Real Madrid and Barcelona have played each other so often in recent years that attempting to offer a new insight into the tactical battle is all but impossible. The match will be the usual contest between Madrid’s physicality and Barcelona’s technical quality, quick counter attacks versus patient possession football. No ‘Clasico’ is ever played without purpose but with Barcelona having all but secured the league title and important Champions League fixtures coming up for both teams, this game certainly lacks the fixture’s usual edge.
Therefore rather than previewing the game I have decided to consider a tactical ‘Plan B’ for either team, or how the inclusion of specific players could add extra dimensions to their approach. Should Jose Mourinho wish to add extra depth to his midfield he could select Luka Modric in the advanced midfield position who would offer more tactical flexibility than Mesut Ozil. Modric was signed in the summer to supposedly offer such an option, but as yet he has struggled to hold down a first team spot, yet against Barcelona his ability to play in deeper areas would surely be an asset. For Barcelona Tito Vilanova, or in his absence Jordi Roura, can look to add more verticality by selecting Alexis Sanchez or David Villa on the left wing to mirror the direct running of Pedro on the right. As the 2-0 defeat to AC Milan demonstrated, at times the Catalan’s can lack penetration when they pack their midfield and forward line with playmakers.
Neither of these options are radical nor are they even untried by either manager, but they are a divergence from both Mourinho and Vilanova’s first choice XIs… (Read more)