As we all know, the biggest game in club football occurs tomorrow when Barcelona host Real Madrid. Depending on the person, the fixture symbolises alternative things. For some, it is Republicanism versus Monarchism, while others regard it as Spain versus Catalonia but for me it is simply footballing juggernaut versus a fellow footballing juggernaut.
Going into the game, Barcelona will begin as favourites owing to their sublime form. Messi, Suarez and Neymar are linking up brilliantly together and with Iniesta and Rakitic offering further ammunition, it will be a tall order for the Madrid defence tomorrow to maintain a clean sheet.
More impressively, Barcelona’s defence has been stern and unyielding as of late. This is of great surprise to leading pundits due to last season’s struggles. Ultimately tomorrow’s game is Barca’s to lose as they are a team utterly united. And Messi is seemingly in blistering form, something that eluded him last season.
Real Madrid’s build-up has been far from ideal. An unimpressive 2-0 victory against a relegation candidate may have lifted morale slightly but recent losses to Bilbao and Schalke remain in the minds of onlookers. Also, Ronaldo at times looks uninterested coupled with his inability to make a positive impact. He missed two sitters last weekend; something which you cannot say too often.
Meanwhile team harmony in general is low, this is nothing new as Mourinho led a divided team two years ago but Ancelotti was said to have dispelled this. Much of the blame for Madrid’s poor showings have been attributed to Modric’s absence.
Well, he is back now, so Madrid fans cannot use that as an excuse. Unfortunately for Real, their midfield three with or without Modric is simply not as strong as Barca’s on or off the ball. Suarez drops deep frequently meaning picking up possession will be strenuous for the away side tomorrow. With Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo all unwilling to track back, one envisages only one outcome.
Ultimately I predict a 3-1 victory for Barcelona tomorrow. While Ronaldo and Bale could always raise their game for the occasion, I just feel a feeling of doom has set in among certain key players and facing a superior footballing side will only equate to further agony. I am also expecting a Real Madrid red card tomorrow as all the frustration built up of late will surely erupt soon, why not tomorrow?