This Sunday, Football is ready to treat us with the biggest showdown in club football, El Clasico. Barcelona and Real Madrid are ready to lock horns, once again for La Liga. Unlike, previous seasons both teams have started this year very slow and had their fair share of roadblocks. Barcelona is certainly the better team at the moment while Real Madrid lingering in the seventh spot. Still, Los Blancos can pull away a win and climb back as they are just four points away from leaders, Barcelona. Barcelona will be without their captain Lionel Messi while doubts are looming Real’s Marcelo who picked up a knock during Champions League fixture. Let’s see how Barcelona will line-up for El Clasico?
Valverde’s Selection Head Ache:
This, in fact, a known problem for everyone, Ernesto Valverde has to find someone who can fill the boots of Lionel Messi. The Catalan manager addressed the issue Vs Inter Milan by offering a chance to Rafinha. The midfielder did score a goal but also missed a fair share of chances. This will be a concern for Barcelona, as they will get limited chances against a quality team like Real Madrid.
Valverde may either opt for Dembele or Rafinha. Still, he has a better option in the form of Sergi Roberto. Rafinha is a pure attack-minded midfielder and might be able to win the ball back but controlling the tempo of the game with him is a big question mark? Controlling the game with play-making skills is one of the those that Barcelona will miss without Messi. Roberto can fill in this spot. With Semedo reserving the right-back position, Valverde has the luxury to use Roberto in RW position. Barcelona’s fourth captain can provide inch-perfect through balls while doubling up as a playmaker just like Messi does.
Starting Dembele in RW will be a tactical blunder as he is prone to loose balls in the final-third which may result in counter-attacks. It could become a big threat for Barcelona as Real Madrid has a pacy winger like Gareth Bale. Another option for Valverde is to use Munir in RW but considering the importance of the fixture, it is unlikely to happen.
The rest of the team picks by itself with Suarez and Coutinho as other two attackers. Midfield will be ruled once-again by Arthur, Rakitic and Busquets. Lenglet will pair with Pique in the absence of Umititi. Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo will be the full-backs, Roberto will not start as a right-back against Real Madrid because he will have a tough time in dealing with the pace of Bale and Marcelo.
Predicted XI: Barcelona:
Ter Stegen; Nelson Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Busquetus, Rakitic, Arthur; Sergi Roberto/Rafinha, Suarez and Coutinho.