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Friday, January 13, 2012

Has Willy Caballero’s gaff played into the hands of Barcelona?

Potentially the keepers last game for Malaga as Kameni has joined from Espanyol, how big an impact will it have on the title race?

When City failed to progress out of the group stage of the Champions League this year many said nothing would stop them winning the Premiership, when Man United exit followed 24hrs later the title was still wide open. After last week’s dramatic FA cup tie victory for United it was Mancini who was the happier of the two managers, primarily because of the character his 10 man team showed in the second-half and also because perhaps this is another distraction out of the way for City. Anything other than a league title for City this year is tantamount to failure, the same can be said for Real Madrid. 

Madrid are 5 points ahead of their bitter rivals Barcelona, but the two will meet in a two-legged affair in the ¼ finals of the Copa del Rey. Madrid were tested by a well organised Malaga, Malaga could have easily won the tie, they were 2-0 up at half time at the Bernabau but lost 3-2 and were looking to break on the counter at home but Willy let a tame Benzama shot trickle under him to make it 1-0 to the visitors. Whilst Barelona strolled past Osasuna 4-0 at the Nou Camp and then Osasuna suffered their first home defeat of the season with a 2-1 loss in the second leg.

Last season we were greedy with our clasico’s devouring them whole 4 in just over two weeks, alas our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, we grew plumwith play acting and the tantrums from Mou.  Barcelona will be hoping much for the same this time round. Real Madrid have been in formidable form this season breezing past teams and have already amassed 95 goals in 33 official games. However, when they met against Barcelona in December they found they couldn’t bully there way through and were completely outclassed by the Catalan side.

The more Real play Barca the more damaging it will be for their side in terms of morale, fatigue and the behaviour of Mou. These could all jeopardise their ambitions to stop Barca winning their 4th consecutive title.

This is all speculation of course, Real Madrid have great strength in depth whilst Barcelona squad is down to just 14 players currently due to ACCON and an ever growing injury list. Marca today already produced their possible combative tactics to defeat Barca, a 3-3-3-1 formation. However, recent history would suggest that Barca will get the better of Real especially over two legs.

If we end were we began; a comparison with the Premier League. La Liga is Real’s to lose, the Premiership is there to be won be United, City or even Spurs the duopoly of La Liga has produced Europe’s best two teams by a long way but also one of the worst leagues.  When Real and Barca meet in CL Real will be hoping it’s in the final and if they lose that they can always blame Willy Caballero...

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