The eight-point advantage has got to give Barcelona a psychological advantage over their fierce rivals in the first La Liga El Clasico of the season, but it is Real Madrid who appear to be in better form at the moment.
By just looking at their results, one could be fooled into thinking that the Catalans have been almost perfect this season, having won 9 of 10 competitive games, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Obviously, the team have got to be congratulated for winning so many close games, but their showings will have to improve if they want to challenge for honours this season.
Given that the hosts will also be missing several very important players, the punters will not be too keen to back Barca at 1.95 (19/20) offered by 888sport.
Boss Tito Vilanova faces a genuine defensive headache before the El Clasico, with Carles Puyol ruled out with an elbow injury and Gerard Pique almost certainly to miss out.
This basically means that midfielders Alex Song and Javier Mascherano are set to form the centre-back pairing, and that is certainly something Real Madrid forwards will be looking to exploit.
Andres Iniesta returns to the side after he was rested in the midweek win over Benfica, but David Villa will have to settle for a place on the bench.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Valdes – Alves, Song, Mascherano, Alba – Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas – Pedro, Messi, Iniesta.
The dismal start of the league campaign cost Real Madrid dearly, with their rivals already creating an eight-point advantage, but I wouldn’t be so quick to write off los Merengues at this point in time.
Having completely outclassed Barcelona to win the Spanish Super Cup, los Blancos have reason for optimism before the trip to Camp Nou, with current form also giving them a significant boost.
Going into the game on the back of four straight victories, in which they scored no less than 14 goals, Real Madrid look a good bet at 4.00 (3/1) offered by bet365.
As I have already pointed out, Barcelona’s defence will be severely weakened, so no wonder Cristiano Ronaldo is just 2.25 (5/4) with BetVictor to score at Camp Nou.
Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria are set to return after they were rested in the 4-1 win over Ajax, whereas Luka Modric is set to be preferred to Mesut Ozil and Ricardo Kaka.
Karim Benzema should keep his place in the side following a promising showing at Amsterdam ArenA, while there will be absolutely no changes in the back four.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Casillas – Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo – Alonso, Khedira – Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo – Benzema.