Real Madrid V Barcelona Preview : El Clasico returns!
Event Venue: Bernabeu, Kick off: 19:45. Sky Sports.See Stats
Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to do battle once more on Sunday in the world's most watched football match. Madrid can actually take a giant step towards winning La Liga if they can get past Barca, and it would be their first league title since 2011-12 under Jose Mourinho. Barca are chasing them down and the league is now their sole focus.
Barcelona have been utterly dominant during the last decade and have won six of the last eight La Liga titles. However, Madrid have won two of the last three Champions League titles, so it all depends on what you value more, I guess. Madrid finally have a team under Zinedine Zidane that understands what they are doing and exactly how to set-up. Previously, it was just an array of stars on a pitch. Now, players like Casemiro have helped glue the side together and Luka Modric has blossomed into an all-around midfielder. Factor in Toni Kroos and the dynamic front line featuring Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema can and does trouble any defence. That could be the difference on the night; Barca's defence has proved especially leaky this season and they do not like it when teams press them hard and fast. Madrid's backline has actually conceded three goals more than Barca, but they do not show the same propensity to get blown out of the water like Barca have in big games this season.
Luis Enrique is leaving. Everyone knows that. But it appears that nobody more so than the Barca players know it. Their performances away against PSG and Juventus were nothing short of embarrassing, and the way they played was like they were entitled to win. When they don't work as hard as the opposition, they find themselves in big trouble and after failing to score against Juve over two legs, on top of losing to Malaga and Deportivo in the last month, this isn't the imperious Barcelona side that took the world on a few years ago. Should they lose to Madrid, they would be six points behind Zidane's men at the top of the table having played a game more with only six fixtures left. Essentially, Madrid would have one hand on the trophy and although Barca have a date in the Copa Del Rey final to look forward to, that will be next to no consolation for the fans.
Real Madrid have the title in their sights and the wind in their sails after advancing past Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick in midweek and given Barca's terrible disappointment in Europe, it looks like Ronnie could make things a whole lot worse.
- The sides drew 1-1 at the Nou Camp earlier this season
- Real Madrid are top of La Liga by three points with a game in hand
- Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League this week and failed to score against Juve over two legs
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