The most eagerly awaited clash of the 2015-16 football season is less than 24 hours away — El Clasico.
This colossal match up between Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona splits allegiances firmly down the middle. These two monumental clubs have faced each other 170 times in the history of La Liga – with 71 wins for Real Madrid, 67 wins for FC Barcelona and 32 draws. With both sides separated by just 3 points in the league table, the outcome of this match could go either way.
We asked TheHardTackle team to give their predictions ahead of the much anticipated clash between these two great rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Malhar : Real Madrid 1 – 1 Barcelona
Even though it is a very close title race up till this point, Real Madrid cannot afford to lose this one. The momentum Barcelona can get from a win here — especially with the likes of Turan joining the club ranks in January — will be huge and could take them all the way. Sergio Ramos is supposedly set to start though, and his presence will be immense for Madrid. Lionel Messi has been declared fit enough to start by Luis Enrique, but it will be interesting to see how the long injury lay-off has impacted his performance. Neymar, who has been in exceptional form lately, could once again take centre-stage. Barcelona’s magical trio of Messi-Suarez-Neymar (MSN) definitely have at least one goal in them, even if it is against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos manager Rafa Benitez, who has a good record in big matches, will once again look to set up more conservatively. As such, a score draw is on the cards.
a FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 20, 2015
Kumar : Real Madrid 1 – 2 Barcelona
Riddled with injuries, this Clasico might well be decided in favour of the team that is able to fully ensure the recovery of its superstars before kick-off. Messi and Rakitic remain doubtful for the fixture along with Karim Benzema and Keylor Navas. While Messia s influence in the game remains incalculable, Rakitica s absence in the midfield could allow Real Madrid to dominate the possession at the Santiago Bernabeu. Sergi Roberto, who is an inadequate replacement for the Croatian, is expected to be in the Barcelona starting line up. Similarly for Real Madrid, Benzema and Keylor Navas remain doubtful for the clash with James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale returning to starting line-up after a long injury layoff. Both Benzema and Navas have been instrumental for Rafael Benitez this season and their absence will surely tilt the balance in Barcelonaa s favour. However, if all these players do end up making a timely return, Barcelona is likely to triumph over Real Madrid – even at the Bernabeu. Sitting on the top of the table, the Catalan club has been in fine form despite Messia s continued absence from the pitch. His addition will only further their chances as Real Madrid struggle to adapt to their new manager. Rafael Benitez has failed to win over the players and the fans with reports suggesting that Madrid have lined up Zidane as his replacement should he fail to win his first Clasico. Struggling to score goals and with Cristiano Ronaldo woefully out of form, Barcelona is expected to come out of the Santiago Bernabeu with a six point lead over their arch rivals.
Soumo : Real Madrid 2 – 3 Barcelona
We can expect lots of goals from this match. We haven’t had to see a goalless tie between these two sides in the last 18 Clasicos, and it does not look as if that trend would change this time around. The Neymar-Suarez duo will come up trumps against the Ronaldo-Bale pairing. Barcelona talisman Leo Messi, who is expected to play some part in the match after coming off the bench, could very well turn the tide in the favour of the Catalans. Barcelona to win away from home by a margin of a single goal.
Archak : Real Madrid 1 – 1 Barcelona
The term El Clasico generates an excitement on its own, but the return of Lionel Messi has sent the media into an overdrive which FC Barcelona would have hoped to avoid. During Messi absence, the chemistry between Luis Suarez and Neymar reached a new high. Messi, though, capable of turning the tide alone, ideally shouldna t start the match after such a long layoff but Luis Enrique will be forced to accommodate the Argentine superstar thus disrupting the chemistry of the team. Croatian Ivan Rakitic, who is also doubtful, has been a key player for Barcelona this season and his absence will create a huge hole in the midfield despite Sergio Busquetsa impressive form. Real Madrid, on the other hand, have struggled for goals and with various rumours circulating in the media about Rafael Beniteza s strained relationship with his players, it doesna t seem go down as an ideal preparation for the Clasico. Cristiano Ronaldo too, has been off colour this season in the number 9 position and will be looking to use this match as ideal stage to burst into form once again.
Asheen : Real Madrid 3 -2 Barcelona
The return of Gareth Bale will boost the Real Madrid side and Messi’s probable absence could be a deal breaker for Barcelona. Real Madrid head into the Clasico on the back of a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Sevilla while the Catalans sit pretty at the top of the La Liga table after comfortably dispatching Villarreal 3-0. If the Barcelona defence gets leaky like it did against Celta Vigo, and Real Madrid might just edge past them in this one. It should be a high scoring encounter.
Rakshit : Real Madrid 1 – 3 Barcelona
Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona are set to renew their historic rivalry when they clash in the first Clasico of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Benitez’s Real Madrid side will be low on confidence after suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan a couple of weeks ago – a result which knocked them off the La Liga summit. Rafa Benitez has looked increasingly unnerved by criticism from some sections of the media for his pragmatic and often defensive approach to the game. Add Benzema’s sex tape scandal, rumours of squad mutiny and Ronaldo’s lack of goalscoring form into the mix, and the picture looks bleak for the Los Merengues. Barcelona, on the other hand, are playing some of their best football in the league — largely on the back of spectacular attacking displays by the South American duo of Neymar and Luis Suarez. Given the excellent partnership of Neymar and Suarez upfront, it will be interesting to see if Luis Enrique opts to put the fit again Lionel Messi in the starting lineup against Real Madrid. Given his side’s excellent recent form, Luis Enrique would be confident of coming away with all 3 points from the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.