La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid preview

The 173rd edition of the "El Clasico" derby will take place on Saturday afternoon as Barcelona welcome rivals Real Madrid at Camp Nou. The history of this rivalry goes all the way back to 1916, since then Barcelona have won on 68 occasions while Real Madrid are leading the head to head record with 72 wins. Last season both teams won away from home, Barca clinched a 4-0 victory in Madrid while Real got revenge with a 2-1 victory in Catalunya. Barcelona have won four of the last six direct league meetings.

Saturday's match has a bigger importance for Barcelona, not only because they play at home, but also because Real Madrid have built a six-point advantage over them at the top of the La Liga table. A defeat for Barca would see their rivals run away nine points ahead, a gap that would be very difficult to bridge from here on out. The Blaugrana are coming from two consecutive draws in the league, a 0-0 at home against Malaga and a 1-1 at Real Sociedad last weekend. Moreover, this week they only managed a 1-1 Copa del Rey draw at third-tier side Hercules. Jeremy Mathieu is still injured, while left-back Jordi Alba should play despite recent ankle and knee issues.

Real Madrid are rock-solid, they are still unbeaten in all competitions this season and boast a six-game winning streak in the league. Last week they edged past Sporting Gijon 2-1 and a few days later they hammered lower-league side Leonesa 6-1 in the Spanish Cup. They are undefeated in their last 25 league matches, an unbeaten run that has started last season. Moreover, they have not lost an away match in La Liga since December 2015! Gareth Bale, Alvaro Morata and Toni Kroos are out injured, while Fabio Coentrao is a doubt for this match.

Probable line-ups:

Barcelona: Ter Stegen - Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba - Rakitic, Busquets, Denis Suarez - Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar

Real Madrid: Navas - Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo - Modric, Kovacic - Vazquez, Isco, Ronaldo - Benzema

My prediction: 1-1 draw.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Barcelona win - 1.75
Draw - 4.20
Real Madrid win - 4.10

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    It looks to be Real's year this season in Primera, they didn't won the title in the last four editions so they are keen to do it finally I guess. This match was one very important step in that direction because they preserve their lead to six points after that draw.
    Barcelona won't stop chasing trough the season of course but this game was indicative of where their season going I think, or at least in Primera.

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