Because I’m all about impartiality and unbiased reporting, I did an interview with Bassam, the proprietor of the Real Madrid Offside page. Here it is, folks:
BFB: Before we begin with the grilling, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. There’s never a better time to pick the brain of a madridista than right before a clásico.
Bassam: It’s my pleasure to take part in this interview. I’m a big fan of this blog. I’ve been reading for a long time and recently started commenting on this board trying to piss off one cule at a time 😀 So you give me the chance to appear in a post, well, that fits my diabolical plan of massive White take over! *evil laugh*
BFB: You don’t mind if we do this interview in Catalan, right? Okay, okay, sit back down. We’ll do it Basque. First question, then. How do you feel going into this match and what are your fitness or suspension concerns?
Bassam: I speak four languages, and am planning on learning two more, but I don’t know what this Catalan thing you speak of is ;).
On a more serious note, the only player we have suspended for the league clásico is Granero. Higuain and Kaka are coming back from long term injuries while Benzema is back from a two-week layoff. Lass is MIA, as he got injured 2 days ago. Gago has been out all season and Peter the Lion is in Neverland. With all that said, our squad is huge (too big if you ask me), and we still have two players for each position except the full back position. Fitness wise, the players got a rest over the weekend with Mourinho resting Ronaldo, Ozil, Alonso, Marcelo, Adebayor/Benzema and Khedira. Di Maria didn’t play against Spurs and the whole team was in second gear.
So for the league clásico we will be without Granero (suspension), Gago (injury) and Peter Lion (Ask Mou).
BFB: What kind of approach will Mourinho take, given the previous league result. Will he change anything?
I just re-watched that game. It sucks even more when you watch it again and rewind to see Marcelo and Ramos caught ball watching so many times. I think the thing that Mou will stress on the most is defense and tracking back. He will, and should, make sure that we don’t have 4 attackers upfront that are waiting to attack with no sense of defense. I also believe that he will roll out with the full starting formation on Saturday, as will Pep, but the tactics used in that game are going to be very different than those used in the CDR final and CL. I will speak for Mou and say he might even try to hassle Barcelona so he can surprise them in CDR. Anyways, you never know what goes on in his head.
BFB: How will Adebayor do in a possession-based game? Will he be a better Benzema or fade into Benzema’s shadow?
If Benzema is not fit, Adebayor will play. But there is also an option where Ronaldo plays as a nine and the team uses a Trivote (Alonso-Khedira-Lass) or adds Kaka to the mix. In any case, expect Adebayor to drop deep into the field especially when the ball is with Barcelona. He will be making up for the lack of tracking back that we will see from Ronaldo. I think the Tottenham game was a test of that role for Ade. He was the player with the third most touches on the ball and he completed over 50 passes. For a center forward, that’s a lot.
With that said, his first touch is very poor, and if applied pressure on really quickly, he can be dispossessed. This could be important for Barcelona since if he drops deep (to the middle of the park) to get the ball, and he is pressured and dispossessed there, then that’s a good breakaway for you guys.
BFB: Shayk or Shakira? There IS a right and wrong answer here.
I’ve seen Shayk in person rolling around the streets of Beverly Hills. She is even prettier in person! Tan, brunette and green eyes, you can’t argue with that. Also, height wise, I’m not sure how Shakira and that moc moc guy works.
BFB: Aaand that was the wrong answer, obviously. Given that Mascherano is out with a yellow card and Puyol, Abidal, and Bojan are out injured, do you see any extra large holes in any potential FCB game plan?
I personally would have rather had Mascherano still there. Kieta is going to play that game and I find him very hard to deal with in terms of him applying pressure high up the pitch. Pace is the way to go though, especially with Puyol missing from the backline. High backline plus a not so fast center back pairing, I think Ronaldo or Di Maria can exploit that. It’s a shame Higuain is not match fit because he would have been perfect for such a game. The center back pairing Pique, which will probably be Busi, will be the link to break, and I hope my team hits yours hard in that department.
BFB: As for Madrid in general…is Mourinho being entertaining enough? Fabio Capello was booted for not producing enough of a show while Pellegrini got the sack after accumulating an absurd 96 league points. Is Mourinho in danger of the same thing or has the run through the 3 competitions been good enough to ensure a second year?
It was reported that there was a clause in Pellegrini’s contract that states anything over 95 points is met with the sack. He has no one but himself to blame for getting so many points!
Mou is definitely staying. Hate him or love him, he is a great coach. Aside from press conferences that he makes to build the whole “us against the world” idea in a team, I think he has been doing great. He has not been defensive and the team finally found a little bit of balance between attack and defense. It’s really hard to play defensively with players like Ronaldo, Ozil, Benzema and Higuain. Considering this is a fairly new team and he is a new coach, he earned himself a spot on our bench next year after the second Lyon game.
So rest assured my cule friends, you will have someone to vent built up frustrations on next year 😉
BFB: Will you pleeeeeease sign Cesc?
And deal with Arsenal trolls that have buried the idea that Cesc actually wants to leave deep in their subconscious and have all day to spew venom? I think we will pass. Oooooh Moc Moc.
BFB: Dammit. Okay, moving on…Where will you be watching this match and how do you prepare for the gut-wrenching qualities of El Clásico?
Since I moved to California, I’ve been stuck with streams. I have one way to prepare and that’s by taking two sleeping pills before the game. After the game, if we lose, I’m so pissed I fall asleep. If we win, I fall asleep and that saves me from breaking the furniture around the house from excitement. I do a pretty mean Robot whenever we win. It’s been a while though…
BFB: HOLY CRAP 4 CLÁSICOS IN A ROW. That’s not really a question, actually.
God did not mean for it to happen like that. I’m telling you man, its doomsday.
BFB: And to wrap it all up: what’s your predicted Madrid lineup and score prediction?
Predicted line up: San Iker-Ramos-Pepe-Carvalho-Marcelo-Alonso-Khedira-Lass-Ozil-Thong Boy-Benzema.
If Lass is not fully fit, then either Di Maria or Marcelo will take his spot.
For the Saturday game I think, unfortunately, Barça might edge Madrid out on the basis of them being in the driver’s seat in that game. Overall though, I think Madrid will notch up one win. That win can be the most vital one. I must say, I wouldn’t mind losing another Manita in the CDR final if it means going through to the CL final.
BFB: You said the Thong Boy thing, not me. Thanks for being here!
Thanks for having me here, it’s been a real pleasure.