It will be the 245th episode of one of football’s biggest rivalries – El Clasico – when Barcelona and Real Madrid lock horns at Camp Nou in La Liga on Saturday.
Both teams have had slow starts to the 2020-21 Spanish campaign, and Ronald Koeman and Zinedine Zidane will want to avoid faltering so early in the season.
Barcelona have won two from four league games already, but they were beaten 1-0 by Getafe last weekend. Though they bounced back quickly against Hungarian side Ferencvarosi TC in their Champions League opener during the week, winning 5-1. They’ll look to do more this weekend.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, are on the back of successive losses. Zidane’s men fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to newcomers, Cadiz last weekend and were beaten 3-2 by Shaktar Donetsk in their Champions League opener four days later.
Another misstep – especially against Barca – will put the French manager under more pressure. Can the league champions, who are currently in third place with three wins from five games, rediscover their best form in time?
Real Madrid and Barcelona have squared off 244 times, with 96 victories apiece. Madrid claimed a 2-0 win in their most recent meeting, which was in March, thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz.
Neither of them are at their best at the moment, but there’s a desire within to claim bragging rights and also avoid consecutive league defeats. So we can expect a quality affair on Saturday. It’s difficult picking a winner in this one, but it isn’t hard seeing both sides getting on the scoresheet.
Barcelona: Goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen is still sidelined, so Neto will stand in goal. Defender Jordi Alba is making a return from a hamstring injury, while Samuel Umititi is a major injury doubt.
Real Madrid: Eden Hazard remains sidelined with injury alongside Dani Carvajal. Sergio Ramos, Mariano Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola are all facing fitness tests, while Martin Odegaard remains a doubt.
Though Real Madrid have looked somewhat disjointed lately, they should be able to take their chances against a Barcelona side with a weakened defense, seeing as Ter Stegen, Umtiti and Jordi Alba are absent.
They should be able to grab a goal, and Barcelona should also be good enough in attack to find the back of the net at the opposite end.
You can back both teams to score in this one.