Barcelona to prove too strong for Real Madrid in decisive El Clasico
Lee Gormley | April 1, 2016
Barcelona v Real Madrid
- La Liga
- Saturday, April 2nd
- Kick-off: 19:30 BST
- Nou Camp, Barcelona
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Barca host Real in latest El Clasico
Reigning La Liga champions Barcelona can take a huge step towards retaining their Spanish crown this weekend with victory over rivals Real Madrid in the latest El Clasico clash at the Nou Camp, as they seek a third successive fixture success.
Luis Enrique’s side have rallied to a nine-point lead over closest challengers Atletico Madrid at the league summit and will enter this Saturday evening encounter 10 ahead of their opponents, with Real having failed to record a domestic away win in this meeting since April 2012.
Zinedine Zidane’s Galacticos are well off the pace for the title and a defeat could spell disaster, with close city rivals Atleti currently sitting a point ahead in second position, and Barca are 11/4 from Coral to prevail without conceding on home soil.
Bale boost for Zidane
The visitors do arrive at the Nou Camp after a run of more encouraging form though, having secured five consecutive victories in all competitions, including a 4-0 thrashing of Sevilla last time out and they are 19/4 for an away win here.
All of Madrid’s front three, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were on target in that previous triumph and the latter two stars are both available following injuries, giving Zidane a boost ahead of this vital El Clasico match-up.
Welshman Bale missed his nation’s recent friendly outings but is 10/3 to net anytime on his return from a knock, while French forward Benzema is 2/1 to get on the scoresheet. Meanwhile, the mercurial Ronaldo will look to add to his incredible season tally of 41 goals for club and country, making him 6/4 to dispatch another against Barca, having netted 15 career strikes in this fixture.
Spanish attacker Jese Rodriguez has been making an impact for the capital club recently too, following goals against Roma, Celta Vigo and Sevilla, and he is 10/1 to bag the final strike of El Clasico.
Barca trio can cause havoc
Barcelona’s deadly trio of South American attackers have been in sensational form this current campaign yet again, with Neymar having stolen the headlines of late after slotting in an impressive four goals in as many appearances.
The Brazilian menace is 6/5 to net again anytime, while strike partner Luis Suarez is 7/2 to open proceedings, having done so in the reverse clash at the Bernabeu last November.
Lionel Messi has notched up 38 strikes for club and country this season and the Argentine ace is 4/1 to bag a brace or more, after successfully netting in his country’s recent World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia.
Midfielders Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic are 6/1 and 7/2 respectively to strike against Real, with the latter having struck in the shock 2-2 stalemate with Villarreal before the international break.
Zidane enters first El Clasico on sidelines
After replacing current Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez earlier in the campaign, Zidane will enter his maiden El Clasico on the sidelines as manager, and the Frenchman is confident after such a dominant performance against Sevilla.
“If we play like this all the time we can do great things and the players know it,” Zidane stated.
“But every game is different and we need to put in the same levels of intensity and have the same commitment in all of them. If we do that I’ll have nothing to be worried about.”
“It’s always best to go after a victory and we have proved a lot today. It’s a different game, a special game. We know we’re ready. It’ll be a great game between two great teams.”
This latest El Clasico could go a long way in deciding the fate of the Spanish title this season, with home success for Barcelona set to propel them towards a 24th La Liga crown.