The stage is set at the Santiago Bernabeu for EL Clasico as the two powerhouses in La Liga square up against each other. Barcelona will be going into the game with a badly bruised ego having lost a two legged clasico to Real Madrid when they won the Spanish Super Cup in August. One can excuse the Barcelona side at the time as the team lost of one it’s key players, Neymar Junior.
FC Barcelona have overcome that setback, they occupy the top position on the league table and lead Real Madrid with a eleven points going into this clasico. The Blaugrana aren’t playing at their best but they are yet to lose a game this season in all competitions, the only team to do so amongst the top five leagues in Europe.
Barcelona will approach the game with high expectation and a good feeling having demolished Deportivo La Coruna over the weekend by four goals. The squad will miss the service of Samuel Umtiti who has been sidelined by a hamstring for eight weeks but, Thomas Vermaelen has held his own and this will be his first clasico as a starter, no doubt he has proven a point and convinced Ernesto Velverde for a spot in the starting eleven ahead of Javier Mascherano.
Real Madrid really haven’t been that bad but, they have lost two gamesin La Liga and if there is one more game to lose before the end of 2017, it will be the game vs Barcelona if Lionel Messi gets in his element on Saturday. Madrid are coming into the game struggling in La Liga, Uefa Champions League, and even at the just concluded Club World Cup. Benzema has been disappointing enough, Gareth Bale hasn’t been his usual self on the pitch while Cristiano Ronaldo has not been able to perform well agaisnt strong opposition this season. Sergio Ramos has just retuned from injury and from what we saw during the CWC game vs Gremio he lacks match fitness and the team has struggled so hard to find the back of the net lately.
This is one game Barcelona can take all three points. Messi is his usual best, Luis Suarez has rediscovered his goal scoring form, Iniesta is back to his best, Sergio Busquet was given a deserved rest over the weekend and Ter Stagen is having his best season inbetween the sticks for the club. A win for the blaugrana will extend their lead over Real Madrid to fourteen points even though Madrid have a game in hand and that will be goodbye to La Liga title for Real Madrid. It’s not going to be an easy game.
Moses Ezeala (@fruitfulvine_ ) wrote in from Lagos, Nigeria.