The time has come; it’s the fixture the football world has been waiting for since the start of the 2011/12 Spanish La Liga season. Real Madrid host Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu this Saturday night in the most important La Liga match of the season so far, it’s the El Clasico! The Spanish Super Cup in the beginning of the season (2-2 and 3-2 to Barcelona over two legs) may have provided a fiery and freescoring match in typical Clasico fashion between Madrid and Barca (and a bit of eye gouging, too), but the league clashes are what matter most and this Saturday provides the first head-to-head of the campaign between the two Spanish giants.
|Can Barca do what many have failed to do this season,|
stop Cristiano Ronaldo?
Real Madrid 13/10
Many say Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid have closed the gap on Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and the Los Blancos’ current form justifies that belief. Real Madrid lie top of the La Liga standings with a game in hand over their rivals and 3 points above them. Real Madrid eased to their 10th consecutive victory in the La Liga, and their 14th in a row in all competitions with a 3-0 win over Gijon last weekend. Madrid are looking much better prepared for the Clasico matches this season. Not only are they looking better as a team, and team being the key word with players such as Ronaldo helping out not only with his personal goal tally but in the assist department, but they've strengthened accordingly in the summer and probably have a squad with more depth than Barcelona. It was just over a year ago that Pep's boys stuck five past Madrid in Mourinho's first game in charge of Los Blancos in an El Clasico match. Since then Madrid slowly showed signs of closing the gap in the Clasico matches that followed last term.
Barca still finished on top in the competitions that mattered most, the league and the Champions League, but Los Blancos showed they could at least compete and push their rivals all the way rather than get another mauling. And, of course, they also triumphed in the final of the Copa del Rey against Barca. League Champions Barcelona find themselves chasing Madrid after winning only 10 of their 15 matches, drawing 4 and losing 1. They have been their normal exquisite selves in the matches they have won, banging in the goals but their main problem this season has been failing to get all 3 points in their away matches. They have won just 2 matches in their 6 away meetings, and the Bernabeu is no easy place to travel for any team.
VERDICT: REAL MADRID 13/10
Real Madrid have been outstanding at home this season, winning all 6 of their league matches and all 3 of their Champions League matches scoring an amazing 41 goals in those 9 matches. Even with everything going Madrid’s way this season Barcelona can never be written off and this match could go either way. However Madrid have to be slightly favoured and are at good value for the home win.
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Written by @Wayde_D for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices are subject to change.