Barcelona vs Real Madrid
It’s the biggest match in La Liga and it has a decent claim to be the best in Europe, and Spanish football fans have a chance to see the third El Clasico of 2023 when Real Madrid visit the Camp Nou in Barcelona for a Sunday night spectacular.
The hosts come into the game on the back of a hard earned 1-0 win away to Athletic Bilbao last week, while Real Madrid were in Champions League action in midweek, finishing off Liverpool with a 1-0 home victory to make it 6-2 on aggregate and book their place in the quarter finals. Barcelona are running away with the league at the moment, nine points clear of Los Blancos and a home win on Sunday would surely see the title head to Catalonia after a three year wait.
Xavi has done an outstanding job, since his return to the club he loves, as head coach and the La Liga 2023 betting odds price Barcelona at 1.06 to win the title. But a victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid would cut the gap at the top to six points and, with ten games still to play; it could potentially signal a crucial switch in momentum.
This match is simply huge!
Balanced Barca can see the job through
The Blaugrana have suffered its fair share of injury problems this season, with key players, including top scorer Robert Lewandowski and midfielder Pedri taking unwanted time out. But Barcelona’s La Liga 2023 results have held up during this busy time in the physio room and slowly they are getting back to full strength.
Lewandowski is fit again and, with 15 goals and five assists, he has been a vital cog in Xavi’s winning machine, while ex Leeds United star Raphinha has hit some form and he scored the winner in Barcelona’s visit to the Basque last week. And in Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati, Barca have two exciting young forwards both keen to impress.
In the absence of Pedri in midfield, Frenkie de Jong has stepped in and is performing well alongside skipper Sergio Busquets while, in defence, Barcelona have been exceptional throughout the campaign, conceding just eight goals in the league all season as the best rearguard in Europe. Jules Kounde and Andreas Cristensen have been solid as a rock at the heart of defence and they are likely to link up again on Sunday with Ronald Araujo, back from a two match suspension, likely to fit in at right back and the excellent youngster Alex Balde on the left flank.
They will have their work cut out against the power of Karim Benzema and the pace of Vinicius Junior but, on current form, this defence is the best in the business, while Barca’s front six always have a goal in them.
Madrid come through Wednesday unscathed
Los Blancos coasted through their Champions League Round of 16 clash with Liverpool and they came through without any injuries, though there was a scare when Benzema was substituted after he’d scored the winner. The France star didn’t look to be moving too freely but both he and his boss assured fans there was nothing to worry about, he was subbed as a precaution, and he will be in contention to start the El Clasico.
David Alaba remains a long term absentee but, otherwise, Los Blancos are at full strength and they will go all out for three points at the Camp Nou. Only wins will do for Real Madrid now and they did the business in last week’s home game against Espanyol, Vinicius opening the scoring in a 3-1 victory to end a three match winless run.
The SBOTOP stats team believe Barca will edge this game but, while the hosts’ defence will be devilishly hard to breach, the experienced midfield duo of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will put some testing balls into the final third.
The Catalans made it 36 wins to 25 in the El Clasico in a recent Copa del Rey semi-final first leg victory as an own goal from Eder Militao separated the two sides. The second leg comes after the international break but, with home advantage, Xavi’s men should see the job through. Barca also saw off Los Blancos in the Super Copa in January and they would simply love to complete the hat-trick on Sunday.
Recent form suggests the Blaugrana might well do that, with four wins from five league games, while Los Blancos have won three of their last five.
With a home record of ten wins and two draws Barcelona are an imposing opponent at the Camp Nou and they are favourites to win this time, though Madrid are well in the running at odds of 2.92 to win and 3.16 to draw. Los Blancos came through their midweek match against Liverpool okay, but Barca have had longer to rest and prepare and, with home advantage, I give the Catalans a clear edge.
A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:
⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)
⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)
⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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