Champions League betting – Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Real Madrid vs Barcelona betting preview, odds and tips
Real Madrid have proved with recent performances they can compete with Barcelona, and whilst this has come too late for the league, the recent run of Spain’s biggest derby being played four times in a month has given them a Copa Del Rey win and confidence they can take this semi final to victory.
This run of four games comes into the third here, and Real can be happy with not losing either of the first two, both ending in draws over 90 minutes. This time out do they need to win, considering the difficulty of getting a result at Camp Nou?
They have not looked like losing yet in these past two games either, even when a goal down with 10 men in the league fixture. Mourinho has set about strangling midfield space, using an attacking trio spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo to counter with pace. The most important figure in this side has been Pepe, pushed out of central defence to a holding midfield role. His aerial threat has disrupted the Barcelona defence too, nearly scoring in each game from corners. Even with Carvalho unavailable it is likely Pepe will stay there and Ramos and Albiol will combine at the back.
To see Barcelona’s recent performances against Real Madrid you would be forgiven for thinking they were playing Inter Milan of last season, their Champions League nemesis coacher, of course, by Jose Mourinho.
Words have been, and will continue to be, written of the beauty of the Spanish champions play, but the first two of the four El Clasico’s have seen a suffocated Barcelona, strangled of space and forced down corridors away from goal. The first derby of the season, back in November, was easy for Barcelona as Madrid pushed and pressured, or least attempted such tactics, across the pitch, which left gaps for Xavi and Iniesta to dictate, and Messi and Villa to strike. This time Madrid sat deep, worked hard and forced Barcelona to play in front of the defence, instead of through them.
The positives are of course their brilliance, the fact they are the best side in the world. David Villa scored his first goal in 11 games at the weekend, whilst Lionel Messi reached the enormous total of 50 goals for a season.
Match Prediction: DRAW – 3.4 Stan James
To say there could be four draws in succession in these ties was unthinkable at their beginning, but Mourinho has found a formula that forces Barcelona out of their rhythm, a tactic he used against them at both Chelsea and Inter Milan. Can they do it over 180 minutes? And can they do it in a way that helps them through to the final?
Barcelona have the advantage of the second leg being at home, and will look only for an away goal here. This tie will only be over for them if Real score four or more without conceding in this leg, which seems unlikely given their style. They will have confidence in their ability to finish off this semi final at home.
Real Madrid, however, do not fear Barcelona anymore. Going into the second leg with it all to play for will be an acceptable state of affairs for both sides.
Over/Under: Under 2.5 Goals – 2.00 Coral
First Goalscorer: Pepe – 34.00 Blue Sq
Correct Score: 1-1 Draw – 7.00 William Hill
Real Madrid – 2.75 Victor Chandler
Draw – 3.4 Stan James
Barcelona – 2.8 William Hill
Real Madrid – 2.75 Victor Chandler
Barcelona – 1.53 Bet 365
By Chris Wilkerson
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