Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Kick-off: 12:00 PM GMT
The biggest rivalry in world football takes place this Saturday as Real Madrid and Barcelona clash at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid are in desperate need of all three points at home as they head into the final La Liga game in 2017 with an 11-point deficit with only one game in hand on their rivals.
Avoiding defeat would be a huge step towards Ernesto Valverde winning his first La Liga title in his debut season at Barcelona.
The Catalan club have won two straight in the league and haven’t conceded a single goal in the process.
Valverde’s side ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over Deportivo La Coruna last weekend which saw Luis Suarez and Paulinho each score a brace.
The one disappointment from the game was that striker Paco Alcacer picked up a groin injury that rules him out of El Clasico. His replacement, Gerard Deulofeu is also injured.
Another loss is Samuel Umtiti who is due to be sidelined for two months, starting earlier this month. The French international had been a regular at the back prior to that. This injury is perhaps the most significant in those who have taken Barcelona in their La Liga predictions.
The world’s second most expensive player, Ousmane Dembele is expected to be back in a couple of months after a serious injury in his first start for Barcelona since his substantial move from Borussia Dortmund over the summer, following the sale of Neymar.
Injuries: Paco Alcacer, Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Deulofeu, Samuel Umtiti
Barcelona Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Paulinho; Messi, Suarez
Real Madrid News
Zinedine Zidane’s side has it much lighter on the injury front but his team had not been performing very well in La Liga this season prior to thrashing Sevilla 5-0 two weeks ago, scoring all the goals in the first half. Then they won the FIFA World Club Cup over in the UAE last weekend.
Luka Modric has been back in training this week and is expected to be fit to start El Clasico. Gareth Bale, who has been suffering with injuries over the past couple of years is also expected to be fit to start.
Whether the French legend starts both players who are shaking off injuries or not remains to be seen. However, Zidane really needs to get his team firing like they did last week after a very slow start to the 2017-18 campaign.
Real Madrid Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo
Barcelona are the in-form team and three points here will give them such a significant lead over their strongest challengers to the title that they can focus on the Champions League for the second half of the season.
Not only this, Real Madrid have looked like a mess at the back this season and far from the double-winning side of last season. Lionel Messi is in good form and I expect him and his teammates to pull this one out on Saturday.
Prediction: Real Madrid 1-2 Barcelona
We’ve teamed up with Betfair to give you the opportunity to win a shirt of your choice from El Clasico this weekend.
To enter, simply make your prediction in the comment section below of how many cards will be shown in this weekend’s match. Please complete the email form so that we can contact the winner.
Looking at the competition’s host, Betfair La Liga bets have some tasty odds on correct number of cards, whilst Barcelona to win the game may also be of interest.
Entry rules below.
- The first entrant to leave a comment below with the correct number of yellow cards in Saturday’s La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona will win a football shirt of either team, of their choice.
- Each player is only allowed one guess.
- A yellow card counts as 1 card
- A straight red card counts as 1 card
- Two yellow cards to one player counts as 2 cards
- Prizes are subject to availability
- UK entries only
To enter, please leave your name, prediction and an email address to contact you on in the comments below. Your email address will not be made public nor re-sold.