Barcelona-Real Madrid betting preview
Perhaps for the first time in many years, Barcelona are heading to an El Classico as a clear underdog. The settings are different for this Classico. The occasion is Spanish Copa del Rey final on this Wednesday and the venue is Mestalla Stadium in Valencia. But the two Spanish powerhouses will go at each other’s throat right from the kick-off. Real Madrid are in better form. And they are the favourites to win the crown.
Barcelona have been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. What would rub salt to the wound is the fact that it was Atletico Madrid that eliminated them. And they are almost out of the La Liga title race too. They are four points behind league leaders Atletico and one point behind the second-placed Real. With just five more games remaining in the league, they could still rescue the La Liga campaign. But on current form, they are unlikely to do so.
That means Copa del Rey remains their only title hope. Beating Real Madrid are a tough task any day. It is tougher now. Real Madrid would be seeking revenge for the previous El Classico, which Barca won thanks to some contentious penalties. Real have reached the semi-final of the Champions League and they are very much in contention for the La Liga crown. Copa del Rey would be a real bonus for them.
The biggest news about the match is that Cristiano Ronaldo will not be playing. That would mean the Barca defenders have to deal with Gareth Bale, Ángel Di María and Karim Benzema only. Barca’s injury woes are in the defence: Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Marc Bartra are all doubtful starters.
Barcelona-Real Madrid Prediction
The El Classicos have a life of their own. External factors may not influence the matches. The crux of Barca’s recent problems is the lack of goals. It was the problem against Atletico and it was the problem against Granada. It could become a problem against Real Madrid too.
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