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Saturday, 10th April 2010
Kick Off : 20:00 GMT
Venue : Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid – Spain
Spain’s La Liga “El Clásico”, the “match of the millenium” between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, 10th April 2010, kick-off set for 20:00 GMT. The classic is no occasion for tactical innovation and Real Madrid will line up in the expected 4-2-3-1, Barcelona will form the traditional 4-3-3. The game will be decided in the individual battles. Lassana Diarra will try to stop Xavi, Daniel Alves will be asked to guard Cristiano Ronaldo and Arbeloa will seek to control Messi’s fire.
Manuel Pellegrini will have to face Pep Guardiola, who is in only his second year as a manager, the more experienced Chilean has not won nearly as many trophies as the younger Pep. Pellegrini, as should be expected for a man leading the “Casa Blanca” has spent much of his first season in the Spanish capital trying to communicate a collective ethos to individuals playing to advance their own self-interest. Guardiola has no place for egotists in his side, as Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o departures proved.
Kaka looks to be surely out on Saturday as he has been struggling to deal with a hernia injury for the past month. Karim Benzema is still not fit and is doubtful.
Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta is still recovering from injury and should be able to come from the bench. Gerard Pique and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are struggling to be healthy.
This season no other team in La Liga can boast of a perfect home record as Real Madrid’s, not even Barcelona, the team that is considered to be the best in the world by a huge majority. The Spanish giants have played 15 league matches thus far at the Santiago Bernabeu, picking up the maximum 45 points there and scoring an impressive number of 50 goals. This puts their average scoring to a bit more than 3 goals per home game.
The two traditional arch-rivals are locked on the same 77 points at the top of La Liga’s table with Real Madrid on top thanks tp their better goal difference, but a draw would be good enough to send Barca to first place because of their head-to-head record having won at Camp Nou 1-0 in the first round match up. earlier this season. Furthermore, Barcelona have won the last three El Clasico showdowns, including their memorable 6-2 trashing of the “merengues” at the Bernabeu last season.
My prediction: 2-1