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3 bold predictions for Barcelona v Real Madrid

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Karim Benzema, Vinicius, Memphis Depay, Sergio Busquets

The best derby in the world is upon us – El Clasico! Real Madrid and Barcelona will be meeting in Camp Nou this Sunday. While the game is not as exciting without Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, it is still the biggest game in world football. In these two teams’ trophy cases, there are 60 national titles, 50 Spanish Cups, and 18 Champions Leagues. It is hard to make bold predictions for this game, due to its sheer impact and history, but you will see three of them right here!

El Clasico Bold Predictions

Real Madrid will win with a clean sheet

Maybe the first part is not the boldest prediction, due to the fact that Real Madrid does have a better squad. While not in the greatest form, it seems like the mini-crisis of the Madrileno’s was stopped with the 5-0 rout over Shakhtar in the Champions League. Not only did the Los Blancos score five goals, but they also did not concede one – an important point.

The defense has been atrocious, as they conceded in all but two games of this young season. Interestingly enough, both were in the Champions League and both have been away from home. This will be played away from the Santiago Bernabeu and while it is not the Champions League, Barcelona is a big enough game. Real Madrid’s defense should be on top of their tasks in this game.

Also, it is hard to see Barcelona scoring in this game. While Ansu Fati is back and he is playing well, it is a massive question whether he is ready for a match of this intensity. Real Madrid will be playing a high press and will be pressuring Barcelona constantly and the Catalans will not have many opportunities. There is (still) not enough quality in Fati to be that difference-maker, and the rest of Barca’s offensive talent is simply overmatched. Depay and Aguero are good, but both are not the quality that will break down a side like Real Madrid in a match of this size.

Vinicius Jr will score at least one goal 

Vinicius Jr scored an important goal for Los Merengues against Barcelona about one and a half years back at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid and Barcelona were locked in a tight game, with the scoreline being unchanged until a blistering run of Vinicius and a lucky break for Madrid due to the deflection of Pique changed the outcome. Of course, Mariano Diaz added one more in extra time, but it was the Brazilian who changed the pace of the game completely.

He has been very good this year, and he will definitely look to continue that in this huge game. El Clasico can make or break careers and it seems like all the stars aligned for the Brazilian. Vinicius already has seven goals this season, trailing only Karim Benzema with 11. That includes five in the league, which is already more than he had all of last year.

One more thing that goes into his favor is that he is a left-winger, attacking the weak side of Barcelona. While Sergino Dest is good, he likes to go forwards a ton and will leave tons of space for Vini. Real Madrid needs to capitalize on this to ensure this side is under constant pressure. If Dest gets an early yellow, the only true replacement is Sergi Roberto who simply cannot catch up with the tireless Vinicius.

Casemiro will start in the midfield – it will be a huge mistake

Do not get this wrong – Casemiro is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He is a through-and-through Real Madrid legend. However, with Pedri out, Barcelona will be forced to surrender the midfield. Unfortunately for the Catalans, without the supertalented youngster, they are overmatched in the middle of the park. Frenkie de Jong is an amazing talent, but he is simply not enough, especially against any sort of combination of Modric-Kroos-Valverde.

Due to this fact, playing a play-breaking midfielder like Casemiro that cannot create or lead play from the back is hard to understand. Playing Eduardo Camavinga or Federico Valverde there makes that much more sense. They are still good defensive options, but they are not minuses in the offensive part. Additionally, if Barcelona uses their pace upfront to pressure the backline, which would be smart due to the tendency of Real Madrid to make mistakes in the back, Casemiro might be exposed.

Simply said, Casemiro should be in the squad against bigger teams and teams that have formidable midfields, where midfield control can determine the final outcome of the game. In this case, since Barcelona will likely try to defend and hit Real Madrid on the counter, having a line-breaking option in the midfield is way more valuable than a play-destroyer like Casemiro. Even someone like Isco, somewhat forgotten in the Madrid outfit, can be a viable option.

While not as star-studded as before, this El Clasico is very important for both teams. Barcelona can turn the season around if they win this game. Real Madrid needs a win for confidence, and to perhaps knock their biggest rivals outside of any title discussions.