10 thoughts on the first Clasico of the year (plus racist chants)

Posted on January 31, 2013 12:15 am


EDIT: Just learned about the racist chants to Dani Alves. An absolute embarrasment and something that has to be addressed once and for all by the Spanish FA. It’s not the first time that the Madrid ultras do that in a match, and they have never been punished for it. I might write a blog post in the next couple of days with very interesting info I have that links the Ultras Sur with the far-right parties in Spain.

• Before the game, I tweeted that despite the absences, Real Madrid would be able to play as an equal to Barcelona. The reason was simple, if we analyze the two squads, the difference is very big and the merengues have understood that they can beat their archrivals. The facts proved me right. The times of the 5-0 or 2-6 are long gone.

• Barcelona were the better side tonight, and could have won by two or three goals, but Real Madrid’s last twenty minutes were spectacular. Tonight was the first game that Mourinho’s team was not physically overwhelmed by the Blaugranas, and that’s a victory in itself.

• Raphaël Varane is not the future of Real Madrid … is the present. The Frenchman was the man of the match and made clear that one of the positions in the merengues’ central defense belongs to him. The affected party? Pepe who, with the probable departure of Mourinho in the summer, will find himself in the transfer list.

• On the other hand, Carvalho and Callejón should not play one more minute in the team. Just do not have the level and are a drag on more or less important matches.

• Barcelona need David Villa. Or any striker who can put the ball in the net. In what may have been the weakest match of Lionel Messi in the season, the Blaugranas who found no one who could finish a groggy rival. Xavi, Cesc missed two chances each and Pedro wasted the clearest one. Barca could have won by a wide margin, if they had a killer in their ranks.

• Speaking of Messi, he and Ronaldo fell short tonight. You could say that Mourinho and Vilanova/Roura finally found a way to neutralize them, but surely it was an outlier, I have no doubt that in the next two clásicos, the Big Two will go back to their good ways.

• Interestingly, Barcelona’s best player was also a central defender. Gerard Piqué forgot the problems that plagued him last year and returned to the extraordinary level he had shown since arriving to the Camp Nou.

• Despite having conceded a draw in a game they should have won, Barcelona can be satisfied. The truth is that in the last four matches between the two arch-rivals, Real Madrid had been the one who had dictated the pace of the game, in this case the Catalans were the ones who decided the way to go, even if they couldn’t get the edge.

• Nevertheless, the atmosphere of this game was very different from the series of four Clasicos in 2011. Madrid came out to play, with their weapons, but came out to play. Nothing to do with the cheap shots, bad blood and Mourinho’s “trivote” with Pepe in the main stage.

• The second leg of the Cup will not be very different. The Barcelona will take the initiative and Madrid will take their chance in the counter. It wouldn’t surprise me if all ends in a draw again.

About Martin del Palacio

My name is Martín del Palacio Langer, I live in Barcelona and I'm a freelance contributor to FIFA.com, World Soccer magazine, Kicker, MedioTiempo.com, PasionSports and some other publications around the world. I love the tactical and statistical side of football but understand that passion is the most important ingredient in the game. Hope you enjoy this blog and feel free to contact me in the comments section or in www.twitter.com/martindelpENG (for English) and www.twitter.com/martindelp (for Spanish)
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