Real Madrid vs Barcelona preview

April 21, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Sitting three points clear of their El Clasico rivals with a game in hand, Real Madrid can make a decisive step towards the La Liga trophy by winning the high-profile encounter.

At the same time, this is Barcelona’s final chance to somewhat improve their slim hopes of defending the coveted title.

While they did well to win two Champions League trophies in three years, the four-year wait for the league trophy is definitely too long for the club of Real Madrid’s stature.

The good news is that los Blancos are now in a very good position to finish top of the league, and even an eventual loss to Barcelona probably wouldn’t deny them the winners’ medal.

However, Real Madrid would prefer to win the league in style and prove Barcelona they are the team to beat in both Europe and Spain now.

Following the controversial double win over Bayern Munich, los Blancos will relish the opportunity to pile more misery on the Catalans, and they can be backed at 2.15 (23/20) to emerge victorious.

Zinedine Zidane has welcomed Gareth Bale back to the squad, but it remains to be seen whether the Welshman will be in the starting line-up.

With Pepe and Raphael Varane still sidelined, Nacho and Sergio Ramos will continue their defensive partnership in El Clasico.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Navas – Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo – Modric, Casemiro, Kroos – Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.

This will definitely go down as one of the worst seasons in club’s recent history, and not even the likely Copa del Rey triumph will make any difference.

Barcelona largely disappointed in Europe’s elite competition, failing to score a single goal in the quarter-final double header against Juventus, and that was just another blow to the players’ confidence.

The Catalans have now failed to score a single goal in three of their last four matches, which could be seen as one of the worst records in the new era.

Barcelona do have a chance to make the title chase interesting again if they win at the Bernabeu and they are 4.00 (3/1) chance to succeed in their quest.

It is now clear that star player Neymar will miss El Clasico after his three-match ban was confirmed, while Arda Turan remains doubtful.

Rafinha and Aleix Vidal are long-term casualties, while Paco Alcacer looks like the early favourite to replace Neymar in the side.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): ter Stegen – Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba – Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, Suarez, Alcacer.

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