Barcelona vs Real Madrid
Defending La Liga champions Real Madrid head to the Spotify Camp Nou to take on arch-rivals Barcelona in a crunch league meeting.
Without the distraction of European football for the rest of the season, the Catalan heavyweights have channeled their strength on lifting their first La Liga title since 2018/19, moving a whopping nine points clear at the top of the table following last weekend’s 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao. Xavi Hernandez’s men have been nothing short of outstanding at Camp Nou this season, winning all but two of their 12 home league matches (W10, D2) while conceding a league-low one goal in the process. Indeed, Barcelona’s defensive resilience has been off the charts this term, with their record of 19 clean sheets and just eight goals conceded in the first 25 La Liga matchdays setting an unprecedented feat in the competition’s history. But all that would be rendered irrelevant unless they avenge an underwhelming 3-1 defeat from the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu.
In the meantime, Real Madrid eked out a 1-0 home win over Liverpool in midweek Champions League action, sealing their proggression into the quarter-finals as 6-2 aggregate winners. Carlo Ancelotti’s side came from an early deficit to beat Espanyol 3-1 at home last weekend, making it five straight La Liga games without losing (W3, D2). However, ‘Los Merengues’ have blown hot and cold on their recent league travels, drawing a blank in two of their last three away matches in La Liga (W1, D1, L1). But after winning their two most recent top-flight visits to Camp Nou, Madrid could register three away league wins over Barcelona for only the second time in the club’s history, last achieving this feat in 1965. Worryingly, though, ‘Los Blancos’ have already lost two competitive meetings with the ‘Blaugrana’ in 2023.