El Centrocampista

It’s Showtime! – Some fantastic facts we think you really should know before the big game


By now you are probably a little tired of the hype surrounding tonight’s ‘game of the century’ that sees Barcelona host Real Madrid in a crunch tie that will go some way to deciding where the title goes this season.

Hours of television analysis, a plethora of articles and a million and one tweets about el clásico will almost certainly covered everything about the biggest match in Spain; from the injuries and the importance for the title race, to the pre-matchdinner that Jose Mourinho and his boys will be tucking in to ahead of the encounter. But we think you may be missing some information on tonight’s game, some unusual stats that you probably will not have found in the thousands of column inches already written this week.

For example, did you know that Valdés have managed six clean sheets this season without making a save.  Even though Barcelona haven’t conceded a shot on target on only five occasion; the current Zamora kept a clean sheet without a save in week 31 against Athletic thanks to a clearance off the line from Gerard Piqué.

But Valdés is not the only goalkeeper seemingly taking it easy. His counterpart, Iker Casillas has also kept a couple of clean sheets without making a save this campaign – in fact the Madrid stopper has made more than five saves during a game just once this season. Víctor hasn’t made more than five saves in La Liga at all.

Real Madrid have had an amazing season in front of goal, breaking the century mark already, but can you remember a game where they have scored exactly two goals? If you can’t, don’t be too hard on yourself after all it has only happens the once; against Mallorca on January the 14th. And never this season have Madrid taken less than 10 shots; they took just 10 against Rayo during their 1-0 victory at Vallecas.

Barcelona are not far behind in their shooting efforts as they have always taken more than five shots per game, and on only three occasions have they took fewer than 10 shots, however they still managed to score! Although, to even things out, they also didn’t score in three matches where they have shot more than 10 times, once they even took over 20 shots without scoring!

You may have heard about all about the line-ups but did you know that the reason why Guardiola may start Isaac Cuenca over Pedro is that Barcelona have scored more goals with him on the pitch (38 to 35) despite the fact that Cuenca has played almost 300 minute less – scoring a goal every 26 min with Isaac compared to a goal every 36 with Pedro. While in terms of defense, Mascherano may start for Piqué, after all the ‘jefecito’ has played in 15 clean sheets season, compare to Piqué’s six and the Argentinean also leads Barça defenders in games without a foul with 13.

Also did you know that every outfield player that has played more than one game for Guardiola has taken at least one shot? Jonathan Dos Santos and Mascherano the only ones who are yet to shoot on target.

If Mourinho is happy with a draw at the Nou Camp, he should start Marcelo for Coentrao at left back. The Portuguese hasn’t played in a single draw all season long, and is the only Madrid player who hasn’t played in a tie despite playing more than five matches. Trying to avoid defeat, Mou may play both Callejón and Arbeloa who haven’t played in a loss, despite featuring in over 20 la liga encounters.

Despite his bad reputation (probably well earned if you ask Lionel Messi and Alvaro Arbeloa), Pepe has played nine La Liga matches without committing a foul and has lead Madrid in fouls only on three occasions this season. Ozil leads the league in assists with 15, but has also failed to deliver a goal pass in 19 matches this season.

Curiosity aside el Clásico should be a fantastic match with two teams that are at the very top of their game. There promises to be fireworks and there promises to be frame. Are you ready?

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