Sunday’s El Clasico fixture between Barcelona and host Real Madrid at the Barnabeu has a huge bearing on where this season’s La Liga title is headed as both sides head into the game fresh from dismal performances in the Champions League and will no doubt be eager to crank up their performance this weekend.
Madrid’s jaw-dropping 1-0 defeat at Levante last Saturday left them dazed and limping second in the La Liga table, two points behind Barca with 13 games remaining.
Suffice it to say that it has indeed been a pretty uncomfortable few weeks for Madrid as Quique Setien’s Barca have been piling up the pressure on the former with their determination and resolve made very clear in their ruthless 5-0 demolition of Eibar in their latest league outing with Messi himself ending his drought and netting 4 goals for Barcelona.
Madrid were also shown the exit at the Copa del Rey by Real Sociedad earlier this month, and only managed to pick up just four points from their following three league matches.
Their stunning 2-1 home defeat against Manchester City in the Champions League first leg on Wednesday leaves their hopes of progressing in the Champions League hanging on a whisper and a prayer. It’s obvious they can ill-afford to be beaten by Barcelona this weekend.
Madrid as such will be anxious, even desperate, to bounce back against their biggest rivals of old at the Bernabeu Stadium to salvage some measure of dignity and self confidence having won just one of their last five matches in all competitions and their season is in imminent danger of imploding, something that Zidane would surely be going all out to prevent from happening in the wake of the rough patch they have been undergoing for inexplicable reasons that he himself doesn’t comprehend. But rest assured he will not let things lie and will most certainly try to muster up his game plan when both giants meet this Sunday.
On the other hand, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for Barca as signs over the past few weeks indicate that they are beginning to hit form at just the right time in La Liga with victories over Real Betis, Getafe and Eibar moving them back to the top of the table and putting them in good stead to nail their third successive title.
Despite not being at their best in the Champions League first leg tie in midweek against Napoli, Barca still managed to snatch a point despite having to finish the game with 10 men. Victory this Sunday would see Barca advancing five points ahead of Madrid with 12 games left to play, making them the favourites to claim top spot once again.
The tide this Sunday seems to be against Madrid as their recent run of one victory in five matches is tantamount to a crisis for a club like them. The pressure would be intense for Zidane if his team were to go down to Barcelona this weekend especially with Barca having been unbeaten in their last seven league meetings with Madrid.
Setien and his Barca boys will undoubtedly be fancying their chances of picking up at least a point from the game this weekend, if not better.
Well, let’s see what Zidane and his crew have to say about this.