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La Liga 2016/17: 5 things Barcelona need to do to win El Clasico against Real Madrid

Barcelona need to beat Real Madrid to go level on points in La Liga

Barcelona El Clasico Real Madrid
Lionel Messi’s position will be key to Barcelona’s attack in the Clasico

After all the Champions League quarter-final success and heartbreak – depending on which team you support – it all comes down to this in La Liga. El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona.

A win for Real would effectively decide the title race. A win for Barcelona would bring them level on points and increase the pressure on Zinedine Zidane’s side even though they still have a game in hand. A draw may not help either team’s cause in the long run. 

Barcelona are out of the Champions League and this is arguably their last chance to win a major trophy by reeling in their arch-rivals with only six games to go. Just a possible Copa del Rey will not be enough for a club of this stature.

As La Liga enters its final stretch, here’s what Barcelona need to do if they are to beat Real Madrid. 


1) Luis Enrique must play four at the back

Barcelona back four
Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique should be Barcelona’s centre-backs

Barcelona have employed a number of formations this season as Enrique tinkered with the squad based on who he had available. The loss of Aleix Vidal to a season-ending injury threw a spanner in the works and the Catalan club have struggled to find a similar player on the right side. 

Enrique has played three at the back to varying degrees of success this season. While the 3-4-3 formation was effective at times, the 3-3-1-3 proved to be chaotic and sometimes detrimental to Barcelona’s defence.

Also read: Barcelona's 3-3-1-3 formation is exciting but also suicidal

The plan to switch to a back three when they have possession and a back four when they lose the ball also failed to work – especially against Juventus in the first leg of the quarter-finals. The Catalan side are much more stable when they play four at the back.

Real Madrid only concentrate 25% of their attacks through the middle channel with 75% of their attacks coming from the flanks – the left being the most commonly used thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo. 

A three-man defence would not be ideal as Real could easily exploit the space behind the winger on counter-attacks. 

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