FC Barcelona has lost their last four El Classico matches in all competitions and will be looking to make a huge turn around from what is fast becoming a big losing streak to archrivals Real Madrid.
After narrowly getting pegged back by Granada over the weekend, Barca will be looking to build on from their newly rediscovered drives as they face Real Madrid in the Super Cup match in Riyadh today.
Barca will be going into the game a little more fortified than the last fixture with the recent inclusion of Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, Ferran Torres, Pedro Gonzalez and Dani Alves who is now on a second missionary journey at Camp Nou.
Going into the game, Real Madrid are the bookmakers favourites to eliminate the Catalan giants from the competition after mauling Valencia 4-1 at home in La Liga over the weekend. However, more often than not, matches between this two La Liga powerhouses are usually not predictable since anyone can literally take the day irrespective of their overall performance on the night.
Four (4) El Clasicos have been played between Barca and Real Madrid in January within the last 25 years and Barcelona have never lost any of them. (W2, D2). With this statistics in mind, although Los Blanco’s are the better organized team, FC Barcelona cannot be written off easily.
Xavi Hernandez is expected to field same line up he used the last time against Granada, although the recent return of Memphis Depay means either of Ferran Jugtla or Luuk de Jong may be sacrificed up front to accommodate him. Again, there is possibility of Ez Abde and Depay been preferred over the two.
Also included in the team to face Madrid is Ronald Araujo who may not get to play after undergoing surgery in his fingers. Xavi will field Lenglet, Pique, Dani Alves and Jordi Alba in defence with Ter Stegen likely to man the posts. In the midfield, Frenkie de Jong, Busquets and Gavi may be deployed with Alves expected to help in the middle of the park.
Benzema has enjoyed a stellar scoring streak against Barca with 10 goals and 9 assists so far. Therefore, I wouldn’t bet against him scoring tonight especially since Real Madrid have scored in each of their 14 games against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup ( an average of 2.4 goals per game in the last 7 meetings between the two sides).
But, it’s El Classico, so expect the firework’s!