We’ll start with a look at Barcelona’s last ten games and in particular in the goals department. We can see that Barça regularly achieve over 10 shots per game, failing to do so on only two occasions. They produce an average of 13 shots per game and need just five on average to find the back of the net. Conversely, they restrict their opponents to significantly fewer attempts. At just 8 shots conceded on average, only Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad and Sevilla have managed double digits.
Barcelona’s match-per-match conversion rate can vary widely. Against Sporting Gijon they achieved a success rate of 42% but in the 1-0 home win at Granada only 8% of their shots found the way to goal. It is also common for Barcelona to suffer from their opponents being more clinical. The key example of this being Valencia’s 40% success record.
Next we will look at the form of the two teams and it becomes less than happy reading for Barça fans. In the their last six home games, Barcelona have only managed to win half of them. Meanwhile, Madrid’s away performances has been very impressive. A 2-2 draw is the single blemish on an otherwise stellar form record. Comparing the previous twenty games of each club shows that Barcelona have been more proficient in front of goal. 65 goals scored to Madrid’s 48 propelled Barcelona earlier in the season and they also have a superior defensive record with just 14 goals conceded to Madrid’s 19.
The last six overall games show Barça’s form taking a worrying nosedive in recent weeks. Barcelona have stumbled to two successive draws (three including Wednesday’s Copa game) while Madrid maintain an 100% win record. Looking further afield shows Madrid are unbeaten in their last 20 appearances while Barça have suffered four defeats in the same time period, despite scoring more goals then Los Blancos.
Now we will have a look at some player comparisons. One of the key battles will be which striker gets the better of the opposing team’s defence. Looking at the stats, Luis Suárez excels compared to his counterpart Karim Benzema. The Uruguayan has achieved eight goals in eleven starts while the Frenchman has four goals in seven starts. Suárez has also provided two more assists then Benzema and four of Suárez’s efforts have been the winning goal. Both favour their right foot with Benzema scoring two goals to one and Suárez five goals to two. Surprisingly, neither have scored a headed goal as of yet. Barça fans will be hoping Suárez rediscovers his scoring boots on Saturday.
Next we have the most talked about comparison in football, Messi vs Ronaldo. Both have suffered injury layoffs this season but it is Ronaldo who has made the most appearances so far with ten starts and 851 minutes played. During this time he has notched ten goals and two assists while Messi has managed nine goals and three assists in 754 minutes of play. Both clearly have a favoured foot with 100% of their goals coming from their strongest. Ronaldo has helped his team win the game on three occasions and has impressively found the net seven times on the road this season. The one stat Barça fans will be happy with is that Messi takes one minute less to find the net.
Finally, we look at some of the predictions for the game. The home win is the favoured outcome at 50% but 27% could see Madrid taking three points. The most likely score seems 2-1 to either side however there is a strong prediction of a 1-1 draw. Clásicos are rarely 0-0 and 63% thinks both teams will score this time round. 64% believe there will be over 2.5 goals but it is pretty even on which side will score the opening goal. With dangerous forward lines such as Neymar, Messi and Suárez as well as Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema it is no surprise to a massive majority believing the forwards will grab the opening goal.
Infographics provided by kickoff.co.uk