La Liga champions Real Madrid head to Camp Nou to face Barcelona on Saturday afternoon in the first Clasico of the season.
The first half performances in both those losses have left Los Blancos facing serious questions and they will be hoping to respond against a Barca side who are winless in their last two La Liga matches.
Ronaldo Koeman’s team enjoyed a 5-1 win in midweek over Ferencvaros in the Champions League, but were beaten 1-0 last Saturday at Getafe in La Liga.
The Blaugrana remain extremely strong in their own stadium, where they have lost just one of their last 33 league clashes, and bet365 offer the hosts at evens (2.00).
It was Real Madrid who won the most recent meeting between these two teams, a 2-0 success at the Santiago Bernabeu back in March, and the visitors are priced at 5/2 (3.50) with the draw at 13/5 (3.60).
The Catalans remain without Marc-Andre ter Stegen who has not yet fully recovered from a knee operation, whilst defenders Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti are both doubtful for El Clasico.
Eden Hazard is yet to feature this campaign with a muscle issue and will play no part here, while Martin Odegaard,Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola are all out. Sergio Ramos is a doubt after missing the defeat to Shakhtar.
The last time these two bitter rivals met at the Camp Nou was in a rescheduled fixture last December, a game which finished goalless.
It was the first 0-0 in a La Liga Clasico since 2002 and this is a fixture that generally delivers in terms of quality and entertainment.
However, Saturday’s meeting could be another cagey affair with both sides knowing a defeat could have a serious repercussions in terms of morale as well as the title race.
Madrid’s back-to-back defeats mean the pressure is on them not to slip up again, while Barca’s calamitous problems at boardroom level have filtered down into the dressing room where various issues have surfaced.
Avoiding defeat at all costs therefore will surely be the number one priority for both teams, and this could lead to another low scoring encounter.
It may simply be a coincidence yet since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Clasico has seen considerably fewer goals.
Four of the six meetings between these sides since the forward left for Turin have since under 2.5 goals while in the 24 Clasicos prior to his exit, only three saw fewer than three goals.
Under 2.5 goals is priced at 6/5 (2.20) while backing a goalless first half at 9/4 (3.25) could be an interesting selection, one which has paid out in three of the four most recent Clasicos.
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Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
Source : goal.com