How Real Madrid should set-up to defeat Barcelona

Real Madrid will face its toughest opponent this Sunday in the form of its greatest rival Barcelona. Carlo Ancelotti must see to it that several key areas and duels are addressed in what could prove to be a crucial match in a tight title race.

So, this is what you would call a six-pointer of a game, and it is even more crucial for Real Madrid, as it is being played at the Santiago Bernabeu.

For Barcelona, even a draw would represent a positive result and keep them at the top of the La Liga table on goal difference.

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How Real Madrid should set-up to defeat Barcelona

Here is how Ancelotti should set his team up in order to beat Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the ongoing campaign:

Real Madrid’s interchanging midfield & decisiveness in the final third 

The tireless work-rate of Luka Modric and Federico Valverde will be very important in supporting Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema in the penalty area. Their ball carries to and from midfield this season have allowed Real Madrid to fluctuate from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 with ease.

Toni Kroos leads La Liga this season in passes into the final 3rd with 87 passes. Aurelien Tchouameni leads Real Madrid’s tackles in winning possession with 11 and tackles in midfield with 10.

Vinicius will be extremely important as he leads the league this season with 29 carries into the final third. If these trends continue, Real Madrid’s dynamic midfield and attack should be able to get the job done.

Defensive set-up

Real Madrid would have hoped for Thibaut Courtois to start, but Andriy Lunin will get the nod as the Belgian is not fit. Eder Militao’s ability to press has improved considerably this season and Antonio Rudiger has been a reliable anchor in clearing the ball out of the defensive third.

Militao and Rudiger seemingly have a good understanding of when to cover each other if one steps out to press, and if either are caught out, have the legs to track back. For this particular match, where Real Madrid will see less of the ball, it is ideal that Rudiger get the call over David Alaba. Although, the German’s fitness has a question mark over it.

Ferland Mendy will have his hands full as containing Raphinha this season will be no easy feat. The Barcelona winger leads the league in passes into the penalty area with 18. Mendy is generally a more conservative left-back and has shown in the past his ability to make smart challenges with his impeccable timing.

Both teams are very close to each other in terms of quality. So, this should be another legendary clash for the history books.

Real Madrid’s best XI:

Lunin, Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Mendy, Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius