Friday, December 2, 2022

Real Madrid Vs Barcelona Tactical Preview: Talking Tactics, Team News, Predicted Lineups & Key Men

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As the La Liga enters what could be the most crucial period of the campaign, the world prepares for what is arguably one of the most prominent fixtures in football – Real Madrid against Barcelona. Los Blancos currently find themselves in second place, a couple of points off their Catalan rivals at the top of the table. This fixture, even though a large chunk of the season is still remaining, could have massive effects on the eventual state of the title race.

Talking Tactics

Real Madrid

Real Madrid suffered one of the biggest upsets of the season so far in midweek when they were hung out to dry at the Santiago Bernabeu by a dominant second-half display from English champions Manchester City. With that in mind, Zidane is likely to take a much more cautious approach to this fixture. Casemiro could be tasked with a much more defensive-minded role, and the likes of Valverde and Modric could be asked to drop deep whenever required.

PAMPLONA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 09: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team’s second goal during the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and Real Madrid CF at El Sadar Stadium on February 09, 2020 in Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Barcelona

The Catalan giants could instead be the side that goes all out looking for the goal from the first knockings of the game. Although it is an away game, we expect Quique Setien’s team to see a lot of the ball in the first half, with Madrid having to depend on the hold-up play of Benzema to put an attack together. Messi and Fati could be asked to offer width, in turn creating spaces for the likes of Frenkie De Jong and Busquets to play the ball into the dynamic Antoine Griezmann.

Team News

Real Madrid

Although Eden Hazard’s return from injury earlier this month was seen as a highly positive sign by Zidane, the Belgian attacker went on to fracture his ankle again during a game, meaning that he is facing another extended spell out on the sidelines. Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz are both still treating long-term knocks and are set to miss out, while Rodrygo remains suspended.

Predicted Lineup: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Isco

Sergi Roberto of FC Barcelona celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Camp Nou on February 15, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Barcelona

The Catalan side recently completed the ’emergency’ signing of former Middlesbrough and Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite since Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele have both been ruled out indefinitely. Quique has defensive concerns to worry about as well given Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto are both unlikely to be available for this fixture.

Predicted Lineup: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Fati

Key Men

Real Madrid

The Madrid side have the opportunity to regain top spot by beating their biggest rivals in this fixture, and the onus does fall onto the shoulders of French striker Karim Benzema. The veteran attacker has been in fine form since the start of the season, but off-late, things haven’t been quite as smooth as they once were for him. The clinical striker will have to be at his best against what is guaranteed to be a weakened Barcelona back-line.

Barcelona

Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the biggest name in world football at the moment, and his influence could have a profound impact on not just this fixture, but on the league table itself. Zidane would surely have prepared his defenders for the challenge posed by the Argentine magician, and keeping him quiet could turn out to be the most important task for the Real Madrid defence on the night.

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