More Functional Madrid have edge over Barca
It's fair to say that since Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Real Madrid back at the start of the season and Tata Martino at Barcelona, the Former has made more progress with his side. It's not to say Barcelona aren't capable of winning the La Liga title - with just a current four point difference, but Real know a win in the Classico will give them a huge advantage over Barca and even surprise package Atletico.
Over the past few years, when Barcelona have been at their best, a lot of it was obviously down to the brilliance of Iniesta, Messi and all. However, the reason they flourished was that the tiki-taka, possession and pressing based football was functional. Ever player had his role and it allowed things to happen. Things like Fullback Alves would providing width, Messi linking with Xavi and Iniesta and Pedro providing an outlet. Obviously those are just some of the cogs to the wheel, but all pivotal. With numerous factors taking their toll, Barcelona aren't - as well publicised- the team they were. Madrid on the other hand have Gradually functioned. Not in the same style as Barca once did or having proved anything long term yet, but things are clicking for Ancelotti's men.
Real Madrid's ability to score lots of goals and win games 4-3 and 3-2 has never been in doubt. However, the ability to control Midfield and have a pretty solid back four, allowing for a solid system has never been there. Even back in Jose Mourinho's times, Reals Defence and Midfield when it came to the crunch in the Champions Leagues latter rounds (Dortmund springs to mind) and in 3/4 of El Clasicos. However, the team from the Capital now seem to be a real unit. Not in the same style by the mentioned functions Barca once had - after all both clubs ultimately have different ethos'. However, Ancelotti now has his Defence looking more stable than it has for a while at Real, also Marcelo back to his wing-back best and Prospect Carvajal accustomed to the same role as the Brazilian, but at right back. The Full-Backs appear to have the balance between attack and defence dissed at the moment. In Midfield, Luka Modric has been brilliant overall and Ancelotti's faith in the Croat has been rewarded. With Xabi Alonso still managing his usual possession based game, Modric has covered the ground for the classy, but aging Playmaker. Linking to the front, Modric has done well, as has the re-invented Angel Di Maria. Then having the front duo of Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale in top form can't be bad can it?
Going into El Clasico, Real Madrid will be the strong favourites over their Catalan Opponents. Will they cement their place as Spain's best team just now and put another nail in the Barca golden generation? Never count Messi and Co out from proving they haven't been overtaken just yet.
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