Real Madrid on course for an incredible double – but why are people still not convinced by Zidane?

It is a huge evening for Real Madrid. With just a week to go in La Liga, Real are level on points with Barcelona at the top, with Zidane’s men having played a game less. Win tonight, and they require just a point against mid-table Malaga on the final day to win their first league title since the 2011/12 season under Jose Mourinho.

With a final against the Italian giants Juventus in the Champions League final on the horizon as well, the club are on course for a hugely impressive double this season and will become the first team since AC Milan in the 90’s to successfully defend their European crown – no mean feat.

However, despite the success Zidane looks as if he is going to bring to the Bernabeu this season, there is still a large amount of football fans across Europe and the world that are not convinced by this current Madrid team and Manager. But why?  Continue reading “Real Madrid on course for an incredible double – but why are people still not convinced by Zidane?”

Atletico have the pride, but Real once again have the glory

With Real Madrid travelling to the Vicente Calderon for what was going to be the final European game and Madrid derby in the historic stadium, Atletico had a near-impossible task on their hands; overturn a 3-0 defecit suffered in the first leg to reach their third final in five seasons.

Continue reading “Atletico have the pride, but Real once again have the glory”

Latest transfer round-up

As the summer transfer window is just weeks from opening around Europe, the rumours are set to fly. Who will be the blockbuster transfer this year? Who will go on strike to force a move through? Who will break the world record transfer fee? Who will be tapped up?

In this article I look at some of the biggest deals that could go through this summer.

Continue reading “Latest transfer round-up”

Who Replaces Enrique at Barca?

“I won’t be at Barcelona next season,” said Luis Enrique in his post-match press conference. “I need to rest. I would like to thank the club for the confidence they have shown in me. It’s been three unforgettable years. It’s a very difficult decision for me, one I’ve thought about a lot, but I think I need to be true to myself and fair to my way of thinking. Continue reading “Who Replaces Enrique at Barca?”

El Clasico

Even though it’s only December, tomorrow’s game between Barcelona and Real Madrid has even more significance than usual. Some people are even calling it a season defining match already. It is, for me, a bigger game for Barcelona than it is for Real Madrid, given the two teams recent performances and results. Whilst Zidane’s Real Madrid are unbeaten in 13 league games this season, Barcelona’s draw at Sociedad last week saw the players and in particular boss Luis Enrique come under serious fire from the fiercely critical Catalan press.

At the time of writing this, Real Madrid are 6 points clear of Barcelona at the top of the La Liga standings. Real, who have only won the league once in the last 8 seasons, have not had a lead as commanding as this in La Liga since 2012, when Jose Mourinho was in charge. This is also the biggest lead Real have held over Barca in the League since 2008, when Bernd Schuster was boss.

Should Madrid come away from the Nou Camp with a victory tomorrow, they will hold a 9 point lead over Barca; a lead in which surely even at this stage of the season is too big to make up.

Andres Iniesta, the legendary Barca midfielder, has been declared fit for the game after missing several weeks with an injury. This will come as a huge boost to Barca, with Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez being unable to adequately replace the playmaker in the centre of midfield. Real will go in to the game in relatively good shape fitness wise, with Gareth Bale being the only real long-term injury at the club currently.

Key Players

Barcelona – Lionel Messi

Yes, it’s an obvious pick, but he really does make all the difference. When he’s not playing well, Barca very rarely play well. Expect to see him dropping deeper to receive the ball off the Barca midfielders if the game is congested in the middle third, trying to make something happen.

Real Madrid – Luka Modric

Perhaps a surprising choice to most people, who would’ve gone for Cristiano, but Modric is the one who keeps this Madrid team ticking over and with Toni Kroos out injured, his role as deep lying playmaker will become even more crucial in ensuring Barca do not enjoy too much possession in the midfield areas. Technically superb and a great passer.

Prediction

Under Zidane, Real Madrid have found a more pragmatic approach whilst still having the firepower and flair needed to finish teams off when needed. Barca are struggling for form currently, with key players such as Busquets having a tricky time of it. However, this is not an ordinary league game and both teams will be giving it everything in what is the most important game of the season to date. If Real win this, it’s a long way back for Barca and potentially Enrique as boss.

I predict a 2-1 win to Real Madrid. 

-EastTerrace