The first El Clasico of the 2020-21 season is upon us as Real Madrid travels to the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Real Madrid enter the match just a point behind Real Sociedad and Villarreal for the top two spots in La Liga. There’s four other clubs currently sitting at 10 points alongside Real as well. They are coming off a league loss last weekend to Cádiz and a midweek loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
Barcelona have had their own struggles in the league so far. They are currently tenth in the league table with seven points. They are winless in their last two league matches and haven’t gone three straight without a win since 2018.
Real have the upper hand in recent history of El Clasico. Real drew and won in the two Clasicos played last season, which absolutely helped Real’s conquest towards winning their 34th league title.
Real Madrid will once again be without Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola and Martin Ødegaard. There was hope Eden Hazard would be ready for El Clasico, but he is still recovering from his own injury. Sergio Ramos is back in the squad after missing the Shakhtar match due to injury.
Barcelona will be without Marc-André Ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti for this edition of El Clasico. Jordi Alba has been cleared to play and is in the club squad.
There are no suspensions for either club on Saturday.
Neto; Dest, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Pjanic, de Jong; Griezmann, Coutinho, Fati; Messi
Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Vinicius, Benzema
WIth Carvajal and Odriozola both still out, the right back position will likely be filled once again by Nacho. Zidane started Ferland Mendy here and Marcelo at left back against Shakhtar, though the backline looked rattled all match.
Right wing is always a question as well with no real set starter. Zidane went with a top of Asensio, Jovic, and Rodrygo against Shakhtar. Benzema and Vinicius will likely start in El Clasico. There’s a chance Asensio gets the nod again or Zidane decides on Fede Valverde or Rodrygo instead.
Barcelona—Real Madrid 1-1
Both of these clubs haven’t been playing nearly as they historically have when coming into the biggest rivalry in Spanish, if not world, football. It’s fairly evenly matched so far: Barcelona have scored eight goals to Real Madrid’s six. Los Blancos have also conceded three goals while Barcelona have only conceded twice.
Los Blancos’ scoring has been an issue that likely won’t change against a club that has done well to keep the ball from the back of their goal. We’ll see if Neto being in net for Ter Stegen changes anything drastically.
El Clasicos are always the most interesting matches of the season because they are fueled by both the hatred and respect that comes with a club rivalry. This one should prove to be no different even with the current performances of both sides.
Real must treat this no differently than any other La Liga match they’ve played so far. The objective is always to get the three points while on the road. And, of course, they will want to get bragging rights for the first result of El Clasico this season.