As Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the world prepare for El Clasico, there is much more at play in this season’s first Clasico than many believe. In the previous week, even Lionel Messi came out and stated that beating Madrid would be a fantastic Christmas present. As we look at the Clasico, a couple of things stick out.
Firstly, over the weekend Barcelona eased to a 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna; a game in which Luis Suarez and Paulinho proved the difference with two goals apiece.
During this time, Real Madrid had to travel to Abu Dhabi and participate in the Club World Cup. Their first games, a tough win on December 13th proved a lot more challenging than many expected.
Continuing on, their next match was played on the 16th and was also a game that Madrid only came out winning 1-0. Two matches in three days is something that even extremely well conditioned players have trouble with. Pair those hectic three days with the added toll of flying from Spain to the UAE and it is clear that this Barcelona team is more well rested and prepared for El Clasico. Hopefully, that difference in games played and mileage travelled is something that Barcelona can capitalize on.
Secondly, throughout the entire history of La Liga, Real Madrid has not been able to come back and claim the title after being eight points down. Currently, the Blaugranes sit at the top of the league with 42 points and Real Madrid in fourth place with 31 points and a game in hand.
If Barcelona are able to exploit Madrid’s poor start to the season in the league and their tired legs, Barcelona will claim a 14 point advantage in the league before Christmas.
In doing so, Barcelona’s eternal rival will be at a place in their campaign that makes winning La Liga extremely difficult. Additionally, while Barcelona certainly cannot take their foot off the pedal in the coming months; fighting for first place in La Liga against Atletico Madrid and Valencia may be a much less daunting task.
While both Atletico and Valencia have started wonderfully in La Liga, neither possess the quality of Madrid; and being able to knock them back 14 points so early in the campaign would be something to be extremely proud of and a massive confidence boost.
The world is buzzing in anticipation of El Clasico. While the Premier League might boast the most competitive league, El Clasico fields two teams with a history as deep as can be in the footballing world.
The aggression between these two might have sizzled down since the years of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, but make no mistake; when these world class players put on their respective clubs’ shirt, a form of animosity is there.
Come Saturday, if Barcelona prevail over their rivals…the title will move a little closer and a lot further away for Madrid. Visca Barca!