For the first time in 11 years, El Classico will be played without Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi but the show must go on and the fans will surely have plenty to see from other magicians in the respective squads. The game between Barcelona and Real Madrid will take place at the Camp Nou on October 28th, 2018.
BARCELONA vs. REAL MADRID
Three-Way: 1: Barcelona -105; X: +280 Draw; 2: Real Madrid +260 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread -0.5: Barcelona +100; Real Madrid -108
Total 3 goals: Over -127; Under +102
The Blaugrana were in a four-game winless run in LaLiga which is not a frequent case with Barcelona in the last decade but they managed to bounce back with a 4-2 victory over Sevilla at Camp Nou, thanks to quick two goals from Philippe Coutinho and Leo Messi. Barcelona booked their third win in three games in the Champions League after defeating Inter Milan in the midweek, and now they need just a point in Italy next week to secure a place in the knockout phase.
Rafinha, who stepped in the place of injured Messi, scored the opening goal against Inter in the 32nd minute, and although the Italians tried to equalize in the second half, Jordi Alba scored a winner with seven minutes to go. It was Barca’s third win and they have nine points, three ahead of Inter, and even eight more than Tottenham Hotspur.
Ernesto Valverde cannot count on talismanic Leo Messi who fractured his forearm in a 4-2 win over Sevilla and will miss a couple of weeks, which is a major setback for the hosts but Moussa Dembele and Rafinha will try to leave their mark on this one. Samuel Umtiti is also sidelined with a knee injury, while Thomas Vermaelen is out with a hamstring injury.
- Barcelona conceded at least a goal in eight of their previous ten matches in all competitions
- Barcelona scored to or more goals in eight of their nine home games in this season
- Barcelona is unbeaten in front of their own fans in the 2018-19
Los Blancos were in a horrible form of four defeats in five games, failing to score in four in the process, and Julen Lopetegui’s job became precarious as a result. The under-pressure manager bought himself at least one game more after a minimal victory over Plzen in the Champions League but if he suffers a loss at Camp Nou, Lopetegui’s job could be someone else’s on Monday.
Real Madrid is in the 7th place in LaLiga with 14 points, four behind Barcelona, and considering that the Whites recorded just four wins in nine league games, this is not a big deficit at all. Lopetegui’s side finally snapped a five-game winless run with a 2-1 win over Plzen and the crucial three points sent them to the 2nd position with six points, the same amount as Roma, and two more than CSKA Moscow. Karim Benzema and Marcelo scored goals for Madrid, while Patrik Hrosovsky found the back of the net for the visitors and gave Madrid’s fans something to think about prior to El Classico.
Julen Lopetegui will be without the right-back Daniel Carvajal who is out with calf injury and will be unavailable until late November, so Nacho will likely get a start at the RB position despite the fact that Lopetegui used Lucas Vasquez against the Czechs.
- Real Madrid recorded only one win in the previous six matches in all competitions
- Real Madrid is without a road victory in the last four games
Real Madrid won five out of the previous 11 H2H encounters (W5 D2 L4) including two out of the last four, while the Whites are undefeated in the last four visits to the Camp Nou, losing just two out of the past nine meetings here. Leo Messi’s absence could turn out to be a major hit for Barcelona and their recent form is also not very encouraging, so I am going with a draw on this one, which could be the first draw since December 2016.
MY PICK: Draw (+280)
ADDITIONAL PICK: Twelve out of the previous 16 H2H duels produced goals on both ends and over 2.5 goals and even though there will not be Ronaldo and Messi involved, I expect to see goals on both sides as the last 13 meetings at the Camp Nou provided that. Coutinho, Suarez, Dembele, Malcom, Benzema, Bale, and Isco have what it takes to create a spectacle on Sunday, so I am backing BTTS and over 2.5 goals.
MY PICK: BTTS and Over 2.5 goals (-125)