The first ‘El Clasico’ of the season is closing in and the hype surrounding the biggest footballing rivalry in world is as big as ever. With both Real Madrid and Barcelona tussling for te top spot in the La Liga league table, the December 3 clash at the Nou Camp will definitely be one electrifying game of high tension football.
Los Blancos are currently sitting comfortably on top of the La Liga with 30 points from 12 games played courtesy an important 3-0 away win against city rivals Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday while Barcelona were held by Malaga in a 0-0 at home and sit on 26 points with an equal number of games played. Both the teams had quite a number of players missing but from a tactical perspective, maybe it was both the manager ploying to keep their talismanic players fit in time for the Clasico.
One major are to think about, from the last matchday for Zinedine Zidane are his midfield options. Spanish midfielder Isco Alcaron who had been warming the bench for most of the time this season got a surprise start ahead of Colombian James Rodriguez in the absence of Toni Kroos and Casemiro due to injuries. And the young midfielder impressed beyond proportions and that has significantly driven the Los Blancos manager into considering his strategies in time for the ‘El Clasico’ in a week’s time.
Prior to the clash against Atletico, Isco came on for Spain to score the all important equaliser for Spain in their clash against England in the international break which may have propelled the Frenchman into putting his name in the starting line-up. The midfielder was pivotal at the Vicente Calderon completing dribbles successfully, playing vital balls to the strikers along with winning the all-important free kick from which Ronaldo scored.
Now, the absence of Karim Benzema and Alvaro Morata, Zidane’s regular striking options, Los Blancos is left with the possibility of playing young Lucas Vasquez in front with Bale and Ronaldo. However, the talented young winger has hit a rough patch in form and Zidane will not be willing to take chances, at least in the clash against Barcelona next weekend.
According to certain reports, Zidane has committed to playing Isco alongside Modric and Kovacic at the Nou Camp next week and there is even a possibility that the Frenchman could play a 4-4-2 formation which will might see Casemiro join the trio in midfield. the defensive midfielder was absolutely crucial keeping Messi at bay in Madrid’s last visit to the Nou Camp where Los Blancos emerged victorious courtesy a late goal by Cristiano Ronaldo. This won’t be the first time Zidane will experiment with his side as the Frenchman also incorporated a full-attack force with the likes of Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema and Morata yielding mixed results.
Also, there has been no significant news regarding the availability of the experienced RealMadridd centre-half duo of Sergio Ramos and Pepe with both players missing out on the Madrid Derby last weekend. In their absence, Raphael Varane and Nacho were crucial at keeping the Atletico strikers from scoring but Zidane surely hope that at least one of his senior central defenders gets fully fit in time for the Clasico.
Prior to the Clasico, both Madrid and Barcelona have Champions League mid-week fixtures with Los Blancos travelling to Portugal for their clash against Sporing Lisbon on Tuesday while Barcelona face Celtic at the Celtic Park on Wednesday.
Stay tuned for more news regarding the much awaited ‘El Clasico’ on December 3 as it is just 12 days to go until we get to witness the biggest rivalry in modern day football for the first time this season.