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After successfully defending their Club World Cup crown last weekend, Real Madrid turn their attentions back to their Liga title defence. Their final game of 2017 sees them face arch rivals Barcelona at the Bernabeu, and it has the makings of yet another phenomenal Clasico.
You can watch the biggest game in club football live on the Unibet in-play console from midday while placing bets on the action too. It should be a fantastic event to get you in the festive spirits.
Can Champions Bridge The Gap?
It’s not even the halfway point in the campaign, yet Zinedine Zidane’s men already face an uphill struggle if they are going to retain their domestic title. Even with a game in hand, the 11 point gap to Barcelona is a huge cause for concern. Frankly, only a win will keep their title hopes alive heading into the winter break.
The hosts are starting to find some form, thrashing Sevilla 5-0 in their last league game before heading out to the UAE. Tellingly, Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice on that occasion before finding the net in both Club World Cup games. If their star man is on form against Barcelona, their hopes of resurrecting a title bid may be back on the cards.
Zidane has a virtually filly fit squad to choose from while the Super Cup results back in August would suggest that the Blancos still have the quality to beat their rivals. With home advantage on their side, the likes of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will be determined not to let an incredible 2017 end on a whimper.
However, they’ll need to be at their very best to overcome Barcelona.
Messi & Co. Aiming To Underline Dominance
Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona may not boast the same level of glamour as some of the previous generations, but a return of 13 wins and three draws fro 16 matches shows that they mean business. Following the major disappointment of last season under Luis Enrique, they will enter the new year sitting top of the pile. A win at the Bernabeu would almost seal their title victory before we’ve even reached January.
The league leaders have every reason for confidence too. Lionel Messi is the division’s top scorer once more while the magician is also the most frequent scorer in el Clasico history. With Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta also looking to unlock the Real Madrid defence, there’s every chance that the visitors will increase their tally of 42 league goals this term.
Barcelona are without a couple of notable faces as Samuel Umtiti and Rafinha miss out. Ousmane Dembele may feature for the first time in months, but is unlikely to start. However, Thomas Vermaelen’s return to fitness and form has been a boost for the Blaugrana.
Despite not being at the races last term, Barca still registered a 3-2 in the corresponding fixture. A similar result here could plant the final nail in Real’s title defence. Whatever happens, prepare yourselves for a lunchtime classic.
Real Madrid v Barcelona Betting
Unibet have priced Real Madrid as the 23/20 favourites while Barcelona can be backed at 21/10. The draw is available at 29/10.
The early kick-off may result in a slightly slower start, but a game between these two is sure to spark into life at some stage, not least because the hosts need a win.
Once one goal arrives, it could open the floodgates. With this in mind, along with the fact both teams will fight to the end, we’re backing BTTS in the second half.
There are a number of quality players on the pitch, capable of scoring and providing assists. However, Messi is the man most likely to do both. At 7/1, it’s well worth backing him to do both.