Barca To Bulldoze Past Real In El Clasico
Barcelona v Real Madrid
La Liga’s top two meet on Sunday in a Clasico showdown between Barcelona and Real Madrid which will go a long way to deciding the destiny of the Spanish title this season.
A 1-0 win over Manchester City in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie saw Barcelona progress to the quarter-finals for a record eighth time on Wednesday night after they completed a 3-1 victory on aggregate. Their passage could and should have been secured far more easily after they dominated the English champions at the Camp Nou but couldn’t add to Ivan Rakitic’s goal after an inspired performance from Joe Hart in the City goal kept the Catalans limited to one. Luis Enrique’s side have now won a remarkable 17 of their last 18 games, conceded only five in their past eight and hold a one-point lead over their bitter rivals ahead of this weekend’s crucial clash.
Lionel Messi predictably leads the way for his side on the goalscoring front this term with 32 La Liga goals including six in his past three league outings, 43 in total and an astonishing 34 in his last 26 appearances across three competitions.
Last weekend’s 2-0 victory at home to Levante saw Real Madrid stop the rot after they had failed to win any of their previous three although they have still suffered three losses in their past eight overall to the obvious annoyance of the Bernabeu crowd. One of the biggest targets of the Real’s fans frustrations of late has been Gareth Bale, with the world record signing doing his level best to silence them after scoring both goals against Levante last time out and making his own statement by showing his irritation at recent criticisms after he hit his first.
Despite being overtaken by Messi at the top of the Spanish goalscoring charts, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 30 goals in the Primera Liga this season as part of a total of 41 overall.
Sergio Busquets remains a major doubt for Barca with the ankle problem which has has seen him sidelined since that start of the month but he is the hosts only major doubt through injury with full-backs Dani Alves and Jordi Alba both available again after serving domestic suspensions last week.
Real welcomed back Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos to their starting XI last weekend with both expected to line out again from the start again this weekend meaning James Rodriguez is their only injury worry ahead of their biggest test of the season.
Head to Head
Real ran out comfortable 3-1 winners when the pair met earlier this season in Madrid despite falling a goal behind inside five minutes. Barca won both league meetings last season but were beaten by their great rivals in the Copa Del Rey final.
There’s only been one draw in the last seven clashes between them and both sides have scored in each of the last 17 Clasico’s played.
With Barca hitting top gear lately while Real have floundered it’s hard to look beyond a home win at 4/6, even if a side as talented as Ancelotti’s are always tempting at odds as big as 7/2. The 4/9 on both teams scoring looks easily the pick of the odds-on bets though, particularly with recent trends in the fixture and the fact the top scoring teams both home and away are coming face to face. 8/5 on a Barca victory with both teams scoring looks worth a punt then while the 21/20 on Messi scoring in a home win is very tough to ignore.