Real Madrid prepare to play Barcelona in the first-leg of the Spanish Supercup on Sunday night as they chase their second trophy out of six this season, after beating Manchester Untied in the UEFA Supercup last week.
Both teams go into this match after a slightly hectic summer transfer window so far with Barcelona seemingly coming out the worst of the two after their battle to keep Neymar at the club failed as the Brazilian joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world record fee of 222 Million Euros.
- Uncertainty Looms
- Barcelona go into this game after a very good preseason campaign which saw them win all their matches, including a friendly Clasico that was played in Miami. The problem that arises there is that Neymar was usually the star of the show and they now prepare for their first competitive match without the Brazilian star. Having said that, Ernesto Valverde will want to make his debut as Barcelona manager successful and there is definitely no denying that the Catalans are still a strong team with out without Neymar.
- The Debutants
- This could prove to be what helps Barcelona in the first-leg as many expect two players to feature that arrived in the summer. In defense, we expect to see Nelson Semedo while Gerard Deulofeu has come back to the club as well after impressing when abroad. The latter will be expected to take Neymar’s place in the front three and will want to prove himself. What better chance than agianst Real Madrid?
- The Fans
- This must be one of the top priorities at the club as they need to do everything in their power to bring the fans back on their side. They haven’t had it easy in recent seasons and, even though they are still one of the best and most dangerous teams around, the fans are simply unhappy with how the club is run. Add to that the fact that they plan to bring in Paulinho and it really doesn’t help their case. Winning the Supercopa will ease the pain a little and will slowly show the fans that the club know what they’re doing. Will it be enough? Probably not but it’s a damn good start!
- My Predicted Starting Lineup:
- Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto, Gerard Deulofeu, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez
- High Off The UEFA Supercup:
- Real Madrid head into this match after winning the UEFA Supercup and will want to continue their unbelievable success against their bitter rivals. They know it won’t be easy but they also know that they boast the better squad and things are a little more stable at the club when compared to the Catalans. They have 180 minutes to play and, knowing Zinedine Zidane, he already has both matches planned out in his head
- Luka Modric
- Real Madrid will bemoan their luck as their star midfielder, Luka Modric, will not be able to feature in the first-leg after a three year old suspension has found itself back to haunt him. Having said that, many expect Mateo Kovacic to be taking his place as a very deserved reward for an incredible preseason campaign.
- Los Merengues are expected to stay true to their rotation policy and no one thinks that it will change this time around. Zidane is still expected to come out with a strong side but we may see a couple changes in the team for the first-leg. Cristiano Ronaldo is still not predicted to start (but that’s still a possibility) while many are assuming that we may see Theo Hernandez make his competitive debut and start ahead of Marcelo who will start in the second-leg. That’s the great thing about having a big and talented squad as Zidane has many options to choose from, even in big matches such as this one.
- My Predicted Starting Lineup:
- Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Theo Hernandez, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Mateo Kovacic, Isco, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema