It’s rare that we see an El Classico with neither side top of the table, with this just the fourth such occurrence in the last 27 league meetings.
That said, all four of those occasions have come since the beginning of the 2018/19 season and that’s somewhat telling of the drop off these two clubs have endured in recent times.
Barcelona enter this game of the back of consecutive victories, the first time they’ve managed that since April.
The 3-1 league victory was crucial for confidence, considering neither Madrid club featured last weekend, and it gave them the opportunity to close the gap on that duo to just two points, and while scraping a 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev wasn’t exactly the Barca of old, it was a vital three points in that Champions League group that kept their hopes of qualifying alive.
The Catalans have been questioned a lot over the last few months, and while victories over Valencia and Dynamo Kiev are good for building confidence, they won’t rid the pressure on Ronald Koeman, but a victory here could go a long way to doing so.
Real haven’t been at their electric best either, and despite a strong start to the season in which they won six of their opening seven unbeaten outings across all competitions, they’ve since gone W1-D1-L2, with 2-1 defeats to Espanyol and Sheriff Tiraspol halting any sort of momentum they were hoping to build.
A 5-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk has stopped the rut at least, though they’ll certainly need to avoid defeat here, knowing full well it would take their Catalan rivals above them in the table.
Over 2.5 Goals
Form tends to go out the window slightly in a game of this magnitude, and it’s Real that have had the upper hand in recent meetings, going unbeaten across the last four head-to-heads, winning each of the last three by an aggregate scoreline of 7-2, and it’s that lack of output that could really hinder the hosts this time round.
Indeed, While Barca have put three or more goals on the likes of Valencia, Real Sociedad and Levante this season, they’ve also drawn a blank in four of their last eight outings, coming against Bayern, Atletico, Benfica and Cadiz.
With that said, only Osasuna and Valencia have a worse defensive record than Real this season from the current top 12 in the table, and three of those four blanks drawn by the Catalans have come away from home, so we’d expect them to at least get on the scoresheet here.
While Real have been poor defensively, Karim Benzema has been exceptional up top for Los Blancos with 11 goals in as many games this season, as his side have seven more goals than the next top scoring side in the league, despite playing a game fewer.
That leaves the overs market the way to go here with the attacking talent and defensive frailties on display, though we wouldn’t also necessarily get behind Real’s French striker to net here considering he’s managed just one goal in his last 10 El Classico appearances.
OVER 2.5 GOALS