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La Liga preview and odds: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

Published on: 19/11/2015

La Liga preview and odds: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

November 21, 2015 18:15pm - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

La Liga

The top two teams in Spain will go head-to-head for the first time this season on Saturday when Real Madrid host arch-rivals Barcelona at the Bernabeu in El Clasico.

Real in danger of losing ground

The greatest game in world football will kick off early on Saturday evening with Real Madrid trailing Barcelona by three points in the league. Defeat this weekend would leave Rafa Benitez’s team six points adrift of their rivals with nearly a third of the season gone. It would also give Atletico Madrid the chance to overtake them should they win away to Real Betis on Sunday.

Real Madrid are coming into this game on the back of a 2-3 defeat at Sevilla - their first loss of the current campaign. They are the top scorers in La Liga and only their city rivals Atletico have conceded less. Gareth Bale played to full 90 minutes against Sevilla and can be expected to start in a front three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco.

Messi on comeback trail

Barcelona are likely to start this weekend’s game without Lionel Messi however, the four-time world player of the year could make an appearance on the bench. The Argentine has returned to full training after suffering a knee ligament damage in the game against Las Palmas back in September.

In Messi’s absence, Neymar and Luis Suarez have taken up the slack to ensure that the Catalan club has remained firmly in the title hunt. This weekend, they have an opportunity to pull six points clear of their bitter rivals from the capital. The last time the clubs met back in March, Luis Enrique`s men ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a decisive goal from Luis Suárez in the 56th minute.

Barca are coming into this game on the back of a 3-0 romp against Villarreal on home soil. Once again, it was Neymar and Suarez who provided the goals with the Brazilian grabbing a brace to take his tally for the season to 11.

Team news

Real Madrid will have to wait to see if Karim Benzema and Keylor Navas are fit for this weekend’s showdown.

Meanwhile, Ivan Rakitic is a doubt for the visitors along with Lionel Messi, who has been out since September but may make the bench.

Recent form (League)

Real Madrid: LWWWD

Barcelona: WWWWL

Betting odds and tips

This game nearly always produces a close result with 12 of the last 14 games between these sides in all competitions producing a winning margin of one goal. The corresponding fixture last year was an exception as Los Blancos ran out 3-1 winners. This year should be close again but Barca are likely to be missing the man that has so often made a difference in the game.

Real Madrid are favourites but they will need to be at their clinical best to see off the challenge of Neymar and co. You can back the home side to win by a single goal at 7/2 with Bet365.

Published on: 19/11/2015

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (19/11/2015 11:09:55) but are subject to change.