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El Clasico: Team News, Statistics and Predicted Line-ups

Sunday 23rd April 2017
Today we will witness greatness. Not only do we get to see the two most famous clubs in the world do battle, Real Madrid and Barcelona, we also get to see the two best players in the world go head to head. In the 233rd annual El Clasico, the two table toppers seek to gain a significant advantage in the race for the La Liga title.

Los Blancos currently sit three points clear of their fierce rival with one game in hand. A win would take them six points clear with the chance to go nine. It's make or break time for Zinedine Zidane and his Galácticos. There's no point going unbeaten for several stretches during the season just to get pipped to the title by Barcelona. It's time for Cristiano Ronaldo to see his men through another pivotal moment.

Let's look at some statistics, team news and predicted line-ups.

STATISTICS



Real Madrid and Barcelona have played each other competitively 233 times, here are some more recent statistics.



  • Real Madrid are undefeated in three El Clasico's with Casemiro playing.


  • Los Blancos have only lost two of the last six El Clasico games at the Bernabéu.


  • Zinedine Zidane is unbeaten as a manager against Barcelona.


  • Lionel Messi has won 17 points for Barcelona this season by himself, scoring 29 goals.


  • Cristiano Ronaldo is the 3rd all-time scorer in El Clasico matches with 16 goals.


  • Lionel Messi has not scored in his last six El Clasico games.


  • Real Madrid have won El Clasico 72 times in La Liga history, while Barcelona have recorded 68 victories.




TEAM NEWS



Real Madrid





  • Pepe is still out for the foreseeable future after fracturing a rib.


  • Raphael Varane is scheduled for a return in the early weeks of May.


  • Gareth Bale has resumed full training and is in contention for a starting place on Sunday.




Barcelona





  • Neymar has had his appeal rejected, so the Brazilian will miss the next three league games through suspension.


  • Rafinha will be out until August with a meniscus injury.


  • Arda Turan is also out long-term with a muscle tear. The Turk has missed six matches so far through injury.




Line-ups

 PREDICTION



Zinedine Zidane has proven to be a cautious manager in his tenure at Madrid, the Frenchman refuses to take unnecessary risks. The same will be apparent against Barcelona, there's no way Zidane can afford a loss in the El Clásico, especially at home. Expect to see a reserved Real side, allowing Barcelona to dominate possession, whilst blocking off passing lanes to Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona will, of course, try to play incisively through the middle, where Messi is at his most dangerous. Messi's effectiveness will rely on the diligence & tenacity of Casemiro who will no doubt be tasked with man-marking him. Overall, the match will be a game of tactical chess hopefully decided by the brilliance of individual talisman.

Prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona
Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with ample amounts of passion for both Cristiano Ronaldo & Real Madrid. I'm one of those bandwagonist hipster fans that will claim to know everything about football, but only watches the El Clasico outside of the Premier League. Forgive me, I'm trying. Oh yeah, #WengerOut. 


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