As the Spanish La Liga turns to its final games, fans are in for a treat as the final “El Clasico” of the season culminates at Camp Nou where league champions Barcelona host Real Madrid.
Two of the best players in the world, face to face!
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) May 3, 2018
Despite the fact that the Catalans are already crowned champions, both teams have a lot to fight for as the hosts are looking to continue their unbeaten run while their fierce rivals will look to spoil it for them.
Furthermore, there are a lot of stories to unfold in this classic match-up, one being Andres Iniesta’s final El Clasico as he is set to leave Barcelona at the end of the season.
This promises to be an intense battle throughout 90 minutes, but here are some things that could play out that should help the hosts get a victory over Madrid.
OUTSIDE THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, MADRID HAVE BEEN INCONSISTENT
Los Blancos are set to play the top European competition later in the month and have looked impressive when playing games in the tournament.
Unfortunately, they have been unable to transfer that to La Liga, resulting in them dropping out of the title race rather early. In fact, they may finish third in the league if they cannot overturn a four-point deficit against city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Real have only won 21 matches out of a possible 34 so far in the campaign, far from where they were at this stage last season.
Against a Barcelona team striving for perfection, their inconsistent form may come up again to cost them important points.
BARCELONA’S INSPIRED MIDFIELD
As stated earlier, Iniesta will be playing his final El Clasico match as he is going to move to the Chinese Super League when the new season begins.
Iniesta is older and may have lost his pace, but he is still an elite midfielder who will surely be played at Camp Nou this weekend. Partnered with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona can take advantage of the midfield and throttle past Madrid’s defences.
— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) May 3, 2018
Dani Carvajal is injured for Los Blancos which means they will lack the reliability in the defensive end. They may not have the personnel to match Barca as seen in their match-up against Bayern Munich when Lucas Vazquez had a hard time against Franck Ribery and David Alaba.
All eyes will be in the midfield clash and, on paper the Blaugrana have the clear advantage.
FATIGUE FROM THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Real Madrid are hoping to win a third straight UEFA Champions League title, securing their finals appearance by beating Bayern Munich over two legs in the semis.
The Merengues won 2-1 in the first leg in the Allianz before settling for a 2-2 draw in the return leg at the Bernabeu to move on in the competition. It was an extremely competitive match-up and with the Champions League being the biggest title Madrid are competing for this year, they played at 100 per cent.
This leaves them open to fatigue heading into the match-up against Barcelona. It is an away tie so they will not have the backing of the crowd, and should face a tough Barca team who were surprisingly eliminated in the quarters by AS Roma.
HOPING TO BECOME UNTOUCHABLE
With only four games remaining in their La Liga season, Barcelona have yet to taste defeat. They have won 26 games so far and are far and away the best team in Spain.
They failed in the UEFA Champions League but already have two titles this season. Replacing the third with a perfect season would be the icing on the cake to the Catalans’ campaign.
Only three teams in Europe have ever reached “untouchable” status in the last 85 years, AC Milan, Juventus and Arsenal. In La Liga, Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid have done the same feat back in the late 1920s to early 1930s, the biggest difference is that there were only 10 teams playing in the league at the time.
This should be enough to fight for as Barca look to go past their fiercest rivals.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) May 3, 2018
There is no doubt that Ernesto Valverde’s men will try to do everything to at least get a point at home against the Madrid outfit, but do not expect their rivals to hand them the win that easily.
This is still shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games over the weekend.