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Spanish La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid Preview



It’s that time of the year once again when two of the biggest clubs in La Liga and world football, Barcelona and Real Madrid, face each other in the El Clasico.

Postponed from its original date in October, the much-anticipated fixture will take place on Wednesday at Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium.

It’s so tight at the top in La Liga that a win for either side could have a huge bearing on the rest of the season.

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El Clasico
Barcelona vs Real Madrid
Wednesday 18 December
Camp Nou  
21:00

To Win 
Barcelona 15/20
Draw 31/10
Real Madrid 31/10

Barcelona

This is a fixture that Barca can legitimately claim they’ve had the upper hand in, in recent years. Certainly, in La Liga in any case. The Catalans are unbeaten in the last six league Clasico’s – home and away – and have only lost against Real Madrid four times in the last 22 La Liga meetings, stretching back to December 2008.

Antoine Griezmann has always enjoyed his battles against Real and he’ll be looking to impress on his El Clasico debut, while Lionel Messi – the highest scorer in the historic fixture with a staggering 26 goals – aims to extend his sensational goalscoring record over their bitter rivals.

But don’t forget about Luis Suarez who has nine La Liga goals in this fixture – the same as Cristiano Ronaldo although the Portuguese has more in all competitions. The Uruguayan star bagged a hat-trick in this clash last season as Barca annihilated Real 5-1, which ultimately led to the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui.

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Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s recent record against Barcelona certainly doesn't bode well, especially as they suffered a heavy defeat at the Camp Nou last campaign. However, Zinedine Zidane and his side have been impressive in La Liga this season and will fancy their chances of pulling off a victory.

The French boss is unbeaten at the Camp Nou as a manager and he’ll be hoping to keep that record intact, while helping Los Blancos regain the La Liga title. But there will be no Eden Hazard for the El Clasico showdown, which is a major blow to their chances.

Marcelo is also a doubt, with Madrid confirming the Brazilian defender has suffered a calf injury. It means that Los Blancos could be without both first-choice left-sided players against the Catalans.
It’s expected Zidane will utilise a 4-4-2 formation with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in attack. Zizou will be gutted not to have Hazard, but Bale’s blistering pace and Benzema's deadly finishing is enough to worry Ernesto Valverde.

Probable line-ups:

Barcelona: 4-3-3
ter Stegen, Lenglet, Pique, Alba, Roberto: de Jong, Rakitic, Busquets: Griezmann, Messi, Suarez

Real Madrid: 4-3-3
Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Nacho; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Bale

Prediction: Barcelona (15/20)
The head-to-head stats alone point to a win for Barcelona, but also with home advantage on their side, plus Madrid being without Hazard – and possibly Marcelo – I strongly fancy the Catalans to come out on top.

Written by Chad N