The eternal rivalry hasn’t been put aside but the bitter host must welcome its inimical guest as the world is bond to see the showdown between the eternal rivals in Soccer, The biggest match in the world of Football.- The first Clasico of the season!
An unusual Clasico is expected between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium as the two players who have dominated the headlines of the match and football for almost a decade are both set to miss out on this.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the lethal goalscoring machine for Real Madrid over the years shockingly left the Capital for Juventus thus leaving a huge void in the Real Madrid team which is undoubtedly felt in the attacking synergy of the team since the new era of season began for the team. The team have lost its attacking prowess and bits of fear factor they posessed with the presence of the Portuguese who constantly and consistently served as a big threat for the defence of the opposing team.
Real Madrid have found themselves crumbling and wobbling in a turmoil situation owing to their topsy-turvy performance highly well-spurred by the goal draught which has bemoaned the team. – That to point out the rationale behind their 4 game winless streak seeing them settle as far as 8th on the log of La Liga with just 14 points, leaving them 4 points adrift of their arch rivals Barcelona who sits on top of the table with 18 points out of possible 27 after 9 matches.
The record has been in favour of the Madrid side at the Camp Nou but it’s more of a Herculean task to fancy the Los Blancos on this at the moment. The team looks like they have lost it all judging from their performance thus far, both collectively and individually.
Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Marcelo had somehow shown what seem like a displeasure in playing in unity to ease the pressure off their out of favour coach with some individual errors which has lead to the team conceding goals and denying them some vital points to get things going smoothly for the team and to credit the Coach’s managerial profile.
Luka Modric , Toni Kroos and Isco havn’t been helping situations in the middle either as they all have been playing below expectations considering their standards and what they have shown the world over the years with the ball at their feet. They all are far from being the player they used to be. Luka is looking like he’s been caught up with fatigue, Toni hasn’t been the German sniper on the pitch, Isco’s feet seem to be failing him at utilising his low centre of gravity to his advantage.
Coming into this game, Barcelona boasts of 41 games unbeaten record at home and they should be having their morale on the high with that. Not only that, they have been finding the back of the net against Real Madrid if you travel as far back as their last 21 matches against the Los Blancos. That’s to cause some worries for the team from the Capital with the situation they currently have found themselves
However, their opposition from the Catalan side hasn’t been convincing either, that to inadvertently salvage some bits of relief for the Madrid side in the title race by keeping the points at a reasonable margin which the Madrid side can only hope the Barcelona team slips at some moment to provide them some rare chances to leapfrog their rivals in the battle for the La Liga trophy. – A feat looking to be missing on the radar of feasibility at the moment considering the resurgence in the La Liga Champion’s outings highlighted by their performance in their last two matches where the Barcelona side cruised to victory over the misfiring Sevilla side in a 4-2 thriller which sent the team top of the log after a 4 game winless streak for the side which saw them losing 2-1 to Leganes and playing score draws with Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, Griona during that course.
The victory over Sevilla didn’t come without a huge price for the La Liga Champions as they lost their talisman, Lionel Messi to a 3 week lay off after the Argentine suffered a fractured arm just few minutes after scoring the second goal for his team in their last La Liga outing.
Barcelona have to show once more that they can get things done without the 5 time Balon D’ Or winner as they did in their 2-0 win over Inter Milan in their midweek Champions league clash with the Italian side. All eyes would be on the likes of Luis Suarez, Coutinho, and either of Rafinha and Dembele to lead the attack in absence of Messi.
Lately, the man who succeeded Zinedine Zidane as the Real Madrid coach, Julien Lopetegui, has been under intense pressure following the poor run of results and form which his men have put up so far this season and the Clasico could be the match which but decides his fate as Florentino Perez is fast losing his patience over what Julen has up the sleeves to offer his team as the coach is held responsible for the good and garbage of the team. – Verily, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
Aside from Samuel Umtiti, Lionel Messi, Thomas Vermalen, Ernesto Valverde has no other injury concern and should have no problems with his team selection considering the qualities he has in his squad list which boasts of better squad depth as compared to the one in his possession last season.
On the other side, Lopetegui wouldn’t be counting on the service of Dani Carjaval who is set to miss out for Real Madrid due to a calf injury while the team still sweats on the fitness of Marcelo who picked up a knock in their 2-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen in their Champions league outing on Tuesday. Lopetegui could become the sixth of the last seven managers of Real Madrid to lose his first Clasico match (only Zinedine Zidane escaped a defeat in his first classico) and could possibly be joining Zidane on the victory side if he manages to pull out a win at the Camp Nou.
With both Ronaldo and Messi set to miss out on this, we are anticipating for a match devoid of over-dependence and a show of resilience from both sides as every individual unites to play collectively. It is time for another star to shine in the Clasico.
Ernesto Valverde hasn’t been too convincing since his appointment but Julen Lopetegui has taken much of the headlines due to the unwanted records he has since set with just few games in the league. Whether the Veterans or the youngsters , the key factor to determine Lopetegui’s fate would be the players and the game plan he adopts to shock the Barcelona city on their turf. If he manages to silent the Camp Nou with a victory, he lives on to fight another day but if he fails on this fate-deciding quest, he may have made a big toast. He had better get things right on Sunday and make his team the Harlem Globetrotters of the day and let the Madrid season starts now…