- The first Clasico of 2013 takes place tomorrow night at Santiago Bernebeu
- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are in hot goal scoring streak coming to this match.
The stage is all set for the resumption of the battle in the year of 2013. Tomorrow night FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will play their first clasico of 2013 at the Santiago Bernebeu in the first leg of Copa Del Rey semi-Final. The date of the second leg stands as the testimony towards the brilliant organisational capability of the Spanish League organizers. The first leg will be held tomorrow i.e the 30th of January, meanwhile the second leg has to wait till the 27th of February. Don't ask me why the second leg is not played next week as the usual practice. Only God could give you an answer. Anyways for the record, there is no action taking place next week. With their performance in the weekend, Ronaldo and Messi has upped the ante and expectation into this match. To make it simple, for many this is just another battle between the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
It is safe to say that there has been drastic difference to the Real Madrid team which went into the Christmas break and the one which came out of it. The infighting and ego war are still there. But they have managed to win most of their matches. The scary part is that finally in the last couple of weeks we saw their exceptional pace on the counter hurting the opponents. Meanwhile we have not yet managed to find a solution to the leaky defense syndrome we are demonstrating this season. Actually it has got a bit of serious after the Christmas break. The weekend clash against Osasuna saw our defense totally and utterly confused. Mascherano and Puyol looked completely out of sync and it would be a big surprise if we see the same pairing in the center of defense.
The last time these two teams met was at the Camp Nou in the league. That match ended 2-2. It wasn't a bad result for us considering the fact that we had to have Adriano in the center of defense. But our last visit to Santiago Bernebeu was a nightmare with Adriano sent off and we being completely dominated in the first half. We definitely want to avoid a repeat of the same. Real Madrid has a host of players missing in this match. Iker and Pepe is out injured. Angel, Ramos and Coentrao are suspended. They most probably will field a defense consisting of Arbeloa, Varane, Carvalho and Marcelo. Apart from the defense they should be having the usual starters in midfield and attack. Alsonso and Khedira should be the defensive pivot. Ozil, Modric,Ronaldo and Benzema should complete the line-up.
We have almost our full squad available for selection. The task is to select the players for the starting eleven. Pinto our Copa keeper should get feature on goal. Barring any major surprise Alves, Puyol, Pique and Alba should be the back four. It's in the middle we have some serious selection head-ache. The problem is with Cesc's inclusion. In order to have Cesc in the team we have to push Iniesta further up. But against a team like Real Madri we may need Iniesta's control and dribbling skills in the middle. I would love to see the usual Iniesta, Busquets and Xavi midfield. It's time for us to unleash the MVP on the top of attack. If the performance against Osasuna is anything to go by - Messi and Villa are in terrific sync. Then why not use that? I would go with Messi, Villa and Pedro for the front three.
With the advantage of playing the second leg at home, one may be tempted to go for a draw. But as Busquets said in the Press conference, that could be a huge folly. Anyway's we never sat back in a Clasico earlier, then why try now? Especially with their defense missing some regulars. Going by the way our defense performed in the recent weeks, I would be surprised if we come out of this with a clean sheet. But we could easily out score Real Madrid tomorrow night and that should be our aim. Once again a lot will depend on the holy Trio of Messi, Iniesta and Xavi. But Busquets in recent times has emerged as a bigger start than these three.