Barcelona are set to travel to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium to take on an in-form Real Madrid in the Spanish league this evening.
Barcelona have a mountain to climb ahead of them as the Catalans travel to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium to take on Real Madrid in La Liga. The fixture can be described as a potential title decider as Atletico Madrid’s form continues to plummet leaving the title race wide open for Real and Barca.
The Blaugrana are currently placed second in the league and are shy of just a single point from becoming league leaders. Meanwhile, Los Blancos are sitting third on the table and are two points below their arch-rivals. With that being said, the El Clasico tonight is a must-win fixture for either side in their contention to win the Spanish League title.
Barcelona have been steamrolling in La Liga since their last defeat to Cadiz in December last year. Since then, the Catalans have gone on an unbeaten streak of 19 games in the league. On the flip side, Real Madrid also seem to have found their rhythm after tactically outclassing Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the Champions League which has seen their unbeaten run extend to 12 games now.
While both the teams seem to be in their best form, Real Madrid have the upper hand in terms of past meetings. The Blaugrana have failed to win their last two El Clasico fixtures after losing 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu followed by a 1-3 loss at the Camp Nou.
With that being said, Ronald Koeman will certainly look to end Madrid’s dominance. The Dutch tactician is expected to play his preferred 3-5-2 formation tonight. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start in goal as the German goalkeeper has been ever reliable for his side against Real Madrid.
The back three would see Frenkie de Jong, Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza as the central defenders. In the five-man midfield, Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest will act as the wing-backs to provide support the attack and defence through the flanks. Both the full-backs have managed to refind the form since the start of the new year and are expected to trouble the opposition’s backline.
In the centre of the midfield, Koeman is expected to play Sergio Busquets and Pedri as the two holding midfielders. The former has been below par this season and could be a weak link for Zinedine Zidane to exploit in the midfield battle. However, the versatility and brilliance of Pedri could be a cause for concern for Los Blancos. The youngster has the ability to contribute equally well on either side of the field due to his ball-progression skill and effective work rate.
Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann are expected to form the attacking trident. Messi has been in blissful form since the start of the new year and will be looking to extend his league goal tally of 23 goals against his favourite opponent.
Meanwhile, Dembele has redeemed himself this season under Ronald Koeman and has somehow managed to keep fit for the majority of the season while also being productive in the final third. Antoine Griezmann on the other had a fantastic international break with France scoring two goals in the World Cup qualifiers. The former Atletico Madrid striker could make use of the hot form he has been in lately in front of goal.