Next Game

Malaga v Barcelona

Wednesday, 24 September 2014, 21:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Last Game

Levante 0 - 5 Barcelona

Sunday, 21 September 2014, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

A plum pairing

Graham Hunter told Revista that a Gonzalo Higuain-Karim Benzema tandem could go some way to ending Real Madrid's ills.

Last Updated: 06/02/13 at 10:30 Post Comment

Real lost 1-0 at lowly Granada on Saturday - their fifth away La Liga defeat of the term - to slip 16 points adrift of table toppers Barcelona, who themselves were held at Valencia over the weekend.

Argentine striker Higuain started the clash at Los Carmenes before being replaced at half-time by French colleague Benzema - but Hunter reckons the frontmen should play in unison, citing last season's success as the reason.

"It is easy to criticise (Jose) Mourinho when Real Madrid lose, but I find it confusing that he has ripped up another part of what was a successful playbook (by not playing Higuain with Benzema)," said the Spanish-based football journalist.

"Last year, particularly when Real were away from home or needed to overturn a scoreline, Benzema and Higuain were on the pitch together 20 times, scored 51 goals and helped Real get 16 wins and a draw.

"However, this year they have only been on the pitch together five times, taking into account the short period when Higuain was injured, and it is a now a case of either or. I am not sure that is the answer when what Mourinho wants is the extra goal, fight and spirit."

Awful

Hunter's fellow Revista pundit Terry Gibson slammed Real for a lack of guile during their reverse at Granada and thinks Mourinho - who Guillem Balague says is odds-on to join Paris-Saint-Germain in the summer - may need to alter his training methods.

"(The loss to Granada) was as bad as it's been during Mourinho's time at the Bernabeu," said the former Wimbledon striker. "Granada didn't play particularly well but the quality of passing, crossing, and shooting from the Real players was awful.

"I can't believe this is the same team that won recently 5-0 at Valencia and played so well against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey (on Wednesday evening).

"The preparation seems all wrong; the players that didn't play in midweek should be fresh at the weekend so maybe the training isn't intense enough."

Goals

Barcelona, meanwhile, once again opted to start with David Villa - Spain's all-time record goal-scorer with 53 goals from his 85 games - on the bench, the 31-year-old entering the fray as a 72nd-minute replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

Balague says stand-in Barca coach Jordi Roura, who is deputising for Tito Vilanova while he undergoes cancer treatment, does not want to risk "getting things wrong" by altering the shape and personnel of the line-up.

But Gibson says the Catalans - who visit AC Milan for the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday, February 20 - need more potency up front and that Villa is the man to supply it.

"I still think Pedro, Lionel Messi and Villa is Barca's best option in attack," Gibson said.

"They are trying to get Fabregas in but I think they need more goals from the wider attacking players and Alexis Sanchez hasn't proved to be the answer."

Hit this link to hear more of the boys' thoughts on Villa and Barcelona.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

ilarious, thanks for that. But if I may, I do suspect the reason of your partners' ire is not Tottenham, but most probably all the compusilve gambling :)

DannySmith
Backing Costa To Keep Banging 'Em In

T

wo police horses in a paddock. Horse 1: What's with the long face? Horse 2: I'm working St James Park this weekend.

hump3.
Pardew braced for protests

T

wo things. First, I can't stop reading your name as 'Dane Bowers'. Second, you used the words 'philosophy' and 'Redknapp' in the same sentence.

ajsr1982
Can United's Defence Handle Ulloa?

Footer 365

Premier League: Crystal Palace beat Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park

Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Everton 3-2 and pick up their first win of the Premier League campaign.

Premier League: Frank Lampard haunts Chelsea as he earns Manchester City earn 1-1 draw

Frank Lampard stepped off the bench to score against his former club and salvage a 1-1 draw for Man City at home to Chelsea.

Premier League: Frank Lampard has mixed emotions after scoring against Chelsea

Frank Lampard was almost speechless after scoring the equaliser for his Manchester City side in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Mail Box

Liverpool Aren't Even Exciting This Season

Liverpool fans are seemingly resigned to slipping back into mediocrity, which in September isn't exactly ideal. Plus better Arsenal, Allardyce praise and an excited Saint...

Be Careful What You Wish For, Gooners

That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property