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Match Focus: Key Areas Analysed Ahead of Crucial Upcoming Clásico


Match Focus: Key Areas Analysed Ahead of Crucial Upcoming Clásico


El Clásico on Sunday presents itself as one of the most significant in recent memory. For many it could well be the night Real Madrid secure the 2013/2014 crown, for others it could well be the night Barcelona re-emerge from instability off the field and in turn reignite their title charge.


A four point gap separates the teams coming into the clash at the Bernabéu; the knife edge they currently balance on means one side could be seven points clear or the other one point behind after the game. Seven points in La Liga at this stage, with nine games to go, would be almost insurmountable.


Despite a 7-0 hammering of Osasuna last weekend serving as a perfect warm-up for Barcelona, it will be Madrid that come into the game as the form team and the side in the best physical shape. The latter is as important as the former of course, given what is expected in this gruelling contest. Some hope for Barça, however, comes in Madrid’s record when facing their two main competitors for the title this season; in La Liga, they are yet to win any of them. Their two losses this campaign have come at the hands of Atlético Madrid and Barça, while a recent draw at the Vicente Calderón further compounded that. This game represents a chance for Madrid to emphasise their supposed superiority.


Defensive details


The strides made by Madrid since their inconsistent start to the season have been remarkable. Ancelotti’s system, derided at first, has quickly become the defining feature of this team. It’s impressive that they have only conceded 10.9 shots per game. Barcelona, with the most possession in La Liga (67.1%), have unsurprisingly conceded just 9.2. Possession is their best form of defence, whereas with Madrid it has become about actions over the defensive transition. Madrid as a group fall back better collectively than they have since the highs of José Mourinho’s best years - this is facilitated by characters such as Pepe and Marcelo being in their best form in a long time. 


Pepe has been a real force, raking in a 7.43 rating from WhoScored, bettered at Madrid only by attacking players Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. His 2.5 tackles per game are the most at Madrid, as are his 5.3 clearances per game. Anticipation has always been one of Pepe’s strengths. It speaks volumes that two players often seen as too reactionary in their defending have excelled under a calming, defensively shrewd coach like Ancelotti.


Meanwhile, for all the criticism they have received of late, Barcelona have only conceded 22 goals this season - the second best record in La Liga after Atleti. Dani Alves, singled out often for his defensive decline, has produced 3.5 tackles per game this season and made 2.0 interceptions per game. This brings him to the fore as the best-performing defender at the club this season according to WhoScored, with a rating of 7.51. In a game of this magnitude the team needs more from a misfiring Gerard Pique, however.


Iniesta and Modric


These two have arguably been the most important players for their respective teams this season (aside from Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, of course). The pair strike every chord in regards to their teams’ attacking moves, and their authority and influence on games has been decisive. In the case of Andrés Iniesta, it’s been a repossession of form in the midst of personal strife off the field, making his consistency all the more magnificent, with an incredible recent WhoScored rating of 9.3 against Osasuna a particular highlight. In the rout, he was chief destructor (Messi aside), weighing in with a goal and a couple of assists. Given the decline of Xavi’s influence - both physically and tactically - in recent times, Iniesta conducting the beat that Barça march to has become integral to their chances of success. 


Match Focus: Key Areas Analysed Ahead of Crucial Upcoming Clásico


Meanwhile, Luka Modric has established himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe under Ancelotti, and his 59.5 passes per game is bettered by only Xabi Alonso in the centre of the park. With that, he also makes 1.5 key passes per game too, picking up 6 assists, showing he can play it simple and keep things ticking over while also striking an incisive pass.


How the teams set about stopping their opposing playmaker might well be the most important aspect of the game, especially given the connection each player has with the players that will provide the greatest goalscoring threats. Otherwise, the stability provided by Xabi Alonso and Xavi is still a key facet and while both may not be at a physical peak, they provide familiarity in these games - they know how to approach them better than most. Their mental impact, will be as decisive as a technical one.


Ronaldo and Messi


Just like his team, Ronaldo comes into the game in marginally better form. Still however, there were glimpses of the old Messi in the game against Osasuna – the spark was there again. His three goals there took him to 18 for the season in La Liga, slightly behind his Portuguese rival’s haul of 25 in the same competition (but Messi missed a few games through injury). Messi’s fitness and lack of continuity have stuttered his ability to reach peak performance, while the demands placed upon him when available are extreme. No longer is Messi a final third a player, instead he’s a base player for the beginning of Barça attacks – despite this he has scored 22% of his teams goals. It’s up to someone like Alonso to stub this base play out, leaving Pepe and co. the rest. 


Ronaldo, meanwhile, has stood aside for no one despite the arrival of Bale. Instead his contribution has been maintained. His aggression and desire for goals is astounding, and a 32% contribution emphasises his continuing dominance. Ronaldo can play on the periphery and come alive when required, Messi meanwhile will have to run his team from start to finish.


Who do you think will win this weekend's Clásico? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

Comments (13)

  • messi hat trick!!!

  • Eagerly waiting , just 17 hrs to go.. Nice preview.. btw predicting clasico is like finding needle in the sand regardless Real are favourites...

  • हे सामनाधिकारी परिणाम घडविणारे डायविंग, भ्रष्टाचार, फसवणूक, कर फसवणूक त्यांच्या पापांची भरपाई करण्यासाठी बार्सिलोना वेळ आहे. Hala माद्रिद

  • i can hardly wait, it will be a great match

  • Cant wait ! This is the chance to kill off the league.

  • fc 10

  • @commandozap Real has better midfield? hahahahahah

  • Real has a better midfield , better defense (excluding lopez) , equal attack , they should nail this , its time to show wannabies the REAL CLASS

  • @madridista94 - It should be more if we really want the la decima

  • Can't wait, I hope it would be a thrilling match

  • Iniesta is actually underperforming this season (by his standards, ofcourse)

  • real will win this match. 3-2.

  • huuuuuge clasico! Can't wait!


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Jarvis Carlos Martinez Ezequiel Lavezzi Diego Sercan Sararer Dani Hernandez Fábio Coentrão Alex McCarthy Josip Ilicic Leon Balogun Paul Baysse Vitória Matthew Lowton Pablo Zabaleta Ashley Williams Paul Scholes Simon Pouplin Daniel Carvajal Chico Stefan Savic Maarten Stekelenburg Ruben Castro Imanol Agirretxe Arouna Kone Antolin Alcaraz Jonny Evans Nacho Damia Jakub Blaszczykowski Giampaolo Pazzini Adam Le Fondre Michu Victor Valdes Andrés Fernandez Nigel Adkins Mattia De Sciglio Nelson Valdez Cañas Víctor Sánchez Deportivo Mallorca German Denis Giacomo Bonaventura Marco Borriello Jean Beausejour Gary O'Neil Jose Antonio Reyes Thomas Mangani Dorlan Pabon Gabby Agbonlahor Vieirinha Cristian Molinaro Diego Lopez Freiburg Eintracht Frankfurt Raphaël Varane Pedro Mba Obiang Brandao Ilkay Gundogan Bayern Leverkusen Malaga Ilkay Gündoğan Pizzi Riki Jan Mucha Mathis Bolly Maynor Figueroa Craig Gardner Marko Basa Mirko Vucinic Steven Taylor Inigo Martinez Leon Osman Man City Bologna Ben Foster John Ruddy Patric Evra Matija Nastasic Javi Garcia Lucas Moura Michel Bastos Roberto Di Matteo John Arne Riise Gareth McAuley Innocent Emeghara Siena Carlos Cuellar Javier Zanetti Michele Canini Zdenek Pospech Sergio Garcia Damien Duff Yoan Gouffran Giuseppe Biava Hilton Nicola Legrottaglie Magno Macedo Novaes Daniel Aranzubia Antonio Conte Andrea Ranocchia per Mertesacker Manucho Leo Nils Petersen Cyril Thereau Adam Szalai Pavel Pogrebnyak Roman Neustadter Daniele Conti Milan Badelj Gerhard Tremmel Daniel Agger Kyle Nauhgton Zoltan Gera Brett Holman Adriano Joe Allen Youssuf Mulumbu Premier League. Luis Suarez Federico Peluso Jamel Saihi Gustavo Cabral Wakaso Daniele Gastaldello Danilo David Pizarro loris Nery Hugo Mallo Gotoku Sakai Andre Wisdom Andre Schürrle Mousa Dembélé Hamburger SV Rafael van der Vaart Rene Adler Sean Morrison Juan Jesus Frederik Sorensen Nicolas Isimat-Mirin Joel Matip Barry Bannan Nicky Shorey Luca Cigarini Andrea Consigli Jordan Ayew Carl Medjani Ricardo Faty Jerome Rothen Takashi Inui Takashi Usami Steven Pienaar Tolgay Arslan Loris Nery Wissam Ben Yeder Angelo Ogbonna Yoann Gouffran Marc Planus Ludovic Obraniak Emanuel Herrera Anthony Mounier Daniel Congre Pablo Hernandez Arda Gueida Fofana Arnold Mvuemba Steed Malbranque Nuri Sahin Kwadwo Asamoah Christian Maggio Henri Saivet Massadio Haidara Jean-Christophe Bahebeck Mladen Petric Real Betis Riccardo Montolivo Lucio Christophe Jallet Gokhan Inler Ilkay Gundogan Marvin Martin Steeve Elana Alain Traore Renaud Cohade Geoffrey Dernis Daniel Avles Patrick Helmes Raobin van Persie Pablo Armero Rondon Fabio Borini Patrick Herrmann Jonathan Scmid Kostantinos Fortounis Vincent Pajot Josua Guilavogui Idrissa Gana Gueye Ezequiel Munoz Nene Oliver Sorg Davide Brivio Sebastian Larsson Franceso Totti Tom Trybull M'Baye Niang Jean Daniel Akpa Akpro Matias Silvestre Euro 2012 Olof Mellberg Crisitano Ronaldo Alvaro Arbeloa Sebastian Boenisch Alan Dzagoev Andrey Arshavin Michael Krohn-Dehli Vaclav Pilar Theodor Gebre Selassie Gordon Schildenfeld Greece Miguel Veloso Mark Davies David Hoilett Santiago Garcia Marco Rignoni Vicente Guaita Michael Rensing Paul Robinson Fabien Audard Thomas Vermaelen Younes Belhanda Aurelien Chedjou Nancy St. Etienne Lukas Piszczek Dante Gijon Claudio Pizzaro Racing Santander Jonas Hannover Santander Claudio Pizarro Cesena David Jarolim Joe Cole Moussa Dembele Yakubu Javier Hernandez Leon Best Benat Kaiserslautern Christian Tiffert Paolo De Ceglie Federico Balzaretti Jeremey Menez Juan MGladbach Andreas Ivanschitz Jires Kembo-Ekoko Guillaume Hoarau Florent Malouda Steve Gohouri Kenwyne Jones Lecce Stephen Ireland Jakub Blaszcykowski Christian Fuchs Sloan Privat Abraham Guie Guie Louis Saha Martin Harnik German Bundesliga Grant Holt Ali Al-Habsi Ludovic Sane Aldo Angoula Younes Kaboul Brest Marcelo Stiliyan Petrov mathieu Valbuena Tono Ramirez Gianluca Buffon Emile Heskey John Utaka Markus Rosenborg Marko Arnautovic Jonathan Biabiany Andrea Caracciolo Evian Thonon Gaillard Mohammed Abdellaoue Dijon Anton Ferdinand Betting Eric Mouloungui Cedric Bakambu Gregory Pujol Eduardo Ribeiro Sebastien Larsson Nolan Roux Bradley Johnson Jamie O'Hara Wes Brown Jason Lowe Jose Enrique Anders Lindegaard Mark Schwarzer Cheik Tiote Alberto Aquilani Danny Murphy Martin O'Neill Modibo Maiga OGC Nice Perparim Hetemaj Alejandro Faurlin Leon Britton Antonio Nocerino Maximiliano Moralez Claudio Marchisio Marco Rigoni Simone Pepe Heidar Helguson Mark Gower Blackburn Emanuele Calaiò Zlatan Ibrahimović Germán Denis Jose Jurado Nicolas Anelka Edgar Barreto Alexandre Song Shaun Wright-Phillips Nicolas Maurice-Belay Jhon Jairo Culma Kevin Anin Sebastien Corchia Kevin Theophile-Catherine FC Cologne Julien Feret Jaroslav Plasil Yann Jouffre Tomas Rincon Kevin Davies Giampiero Pinzi Tamas Hajnal Camel Meriem Frederic Bulot AS Nancy Gabriel Torje Lynel Kitambala Florent Sinama-Pongolle Idriss Saadi Oscar Trejo Botelho Juanlu Axel Bellinghausen Gonzalo Castro Andrea Cossu Marcel Schafer Marco Hoger Timothy Chandler Bolton Wanderers Ivan Klasnic Paris St Germain Wolverhampton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Javi Varas Blackburn Rovers Stephan Lichtsteiner Anotnio Cassano Scott Sinclair Nenad Milijas Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Luis Gustavo Ruud van Nistelrooy Benoit Cheyrou Lucho Gonzalez League Analysis Walter Samuel Christian Chivu AS Roma Stephen Warnock Martin Kelly Gary Caldwell Karl Henry Kevin Doyle England National Football Team Javi Venta Vicente Iborra Sergio Ballesteros Bobby Zamora Jonas Gutierrez Dariusz Dudka Youssouf Hadji Christian Abbiati Alvaro Dominguez Phil Neville Senad Lulic Filip Daems Ezequiel Schelotto Victor Ruiz Jonathan Pereira Anthony Reveillere Santiago Gentiletti Cheikh Diabate Nicolas Spolli Luciano Fabian Monzon Mauricio Isla Ignazio Abate Titus Bramble Leroy Lita Christian Lell Philipp Wollscheid Milivoje Novakovic Tottenhman Hotspur Johan Cavalli Eliseu Serdar Tasci Ryan Babel Aleksandar Ignjovski Chechu Dorado Djamel Mesbah Arsenal Swansea Ashely Williams Piscu Eden Dzeko Emmerson Boyce Auxerre Phil Bardsley Jose Bosingwa Gretar Steinsson Mattia Cassani Jonathan Woodgate Germany National Football Team Gasperini Mauro Zarate Diego Forlan Estaban Cambiasso Juraj Kucka Marco Faraoni Joel Obi Benedikt Howedes Clemens Fritz Chris Lowe Daniel van Buyten Albania Yann M’Vila Baptiste Reynet Angelo Palombo Eric Tie Bi Chris Mavinga Aaron Hughes Chris Baird Raul Aly Cissokho Alessandro Del Piero France National Football Team Marc Tierney Bundelsiga Raul Bobadilla Loric Remy Jean Pascal Mignot Mainz 05 Schalke 04 Marcel Risse Steven Reid Danny Gabbidon Michal Kadlec Paulo Machado Ben Watson Spain National Football Team German National Football Team Bundeslgia Ricardo Carvalho Ivan Ramis Diego Colotto Sergio Fernandez Sere A Cesare Bovo Miguel Britos Bostjan Cesar Jose Angel Gabriel Heinze Chris Samba Charles N'Zogbia Yohan Demont Rod Fanni Rudy Mater Georgios Tzavellas Javier Pinola Dennis Aogo Daniel Schwaab Attacking Full-Backs Defensive Wingers 2010/11 Attacking Wingers Nicolas Douchez Under-21 Team of Season 2010-11 Maxi Rodriguez Crossing Wingers Under-21 Team of Season All-Round Midfielders Benoit Pedretti Rising Stars Kyle Walker Gaetano D'Agostino Centre Backs Paulo Da Silva Ivan Hernandez Eric Abidal Weligton Borja Ekiza Alassane Toure Stephane Grichting Jordan Loties Kader Mangane Adama Coulibaly Pedro Geromel Neven Subotic Christian Zapata Roger Johnson Stephan Lichsteiner Reto Ziegler David Vaughan Seb Larsson Asamoah Gyan Benoit Pedretti Anthony Mounier Simao Duda Alvaro Cejudo Xabi Prieto Alexsandar Kolarov Guiseppe Mascara Simone Bentivoglio Fernando Marques Gian Piero Gasperin Thomas Hitzlsperger Rafael Van der Vaart Theofanis Gekas Gerard Asamoah Youssef Al Arabi Lisandro Loric Remy Victor Hugo Montano Edison Cavani Sergio Pellissier David Di Michele Steward Downing Spain Under 21 Felipe Caicedo Pierre Webo Youssef El-Arabi Brown Ideye Mobido Maiga Chu-Young Robin Van Persie Kevin Gamerio Udinese. Alexis Sanchez Sami Allagui Frédéric Kanouté Renato Augusto Jonathan Pitropia Eljero Elia Ivo Llicevic Diego Perez Alvaro González Abel Hernandez David VIlla Marcel Schmelzer Danijel Pranjic Holger Badstuber Sven Bender Johan Djourou Darren Fletcher Carlos Kameni Thiago Silve Antonia Di Natale Cristiano Zapata Domenico Criscito Luis Jimenez Josep Ilicic Samuel Eto’o Alexis Thébaux Ludovic Sané Mamouda Sakho Boukary Dramé Daniel Alves Nikolay Mihaylov Charles Puyol Ji-Sung Park Edwin van der Sar Dani Alves John O’Shea Park Ji-Jung Gabi Fernandez Jonathan de Guzman Michael Owen Gary Taylor-Fletcher Ian Evatt DJ Campbell Charles N’Zogbia Wolverhampton Avram Grant Conor Sammon Wayne Bridge Rob Green Victor Obinna Mike Hanke Borussia Munchengladbach VfL Bochum Tomasz Kuszczak Martin Olsson Brett Emerton Steven N’Zonzi Muset Ozil Gianpaolo Pazzini Leonardo Seydou Keita Miguel Pallardo Ibrahim Afellay Valdo Pallardo Damien Perquis Luka Modrid David SIlva Benoit Assou-Ekotto Vedran Corluka Saloman Kalou Clarence Seedorf Matteo Brighi Fabio Simplicio Rodrigo Taddei Mark Van Bommel Gennaro Gattuso Kevin Prince-Boateng Nicolas Burdisso Elkin Soto Pep Gaurdiola Antonio da Silva Robert Mak Heurelho Gomes Andre Marriner Pinto Alavro Arbeloa Alexander Hleb

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