Preview, Prediction, Stats, Facts, Records and more: Real Madrid vs Barcelona
The race for the La Liga title could take a dramatic twist this weekend with the latest installment of El Clasico.
Real Madrid host Barcelona at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano with the two teams second and third respectivaly in the current standings. With Atletico Madrid now holding just a one-point lead at the top of the table, a victory in El Clasico looks as crucial as ever.
Zinedine Zidane’s me head into the game in truly stunning form. Los Blancos have won their last five matches in all competitions after their 3-1 victory against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, whilst they have extended their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competitions. That is their longest run without a defeat in well over a year. It is form that has also seen them propel themselves into contention for another league title with the team being as many as eight points adrift at the end of January following the 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Levante. It is their new-found resilience that has seen them charge up towards rivals Atleti. Since that loss to Levante, Zidane’s men have not conceded more than one goal in any game since whilst they have also collected five clean sheets within that time. The goals are also flowing too having plundered 13 strikes in their last five matches in all competitions, goalscoring form that they of course will be aiming to harness against Barcelona.
Zidane still has a number of the same defensive issues that he had to deal with against Liverpool. Captain Sergio Ramos remains on the sidelines and is joined by fellow centre-back Raphael Varane who has tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal is also ruled out with a thigh problem. In somewhat better news however, Eden Hazard could return to action and might well be afforded a place on the bench.
It will have been unfathomable to have included Barcelona in the race for the league title just a few months ago but they are now just three points off of top spot. Much like Real, the Catalans are very much in the midst of an extremely useful positive run of form. They have not lost in any out of their last nine matches in all competitions, whilst they have also not lost in La Liga since a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Cadiz in December. Since then, they have collected 51 points out of a possible 57 in the league, making up for what was a dreadful start to the campaign in which they won just five of their opening ten matches. In another similarity, Barca have also found some defensive resilience and solidarity in recent weeks. In each of their last six league games, Barcelona have conceded just two goals. Added to the fact that they are by far and away he highest scorers in the Spanish top-flight, they will certainly be tough opponents for Real.
Koeman also has his own injuries to think about ahead of the trip to Madrid. Long-term absentees Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati remain ruled out and are joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Neto. Elsewhere, the match against Real is likely to come too soon for Gerard Pique.
Key Facts To Consider
- Real Madrid have the marginally better record between the two sides (W97, D52, L96)
- Los Blancos could win their third consecutive Clasico with victory
- Barcelona have won their last nine La Liga away games, their longest run since 2013
- Each of these sides could end the weekend top of the table with victory
- Lionel Messi is the all-time top scorer in El Clasico with 26 goals
The clash in Madrid really is massive and it should be quite the spectacle considering the respective defensive injury woes of each side. There could certainly be a few goals in store and it could be a high-scoring draw.
Prediction: Correct Score 2-2