The third instalment of ‘El Clasico’ this season takes place at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid welcome Barcelona. The two teams will be facing each other 3 times in the next five weeks, the results of which will go a long way to determining Spanish silverware this campaign. Here we have the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi finals. We have to wait over a month for the return leg at Camp Nou.
With Copa Del Rey stats limited, I’ve crunched the numbers from their La Liga campaigns so far. Those stats are combined in this stats pack to break down the figures for xG, goals, shots, corners, passes, cards and fouls. It’s a lot of data but it gives you an upper hand in picking better and more successful bet builders. I recommend taking a look at my Bet Builder Stats Pack Guide if you haven’t already.
Real Madrid continue to have a problem at left back where Ferland Mendy and David Alaba are injured. Nacho Fernandez should therefore remain in the team at this position. The Real Madrid midfield is always difficult to predict but because Luka Modric serves a suspension in the league this upcoming weekend, he will more than likely feature. Right winger Rodrygo has been injured recently and unlikely to start but could be back on the bench.
Barcelona have been dealt a huge blow by the news that top scorer Robert Lewandowski has suffered a hamstring injury and will probably miss up to at least 2 weeks of action. He is ruled out of this match along with Ousmane Dembele, so Ferran Torres probably plays upfront. Young wonderkid Pedri is also a confirmed casualty due to a thigh injury. Barca have been suffering with injuries of late. Even Raphinha reportedly injured his knee kicking a fridge vs Man Utd, although he is back fully fit now.
Real Madrid average 2.04 goals per match and only 0.78 against. Their xG numbers are even higher at 2.35 so this is a top quality attacking team. Real average 16.96 shots per game with 5.43 on target. Their defence has been impressive conceding only 2.96 SOT against in each fixture.
Real Madrid only average 6.13 corners in each contest, which feels on par considering they are such a dominant side. They concede 4.17 corners at the other end. It is noticeable how good Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been at drawing cards from the opposition at an average of nearly 3 per game! They themselves rank mid to high for cards at 1.87 in each fixture.
Barcelona average 1.96 goals per game and just 0.35 against. They have conceded just 2.22 SOT against in each fixture but their xGA number of 1.11 suggests a major overachievement. Strong teams such as Man Utd (twice) and Real Madrid in the previous El Clasico have demonstrated that this defence can be ‘got at’ with the right weapons.
The Blaugrana average 6.09 corners per game and concede just 3.04. Cards have been at a really high level in Barca fixtures this season with 2.70 for and 3.00 against. They are the sort of team who are regularly involved in spicy encounters amidst controversy, which could increase tenfold in a fixture like this.
Player shots and shots on target
Karim Benzema averages 4.38 shots per 90 mins but only 1.41 of those have been on target. The trio of Vinicius, Asensio and Valverde are all worth keeping an eye on in the shots market as well, but neither are especially accurate. All of them average roughly one SOT per 90 mins though. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are usually good for at least one shot each time they take to the field with Modric slightly more likely to pull the trigger.
Of the expected starters Raphinha averages the most shots per 90 mins (3.43). He can be quite a selfish player and has a relatively poor SOT rate of 0.90. It does not discourage him from firing attempts though. Ferran Torres should come into the side upfront and is another with poor accuracy at just 0.75 SOT per 90 mins from 3.23 attempts. Both Frenkie de Jong and Gavi should be good for at least one shot each but are not serial shooters of a football.
Player goals and assists
Karim Benzema has been enjoying a good season for Real Madrid, netting 11 goals on this list. Both Vinicius and Valverde have 7 goals each, whilst Rodrygo is an interesting contender with 4 goals and 5 assists. The rest of the Real Madrid assists have been shared around the squad.
Robert Lewandowski has scored 25 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and will be a massive miss for the Catalans here. Raphinha has 4 goals and 4 assists, whilst the man replacing Lewa upfront Ferran Torres only has two goals. Both Fati and Alba have 3 assists each. The visitors will also miss their Polish superstar from a creative perspective because Lewandowski has supplied 6 goals in all competitions this season.
Real Madrid average 59% possession but are up against a team who rank even higher. Toni Kroos averages a whopping 92.3 passes per 90 mins and midfield maestro Luka Modric averages 70. The problem is deciding who will last the full 90 mins and how much of the ball Real will give up to Barca. In the first Classico meeting this season they only had 43% possession at home.
Barcelona average a massive 64% possession and despite being on the road in Madrid they should still have a lot of the ball. They racked up 57% possession in the earlier league meeting at the same venue. Five players on this list all average more than 70 passes per 90 mins with Alba, Christensen and De Jong all candidates to rack up decent numbers here. The key is to work out who will stay on the field for a full 90 mins.
Real Madrid cards
Vinicius Jnr has six cards and on average fouls 1.77 times per 90 mins. He is fast, energetic and will press but isn’t always the greatest timer of a tackle. Midfield is where we are going to see a lot of battles and the likes of Luka Modric and Eduardo Camavinga are candidates for fouls and tackles when they are on the field. This is ‘El Clasico’ and all sorts of shenanigans could take place.
Ferran Torres has a very high dribbling rate of 5.81 per 90 mins and is fouled 2.04 times. He is going to need dealing with upfront here. The trio of Busquets, Raphinha and Kessie are also candidates to draw fouls and there will be a key matchup on the right hand side of the Barca attack where Nacho Fernandez may well have issues with Raphinha in particular.
Matchups to watch
Nacho Fernandez vs Raphinha
Luka Modric vs Franck Kessie
Vinicius Jnr vs Jules Kounde
Sergio Busquets leads the cards list for Barcelona and also produces a foul 1.31 times per 90 mins. The biggest foul offender is Gavi though, who gives away a lot of cheap free kicks at a 3.10 average. Both himself and Raphinha on the other wing are candidates for cards and can get hot-headed. Franck Kessie and Ferran Torres have four cards and Kessie especially will be embroiled in some midfield tussles.
Vinicius Jnr averages a really high number of dribbles per game (8.60) and gets fouled 3.91 times. He is elusive and will cause problems to any defender worldwide. Right winger Rodrygo is another who dribbles to a high rate (4.93) and can be a foul magnet. Centre back Militao draws nearly 1.45 fouls per 90 mins and is an interesting contender here, knowing how to obtain some good tactical fouls from strikers.
Matchups to watch
Sergio Busquets vs Dani Ceballos
Gavi vs Dani Carvajal
Jules Kounde vs Vinicius Jr
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Below are some selections that I liked the look of based almost entirely off the stats pack above that combined is priced at a tasty looking 9/2 bet builder. Feel free to pick and choose any, none, or all of my bet builder picks.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Real Madrid are unbeaten at home in the league this season.
That includes a 3-1 win over Barcelona earlier in the season.
The hosts may have slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Barcelona back in January in the Super Copa de Espana, but 2 of the goal scorers are out injured – Robert Lewandowski and Pedri. Ousmane Dembele also started and is unfit to play.
Barcelona struggled even with Lewa in their 1-0 loss to Almeria last weekend, where the Pole suffered a hamstring injury.
Given it’s a two-legged tie, Madrid will need to get a result to bring to the Nou Camp.
No player for Madrid averages more fouls p/90 than Vinicius’ 1.77.
He has also received the most cards in the team as a result (6).
He will be up against Jules Kounde who is fouled 0.52 times p/90.
More importantly though, whoever sits on the right of midfield – De Jong or Kessie, draws a fair share of fouls (1.21 and 1.72), while on his defensive duties he’ll have Raphinha to cover (draws 1.80 fouls p/90).
On the other side of this battle is of course the French right-back Jules Kounde.
He makes 0.96 fouls p/90 currently in La Liga.
But he has a whole new challenge against Vinicius Jr, who is fouled a huge 3.91 times p/90.
The flair winger attempts 8.60 dribbles p/90 too and will be a tricky man to deal with.
He has made a foul in 3 of his last 4 appearances too.
Cards are a guarantee in this game. It’s an El Clasico and the referee José Luis Munuera Montero averages 5.66 cards per game.
Madrid games this season also average 4.83 cards while Barcelona games average 5.70.
The two times these two have met this season there have been 4 cards in each.