Both sides are tied at the top on 18 points from their first eight matches but it’s the side from the capital that have a much tougher proposition on paper. The La Liga betting tips still point to Barcelona as title-favourites this season and a lot will depend on how both teams handle the transition from midweek games to weekend action.
Real Madrid travel to Celta Vigo who are also on 18 points for a Saturday afternoon game, less than three full days since a tough Champions League draw at Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, Barcelona, who won at BATE Borisov in the same competition have had an extended break. Luis Enrique’s side not only played their match on Tuesday, but they don’t face Eibar at Camp Nou until Sunday.
Celta Vigo have surprised many with their unbeaten start to the new campaign, which includes thrashing Barcelona 4-1 at the Balaídos Stadium one month ago.
In fact, their only league defeat in their last 17 matches came in this fixture back in April where Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid ran out 4-2 winner.
Rafa Benítez’s Real Madrid are much more defensively and are doing a good job at it – conceding only two goals in their eight league matches and yet to concede in their three Champions League matches.
This pedestrian football however is harming them in front of goal – held 0-0 at Sporting Gijón in their opening game of the season where they never really looked like scoring, drawing 1-1 with Atlético Madrid where they never looked like scoring more than one and then another 0-0, this time with Málaga, where Cristiano Ronaldo was the only player who looked like scoring for the hosts, but he had an off day.
The good news for Benítez and his side is that Celta do ship goals. They are the league’s second highest scorers though, and with Madrid’s short turnaround after getting back from Paris, makes this an extra tricky affair.
If you are going to bet on Madrid’s game, you should use this bet365 new customer bonus code to predict the goals scored during this game – it should be easily more than 2.5 even with Madrid’s parsimonious turn this season.
Eibar may have started the season well themselves, beaten only by Atlético Madrid in their first eight matches, but the Northern minnows should be no match up to the defending champions this weekend.
José Luis Mendilibar’s side have picked up only one win in their last six and were beaten 3-0 in this fixture also in October last season.
Whilst Lionel Messi is sidelined, Neymar has stepped up to the plate, scoring four of their five goals against Rayo Vallecano last season. Luis Suárez has had a quiet couple of games this week but remains a threat, and the highly-rated young Sandro has been given an opportunity to shine.
Defensively, Barcelona don’t look too solid once again but they can be expected to dominate possession and score enough goals to win in attack at home to Eibar on Sunday.
Should Real Madrid drop points in Vigo on Saturday, it could open up a great opportunity for Barcelona to go top of La Liga by the end of the weekend. It would also give Atlético Madrid the chance to catch up with their city rivals, starting the weekend two points behind. Diego Simeone’s side aren’t out of the title race.
El Clasico is one month away in which Real Madrid will have a number of their currently injured players available again, which could be a huge factor given that Lionel Messi may well miss the match at Camp Nou. That will have a big impact on the title race, but Real Madrid will be wanting to make sure they don’t drop any points between now and then.