Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Who would benefit more if LaLiga is played behind closed doors?
We take a look at who could, in theory, benefit from the rest of the LaLiga season being played behind closed doors, with Barcelona and Real Madrid battling for the title.
The public health emergency caused by the coronavirus virus has so far not affected LaLiga fixtures.
As it stands, the only games that will be played behind closed doors in Spain are two European fixtures that involve Italian opposition, the Champions League game between Valencia and Atalanta on March 10 and the Getafe-Inter Milan Europa League tie on March 19.
But if the coronavirus situation worsens, LaLiga could be forced to follow the same measures as Serie A, which has decided that all Italian league games will be played behind closed doors for at least one month.
If this were to happen in LaLiga, it could have major implications where some clubs would benefit more than others from playing in empty stadiums.
Madrid and Barcelona schedules
With just 12 games left in the Spanish championship, Real Madrid find themselves one point ahead of Barcelona (with a better goal difference) and already have, on paper at least, a more favourable schedule ahead in the race for the LaLiga title.
At this point it can be ruled that this weekend’s fixtures, which see Madrid travel to Real Betis and Barcelona play host Real Sociedad, would be affected. But match day fixtures beyond this weekend could still potentially be played behind closed doors, meaning home teams would not enjoy the psychological lift from being cheered on by their fans.
In that situation, it could be argued that Real Madrid would, in theory, be in a slightly better position than their title rivals. While Zidane’s side would have to face the always-tricky Valencia in an empty Bernabéu in two weeks’ time, they would enjoy two normally difficult away trips to the north of Spain to play Real Sociedad (May 3) and Athletic Bilbao (May 24) without the pressure instilled by home fans. Sociedad’s Anoeta and Athletic’s San Memes are generally hostile stadiums where Madrid have not won in either since 2017.
Barcelona, meanwhile, would have to face tough opponents like Athletic (April 12), Atlético Madrid (April 26) and local derby rivals Espanyol (May 10) without the support of 80,000 fans at Camp Nou. This could end up being a significant handicap in a closely fought title race where everything counts.
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