Iker Casillas Falls Victim to David Villa Two Times During El Massacre (Clásico)
Let's get right to the point - FC Barcelona proved last night why they are the best team on the planet right now.
All the pundits, both legit and wannabe, predicted close scores or draws. How could anyone have doubted José Mourinho and Real Madrid prior to the game? Up until today, Real Madrid was firing from all cylinders in all competitions. Nearly flawless in La Liga and solid performances in a tough Champion's League group phase, Los Blancos were labeled as the possible favorite. With the charismatic Mourinho at the helm and Cristiano Ronaldo playing out of this world this season, Real Madrid looked even sharper than they did under Manuel Pellegrini.
Meanwhile, Barcelona has probably shown more signs of being human this season by drawing two times so far in an "easier" Champion's League group phase and dropping points to teams such as Hércules and Mallorca, both at Camp Nou.
But alas, L'equip blaugrana never even gave Los Blancos a chance to show up. From the opening whistle, the game belonged to Barcelona. It was shocking that midfielders such as Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira could not win the ball nor make Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Villa, Pedro or Messi nervous. These are two world class defensive midfielders we are talking about. Even when Lassana Diarra came on during the second half, the pace of the game was still under FCB's control.
Outside of a free kick that just missed the post by a few inches by CR7, there were no other instances where Madrid tested Victor Valdés. One would have thought that Iker Casillas was Valdés' backup for the national team today.
The rest of the match was just another training session for Barcelona. Just like Spain in the World Cup (which was comprised of mostly Barcelona players), Barcelona controlled the ball and played their tiki-taka style of passing that made Madrid look as confused as a pub team playing after a night of one too many pints. What was rather amusing was the unpleasantries exchanged between players like Sergio Ramos and Carles Puyol. It is scores like this that make one wonder if there would be any tension in the locker room the next time players from Madrid and Barcelona have to wear the same National Team shirt.
Even though there is plenty of season left, the momentum has shifted in Barcelona's favor. As long as Barcelona can minimize injuries, the form will be there. This team has been a tight-knit unit for many years and that is where they will always one-up Madrid. Despite Real Madrid's strong performance last season, the team still underwent many new additions with the hope of surpassing Barcelona this year. But Guardiola proved again that it takes a lot more than money to put together a squad with chemistry.
Against teams that Real Madrid is supposed to defeat, they will continue to win based on talent alone, but what separates them from a team like Barcelona is chemistry. Not to say that Real Madrid does not have chemistry, they just do not have it at the same level that FCB has. If you look at the roster from front to back, you have players like Valdés, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Messi, Pedro and to a lesser extent Gerard Piqué who have all grown together in the Barcelona set-up from the youth ranks to where they are today on the first team. In addition to the chemistry, it probably helps too that you have some of the world's best at their various positions.
In April, both teams will face each other once again. With the way La Liga has been turning out so far this season, it will be of no surprise if the title race comes down these two teams, but unless Barcelona has a dark cloud over them come April, Barcelona will take three points again at Madrid which will prompt Florentino Pérez to make some more unnecessary purchases for an absurd amount of money for the next season. Meanwhile Barcelona will probably win La Liga yet again and make a some minor adjustments to the team during the off-season (Cesc commentary can be another story).
Mourinho's ego certainly hit a ceiling today, but that is not to say he will come up with a plan for April. My advice to him is to start off by having a midfield that can disrupt FCB's attack. Come April, the world will find out just how "special" Mourinho really is.