It’s that time of the year again when the whole world will stop for 90 minutes to witness a game full of passion, class, drama, action and the tactical genius of the two masterminds managing their favorite clubs. It is going to be a game of chess between the legend of Zinedine Zidane and the treble winner Luis Enrique. Both would like to field XI of their best pieces on the board and protect their kingdom.
With Barca already trailing Real Madrid by 6 points for the first time in 13 years, there won’t be a better opportunity for Zidane and his men to bring the League back home. Luis Enrique may have his job on the line if he fails to impress on Saturday. After a horrible performance against Real Sociedad at Anoeta, he luckily grabbed a point out of the game. Zidane and his troops would like to build a 9 point gap which almost is going to kill the last ray of hope for Barcelona to retain the league title.
Let’s check out who has got his best pieces intact and who’s going to miss his best players down on the pitch when Real Madrid take on FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium on the third of December for the El Clasico.
Real Madrid CF
Real Madrid have been through a lot of injury trouble recently and haven’t been able to field their best XI, who started the Champions League final last season even once so far this season. Real already have Toni Kroos, Alvaro Morata, and Gareth Bale ruled out for the game. But, the squad’s immense depth and Zidane’s amazing tactics has helped the Los Blancos cope up without much trouble.
Mateo Kovacic has been a revelation this season since Casemiro has got injured. The Croat has started 90% of the Madrid’s matches. Kovacic was one of the main reasons Real Madrid thrashed Atletico at Calderon. Kovacic with his amazing speed and the ability to find little pockets of space kept troubling the Atletico defense all night and helped Real Madrid beat that intense Atletico Madrid press with ease.
Gareth Bale is ruled out for at least 3 months and that’s going to be a huge loss for Real Madrid as his pace down the right wing would have been a really good asset to hit Barcelona on the counter. Fabio Coentrao is a doubt as well after getting a knock in the training. Raphael Varane is set to return after hurting his knee against Sporting. The major boost for Real Madrid have been the timely return of Pepe and Casemiro to the squad and both will play a part in the Saturday’s El Clasico.
Real Madrid do have a lot of injury issues but one can’t rule them out just yet, if they can put 3 past an Atletico side without Kroos, Pepe, Ramos, and Benzema they can easily go past Barca with the squad they have in hand.
The Catalan side have fewer injury problems as compared to their arch rivals. Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba are the main doubts for the game. Iniesta somehow has recovered fast and is set to make to the squad but, probably is not going to make the starting lineup. Jordi Alba seems to be the major doubt for the Clasico as he hurt his knee again against Sociedad. The Spanish left back was about to be taken off and Lucas Digne was all stripped and ready to come on. However, the Left Back continued and consequently was forced to miss the training on Monday and tests are being carried out.
The absence of Jordi Alba can affect a lot as his pace is a big asset down the left to track back during counter attacks and to trouble the opposition defense. Arda Turan who missed the game at Anoeta due to fever is set to return to the squad as well.
Clearly, Barcelona have almost a full squad while, on the other hand, their arch rivals are somewhat depleted. Nonetheless, Madrid know how to cope and would still provide a tough challenge to Blaugrana side. It’s going to be a cracker of an El Clasico game and may just decide the league title. Can Barcelona stop the high flying Madrid and their unbeaten run of 32 games or will it be the Royal Whites putting a daylight between their arch rivals?