Are you enjoying a week packed with high-class sporting action? It has been one of the busiest weeks of the year for sports lovers, with the Cheltenham Festival in England followed by Champions League football played across the continent. With races settled at Presbury Park for another year and teams progressing to the quarter-finals of UEFA’s flagship competition, attentions now turn to the weekend.
We return to club football leagues with the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, and German Bundesliga included on the schedule. But the match that caught the eye of our football writers is the week’s main attraction as we enjoy the latest installment of the world-famous El Classico from Spain. The top two sides in La Liga go head-to-head on Sunday from 20:00 GMT, and you can follow the play live on television. But which team will come out on top?
The race to the La Liga title hangs in the balance. Although the trophy’s destination won’t be decided on Sunday, Barcelona’s home match against Real Madrid will be instrumental. It gives the league leaders a genuine chance to extend their lead over Madrid and the chasing pack. Victory would allow Barca to put one hand on the title won by their opponents last season. Keep reading for all the latest stats, form, and expert predictions.
Barca is in control
Barcelona suffered a nightmare 2021/22 season but appeared to be back on track and firing again. The giants of European football, now without Lionel Messi, who moved to French club PSG, are back on top of La Liga, and their form suggests they are here to stay. The home team enjoys a nine-point cushion over the visitors in second place. Both teams know a home win on Sunday and a 12-point difference would tie things up at this late stage. It’s a chance for Barca to tighten their already vice-like hold on the league.
The locals kick off this game with their stats for the season showing 21 wins, a pair of draws, and as many defeats. The pace-setters have already found the net 47 times in 25 league games while conceding just eight at the other end. Barca isn’t the league’s top scorer, as Madrid has three more goals, but they do boast the most robust defense and by quite a distance. Barca has won four and lost one of their last five, but do arrive on the back of an emphatic double, claiming a maximum of six points.
Barca beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on the road a week ago. A more convincing margin of victory was expected, but Bilbao is a difficult place to go and earn three points. Barcelona deserves credit for sticking to the task and getting the win thanks to a goal scored by Raphinha on the stroke of half-time. The home players and fans can expect another competitive and nervy 90 minutes on Sunday.
Real Madrid must win
Real Madrid is the current La Liga champion, having won the title from neighbors Atletico Madrid last term. Blancos didn’t encounter many problems in the league, which allowed them to concentrate on winning the Champions League again, which they achieved by beating Liverpool in the final. They are in a great position in Europe, having booked a spot in the quarters, but there’s work still to do domestically.
Madrid entered this game in second place with their stats showing 17 wins, five draws, and three defeats, with 50 goals scored and 19 conceded. They arrive on the back of an impressive unbeaten run, winning three and drawing two of their last five league starts, closing the gap on Barca, who lost two of five. Is there life left in this title race? We’ll find out on Sunday.
Blancos warmed up with a win last weekend following back-to-back draws. They collected three points by beating Espanyol 3-1 at home, with Vinicius Junior, Militao, and Asensio scoring the goals. It was a comfortable outing, and fans will want to see more of that ruthless attacking football in this derby. They know anything less than an away win will hand the advantage to their rivals.
Barcelona v Real Madrid prediction
This highly competitive and emotional match involves two sides desperate for a win. Barcelona is top of the league, has a better defense, and enjoys the home advantage. They hold all the aces here and will be popular with bettors this weekend. It takes work in El Classico, but Barcelona could win if the locals perform at their best.
La Liga odds
The pre-match betting odds available to all registered members of 22Bet offer Barcelona at 2.14 with Real Madrid 3.28 and the draw 3.54. You’ll also find a list of exciting specials, including both teams to score, handicap, and first goalscorer.
Make sure to bet on Barcelona v Real Madrid with 22Bet!