Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Can Messiah Messi help Barca win the El Clasico – Statistics say it’s a tight one

A stats based analysis by Daniel Craig, Chief Analyst at 1vs1

This El Clasico can be a defining moment in the La Liga title race. Both teams have not had their best seasons and are coming of disappointing games mid-week in the Champions League. But Barcelona still top of the La Liga table on 55 points – only 2 points above Real Madrid on 53 points making these victorious 3 points all the more vital.

The table does not lie either as these two teams are super tight statistically. So let’s take a look at the stats and an even deeper look at the loss of ball in a team’s own third as this may be the deciding factor in this one.

The metric to measure this “negative performance” is the “negative PPV”– meaning the loss of the ball by passing into a dangerous zone.


Losing Hazard is a big blow to Real Madrid as he has the closest 1vs1 index to Messi as both players sit at 335 and 414 respectively. The next closest attacker is Benzema with a 1vs1 index of 311. For those who do not know the 1vs1 index ranks players based on their technique, playmaking and tactics.

Messi has 18 goals for the season with 50 shots on target that have created 49 big chances. Outstandingly, Messi has a goal xG of 0.97 – this value is how probable it is that a chance turns into a goal.  

Benzema has had 4 less goals with 14 and created 42 shots on target with a goal xG of 0.89.


Both defences are strong with players like Sergio Ramos and Casemiro for Real Madrid and Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique for Barcelona. However, Pique could be questionable after suffering an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw against Napoli in the Champions League.


Evaluating the strength of a teams midfield is not easy. At 1vs1 we look at a value called Pass Progression Value (PPV). We measure the ability of players to play the pass into dangerous zones and to create chances.

Barcelona has a PPV value of 0.38 and Real Madrid has a value of 0.33. Within the team of Barcelona Ricard Puig Marti has a total value of 2.06 and in the team of Real Madrid the best player is Marcelo.

Decisive Factors

When two teams are very close on the statistical basis it usually comes down to the amount of mistakes during a match. We will take a closer look at ball losses of each team in their own first third of the pitch.

Barcelona has lost 140 balls in their own third in this season – a high value compared to the season 2018/2019.

Madrid lost 121 balls in their own third.

Interestingly enough it seems that Barca players Sergio Roberto and Sergio Busquets commit more serious passing mistakes resulting chances or goals against the top teams in La Liga – where as Real Madrid players commit less severe passing mistakes in their own half.

The value for measuring the severity of the pass is the “negative PPV”


Comparing the statistical information on 1vs1, Real Madrid come out on top as the better team, but the voters disagree with 76% of the vote going to Barcelona.

Let’s hope this El Clasico has some goals in store and it will be interesting who makes a statement for the La Liga title push. My vote is on Barcelona – Messiah Messi can still make the difference on a good day!




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