Barcelona vs Real Madrid, the Clasico pregame before the pregame

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Photo: LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

On March 22nd 2015, the football world (and the world) will come to a standstill as arguably the two biggest clubs in football history come head to head in a clash that will go a long way in deciding this season’s La Liga champion. The Camp Nou is expected to be sold out as Barcelona, who are currently on an incredible run of form, play host to their eternal rivals Real Madrid, who have struggled in 2015 so far yet still can not be dismissed.

Such is the magnitude of this game that coverage for it starts over a week before the ball starts rolling, with fans and pundits alike arguing about both team’s chances and likely formations, tactics, etc. As always, the expectations run rampant ahead of each Clasico, however there always seems to be a slight “edge” given to one of the teams based on their form or the venue they will playing at, and this Clasico has marked Barcelona as slight favourites to win given their astonishing turn around since their loss to Sociedad in early January. That coupled with the fact that Real’s decline in performance this year, which has seen them knocked out of the Copa del Rey, dropping to 2nd place in La Liga, and suffering their first loss in the Champions League this season; further backs up the claim that this is essentially Barcelona’s match to lose. However, as we have often seen throughout the years, you have to expect the unexpected from El Clasico. Take for instance last season’s Liga Clasico at the Bernabeu; Real Madrid had reached 31 consecutive matches without a single loss while Barcelona had won only 5 of their last 10 Liga matches before that night. As the 90 minutes finished and the ref blew his final whistle, Barcelona stood triumphant as they won 3-4 and closed the gap between them and Real. Another example from last season was the Copa del Rey final, where Real Madrid had to play without Cristiano and Marcelo while Barca had their full squad, yet Iker Casillas lifted the cup that night. You can also go a further season back, where Real Madrid lost just one of the 6 Clasicos contested that season even though Barcelona reached a record-equaling 100 points in La Liga while Real Madrid finished 15 points behind them and with only the no major trophy to show for the season.

The point is simple: with El Clasico, you can never really know what’s going to happen.

Ancelotti and the team should be very aware of this, because if the idea of Barcelona’s devastating recent results and their performances lingered too much in their minds, the match will be lost before they even set foot onto that Camp Nou pitch. Another thing that will prove vital is the formation that the Italian mister will go with, if he is having trouble figuring out his formation; the fans surely don’t. As recent polls show that over 90% prefer Madrid in their trusted 4-4-2, a formation that Ancelotti has used 12 times so far this season, with 12 wins. It is also the formation that he used in the last 2 Clasicos, which if you remember, where both won by Madrid.

Barcelona have played teams like Athletic Bilbao, Ajax, Sevilla, PSG, Atletico Madrid (twice), Villarreal (twice) and Manchester City at the Camp Nou this season; winning all of those matches. They have, however, lost 2 home matches in 2014/15, vs Celta Vigo and Malaga. And in case you didn’t already know it, these two teams employed a rigid 4-4-2 with solid pack-defending and quick counter attacks. It seems, therefor, that the plan is simple for Ancelotti: use a 4-4-2 with Bale on the right as the 4th midfielder. That was the exact same formation Ancelotti used as Real demolished Bayern 4-0 at the Allianz Arena, a team very similar in style and ideology to Barcelona. Whatever the formation may be, playing with spirit and intention will be the most important thing, something that Real seems to have left in 2014.

Real Madrid Stats

  • Real Madrid have won just one of their last 4 matches.
  • Real Madrid have lost 4 of their last 8 away matches in all competitions.
  • Real Madrid have won just 3 of their last 6 Liga matches.
  • Ancelotti is just one win away from reaching his 80th win with Real Madrid.
  • Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet in just 3 of their last 9 Liga matches.
  • Real Madrid’s BBC are 3 goals away from reaching 80 goals in all competitions this season.
  • Real Madrid have won 26 out of a possible 36 points in La Liga since the start of 2015.
  • Real Madrid have kept just 4 clean sheets in their last 11 matches in all competitions.
  • Real Madrid had a win percentage of 87% in the first half of the season, compared to 56% in this (second) half of the season.
  • Real Madrid have scored 3+ goals in just 2 of their last 11 matches in all competitions.

Barcelona Stats

  • Barcelona are currently on a 6-match winning run in all competitions.
  • Barcelona have lost just 2 of their last 30 matches in all competitions.
  • Barcelona have won 17 of their last 18 matches in all competitions.
  • Barcelona’s aggregate score for their last 5 matches is 15-5.
  • Barcelona have won 27 of their last 30 matches in all competitions (1 draw and 2 losses).
  • Barcelona have kept just 3 clean sheets in their last 12 matches in all competitions.
  • Barcelona have scored 3+ scored in 13 of their 19 matches in 2015.
  • Barcelona have won 13 of their last 14 home matches in all competitions.
  • Barcelona have lost just 2 of their last 17 Liga matches.
  • Barcelona have kept just 7 clean sheets in their last 19 Liga matches.
  • Barcelona have conceded 8 goals in their last 9 home Liga matches.
  • Barcelona’s aggregate score for their last 10 home Liga matches is 35-8.

Head to Head Stats

    • Barcelona have scored a full 30 goals more than Real in 2015 so far (59 vs 29).
    • Real Madrid have 5 losses in 2015 alone, the same number of losses Barca have in this whole season.
    • Barcelona have won 17 matches in 2015 alone (out of 19), Real Madrid won 17 matches in their last 24 matches.
    • Real Madrid’s win percentage in 2015 is 56%, while Barcelona’s win percentage in 2015 is 89%.
    • Lionel Messi has scored more Liga goals in 2015 (17) than the BBC combined (15).
    • Real Madrid have lost just 3 of their last 12 Clasicos.
    • There has been 2 Madrid wins, 2 draws, and 2 Barca wins in the last 6 Liga Clasicos.
    • Barcelona have not failed to score in a Liga Clasico since December 2007.
    • Barcelona have lost just one of the last 4 Clasicos in the Camp Nou.
    • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 8 of his 14 Clasico goals at the Camp Nou.
    • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 4 goals in his last 5 Clasicos.
    • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 7 goals in his last 6 Clasicos at the Camp Nou.
    • Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to score in just 3 of his last 12 Clasicos.
    • Barcelona have lost just 3 of the last 31 Liga Clasicos at the Camp Nou.
    • Real Madrid have scored in each of the last 17 Clasicos.
    • Barcelona have scored in each of the last 18 Clasicos.
    • Real Madrid have scored 15 goals in the last 6 Clasicos.
    • Barcelona have won just 2 of the last 9 Clasicos.
    • Barcelona have won 8 of the last 13 Liga Clasicos.
    • Real Madrid have scored in each of the last 8 Clasicos at the Camp Nou.
    • If Real Madrid win this Clasico, it will be the first time they have won 3 consecutive Clasicos since 1978.

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