Match Preview: El Clásico
4 days following the masterclass of a performance they put out in midweek to retain an advantage ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals second leg, Real Madrid will host FC Barcelona, optimistic they can complete their second challenge of three. Zinedine Zidane and his men are expected to have acknowledged the magnitude the game will hold, for sentimental reasons and the domestic title race, and will hence grant Ronald Koeman’s a huge test on the top occasion.
What to Expect
With 0 league losses in 2021, it’s fair to say Barcelona have been in excellent form this year, and will look to use that to their advantage in their mission to outplay their fierce rivals. The level of their displays, for the larger part at least, have been brilliant, undoubtedly playing a key role in their season’s turnaround over the last months. Additionally, the fact that they are in pole position to lift a title this month — set to lock horns with Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey final — has made them rediscover positivity, another key factor that has played a part in their form.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have had their struggles throughout this season, be it for their inability to find consistency in its early stages or have any luck with injuries, but have been on a good run of form themselves. They have lost none of their last 12 games, 4 of which saw them come against Atalanta home and away, Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool for context. Los Blancos may not be in a cup final, but are arguably having a season as good as Barcelona’s.
More often than not, however, form tends to be worthless in this fixture, as the side desiring the win more ends up with it. For this reason, both sets of fans will be giving this factor little to no importance watching the game, set to be a bang.
As confirmed by the squad list released on Friday, Real Madrid will be without the services of Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard through injury, while Raphaël Varane will miss the game having tested positive for COVID-19. Barcelona, on the other hand, will be missing Neto, Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati through injury, while Matheus Fernandes has been excluded.
Vázquez — Militão — Nacho — Mendy
Modrić — Casemiro — Kroos
Asensio — Benzema — Vini Jr
Dest — Mingueza — De Jong — Lenglet — Alba
Busquets — Pedri
Dembélé — Messi — Griezmann
Players to Watch
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema.
FC Barcelona: Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid 2-1 FC Barcelona
In an ideal world, where being the side in better form would spontaneously mean you will win, it’d be wrong not to assume the Blaugranas will indeed, but we can be thankful we don’t live in one. The winning side will, in most likelihood, be the one that exhibits more ambition and hunger, and judging by what we’ve seen from Los Blancos in the last 3 Clásicos, they can be considered that side.