• THE BOSSES
Carlo Ancelotti is a proven manager at the highest level with three UEFA Champions League titles to his name. Luis Enrique will be looking for his opportunity to redeem himself for what some considered to be an embarrassing tactical display in the Spanish capital. Most noticeable was the inclusion of Jeremy Mathieu at left back over Jordi Alba. Despite his experience at full back, the Frenchman himself was shocked by the decision.
"I was surprised," the Jeremy Mathieu told RTL. "But it's the coach who decides where I play."
Barca's latest run of results has seen Lucho turn a corner. Ancelotti, on the other hand, has been left with a dilemma since his men have taken an unexpected dip in performance. Both managers will have a bit of their own headache come Sunday; Enrique will be determined to make his name against a world renown manager and Ancelotti must reflect on how to get the best out of his squad against an inspired Barcelona side.
• MIDFIELD BATTLE
El Clasico | Expect intensity between Barca and Madrid
The El Clasico conquest begins in midfield. Many will recall the manner by which Real Madrid's core outperformed Barcelona's own mids in their previous meeting. The Los Blancos midfield was able to execute both possession and direct tactics to the delight of the Bernabeu faithful in an overwhelming capacity. With Luka Modric only recently having returned from injury and both James Rodriguez and Sergio Busquets currently experiencing their own knocks - the midfield setup will be considered a strong point of interest for both sides.
Ivan Rakitic and Javier Mascherano likely to start this time around combined with the uncertainty behind Madrid's midfield form will leave the tactical analysis gurus salivating at what may or may not be the best approach in the middle of the park.
• #11s of EL CLASICO
Neymar Jr. and Gareth Bale have shared an intriguing dynamic in fortune since their arrival in Spain. When one is up, the other is down. Last season's El Clasico Copa del Rey Final saw Bale make his mark with an outstanding goal to secure the title while Neymar could only rattle the post. This season the tricky Brazilian has been in tremendous form while the speedy Welshman has been on the end of jeers and whistles. The tides have turned once again though as Neymar seems to be experiencing a rough patch and Gareth Bale has re-emerged in time for El Clasico.
Can they break their ying-yang pattern?
The excitement behind the Barca v Madrid match up is enthralling. Share your thoughts and what you consider to be your Points of Interest for the upcoming El Clasico.
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