Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Prediction: Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Milos Markovic in Free Soccer Predictions 5 Feb 2019

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Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: bet365

Barcelona and Real Madrid prepare to square off in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday night which marks first of three El Clasico encounters we are in for in less than a month’s time.

Barcelona

Having won five Copa del Rey trophies on the trot, Barcelona head into the Wednesday’s duel against Real Madrid looking to get one step closer to continuing their dominance in the competition.

Ernesto Valverde’s men did not exactly go through a straightforward path towards this year’s semifinal. Having gone past Cultural Leonesa, Levante and Sevilla, Barcelona were seen losing their away games in last two rounds and were forced to turn things around on the home ground and seal progression. Barcelona produced an epic comeback last time out in the competition, cruising to a 6-1 victory in response to a 2-0 defeat in Andalusia and will lack no inspiration and motivation heading into the famous fixture. Leo Messi was once again of vital importance and it’s fair to say the Catalans have had to rely on his individual brilliance on more than one occasion in order to escape a number of dangerous situations this season. Valverde will need all of his players on top of their game if they are to produce a positive result against Real Madrid.

Team News

Jasper Cillessen suffers from a muscular injury which gives Marc-Andre ter Stegen his Copa del Rey debut this season.

Rafinha and Samuel Umtiti are both unavailable, whereas Ousmane Dembele’s availability is under doubt due to tonsillitis.

Real Madrid

Reigning European champions Real Madrid have last won the Copa del Rey five years ago and the forthcoming clash will be the first time Los Blancos are going head to head with Barcelona in the competition since the 2-1 victory in 2014.

Coming off from an extremely difficult season, Real Madrid will be keen to push as further as possible and potentially claim what would become their 20th title in the competition. The early season’s struggles under Julen Lopetegui seems to be forgotten at Santiago Bernabeu as Los Blancos are currently cruising on a run of five straight victories in all competitions under Santiago Solari. The 3-0 victory over Alaves last time out in La Liga saw Real Madrid move within two points of second-placed Atletico Madrid and will be an important morale boost for Los Blancos in the forthcoming clash. Real Madrid might have lost their biggest star Cristiano Ronaldo this summer but the fans were delighted to see that striker Karim Benzema has stepped up to take over goalscoring responsibilities. The Frenchman scored six goals in last four matches, taking his tally to 18 goals for Real Madrid in all competitions this season. He will be expected to continue his purple patch against Barcelona and will be the one to watch in the visiting team.

Team News

Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are expected to return to the starting line-up following the suspension, whereas Marcelo could also claim his spot back from Sergio Regulion.

Lucas Vazquez missed the Alaves match but should be at Santiago Solari’s disposal for the Wednesday match.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona won 30 Copa del Rey trophies in total
  • The Catalans won the Cup competition four years in a row
  • Real Madrid last met Barcelona in Copa del Rey in the 2014 final
  • Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-1 in their last encounter back in October
  • Wednesday’s match will be the 239th meeting between Spain’s biggest sides

Conclusion

Games such as El Clasico are too difficult to predict, even more so with both teams appearing to enjoy fine forms at the moment. Barcelona mauled Sevilla 6-1 to set up the duel against Real Madrid who, on their own part, are coming off from a five-match winning stretch in all competitions. An interesting match is at hand, with goals on both ends we’d say.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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