with marking the Frenchman tomorrow morning. Benzema will try to hold up play up top whilst his midfield and winger tandem will race in behind Barcelona’s CBs. I favor Pique in this matchup given his experience and strength, but don’t be surprised to see Benzema get involved in the action.
This matchup is always a tense one, and both teams are destined to score goals given the talent they have. With that being said, I believe with a fully fit squad and 80,000+ fans rallying behind them, Real Madrid will win this one in a thriller for the ages.
Final Score: Real Madrid 3-2 FC Barcelona
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