The most anticipated match of the league calendar has finally arrived. El Clásico has Real Madrid visiting FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou with a six-point lead in the table. A win from the visitors would move La Liga a little more into Real’s corner.
A home win would spice things up again, while a draw would only benefit other teams. Regardless of their ups and downs this season, the rules won’t apply on Saturday.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
Zinedine Zidane has lost some important men recently, but he gained back others and discovered new talents in the Copa del Rey game. The system will be one of the biggest debates for the coach until the very last minute. In some instances, the 4-4-2 seems like the way to go, yet the 4-3-3 could work in order to balance possession and a strong attack. It will be a head-scratcher.
GK: Keylor Navas
He was critical in the Camp Nou win back in April, a complete turn from his 0-4 El Clásico debut earlier that season. This time around it will most likely be another incredible challenge for the Costa Rican.
RB: Dani Carvajal
The right back is way ahead of Danilo and is a no-brainer for the lineup. As this type of match gets heated quite often, he needs to control his temper a bit. A red card or even a yellow card could drastically affect the outcome of the game.
CB: Raphaël Varane
Pepe and Nacho played the full 90 minutes against Cultural Leonesa. Nevertheless, the fact that Varane only came in for the second half says that Zizou didn’t want to push him. It will be close a close call between Pepe and Varane.
CB: Sergio Ramos
It’s hard to envision a clash like this without the captain. The real problem will be picking out his partner. He’ll be particularly important in keeping Messi and company away. Also, set pieces can make him a strong threat.
He didn’t even have to sit on the bench on Wednesday. It’s his wing that will face the most danger. If he does a good job, Messi won’t be able to contribute. If he fails, he could open up the way for a home win.
RCM: Luka Modrić
The Croatian will certainly have more freedom to move if Zidane decides to include Casemiro. The 4-3-3 would shift a bit so that the double pivot would be formed by the #14 and Kovačić.
It seems like he passed the test after being absent for a while. It can be a risky move in a match like this. If things go south, the bench is always there to fix it up. His strength is what sets him apart and the team is going to need it.
LCM: Mateo Kovačić
With one more competitor added to the mix, he’ll be the one to keep his place in the lineup. He committed himself to delivering consistent results to his boss. Because of this, he’ll be rewarded.
RW: Lucas Vázquez
He didn’t play a single minute on Wednesday, probably because his boss was thinking ahead. However, he hasn’t been shining too much in the attack. Defensively he forms a solid pair with Carvajal, and that’s very much needed.
ST: Karim Benzema
Mariano scored a hat-trick in the cup, albeit against a smaller team, yet he proved he means business. If the Frenchman doesn’t step it up, the youngster can steal his spot while Morata recovers.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
Officially became the pichichi last weekend. After doing a great job in the Madrid derby, his teammates will look to him to deliver another solid performance. Even though it’s too early in the year, a win could really make the difference.