When the Spanish Football Federation decided to postpone El Clasico, it was with a heavy heart but was clearly the most sensible decision.
It has inconvenienced many, particularly in financial terms, however, public safety must be the priority. Football has to come a very distant second place.
Of course, the rescheduling of the match was always going to be a bone of contention.
OFFICIAL: El Clasico has been rescheduled to 18 December— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 23, 2019
One week before Christmas pic.twitter.com/rnBcv1zPkD
With the Champions League taking up a number of midweeks before Christmas, and yet another international break in mid-November adding to an already busy calendar, a late December date was always going to be favourite.
Barca are used to festive El Clasicos of course, having won one on December 23, 2017.
The rescheduled date for the first meeting against Real Madrid this season comes slightly earlier, on December 18, but it’s hardly ideal for the Catalans.
They kick off the final month of the year at the Wanda Metropolitano, and a game against Atletico Madrid which is always a battle royale.
A week later is a home clash with a Real Mallorca side who’ve already proved they’re not in the league to be the division’s whipping boys.
Then comes an away fixture at Inter, remembering that the Blaugranes have never beaten the Nerazzurri at the San Siro in the Champions League.
The hope would be that everything in terms of qualification would be sewn up by then of course, but it’s not a given.
Coming right after the trip to Italy and a few days before the Clasico is another away fixture, this time at Real Sociedad.
Any ‘curse’ that there may have been appears to have been broken, but with La Real playing as well as they have in many a year, it’s another away game that could be fraught with problems for the Catalans.
Top scoring teams in #LaLigaSantander:— Semra Hunter (@SemraHunter) October 25, 2019
1 - Villarreal - 24 goals
2 - Barcelona - 23 goals
3 - Granada, Real Sociedad, Real Madrid - 16 goals
The Yellow Sub are just scoring goals for fun this season.
Facing Real Madrid has rarely been difficult over the past few seasons, though with the game coming on the back of what will be Barca’s most testing few weeks of the campaign, it hands the advantage to their opponents.
The team have shown before under Ernesto Valverde that they’re more than up for the challenges that La Liga throws at them, and if they want to win a ninth league title in 12 years, they have to rise to the occasion again.
But there’s little doubt that if the game had been played this Saturday instead of seven week’s time, Barcelona would be the much happier of the two teams.