The biggest match on the planet is now just hours away and history says that it never disappoints. Saturday’s contest at Santiago Bernabeau will be a must win match for Los Blancos as they are already eleven points behind the table toppers.
The first thing to consider for both is their respective midfields, with each side likely to be keen on minimising any risk in such an important game.
Barcelona will seek to invite Real Madrid forward, opening up bigger spaces behind the midfield and defence which they can take advantage of with their quick and intricate one-two passing.
For this purpose Casemiro has to perform at his best. Casemiro was a driving force behind Madrid’s triumphs last season and he remains too important to leave out of the team, even if he has not quite hit those standards in 2017-18. Sergio Busquets still looks untouchable in the Barca side but there is little doubt he is growing more dependent on extra cover either side when playing against better opponents.
Barca will look to dominate possession in the match especially in midfield. Toni Kroos’ brilliance in possession has not been quite as clear this season, with just a few too many big matches rather passing him by. Andres Iniesta has not always had a big part to play for Barca, despite being captain, but recent standing ovations away from home against Juventus and Valencia underline the quality he still has.Croatia should consider themselves blessed to have Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric in their midfield. Rakitic looked close to leaving under Luis Enrique but has re-established his place in the Barca starting XI, while there has been no better central midfielder than Modric anywhere in the world over last 18 months. Real’s winning and losing so much depends on the magician Luka Modric.
One midfielder which is performing above everyone’s expectation is Paulinho. He faced lot of criticism when barca signed him but he answered his critics on the pitch and he has more goals than any other midfielder in la liga currently. It’ll be the first ever El Clasico for Brazilian and he’ll try to prove himself in big matches.
Midfield is like heartbeat of the team. The contest is highly regarded as Messi vs Ronaldo but the result of El Clasico will mostly depend on the performance of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the middle of the park.