Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are now at the top of the LaLiga Santander standings, with the teams having started the season quite tightly matched as they seek to showcase their quality and capabilities.
Los Blancos and Los Culés will now meet on October 16 in ElClasico, one of the best matches of the year in which we’ll be able to witness thrilling duels on all lines.
Thibaut Courtois and Marc-André ter Stegen are two of the world’s greatest goalkeepers. Ter Stegen has conceded just one goal in eight games played during the 2022/23 season, whereas the Belgian has conceded six goals in six games. Still, Courtois was one of Real Madrid’s heroes last season, and he is the overwhelming favorite to win the Yashin Trophy, which will be presented the day following El Clásico.
Dani Carvajal, Éder Milito, David Alaba, and Ferland Mendy form one back four, while Jules Koundé, Ronald Arajo, Eric Garca, and Marcos Alonso form the other. This is the second season that Real Madrid’s defense has played together, having winning LaLiga Santander and the Champions League last year without Sergio Ramos and Raphal Varane. Alaba scored in his debut ElClasico last year and has started every ElClasico game this season except the first, in which he scored from the bench.
As indicated by their LaLiga Santander goal-against statistics, Barça’s defense has been bolstered by four additions (Koundé, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso, and Héctor Bellern) that are performing flawlessly. Koundé and Arajo, two 23-year-olds, already constitute a duo that gives FC Barcelona supporters optimism for the future, despite the fact that both are injured and could miss the match against Real Madrid. Two coaches, Gerard Piqué and Antonio Rüdiger, have proven-quality replacements for these kind of unforeseen circumstances.
Aurélien Tchouaméni, Toni Kroos, and Luka Modri will face Sergio Busquets, Pedri, and Gavi in the midfield. Tchouaméni is one of the players with the most recoveries in LaLiga Santander, with 15 in total, and he is partnered with one of the players with the most passes in the league, Kroos, who has completed 437 passes in six games thus far. The midfield at FC Barcelona is identical to that of the Spanish national team. Two of them are Barca academy graduates, while Pedri joined the club at an early age. Aside from the starting lineup, ElClasico could feature other talented players such as Eduardo Camavinga and Frenkie de Jong, who will be available at any time.
Regarding the attacking lines, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski will face off for the first time in LaLiga Santander. The Pole and the Frenchman are tied for the most shots taken in the competition thus far, as the Pole has taken 31 shots and the Frenchman has taken 28. They will continue to compete to become the players who have scored the most goals. Lewandowski has scored nine goals in his first few games in Spain, dazzling everyone. Benzema has scored three goals in his first five LaLiga Santander matches.
Vini Jr. is the Frenchman’s partner. The Brazilian is currently Real Madrid’s leading scorer and has completed 62 dribbles this season, the most of any player in the tournament (with five goals scored). Fede Valverde, a player who has earned his position in the club and Carlo Ancelotti’s trust, and who, along with Vini Jr., was the creator of the goal that won Los Blancos the Champions League title last season, plays on the opposite flank.
Lewandowski will also have strong wing support from Raphinha and Ousmane Dembélé. Dembélé is the best dribbler for Barcelona and has two assists. On the opposite flank, the Brazilian Raphinha, who was acquired this past summer, has already won a starting position in Xavi’s lineup.
Ansu Fati, who has already provided three assists in LaLiga Santander, and Ferran Torres are two of the best substitutes the Catalan club will have available. Ancelotti will always be able to rely on Rodrygo at Real Madrid.
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have not lost a single LaLiga Santander match this season. They are tied at the top of the table with the same number of points, so their upcoming encounter promises to be one of the most anticipated of the year.