You are currently viewing El Clásico: What are the similarities between the teams?

El Clásico: What are the similarities between the teams?

Next Saturday, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will face each other in the first clásico of the season. Both teams arrive into the game in similar positions in the standings, separated by only one point, and sharing several similarities both in tactical terms and in their current form.

Therefore, this week, at the MBP School of Coaches, we will analyse the similarities that exist between the two teams and how these can influence the development of the match.

Tactical Analysis

The centre of the pitch

In a competition where midfield dominance is crucial, both teams strive to establish their supremacy in this area. Both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid rely on possession as the basis of their attacking play.

This behavioural tendency is clearly reflected in their starting line-ups, as both teams have a large number of players in this line. FC Barcelona use four midfielders, while Real Madrid opt for five.

For example, the Catalan side field Oriol Romeu, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Gündoğan in their ‘theoretical’ starting eleven in their midfield. In the absence of one of them, it is the left winger who joins the midfield, thus forming a square that aims to attack the intraline intervals.

clásico 1

clásico 2

Por otro lado, el Real Madrid despliega una formación con un mediocentro defensivo, generalmente Tchouaméni, acompañado por dos interiores, Kroos y Valverde, y un mediapunta, Jude Bellingham, creando un rombo en la zona media que abarca todo el frente del centro del campo y servir como nexo de unión entre la línea defensiva y la delantera.

clásico 3

clásico 4

Therefore, given the priority of both teams to control the midfield, whoever manages to gain possession of the ball and set the tempo of the match could have the advantage, especially given that, as we will see below, neither side is comfortable in defence.

Efficiency in both boxes

Another crucial aspect that could make the difference in the clásico is the effectiveness of both teams in the penalty areas, both offensively and defensively, as performance in these areas is fundamental to success in a match of this magnitude.

In attack, both Barça and Real Madrid have faced recent difficulties. The absence of Lewandowski has affected Barcelona’s goals, despite the good form of players such as Ferran Torres and João Félix.

For their part, Real Madrid continue to miss Benzema, and although players such as Jude Bellingham have shone in terms of goals, the team still struggles to beat well-organised teams defensively.

One statistic that reflects the difficulty of both teams offensively is the increase in the number of scoring chances (xG) required to beat the opposition goalkeeper. Whereas in previous seasons both teams needed only two chances to score a goal, this season that figure has increased to 2.3 xG.

Defensively, neither side has proved to be particularly solid so far. Xavi’s side are proving more vulnerable than last season, with a 0.25% increase in the probability of conceding goals.

For their part, Real Madrid, due to the loss of Courtois, are struggling in the air, with Kepa not offering the same defensive security as the Belgian. However, although they are conceding fewer chances than last year thanks to good teamwork, they are being more effective.

The role of the full backs

The full backs will play a crucial role in the attacking approach of both teams. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have made their full backs key to providing width and depth in the play.

In the case of Barcelona, both João Cancelo and Alejandro Balde play vital roles. While the Portuguese player tends to act as an additional midfielder, occupying inside areas during moments of progression and attack in the final third of the pitch, Barça’s number 3 becomes an essential asset on the left flank, playing as a full back and a winger depending on the team’s needs.

clásico 5

clásico 6

In the Madrid team, thanks to the new dynamic attacking organisation designed by Carletto this season, the full backs have acquired a vital role.

Both Carvajal and the player who is likely to occupy the left wing, in this case we are betting on Ferland Mendy, will be key for the team to achieve the necessary attacking width and depth. This will allow them to open up inside spaces that the midfielders will be able to exploit effectively.

clásico 7

Therefore, we will see how both coaches try to counteract the influence of the opposition full backs and neutralise their impact on the offensive approach of their respective teams, without conditioning their defensive behaviours within the Game Model.


In conclusion, the upcoming clásico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid looks set to be a balanced clash, where midfield dominance, effectiveness in the penalty area and the role of the full backs will play a decisive role.

Both teams share tactical similarities and are in similar position in the table, which promises to make for an exciting and hard-fought duel. The coaches will be challenged to counter their opponents’ strengths and exploit their weaknesses in order to win this eagerly awaited clash.

Leave a Reply