Real Madrid v Barcelona Preview

With the latest edition of the world’s greatest game edging ever closer, it’s time to analyse the players on form going into the game, how the two teams have fared recently and which team will come out on top – Real Madrid or Barcelona?

The home team, Madrid, have been in mixed form recently, and since their 0-2 victory over Malmo in September, they have had 4 wins, two draws, and, most recently, a 3-2 defeat against Sevilla, who have also beaten Barcelona this season, despite sitting 10th place in mid-table mediocrity. They sit second in the table behind Barca themselves, but with a win could go top due to the head-to-head rule. Their star player, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, is hitting a slightly rough patch, but, as we all know, form is temporary, but class is permanent, and it will surely be only a matter of time before he starts scoring again, and of course, he and the rest of the Madrid faithful will hope that is Saturday night. Looking at their defence, which has been solid all season, keeper Keylor Navas is lucky to be playing football at all this season, as he would almost certainly be sitting on the bench if the disastrous De Gea hadn’t been so, well, disastrous. But he is playing, and he’s pulled it out of the bag so far this season, and even with the form of Neymar and Suarez in Messi’s absence, it will be a real challenge for Barcelona to get past the Costa Rican international. Also in defence, it is uncertain whether or not centre-back Sergio Ramos will start after picking up a shoulder injury in the process of scoring a stunning acrobatic goal in the defeat by Sevilla a fortnight ago, and it has been suggested that the Spaniard may play on pain-killers.

Looking at Barcelona, where else is there to start than with the scintillating form of Neymar and Luis Suarez, who have scored 26 goals between them this season, with 13 goals each. The Azulgranas come into the game off the back of 3 wins in their last 4 games, and last week, a confident 3-0 victory over Villarreal saw a Luis Suarez penalty along with two goals from Neymar, the second being an outrageous piece of skill from the Brazilian.

So, Barcelona are on form, Real slightly shaky, but as they say – the form book goes out of the window on derby day – and this isn’t any old derby.

Match Report #2 West Ham 4-0 West Brom

Another game to demonstrate the magic of the FA Cup, another shock 4-0 win in the world of football. Two goals from an in-form Brown Ideye and further strikes from James Morrison and Saido Berahino took a poor West Ham side apart. Ideye, who came within inches of leaving the Baggies in the final hours of deadline day, has now scored 4 goals in 6 games, and is looking like he could transform West Brom’s season.

The first goal started with a superb cross-field pass by Craig Gardner to pick out Craig Dawson, allowing him to beat Aaron Cresswell and get down the wing to feed Brown Ideye for a simple finish to make it 1-0 to West Brom.

And from there on, things only got worse for the Hammers as Craig Gardner’s excellent effort from 30-yards rattled the crossbar, and just three minutes later, a sublime long-range finish from James Morrison took the Baggies’ lead to 2-0.

Later in the second half on 57 minutes, Brown Ideye pounced after some poor defending by West Ham to head in his second and put the game beyond doubt.

After this, the frustration began to mount, and it finally told as Morgan Amalfitano, (who had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes) saw red as he kicked out at Chris Brunt before slapping him in the face.

Then, with 18 minutes left to play, Saido Berahino completed the rout as he smashed home a neat near post finish past West Ham ‘keeper Adrian.

West Ham will hope to put this game beyond them as they travel to North London to play Spurs on Sunday, whilst West Brom will carry their good form into their match at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland on Saturday.

Match Report #1 Atletico Madrid 4-0 Real Madrid

The headline says it all. Arguably the best team in the world with the Ballon D’or winner and a few world cup winners in their side, Real Madrid, the current European Champions, were incredibly thrashed 4-0 by local rivals Atletico on Saturday. On Cristiano Ronaldo’s return from suspension after his red card against Cordoba, Real were completely dominated by an Atletico side playing as if it was the World Cup final.

Atletico started the stronger, and it was goalkeeper Iker Casillas’s mistake that lead to the opening goal from Tiago. That did the ‘Rojiblancos’ the world of good, and they took that confidence into their stride, as Saul scored an audacious overhead kick to make the score 2-0. After Atletico’s blistering start, Real Madrid began to come into the game by around the half hour mark, but not to register any attemps of note. Down the other end however Atletico Madrid claimed that they should have had a penalty to make it 3-0 before half time as Diego Godin’s volley appeared to strike the arm of Sami Khedira, but the German World Cup winner conned the referee, by dropping down to the ground and pretending it had hit him in the face. In the second half, a rampant side did make it 3-0 after Antoine Greizmann’s goal. This was after two glaring chances were missed by the La Liga Champions to put the game beyond doubt, including a poor header from Tiago, but after all the pressure Real Madrid finally woke up with about ten minutes to go, as Asier Illaramendi’s fearsome strike was tipped over the bar by Moya. But when Cristiano Ronaldo dribbled the ball out of play under little pressure, that summed up Real’s day, and just a minute later, a diving header by Mario Mandzukic sealed an incredible result for Atletico Madrid.

Many people are now wondering how Real will recover from this hammer blow, as star man Ronaldo’s form had already shown signs of dipping, so, this could mean that we could be in for some title race at the end of the season!