The biggest derby in Spanish football is this Sunday and I believe most of you will be watching. Real Madrid will host Barcelona in a clash that could be crucial for the Spanish title this year.
The reigning champions are leading the table after some wrong steps by Zidane and his men, but the difference is still only two points. A victory for Barcelona will open a nice gap, but Real could return to the top as well.
In my El Clasico betting preview, I explore both sides and their chances for the encounter on Sunday.
The second stint of Zinedine Zidane as a Real Madrid head coach didn’t start well, but the Frenchman steadied the ship and his team looked in the middle part of the season. That’s when Los Blancos failed to win two La Liga games in a row and lost against Manchester City at home in the Champions League.
The whole campaign is quickly going down the drain and Zidane needs to find a way to lift his side immediately.
He will be asking from the players to bounce back on Sunday and the question is if his midfield is good enough under pressure. It failed to deliver in the last 20 minutes against Manchester City and that’s a bad sign.
And yet, I think Barcelona is not as strong as the English team right now. The reigning champions have their own problems and Real Madrid could take advantage.
The smart move would be to approach this game conservatively and hit the visitors on the counter. Zidane has done this before against Barcelona and his ability to motivate his players shouldn’t be underestimated.
Quique Setien struggled after joining Barcelona but looks settled now. The team has improved in the past couple of week and it seems like the new coach has found a better balance.
His men are now taking more risks up front and that has opened the door to more clear opportunities and goals.
However, we saw against Napoli in the Champions League that Barcelona’s defense is still vulnerable. The team has issues versus opponents that can employ a direct style which is one of Real Madrid’s main strengths.
If we judge by Setien’s start at the club, he might try to slow the tempo of the game down by controlling the ball for large periods of time. I’m not sure that would be the best approach, though, as it could affect Barcelona’s attack too.
Prediction and Betting Pick
The last El Clasico in December saw no goals for the time first time in years. It was a cagey affair of two teams that had too much to lose at the time. I believe we might be in a similar situation on Sunday.
Zidane will try to lure Barcelona and hit on the counter, while Setien will be looking to control the match and kill the tempo.
Since the draw is not a disaster for any of the teams, they won’t take too many risks. The price for under 2.5 goals right now is 2.20 and I believe this is the best bet available.