Koeman’s test is called Real Madrid

This weekend’s El Clasico, the first volume of the 2020/2021 season between Barcelona versus Real Madrid, is a real proving ground for Ronald Koeman.

Koeman came to Barcelona to rebuild the Blaugrana squad after falling apart last season. Lionel Messi cs did not win any titles in the 2019/2020 season.

Barca failed in the Copa Del Rey. They were kicked out of the tournament by Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals.

In the Spanish League, Barca, who had led the standings, slipped in several matches. The top position was taken by their rivals, Real Madrid, which lasted until the end of the season.

In the Champions League it’s even worse. Instead of winning the remaining titles, they defeat by Bayern Munich’s 2-8 in the semifinals. It was Cules’ biggest defeat since 1946.

The last time Barca lost by conceding eight goals was in a 0-8 defeat of Sevilla in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey in 1946.

After that defeat, Barcelona internals broke down. Many parties asked President Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign. In the end, their superstar Messi said he wanted to leave.

Over time Messi chose to stay and make peace with Barcelona. Azulgrana also brought in a number of players, but also dumped players that were not needed, one of which was Messi’s best friend, Luis Suarez.

Losing Suarez was not accompanied by a purchase that was worth it. Barcelona practically only recruits young players or promotes La Mesia dropout.

On the front lines, Francisco Trincao was brought in from Braga. But he plays as a wing striker, not striker number 9.

Their prey, namely Memphis Depay, failed to carry off. Barca do not have the money to bring in the Dutch player.

In other positions there are Miralem Pjanic, Pedri, Serginho Dest, as well as promoting Ansu Fati and Konrad Fuente. Apart from Ansu Fati, other names still have to prove themselves.

With a composition of about 80 percent of Koeman’s old faces, he prepared a formation that was deemed appropriate. Koeman changed Barca’s old grip 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1. With this formation, Koeman wants Barca’s defense to be stronger because there are two defensive midfielders.

In front of the defensive midfielder is Philippe Countiho who is returning from a loan spell at Bayern Munich. The Brazilian player was given discretion as a playmaker.

The front line was filled with Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann. Only Griezmann hasn’t made a spell so far.

Koeman is actually quite successful. Of the four matches in the League, Barca won three times and lost once. They have also scored eight goals and conceded two.

In the game Barcelona has become sharper up front. Even though they have only conceded two goals, that doesn’t mean their defense is solid. It’s a classic Barca problem.

Several times Gerard Pique cs was confused about facing counter attacks. Fortunately, opposing players failed to make good use of it.

Meanwhile, the two goals against Neto in the league have come from set pieces, one from a corner against Sevilla and the other from a penalty when he lost to Getafe. Even when they won 5-1 against Ferencvaros in the Champions League last night, they conceded through the spot.

Different things can certainly happen when they meet their eternal enemy, Real Madrid. Los Blancos are famous for their deadly counter attacks. Barca must be aware of this.

Koeman must really prove in El Clasico that he is the right coach brought in to restore Barca’s strength.

Real Madrid’s The Real Threat

Real is also not without its problems. This season they did not bring in any new players. Gareth Bale was instead on loan at Tottenham Hotspur because Zinedine Zidane didn’t want him.

Meanwhile Eden Hazard is still struggling with injuries and fitness. Practically, Zidane only has Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vasquez, Karim Benzema, Luka Jovic, and Mariano Diaz up front.

With the same formation, 4-3-3, Real Madrid was also quite successful in the first five matches of the Spanish League. They have three wins, one draw and one defeat. Scored six goals and conceded three goals.

Under Zidane El Real were tough in midfield. They have first-class fighters in Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kross.

It’s just that their back line is also not very strong. The aging Sergio Ramos often plays unstable. Meanwhile, Raphael Varane also often appears inconsistent.

Meanwhile, full-back Dani Carvajal and Marcelo withdrew several times late when they were busy helping out offensive.

The instability of Madrid’s back line was evident when they lost 2-3 to Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League last night. In fact, they were behind 0-3 in the first half

Their defenders did not play solidly. Varane even scored an own goal. That proves Zidane must find a solution so that their back line can play even better against El Clasico.

Reflecting on the last El Clasico (Madrid won 2-0), Zidane actually knew how to tame Barca, namely by killing Messi. Messi does not need to be closely guarded by a special player. Zidane simply did zone guard with a few nearby players to stop Messi’s movement.

Zidane also needs to ask his players to play wide and comb from the wings to take advantage of the gaps left by two Barca wing-backs. But with a note that the two full-backs of El Real are also quick to drop when they lose the ball.

Vinicius can be counted on for business combing these wings. Several times the Brazilian striker made a penetration which ended with a goal or a pull bait into the penalty box.

So this El Clasico can also be a means of proving for Zidane that this season’s ‘makeshift’ squad is tough enough to compete for the title.

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