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Feb 26, 2019


Do Messi have to do it all alone against Real Madrid, or will his teammates stand up? That's the real question in the buildup.




FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Copa del Rey Preview

Lionel Messi was playing with GOD mode ON against Sevilla, singlehandedly winning the match, scoring thrice and assisting the other. In spite of the magical performance, many questioned his teammates' commitments and performance. So when Barcelona lineup tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu, all focus will be on his strike partners.


Real Madrid had a brilliant outing in the first leg, especially considering the lack of confidence displayed abundantly this season. And they do start the 2nd Leg at home on the front foot, courtesy of the valuable away goal.





If Barcelona comes to this game with questions raised about some of the main actors in the team; Real Madrid's situation is no different. The way they won their match against Levante, luck cannot be a factor at all. Levante was unlucky to have lost it. The Madrid side won it due to some divine intervention, from the GOD who was seated in the VAR room.


In a sense, Barcelona starts this game in much better spirit; after all, Lionel Messi is firing in all cylinders. That's a big factor especially coming to Bernabeu. Some say in a sarcastic way that this is Messi's favorite training ground. Despite the pun intended, there is a degree of truth there, especially looking at his performances.


Strange has been the turn of events at Barcelona! Without any doubt, Malcom was the best player for Barcelona in the first leg. We leveled through his goal only. Despite being the best performer in the match against arch-rivals, Malcom has not got a chance to step on the pitch since then. It wasn't like the likes of Coutinho etc. was firing in all cylinders and keeping him away from the action.


Will Malcom Start at the Bernabeu?


Now with Dembele coming back, will Malcom get a chance to start against Real Madrid? For me, he should start on the right along with Nelson Semedo. With Malcom on the right, Messi may have to move to the center in a 4-5-1 formation. A 4-5-1 formation is a great option especially when we are missing Arthur in the midfield.


We should have the double pivot of Busquets and Rakitic behind Messi. To his flanks, we should start with two wingers - Malcom on the right and Dembele on the left. That should push both the wingbacks of Real Madrid further back. If Malcom and Semedo can combine on the right, just like they did at the Camp Nou; we might be in for a treat.


Lionel Messi in the middle could s with flanks easily as we have an even deadlier combination of Alba and Dembele on the left. If Malcom and Dembele are smart enough to switch positions with Messi and Saurez, it could be a tough task to defend against them.


With Malcom on the right one thing is guaranteed - width. He can stretch the pitch wide giving Messi more space to operate. The only question here is, will Valverde experiment such a formation? There is a high chance that he will go with a 4-3-3 formation with Vidal, Busquets andRakitic in the midfield. If that happens, it will be all up to Lionel Messi to win this match.


Barcelona need to Take Initiative From the Start


The 1-1 scoreline gives the impetus to the home side tomorrow. They know very clearly that they can go through if the match ends goalless. But then going by both team's defensive records recently, the prospectus of no goals seems next to impossible. So the natural thing to do is, go out grab the match by its neck.


A 1-1 scoreline is a double-edged sword for Real Madrid. It is a scoreline which could add more confusion regarding how to approach the match. We should tap into this confusion of our opposition and go out full frontal on the attack. If we manage to keep Real Madrid in back foot, we could repeat the result of the first Clasico of this season.

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