(More coverage: Op-Ed: Xavi is wrong & why I hate Barcelona
Update: Real Madrid’s line-up: The Special Ones: Casillas; Arbeloa Carvalho Albiol Marcelo; Diara, Alonso; Di Maria Kaka Ronaldo; Higuain
Thought Kaka for DiMaria, not Ozil. Interesting as Real Madrid will play wide.
The Peppies: No suprises for Barca: Valdes – Alves Mascherano Pique Puyol – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa
Here’s what I don’t understand.
Why doesn’t anyone just toss up crosses into the box against Barcelona? At least try it for chrissakes. You’ve got Pique and Busquets and that’s really it back there. I never understand that.
Every team seems hellbent on trying to bring the counter to bear on Barca when they’re advanced up the field, but just like in basketball on a three-point shot, long balls equal long deflections. Either, in this case, Madrid is going to collect the rebound somewhere at the top of the offensive third or there may be an errant deflection that leads to a goal out of nothing.
And, so what if you give up the counter, this is Barcelona, the team that wants to get into their ping-pong passing attack.
At least try that out for a little bit….if you have the ball.
Barcelona and Real Madrid resume their rivalry today and conclude their four match series.
A monumental task today for Real Madrid and you have to believe the visitors are thinking like they do in baseball when a team is down four runs in the late innings. “Just let me get the tying run to the plate.”
To make matters work for Mourinho and company, two-way stalwarts Sami Khedira (injury) and Pepe (last week’s phantom second yellow) are out for the match, leaving Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diari in the middle to fend off the Barca attack.
I, for one, have yet to see the Alonso that was the glue at Anfield for Real Madrid. In big games, he appears to wither away and not look for the ball. Something more is needed out of the Basque midfielder today.
Madrid likely sees Emmanuel Adebayor–with the Special One hoping he’s motivated up top–flanked by Mesut Ozil and Ronaldo, now on the left in place of DiMaria. We saw what happens last week when Ronaldo is left to fend for himself up top. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off, so to speak.
Centering the two is none of than Kaka. (The sacrificing of DiMaria for Kaka would be audacious, but we’ll take our chances with the prediction.)
In the back for Madrid, they’ve got even more problems and are going to have to deal with Barca’s attack with Sergio Ramos watching from the side as well.
Barca will be content to do what they do. Not force the action and carefully dissect Real Madrid’s makeshift defense.
Without a miracle from the Special One today, Madrid likely goes packing.