Second-placed Real Madrid will hit the road to square up against rivals Barcelona as they look to reignite the title race.
League leaders Barcelona are all set to host Real Madrid as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table. The visitors, meanwhile, will look to stop the ongoing dominance of the Catalan giants and reignite the La Liga title race.
Barcelona have been the most dominant team in the ongoing La Liga season. The Catalan giants have won 21 out of their 25 matches. And they have only lost two matches in the entire season. Xavi’s men are at the top of the table with 65 points.
The Blaugrana have a nine-point lead over second-placed Real Madrid. And a win in El Clasico will almost ensure them the title. The Catalan giants head into this encounter on the back of a 1-0 win over Athletic Club. They had the majority of the ball and converted their biggest chance to get the job done.
Barcelona have the best defence in the league and have won the majority of their matches on the back of it. They have only conceded eight goals in the entire season. Real Madrid have the second-best defensive record but have conceded more than twice the number of goals.
The Catalan giants have won four out of their last five league games. And they are heading into this encounter on the back of two consecutive wins. They will now be looking to make it three against Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have a great opportunity to reignite the title race. Los Blancos are nine points behind the league leaders, and this is a great opportunity to reduce it to six points. Their win will surely open up the title race. And Barcelona might feel the heat.
Los Blancos have won 17 out of their 25 matches and are second in the league with 56 points. As far as their last five league matches are concerned, they are unbeaten, having won three and drawn two. It has not been their best spell in the league, and they would surely want to produce their best against rivals Barcelona.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team are heading into this encounter on the back of a clinical 1-0 win over Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg. The team in white made it to the quarter-finals with a 6-2 win on aggregate. Real Madrid are the highest-scoring team in the league with 50 goals so far in the tournament. They are now all set to square up against the best defence in the league.
Los Blancos won the reverse fixture 3-1 at the Bernabeu earlier this season. And they have been unbeaten at Camp Nou in La Liga since October 2018. As a result, it will exciting to see who comes out on top here. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this fixture and tries to predict the tactics that could be deployed by the team.
Team News & Tactics
The league leaders will be without the services of Ousmane Dembele, who is yet to recover from his hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Barcelona will also be without Pedri, who has not recovered in time despite them expecting his return ahead of this fixture.
🎙️ Xavi: "We need to show our best version."#ElClásico pic.twitter.com/GD2CUbdyHl
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 18, 2023
Ronald Araujo, who was suspended for the last fixture, will also be available for the Clasico. Xavi will once again start with the 4-3-3 formation, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal. Jules Kounde and Alejandro Balde will start as the full-backs, while Ronald Araujo will return to the XI and pair up with Andreas Christensen in the centre of the defence.
The veteran Sergio Busquets will be the holding midfielder. He will once again look to dictate the ball and keep out Toni Kroos and Luka Modric from making the killer pass. Busquets will have the support of Franck Kessie and Frenkie de Jong in the midfield.
Gavi will make a return to the XI and is expected to start as the left winger which will see Ansu Fati drop to the bench. Raphinha will start on the other flank, while the league’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski will be leading the lines for the Catalan giants.
Possible Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; de Jong, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Carlo Ancelotti will once again be without the services of David Alaba, who is yet to recover from his injury. Apart from him, Ancelotti will have all his players available for the Clasico.
💬 @MrAncelotti: “We'll have to show the best of ourselves in every sense to win the Clásico." #ElClásico pic.twitter.com/KOp34sH0HM
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) March 18, 2023
Ferland Mendy had returned to the Real Madrid bench in their last fixture and will once again feature in their squad. Karim Benzema, who picked up a knock in the Round of 16 second leg, is fit to feature in this match.
The Real Madrid boss will have to make big decisions in the midfield. Eduardo Camavinga was absolutely sensational against Liverpool and is expected to keep his place in the team. With Aurelien Tchouameni expected to return to XI, Toni Kroos might be the one who will drop to the bench.
Real Madrid are also expected to start with the 4-3-3 formation. Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois will be in goal. Nacho and Dani Carvajal will be the full-backs, while Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger will pair up in the heart of the defence.
Tchouameni will slot in as the holding midfielder, while Camavinga will keep his place in the centre of the park. The young Frenchman will have Croatian genius Luka Modric in his support. Karim Benzema will be leading the lines for Los Blancos. Federico Valverde will start on the right flank, while Brazilian international Vinicius Junior will be on the left flank.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Camavinga, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
- Barcelona have the best defence in the league, having conceded just eight goals so far.
- Real Madrid have the best attack in the league, they have found the back of the net on 50 occasions so far.
- Barcelona have won 22 out of their last 48 fixtures against Real Madrid.
- Robert Lewandowski has 15 goals in his 20 league starts for the Catalan giants.
- Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has 11 goals in his 15 league starts for Real Madrid.
Player to Watch
Valverde has been Real Madrid’s man for the big matches since joining their senior team. And, once again Carlo Ancelotti will depend on the 24-year-old to step up and deliver in El Clasico. The Uruguay international was on fire in the first half of the season. He was scoring goals for fun and creating chances at will.
However, he has not been that great in front of goal of late despite performing at a high level on a consistent basis. The 24-year-old who has 16 goal contributions in the ongoing season will look to add to his tally when he takes the field against rivals Barcelona.
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s hopes of winning the league title depends on this fixture. If they fail to get a positive result here, it will become almost impossible for Los Blancos to win the title. Los Blancos head into this encounter as the best attack in the league. They have found the back of the net on 50 occasions.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have the meanest defence in the league, and they will surely make Real Madrid’s life difficult. Los Blancos were not happy with their 1-0 loss against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg. And, they will be desperate to get one better over their rivals before facing them again for the second leg of the cup. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the visitors in the El Clasico.
The prediction is wrong and by Allah’s Grace, Barcelona will beat Real Madri by a good margin
Lets wait and see