Real Madrid themselves haven’t exactly proven perfect this season but are currently only three points behind La Liga leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand. Indeed, the Spanish top flight is the only one of Europe’s major five leagues Ancelotti has not won in his managerial career and, frankly, it’s hard to see him having a better chance of adding it to his collection.
Both Barca and Atletico Madrid have major flaws to have already been exposed this season and a win Camp Nou on Sunday would be a ruthless statement of intent. Lose, however, and serious questions will be asked given the problems their opposition have endured thus far.
Eden Hazard’s potential return to action would be interesting. Considering this is the first Clasico without Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo since 2005, it offers a real opportunity for another big name to make their mark on proceedings, and the Belgian could really set his Madrid career alight with a big performance. At this point, that might seem somewhat fanciful, but the former Chelsea forward did show signs of getting back to a high level during Euro 2020.
Dani Carvajal may also come back into contention, something that could seriously help a Madrid defence to have conceded 10 league goals already this season.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Alaba, Gutierrez, Mendy, Valverde, Casemiro, Modric, Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Sunday October 24 15:15pm BST.
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona.
Injured: Gareth Bale (hamstring), Dani Ceballos (ankle)