The most important El Clasico of the season will be played on Wednesday when Real Madrid travel to Camp Nou. Barcelona have the advantage going into the second leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final.
Xavi has turned the rides around for Barcelona since his appointment as their head coach. Many questioned his appointment but he has proved everyone wrong. He has taken his club to the top of the league with a big lead of 12 points which is nothing short of astonishing. His club has also reached the semi-final of the Copa Del Rey.
Xavi’s Barcelona have now won three Clasicos in a row, which happened for the first time since Pep Guardiola’s golden era. Blaugrana won the first leg by 1-0 thanks to Eder Militao’s own goal but the job is not done yet.
Vinicius Jr. vs Ronald Araujo; the biggest matchup in the El Clasico
Vinicius Jr. is the biggest threat in the current Real Madrid squad. He rose to the top last season when he displayed his skills at the highest level. The Brazilian has the ability to create chances out of nowhere. Xavi will have to once again deal with him in order to progress to the final.
The Barcelona manager has been able to minimize the threat offered by Vinicius Jr. by deploying Ronald Araujo to the right-back position. The Uruguayan has got phenomenal pace and strength to deal with any top player in the world. Vinicius failed to score in the 328 minutes he played in El Clasico with Araujo in the right-back position.
Even if the Brazilian manages to get past Araujo, Kounde and Christensen will be waiting for him there. Xavi often uses 3v1 situations against Vinicius Jr. to cut him out of the game. Real Madrid mostly depends on their winger to create goalscoring chances and Xavi’s well aware of it.
Vinicius did manage to force an own goal from Araujo and dribbled past him during the El Clasico played on 20th March, Xavi will be hoping that this never happens again.
Vinicius and Benzema’s link-up
These two form the most formidable duo in the league. They combined for a lot of goals and won their team in both the league and the UEFA Champions League last season. Both players currently lead Real Madrid’s attacks.
Benzema often drops deep and Vinicius Jr. dribbles inside, looking to set up combinations in the opponent’s half. Barcelona cannot afford to give Real Madrid much space between the lines as Benzema is capable of setting Vinicius Jr. through on goal.
The Catalans can cope with this issue by playing a double-pivot consisting of Frenkie De Jong and Sergio Busquets. They can cut the passing lanes and force their rivals out wide. Compact structure at the back will be the key for Barcelona.
Xavi will be confident going into this match as he has proved that he can defeat Real Madrid with ease. He will be looking forward to winning four El Clasicos in a row.