Barcelona are set to face their biggest rival Real Madrid, in what could potentially be their most essential game in La Liga, on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeau.
Real Madrid’s Dream Run
The home team, the White Giants are in fabulous form over the course of the season. Not only have they maintained the pole position on the La Liga charts, they have also secured Quarter Final place in the Champions League.
They stand at the top of the table by a whopping 10 point lead. They extended their lead after thrashing Mallorca 3-0 after Sevilla had to share points with Rayo Vallecano.
The Los Blancos were in the spotlight after they knocked out the mighty PSG out of the Champions League by making an unprecedented comeback. Carlo Ancelotti would be instilled with confidence going in to the weekend. With Karim Benzema scoring a magnificent hat-trick and Luka Modric ruling the midfield, they look like the squad with more depth going in to the match.
Real Madrid could have to play this weekend without three key players. Karim Benzema, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo picked up small injuries in their previous game against Mallorca.
Their biggest upset would be the loss of their veteran striker Karim Benzema, who is in the form of his life. Karim Benzema picked up a calf injury after scoring a beautiful goal against Mallorca.
The French ace has been the club’s talisman this season, scoring 32 goals and providing 10 assists in 34 appearances for the club in all competitions. His contributions single-handedly helped Real Madrid eliminate PSG from the Champions League to progress to the quarter-finals.
They have the likes of Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard on the bench, but with the lack of another quality striker up-front, Madrid might suffer
Barcelona Playing As Underdogs
With an underwhelming start to the season, Barcelona might have just found their way after brining their very own Xavi and a few important signings in the January transfer window.
They trail Real Madrid by 15 points, but this week’s win could just slightly increase their ‘bleak’ chances of challenging the host to a title race. With Sevilla having a dip in form, the Catalan side could use it to get closer to their opponents.
They have won four and drawn one of their last five games in La Liga. Xavi’s side have also scored four goals in their last three league games. Their signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres have had phenomenal performances over the past weeks.
Even the former Wolves forward Adama Traore, has claimed to prove his doubters wrong, who believed he would fail at the club. With youngsters like Gavi and Pedri, Barcelona are all in to evenly match Real Madrid for the first time in almost two years.
Sergio Busquets when asked about Xavi said, “We are a much more complete team, we do many more things well and we are more of a team after all. It is clear that we still have a long way to go, but this is the way.”
“Everything is different. The self-esteem, the state of mind, the confidence. A new coach has arrived and has made many changes. Xavi introduced the philosophy that he had maintained for many years.” Busquets added.
With a fit and in-form squad, Barcelona are expected to give Real Madrid a run for their money.