El Clasico Preview: Barcelona vs Real Madrid

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Barcelona and Real Madrid will be locking horns for the first time in the 2020-2021 La Liga season in an El Clasico which promises to come with a lot of dramas as usual. The historic football event will take place at the Nou Camp at 15:00, today, October 24.

Luckily for both sides, they have football managers who understand how important the El Clasico is to the players and the fans. Recall that the manager of Barcelona Ronald Koeman is a football legend at FC Barcelona likewise Real Madrid‘s manager Zinedine Zidane has a legendary status at Madrid.

However, the edge Zidane has over Ronald Koeman is the fact that the French tactician has experienced and has won at least an El Clasico as a football manager of Madrid. Hence, he will be counting on that experience tonight.

Unfortunately for Madrid’s side, the club’s current form is not by any means encouraging as they have lost two consecutive matches leading to today’s El Clasico meeting. Their misfortunes before today’s game started on October 17 when they lost 0-1 to newly promoted side Cadiz before they went on to lose to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk 2-3 in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

The excuse was that they were lacking their captain Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defense due to an injury which Madrid’s coach has confirmed that the 34-year-old Spain international has fully recovered from. This means that he could be available for today’s game which will reduce the pressure on the club’s goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois if he starts as expected.

As for Barcelona, it has not been as rosy as it used to be for the Spanish giants. They are currently without their first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and they suffered a stunning 1-0 defeat in the hands of lowly rated Getafe on October 17.

Unlike Real Madrid, Barcelona was able to bounce back from such a defeat by beating Ferencvaros 5-1 in the UEFA Champions League group stage on October 20.

However, Ronald Koeman would want to use today’s game to return Barcelona to winning ways in terms of their performance in the El Clasico. Recall that the last meeting of these two Spanish teams was on March 1, 2020, and Real Madrid won 2-0. That was the first time since 2016 that Madrid won an El Clasico fixture.

El Clasico: Head to Head

  1. Barcelona have recorded the highest number of El Clasico competitive wins (96 out of 244) in the history of the rivalry.
  2. Barcelona have won the highest number of El Clasico exhibition matches (19). This means that Barcelona has won a total number of 115 El Clasico matches.
  3. Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona remains the highest goalscorer of El Clasico. The 33-year-old Argentine forward has scored a total number of 26 El Clasico goals.
  4. Real Madrid’s defender, Sergio Ramos has made the highest number of El Clasico appearances (44).
  5. The largest scoreline of El Clasico 11-1 defeat Barcelona suffered in the hands of Real Madrid in Copa del Rey match on 19 June 1943.

Team News – Barcelona

As mentioned earlier, Koeman will be without his first-choice goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen due to a knee injury. He will also be without Samuel Umtiti who is still battling to recover from a knee-related injury.

Besides those two, Barcelona don’t have major injury concerns as Jordi Alba was spotted training with the club’s first team ahead of the match.

Barcelona La Liga form: WWDL
Barcelona form (all competitions): WWDLW

Barcelona probable starting eleven:
Neto; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Dest; De Jong, Busquets; Fati, Coutinho, Trincao; Messi

Team News – Real Madrid

Zidane will be without a couple of top players in his squad including Eden Hazard, Dani Carvajal, and Martin Odegaard who are still battling with different degrees of injuries.

In addition to that, Mariano Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola are still battling to fully recover from their injuries and regain match fitness.

The club’s captain, Sergio Ramos is most likely to return for today’s game as he has recovered from his knee injury.

Real Madrid La Liga form: DWWWL
Real Madrid form (all competitions): DWWWLL

Real Madrid probable starting eleven: Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Asensio

Prediction: Barcelona 2: Real Madrid 1

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