Preview: FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid El Clásico 2011/2012

Another clásico. Another Barça-Madrid. With just five games remaining in La Liga 2011/2012, Camp Nou plays host to leaders Real Madrid who have a four-point advantage over second placed Barça. Both teams have had remarkable seasons but defeats in the Champions League semi-finals this week will have affected both camps and this weekend’s game will be a big test of the teams’ mental toughness as well as their technical ability and physical strength.

Barça’s defeat at Chelsea brought to an end a splendid run of fourteen wins and a draw, but it is the eleven straight wins in La Liga since the defeat at Osasuna in February that has reduced the gap at the top from ten points down to four. Victory over Madrid would leave the difference at just one point which would set up a tremendous finish to this epic battle.

Pep Guardiola has won nine out of his fourteen clàsicos as Barça’s first team coach with just one defeat in last season’s Copa del Rey final. Guardiola could be without Alexis Sanchez who took a knock at Stamford Bridge and was reported to be limping when he got off the plane back from London. Barça are unlikely to reveal any information regarding his fitness so we will just have to wait and see the starting lineup when it is announced. We have seen so many tactical variations this season it is extremely difficult to guess how Barça will start. A back-three or back-four? Proper wingers or not? A true central striker or not? A place for Fabregas, and if so, which role? And should Gerard Piqué return to the team?

Meanwhile, Real Madrid seem to be torn between the attacking instincts of the players and the defensive instincts of coach José Mourinho. Normally, Madrid play a 4-2-3-1 formation but Mourinho has often switched to a more defensive 4-3-3 against strong opposition.  Since falling out with Lass Diarra last month Mourinho has failed to find the right player to play a defensive midfield role in the so-called trivote alongside Khedira and Xavi Alonso. Against Bayern Munich Mourinho took off Ozil and brought on Marcelo to play the role, but Marcelo lacks the positional discipline required and he’ll probably return to left back in place of Coentrao who seems to be as popular in the Madrid dressing room as a mangy dog. Without the right player for the trivote Mourinho may stick with 4-2-3-1 with Ozil, Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo supporting Karim Benzema up front, but he will still be haunted by the memories of his first clásico when he went with the 4-2-3-1 and Madrid were thrashed 5-0.

It is quite remarkable that since that match in November 2010 the two teams have met nine times and Mourinho’s team has only won once, while none of the four draws have served Madrid for anything. The tactical duel between Mourinho and Guardiola is fascinating but so far it is the Catalan coach who has had the best of things, it will also be interesting to see how the outcome of this match may affect the future of each coach. The other great personal battle of course is between Leo Messi and Ronaldo. With both players on 41 league goals the race for pichichi this season is hotter than ever but Messi has the better figures overall. In all competitions Ronaldo has a remarkable 53 goals in 49 games but Messi’s tally of 63 in 53 games is quite simply out of this world. In clásicos Ronaldo has now scored five goals in ten games while Messi has now left Iker Casillas with that stupid look on his face thirteen times in sixteen meetings.

But, at the end of the day this isn’t about Messi versus Ronaldo or Pep versus Mou, this is about Football Club Barcelona versus Real Madrid. An immense struggle for football supremacy. El clásico. Bring it on baby!

Possible teams:

Barça: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Alexis.

Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Xavi Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema.

My prediction: Barça 2 Real Madrid 0

Date: Saturday 21st April. Kick off: 8pm local time

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13 Responses to Preview: FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid El Clásico 2011/2012

  1. titi186 says:

    Ah this preview got me even more hyped for the game 😀 😀 😀

    Alexis seems to be consistent against Madrid so far so he’ll be a miss especially without Villa who we’ve really really missed in games where Messi has had to drop deep i.e. Chelsea and Milan away especially.

    This game will be interesting because for once Mourinho doesnt even have to win and he is a specialist at getting draws such as when Inter came with the Nou Camp -.-

    My Prediction: 2-1

  2. ransae says:

    Reblogged this on Ransae's Blog.

  3. J.R.Wirshing says:

    Good luck in your next game.

  4. Shakalero says:

    Thanks for the preview Nic. I don’t believe Mourinho is thinking in a tie, because he will be defeated with that thinking. I believe he will take some of the Chelsea’s game and use it. The difference is that we are at home and hopefully we can score this time. My prediction: 1-0
    Forca Barca!

  5. V. says:

    I am afraid it is going to end in a tie.

  6. mjmare says:

    There are a few advantages in our favour for this match. Being that we are playing at home, so the crowd will be urging the team on. but possibly the biggest advantage is that the condition of the pitch which will be the way that we like to play on it – slick surface, so that the ball can move around easily – and this is a major plus in such a key game.

    Its gonna be a tough game but i rate Barca will be ready and will get on with the job and forget about Chelsea. The team must just remain patient and organised, and take the opportunities that come along.

    Barca 3-1

    Visca El Barca!!!

  7. bc9jaCulé says:

    The games keep coming thick and fast. Good for the fans but very challenging for our comrades. However, if anything, these set of generals on our team are more than capable of pulling through. Madrid will come to Camp Nou in a mixed mood, not knowing what exactly to play for — a draw or a win? They don’t actually need a win so we’ll do ourselves a lot of good in opening up the pitch IF (a big IF) we can score 2 early goals. Anyways, all I see is a solid victory for Barça tonight.

    Barça 3
    Madrid 1

    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!

  8. DAYYIB-SM says:

    bring on….all matter is confidence…

    BARCA 2-1 MADRID…. it will be very close game..and small details will efect the whole story…..

  9. FCB-Parbo says:

    This game will be epic. Indeed bc9, RM will be in doubt. Will they go for a draw or not, coz the remaining matches won’t be walkovers for them. Teams are fighting at the end for a secure place in La Liga. Anything can happen. WHEN they lose today then it will surely put them on a dangerous position. Like I said, the remaining matches will not be walkovers for them as for Barca. So RM have to attack us and if they do so then they will get hammered by us. Either way WE WILL WIN this battle. So Big Up Barça!!! Hoping for a Messi hat-trick. Hey, anything is possible for the impossible.

    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!

  10. bc9jaCulé says:

    Indeed FCB-Parbo, “anything is possible for the impossible”. I really like that line.

    Bring it on, Madrid!

  11. FCBarcelonaRocks says:

    Where the hack is Pique? We need height and physicality at the back. We are gonna get murdered if more corners or free kick comes in from madrid in the 2nd half. We badly need to buy thiago silva or a central defender of his nature with the height of 183cm and above. We need height! Come on boys! Fight and get the goals

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