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Barcelona vs Real Madrid betting tips: La Liga preview, predictions, team news and odds

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Match preview

Will it be ¡Hay Liga! or ¡No Hay Liga! following this huge Clásico clash at Camp Nou?

Back in mid-October, Real Madrid comfortably beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Bernabéu, suggesting a huge gulf still existed between the two.

Since then though, the Catalan giants have won a remarkable 14 of 16 league games, losing just one, so kick off nine points above their fierce rivals.

Thus, anything other than an away win would surely mean the title race is over, even with 12 games to go.

Last Sunday night, Barça battled to their 11th 1-0 victory of the season, this time beating Athletic Club at San Mamés.

Raphinha was the match-winner, scoring in first half stoppage time, before Athletic had a late equaliser disallowed by VAR for handball.

With the second leg to come at Camp Nou on 5 April, Barça are in a strong position to pick up a first-ever domestic treble.

As mentioned, this trip to Catalonia is simply must win for Real Madrid if they’re to remain interested in the title race.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team have only won five of ten league games since New Year’s Day, but did come from behind to beat Espanyol 3-1 last weekend.

Then, on Wednesday night, los Blancos booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, easily ousting Liverpol.

Having won 5-2 at Anfield, the second leg was a rather low-key affair, with Karim Benzema the only scorer on the night.

Here, Real Madrid are seeking to win three successive outings at Camp Nou for the first time since 1965.

This though is a vastly superior Barcelona outfit, with the hosts favourites to claim three points that would, pretty much, wrap up the title.

Barcelona team news

Having embarrassingly exited Europe already, Xavi’s team have had a free week to prepare for this game.

Ousmane Dembélé remains sidelined; he was spotted at Sunderland vs Sheffield United on Wednesday in most random news of the week.

In his absence, Raphinha will continue on the right-wing, in support of Robert Lewandowski, who’s seeking his first league goal since 22 February.

In other bad news, Pedri has not been included in the squad, so Gavi will continue in midfield, with Ferran Torres on the left.

At the back, Ronald Araújo will return at right-back, specifically to do a man-marking job on Vini Jr.

19 year old Alejandro Balde is the first-choice left-back these days, chosen over Jordi Alba.

Predicted XI: (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Araújo, Koundé, Christensen, Balde; Busquets, de Jong, Gavi; Raphinha, Torres, Lewandowski.

Real Madrid team news

In contrast to their hosts, Carlo Ancelotti’s team have had less than 72 hours to prepare, which could be a disadvantage.

Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos both hobbled off on Wednesday, the former’s limp was more pronounced, but both are reportedly good to go.

At left-back, David Alaba is sidelined while Ferland Mendy, who hasn’t featured since 26 January, was back amongst the substitutes in mid-week.

Unless Mendy is thrown straight back in, which seems very unlikely, Nacho will continue to fill-in.

The only spot up for grabs is in midfield, alongside Kroos and Luka Modrić, with Eduardo Camavinga getting the nod over Aurélien Tchouameni against Liverpool.

Predicted XI (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Rüdiger, Militão, Nacho; Camavinga, Modrić, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinícius.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Head to head statistics

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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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