Real can’t afford to lose in El Clasico

Real Madrid will go it tonight’s top of the table clash with bitter rivals Barcelona hoping that lightening does not strike twice. 

Real Madrid will go it tonight’s top of the table clash with bitter rivals Barcelona hoping that lightening does not strike twice. 

The fact that they’re at home and the squad on fire after scoring in the last ten matches a minimum of 3 goals in every match, you wouldn’t bet against a home win.

Real will probably win this one. Even though Barcelona may be slightly the favourites, Madrid will be the ones who need it more and that would mean they will most probably try harder than usual or at least than last season when they were beaten home and away.

After going out of all the other competitions, La Liga is their last chance for a trophy and losing to Barcelona tonight is most likely losing that chance. In the end, it isn’t going to be pretty for the Galacticos and whoever is connected to the club.

However, unlike last season when Barcelona were looking invincible which resulted in a 6-2 win at the Santiago Bernabeu, the situation is pretty different this time round.

Much as the champions are looking strong and in the mood to beat anyone, Madrid are not only top of the table, albeit on goal difference but have the best home record in the league.

Madrid are in stunning form, having won their last 12 league matches and boasting a perfect home record with 15 victories out of 15 this season. They have also netted 83 goals in total - eight more than the European champions.

However, Madrid were in similarly good form going into last season’s corresponding fixture, which was also a vital game in the title race but ended up being one of the most painful in the club’s famous history.

Madrid will be desperate to avoid a repeat showing this time. Their faithful will urge that there has been a big change since last season’s humiliation. There are new players, a new coach and, above all, a great run of victories that have given them a lot of confidence.

Last season’s corresponding fixture ended up all but deciding the title - Barca clinched the league a fortnight later without kicking a ball after Madrid lost to Villarreal.

But like I put it last week, tonight’s game will not be the defining match of this season’s race.

It’s a vital game for both teams, but not decisive. None the less, winning a Clasico gives the winning side morale boost for the games that follow. After tonight, there are 21 points to play for. The loser has enough games remaining to catch up just in case the winner slips up.

Like Madrid, Barcelona are also flying at present with seven wins in their last eight league games while they also progressed through to the semi-finals of the Champions League this week with a hugely impressive 6-3 aggregate win over English side Arsenal.

That victory kept Pep Guardiola’s side on course to retain their European crown - one of six titles the Catalan club won last season - and their confidence will be sky-high heading to the Bernabeu.

With skipper Puyol and his central defensive partner Gerard Pique returning to the starting team after missing the win over of Arsenal through suspension as well as Iniesta back to full fitness, you’d struggle to find many weaknesses in the Barca team.

But Madrid will be hoping to expose even the few that could be found.  They have the ability to do that.
Argentinean forward Higuain has scored 24 league goals, two less goals than top scorer Messi and will not only be looking to add to his tally tonight but also lead his team to maximum points.

Messi has been in phenomenal form this season and his four-goal salvo in Tuesday’s 4-1 Champions League defeat of Arsenal took his tally to 39 in all competitions.

The sub-plot that everyone will be looking to in tonight’s Clasico is the battle for supremacy between Messi and Madrid’s £80million man Cristiano Ronaldo, two players who are rated by many as the best on the world.

Messi is the man stealing all the headlines at the minute but Ronaldo could win the battle.

Messi is having a phenomenal season as he did last season; he’s in great form and justified his status as the best player in the world now. Ronaldo has struck 18 goals in 21 league appearances since his world record move from Manchester United last summer.

They are two great players, among the best in the world. Both of them decide matches and hopefully tonight the world will have the chance to judge who is better.

nku78@yahoo.com

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