Big Game Focus: Barcelona v Real Madrid


Barcelona host arch-rivals Real Madrid tonight in a tense El Clasico encounter. With both teams level on 35 points, this match has high stakes. The fixture was originally supposed to take place almost two months ago but was postponed and quickly rescheduled due to public protests over Catalan independence. Who will take the bragging rights? Here’s the Big Game Focus. Bet on the game here. 

Barcelona’s run of six straight wins came to an end when they drew 2-2 at Real Sociedad on Saturday. Despite being nine games unbeaten, the Blaugrana haven’t been great. They have lost three times in La Liga this season already. Therefore, they need to perform at their best against a Madrid side that have lost just once in 17 games.

Los Blancos needed a 95th-minute Karim Benzema goal to rescue a point away to Valencia on Sunday to stay level with Barcelona. Zinedine Zidane’s men have been great this season with just one loss in 16 matches. However, they’ve not had a lot of success in this fixture in the last few years. In the last decade, Madrid have won four of 21 Clasicos. Therefore, they have a lot to prove tonight.

Betting preview

Although Barcelona haven’t been great away from home, they’ve been superb at home. They’ve won all of their seven games at home this season. Ernesto Valverde’s men have also won all but one of their home league games in 2019, with the draw coming against Valencia in February. Barca have won four and drawn two of their last six meetings with Los Blancos. Therefore, you can back a Home Win at odds of 1.70. 

Both teams have found the net in seven Barcelona’s last ten matches in all competitions. Real Madrid have kept just three clean sheets away from home this season in La Liga. On top of that, both teams have found the net in six of the last ten El Clasicos. You can back Both Teams to Score at odds of 1.50. 

Four of the last six meetings between these two bitter rivals have seen Over 2.5 Goals. Eight of Barcelona’s last ten La Liga matches have seen three or more goals scored. Three of Madrid’s last five league matches have also seen Over 2.5 Goals. For that reason, you can back Over 2.5 Goals in this game at odds of 1.45.

Lionel Messi has scored 26 goals in 39 appearances against Real Madrid. He’s also the joint top scorer in this season’s La Liga with 12 goals from 11 appearances. You can back Lionel Messi as Anytime Goalscorer at odds of 1.60. 

Team news

Ousmane Dembele and Arthur are out for Barcelona. Jordi Alba should be available once again after an injury to start at left-back for Barcelona.

Eden Hazard will miss tonight’s clash with a foot injury, while Marcelo, James Rodriguez, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez remain out. Ferland Mendy can come back into the side after returning from suspension. Casemiro is expected to return to the starting line-up after being rested last weekend.

Possible line-ups

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, De Jong, Messi, Suarez, Griezmann

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy, Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde, Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius