Real Madrid vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Thursday’s Copa del Rey Semi-Final 1st Leg. Read on for analysis ahead of the latest meeting between these eternal rivals.
|Thursday 2nd March 2023
|Copa del Rey
Real Madrid vs Barcelona Preview
The biggest and most anticipated rivalry in world football is back for its 286th edition. The two historic clubs meet for the third time this season and despite this fixture being in the Copa del Rey, it holds more weight than previously expected. Can Real Madrid build a lead going into the second leg and gain a psychological edge over Barça? Or will the visitors remain steadfast in spite of their injuries?
Real Madrid come into the game following a 1-1 draw in the derby with Atletico at the Bernabeu at the weekend. The result was greeted with much pessimism as the expectation was that Barça would take all 3 points against Almeria the following day, thus confirming a 10 point lead between first and second.
It was a relatively average performance from Los Merengues. For large spells of the game, they were too passive and didn’t recycle the ball with enough speed and quality. In typical Real Madrid fashion, they started to play well after conceding and responded through an impressive header from 18 year old striker Alvaro Rodriguez.
Despite the poor result on home soil, Real Madrid are still only 7 points behind Barcelona in LaLiga after Xavi’s side fell to a 1-0 defeat at Almeria. This isn’t a huge difference and coming into this game, an emphatic win would not only put one foot into the Copa del Rey Final for Real Madrid, but potentially give them a small psychological edge over La Blaugrana in the title race. Carlo Ancelotti and his team will know the importance that this game holds and will try to rectify their recent defeat and poor performance against Barça in the Spanish Supercup.
“This was our worst performance of the season”, said Xavi in his post match interview following the Almeria loss. Barça struggled to break their bottom half opponents down and showed their defensive vulnerability sporadically throughout the match.
To add to the negativity around the club following their Europa League exit and defeat to Almeria, Robert Lewandowski will also miss this match through a hamstring strain. He joins Ousmane Dembele and Pedri on the sidelines. Will Xavi deploy a more defensive system coming into this game or will he stick with his philosophy and take the game to Los Blancos?
Score Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona
These three injuries may prove to hurt Barca much more than expected. Though they have good squad depth, losing three of your best players will hurt any team. In front of their fans, Real will want to impress and make up for their poor outing against Atletico and they may have enough to secure a 1st Leg advantage.
PLEASE NOTE – Our Copa del Rey predictions are not betting tips! No profits are guaranteed if you’re using them to bet on Spanish football. If you are gambling, do so responsibly and never stake more than you can afford to lose. BeGambleAware.