This is quite simply the biggest game in football and there will be an extra edge to this one, not least because of off-field events over the past few months in Catalonia. As far as the players are concerned, their main focus will be on the 11 points that currently separate the two teams. Victory for Barcelona here would leave Los Blancos with an absolute mountain to climb but a home win could really prove a big momentum shift in terms of this season’s Spanish title race.
Real Madrid have been away at the FIFA Club World Cup, which they predictably won without really hitting top gear. In truth you could argue that Real peaked in the opening week of the season when they bossed the Spanish Super Cup clashes against Barcelona. Few then could have predicted the Catalans would have such a huge advantage heading into the first league clasico of the season.
The likes of Levante, Real Betis and Fuenlabrada have all got results at the Bernabeu since then and Zinedine Zidane’s men are really going to need to put in one of their best showings of the season if they are to avoid another home clasico defeat. Barcelona have enjoyed their league visits to the Spanish capital in recent years and were 3-2 victors at the Bernabeu last season, even though it was Real that went on to clinch the title.
Their match-winner on that occasion and many others for that matter, was Leo Messi and he will no doubt be key again here. The Argentine has out-performed his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo this season, which half-explains why Barca are so far clear. He has hit 14 league goals to Ronaldo’s 4. He’s also the all-time record scorer in El Clasico with 24 goals and backing Messi to score anytime could be well worth considering here.
Barcelona are not only top of the league table but top of the form table with 20 points from their last 8 matches. They are now unbeaten in 23 league games, winning 20 of them and given that kind of record, it’s understandable why Real Madrid may view this as a must-win game in terms of their title ambitions.
Ernesto Valverde’s men also put in one of their best performances of the season last time out, cruising to a 4-0 win over Depor in a game where they could easily have scored twice that number. The woodwork was rattled on numerous occasions and it certainly seems that they are in good shape heading into this fixture with Paulinho impressing in midfield and Luis Suarez finally back to somewhere near his best.
Given that and given Real Madrid have dropped points in 38% of their home league games this season, backing Barcelona Draw No Bet looks the smart bet here with Los Blancos looking very short for the win given their current league position.
Clasico matches invariably produce plenty of goals and there’s virtually no chance of this one ending goalless. 12 of the last 13 meetings in La Liga have seen both teams score and backing Barcelona & Both Teams to Score could be worth considering, given the array of attacking talent that will be on display.
REAL MADRID VS BARCELONA STATS
- This will be the 237th competitive meeting between these eternal rivals. They’ve already met twice this term with Real Madrid winning both legs of the Spanish Super Cup clasico in August. Barcelona have won 5 of the last 8 league meetings though. They’ve won on 3 of their last 4 league trips to the Bernabeu, including a dramatic 3-2 win last term.
- Real Madrid have won their last two El Clasico’s, both in the 2017 Spanish Supercopa (3-1 at Camp Nou and 2-0 at Santiago Bernabéu). The last time Real Madrid won three consecutive matches against Barcelona in all competitions came back in 1978.
- Barcelona have the chance to win three consecutive La Liga matches against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu for the first time in the club’s history.
- Real Madrid are 11 points behind Barcelona in La Liga this season- this is the biggest points difference for the first league meeting between the two sides since three points were awarded for a win (1995/96 season).
- Paulinho Bezerra has scored more goals than any other midfielder in La Liga this season (6). In fact, the Brazilian has scored as many goals as Cristiano Ronaldo (4) and Karim Benzema (2) combined in the competition so far.
- Lionel Messi is the all-time top scorer in El Clasico history in all competitions (24 goals), the all-time La Liga top scorer in El Clasico history (16) and the all-time top scorer in El Clasico history at Santiago Bernabéu (14)./ freesupertips .com