El Classico preview- A potential title decider?

Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Barcelona vs Real Madrid

With just two points clear above Real Madrid in the La Liga table, Barcelona are dreaming the consecutive La Liga title this season. And at this point in the league, the bitter rivals face off each other in the crucial fixture. However, nobody knows who will win the game until the end. Regardless of the result, the league will be entertaining and competitive. The maximum outcome of the game would be that, if Real Madrid wins, they would be going on top and if Barcelona wins it, Barcelona will go five points clear of the second-placed Los Blancos.

Match details:

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

When: 02nd March

Time: 01:30 AM(IST)

Considered as one of the fiercest rivalries on the pitch, Barcelona vs Real Madrid always brings enthusiasm to both players and fans. Top moments of the Spanish top tier is always seen in the clash between these two teams because the players play from their heart and for the badge. It is a clash that has seen more blood and fights on the pitch.

In the past decade, the giants of Spanish football have clashed 31 times which includes all the competitions like La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. Out of these 31 clashes, Barcelona have won 14 times whereas Real Madrid have won just seven games.

In the previous encounter between these sides which was held at Camp Nou, the game ended in a stalemate. Both the teams went onto keep a clean sheet without troubling the scorers. Also, the stats concur that since 2014, Barcelona have never lost an El Clasico game at Santiago Bernabeu. This makes the clash more interesting and worth to watch considering the battle at the top.

The previous encounters have been phenomenal and have produced the best moments for the fans. Those moments were worth a watch and even to this day, they are relished. Those top moments are as follows:

 Top Moments in El Clasico 

Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona – La Liga (March 2014)

The fans expect the clashes between these two teams to be a close affair. And if there is a hattrick from Lionel Messi, it makes the day memorable for a fan of football. This game is possibly the best of El Clasico in recent times which had a hattrick from the Argentina legend, red card to Sergio Ramos and a total of seven goals in the game.

The drama unfolded in the seventh minute when Andres Iniesta scored the goal to put the Catalans ahead. However, Karim Benzema scored a brace to put Real Madrid ahead. However, Lionel Messi found the equaliser for Barcelona just before the halftime.

As the game progressed, one of the best players of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo scored from penalty to give  Real Madrid a lead. However, with Ramos challenging Nemar Jr in the box, Ramos was not only sent off but Barcelona were awarded a penalty. Lionel Messi converted the 84th-minute penalty including this one also. The game ended on a tense note with Real Madrid pushing for the equalizer.

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona – Copa del Rey final 2013/14

In the second cup final of the decade, which turned out to be the clash between the heavyweights, Gareth Bale ensured that the trophy is going to Santiago Bernabeu and not to Camp Nou. Marc Batra was left for nothing by the pace of Gareth Bale which made the mockery of the full-back.

Bale with his ridiculous pace raced past the Spanish defender and got into the position inside the box which helped the Los Blancos to gain the lead. However, Marc Batra made up for his mistake and scored an equalizer for the Catalan outfit.

The match went to the additional time but Gareth Bale notched up the goal to shatter the dreams of Barcelona. The match is much known for the ridiculous pace of Gareth Bale.

Apart from the above-mentioned matches, there were few games in which Barcelona ran riot and scored the goals past the Real Madrid goalkeepers. Among those, Barcelona scored four past Keylor Navas in 2015 which lead to lot of criticism.

Before 2010, there have been times where Real Madrid owned Barcelona and denied the passage for Catalans in the European elite competition. One of those games happened in 2002 when Zinedine Zidane denied Barcelona the ticket to Champions League finals. At Camp Nou, Zidane scored a goal for Real Madrid putting them to lead in the two-legged clash. Though Barcelona went on to equalize, Steve McManaman chipped the ball over the goalkeeper to trigger the celebrations for the side and fans after 19 long years. Raul scored in the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu to win the fixture by an aggregate score of 3-1.

Today’s game will be the start of the El Classico history in the new decade. This will be the first game between the sides in 2020 and more things are expected this time. However, both sides have their own shares of concerns with both sides having players on the medical table.

Real Madrid will be without Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio whereas Barcelona will be without Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez. And for the first time in the history of the clash, there are no suspensions for both sides.

Potential starting XI for both the sides:

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Vinicius, Benzema

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Firpo; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Vidal, Griezmann, Messi

Who will win the clash? What are your predictions? Voice your opinions below