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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona | Spanish Super Cup final



Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

On Sunday night, Real Madrid will step onto the grass one last time in Riyadh with the hope of lifting their second trophy of the season. To do so, they will have to put up ninety minutes of their finest football, for they will have to overcome Xavi’s Barcelona to be crowned champions.

Los Blancos have been far from their best in recent games and required penalties to reach the final. While Barcelona also took a similar route to the ultimate clash, the same conclusion cannot be drawn as to their form.

The Blaugranas got the better of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid at Civitas Metropolitano just last week and even dominated Real Betis for a large part of the semifinal. They are the current leaders in La Liga and sit three points clear of Real Madrid.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of the Clasico that will decide the Super Cup champions.

1. Weathering the storm

It is rare for Real Madrid to get into a negative zone. Every time the men in white appear down and out, they seem to find a way to gather their resources and dish out a special performance.

The men in white struggled in their game against Villarreal last week and got completely outplayed by Quique Setien’s side at La Ceramica. The world expected a statement in their subsequent game against Valencia, but nothing separated the two sides even after 120 minutes.

Despite their relatively poor form this month, Carlo Ancelotti’s men managed to secure a final berth in the Supercopa de Espana and face off against their arch-rivals in Sunday’s game.

If there is to be a statement comeback performance, this would be a perfect time. Los Blancos are a side to rise to the occasion, and the spotlights of a final could bring out their best.

For starters, a win over the Catalans would secure the Merengues’ second trophy of the season. More importantly, it would boost the team’s morale ahead of the second half of the season and push them to come back stronger in the league.

2. Can Vinicius strike gold?

Frustrating form. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

It is not surprising that Vinicius Jr has critics aplenty. The Brazilian’s on-field antics make him the ideal target, with many just waiting for him to put one wrong step.

The youngster has struggled for form since his return from Qatar, and just two games in already finds himself at the receiving end of a severe backlash.

He managed just two shots and zero dribbles in Real Madrid’s clash against Villarreal last week in addition to missing one big chance. The situation did not improve in his most recent game either, as he recorded similar numbers in 120 minutes on the field.

To make matters worse, Vinicius’ record in recent Clasicos has been substandard. Playing against Barcelona in pre-season, the 22-year-old struggled to get past Ronald Araujo throughout the game. In his most recent Clasico, he had just ten passes in 90 minutes despite his Uruguayan nemesis’ absence.

Needless to say, Vinicius has a lot to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start and go head-to-head against Araujo again on the left flank in Riyadh. Given his history of stepping up on the big stages, one can expect the Brazilian to leave his mark on tomorrow’s game and silence his critics.

3. Injury riddled

Carlo Ancelotti has no shortage of problems ahead of the crucial encounter on Sunday. If the form of his side was not concerning enough, he will be without the services of several key stars.

Aurelien Tchouameni and David Alaba are both unavailable through relatively long-term injuries and thus, did not travel with the team to Riyadh.

To rub salt into the wound, Lucas Vazquez sustained an injury in the semifinal midweek and is set to sit on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. Daniel Carvajal will certainly start against Barcelona, but there is the fear of not having a reliable backup option.

There was fear around the availability of Eduardo Camavinga and Eder Militano after the duo sustained blows in the last game. However, Ancelotti confirmed in his pre-game press conference that the players have recovered well and confirmed their participation in the final.

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Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Valladolid was far from convincing. They may have been the more effective side, but the Merengues were far from being the better team against Andoni Iraola’s men.

Saturday brings with it the team’s penultimate game of the campaign as Real Madrid take on Sevilla. The Andalusian side have not been impressive in La Liga this season but have always been one to turn up against the big teams. Tomorrow’s game is expected to be no different.

Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make drastic changes ahead of kickoff, especially given the incomplete squad travelling for the game. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid.

1. Final game on the road

The 2022-23 season has flown by in the blink of an eye. It may have been a rocky campaign and could have ended with better results, but there is a feeling that the squad has a lot to take away from the season as it is.

From the highs of completing a special Copa del Rey comeback win over Barcelona to the lows of losing three successive Clasicos, the men in white have seen it all. As the season now approaches the curtain-closing phase, Carlo Ancelotti and his men will be eager for a strong finish.

Sunday night will see the Merengues‘ final away game of the season as they travel to Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan to take on Sevilla. The 2021-22 champions have not had the best of seasons on the road in La Liga this season and a statement finish would go a long way in boosting the morale.

Sevilla have been far from their best this campaign domestically. Though they are well placed to taste glory in the UEFA Europa League once again, they languish in tenth place on the league standings with just 13 wins in 36 games.

Los Blancos boast a fine record at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and are unbeaten at the stadium in their last eight appearances. Their last defeat at the venue came back in 2018, and the objective tonight will be to extend the aforementioned streak.

2. Tchouameni’s point to prove

Point to prove. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

As much as Aurelien Tchouameni’s initial months at the club were called paradise, the Frenchman has not had life easy at Real Madrid in his first season.

The Frenchman initially stepped in as a more than able replacement for Casemiro in the middle of the park. His astute reading of the game and defensive awareness made him a monster in midfield and his position in the starting lineup appeared safe.

Tchouameni’s situation, however, took a steep turn after the FIFA World Cup. Coming back from a fatiguing World Cup and a minor niggle, the defensive midfielder no longer found his name on the starting lineup as he became second fiddle to Eduardo Camavinga.

The entry of Toni Kroos as an option for the pivot role further reduced the Frenchman’s involvement.

The youngster thus has a point to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and will look to orchestrate the team’s play from deep in midfield whilst holding the fortress simultaneously. After all, it could be his final chance to prove his worth ahead of the new season.

3. Only three forwards

Real Madrid’s squad list only names three forwards making the trip to Seville to take on Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side – Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Rodriguez.

The manager does have a fourth option in Federico Valverde and could look to mix and match his options on the night. However, Carlo Ancelotti maintained a low profile on the starting lineup ahead of Sunday’s clash, especially when asked about Eden Hazard’s chances of participating.

Given that it is the team’s penultimate game of the season, Ancelotti could well look to start all three pure forwards on the night. After all, each has their own special reason to participate.

For Hazard, the game against Sevilla could well be his final away game in a Real Madrid shirt. The Belgian is reluctant to leave the club at the moment, but everything could change in June if he begins to attract interest.

In Alvaro Rodriguez’s case, tomorrow’s game presents itself as an audition to seal a place in next season’s dynamics. The youngster has impressed whenever given the chance so far and will look to keep his high level going.

Rodrygo Goes, arguably, needs the game the least of the three candidates. Yet, with Ancelotti publicly asking him to take more prominence, he has a point to prove.

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