LaLiga

6 key duels that could decide ElClasico

Rappler
6 key duels that could decide ElClasico

MIDFIELD BATTLE. Frenkie De Jong continues to bring his youth and energy to the pitch.

LaLiga

Here are six direct matchups which could well decide who takes home the point

ElClasico is always such a tight contest and this weekend’s encounter could come down to a single individual battle on the chessboard that is the football pitch.

Ahead of the meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday, October 24, here’s a look at six duels that could prove decisive:

Marc-Andre ter Stegen vs Karim Benzema

Benzema is in terrific form and comes into ElClasico with nine goals from his eight LaLiga Santander appearances so far and after helping France to a Nations League triumph with his excellent performances in the Final Four.

Real Madrid’s main man in attack appears to be unstoppable, but ter Stegen has managed to keep Benzema at bay over the years.

In fact, the Frenchman has scored just twice across the 1,075 minutes they’ve shared on the pitch in previous ElClásico meetings. The number nine scored in their last encounter, however, in Los Blancos’ 2-1 win at Valdebebas last campaign. 

Vinícius Jr vs Gerard Piqué

Benzema might be the primary goal scorer in this Real Madrid squad, but the player who seems to creates out of nothing is Vinícius and he’ll look to use his pace and trickery to get the better of Gerard Piqué.

The Brazilian and the Spaniard are at opposite ends of their careers, so we’ll see youthful confidence going up against veteran experience and this could be key to the game’s outcome. 

Frenkie de Jong vs Casemiro

As is so often the case in football, the key battles could be in the midfield – and keep a particular eye on the individual duel between Frenkie de Jong and Casemiro.

These two players bring the energy to their respective midfields and are capable of playing their best football on the biggest occasions.

Key to protecting the defense at the same time as going forward to contribute to attack, de Jong and Casemiro are undoubtedly two of this fixture’s most important players. 

Gavi vs Eduardo Camavinga

We might witness a glimpse into the future during this October’s ElClasico, with 17-year-old Gavi and 18-year-old Camavinga likely to earn some minutes at Camp Nou.

Both these players have impressed to start the 2021-2022 campaign, with Gavi making an impact after emerging from Barça’s La Masia academy and with Camavinga hitting the ground running at Real Madrid following his summer transfer from Rennes.

If these two players do feature in this game, perhaps off the bench, then they’ll likely occupy the same area of the pitch and their fresh legs in the final stages could prove decisive.

Ansu Fati vs David Alaba

There is great excitement at Barcelona with the comeback of Ansu Fati, who returned from a 10-month injury layoff by scoring a goal against Levante on his first match back.

The 18-year-old has inherited Lionel Messi’s iconic No. 10 shirt at Camp Nou and will be looking to score against Real Madrid, just as he did in this same fixture last year before his knee injury.

Out to prevent the teenager from repeating last year’s trick is summer signing David Alaba, the experienced centre-back who has seamlessly slotted into Real Madrid’s back line.

While Los Blancos’ defense has been leakier than Carlo Ancelotti would like, that’s not Alaba’s fault and the Austrian will be determined to earn a clean sheet in his first ElClasico. 

Memphis Depay vs Thibaut Courtois

While ter Stegen vs Benzema is a duel we’ve enjoyed many times before, the upcoming battle between Thibaut Courtois and Memphis is a relatively novel one.

They have only shared the pitch for 17 minutes in their careers, back in 2015-2016 when they both played in English football, so this should be a special face-off between the goalkeeper and the forward at Camp Nou.

Both players have started this season in good form and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the result of this ElClasico comes down to a one-on-one chance between the Dutchman and Belgian. – Rappler.com  

Watch ElClasico this Sunday, October 24 at 10:15pm on beIN Sports.