El Clasico Preview: Real Madrid welcomes fresh Barcelona without Benzema

Barcelona will face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu, with Xavi Hernández in the leadership of a new-look squad.

The most eagerly awaited match in Spanish football is around the corner as Real Madrid will encounter archrivals Barcelona in the second El Clasico of the La Liga 2021-22 season at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. 

Barcelona will face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu, with Xavi Hernández in command of a fresh squad. The majority of “clásicos” influence the Spanish Liga title race. This time, not so much. Madrid has a strong edge at the top of the table, and only a catastrophic collapse can prevent it from advancing to its record-breaking 34 league crowns. Madrid leads Sevilla by ten points, while Barcelona & Atlético Madrid are all 15 points behind.

Carlo Ancelotti’s major concern is Karim Benzema is out of tomorrow’s game with a calf injury. This season, the 34-year-old Benzema is arguably the finest game of his long career. He has eight goals in his previous five games, including a hat trick in the second half to knock Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League last week.

Barcelona, on the other hand, is improving, and Xavi’s team is in terrific goalscoring form, having scored 14 goals in their last four La Liga games. Five of those goals have come from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so Real Madrid’s defence will need to be mindful of the January signing.

Real Madrid has won the last five Clasicos in all competitions, which is their finest run in years. Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona was the last side to dominate this rivalry to that extent, winning five in a row from 2008 and 2010, including the memorable 6-2 at the Bernabeu and 5-0 at Camp Nou.

The stable Madrid squad should be prepared to handle the Barca torrent, but the Blaugrana are constantly improving and full of confidence as they head to the Santiago Bernabeu this Sunday.

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