A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

‘El Gran Classico’ Battle of the Spanish Superpowers likely to decide the destination of the La Liga Title

This years edition of the ‘Classico’  in Spain is being billed as the match of the millenium by the ever-understated Spanish press. Even so, with the teams tied on points at the top and with seven games to go, this fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu will go some way in deciding who ends up with this years La Liga crown.

Much of the build up to the game has focused on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as if it will be some sort of one-on-one game between the current World Player of the Year and his Portugese predecessor. Of course up front the goals will decide the outcome of the tie and in these two players, both Madrid and Barcelona hold strikers of superlative quality. However Barca are very over-reliant on Messi, and although against Arsenal this came off brillantly, the Argentine firing four goals and taking them into the Semi-Finals, he is human and thereby prone to the off-game. Ronaldo is a pacy and powerful forward capable of anything, however his hugely successful time at Manchester United did raise question marks over his temperament and ability in the big games.

Therefore I will focus on the key clashes I believe will have a major impact on the fate of the world’s most anticipated game of Football.

Gonzalo Higuain vs Gerard Pique
Real’s prolific forward Higuain comes up against Barca’s Catalan defender Pique, who seems to have improved into one of Europe’s finest centre backs since his time with Manchester United. Higuain is La Liga’s 2nd top scorer so far this season (behind Messi) has outshone Ronaldo and has more goals than big names such as Villa and Forlan and Ibrahimovic and this battle will be key to Barca’s hopes of keeping the Madrid attack quiet.

Xabi Alonso vs Xavi
Colleagues at international level, Xavi – fresh from injury seems to be enjoying a purple patch of form, whilst Xabi Alsonso, the former Liverpool midfielder has slotted into this Galaticos side well, forming an effective partnership with the tenacious Lassana Diarra.

Barcalona’s attack vs Iker Cassillas.
If Barcelona go into free flowing form then it could be a tough night for Cassillas. With not just Messi to stop, Pedro, Bojan, Henry, Iniesta and Xavi will all look to word the Spanish number one. A top keeper, his performance will be key to the outcome of the tie.

Guillem Balague spoke this week about the British public’s longstanding affection for Barcelona over Madrid dating back longer than the exploits of Linekar, Robson and Venables meaning us Brits tend to favour the culture and class Barcelona stand for. However I feel Madrid will take this year’s La Liga and reverse the 1-0 loss earlier in the season to Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Prediction 3-2 Madrid

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April 10, 2010 - Posted by | Football

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