Real Madrid and Barcelona go head-to-head over the weekend as the La Liga title race takes an interesting turn.
Two points separate the two things with both teams looking quite confident ahead of the showdown.
For Madrid, they have had a good run of form since mid-December while Barcelona has also seen a change in fortune since the turn of the year.
In this piece, we take a look at what has been the difference since both teams last met at the Camp Nou earlier in the 2020/21 campaign.
In their last meeting, a 3-1 scoreline away from home saw Madrid earn the bragging rights for the first Clasico of the season. Since then, Barcelona has gone on to play 38 games across all competitions losing just six of those while winning 27 (D5).
Their results in the league have also seen them recover from their poor start to the season to occupy the second position, just one point behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.
For Madrid, they have lost six times out of 33 games since last beating Barcelona, winning 21 and drawing six as well. That leaves them third on the league table and three off the top of the summit.
Ronald Koeman has resorted to what looks like a 3-5-2 formation in recent times, which has allowed their full-backs to operate at full strength. However, Jordi Alba has become the most dangerous of the two and that would mean Zinedine Zidane has a lot of attention to pay to Barca’s left side.
While the same 3-5-2 has been used at Madrid sometimes, the Frenchman has kept faith in the traditional 4-3-3 formation which has done the ‘magic’ for so many seasons now. Having said that, Zidane would need to find the right balance to make sure he topples Koeman once again.
Both Zidane and Koeman will go into the game needing to find a solution to their problems at centre-back. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane have been ruled out for Madrid while Gerard Pique is also set to sit out on Barcelona’s side.
Nacho Fernandez and Eder Militao were solid against Liverpool in midfield but the question would be, ‘Would they fare the same against Barca’s tricky forward line?’
Whichever the case be, trust Zidane to find the best solution to what seems to be his weakness at the moment.
Frenkie de Jong has adjusted quite well to his new role as part of the back three but against a pacy forward, he stands to be tested on Saturday.
There has been a huge difference since their last encounter but neither Madrid nor Barcelona look less confident for the upcoming fixture.