El Clasico, one of football’s greatest rivalries! One that spans generations and captures the hearts of both young and old.
The last time Real Madrid and Barcelona met neither were in a particularly good place and the game reflected that.
To Win (90 mins)
Real Madrid 21/20
Real Madrid have been in excellent form of late! Most noticeably they are 10 points clear at the top of La Liga and into the last eight of the Champions League. Of course, this is reminiscent and completely in accordance with the great expectation and comfortable reality often associated with the club…and yet there is still a feel that they aren’t quite as good as they were.
Carlo Ancelotti has put together a formidable team at Madrid. The structure and precision now once again aligned with their performances is clinical and incredibly resilient.
They are now unbeaten in their last five fixtures in all competition and have scored an incredible 14 goals in that time. A lot of that is down to the combination of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. they have been formidable for their club and are arguably amongst the top attacking combinations in Europe.
So, it goes without saying then that Real Madrid fans will be closely monitoring the developments around their French talisman after he was taken off with a slight injury against Mallorca.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos are well and truly in the driving seat. They have had a season where they have remained largely out of the spotlight and under the radar. As mentioned earlier, they are at the summit of the La Liga table and with it will inevitably come a superior confidence and belief – for me, that might well and truly be the difference on Sunday evening.
This narrative of Barcelona being a bit of a lemon side this year needs to be completely withdrawn. The Spanish Giants are unbeaten in their last 10 fixtures in all competition and given the quality of football on display every time they grace a field – it cannot be too long until they return to their glory days.
The intensity – not just in the way they move the ball and play, but also in their decision-making – under Xavi’s leadership has been what’s most impressive. At the end of the day this is a professional football side, with high quality players who can produce incredible moments with a football. So surely then it is the mentality and togetherness of the team that becomes their point of difference.
There was a suggestion that Barcelona were struggling to break down teams who had set up with a low defensive block. When playing to the width of the big box and trying to channel everything through such a narrow avenue, you start playing football through the eye of a needle.
We all know that anything can happen in football, but with just 10 fixtures to go for Real Madrid (who are already 15 points ahead of Barca) I doubt the Catalan club will be challenging for the title this season. However, a strong finish and securing Champions League qualification – yes that sentence was as strange for me to write as it might have been for you to read – might set them up nicely for what the next season is to bring.
Barcelona will need to replicate their performance against Osasuna if they expect to get a positive result in Madrid. Real Madrid gives away a lot of half-spaces, and whilst I’m not suggesting they lose in defence, those small spaces might be where the game is won and lost.
This should be an absolutely smashing game nonetheless!
Prediction: Real Madrid/Draw + BTTS (1/1)
Real Madrid is currently playing the better football. They have more time to prepare for this game – which will only aid Benzema’s recovery – and I think they win the game. for betting purposes though, it might be prudent to include the draw as an option and add both teams scoring to ensure you protect the valuable odds on offer.
This game won’t be like the first one, these two teams are in a much better place, Madrid have all of the momentum, but Barca have found themselves again. So finally! Finally, we have an El Clasico.
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