Who will win the El Clasico?
FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF
Pep Guardiola v Jose Mourinho
Messi v Ronaldo
Who would the game belong to?
Camp Nou will host Real Madrid tonight in the El Clasico that will decide the league winners of this season. Tactically, Mourinho and Guardiola are masters, however, the latter has enjoyed success in all the clasicos in recent times. Guardiola has never lost to Real Madrid as a manager in La Liga. The Los Blancos, however, has an upperhand as they lead the Catalans by four points. With five games to go including the Clasico and a tough game against Bielsa' Bilbao in the San Mames, things are not easy for the Los Merengues.
Guardiola has already commented that he has to win the game tonight or the league will belong to Real Madrid. So, he would be determined to attack the full ninety minutes. Real Madrid would follow their usual idea of pressing high up the pitch in the first fifteen minutes when Barcelona are vulnerable and then slowly fall back and defend deep. Mourinho would use his three-men-at-the-midfield strategy to control the center midfield. Pepe had been a prefered choice in the last few seasons, however, Jose might use Granero or Diarra to let Pepe control the defence.
Barcelona would like to have better involvement from their wingers and hope that the goal scoring responsibility is not just assigned to Leo Messi. The other natural scorer, Sanchez, is out injured and might not start the game. Cuenca or Fabregas would be another option, however, they are not goal threat for the Madrid defence. Guardiola might ask Dani Alves to push high and create problems to Madrid's weak left-back. Usually, Cristiano Ronaldo's high speed runs down the left flank leaves empty space behind him which the attacking left-back Marcelo doesn't cover, Guardiola would want Alves to exploit this gap and play in a few crosses and through balls to Messi or Cuenca.
This could make Mourinho start with Marcelo at the back and leave Coentrao to go wide in the left flank adding more cover to Marcelo, however, Mourinho would be well aware that it did not work well against Bayern as both Marcelo and Coentrao were repeatedly beaten by an attacking Lahm and Robben.
The game might see Real Madrid waiting for a mistake from Barcelona and trying to capitalize on that and manage to score a goal and try to hang on to that lead, however, if Barcelona scores first Los Blancos would need to send in Kaka or Ozil to play a more attacking role.
The game could be decided on who exploits the weakness of the other team better.
One of the La Liga managers said "Barcelona makes you inferior... they never allow you to touch the ball... you are forced to drop deep and protect yourself...
With Real Madrid you get the ball, you attack, you play... and.. that's when they score.
Barcelona dances around.. with precise passes.. technically stylish.. but, Real Madrid will beat you to a pulp !!"
The El Clasico is here. Yet again.