22nd of December 2017 Author: Johnny Karp
The 236th episode of the biggest rivalry in Spanish football will take place on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where Real Madrid take on Barcelona in "El Clasico". So far Real Madrid have recorded 95 victories in competitive matches against Barcelona, who have snatched just 91 wins. Last season Barcelona won 3-2 in Madrid after a 1-1 draw at home, but at the start of this season Real Madrid defeated Barca in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup.
This is a must-win derby for Real Madrid, because they are trailing Barcelona by eleven points in the league table. It is true that Real have a game in hand on their rivals, but they still need to get all three points on Saturday in order to stop Barcelona from running away with the title. Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last ten matches in all competitions, including last week's 1-0 victory over Gremio in the Club World Cup. Head coach Zinedine Zidane doesn't have any injury concerns ahead of this match, so Cristiano Ronaldo should play alongside Karim Benzema in attack.
Barcelona are still unbeaten in LaLiga this season, they have won 13 of their 16 matches so far and have a six-point advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid. However, they have drawn two of their last four league matches. Last week they eased to a 4-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna. Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Deulofeu, Paco Alcacer and Samuel Umtiti are all injured. Head coach Ernesto Valverde will have a few choices to make, but surely Lionel Messi will play alongside Luis Suarez in attack, with Paulinho right behind them.
Real Madrid: Navas - Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo - Modric, Casemiro, Kroos - Isco - Benzema, Ronaldo
Barcelona: Ter Stegen - Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba - Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta - Paulinho - Messi, Suarez
My prediction: Barcelona to win 2-1.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Real Madrid win - 2.14
Draw - 3.79
Barcelona win - 3.10
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