The majority of the football-obsessed world will be anxiously watching their television screens come Saturday as Real Madrid and Barcelona prepare to face each other in the first Classico of the season in a match that can be literally described as the clash of the titans. Both teams will walk onto the pitch in great form and both will be looking to win.
The previous weeks haven't been very kind to the 2010-2011 Spanish Champions. Barcelona have dropped a couple important points which means that they are now three points behind league leaders Real Madrid having played one game more. However, the Catalans have picked themselves up in a dramatic fashion, crushing Levante 5-0 in the league as well as sweeping aside Bate Borisov 4-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday. They will be hoping to continue to ride this momentum into the match. If Barcelona edge out Madrid come Saturday, both teams will be tied at the top with Los Blancos having a game in hand. But if Barcelona lose this Classico, they could be on their way to being nine points off their rivals.
However midfielder Xavi played down the impact of a loss to the press earlier:
"If we did not win, there would still be many points. There will be no final verdict[...]Madrid are doing well, with 11 straight wins in the league [...] The advantage means they are currently better, but the Clasico is not about ranking. Anything can happen."
The Spanish national speaks true. We're still not even half-way through the season, but to be honest falling so far behind Madrid in a league where the top two rarely drop points could put a serious dent in their title hopes. Fortunately, salvaging a few points isn't going to be easy against the current Real Madrid side.
Mourinho's side have been in spectacular form over the last couple weeks. The team hasn't give up a single point in the Champions League (qualifying a third of the way through) as well as going unbeaten throughout 11 match-days in the Spanish Primera Division. Los Blancos have strengthened their defense, conceding ten so far in the league, and ruthless finishing means they have scored 49 goals (two more than Barcelona) in only fourteen La Liga matches. Real Madrid has also fine-tuned their counter attack to arguably the best in Europe, transitioning from defense to offense in a matter of seconds. Now add this to having their fans behind them and you get a formidable Madrid side.
Both side are as evenly matched as you can get, with both extremely motivated and heading into the match in stunning form. Real Madrid will take the pitch as slight favorites but Barcelona are going to be highly motivated, and with former Arsenal Cesc Fabregas thriving as a false nine the Catalans are going to be a tough opponent. These two teams are probably the best around right now (Manchester United fans cannot argue this anymore) so you can be expecting a highly contested match in Spain's capitol. Hopefully Madrid can pull through this one. Hala Madrid!
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