Friday, August 18, 2017

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Barcelona

SoccerPredictions in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 21 Apr 2017

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Verdict: Real Madrid

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Real Madrid and Barcelona lock horns in El Clasico on Sunday as both teams head into the six-pointer at Santiago Bernabeu in contrasting form and fortunes. Both Los Blancos and Blaugrana will be keen to put their Champions League exploits behind them as they prepare for arguably the most important game of the season.

Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane’s men have sealed their place in the Champions League final after beating 10-man Bayern Munich at Santiago Bernabeu thanks to some rather questionable decisions from the referee and it is fair to say that Real Madrid’s midweek success has been overshadowed by huge officiating controversies. Los Blancos are hoping to get past it and take a huge step towards claiming their first La Liga title in five years when they welcome bitter rivals Barcelona on Sunday. Zinedine Zidane’s men have last been beaten in February and are heading into the game on the back of 10 wins of their last 12 games. Sergio Ramos was the man of the hour in the reverse leg with his injury-time equalizer which made sure Real Madrid preserved their six-point cushion over the Catalans and, with Los Blancos currently three points ahead of Luis Enrique’s men and a game in hand, a possible win at Santiago Bernabeu would put Zinedine Zidane’s back in the starting position with great chances of crossing the finish line in first place. Motivation is high in the Real Madrid camp and the hosts will most certainly be hoping their key man Cristiano Ronaldo will be able to maintain the great form he is currently in. Having made history by passing the 100-goal mark in European competitions and Champions League with goals against Bayern Munich, the Portuguese star is expected to continue his fantastic scoring exploits.

Team News

Zinedine Zidane is still faced with defensive problems and will stick with Nacho in the heart of the back line as first-choice defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane continue to miss out through injury.

Arguably the biggest problem ahead of Sunday’s El Clasico is the absence of Gareth Bale, whose muscle injury will keep him sidelined for the big event.

Barcelona

The Catalan giants are stranded on the road to what is likely to be one of the worst season for them in a while as Luis Enrique’s men have been eliminated from the Champions League and are faced with a challenging task in the La Liga. Barcelona have won only two of their previous five matches in all competitions and will have a mountain to climb against Real Madrid as team morale has hit the lowest point this season after a European disappointment. Bouncing back from a 3-0 aggregate defeat by Juventus, which left all of Barcelona’s problems out in the open, will not be easy to achieve and Luis Enrique is facing a rather great challenge. Blaugrana are lacking their recognizable flair and power which left them toothless against the Serie A champions and unable to break forward near Gianluigi Buffon’s goal which is not something Barcelona fans are used to seeing. The Catalans failed to score in three of their last five matches in all competitions and it is fair to say that the lethal MSN trio has hit a major slump in form which comes at a rather bad time for the Camp Nou outfit. Leo Messi has been the one player who has been trying to singlehandedly lead his team forward as he scored four of his team’s last six goals, but his teammates – especially in defence – have failed to follow his lead.

Team News

Luis Enrique will have to do without Rafinha and Aleix Vidal, who continue to struggle with their knee and ankle injuries, respectively.

However, the biggest selection issue for the visiting side is the absence of Brazilian superstar Neymar, who is suspended for the occasion.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Real Madrid are enjoying a 12-match unbeaten run
  • Los Blancos kept only 1 clean sheet in last 16 matches in all competitions
  • Barcelona won only 2 of their last 5 games throughout competitions
  • The Catalans failed to score in 3 of those last 5 matches
  • Leo Messi is the La Liga top scorer with 29 goals to his name

Conclusion

Barcelona head into Sunday’s El Clasico at Santiago Bernabeu looking to make amends for the Champions League failure and with a clear desire to crack the La Liga title race wide open, but it is Real Madrid who have the biggest say in that as they are expected to continue their formidable form with an important home win over bitter rivals.

Verdict: Real Madrid

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

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