Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Clasico predictions the winner - LagosTrend

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Friday, October 27, 2023

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Clasico predictions the winner

 Saturday is a special day in LaLiga as we get our first Clasico of the 2023-24 season as Barcelona host eternal rivals Real Madrid. These games are always big events -- this is their 255th official meeting, with Real Madrid edging the series with 102 wins to Barca's 100 and 52 draws -- and it's very much true heading into their clash at Montjuic.

Even though the game will take place at Olympic Stadium due to renovations at Barça's Camp Nou home, the atmosphere will be every bit as electric. The home side will need that in order to prevail. Not only are Carlo Ancelotti's Real side top of the table after 10 games, with Barça just a point behind them, but Los Blancos have been dominant in recent meetings, beating Barcelona 4-0 in the Copa del Rey semifinal, second leg and winning three of their last four away games against Xavi's side.

Stream LIVE: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN+ (U.S.)
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That said, Barça are reigning LaLiga champions and will be hoping to rebalance the rivalry this weekend. So how will the two teams fare on Saturday? What kind of form is each team in? Are there good bets to make? Who will be the key players that impact the final result? And who do our experts think will win?

What's new since the last Clasico, and how have these teams progressed since

The spoils were shared last season, but Barça will feel they edged it by beating Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final and again at Camp Nou on their way to the 2022-23 LaLiga title. Madrid, who had won last season's league meeting at the Santiago Bernabeu, responded with a thumping 4-1 aggregate win in the semifinal of the Copa del Rey. However, there have been changes on both sides of the divide since.

Barcelona boss Xavi says his side are in good shape for Saturday's clash with Real Madrid after their 2-1 win vs. Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Madrid's talisman Karim Benzema left for the Saudi Pro League, so Carlo Ancelotti has re-built around Vinicius Jr. and €100 million signing Jude Bellingham, who has made a scintillating start to his career at the club. Elsewhere, Ancelotti is starting to phase out veteran midfielder Luka Modric, while Fran GarcíaJoselu and Kepa Arrizabalaga also arrived in the summer. The latter replaced goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who, like Eder Milito, is sidelined with a long-term ACL injury.

Meanwhile, Barça are trying to evolve under Xavi Hernandez. A solid backline won them LaLiga this season, but Xavi wants to improve the attack. João CanceloJoão Félix and Ilkay Gündogan all joined this summer in order to help with that objective; veteran midfielder Oriol Romeu and defender Iñigo Martínez also signed in the summer as Sergio BusquetsJordi Alba and Ousmane Dembélé (among others) departed. An unbeaten start to the season has followed, albeit with ups and downs along the way, and they go into Saturday's game just a point behind LaLiga leaders Madrid. -- Sam Marsden

How have Barca and Real Madrid looked so far this season?

Real Madrid go into this Clasico at the top of the table, with eight wins, a draw -- Saturday's 1-1 at Sevilla -- and just one defeat so far, although that loss, 3-1 to Atletico in the Madrid Derby, stung. They have the best defensive record in LaLiga, conceding seven goals in 10 games, but scoring is a concern. GironaAtletico Madrid and Barca all have more goals than Madrid's 21. They've over-relied on Jude Bellingham's over-performance (with eight goals) and while Joselu has delivered (with five) neither Vinícius Júnior (two, after a month out through injury) or Rodrygo Goes (one) have done enough.

Bellingham has been LaLiga's strongest player this season, with those eight goals coming from 22 shots and an xG (Expected Goals) of 4.05, but Rodrygo has been its most profligate, with one goal from 34 shots and an xG of 3.88.

Barcelona are the only unbeaten team in LaLiga, but their record has been marred by three unnecessary draws: 0-0 at Getafe, 2-2 at Mallorca and 2-2 at Granada. Both 2-2s were characterised by glaring defensive errors, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen's decline from last season's superhuman form to "mere mortal" has also contributed. His Goals Prevented -- which subtracts the number of goals conceded from the number of goals he'd be expected to concede -- is at -0.01. Basically, he's only saving what he should, nothing more.

Five of Barca's seven league wins have come with narrow one-goal margins, including their last two, 1-0s v Sevilla and Athletic Club. Hit hard by injuries, new arrivals Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo have been crucial as have youngsters Lamine Yamal and most recently, thanks to his match-winner against Athletic, Marc Guiu-- Alex Kirkland

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