Eight Factors that Could Determine El-Clasico Result
Arguably the best game in football is set for another episode: Barcelona v Real Madrid. Gone are the days of Ronaldo vs Messi, as we’re now back to focus on the actual teams, as it was for more than a century. How will the teams shape up come Sunday and is there a clear favorite? The two clubs sit only two points apart after eight games of La Liga, but Real Madrid is in second place behind leaders Real Sociedad and Barca sit in the seventh spot. Here are our eight factors that will decide the first El Clásico of 2021/2022 season.
Home advantage for Barcelona?
After a very convincing 5-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, Real Madrid take on Barcelona on Sunday afternoon with both teams fighting for some consistency in the league. A win in El Clasico would mean more than just three points or a victory over their rivals as it always does, but who has the upper hand? Overall, Barca have been dominant at Camp Nou claiming the victory 61 times, while Real Madrid won on 30 occasions, and they drew 26 times. Gone are those days – in Fact, Real have won the last three fixtures and are unbeaten in the Nou Camp in their last three games too. You would expect this form to continue as they meet the weakest Barcelona team in more than a decade and Lionel Messi is not there to help. Overall, Barca have been dominant at Camp Nou claiming the victory 61 times, while Real Madrid won on 30 occasions, and they drew 26 times.
Karim Benzema’s form
Benzema’s recent form has been stellar. He’s unrecognizable since CR7 left the team and has grown into de facto team leader. No wonder he’s viewed by many as one of the favourites at the Ballon d’Or this year. His goals have been a work of art for his club and country. Speaking of the French National Team, worth mentioning the scandal he’s involved is drawing near a sentence. Will that affect the bearded Frenchmen, or will it be just another day at the office?
Koeman vs Ancelloti
This is the first Clásico between the two former Everton managers. Wait, what? Both managers have crossed paths four times, all in the same year of 2003, Ancelotti being AC Milan’s manager and while Koeman was coaching a young talented Ajax team. Ancelotti’s men won 3 times and drew a game. Should Madrid manage to trash their arch-rivals, it could be curtains for Koeman. Or maybe not, the Barca manager seems to be enjoying a lot of credit from the new Barcelona boss.
Midfield is where the battle of El Clasico will be won and lost
On paper, Real Madrid have the better midfield and will probably control the ball and the pace of the game. Picking any day Casemiro – Kroos – Modric over Depay – Gavi – Fati. Pedri will sit out with an injury is another blow for the Catalans. Barcelona will try a counterattack tactics to get the ball past Courtois.
Real Madrid v Barcelona Bench
There’s no doubt Real Madrid has the more squad depth and key substitution can decide the game. Barcelona will most like be starting the game with all their key players with little inspiration to draw from the bench, Real Madrid on the other hand can count on seasoned stalwarts with experience to come in and change the game if they ever need to.
Camp Nou will welcome fans again
The fans are back in the stands and will add pressure on Real Madrid. After a season with no fans, will Los Blancos be intimidated by the Catalan roars? You’d think professional players don’t have that kind of pressure, but they don’t call fans the 12th player for nothing.
Ansu Fati New Contract
The 18-year-old has this week put pen to paper on a new contract extending his stay in Nou Camp by another 5 years and a 1 Billion Euros release clause to boot. Yes. You read that right. 1 BILLION EUROS. Ansu Fati would be looking to reward the Barcelona board for the impressive faith put in him and could turn up in a similar fashion as we saw Messi did 16 years ago in 2005.
When it all comes down to it, the key deciding factor in this game will be the xG. Never heard of that? xG means Expected Goals and it is a statistical measurement of the quality of chances and the probability of them being scored. It is a terminology that pundits use in analyzing a game and punters use in betting especially in in-play markets. Statistical analyses are used by coaching staff and clubs such as Klopp at Liverpool and Brentford. So, make no mistake about it, the quality of the chances created by each side, and the player those chances fall on will go a long way in determining which way this El Clasico will go. This season, Real Madrid has an xG Against of 1.20 in the La Liga and xG For of 2.15. On the other hand, Barcelona has an xG Against of 0.96 and an xG For of 1.57.
Everything points to a Real Madrid win, but is there another twist in this Spanish Classic? Let us know in the comment sections.
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