Barcelona and Real Madrid will be playing in the Copa del Rey final tomorrow night (10:30 PM KSA) as they both target their first silverware of the season. With both teams not doing quite as well as they would have hoped, this cup final has gained more importance for them.
Barcelona come into this game with a crisis of their own. Having lost two major games in a row, they will be looking at this as an opportunity to bounce back and salvage what they can this season. Last week, they lost 1-0 against Atletico Madrid and therefore found themselves knocked out of the UEFA Champions League while they also lost 1-0 again this week against Granada and are now in third place in the league. Their hopes of winning La Liga are fading quite quickly and they will be looking to this game as a much needed win to come out of this season with some success.
With their manager, Tata Martino, under a lot of pressure to deliver this season, things are only becoming increasingly difficult for the Catalans. Barcelona captain, Carles Puyol, came out yesterday and publicly showed his support for the manager saying “It’s easier to criticize the manager than 25 players but, when things go wrong, it’s everyone’s fault.” We haven’t really seen the need for any of the Barcelona players to defend their manager in recent years but this year hasn’t been really normal for the Catalans as they are nearing the end of the season.
What will be on their side is the fact that they haven’t lost to Real Madrid this season after playing two games and winning both in La Liga. They were able to win the first match 2-1 and the second 4-3 so they will surely be looking to that in order to gain the needed confidence in the Copa del Rey Final.
Barcelona’s Run In The Copa del Rey:
FC Cartagena 1-4 Barcelona
Barcelona 3-0 FC Cartagena
Barcelona 4-0 Getafe
Getafe 0-2 Barcelona
Levante 1-4 Barcelona
Barcelona 5-1 Levante
Barcelona 2-0 Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad 1-1 Barcelona
Barcelona’s Last 5 Games:
Granada 1-0 Barcelona (La Liga)
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona (UEFA Champions League)
Barcelona 3-1 Real Betis (La Liga)
Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid (UEFA Champions League)
Espanyol 0-1 Barcelona (La Liga)
During Barcelona’s last five games, they haven’t shown their true potential but all of that can surely change when they play against their rivals on Wednesday night. They will need to come out with everything they have in order to be able to win the trophy but will also need to be careful at the back with some of the injury problems they have recently.
Barcelona go into this game with some injuries that will surely make things a lot more difficult for them. They are missing Victor Valdes (he would not have played this match either way as Pinto is the man chosen in all Copa del Rey games), Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra, and Isaac Cuenca. Though they have sufficient cover for all their players, it is still a blow for them knowing that their main players will not be available. With that said, the good news for them is that Carles Puyol should be able to play the game and it will surely be a massive boost for Barcelona.
Lionel Messi: Lionel Messi will be coming into this game to show the best side of him after some bad performances recently. He will make sure that everyone remembers just how good of a player he really is and there is no better opponent to do that against other than Real Madrid.
Real Madrid CF:
Real Madrid come into this game in a bit of a better shape than Barcelona. Even though they are still in the UEFA Champions League, they didn’t have the easiest time in the quarter finals as they lost 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund in the second-leg after winning the first match 3-0. Los Merengues could consider themselves a little bit lucky to still be in the competition but they will now be looking forward to their semi-final tie against Bayern Munich.
Real Madrid will be trying to use the Copa del Rey final match as a boost as well for their Champions League tie and nothing will feel better for them than a convincing win against Barcelona and their first title of the season. As for La Liga, they now find themselves in second place with a 3-point game between them and Atletico Madrid, who are in first. With that said, they will be happy as they go into this game after a very convincing 4-0 win against Almeria on the same day that Granada beat Barcelona 1-0.
Carlo Ancelotti is under pressure, of course, but nothing when compared to Tata Martino. After the match against Almeria, the Real Madrid fans stayed and chanted the manager’s name for a while, which made Ancelotti come back out onto the pitch 30 minutes after the game to thank the fans for their respect and support. This will surely drive him to improve and give them all the first trophy of the season. Trophies are the best way to keep the Real Madrid fans on your side and Ancelotti is very aware of that fact.
Real Madrid’s Run In The Copa del Rey:
Olimpic Xativa 0-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 2-0 Olimpic Xativa
Real Madrid 2-0 Osasuna
Osasuna 0-2 Real Madrid
Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol
Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid 0-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s Last 5 Games:
Real Madrid 4-0 Almeria (La Liga)
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Real Madrid (UEFA Champions League)
Real Sociedad 0-4 Real Madrid (La Liga)
Real Madrid 3-0 Borussia Dortmund (UEFA Champions League)
Real Madrid 5-0 Rayo Vallecano (La Liga)
Los Merengues go into this game fully satisfied with the way things have been going recently but will be fully aware of the threat that Barcelona will bring. Real Madrid have just come out of two big games and will surely be looking to increase that on Wednesday night
Real Madrid do have a lot to worry about as their injury list is worrying. They will be missing some very important players who could make a difference to the game but they also have good players to back them up and will be able to name a strong starting eleven on the night. Real Madrid’s injury list consists of Sami Khedira, Marcelo, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jese Rodriguez. Every single one of these players are worthy starters for the team and Carlo Ancelotti will surely be facing a difficult time trying to find the perfect replacements for the team.
Gareth Bale: Gareth Bale will be coming into this game with something to prove as he hasn’t done too well in big games this season. With Cristiano Ronaldo out of the picture, he will surely be looking to live up to the hype and show everyone what he is really capable of.
Barcelona VS Real Madrid is never an easy game for either one of the teams and it is going to be a very difficult game to predict. Both Spanish giants have a good chance of lifting the cup at the end of the game and it will be a game where the winner will simply be the team that is more prepared mentally and physically.