For every ying there is a yang. If yesterday we pointed out the keys to a Real Madrid victory in the upcoming Clasico, it is only fitting to look at the things that make Barcelona dream of a victory that would put them oh so close to the league leaders.
1. Messi is back
Its been a tough year for the Argentine. Injuries, fiscal problems and more than one internal issues with other players within Barcelonas squad have kept Messis performances well below his usual numbers.
However in the last couple of weeks, the best Messi seems to be back and has one thing in mind: take his team back to the spot they deserve to be in. El Clasico can be the perfect day to make a stand for the Argentine.
2. Tata Martino is not trying anything fancy anymore
The game in Anoeta against Real Sociedad was a great lesson for Tata Martino. When something works, dont touch it. In a week when the team had nothing to worry about other than the victory against the Basques, Martino made lots of changes in his lineup, keeping key players out of it and playing with non-starting men like Alexander Song or Bartra.
The result was clear and Tata had to assume his part of responsibility in the defeat.
But what was lost then could be won now. Tata is over trying fancy things. Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets work in the middle. Upfront, Messi and Pedro have a spot. Cesc, Alexis or Neymar battle for the last one. Simple. Nothing else will change, and thats a good thing.
3. Potentially Valdes last Clasico
Victor Valdes told the world earlier this season that he would leave Barcelona in June. That means that, unless they meet in the Champions League, this will be the last Clasico the goalkeeper will take a part in. Valdes has guarded the Barça goal in some of the most magical nights ever for the Blaugranas, such as in the 0-3 victory at Bernabeu when Ronaldinho lifted the stadium from their seats to applaud him, the time when Guardiolas men beat Real Madrid 2-6 in 2009, or when they beat Mourinho in his first Clasico 5-0.
Because of this, he will try his best to also make his last Clasico one to remember, and when Valdes plays at 120% it is very hard to get past him.
4. The goal is to play with the same conviction as against Osasuna
Barcelona wanted to reach the Clasico against Real Madrid trailing them only by four points, and they played against Osasuna knowing full well whatever they did against them would be decisive as to what the atmosphere would be like the whole week before the most important game of the season. Their conviction was so strong that they demolished Osasuna 7-0.
While doing so, the players figured that there was nothing different between the way they prepared and faced that game and what theyd need to do 7 days later against Real Madrid. Granted, they will most likely not score on Diego Lopez seven times, but with that same approach, a Cule victory would be that much closer.
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5. It is a do or die game in the battle for La Liga
The biggest reason, perhaps, for Barcelona to fight as much as possible for a victory at Bernabeu is the fact that, should they not win, they may as well say good-bye to their chances of winning the Liga title. The Cules are now four points behind the Madridistas, and a defeat would set them back 7 points.
With 9 more games to go, they would need Real Madrid to lose 2 games and tie another one, while Real will have 5 games at home and 2 on the road. It will be tough for Real Madrid to let go of that difference before the last week of La Liga, so Barcelona knows they should put all their eggs in el Clasicos basket if they still hope to win la Liga this year.