El Classico Panel preview

April 2, 2016 4:35 pm

With the biggest match in Spanish football hours away from Kick Off, we asked our writers, who would be winning this “Clash of Titans” match at the Camp Nou. Here’s what they had to say ahead of the big kick off


Gaurav Rao: El Classico is arguably the greatest match in football. For the showdown at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona are clear favourites heading into the game. They possess the greatest attack in football, with the same players capable of providing for the team as well. The trio are 2nd, 3rd, 4th in La Liga scoring and 1st,2nd,3rd in Liga assists. Their midfields are more equal, while Madrid have some young dynamic player such as Isco, Kroos and Rodriguez, Barcelona can call on Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic and Turan and the emerging Sergi Roberto. At the same time, the defence of FC Barcelona has been more reliable, shutting out opponents 13 times to the 10 of Real Madrid. Barcelona’s Bravo has made more saves than Navas. It’s all set for a Catalan win at the Camp Nou

Verdict: FC Barcelona



Ishaan Dube: It is often argued how the current Barca team is better than the one Pep Guardiola managed a few years ago but one aspect this Barca side have missed desperately is the presence of a dependable centre-back. They’ve failed to replace Puyol since he hung up his boots and their defensive frailties have been evident all season.

This aspect of Barca’s game could hold the key to Los Blancos stealing a win at Camp Nou but only if they’re up for the fight. Real Madrid have had their share of problems with the work rate of the team terribly out of sync. For Madrid to have any chance of beating the Blaugrana, they’d have to put in a different shift altogether. They’ll have to defend as a unit and if they do so successfully keeping Barca at bay then they’ll have to be clinical enough to take their chances.

Real usually start without an out-&-out defensive midfielder which costs them time and time again on the counter. But the disconnect between the midfielders and ‘BBC’ would have to be sorted with the front three dropping back to defend together as a team. Not having a defensive midfielder and still going all out attack will be a terrible decision as Barca would then make a meal out of Real. But Los Blancos do possess the ingredients to hand Barca their first defeat since mid-October.

Verdict: Real Madrid



Rajat Mohile: The synchronization of Madrid’s attacking trio, especially Bale and Benzema, will be vital in countering the consummate sync of the Catalan trio of MSN. In the midfield, Kroos, Rodriguez, Isco have the ability to constantly keep Barca’s defenders on their toes and Modric’s presence at the base of the midfield will be crucial as Ramos is highly doubtful for the game. But Varane and Pepe have proven that they are equally capable in the centre of the defence. Marcelo and Danilo or Carvajal too can wreak havoc down the flanks as and when required.  Navas has already shown that he is a worthy successor to Casillas. The Los Blancos, especially BBC, need to replicate their La Decima winning form. This is where Zidane comes into picture. He must do what Ancelotti did if Madrid want to salvage their pride and also their hopes for being in the race for the title.

Verdict: Real Madrid



Ananya Das: Whereas I do understand that Real Madrid have been scoring a lot of goals for fun in the La Liga this season , they have had a lot of draws away from home barring a few big wins and Barcelona away is going to be completely different . Stars like Ronaldo and Bale have to perform in order to keep up with the frightening front 3 of MSN. Barcelona could extend their lead to 13 points over Real Madrid and this would be Zidane’s biggest test yet . Zidane only has one injury to worry about and that is Rafael Varane, but he can easily call on the services of Pepe who could as easily have a blinder of a game or can get himself sent off.  While Barcelona were without Messi in their 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid earlier this season, Luis Enrique will be happy to have his star man completely fit . Jeremy Mathieu is a definite miss and I think Javier Mascherano will slot straight into Center Back. Barcelona will also have one eye on the UEFA Champions League match against Atletico Madrid on the 6th , but knowing both teams,  this is the match that matters . But during the big games the form book goes out of the window . It will be based on who performs well during the 90 minutes of the match and with the Camp Nou crowd cheering for them , I could well see Barcelona win easily .

Verdict: FC Barcelona





Abhimanyu Bose : I believe Barcelona will walk away with a comfortable victory. Madrid have been in good form but this will be the first time Zinedine Zidane will be managing the team in a match of this magnitude and Barcelona are on a hot streak. Madrid had hopes with Iniesta, Rakitic and Busquets all being doubts, but with their prime midfield back in training and able backup being available in the form of Arda Turan and Sergi Roberto, who put in a brilliant performance at the Bernabeu, Barcelona will look to dominate the midfield again.

Real Madrid will be looking to hit the Catalans on the counter, but they will find it very hard to outscore the Barca strike force of Messi, Suarez and Neymar. It may not be the demolition that took place earlier on in the season, but I don’t think Madrid have enough about them to cause an upset.

Verdict: FC Barcelona



Nirmitk Tripathi: This is an El Clasico which will be charged with emotions. On one side, the Catalans will play to honour their departed legend and hero, Johan Cruyff, while on the other side, the Madridistas will look to exact revenge for the 4-0 humiliation last November. Statistically speaking, Real Madrid has a forgettable record in El Clasicos under debutant managers. The last time a Madrid manager won his debut El Clasico was back in 2007. Juande Ramos lost. Manuel Pelligrini lost. Mourinho was battered. Ancelotti lost and Rafa Benitez was annhiliated. Tactically, Barca will play with heavy possession and overload the midfield. They’ll widen the play with MSN and the Madrid defense will need to be on their toes throughout. It’s Barca’s match to lose. Camp Nou, top of the table, experienced manager and emotionally charged. The ingredients are perfect for a trademark, mesmerizing Barca show. But underestimating a rampant Bale and, Modric, the man of guile and technique, will be catastrophic. Zidane has not given anyone a reason to question his managerial skills. But this will be his first true litmus test. Going for a 3-1 Barca win. But Ronaldo and Messi are players who can turn the Match on their heads, individually. It’s certainly going to be a match to watch

Verdict: FC Barcelona


Final Tally
FC Barcelona : 4
Real Madrid : 2

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