Barcelona managed to become the winner in the continuation of the Spanish La Liga against eternal rivals, Real Madrid at Camp Nou (20/3/23). The results of the match, entitled el clasico , solidified Barca’s position at the top of the Spanish La Liga standings.
The gap with Madrid is widening. Until the 26th week the two teams were 12 points apart. 12 games behind. Barca’s chance of winning the 2022/23 season is getting bigger.
Playing in front of his own supporters, Barca fell behind because of Ronald Araujo’s own goal in the 9th minute. Barca, who controlled 54 matches, did not give up. Towards the end of the first half, through senior midfielder Sergio Roberto, Barca equalized 1-1.
Barca’s attempt to beat Madrid ended in injury time. It was Franck Kessie who was a substitute who scored a goal in the 92nd minute and that goal ended Madrid’s resistance. Relying on a 4-3-3 formation, Xavi Hernandez was able to dim the aggressiveness of Madrid’s game. Karim Benzema, who is lined up as the main striker on Madrid’s front lines, rarely gets supplies from V. Junior and F. Valverde. Barca’s defense is very difficult to tear down.
In the match against Madrid, Xavi again shifted Araujo to the right to keep up with Vinicius’ speed. This tactic paid off again because Vinicius didn’t really pose a serious threat to Barca’s back line. In fact, Vinicius failed to record a single shot against Barca.
Barca’s strengths are not only in the defense sector. However, Barca midfielders like S. Roberto and Kessie were able to score goals. Even though Raphinha, R. Lewandowski and Gavi failed to be effective, Barca have a central midfielder who can score goals at crucial times.
Xavi again defeated Carlo Ancelotti this season. This victory could be Barca’s provision in serving Madrid in the second leg of the Copa del Rey event which will take place next week. In the first leg, Barca won 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. In the second leg, Barca again played in front of his own supporters. Victory in the Spanish La Liga can be a moral injection for Barca against Madrid.
However, Barca also needs to be vigilant. However, Madrid certainly learned from the two matches that took place in the space of a month. Especially on how Madrid penetrated Barca’s rearguard.
Madrid’s challenge is the energy in midfield. Madrid still rely on Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to play the ball in the midfield. The control of these two players is indeed still capable, but the speed of the two does not provide a balance for Madrid when carrying out attacks on Barca and keeping up with Barca’s young defenders.
In fact, Barca is very fragile when playing against a team that plays aggressively and compactly. It was proven when Barca bowed against Manchester United or Bayern Munich, where these two teams relied on aggressive attacks on every front. The aggressiveness of these two teams can be seen when the players flow the ball quickly to the front lines when they get a chance.
Madrid is subject to el clasico for the second time within a month. Certainly, Madrid does not want to lose face in El Clasico which will take place next week in the Copa del Rey.
On the other hand, the big match in the Italian League between Inter Milan and Juventus was exciting (23/3/23). The team nicknamed the Old Lady, Juventus narrowly won 1-0 over Inter Milan. Juve also won thanks to a late goal, by D. D’Ambrosio in the 97th minute. This Juve victory is very important because it shows Juve’s efforts to break through the top four again and then strengthen the team’s mentality.
Juve, who managed to win at Inter headquarters, San Siro, are currently in 7th place in the Italian League standings. Left 11 games for the season. The distance with Milan in 4th place is only 8 points away. If Juve had not received a 15-point penalty because of the case that happened to their top officials, perhaps Juve would be one of the teams that still provides strong competition for Napoli at the top of the standings.
Juve inevitably need to rise from adversity. Especially from the mental fall due to the punishment that befell the club in the middle of this season. Therefore, the victory against Inter is very meaningful. In the first place, Juve showed the mentality of being a team that remained competitive despite facing scandals and also getting sanctions. Furthermore, this states that Juve cannot simply be written off as a team to be reckoned with.
Elsewhere, the win strengthened the mentality of Juve’s players. However, the scandal or sanctions received can weaken the mentality of the players to remain in Juve’s uniform next season. However, because the best performance is maintained, the mentality of the players can be lifted. The intention to leave could have been suspended and start thinking how to get up next season to justify the bad situation this season.
Juve showed their strength when they won against Inter. The opportunity to enter the top 4 of the Italian League is still open. The win against Inter also gave the team moral strength until the end of the season.