It’s El Classico time, the whole world pauses to witness one of the greatest fixtures that the footballing world awaits every year …… and guess what ? it always delivers
Formations and Line-ups
Before going any further get to know more about Formations here
Real Madrid started the game with some familiar faces : Courtois , Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Valverde, Vinicius, Isco and Benzema
Quique setien decided to start with the following names for this Classico Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, Arthur, De Jong, Vidal, Griezmann, Messi
High pressing and man to man marking
In this game, Zidane stayed true to his philosophy by pressing Barcelona high in their midfield by switching to a 4-2-4 formation with Kroos and Casemiro as midfielders and Valverde taking the right wing and in the meantime Isco transitioning to be closer to Benzema
By doing so Barcelona found it very difficult to get the ball out of their midfield and has lost too many balls in the first quarter of the game before adjusting and gaining back their fluidity with the ball
A man to man marking is a double edged sword because if one player loses his mark it creates big problems for his team like it happened with Vinicius losing sight of Semedo many times and allowing the Portuguese to advance and create numerical superiority against Marcelo
Valverde and Isco
Valverde and Isco were the two mans in Zidane‘s squad responsible for shifting the formation between a classic 4-4-2 when defending low in the field and a 4-2-4 when pressing high.
Valverde was the key to stopping Jordi Alba‘s movement in the right wing and isolating him. Also with his effort and speed allowed for fast counters using the spaces behind alba.
Isco was the free man he moves to facilitate the movement of the problem, presses high Umtiti and drops back to the midfield to get the ball from Casemiro and move it froward with his ability to dribble and to conserve the ball
Attacking for Zidane was simple and monotonous ; first switch for the 4-2-4 formation the Vinicius gets in the space between Semedo and Pique, Marcelo then takes his favourite position in the left wing and kroos covers for him
Benzema played his role as a false 9 by getting Pique and Umtiti out of positions leaving space for Vinicius form the left and Isco from the right to get behind Barcelona‘s defensive line
Every Real Madrid Attack used this scheme, and it did hurt Barcelona on the first goal scored by Vinicius junior.
Carvajal was the best for Real Madrid, he bossed the field, both in defence and offence, was EVERYWHERE, he won 6 duels out of 8, made 57 passes (87% accuracy)
For me he was definitely MAN OF THE MATCH