Nobody could imagine ‘El Clásico’ without Leo Messi and Sergio Ramos until they would retire. However, and just the way it has always been, memory is short in football. Now the new arising talents from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona make a game full of morbid because, after so many years, we do not what the game will offer us, so we must be ready for anything. Yes indeed, the show at the Camp Nou is guaranteed.
Regarding to the other match preview focused on Barça by my partner Carlos, What version will Carlo Ancelotti´s Real Madrid offer?
If they both coincide on anything is at being capable of showing their best and worst version. Even though the crisis in Barcelona is more serious, Real Madrid are not going through their best moment either. Only Benzema, Vinicius and Courtois are regular and a permanent spot in the line-up. The rest areas of the field are full of unknowns.
The low defensive secureness:
Ancelotti admitted that he is unable to sleep when he losses after their defeat against Sheriff. I assume that he took advantage of the international break to recover from some of the accumulated tiredness. Real Madrid only grabbed a draw out of the three games they played in that week, and the performing was really poor against Espanyol. There is still too much work to do.
No doubt that heir main dilemma has been around for a long time, both on the field and on the board of director´s hands. Anyone could see that Alaba would not be able to sustain the entire defense all by himself, and so far they have conceded too much backwards no matter the opponent.
In fact, and despite the comfortable win in Ukraine, if it has not been by the savior Courtois and the desesperation by Shakhtar, another game would have taken place after what we saw in the first half.
However, Ancelotti has recovered Mendy. His return has a double value, as he strengthens the left back and allows Alaba to play as central defender.
In conclusion, and having in mind that Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay are the offensive players in front, Real Madrid´s interests are on holding them back.
The midfield needs some oxygen:
Casemiro, Kroos and Modric all form a midfield that has marked an era. However, the years and the excessive quantity of games are heavy. All three of them have showed some physical issues since the end of last season, specially Casemiro. The lack of a natural substitute has forced him to play constantly, which has made him to be slower with the ball on his feet and passed in transitions.
Eduardo Camavinga has proved to be a key addition for the team thanks to his polyvalence. There is a big need at Real Madrid to rejuvenate their midfield, not only looking towards the future, but to compete in the present as well.
The logic makes us think that the Italian head coach will opt for the classic trio. Instead, he might put a line of four players in the midfield: Casemiro/Kroos/ Modrić + Valverde. In any case, the battle on the midfield will be crucial.
In hands of Benzema and Vinicius’ magic:
Their main argument, the players who provide the show on the ‘Whites’ side and the only permanent pieces, along with Courtois, are Karim Benzema y Vini Jr. They have both sustained Real Madrid on the start of this new season. The team shows a different face if they are inspired: way more attractive, less playing time on their half and more scoring chances.
The inconvenient comes when their job is not enough. Bale and Hazard are out and nobody expects them. It is true that Rodrygo is a very useful partner, but he is unable to show his full potential as he plays out of his natural position.
The key for Ancelotti to grab the three points from the Camp Nou is to incise on verticality and the 1vs1 of Vinicius, unlock Benzema around the box and provoke fast transitions.
All in all, Real Madrid are not favorite for the game, but their ‘prime’ version convinces more than their eternal rival’s. We are ahead of a new era at ‘El Clásico’. It is all opened to the excitement.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: José Manuel Calviño.
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