El Clasico lookahead: Real Madrid Camp

Having heard (read?) from two Barcelona fans, it's time to look at the Real Madrid camp. How are the whites shaping up before the Clasico? Having been on a 15 game winning streak, will this be the end or will we march on?

Just like the Barcelona camps' story, I spoke to two Madridistas for their thoughts on the game tomorrow. Jose (Galapago555 on Twitter) and Alvaro (Nemetuit on Twitter), two Madridistas based in Spain, very kindly answered my questions.

Tanuj: How do you think Real Madrid have been doing so far this season?

Alvaro: Real Madrid is doing very well this season. Last season was very good too, but this one has evolutionated and become stronger - in and out of the stadium. This team looks like a champion.

Jose: We are doing much better than last season, but there’s still a huge room for improvement. Sometimes the team looks absent from the pitch, somehow “disconnected”.

Tanuj: Not going to beat around the bush so what do you think will be the starting XI in your opinion? In the presser, Karanka has already said 4-3-3 will be used, is it the right formation?

Alvaro: Karanka said we will use 4-3-3 but it's a thricky 4-3-3. This formation seems very offensive but I think the 3 mildfielders will be Xabi, Lass and Khedira. The rest of the team: Iker, Arbeloa Ramos Pepe Marcelo, Di María CR... and Benzema. I like this formation because Ozil is not playing well and Kaká has been out for a month, so he can not play a match like this from the begining.

Jose: Iker / Lass-Ramos-Pepe-Marcelo / Sami-Xabi-Özil / DiMa-Pipa-CR7

Tanuj: What are the positives and weaknesses of Real Madrid going into the Clasico?

Alvaro: Positives: attitude; "hunger of glory"; great moment of CR, Benzema, Marcelo, Ramos, Di María and Higuaín; the Bernabéu; different possibilities to play (they can dominate the ball or play fastbreak); very strong (physically and mentally)

Negative: This team has not played a lot of great matches and some players could get nervous and make mistakes or be booked or ejected; Arbeloa is not 100%; Ozil

Jose: Positives: We have been playing together for 18 months; we’re stronger than last season.

Negatives: I feel a worrying atmosphere of optimism. We’re in good shape, but our rivals are strong. The strongest club side currently.

Tanuj: Real Madrid are on 15 game unbeaten run, do you think Barcelona can stop us?

Alvaro: Of course. Barça is a great team and they know how to play these kind of matches. They have won or tied last clashes at Bernabéu and Messi, Xavi, Iniesta (and Alexis) play at Barça.

Jose: Hopefully they won't.

Tanuj: Real have been praised for their quick counter attack, how do you think Barcelona can cover that?

Alvaro: Playing as they use to do: with a lot of ball possesion and by pressing Xabi.

Jose: As they usually do: to keep the possession of the ball until unimaginable levels. If we can get close to 45% possession, probably that will mean we’re prevailing.

Tanuj: How is the feeling like ahead of the Clasico in Madrid's media?

Alvaro: There is a sensation of "this time yes", people and media think Real is going to win but you know that media are not friends of Mou, so there are critics about "trivote", the suplency of Benzema or Higuaín ... But everybody thinks that Real is favourite tomorrow.

Jose: "Mixed emotions”? MARCA an AS are on that mood of enthusiasm and optimism… El País, on the other hand, keep on their crusade against the club and Mourinho.

Tanuj: Amongst the new signings, who do you think can make the biggest impact for Real Madrid in the Clasico?

Alvaro: Altintop and Sahin are not going to play and Callejón will play only if Di María get injured so I think Coentrao. But I think he won't be the man of the match ;)

Jose: I think that the biggest impact will come from Xabi and Pipa, maybe CR7 and DiMa as well, so no “new signers” among those…

Tanuj: In the end, what is your score prediction?

Alvaro: I don't make score predictions, sorry, but I think we'll win.

Jose: I hope I’m right when I predict a 3-2 or 3-1 for Real Madrid, with a very passionate but fairly played match.

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