Tonight is the night. It’s our first chance for a title this season and it couldn’t come in a more iconic way. Live from Saudi Arabia, at 8pm local time, its El Clasico in the Spanish SuperCup final. To some it is a pretty meaningless trophy. In fact we used to play this as part of the pre season preparations. However in recent years, the one off match has been transformed into a 4 team knockout tournament. Which includes first and second place in La Liga, alongside the 2 finalists of the Copa Del Rey. It’s a trophy that we have to go all out for. Mostly in terms of confidence. Of course it isnt the most important tile of the season, but its still a trophy up for grabs. And especially when its Barça vs Real Madrid, we can’t let it slip away to them. We need this winning feeling. It’s a ling term project and we’ve made incredible progress already, but tonight would be a huge boost for us if we can get over the line. And we have to go all out for it.
A quick look at our opponents:
Funnily enough, both Barça and Real Madrid have had a similar path to the final. But they have the luxury of coming into the game with an extra days rest. After struggling to beat mid table side, Valencia. Their game went all the way to penalties, where experience came out on top for them. For us on the otherhand, although our overall performance was a lot better. Especially in the first half. A couple substitutions later on and a lapse of concentration pushed us all the way to extra time and penalties. Ter Stegen was incredible in the shootout, as were all our penalty takers who dispatched their spot kicks perfectly. Especially Ansu and Pedri, who both stepped up.
Real Madrid are always a tough team to play. No matter how both of our forms are coming into the game, it is always going to be tough. And tonight’s game will be no different. What we must do is arrive to the game with no fear. Jut-stop go for them. Hopefully we can be efficient and kill the game off early, but its not going to be straightforward. Concentration is key. We cannot lose focus at any point. We have to keep the intensity up and essentially make the game difficult for Madrid. And hope we can end the night with a positive result.
What is always fascinating is how Xavi will set up for the game. He isn’t stuck in his ways or stubborn. So he will adapt to the best system he feels it is for the game. There has been talk of maybe going back to the 4 man midfield shape we saw against Atleti. Or stick with the traditional 4-3-3 setup we saw against Betis. In both games, we showed really promising sings with both formations. Especially against Betis. The movement was fluid on and off the ball, but the only problem was our fullbacks. I can’t see Roberto starting tonight. Jordi Alba will possibly start, although i would opt to go for Balde. He is a lot better defensively and has the pace to get back when in transition.
Another question is about Araujo. He has played a lot of football since coming back from injury. And has been absolutely immense. But we obviously have to be careful with him. Not to overwork him or push him too hard. I do think he will stat tonight. And he may even be at right back, leaving Kounde in the middle with Christensen.
For me, i think we will stick with the midfield 3. And if that is the case, then the three pick themselves. Pedri, Gavi and Frenkie. De Jong unfortunately had to be subbed along with Dembele against Betis, due to discomfort. But the good news is that they’re both expected to be 100% fine for the game.
Lastly in attack of Barça VS Real Madrid, the only question i have is who will start out of Ansu or Raphinha. Both had really good games the other day. Raphinha looked bright off the right. And Ansu had a fantastic cameo coming off the bench. Scoring a wondergoal and finishing off a clinical penalty. For confidence, i think he has to start in the Clasico. Alongside Lewandowski and Dembele.
Araujo- Kounde- Christensen- Balde
Pedri- Frenkie- Gavi
Dembele- Lewandowski- Ansu