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Barcelona v Real Madrid – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

Barcelona host Real Madrid at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys on Saturday night.

Barcelona v Real Madrid

Barcelona host Real Madrid at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys on Saturday night. Blaugrana are unbeaten in all competitions this season, but they sit one point behind Real Madrid in the La Liga standings. Xavi’s side won the league by 10 points last term and have won four of their last six El Clásico clashes.

Barcelona Form

Barca have played 13 matches this season in all competitions with 10 wins and three draws. After slipping up on the opening day in La Liga, they won six successive matches across the league and UEFA Champions League with 21 goals scored. After coming from 2-0 down to beat Celta Vigo 3-2, they dropped two points in a 2-2 draw at Mallorca.

Since then, the margins of victory have been smaller as they’ve had to grind out some wins at times. A 1-0 win over Sevilla required a second-half own goal albeit in a match where they produced 2.43 xG. A 1-0 win at Porto saw them allow just 0.67 xG. A heavily rotated side came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Granada. An 80th-minute goal was needed to eke out a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao before beating Shakhtar 2-1 at home in midweek with a number of players rested. 

Barcelona Team News

Xavi has three major players who are injury doubts. Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Frenkie de Jong are all touch-and-go for this match after picking up problems before the FIFA break. De Jong is the least likely to be fit to return. Ferran Torres will lead the line if Lewandowski isn’t available.

Jules Kounde is ruled out in defence so Andreas Christensen is set to return to the XI after only playing a few minutes in midweek. Pedri is another doubt, but he should be fit to start. If not, 20-year-old Fermin Lopez could play in midfield after a superb European outing.

Barcelona Motivation

Barcelona are capable of free-flowing football as well as pragmatic fare. They’ve done well against Los Blancos of late using a counter-attacking style.

If Lewandowski is out, they could be more transition-focused using the pace of Ferran Torres. They will go all out to win but the fact that this isn’t at the Camp Nou might mean they’re relatively satisfied with a draw.

Real Madrid Form

Los Blancos have been steady if unspectacular this term. They’re top of La Liga with eight wins in 10 matches and a paltry seven goals conceded, the best record in the division. Their only defeat came in round six to Atletico Madrid (3-1) in a poor display with a makeshift back four and depleted attack.

They’ve won five of six matches this then, scoring 15 goals in that steak, as many as they managed in the nine games before that. They won 3-0 at high-flying Girona and 3-2 away in Napoli. A 4-0 win over Osasuna followed before a low-key display in a 1-1 draw at Sevilla. In midweek, they won 2-1 away at Braga despite only producing 0.88 xG to 1.54 xG for their Portuguese opponents.

Real Madrid Team News

Carlo Ancelotti remains without long-term injury victims Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão. Dani Ceballos is another absentee, but he wouldn’t have started anyway. There are some question marks in defence where David Alaba and Ferland Mendy could be recalled alongside Antonio Rudiger and Dani Carvajal.

Toni Kroos played no minutes in midfield in midweek, and Aurelien Tchouameni was only on the bench. One of them is expected to start with Luka Modric dropping down to the bench. Another option is for both to start with Eduardo Camavinga moving to the left back and Mendy being left out.

Real Madrid Motivation

The side have largely been pragmatic this season and many early wins were by one goal. They’ve started scoring a bit more with Vinicius Jr. back from injury.

Ancelotti’s side could look to dominate midfield and take a narrow win, but a draw isn’t a bad result to take on the road.

Key Stats

Barcelona have won 4 of their last 6 matches vs Real Madrid

Barcelona have five wins by a one-goal margin in their last 7 matches (2 draws)

Real Madrid have the best defensive record in La Liga (7 goals conceded)

Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham has 11 goals in 12 matches this season

Real Madrid have won 11 of their 13 matches this season in all competitions


This match is hard to call until we see the Barcelona starting XI. Their injury problems could be a key factor, as could Real Madrid’s back four selections. The most likely outcome is a draw with the hosts not at their very best of late and Los Blancos satisfied to avoid defeat.

Best Bet: Draw at 3.50

Goalscorer Tip: Bellingham anytime scorer at 2.90

Alternative Bet: Real Madrid win/draw double chance + Under 4.5 goals at 1.95

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