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Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Match Preview

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The day all the fans around the world have been waiting for has finally come. On Saturday, the Camp Nou stadium will welcome the clash of the La Liga titans for the first time this season. Barcelona host Real Madrid in matchday 7 and sporticos.com are here to preview the most iconic fixture in world football.
 

Football Today – La Liga 2020/21 

Live stream available in UK

Barcelona – Real Madrid

Date: Saturday, 24 October 2020

Kick-Off: 15:00 UK time

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona

 

Both teams come into this game after midweek outings in the Champions League. In their opening fixture of Group G, Barcelona hosted the newly comers FC Ferencvaros. As expected, the Catalans did not face much of a challenge despite playing with ten men for the last 20 minutes of the game. Barca’s longest current serving defender Gerard Pique received a straight red card after a foul on Ferencvaros’ midfielder Igor Kharatin who was awarded a penalty. However, it had little to no impact on the game as Barca were already 3-0 up before Pique’s sending off. Pedri and Ousman Dembele added another two making it 5-1 which secured Barca’s first win of the new Champions League campaign.           

In contrast, the things were far less joyful for the Los Blancos in their opening match of the 2020/21 Champions League group stage. Zinedine Zidane and his men suffered an embarrassing opening match-day defeat to the Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. The thirteen-time champions of Ukraine sent Zizou’s men into a complete knockdown after just 45 minutes. An own goal from Raphael Varane and two great strikes from Tete and Manor Solomon found Los Blancos 3-0 down at half-time. Two quick second half goals from Luca Modric and Junior Vinicius inspired Real Madrid’s comeback but it was not enough as Zidane’s men suffered a shocking opening day defeat.

After the game, the French manager admitted that his team lacked confidence, which can prove to be a decisive factor on Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, Ronald Koeman and his team will try to exploit Real’s vulnerable mental state and will be pushing right from the start. 

Recent form – Barcelona

After a solid start to their 2020/21 La Liga campaign, Barca have experienced a little bit of a downfall recently. Having beaten Villareal and Celta Vigo in the opening two matches of the new season, with seven goals scored and none conceded, Koeman’s men have accumulated only one point from the last two matches. A one-all home draw with Sevilla was followed by an unexpected 1-0 defeat away to Getafe. 

Only a point gained out of six possible meant that Barca have dropped to ninth place in the La Liga standings – the lowest they have been in years. Blaugrana are currently on seven points, four behind the current league leaders Real Sociedad. 

Apart from their first two league matches, Barca are yet to threaten the opposition’s goal like they have always used to do. At this point, Koeman’s team is averaging 2.0 goals per game, having scored 8 goals in the La Liga so far. However, their non-penalty expected goals (npxG) ratio is far from convincing. So far, Blaugrana have been averaging a fairly low 1.31 npxG per game. Even in the first two matches when they found the back of the net on seven different occasions, Barca’s combined xG value for both matches was only 3.3. 

Nevertheless, Barca compensate for its lack of cutting edge with solid defensive displays. So far, in the 2020/21 La Liga season, Barca have conceded only two goals, which is the joint-second (together with Real Sociedad) best result in the league. Only Atletico Madrid have a better defensive record after the first four games (one goal conceded). Barca’s solid defensive work is further backed up with expected goals against (xGA) metric. So far, Barca have had an xGA value of 3.1, meaning that Koeman’s team should have conceded only a goal more than they currently have. 

Barcelona La Liga form: L D W W 

 

Recent form – Real Madrid

Coincidentally or not, Real Madrid’s 2020/21 La Liga form has taken a similar toll to the one of Barca. Los Blancos have started the season really well and were on a four-game unbeaten run before their last match against the newly-promoted side Cadiz. Zidane’s men started the new season with a goalless draw away to Real Sociedad, which was followed with three consecutive wins against Real Betis, Real Valladolid and Levante. Real’s unbeaten run ended last Saturday, with a 1-0 home defeat to Cadiz. 

An unexpected loss prevented Zidane’s men to climb to the top of the La Liga table. Real are currently sitting third with ten points and are only a point behind Villareal (11 pts) and Real Sociedad (11 pts). 

Unlike Barca, Los Blancos have been more threatening in front of the opponent’s goal so far this season, but more often than not, their finishing has let them down. Real are currently averaging a very low 1.2 goals per game (6 goals scored in total); however, their non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per game is set at 1.63 (8.2 npxG in total). It shows that Real create enough good goal scoring opportunities, but they simply do not convert them. 

Zidane’s men are also rather solid at the back, having so far conceded only three goals in the league. Real’s expected goals against (xGA) value is 4.7, which indicates that they managed to get away on a few occasions due to the opposition’s lack of composure in front of goal. 

Real Madrid La Liga form: L W W W D

Watch La Liga Football Live on TV and Free Live Stream in the UK

The free of charge live stream of the 2020/21 La Liga clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be available here

The live TV coverage (3:00 pm UK time) will be available on La Liga TV, which is a part of Premier Sports broadcasting network.


 

Barcelona vs Real Madrid – previous meetings

This is going to be the 181st meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid, with both teams sharing an unbelievably equal record. Throughout the history of El Clasico, Barcelona have been on the winning side 72 times (40% win ratio), while Real Madrid have been victorious on 73 occasions (40.6% win ratio). The remaining 35 matches ended in a draw, which makes up 19.4% of all matches between the two rivals. 

The last meeting between the two sides took place back in March at the Santiago Bernabeu. It was Real Madrid who edged past their old enemies in a close encounter thanks to the goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano.  

On average, there are 1.6 goals scored in this fixture, with Barca averaging 1.0 and Real Madrid 0.6 goals per game. However, on average Barca tend to score more goals at the Camp Nou (2.52) than Real when they play away from home (1.95). 

Additionally, Real have won only one of the last eight meetings against Barca (1 win; 3 draws; 4 losses). Koeman’s side is also undefeated in 32 of their last 33 La Liga matches at home. All in all, it looks like Barca have a strong case for extending their unbeaten home run. 

Barcelona vs Real Madrid – team news and predicted line-ups

Koeman welcomes his first El Clasico as a manager without some key players. 

The German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is still sidelined with a knee injury and will not feature for quite some time. 

The centre-back Samuel Umtiti is another big blow for Barca, with the Frenchman yet to feature this season. The 26-year-old has had some knee problems and is a major doubt for Saturday’s game. 

Finally, the flying Spanish left-back Jordi Alba is also likely to miss the clash with Real after suffering a hamstring injury in a game against Sevilla. The 31-year-old has not featured since then.

Barcelona possible XI (4-2-3-1): Neto, Sergi Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Dest, Busquets, de Jong, Coutinho, Fati, Messi (C), Griezmann. 

On the opposite side, Zidane will also be without some really important players.

Starting at the back, Real’s captain Sergio Ramos is a minor doubt for this game after suffering a knock in a 1-0 home defeat to Cadiz. 

Eden Hazard and Daniel Carvajal are other key players who will certainly miss the first El Clasico of the new season. Martin Odegaard, Alvaro Odriozola, and Mariano Diaz are also side-lined even though they were unlikely to feature anyway. 

Real Madrid possible XI (4-3-3): Courtois, Mendy, Varane, Ramos (C), Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Vinicius Junior, Asensio, Benzema. 

Football match predictions

Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid