Finesse and electricity has populated this zone throughout the history of these clubs. With blessings, traitors and idols, some of the world’s best players have made silverware possible. This century they’ve had very tight fights and Sunday won’t be an exception. Purely creative, El Clásico will come down to which midfield manages to find the spaces and reach their teammates.
If injuries had stayed away, we would probably have an exhausted and overused midfield. Carlo Ancelotti isn’t known by his rotation system. Whenever he has a fixed lineup, he tends to avoid changing it unless he’s forced. Because of this, it wasn’t until last Sunday that Kroos was finally absent in a league game. The midfielders will arrive in a variety of forms, from tired, to out of form to recently recovered.
It’s almost certain that the Italian will send out Modrić, Kroos and Isco. When Luka got injured, the last two had to get used to playing almost all the minutes possible. Toni’s passing accuracy and vision need to shine again if Real hope to win. Isco needs to continue to work endlessly from box to box. These two need to channel their best version, as it has been a while since they’ve made the difference in a game.
Modrić’s return will be the only ray of light, as he gave good vibrations since he returned. His ability to penetrate and drive rivals crazy is Ancelotti’s secret weapon to win this duel. The substitutes don’t really give the coach a chance to revolutionize a game. Since all of them are defensive, it will all come down to this trio’s ability to leave the BBC alone against Bravo.
The minutes in the midfield have been very well-distributed. Luis Enrique has experimented with youth squad talent and veterans. However, he has given more trust to Busquets, Rakitić and almost equally to Xavi and Iniesta. Sergio is the warrior that allows the rest of them to play and move the ball around. Without his endless work in recovering, the successful season wouldn’t be possible.
Moving from the destructive to the constructive, Rakitić and Xavi have been the most effective with five goals and eleven assists combined. The former’s powerful shot and spar, and the latter’s vision stay true to the Barça DNA and playing style. Iniesta, while still important, hasn’t assisted or scored in La Liga yet. Nevertheless, his dribbling and chemistry with teammates give a good boost to the rhythm of the game.
In a secondary role, Rafinha and Sergi Roberto are good alternatives that shall soon have their moment. In addition, Mathieu can be reconverted and serve as a defensive man. All in all, possession will be the philosophy at the Camp Nou. Madrid have more difficulties counterattacking now, which is why taking the ball away from Kroos and company can lead to the three points.