After successful outings against Inter Milan and Plezen in Champions League both Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid will shift their focus to the next high voltage clasico in Nou Camp.
In the last ten years of battle in each and every clasico we got everything we loved about the beautiful game. From drama to footballing genius from the individual brilliance to controversy, clasico gave us everything. However things are a little different now.
Los Blancos will face their arch rivals without Cristiano Ronaldo and the Catalan giants will miss Lionel Messi who is sidelined for almost three weeks after his injury against Sevilla in a 4-2 victory. Saturday’s meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be the first in 11 years not to feature either the Argentine No10 or Cristiano Ronaldo.
After the shaky start to the season Valverde’s Barcelona came back to winning ways with victories against strong opponents like Sevilla and Inter Milan. After defeating Sevilla 4-2, the Catalan giants went on to emerge victorious against the formidable Inter side even without their main man Lionel Messi. This will be a big challenge for Valverde’s men to see how they will cope with all the pressure in the big stage of clasico without their star man.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, are four points behind Barcelona but sit all the way down the table in eighth. Los Blancos have endured a miserable start to their season. New manager Julen Lopetegui is under some real pressure and could lose his job if Real Madrid loses at the weekend. They are coming to the clasico with a shocking defeat against Levante in their home soil and an unconvincing victory against Viktoria Plezen in Champions league.
With both teams having their target set as Barcelona will look forward to build a seven point gap between their arch rivals to strengthen their position in the top of the table in La Liga and Real Madrid to reduce the gap and also gain some moral boost after their recent lackluster performances it’s without a doubt this El Clasico will be a cracker of a contest.
WHERE AND WHEN TO WATCH:
•Venue: Camp Nou
•Date and Time: Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 08:45 IST.
•TV BROADCAST: Sony Ten Network, Sky Sports Football.
●PROBABLE STARTING XI:
FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen;Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Arthur; Rafinha, Suarez, Coutinho
REAL MADRID: Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo;, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric;
Isco, Benzema, Bale
FC BARCELONA: After the domestic double in the first season Valverde will be desperate to bring the Champions league in Catalan capital. With the addition of quality players like Arthur, Lenglet, Vidal and Malcom they improved their squad strength too. But things didn’t start in a positive way for Valverde’s men.
Despite winning the first five matches they never really looked like sharp in front of goal. Then they continued their poor run of results with a draw against Girona in Nou Camp, followed by a costly defeat against Leganes and a late equalizer by Munir to rescue a point against Athletic Bilbao. However after putting trust in Arthur in midfield and shifting Coutinho in his preferred left wing position Barcelona began to take control of the game which they were missing. This gameplan gave Barcelona the comfortable victory against spurs in London which was followed by a convincing win against threatening Sevilla side. But unfortunately they lost their main man Lionel Messi for at least three weeks. However the Catalan side dealt with the problem of Messi’s absence with great ease against Inter with a comfortable 2-0 win.
It will be a big test for Bacrelona’s attack as they have to be at their very best to get past the company of Sergio Ramos while midfield and defense have to make sure that players like Modric or Kroos will not get the grip in midfield battle. Extra responsibility will be there for the likes of experienced Suarez, Coutinho, Pique and Rakitic.
Recent form: WDWWDW
REAL MADRID: After Ronaldo’s move to Turin and Zidane no longer the in the hot seat of manager, Real Madrid started their quest with a new mentality under the guidance of Lopetegui. After a good start to the season Lopetegui’s men started to struggle finding the net. They suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat against Sevilla which was followed by defeats against teams like Cska, Alaves and Levante. They came back to winning ways against Viktoria Plezen in the last champions league game.
It could be Lopetegui’s last match with Los Blancos if they went to lose against their arch rivals. Experienced campaigners like Ramos and Marcelo have to check Barcelona’s attacking threat while Modric, Kroos or Isco have to supply the good service to their forwards Bale and Benzema.
They have individual quality to rescue themselves from this tough situations and Real Madrid need that to fight against their rivals in Nou Camp.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Both team managed to put on a 2-2 draw last time they meet in Nou Camp. With Suarez and Messi scored for the home side only to be cancelled out by the goals from Ronaldo and Bale. Across the last six competitive meetings between the teams, both sides have won twice and drawn twice.
Clasico is always hard to predict. With all the individual quality in field it is very difficult to draw any conclusion as you never know who will rise up to the occasion and became the hero. But looking at the form of Barcelona they may have the qualities in hand to get the upper hand in the match.
FC BARCELONA 2-1 REAL MADRID