Barcelona go head-to-head against Real Madrid on Saturday in the first Clasico of the 2020-21 season.
Without supporters in the stands due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, home advantage counts for less - but Barça are the favourites heading into this weekend’s La Liga clash at Camp Nou.
However, the Catalan giants have failed to convince of late. Ronald Koeman’s side currently sit ninth in La Liga and suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away at Getafe last weekend.
Star man Lionel Messi has only managed to score one goal in four league appearances this term, although the legendary forward did find the back of the net in Barça’s 5-1 Champions League victory over Ferencvarosi in mid-week.
Real Madrid’s recent form is even worse. After slumping to a 1-0 defeat against Cadiz last weekend, Los Blancos were beaten 3-2 by a depleted Shakhtar Donetsk side on Wednesday.
There’s speculation that Zinedine Zidane, despite the huge success he’s enjoyed at the Bernabeu in his role as head coach, could even lose his job if Madrid are beaten in their next two games against Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach.
What time does it start?
El Clasico kicks off on Saturday 24th October at 3pm (UK time).
Is it on TV?
Yes! English football’s 3pm blackout rule doesn’t apply at the moment, so you can watch the action on Premier Sports, in conjunction with LaLiga TV - Sky channel 435.
LaLigaTV is available from £5.99 to Sky UK and Virgin customers, as well as streaming on the Premier Player app.
Barcelona’s first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen remains sidelined, so Neto will continue in between the sticks. Samuel Umtiti is also ruled out, although Jordi Alba could return from a hamstring injury.
For Real Madrid, the big news is that talismanic captain Sergio Ramos could be available for selection again. Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal will not play.
Players to watch
Barcelona: Ansu Fati is Barcelona’s top scorer in La Liga so far this season with three goals in four appearances. Everything the 17-year-old seems to touch turns to gold.
Real Madrid: Martin Odegaard is an injury doubt but it would be fascinating to see how the talented Norwegian midfielder performs in his first Clasico if he passes a late fitness test.
Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
Both teams are fairly evenly matched at the moment, so expect a close battle between the two fierce rivals.
That said, Real Madrid have looked at sixes and sevens defensively recently, which is great news for the likes of Messi and Ansu.
Having Ramos back in the starting line-up would be huge for Los Blancos, but even then Barça might have too much quality at Camp Nou for their opponents.
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