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La Liga 2023-24: Real Madrid vs Barcelona- Preview & Prediction | When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?

As these Spanish powerhouses emerge from contrasting experiences in the Champions League, they are set to collide in La Liga on Sunday. With anticipation building, we offer our prediction and preview for the upcoming El Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

L2Z2NI27WZJMBN3NMGQDZN6B3Q La Liga 2023-24: Real Madrid vs Barcelona- Preview & Prediction | When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?
Soccer Football – LaLiga – FC Barcelona v Real Madrid – Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, Barcelona, Spain – October 28, 2023 FC Barcelona’s Ilkay Gundogan scores their first goal REUTERS/Albert Gea

Read More: Tactical Analysis: How Real Madrid Defended Manchester City And Stayed Alive For 120 Minutes

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Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Match Preview

Both of these La Liga powerhouses experienced a week of ups and downs. Barcelona seemed poised for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after Raphinha’s goal put them 1-0 ahead against Paris Saint-Germain at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, leading 4-2 on aggregate. However, Ronald Araújo’s dismissal changed the momentum, with PSG, led by Kylian Mbappé, rallying to secure a 4-1 victory on the night, eliminating Xavi’s team from the competition.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid faced a daunting challenge in the second leg of their quarter-final against defending champions Manchester City. Despite a hard-fought 1-1 draw in England, the match went to penalties, where Andriy Lunin emerged as the hero, propelling Madrid to the semi-finals at the expense of former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. This victory sets up a semi-final encounter with another of Guardiola’s former clubs, Bayern Munich.

On Sunday, at the Santiago Bernabéu, two teams with differing morale will face off as Carlo Ancelotti’s squad aims to solidify their position at the top of La Liga, while Barcelona seeks to reassert themselves in the title race.

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With only seven league matches left in Spain, there’s an eight-point gap between these two teams leading up to the upcoming Clásico. A victory for Real Madrid at home would likely extinguish Barcelona’s hopes of defending their title. Conversely, a win for Xavi’s team would narrow the gap to just five points, revitalizing their chances in the race for the championship.

La Liga Table As It Stands After Match Day 31 Image Credits Opta Analyst La Liga 2023-24: Real Madrid vs Barcelona- Preview & Prediction | When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?
La Liga Table As It Stands After Match Day 31, Image Credits- Opta Analyst

The visitors face a daunting challenge considering Real Madrid’s unbeaten streak in 90-minute matches across all competitions since their sixth league fixture of the season, a 3-1 loss to Atlético Madrid back in September.

Los Blancos currently lead La Liga convincingly, boasting the highest number of goals scored (67) and the fewest conceded (20). Their goal tally could have been even higher if not for hitting the woodwork on 16 occasions in the league this season, marking their highest count since the 2020-21 campaign (22). Interestingly, Barcelona shares the same number of woodwork hits (16), making them joint leaders in this statistic alongside Athletic Club.

Barcelona’s season has lacked the consistency expected of defending champions until recently, when they surged into second place after overtaking Girona. It wasn’t until Xavi’s team embarked on a 13-game unbeaten streak across all competitions (winning 10, drawing 3) following his announcement to step down at the end of the season, following their humbling 5-3 defeat to Villarreal in January. However, their recent loss to PSG, influenced significantly by Araújo’s early dismissal, disrupted their momentum.

If Barcelona manages to score on Sunday, it will mark the club’s 300th goal against Real Madrid in the history of La Liga. The 100th goal was scored back in January 1962 by Sándor Kocsis in a 3-1 victory at the Camp Nou, while Ronaldo was the scorer of the 200th goal in May 1997, also in a home win for Barcelona, this time with a 1-0 scoreline.

In the reverse fixture, Jude Bellingham netted Madrid’s 300th and 301st La Liga goals against Barcelona. He has the opportunity to create further history if he proves to be a thorn in Barcelona’s side once again, reminiscent of his performance at Montjuïc in October when Madrid clinched a 2-1 comeback victory. Bellingham scored both goals on that occasion and could join the ranks of Ruud van Nistelrooy (2006-07) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2014-15) as the third Madrid player to score in both matches against Barcelona in the same La Liga season in the 21st century.

FEPIYJ6BPZMSXOX3IMN77NRBQE La Liga 2023-24: Real Madrid vs Barcelona- Preview & Prediction | When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?
Soccer Football – LaLiga – FC Barcelona v Real Madrid – Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, Barcelona, Spain – October 28, 2023 Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga in action with FC Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo REUTERS/Albert Gea

Undoubtedly, Bellingham won’t be the sole young talent on display on Sunday. Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal, substituted early against PSG to accommodate Iñigo Martínez after Araújo’s red card, showcased his prowess with a superb assist for Raphinha’s goal. Therefore, he should be highly motivated to leave his mark in this encounter.

Yamal has featured twice against Real Madrid across all competitions, but this upcoming match could mark the teenager’s first start. At just 16 years and 283 days old, the winger stands to become the second-youngest player to start a Clásico in La Liga history, narrowly missing out on the record by a mere three days, set by Vicente Martínez in October 1941 when he started for Barcelona against their arch-rivals at the age of 16 years and 280 days.

Unless there’s a significant change of heart, something he has repeatedly ruled out, this Clásico will likely be Xavi’s final one as Barcelona manager. Out of his nine encounters against Real Madrid across all competitions, he has won four and lost five. Xavi will aim to improve this record, especially considering that among all managers who have overseen at least six Clásicos, he holds the highest percentage of defeats, standing at 56%.

In terms of team updates, Aurelien Tchouaméni is expected to return to the lineup for Madrid after serving a suspension during the win against Manchester City. However, Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba remain sidelined with long-term injuries.

E2JLUYY5VZJ5LCZPL7FLCIJGNE La Liga 2023-24: Real Madrid vs Barcelona- Preview & Prediction | When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?
Soccer Football – Spanish Super Cup – Final – Real Madrid v FC Barcelona – Al-Awwal Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – January 14, 2024 Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham in action with FC Barcelona’s Ilkay Gundogan REUTERS/Juan Medina

Similarly, Barcelona continues to contend with injuries, with Alejandro Balde and Gavi still sidelined due to long-term injuries.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Head-to-head

In their recent head-to-head encounters, Real Madrid has emerged victorious in their last three meetings with Barcelona across all competitions, including two clashes this season. This feat of winning three Clásico matches in a single campaign has only been achieved by Madrid on four previous occasions. The most recent instance was in the 2012-2013 season under José Mourinho, when they faced each other six times, winning three, drawing two, and losing one.

In the reverse fixture, Jude Bellingham’s double propelled Los Blancos to a 2-1 victory after Ilkay Gündogan’s early goal for Barcelona. The England midfielder sealed the win with a dramatic 92nd-minute winner, securing another notable chapter in the storied rivalry between these two clubs.

In the Supercopa de España final in January, Real Madrid secured a comfortable 4-1 victory over Barcelona, with Vinícius Júnior’s hat-trick paving the way for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Despite Robert Lewandowski pulling one back for Barcelona between Vinícius’ second and third goals, Madrid maintained control, with Rodrygo adding a fourth to seal the win.

Barcelona can draw some encouragement from their recent away record against Madrid, having won 10 out of their last 18 away games in all competitions (with one draw and seven losses). This includes their most recent victory, a 1-0 triumph in the Copa del Rey semi-finals last season. Remarkably, this recent run of success equals the number of away wins Barcelona achieved in their previous 48 encounters against their Clásico rivals.

Recet El Classico Results Image Credits Opta Analyst La Liga 2023-24: Real Madrid vs Barcelona- Preview & Prediction | When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?
Recent El Classico Results, Image Credits- Opta Analyst

The history of El Clásico has seen a total of 600 La Liga goals scored, with Real Madrid narrowly leading 301-299. Only two other La Liga fixtures have witnessed more goals in the competition’s history: Barcelona vs Athletic Club (611) and Real Madrid vs Athletic Club (610).

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Recent Form

Real Madrid has been in exceptional form since their defeat to Atlético Madrid, remaining unbeaten in their last 25 La Liga matches (with 19 wins and 6 draws). This streak marks their longest unbeaten run in a single campaign in the competition since the 1989-1990 season, where they went undefeated for 28 games (with 20 wins and 8 draws).

Furthermore, Madrid has won their last four La Liga fixtures and has kept clean sheets in their last four home matches at the Santiago Bernabéu. In their recent away fixture against Mallorca, they secured a 1-0 victory, with Aurelien Tchouaméni scoring the decisive goal.

On the other hand, Barcelona has also been enjoying a solid run of form, remaining unbeaten in their last 10 La Liga matches (with 8 wins and 2 draws). Impressively, they have kept clean sheets in their last six outings. The last league fixture saw them secure a 1-0 win against Cadiz, with João Félix netting the solitary goal.

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Soccer Football – Spanish Super Cup – Final – Real Madrid v FC Barcelona – Al-Awwal Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – January 14, 2024 Real Madrid’s Rodrygo celebrates scoring their fourth goal REUTERS/Juan Medina

It’s worth noting that Barcelona’s current streak of consecutive clean sheets is their longest since October 2014 under the management of Luis Enrique, during which they recorded seven clean sheets in a row (with 7 wins and 1 draw).

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Team News and Predicted Line-up

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona appear to have relatively clean injury sheets as they gear up for what could be a pivotal El Clásico in the La Liga title race on Sunday. Expect both sides to field near full-strength line-ups for what promises to be an intense showdown.

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr and Dani Carvajal are expected to be fit for the clash after sustaining minor knocks that led to their substitutions during extra time in their recent match. Aurelien Tchouameni, who missed the match against Manchester City due to suspension, returns to the lineup after a week of rest.

Barcelona, on the other hand, had Sergi Roberto and Andreas Christensen sidelined due to suspension in their last outing. While Ronald Araujo has been a key figure in defense this season, his red card in the previous match might influence the team’s decision regarding his selection.

Real Madrid Predicted Line-up:

  • Goalkeeper: Lunin
  • Defenders: Carvajal, Nacho, Rüdiger, Mendy
  • Midfielders: Tchouameni, Kroos, Valverde, Bellingham
  • Forwards: Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr

Barcelona Predicted Line-up:

  • Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
  • Defenders: Koundé, Araujo, Cubarsí, Cancelo
  • Midfielders: Gündoğan, Christensen, De Jong
  • Forwards: Lamal, Lewandowski, Raphinha

Injury Concerns

Real Madrid: David Alaba, Thibaut Courtois

Barcelona: Alejandro Balde, Gav

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Soccer Football – Spanish Super Cup – Final – Real Madrid v FC Barcelona – Al-Awwal Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – January 14, 2024 FC Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo in action as Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior shoots at goal REUTERS/Juan Medina

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Match Prediction

Real Madrid holds a significant advantage in the La Liga title race, and a victory in the upcoming El Clásico would extend their lead to 11 points at the top of the table.

On the other hand, a win for Barcelona would narrow the gap to just five points, offering them a glimmer of hope to mount a late challenge for the title.

Considering Real Madrid’s impressive form and the home ground advantage they possess, our prediction leans towards them securing the victory in this crucial encounter.

When and Where to Watch the El Classico LIVE in India?

The La Liga 2023-24 match between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be broadcast live in India on Sports 18. The match is scheduled to Monday, 22 April 2024 at 12:30 AM Indian Standard Time (IST).

Viewers in India can watch the match live from the Santiago Bernabeu. Additionally, for those who prefer online streaming, the match will be available for live streaming on the Jio Cinema App.

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