El Clasico Preview: Rivals Equal On 35 Pts
Arguably the two biggest clubs in world football, Barcelona and Real Madrid, face each other in El Clasico.
Postponed from its original date in October due to Catalan protests, the much-anticipated fixture will take place on Wednesday at the Camp Nou.
Both rivals go into the game on 35 points, with Barca assuming the top spot on goal difference.
This is a fixture that Barca can claim they’ve had the better of in recent years. Certainly in La Liga, in any case. The Catalans are unbeaten in the last six league Clasicos – home and away – and have only lost against Real Madrid four times in the last 22 La Liga meetings, stretching back to December 2008.
Griezmann has always enjoyed his battles against Real and he’ll be looking to impress on his Clasico debut. Lionel Messi – the highest scorer in this historic fixture with a staggering 26 goals – aims to extend his goalscoring record against Los Blancos.
Don’t forget about Luis Suarez who has nine La Liga goals in this fixture, the same as Cristiano Ronaldo. The Uruguayan star bagged a hat-trick in this clash last season as Barca annihilated Real 5-1, which led to the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui.
Real’s recent record against Barcelona doesn’t bode well, especially as they suffered a heavy defeat at the Camp Nou last campaign. However, Zidane and his side have been impressive in La Liga this term and will fancy their chances of a victory.
The French boss is unbeaten at the Camp Nou as a manager and he’ll be hoping to keep that record intact. But there will be no Eden Hazard for the El Clasico showdown, which is a major blow to their chances.
Marcelo is also a doubt, with Madrid confirming the Brazilian defender has suffered a calf injury. It means that Los Blancos could be without both first-choice left-sided players in Catalonia.
It’s expected Zidane will utilise a 4-4-2 formation with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in attack. Zizou will be gutted not to have Hazard, but Bale’s blistering pace and Benzema’s deadly finishing is enough to worry Ernesto Valverde.
Prediction – El Clasico
The head-to-head stats alone point to a win for Barcelona. With home advantage on their side – plus Madrid being without Hazard – I strongly fancy the Catalans to come out on top.
Place your bets on El Clasico at www.hollywoodbets.co.uk