the best defense in the League and the best attack meet at the Camp Nou
The entire Barça-Madrid that will take place tonight at the Camp Nou in an Araujo against Vinicius is summed up. To find out if the poisonous Brazilian winger is capable of breaking the corpulence and defensive profession shown by the Uruguayan defender, transformed into one of the symbols of Xavi’s Barça, a team accustomed to surviving with 1-0 or 0-1. And all under the stain of the Negreira case, which marks this classic.
The azulgranas have signed nine wins in 25 days for such a close figure in a Camp Nou that will actually live this Sunday night the duel between the best defense (Barça has only conceded eight goals) and the best attack in the League because Madrid has scored 50 goals, three more than the Catalans (47).
If there are no radical changes, Barça and Madrid will bet on the same tactical formula. Both will use a traditional 4-3-3 at the Camp Nou, although, in reality, there is nothing traditional about it. Xavi usually plays with a fourth midfielder, it is almost always Gavi, destined to occupy the left flank of the attack, but he is a decoy because the one who becomes a lateral-interior-left-winger is Balde.
Madrid does the same, but on the other side. Ancelotti places Valverde as a false right winger, although his mission is to complete the midfield, in addition, to give legs and physical freshness to a team that lives at the slow, leisurely and, above all, astute pace of Modric and Kroos.
Goalkeepers also win matches
Ter Stegen is completing his best season since he dressed as a Barça player in the summer of 2014. He is a modern goalkeeper, who has also taken over the stage. He is valued not only for his excellent footwork – the best in Europe – but for his elasticity and powerful hands that have saved Barça in many games.
“He has been winning 1-0 in many games and if it weren’t for him, they are games that would have ended in a draw. That Barça go first with a nine-point advantage is his merit,” Courtois, the Madrid goalkeeper, told Vamos de Movistar +.
He has not lowered his level. Not much less, but he has paid for the irregularity of the white defensive structure. The German has only conceded eight goals in 25 games; the Belgian more than doubled, with 19 goals in 19 games (an average of one per game) since he missed six due to various physical problems.
Vinicius is the player who gives meaning and efficiency to Madrid’s attacking game. More even than Benzema. The dribbling of the Brazilian unsettles any defense. Everyone except Araujo. Dribbling, personality – does not falter when he fails in his attempt – together with impudence, and all at top speed, make ‘Vini’ the zero kilometer for Madrid.
Everything works great, except when he crosses paths with the Uruguayan. “He is one of the best defenders in the world”, confessed Xavi. He is not wrong. Araujo, a central defender full of physical exuberance, disguises himself as a solid right-back to become a wall for the Brazilian. In the last two classics (Super Cup and Cup), he has dried it in such a way that he has not even been able to kick the Madrid winger on goal.
Ancelotti is so restless with this matter that he came to joke about placing Vinicius on the right wing. “It’s a joke, eh!” The Madrid coach said immediately. What is no joke is Araujo’s defensive soul.
The ball, the most precious treasure
Barça won the Cup classic (0-1 at the Bernabéu) without having the ball, which tortured Xavi, used to building his work with possession. That 35% showed that Madrid knew how to take the ball away from them. But then he didn’t know what to do with her. Ninety minutes later, Ancelotti’s team lost without having finished off a single shot on goal. More than conclusive proof that White’s possession was as ineffective (13 shots, none between the three sticks) as it was sterile.
“In the Super Cup we competed excellently with the ball and in the Cup without the ball,” Xavi recalled, referring to the 3-1 win in Riyadh that gave him his first title as Barça manager and the 1-0 win at the Bernabéu. “I would like us to have more possession. I suffer when the team doesn’t have the ball,” confessed the coach, recalling that Modric and Kroos are capable of taking away their great treasure from Barça.
Hoping for the best Lewandowski
Polish is not good. Nothing fine. He is the top scorer in the League, with 15 goals in the 21 games he has played. But after the World Cup he has lost focus. Little by little he is recovering his connection with Barça’s attacking game, but he is not that accurate and precise striker who scored a goal on average.
He has only two goals (in Seville against Betis and against Cádiz at the Camp Nou) in the last eight league games he has played, interrupted by that sanction in Pamplona that made him miss three consecutive games (Atlético, Getafe and Girona).
Sad balance for someone like him, always in love with forcefulness. But Lewandowski is being much more valuable for Barça than Benzema is for Ancelotti. The Frenchman doesn’t play too much (he has missed 10 of the 25 games due to injury). Although he has 11 goals, an asterisk should be added. Five of those 11 are from penalties, which reveals that the glittering and brilliant image that led him to win the Ballon d’Or has been fading.
Source of data and images: elperiodico