Real Madrid will be visiting the Camp Nou later tonight as they prepare for the first El Clasico of 2015.
Both teams go into this game with very different starts to the year as they look to get on track to winning La Liga. The winning team tonight will be in first place for the week (at least) and therefore there is a lot at stake.
Current La Liga Top 5:
1. Barcelona – 65 Points
2. Real Madrid – 64 Points
3. Valencia – 60 Points
4. Atletico Madrid – 59 Points
5. Sevilla – 52 Points
Now, let’s take a closer look at how each team go into this major match.
Barcelona have had a magnificent 2015 so far with all their players finally finding a way to work together. Lionel Messi has reached new heights after some questionable performances earlier in the season, Neymar has been showing some of his best football ever since he joined the Spanish club, and Luis Suarez has been scoring and assisting marvelously for the other two attackers. In midfield, they have been strong and able to control the game, while the defending has been slightly off-balance but nothing major to really worry about at the moment.
Barcelona’s Last 5 Games –
Barcelona 1-0 Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)
Eibar 0-2 Barcelona (La Liga)
Barcelona 6-1 Rayo Vallecano (La Liga)
Villarreal 1-3 Barcelona (Copa del Rey)
Granada 1-3 Barcelona (La Liga)
It could be said that Barcelona haven’t really had many “strong” opponents in their past five games (other than, arguably, Manchester City) but their way of playing and getting the ball into the final third has been nothing short of astonishing. Real Madrid will have to be extremely careful at the back because they could pay for the smallest mistakes in the match.
Barcelona will want to win this game and have a good cushion at the top of the league as they continue their pursuit of winning all competitions this season. If the game ends in a draw, they will still be in first place but any mistake could see them lose that position. They will need to keep their concentration and play to their advantages if they are to win the game tonight.
The Players Called Up By Luis Enrique –
Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Pedro, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Rafinha, Javier Mascherano, Marc Bartra, Jordi Alba, Adriano, Dani Alves, and Jeremy Mathieu
My Predicted Lineup –
Claudio Bravo, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Adriano, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi
Real Madrid CF:
Real Madrid come into this game after some very disappointing performances since 2015. They were very strong earlier in the season but it seems that things have drastically changed since the turn of the new year. The team haven’t been able to connect as much as they usually do while many of their opportunities haven’t been taken. Furthermore, their defending has been awful and they will need to change all of that tonight as they will do their best to make a statement against Barcelona. They are able to come out with the three points but they will need to play with full focus for the full 90 minutes if they are to have the chance.
Real Madrid’s Last 5 Games:
Real Madrid 2-0 Levante (La Liga)
Real Madrid 3-4 Schalke (UEFA Champions League)
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Real Madrid (La Liga)
Real Madrid 1-1 Villarreal (La Liga)
Elche 0-2 Real Madrid (La Liga)
As seen above, Real Madrid have struggled a lot in their last five games as they were barely ever able to come out with a convincing play, let alone a convincing performance. This will be a great opportunity to change that against Barcelona but, at the same time, it isn’t the right time to experiment with any new formations or whatnot. With that said, something has to be changed and they will not be able to make any impact whatsoever with the performances that they have come out with so far.
El Clasico can practically make or break a season and they will need this extra push to make them get back on top. A win tonight will put Real Madrid at first place again and losing it will make them lose their grip on Barcelona. A win tonight is definitely the only solution for them to try getting back on track.
Players Called Up By Carlo Ancelotti:
Iker Casillas, Keylor Navas, Fernando Pacheco, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Daniel Carvajal, Alvaro Arbeloa, Nacho, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Lucas Silva, Luka Modric, Isco, Asier Illarramendi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jese, Javier Hernandez, and Karim Benzema
My Predicted Lineup:
Iker Casillas, Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema
Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!!!