El Clasico plays host to first against second in La Liga, and with the sides currently separated on goal difference, it is set up to be a tight, eventful affair.
Barcelona v Real Madrid – La Liga
Venue: Nou Camp
Kick Off: 19:00
TV Channel: Premier Sports
Barcelona host Real Madrid in the 243rd competitive meeting between these two rivals, as they head into the game separated by goal difference at the top of La Liga.
Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw away at Real Sociedad on Saturday, whilst Real Madrid left it late to rescue a point up against Valencia on Sunday evening, and it has set the scene brilliantly for this top of the table clash.
In what is often a tight, tactical encounter, there is plenty on the line when considering the situation up the top of La Liga, and both sides will be looking to keep it tight early on, in a game where avoiding defeat is key to not losing any ground in the title race. Goals have been on the agenda for both sides this season, with Barcelona racking up 43 goals and Real Madrid 33, and the top two scorers in La Liga come head to head, with Lionel Messi (12) and Karim Benezema (12).
Although an initial dive into the statistics make goals the appealing option, it might not be as straight forward, especially when considering the injury worries up front for Madrid. Without summer signing Eden Hazard, they look short of options out wide, and it highlights an area of interest where Barcelona can target. Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior have featured going forward in recent weeks, and whilst both players are adept at causing problems in the Barcelona backline, it could cause issues for Real Madrid defensively, as their contributions at the back can often leave the full backs exposed. This was the case for Mendy’s sending off against Espanyol, and with the attacking talent on display for Barcelona, it is a particularly worrying aspect for Zinedine Zidane’s side heading into the fixture.
Stopping Lionel Messi will be key to any chance that Real Madrid have, however this by no means an easy task, and although the returning Casemiro should be well equipped to manage this, the depth of Barcelona’s squad and attacking talents mean that even if one of the attackers are kept quiet, one lapse in concentration and the others will pounce. Frenkie De Jong has shone since his summer move, and he will be relishing the opportunity of being up against Toni Kroos in the middle of midfield, with the German’s lack of energy a real cause for concern. Real could easily see the midfield become overrun by the standout Dutch midfielder, and with his ability to retain the ball one of the best in the World, it could make for a long evening for the Real midfield.
The game is set up to be a cracker by all accounts, and it does lend itself to some interesting betting angles.
Barcelona will be without Ousmane Dembele and Arthur for El Classico.
Ferland Mendy returns at left back after missing the trip to Valencia through suspension. Real will be without Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Eden Hazard and Marcelo through injury.
Head to Head:
Barcelona Wins: 96
Real Madrid Wins: 95
Real Madrid have gone six La Liga meetings without defeating Barcelona
Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto has provided six assists in eight appearances against Real Madrid in La Liga
Ernesto Valverde could equal the longest unbeaten run of any Barcelona manager in El Clasico in all competitions
Barcelona Last 5: W W W W D
Real Madrid Last 5: D W W W D
With the injury worries racking up for Los Blancos, and Barcelona’s imperious attacking threat, it is hard to overlook Barcelona for this game. Available at 3/4, the array of attacking talent, coupled with the weaknesses in midfield and out wide defensively for Real Madrid mean that Barca can’t be ignored, especially given the outstanding form of Messi once again this season.
The Argentine forward does feel a tight option at 4/6 to score anytime, and I’d warn against taking him at that price, no matter how good he is going forward. Real Madrid’s attacking threat may come into question and Zidane could be tempted to sacrifice some of the attacking threat in return for added defensive stability, and if this is the case, I’d be looking at the goals markets, and opposing them as a result. Available at 4/6, Under 3.5 goals does stand out in what should be a tight, tactical battle, and Real’s defence has become more suited to sitting in and frustrating the opposition since their humbling in Paris.