19 December 2019
The two sides that have had identical returns from their last five La Liga (LL) outings (W4, D1) go head-to-head at the Camp Nou this midweek in one of the most highly anticipated fixtures on European football schedule, as Barcelona entertain arch-rivals Real Madrid.
A 2-2 away draw with Real Sociedad at the weekend has halted Barca’s four-game winning LL streak, and it was their third successive competitive match where they’ve failed to shut out their opponents in the first half. Indeed, keeping a clean sheet has proved to be a daunting task for Ernesto Valverde’s side recently, as they’ve conceded at least one goal in nine of their previous 11 matches in all competitions. But, free-scoring Catalan giants have netted 2+ match goals in six of their last seven competitive games, hitting the net in both halves on five of those occasions. Also, the reigning champions boast a perfect home record in LL this term (W7), scoring four or more goals in six of seven top-flight home games so far. That record is in line with Barcelona’s recent fortunes in top-flight H2Hs with Real, whom they’ve beaten in four of their last six LL meetings, home and away (W4, D2).
Meanwhile, although winless in their last three LL trips to Camp Nou (D2, L1), the visitors can draw inspiration from their previous three league away games (W2, D1). Both of their wins in that sequence have seen Real open the scoring and net at least two goals while restricting their rivals to a maximum of one. But, Los Blancos have not been as convincing as expected away from the Bernabeu this term, with just 42% of their total LL points coming on the road. What’s more, only 13 of their total 33 LL goals scored so far have arrived away from home (39%), with Los Merengues bagging one goal or less in four of their last six LL road trips. The one thing that can comfort Zinedine Zidane is that his men have shipped six LL away goals to date, with only Atletico Madrid (5) conceding fewer road goals than Real.
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