Saturday, 10 December 2011

Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi

The eyes of the watching world will be on the Bernabeu tonight, as Real Madrid look to extend their lead to six points over Barcelona in this season’s first El Classico encounter.

The first meeting between the fierce rivals this season, Madrid lead Barcelona by three points at the top of the table with a game in hand. This game see’s the Catalonians arrive at Santiago Bernabeu at a bad time, as Real have scored 28 goals in their last six games at home.

Barcelona show exception home form too; with 9 games, 39 goals and none conceded keeping them hot on the heels of the league leaders.

However their away form isn’t one to savour, as they have only taken two victories from six games having suffered a surprise defeat to Getafe in their last venture from the Nou Camp.

Jose Mourinho goes into the game with just one injury concern, as centre back Ricardo Carvalho has pulled a ligament in his right knee furthering him to the sidelines after overcoming back problems.

Pep Guardiola has no injury concerns ahead of the crucial tie; however he will be looking towards one player in particular to continue his impressive scoring record this season.

Lionel Messi has, yet again, been a one man show for Barca this season with 17 goals, 10 goals ahead of second club top goal scorer Cesc Fabregas.

Although the world footballer of the year’s continued supremacy of Spanish football has left the world in awe, it has been Madrid’s talisman who has matched the Argentine step by step.

Cristiano Ronaldo has matched Messi with 17 goals this season, along with six assists this season. With his incredible form in front of goal resembling his performance last season, which saw the Portuguese winger strike 40 goals in all competitions, Ronaldo has played an enormous part in Madrid’s winning run which has seen them win ten league games in a row.

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has taken account of Madrid’s incredible form, and has seen a big difference from last season in Mourinho’s men.

“They are stronger than they were last year”, said the Spanish football manager.

“They know each other better, they have spent more time together and know what their coach [Mourninho] demands of them.”

“Above all they defend well, be quick in transitions and pay attention to factors like the circulation of the ball.”

“It will not be easy because they have a very intense game.”

Jose Mourinho has refused to speak to the media towards the build up of El Classico, leaving the media responsibilities to assistant coach Aitor Karanka who believes that Real will go all out to win.

“It’s not just a match like any other. But we are not going to change our way of working whatever the result is tomorrow.”

“We could have a lead of four, six or nine points that would not damage our principle. We have to go after the three points like we always do.”

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