Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona
Competition: Spanish LaLiga
Date: 23 April 2017
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
Real Madrid know they are holding their fate in their hands. With three points more than Barcelona and a game in hand (the one against Celta in Vigo), they have a huge advantage over the Blaugrana to win the title. To win this ‘Clásico‘ as well? Not necessarily. Beating Barcelona, it will be all over. Drawing against their big rivals, wouldn’t be a bad result for Real Madrid. Not the best possible, but it would still keep them favourites to win the league title. Zinedine Zidane cannot count on injured Raphael Varane, same with Pepe. The difference between the two is that the Frenchman will certainly play again this season, rather soon, while the Portuguese is at risk of not reappearing before next season. The big question mark at Real Madrid is about Gareth Bale. He trained on Friday, he looked well, he insisted that all he felt was a slight pain that shouldn’t keep him out of the game against Barcelona, but the doctors seemed to have a different opinion. It’s up to Zidane to decide if he will succumb to Bale’s wish to play, or listen to the doctors and avoid playing him, so as to avoid risking his presence in the remainder of the season.
It’s hard to believe that Barcelona have won just one of their last four games. They failed to beat Juventus in both legs of their Champions League quarterfinal, while two weekends ago they fell at Malaga, 2-0, a result that was like shooting their own foot, since right before their loss at Malaga, Real Madrid had dropped points against Atletico Madrid, in what was a golden opportunity for the Blaugrana to reach the same points tally as their Madrid rivals. Barcelona were trying until the last hour to have Neymar available for the game in Madrid, but their appeal for his red card at Malaga fell to deaf ears. Aleix Vidal and Rafinha won’t be back before next season, with Arda Turan and Javier Mascherano also facing injury problems. It doesn’t look good for Barcelona, they need to dig deep and find it in them to bounce back after their disappointing 0-0 midweek against Juventus, and the end of their season in the Champions League.
Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Head-to-head Stats
Last season’s ‘Clásico‘ in Madrid was a triumph for Barcelona (0-4), one of the two they have celebrated the last four years at Bernabeu. Real have two wins as well. Every single game these last four seasons had at least three goals.
Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Prediction
Without Neymar, and with their morale pretty low, I can’t see Barcelona win this one. Between a draw and a Real Madrid win, I’m leaning towards the latter, mostly because of how enthusiastic I expect the hosts to look, after their qualification for the Champions League semifinals, and of course the advantage they have over Barcelona in the domestic title race.
Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Tips
A simple Madrid win pays 2.05, and is good enough. For more than that, a win of theirs combined with a clean sheet is at 5.00. I understand this may look far-fetched to many, given that this is Barcelona we’re talking about, last time they failed to score at Bernabeu was in 2006(!), but in this specific game, I expect them to look too… broken, mentally, psychologically, to score and really challenge Madrid.