Football

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Live Football Soccer 20 March 2022

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – prediction, team news, lineups

The latest edition of El Clasico will take place at Bernabeu on Sunday evening, as La Liga leaders Real Madrid welcome third-placed Barcelona to the Spanish capital.

Real Madrid are currently 10 points clear of second-placed Sevilla at the top of the table, while Carlo Ancelotti’s side have a 15-point advantage over Barcelona heading into this weekend’s contest.

Real Madrid have not been without their problems this season, but the capital giants have been, by a distance, the standout side in Spain’s top flight this term, and it would be a huge surprise if they were unable to win the title from this position, boasting a 10-point advantage over second-placed Sevilla.

Ancelotti’s side are chasing a league and Champions League double this season, and the club will take on Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the European Cup, with the first leg due to take place at Stamford Bridge on April 6 before the return fixture at Bernabeu on April 12.

Real Madrid have won each of their last four matches in Spain’s top flight, including a 3-0 victory at Mallorca on Monday night, with Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema on the scoresheet at Visit Mallorca Estadi.

As well as a 10-point advantage over Sevilla, Los Blancos are 15 clear of both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, although the Catalan side have a match in hand and will certainly believe that they are capable of catching Sevilla, while Atletico will also be eyeing the position directly behind their capital rivals.

Real Madrid have the best home record in La Liga this season, winning 10 and drawing four of their 14 matches to collect 34 points, while they have won each of their last four league games with Barcelona, including a 2-1 success at Camp Nou earlier this season.

Barcelona have not actually beaten Real Madrid in La Liga since March 2019 – losing four of their last five meetings in Spain’s top flight – but it would be fair to say that they are a different side to the one that lost the reverse match at Camp Nou back in October.

The Catalan outfit have also won their last four league matches, including a 4-0 success over Osasuna last weekend, while they are unbeaten in Spain’s top flight since the start of December, with Xavi taking the team forward since returning to the club as head coach last November.

While Real Madrid have not been in action since Monday, Barcelona played on Thursday evening in Turkey, recording a 2-1 win over Galatasaray to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, where they will take on Eintracht Frankfurt for a position in the semi-finals.

Xavi’s side are entering a huge period of their season, with their next two in the league coming against Real Madrid and Sevilla before travelling to Frankfurt for the first leg of their last-eight affair.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough season for Blaugrana but lifting the Europa League trophy and claiming second spot in La Liga would be seen as a success ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer transfer window.

Real Madrid La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
Barcelona La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
Barcelona form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Karim Benzema missed Saturday morning’s training session for Real Madrid, and the France international has since been ruled out of this match due to a calf problem.

Rodrygo has been declared fit despite taking a heavy knock against Mallorca, but Ferland Mendy picked up a muscular problem last time out and is unavailable, so Nacho is expected to start at left-back.

Ancelotti is unlikely to spring any surprises in midfield, with Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric set to feature once again, while Marco Asensio is likely to be given the nod on the right.

Benzema’s absence will open the door for Gareth Bale, Mariano Diaz, Luka Jovic or Isco to start, and the latter could get the nod to play as a false nine this weekend.

As for Barcelona, Alejandro Balde, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti remain unavailable for selection, while Sergino Dest has also been ruled out with a hamstring problem.

Head coach Xavi is expected to make a couple of changes from the side that started against Galatasaray, with Dani Alves potentially returning at right-back, while Ousmane Dembele could take the place of Adama Traore to feature alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres in a front three.

The midfield picks itself, but there is still a question mark over Gerard Pique’s centre-back partner, and the indications are that Eric Garcia will get the nod over Ronald Araujo in El Clasico.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Asensio, Isco, Vinicius

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Garcia, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, F de Jong; Dembele, Aubameyang, F Torres

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