El Clasico

Good article here on tonights game.

I’m taking a Barca win with Messi scoring at 3.2.

Sid Lowe Article

Love this part -
While Ronaldo knocks the ball ahead of himself and runs, a whirlwind of power, Messi rarely seems to be sprinting. The ball never leaves his foot: sometimes, he seems not even to kick it — instead, like a faithful puppy, it runs alongside him.

8 o’clock kick off our time I presume?
I hope I can make my way to some pub in this weather

Shit article. You’d swear Barca had never paid a transfer fee in their history. My flirtation with Atletico Madrid has been brief but it simply wasn’t working and ending it seems logical. I’m now a complete neutral again as far as La Liga is concerned but Barca are a pain in the hole.

Ya we’re having a “team meeting” in the local for this, monday pints would be unusual for me, but i’m looking forward to this game and those pints immensely

Excellent article alright.

Bandage trying to be different but end up just being wrong.

Another Decent article.

You have a drinking problem

Anyone feel like checking if zonalmarking.net have a tactical preview online, and if so does the same person feel like copying and pasting it in here?

I’d love to put in the quotes and image things but will probably have to wait til this weather clears up or Rocko fixes it-whichever comes first

The biggest game of the season so far, and a clash between – possibly – the two best teams in Europe at the moment.

The first thing to consider is the mentality of Jose Mourinho. One point clear of Barcelona going into the game, it’s entirely likely that he would take the draw if it were offered to him now. His previous trip to the Nou Camp saw his Inter side defend solidly for the entire game with little or no attempt to get a goal (granted, with ten men, and a two-goal advantage going into the second leg), which shows he knows how to stop Barcelona playing.

That is not to say that this will be anything like as defensive a display from Real Madrid, but we must consider the prospect that they will play for a draw.

Change in shape for Real?

With this in mind, Marca has reported this week that Mourinho will ditch the 4-2-3-1 system he’s favoured so far this season, in favour of a system with a third defensive midfielder. The player to make way here would probably be Mesut Ozil, with Lassana Diarra coming into the centre of the pitch.

It’s unlikely Mourinho would deploy three ‘flat’ holding midfielders, however, and his next decision would be whether to play the third midfielder deeper than the other two, ready to pick up Lionel Messi when he drifts into deep positions, or to play a midfielder higher up the pitch, closing down Xavi Hernandez, the man who dominated the clash between these two back in April. The nature of Diarra would suggest it would be the former. A more surprising move would be to use Ozil as a false nine, as discussed by Roberticus.

Key area

The major battle here looks to be down Barcelona’s right-hand side. The teams who have come to the Nou Camp this year and fared relatively well have made sure they played left-sided midfielders comfortable of tracking Daniel Alves into deeper positions. That was true in Hercules’ shock win early on this season, where Royston Drenthe played on the left of midfield, and a similar pattern emerged in Valencia’s first-half dominance, where two left-backs – Jeremy Mathieu and Jordi Alba – were used in tandem (and to a certain extent in Inter’s performance, where Cristian Chivu started as the left-sided midfielder). In Cristiano Ronaldo, Real’s left-winger is clearly a different breed of player.

Potential alternative formations for both sides, featuring an extra central midfielder apiece
He is, however, also Real’s biggest attacking threat. How would a Ronaldo v Alves battle pan out? Ronaldo’s brief this season is to stay high up the pitch and focus on pinning the opposition full-back back. It is unlikely that Alves would be subdued as easily as this, but if he pushes forward this will force Gerard Pique over, potentially exposing him to 1 v 1 situations against Ronaldo, 2 v 2 when you consider Gonzalo Higuain and Carles Puyol.

Barca compromise?

Guardiola is usually not fussed about leaving so few defenders back, but surely against Ronaldo, the toughest individual Barcelona will face all season, there must be some level of compromise.

A possible solution to the problem is to make Barca more secure on the other side of the pitch. Guardiola has three options at left-back – Eric Abidal, Maxwell and Adriano. Abidal is the one most comfortable in central positions, and using him tucked in on that side would mean that Alves would be free to get forward, and Barcelona could briefly shuffle across into a back three with Pique right, Carles Puyol central, and Eric Abidal on the left of the three.

This is broadly what happened against Sevilla, in Alves’ most attack-minded display of the season so far, and would mean that Barca remain 3 v 2 at the back, keeping a spare man that is surely crucial against Ronaldo. Another option is to use Busquets in a deep role, like against Atletico, although this is unlikely.

Other decisions

Real are likely to react to Barcelona’s shape more than vice-versa, but don’t rule out a tactical surprise from Guardiola, perhaps with a more defensive team than usual. In the Clasico back in April, for example, Guardiola used Dani Alves in an unfamiliar right-sided midfield role to help double up against Ronaldo. That is probably less likely to happen here, but it’s not inconceivable that Guardiola, like Mourinho, could opt for an additional holding midfielder – Sergio Busquets will start but could be joined by Seydou Keita or Javier Mascherano. Keita would probably be the favourite, on the left side of a midfield triangle, since he is capable of pressing high up the pitch and closing down Real’s central midfielders. This would then push Iniesta into a forward role and mean Pedro moves to the bench.

That could have ramifications upfront. When Pedro, Messi and David Villa are used as a three, it’s been common in recent weeks for Messi to play as the centre-forward, with Villa cutting in from the left. Villa is less comfortable doing that from the right, so he would play central and Messi would move out to his more traditional right-sided role. This could be the best place for him in this game – if Real are trying to pack the centre of the pitch, and Marcelo (of whom there are still question marks defensively) is being left exposed by Ronaldo, Messi will prosper on the right-hand side of the pitch. Alternatively, Iniesta could be used on the right – a position he rarely plays, but he has started there before this season.

Real will sit deep and Barcelona will dominate possession. Guardiola’s side will probably have no unusual plans in terms of what they do with the ball, but Real are likely to play direct football on the counter-attack to exploit Barca’s high line.

Higuain seen limping from Real team hotel, knowing Jose this could mean anything but doubt he’d be too disappointed to have to put Diarra in. Jose will be more than happy with a 0-0 here.

Whos showing this SKY?


Looking forward to this. Newstalk seem to consider Notts Forest Leicester is a bigger game though judging from what they are leading with in their sports news.

You could send an email to Ger Gilroy Lar?

I could but I wont mbb.Feel free to do so yourself though.


He’s an active tweeter, could be a less formal way of contacting him.

El Classico of a monday night ? this calls for a few pints.

This is the sporting equivalent of those skinny jeaned, side parting wankers who wear flat peaked caps and scarves indoors who can’t like any music if more than 100 people have heard of it.

Barca are a great club with an admirable history and tradition and one of the most likeable teams of recent years. They also have arguably the most likeable and certainly one of the best players since Maradona as their main man.
Real are the team of Franco and the fascists and currently have one of the least likeable players ever as their star man (despite his brilliance) and an arrogant cunt of a boss (albeit a bit of craic).
Come on Barca to flip…

Will someone post a few links as they come up.

:smiley: :clap:

Barcelona are so potent and joyous that resistance is utterly futile. They are football’s equivalent of Oasis circa 1995 and Lionel Messi is like the football equivalent of Noel and Liam Gallagher rolled into one. Greatness. Just roll with it.

[quote=“gola, post: 537036”]
This is the sporting equivalent of those skinny jeaned, side parting wankers who wear flat peaked caps and scarves indoors who can’t like any music if more than 100 people have heard of it.[/quote]

No, it’s not. I dare say there’s loads of people worldwide that prefer Real Madrid than Barcelona for all manner of reasons.