Thursday, 19 January 2012

Mini "El Clasico" preview

Sorry thought I posted this yesterday, so here's what I wanted to say ahead of the game yesterday...

Tonight's "El Clasico" will be interesting in the sense that Madrid need a home win to have a chance of beating Barca over two legs it would seem.

Mourinho will be without Di Maria, Khadira and Arbeloa resulting in his team selection materialising into a tougher task. Di Maria would have almost certainly played along with Arbeloa too.
Unless Guardiola has something extraordinary up his sleeve, we expect Barca to play their usual high pressing and fluid passing style. The only question being 3 or 4 at the back, with 4 appearing the favoured approach, turning rapidly into a 3-4-3 from 4-3-3 when in possesion.

Their last encounter in La Liga was a 3-1 away win for Barca, despite a 1st minute goal from Benzema. Barca's patience and reluctence to be sucked into any other game than their own, paid off handsomely.

Mourinho I think has to go toe to toe with Barca and ask questions of them in defensive areas. Betis at the weekend proved that if you can see a decent amount of the ball and get in behind Barca's midfield, goals are possible...even at the Camp Nou.

Of course this means a few things. Firstly, winning the battle for possession of the ball, the key area being midfield. When in possession, a quick transfer of the ball is important as Barca are just as good retaining possession as they are with the ball.

A feature of the game may be the quick transfer to Benzema and Ronaldo in wide or channel areas, Alonso has tried this "Out ball" a few times in recent games to some effect and it would certainly transfer Barca onto the back foot. The support is then crucial to transition this play into a true attacking phase.

Ozil has to step up his game and his contribution in behind the Barca midfield and avoiding the attentions of Busquets is important.

What will Mourinho do...

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