THE irrepressible Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview Saturday nights's Clasico action between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona | Saturday 10th April 2021, 20:00 | La Liga TV
What a game we have in store at the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium, not only is it the latest edition of what many classify as the world’s greatest derby, it happens to be being contested by the two most in form sides in La Liga who also happen to be sat separated by one place and two points in an incredibly tightly grouped top three.
Despite a fantastic sequence of results which has seen Barcelona win nine of their last ten league games (W9, D1, L0) and 16 of their last 19 (W13, D3, L0) I’ve still found myself underwhelmed by the Catalans – falling short when facing up against the more competitive clubs.
La Liga defeats to their title rivals in their only games against them to date – Ronald Koemens’ side welcome leaders Atletico Madrid to the Camp Nou early next month – an extra time loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup Final, a costly defeat to Juventus in the UCL group stage losing top spot in the process and a 4-1 humiliation at home to PSG which led to their elimination from the same competition.
Real Madrid for their part haven’t been without bang average performances themselves especially at the start of the season but wins over Inter Milan in their UCL, as well as delivering a win when needed to top that group, claiming three points against both La Liga title rivals and then impressing against Atalanta and only last week in the manner of their 3-1 dispatch of Liverpool shows they turn up for the big games.
If anything, it is the games where they need to switch their game brain on where they often stumble, when Los Blancos are doubted or pitched as underdogs then that’s the time to fear them the most,
That is the position Zinedine Zidane and his men find themselves in here with potentially a free week as much as current form the driving factor behind Barcelona being priced as jollies.
As you would probably expect the upturn in Barca’s form has coincided with Lionel Messi really stepping up to the plate – finally putting the speculation and turmoil over his future on the back burner to drive his team up the table.
On December 16th Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 2-1 – nothing out of the ordinary there other than the Argentinian genius didn’t contribute a goal or an assist – however in his following 16 appearances in La Liga or UCL he has registered one or the other totalling 20 goals and 8 assists.
This run only ended on Monday with Ronald Araujo assisting Ousmane Dembele’s 90th minute strike to clinch the 1-0 win over Valladolid – a possible hint that stop Messi and you’ll go some way to claiming a positive result – easier said than done as we have seen over the years.
However, with the likes of Nacho and Eder Militao impressing in the absence of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, aided by Casemiro I feel Los Blancos have the tools to nullify the visitors threat.
I also feel if playing anything like they did going forward against the English champions in midweek Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and co will have too much for the visitors – odds of 99/50 with Novibet made my mind up that the Real Madrid win is a bet I have to play.
Junior Vinicius took the headlines on Wednesday evening with his double salvo his first goals since the opening day of March but it is his strike partner I am going to rely on once again to bring home my second bet.
Regular readers of WLB will know I put Karim Benzema up as my Bet of the Day in midweek, backing him to have two or more shots on target and he duly obliged – well if it aint broke don’t fix it.
We can double our money if the 33-year-old has at least two strikes on target again and although he ended a run of seven successive matches in which he got his name on the score sheet as already stated he kept his run going for testing the keeper.
It’s nine successive games for Madrid’s number nine crossing that particular line and 10 in the last 11 – some record for a run of fixtures including the likes of Liverpool, Atalanta and Atletico Madrid, for a player clearly in the form of his life this looks a great bet again to me.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Real Madrid to win (99/50 Novibet)
Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Karim Benzema to have 2 or more shots on target (1/1 Sky Bet)