Victor Valdes of Barcelona (Photo : Reuters Photo by STEFAN WERMUTH)
An unexpected Clasico is upon us as this Wednesday, Real Madrid and Barcelona face off in the first of three matches in early 2013. The teams played three matches to start the 2012-13 season. They split two Spanish Super Cup tilts and then drew 2-2 at the Camp Nou in a match that will be remembered for the dazzling displays from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As Wednesday's bout approaches, we will preview the two sides at every position to determine which squad has been better of late and has a greater chance at winning the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.
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Today we will compare the two likely starters in net.
Victor Valdes (Barcelona)
With Barcelona not playing until Sunday next weekend, Valdes is the likely starter. The keeper has pitched five clean sheets in 20 Spanish League matches and has looked solid in the Champions League as well with only five goals allowed in five matches. He has not played a Copa del Rey match this year, but is likely to get the start considering the opponent. Valdes has a winning recording in his career against Real Madrid; in league matches he has a record of nine wins, six draws, and six losses. He has only allowed 27 goals against in those league matches and last had a clean sheet against Real Madrid in November 2010. In all other competitions he has won four, drawn two, and lost two against Real Madrid.
Antonio Adan (Real Madrid)
Adan will likely get the start after starter Iker Casillas broke his hand on Wednesday. Adan has never played in a Clasico in his young career however. The 25-year has only played in three matches this season and he has looked shaky at times. In the 3-2 loss to Malaga, he gave up a few soft goals and in the more recent draw with Malaga he looked out of position on the goal he allowed. Adan will need more playtime to get his confidence up, but he will not have much time before the Clasico on Wednesday.
Edge: If Casillas were in net, Valdes still might have the edge considering his record against Real Madrid. With the inexperienced Adan as his opponent, this becomes a no-contest in favor of Barcelona.