The first El Classico of 3 in the coming weeks as the Copa Del Rey Semi Final 1st leg gets underway this Wednesday at Nou Camp as Barcelona host Real Madrid!
Barcelona won the first El Classico of the season earlier at Nou Camp as they demolished Madrid 5-1 despite Lionel Messi being out. That was the end of Julian Lopetegui’s reign as Madrid’s manager after that game.
Overall Barcelona have been playing superb football this season, not only are they top of the league in La Liga but have made it into the Semi Final of Copa Del Rey having to come back from deficitis twice.
During their Copa Del Rey run, Barcelona have beaten lower leagues Leonesa 5-1 on aggregate, Levante 4-2 on aggregate despite losing the 1st leg 2-1 and then beat Sevilla 6-3 on aggregate after starting the 2nd leg down 0-2 winning the game by a ridiculous 6-1 scoreline! Safe to say Barca have been the comeback kings of the competition.
Barca have so far tended to use 2nd team in the 1st legs then 1st team in the 2nd legs, however we expect a full string lineup here due to the fact that it’s at home and against Real Madrid.
Barcelona have been absolutely exceptional at the Nou Camp. In all competitions they’ve got a 13W 4D 1L record and have scored a ridiculous 61 goals in 18 home games (3.38 per game).
Lionel Messi has played absolutely out of his mind this season. He’s scored or assisted in every game since October that he started in, he’s scored in 9 consecutive games totalling 12 goals currently. Messi has a phenomenal record against Real Madrid with 26G 14A in 37 apps against them. He could potentially miss this clash but if he features, he’s is absolutely the player to watch as he always is for Barcelona.
Real Madrid have also shown some very solid football in the past few games having won 5 in a row and scoring 16 goals in this run. Madrid beat some decent sides such as Sevilla, Girona x2, Alaves and Espanyol in this run.
Karim Benzema has hit some exceptional form as Madrid’s top scorer this season has bagged at least one goal in 4 consecutive apps totalling 6 goals in them. He’ll be very important for Madrid in this game.
Real Madrid have had quite a straight forward run to the Semis so far in Copa Del Rey. They defeated lower league side Melilla 10-1 on aggregate. Then defeated Leganes 3-1 on aggregate, despite losing 1-0 in the 2nd leg, they pretty much had that tie done in the 1st leg and in the Quarters they beat Girona 7-3 on aggregate with 4-2 and 1-3 wins. Madrid have been scoring for fun in the cup really so far.
One massive worry concerning Madrid entering this game is their inability to defend well in away games. Just look at La Liga where they’ve conceded 21 goals in 11 away games and kept just 1 clean sheet. Given how well Barca attack at home and how poor Madrid defend away from home, Barca’s attack vs Madrid’s backline is a massive key of this game. We’ve already seen Barca run Madrid over once this season at home.
Barcelona and Real Madrid over the past years have always had very high scoring games which normally have 3 or more goals at nearly every time these sides meet nowadays. A good example of how entertaining these games are is the past 14 meetings at Nou Camp all had Both teams scoring at least one goal.
Looking at recent H2H at Nou Camp, Madrid have actually had good success playing here. Prior to that 5-1 defeat this season, they went 4 unbeaten at Nou Camp winning 2 and drawing 2, however Ronaldo was still a part of the team during that time.
One thing we can definitely expect tonight is a feisty battle. El Classico’s tend to provide a lot of bookings, about 6-7 on average in the past 10 meetings and Sergio Ramos has seen a Red Card quite a few times in this fixture.
Understandably, bookies have Barcelona as favourites to win tonight’s game and to advance to the final in general. The odds at Unibet are Barcelona to win 1.75, Draw 3.95 and Real Madrid 4.35 this evening.
Barcelona: Lionel Messi could potentially be not playing as Barcelona sweat over his fitness after picking up a knock against Valencia therefore we’ll have to wait and see until line-ups come out whether he will play. Rafinha and Umtiti remain out while Dembele is a doubt to feature.
Real Madrid: After a long injury riddled season, Madrid are finally at full strength and Solari will be able to field his strongest 11 this evening.
*All of these stats will be based of La Liga to keep it as accurate due to the fact that both of these clubs play in La Liga.
Barcelona are 4th in covered total goal overs at Home at 50% (6-1-5).
Barcelona are 3rd best at covering total 1st half goal overs at home at 58.3% (7-5).
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are top 2 scorers in La Liga at home with 22 combined goals (13 for Messi and 9 for Suarez). Both enjoy scoring at the Nou Camp. Deadly duo.
Barcelona average 2.17 bookings per game at Nou Camp (26 bookings in 12 games).
Barcelona are 6th best at covering Handicaps at home at 50% (6-6).
Real Madrid are 7th best at covering total goal overs away from home at 45.5% (5-2-4).
Real Madrid are 4th best at covering total 1st half goal overs away from home at 45.5% (5-6).
Karim Benzema is Madrid’s top scorer away from home with 6 goals. Only Messi has more away goals than him in La Liga.
Real Madrid average 2.45 bookings away from home (27 bookings in 11 games).
Real Madrid are 18th best/3rd worst at covering Handicaps away from home at 36.4% (4-7).
KICK OFF – 6th February 2019 – 8pm UK Time