The 8th clásico in 10 months, only 39 days after the 1-3 win in the Liga, will kickoff this evening. Despite the amount of games between the two sides of late, a Madrid-Barça is always welcome. Tonight, the rivalry extends to the King’s Cup in a replay of last season’s Cup final. The 0-1 loss last season was the only defeat Guardiola’s men have suffered to Madrid in their last 12 meetings. Tonight, Barça will attempt to regain their throne – they have the most Cup titles of any team – against the reigning champions.
A lot of absences
Even though both the teams’ biggest stars will be on the Bernabéu’s pitch tonight, it’s rather impossible to forget about the amount of players that will miss the match. Barça will be missing Afellay, Villa, Fontas and Pedro, all of whom are injured, and Keita, who is away at the Africa Cup of Nations. Therefore, Guardiola only has 15 first-team players at his disposal and the manager has had to call up 4 Barça B players (Cuenca, Montoya, Dos Santos, and Sergi Roberto) to make ends meet. Mourinho, on the other hand, will be without the injured Khedira and Arbeloa, who is suspended.
A question of approach
One thing is for sure, FC Barcelona will go out tonight with one thing in mind: play attacking football. Guardiola may repeat the same starting line-up that beat Real Madrid 1-3 in the Liga, with the variant of Pinto for Valdés. Only time will tell.
Real Madrid’s approach to the game, however, is an enigma. Will they defend or look to attack? The uncertainty centers around whether or not Di María will make the squad, he’s been absent from Madrid’s recent matches, and who will play right-back, or who will play in the middle alongside Xabi Alonso.
All of these questions will be answered tonight at 22.00 (Canal + and Radio Barça), when the ball begins to roll in Madrid. An entertaining match is guaranteed, it’s a clásico.