Can Real Madrid Cut Barcelona’s Lead at the Top of La Liga?
Real Madrid trail Barcelona by eleven points going into the first El Clasico of the season and Zinedine Zidane’s side cannot afford to drop yet more points in this fixture. The Blaugrana have dominated in La Liga so far and sit comfortably clear at the summit going into the festive break much to the frustration of Real Madrid fans. Los Blancos arrive back from winning the Club World Cup and do have a game in hand but they must show significant improvement if they are to retain their crown this season. They have already slipped up twice and drawn on four occasions leaving them with 31 points from their opening 15 games.
Barcelona remain unbeaten under Ernesto Valverde and looked absolutely convincing during their 4-0 hammering of Deportivo on December 17th which included a wonderful team goal finished off by Luis Suarez. They won here last season with a pulsating contest finishing 3-2 to the visitors and they’ll be hoping for a similar performance here. At BettingTop10, you can find details of all the top Irish online bookmakers including Paddy Power, who have made the Catalan outfit the 11/5 outsiders for this clash whilst the hosts are available at Evens to prevail at the Bernabeu.
Gareth Bale could be back for the hosts with the Welshman enduring a frustrating season so far. His dynamism could help Real Madrid add some much-needed width to the side who have netted just 30 times so far this campaign, 12 fewer than their opponents. Barcelona could have Rafinha back in time for this crucial clash with the Brazilian having missed a large portion of the season with a knee injury. It looks set to be an enthralling contest with the hosts desperate to keep tabs on the runaway leaders.