Barcelona host arch-rivals Real Madrid in Wednesday’s eagerly awaited Copa del Rey Clasico – and goals are expected at the Nou Camp in the semi-final, first-leg tie.
Any game between the two biggest teams in Spain generates huge interest and this showdown is no different, with Ernesto Valverde’s La Liga leaders looking to put one over Los Blancos again.
The two have had somewhat contrasting seasons, with Barca currently sitting top of the table, compared to Real’s struggles as Santiago Solari’s men are down in third, eight points adrift.
A repeat of Barca’s 5-1 win in October seems highly unlikely but a home win is expected, with the Catalans available at a best-price 3/4 in the match winner markets.
At the time of that humbling, Real were a shambles and easily outclassed on the day. Luis Suarez ran riot as defensive and disciplinary lapses costs the visitors dear. However, they have regrouped somewhat since Julen Lopetegui’s inevitable exit as boss, with Solari steadying the ship.
Real have won their last five in all competitions and will head to the Nou Camp with confidence, even if coming away with a vital away win seems a bridge too far as they’ve failed to taste any sort of success there since April 2016.
Real Madrid have impressively scored in each of their last 14 visits to the Nou Camp in all competitions, though, while the last time Barcelona failed to score in a Clasico in their own stadium was in 2007.
Those stats suggest one thing – goals. Backing both to score seems an obvious choice, on offer at a best-price 1/2, while doubling that up with both to score and Barca to win, generally available at 9/5, is advised.
The fact it’s a cup contest means both managers could decide to make changes, with talisman Lionel Messi the main injury doubt for the home side.
Messi picked up a thigh injury in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Valencia and seems unlikely to be risked, with big games on the horizon both in the Champions League and La Liga. Rafinha and Samuel Umtiti remain on the absentee list.
Real have no fresh injury worries ahead of the game but, again, Solari may opt to rotate his side slightly, with the likes of Vinicius Junior, Alvaro Odriozola and Lucas Vazquez, who have all regularly featured in the Copa del Rey so far this term, among those tipped to start.