After past Saturday’s game was an utterly disappointment, supports of both teams are looking forward to tomorrows Copa del Rey Final at Valencia CF’s Mestella.
Will it be a reprisal of El Frustratico or a game worthy of the tag "World’s greatest game"? If Mourinho’s track record is anything to go by, he will once more employ tactics that don’t necessarily justify the outlays made by Real Madrid supremo, Florentino Perez.
One has to wonder why Real Madrid’s squad, Saturday’s starting XI cost a whopping 290 Million Euro to assemble, have more in common with a bottom feeder club in the EPL (no offense, those teams do not have the financial means of Los Blancos so one can understand their motivation) than the glitz and glamour usually associated with the club from the Spanish capital.
It is quite telling when Real Madrid’s legend and club icon, Alfredo di Stefano, praises FC Barcelona and concedes superiority to the Blaugrana. Something is very wrong in the land of the Merengue.
But this doesn’t hide the few flaws in FC Barcelona, or rather, Pep Guardiola’s approach. Credit where credit is due, Jose Mourinho has found out his opposite number, the inclusion of Pepe as an additional defensive midfielder proved a masterstroke. Nevertheless, Guardiola is no slouch himself and it’ll be interesting how he will set up his team for tomorrow’s Copa del Rey encounter.
Sabrina Dessipe, Guest Columnist/die hard Arsenal Fan and constantly at odds with me
Well, firstly I predict this match will be much more intense than the previous Clasico. It’s a cup final and will be Madrid’s best chance at a trophy this season. I expect them to go for it; they can’t get anything if they go for a draw, hence why I predict a high goal count.
Since both Cristiano and Messi have broken their ducks I assume that they’ll find the goal, perhaps even from open play. Ultimately, I think Barca will win the Copa, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Madrid were to walk away with this one. With Careles Puyol doubtful to feature, Barca will have some defensive worries, but Mascherano should be back, so Barca fans shouldn’t have to worry about Gabriel Milito starting in the heart of the defense.
Prediction: FC Barcelona 5 – 3 Real Madrid
Arron Duckling, Barca Blaugranes Writer from pretty much the start and probably as mad about FC Barcelona as anyone
Being honest, I can only see this trophy going home with Barcelona. Mourinho will point to the first match and say his tactics worked a treat, but he has played his cards too early. Guardiola, who is a stickler for detail, will have watched that match over and over, and will have drawn up a new game plan. Saturday's match saw Barcelona recognise a draw was enough and Los Blancos knowing another defeat would've been catastrophic. Wednesday will see the Blaugrana playing with intent, and from Saturday, and of course the Manita, I know Madrid will not be able to cope.
The possible absence of Puyol could be a factor, but I think Pep will move Mascherano to center-half and this will help guard against the counter. David Villa has been poor as of late, but the stage is set for him to make ammends. Back at the Mestalla, with a quicker playing surface, the bit is likely to be between the Blaugrana's teeth, and now Messi has broken his Mourinho duck, look for him to show the few remainings cynics why he is the holder of the FIFA Ballon D'Or.
A few forget that Albiol is suspended and if Pepe continues in midfield that leaves Garay to deputize. Or if Pepe moves back, the midfield loses a valuable asset. Either way, there is plenty that Barca can exploit, and depending how early the first goal comes, it could be another rout.
After all, because Mourinho will play like a bottom feeder, he will get a result for one.
Prediction: FC Barcelona 3 - 1 Real Madrid
Bostjan Cernensek, Writer/newly promoted Senior Editor, apparently he’s much more interested in Spanish football than I am because my daily diet of football news is Barca centric while he covers it all
This will be a tough, hard fought match. Tactically I don't expect any changes on either side from Saturday, but there will be some personnel changes. If Puyol won't be available, either Busquets or Mascherano will play in the heart of the defense, while the other plays in his customary role in holding midfield. Everything else should be exactly the same as on Saturday.
Barca biggest problem will be Pepe, who will probably remain Madrid’s holding midfielder despite Albiol's suspension. Arbeloa could take Albiol's place and Özil is also expected to start. The game could come down to how good Pepe performs for Los Blancos. He was a true destructor on Saturday, but if he would get an early card, he couldn't play as aggressive and that would help Barcelona immensely. Either way I see Barcelona emerging as the Cup winner, but don't expect a blowout.
Prediction: FC Barcelona 2 – 1 Real Madrid
Paul Udani, Writer and latest addition to our team
Mourinho is going to park the bus (again), it worked on Saturday, so why not. Despite that, FC Barcelona had some gilt-edged chances in the first half, where the strategy was prevalent (Lionel Messi both times denied by Iker Casillas).
FC Barcelona will just have to be more clinical in front of goal. The key player will be whoever is going to partner alongside Gerard Pique.
I'd say Lionel Messi will score, because he was our most dangerous player in the November Clasico, and our most threatening player past Saturday, and he should be again at the Mestalla.
Prediction: FC Barcelona 1 – 0 Real Madrid
Shehryar Khan, Writer and one of our new(er) additions to the BB team as well as a Featured Columnist @Bleacher Report
Although the game is being played three days after the last meeting between the two sides expect a totally different approach by both managers. Barcelona are most likely to step up their game-play and would look to nullify Real's counter-attack strategy as Pep mentioned that Real can hurt them on the counter. Barcelona would most likely play the same side and if Puyol isn't fit Mascherano would play at center-back and fingers crossed he'd do well.
Real Madrid on the other hand will have to play more offensive football and with Albiol out due to suspension I'm not sure whether he'd bring in another defender or simply slot Pepe back to his position. Los Blancos might also start with Özil since he impressed and Real would probably he applying the long ball tactic once again since it paid of in last week's draw.
Prediction: FC Barcelona 2 - 1 Real Madrid
Adi-Oula Sebastian, moi, that’s me, Editor In Chief and quite self-absorbed
I’m rather cautious with my prediction; although I don’t expect Jose Mourinho to alter his game plan I believe Real Madrid will be more attacking. After all, it’s not that hard for Real Madrid to improve on Saturday’s performance.
Though the Mad Men (Sergio Ramos & Pepe) are world-class players in their respective positions, they are also known to have a rather short temper. Sergio Ramos is the undisputed holder of the red-card record (quite a feat, considering that he joined Real Madrid in 2005) while Pepe has been known to, quite literally, kick a man when he is down. Therefore it’s highly unlikely that neither of them will go unbooked.
David Villa might endure his second longest goal-drought in his professional career but he is always good for a goal or two, especially at his old turf, Valencia’s Mestalla.
If Barca’s MVP attack (Messi, Villa, Pedro) is to rediscover their scoring touch, it will be tomorrow’s game.
Prediction: FC Barcelona 2 – 1 Real Madrid with Lionel Messi and David Villa grabbing a goal each.