Real Madrid host Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday night as they look to return to the summit of La Liga at the expense of the Catalans.
Los Blancos surrendered the lead at the top with a shock 1-0 defeat away at Levante, just a few hours after Lionel Messi had inspired La Blaugrana to a 5-0 win over Eibar at Camp Nou.
Both sides were in Champions League action in the week as well, with Quique Setien’s men faring the better…just about. Barça managed to secure a 1-1 draw away in Naples against Gennaro Gattuso’s stubborn Napoli side while Zinedine Zidane’s side succumbed to a 2-1 home defeat to a superior Manchester City team.
Nevertheless, with the lack of superstars on display combined with the implications Sunday’s clash has on the title race, the upcoming edition of El Clasico is set to be one of the most intriguing in recent memory.
Where to Watch
|?When is Kick Off?||?Sunday 1st March|
|?What Time is Kick Off?||?20:00 (BST)|
|?Where is it Played?||?Santiago Bernabeu|
|?TV Channel/Live Stream||?La Liga TV|
|?Referee||?Antonio Miguel Mateu Lopez|
Real will be without Brazilian winger Rodrygo after he was comically sent off in a ‘B’ team game last weekend. Zidane will also be without Eden Hazard and long-term absentee Marco Asensio.
Gareth Bale is poised for a return to the starting XI while Toni Kroos will likely come in for Luka Modric after the German was
|Real Madrid||?Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius.|
|?Barcelona||?Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; Arthur, Busquets, De Jong; Fati, Messi, Griezmann.|
Head to Head Record
These two supergiants have met in this historic fixture on 179 occasions in the league alone since 1929, with both sides winning 72 games each.
The Catalans have had the edge in recent years however, with Real failing in their last seven attempts to topple Barcelona. The reverse fixture back in December saw a what was then Ernesto Valverde’s Barça side take a cautious approach, a ploy that led to a 0-0 stalemate and an uncharacteristically dull Clasico.
Madrid’s last victory over their arch-rivals came at the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign, when Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema bagged in a 2-0 win, completing a 5-1 aggregate hammering of Barca in the Spanish Super Cup final.
After having their 21-game unbeaten streak snapped by Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid
Barca, meanwhile, bounced back from their disappointing Copa del Rey exit to win three La Liga games on the spin – sending them top by two points.
Here’s how these two have fared in their last five encounters.
|?Real Madrid 1-2 Man City (26/02)||?Napoli 1-1 Barcelona (25/02)|
|?Levante 1-0 Real Madrid (22/02)||?Barcelona 5-0 Eibar (22/02)|
|?Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo (16/02)||?Barcelona 2-1 Getafe (15/02)|
|?Osasuna 1-4 Real Madrid (09/02)||?Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona (09/02)|
|?Real Madrid 3-4 Real Sociedad (06/02)||?Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Barcelona (06/02)|
Form goes out the window in games like these and Zidane will be desperate for a response from his side after their humbling defeat at the hand of the Cityzens in the week.
Los Blancos’ press will be key in disrupting Barcelona
Nevertheless, these are two sides that aren’t even close to the peak of their powers and when it’s all said and done, the superiority of the Argentine magician over the other 19 outfielders on Sunday night may well prove the difference, as it so often does.
Prediction: Real Madrid 1-2 Barcelona