Barcelona stunned Real Madrid in one of the most memorable El Clasico matches in recent history between the Spanish giants.
It was a match that was not only won by Barcelona‘s players, but by coach Xavi Hernandez outfoxing Carlo Ancelotti.
Xavi’s plan was perfectly executed by Barcelona as Real Madrid were silenced by Blaugrana for the majority of the game.
Real Madrid failed to have a single shot between the 20th and 60th minute, with just four shots on target during the whole match.
Creating the space
Barcelona worked out how to generate space behind Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, leaving both sides of Casemiro vulnerable.
Pedri and Frenkie De Jong had plenty of room to work with, whilst Ferran Torres and Ousmane Dembele stretched the defenders with their pace.
De Jong had plenty of time to think and make the right pass, hence why he made 53 successful passes, from 56, to win the midfield battle.
Karim Benzema‘s absence was a headache for Ancelotti, as the Real Madrid coach swapped his traditional 4-3-3 for a surprising 4-1-4-1.
Even more significant than that was the rotation of the players when moving from attack to defence. Rodrygo moved to the right wing, with Luka Modric pressuring Barcelona‘s midfield with Toni Kroos.
It’s a strategy that didn’t work, perhaps because Real Madrid had used the system very little before Sunday, with lots of indecision between Los Blancos’ midfield.
Real Madrid’s tactics gave Pedri and Frenkie de Jong to play long passes to get though the Madrid back line. Ancelotti switched to a 3-5-2, but it didn’t work.
By the time Ferran Torres scored Barcelona’s third goal, it was too late for Ancelotti to revert to Madrid’s traditional 4-3-3.
An organised Barcelona
Each of the Barcelona players stayed organised, whereas Real Madrid were very messy, possibly due to the tactical changes made by Ancelotti.
Barcelona were excellent in the midfield and Vinicius Junior‘s disconnect from the rest of his team is very telling.
Barcelona, guided by Xavi, made light work of an unrecognisable Real Madrid. The tactical decisions of Ancelotti were a big mistake and it’s something Real Madrid will be weary to not repeat for the remainder of the season.