Welcome back to TalkBarca. As you know, the El Classico ended in a [0-0] draw after 17 years and we are here with the Tactical Match Review of Barcelona vs Real Madrid. The greatest rivalry in club football took place this weekend, and both club giants could not score against each other. The match ended as a goalless draw and Barcelona is still on the top of the La Liga table. However, there is a lot to discuss regarding the El Classico specifically. We were certainly not the better side in this classic encounter. As a fan, I am not 100% entertained, and as a matter of fact, the EL Classico was a disappointment for me.
There are plenty of reasons behind this. Once again, Ernesto Valverde found a way to disappoint us. Barcelona can forget to play attacking football as long as Ernesto Valverde is in charge. There is a lot to talk about this match. We are going to cover the Match Review in Tactical terms as well. We fans are aware of which player should play or deserves a starting role. This is because we watch players perform on the pitch every week. Stats do play a major role, and stats are in fact the data that describes the performance of a particular player.
However, sometimes a player can look really poor on stats, and still be among the best performers. The movements and the effort a player puts in simply cannot be highlighted from the stats alone. I think Valverde decides his lineups on the basis of stats or previous records. He must consider that every day is a new day, and every new game comes with new conditions. Therefore, he must listen to what the fans are demanding. I think it is finally time for Valverde to start using his brains. Otherwise, we can expect a downfall in all competitions.
FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Match Review:
There is nothing much to say about the game. Real Madrid completely dominated us in the El Classico right from the start. They were continuously hitting us with crosses in the box and didn’t give us an opportunity to settle. At times, we could see Ter Stegen shouting and asking our players to attack. To be honest, it’s our midfield that never got going. They couldn’t move the ball into the attacking areas and failed to link up with the defense as well. I mean, this was surely going to happen considering our starting midfield. However, let’s leave it for now as we will cover it in depth in our Tactical Match Review section.
We did have a few patches in the game as well and created better chances than Real Madrid. However, what’s the point of creating such beautiful chances if you are not going to capitalize on them. We cannot afford to miss chances in such a big game. We were favorites to win this game and we should have won it comfortably but Ernesto Valverde destroyed all our hopes with his pathetic defensive tactics.
Valverde made a lot of mistakes in deciding the starting lineup for Barcelona vs Real Madrid. So, let’s take a look at our lineups in detail.
Ter Stegen started in goal obviously. Ter Stegen was once again amazing. He is always alert, and he always knows where the attackers are going to place the ball. Furthermore, Ter Stegen has amazing reflexes, and his dominating presence troubled Real Madrid’s forwards a lot of times. Furthermore, MATS is also really good with his feet. He is like the 5th defender in the Barca lineup. Ter Stegen is always present to receive small passes and deliver a great long ball to his teammates.
Gerrard Pique and Lenglet started as Center Backs. I think that Pique was, undoubtedly one of the best performers on the pitch from our side. He was always there when the team needed him. Pique was actually playing with a different and really positive energy. He also made a great goalline clearance, which has been in the headlines lately. His partner, Lenglet also played with a lot of energy. Center Backs really delivered what they needed to.
However, I am not satisfied with our wingbacks. Jordi Alba, and Semedo could not impact the game as we hoped to. Semedo still had a better outing, but, Jordi Alba was actually sluggish. This is not his fault actually. Rather, it is Ernesto’s fault to bring him in right after his injury without any game time. Jordi Alba did miss a few chances, and well, only a few chances count in such big games.
Semedo did manage to read the rhythm of the game after the starting minutes. He was good in terms of connecting with his attackers. However, he was leaving a lot of space behind his back letting Isco sneak through and creating goalscoring opportunities for Real Madrid.
Our midfield was completely silent. Valverde went with the stupidest midfield one can possibly think of. He played De Jong, Rakitic, and Sergio Roberto. What kind of combination is this? Have we ever seen this trio starting? Clearly, Sergio Busquests deserved a place in the starting role, and if it was given to him, the result would be different. We know that Busquets didn’t play the game because he had a fever. However, Valverde should have included Vidal or Alena in his place rather than Roberto.
I think De Jong deserves all the appreciation in the world because, despite such a poor midfield, he managed to deliver a decent performance. He was always right where we needed him the most. He just lacked support from his partners, Rakitic, and Roberto.
Our front three were totally silent, and absent in this game. Nothing significant from Griezmann, and nothing magical from Lionel Messi. Suarez did look as if he could create a happy moment for Barcelona, but he also failed more times than we can count.
Tactical Match Review:
Let’s take a look at the tactical aspects of Barcelona vs Real Madrid fixture and see where things got out of control for Barca. To be honest, it was a tactical disaster by Valverde. Almost everything is wrong with Valverde, his tactics, and mentality. However, for El Classico, we will only be discussing how we failed against a high pressing Real Madrid and the impact of our starting midfield. So, without any delay, let’s start our Tactical Match Review.
Barcelona Failing against High Press:
Barcelona made it clear once again that they cannot play against a high pressing team. Once again, an opposition has dominated us really badly with their high press. Real Madrid were actually playing with a high line. Isco, Bale, and Toni Kroos were playing really high up on the pitch. Even the Real Madrid defenders were playing on the half-line. This shows that their fullbacks had no worry of Luis Suarez running past them, and getting into a 1v1.
Rakitic has also proved that playing under high press is not his quality. Every time Rakitic felt players pressing him, he released a long ball regardless of whether it was on target or not. Furthermore, De Jong was also not allowed to play freely. He had to move back time and time again to help out his defense.
Ter Stegen was also left without any option on many occasions. The only option he had in originating a counter-attack was to play a long pass to Luis Suarez and the frustrating this that Suarez failed to control any of these balls. We have to understand that Suarez has lost his legendary first touch and the pace to pierce through high pressing defenders. Furthermore, Roberto and Semedo cannot start together. Both of them operate in similar areas and block each other’s path instead of overlapping runs. This also led to lack of buildups for Barca.
Zidane Targeted Our Vulnerable Midfield:
One more important thing to note is that Barcelona never had control in the midfield. Casemiro and Valverde were marking Roberto and Rakitic instead of our attack. Zidane got his tactics right. We have seen in the past that marking Messi is useless as he always finds a way to score or assist. We have a deadly attacking trio and all three of them are capable of finding a way to score even when marked by multiple players. So, this time, instead of marking our attacks, Zidane marked our midfield and stopped the supply to our attack.
To be honest, Valverde provided this opportunity to Zidane by choosing the worst possible midfield. We can see how we found our feet after the introduction of Vidal. We really missed Arthur and Busquets in our midfield because if those two would have been playing along De Jong, Madrid would have been in real trouble. Anyways, we cannot fantasize about having unavailable players in our lineup. However, what we can do is look at what we have and chose the best possible trio in the midfield. Personally, I think we should have used Vidal or Alena in the place of Roberto.
Pique was undoubtedly the best player in El Classico. He stepped up when Barcelona really needed him. Real Madrid attempted 32 crosses, but, was still not able to find Benzema or any other attacker. The reason was that Pique stood rock-solid in the box, and won the majority of headers. This is the Gerrard Pique we know. This is our president. We surely want more from him in the coming future. We know that Pique always steps up his game in crucial games and he proved that once again.
Anyways, guys, this is it from the Tactical Match Review of Barcelona vs Real Madrid. Even though the El Classico ended as a draw, we are still at the top of the League Table and in prime position to win La Liga. What do you think about our El Classico performance? Where do we stand currently, and what do we need to improve? Let us know in the comments section below. Until the next time, Visca El Barca!