LaLiga: Real Madrid vs Barcelona preview


Football fans from all over the world will be eager to watch the second "Clasico" derby in just a few days as rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona clash in LaLiga at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. The two sides have met in the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday and Barcelona pulled through to the final with a comprehensive 3-0 victory in Madrid. Luis Suarez scored twice for the Blaugrana on Wednesday and defender Rafael Varane put one past his own keeper. The first leg had ended 1-1, while the reverse league fixture was won by Barcelona 5-1 in October. Overall, Real Madrid have won the derby 95 times, while Barcelona have won it on 94 occasions.

Real Madrid are not having the best of seasons, at least on the domestic front. They have crashed out of the Spanish Cup at the hands of their rivals earlier this week and their prospects of challenging for the title in LaLiga are quite slim at best. The Blancos are currently third in the league table, nine points behind leaders Barcelona with thirteen matches left in the season. The best chance for them to get back into the title race would be to beat their rivals in Saturday's match, but the last time that happened was in 2016. Nacho is suspended for the derby, while Marcos Llorente is still out injured.

Barcelona are still on track for a treble this season after advancing to the Copa del Rey final. It was a sweet victory over their rivals on Wednesday and it extended their unbeaten run against Real Madrid to five matches in all competitions. The Blaugrana are unbeaten in LaLiga since November and are leading the table with an advantage of seven points over second-placed Atletico Madrid. Midfielder Arthur has recovered from injury and will be available for selection, but head coach Ernesto Valverde will most likely choose to have him on the bench. Rafinha is still out injured, while Thomas Vermaelen is an injury doubt.

Probable line-ups:

Real Madrid: Courtois - Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Reguilon - Modric, Casemiro, Kroos - Vazquez, Benzema, Junior

Barcelona: Ter Stegen - Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba - Roberto, Busquets, Rakitic - Messi, Suarez, Dembele

My prediction: Barcelona to win 2-1, the Blaugrana are stronger but they will most likely have a tougher match than in midweek.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Real Madrid win - 2.80
Draw - 3.75
Barcelona win - 2.30

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