A few days after our successful away trip to Elche in La Liga, were now turning our attention to one of the biggest games of the season so far. It’s the 2nd leg of the Copa Del Rey. And Barça be facing the eternal rivals, Real Madrid.
This is in fact the 5th meeting of the season between Barça and Real Madrid. And it’s definitely one of the biggest. We come into the game with a lead to protect and build on, whilst without a number of key players. Madrid are always as difficult test, but we’ll be hoping to pull off a convincing result in-front of a fully sold out Spotify Camp Nou. As this is the 5th overall meeting this season, I wont be going into too much detail about our opponent.
I think we are well aware of them by now. So instead of focusing on them, I’m going to be taking a closer look at what we can expect from Barça. It’s going to be a tough match, but the most important thing is coming away with a positive result. Thats all that matters.
What can we expect from Barça?
Coming into the game, we are heavily weakened. In the first leg we were without Lewandowski, Pedri, Dembele and Christensen. And this time round, we’ll be without Pedri, Dembele, Christensen and Frenkie. However, fortunately for us, they are all expected to be back in the next couple of weeks. However for tonight’s game, we’re going to have to make do without them. And of course that isn’t going to be easy.
Xavi has demonstrated so many times that he is a pragmatic coach. Who can switch up the formation and setup to suit the team’s current needs. We proved that in the first leg, when we went away to the Bernabeu and played in a deep block. Obviously, we’re not expected to play that deep at our own home, but we may have to sacrifice parts of our usual game, in order to benefit the players we have on the pitch. Regardless, its going to be interesting to see how Xavi decides to setup.
One positive on our side compared to the first leg is the return of Robert Lewandowski. He’s fresh off the back of scoring a brace on the weekend at Elche. And he’s going to be hoping to carry on that form in tonight’s game. Barça will definitely going to need it vs Madrid.
As I’ve said previously, we’re coming into the game heavily weakened. Especially in the midfield, we’re down to the bare bones. And overall, due to this, i think our lineup is pretty predictable.
In defence of course Araujo will be deployed at right back, alongside Kounde and Alonso in the centre of defence. Alba had a decent game against Elche on the weekend, but Balde will most likely come back into the starting lineup after resting on the weekend. His pace and recovery speed is going to be important especially when helping out Alonso.
In midfield, it pretty much picks itself. Busquets and Kessie were rested against Elche, so they’ll definitely start. Alongside Sergi Roberto and Gavi.
That leaves the attacking duo of Lewandowski and Raphinha. Raphinha has had a good 3 week rest after not being called up for Brazil. And sitting out of the Elche game due to suspension. So we’ll be hoping to see a fresh and electric performance from him later tonight.
My starting lineup:
Araujo- Kounde- Alonso- Balde
Roberto- Kessie- Busi- Gavi