Two El Clasico fixtures in the space of four days. It doesn’t get much better than that really. Real Madrid and Barcelona will be showing down once again at the Bernabeu on the weekend. In midweek Barcelona went there and destroyed their opponents in the Copa del Rey.
Will it be more of the same from the Catalans who are driving towards a league title? The odds on Barcelona to beat Real Madrid are at 13/10* (betting odds taken from bet365 on February 28th, 20198 at 7:03 pm) which makes them favourites
Real Madrid 9/5
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on February 28th, 20198 at 7:03 pm)
Barcelona arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi final. Things stood even at 1-1 after the first leg, Barcelona having had to fight back from being behind in that game. So they were expecting a tough challenge but they found the going fairly easy on the night as they pulled away to a 3-0 win which included a brace from Luis Suarez.
Suarez had been on a five-match goal drought but has now scored three goals in his last two games for the Catalans. That was a superb display from them and that should have given them a tremendous lift for this quick return. Barcelona are currently top of La Liga by seven points over Atletico Madrid, with Real Madrid a further two points back. So a win here for Barcelona and that would see them take a big step towards another league title.
Barcelona are running on a thirteen match undefeated streak of league form at the moment and they have not lost any of their last nine on the road. They have collected win in five of their last six away from the Nou Camp (W1). Barcelona are the top scorers in the league this season with a 65-goal haul. That is 22 more than what Real Madrid have managed to produce across the course of the season.
Barcelona have the upper hand in the recent head to head between themselves and their rivals Real Madrid. Barcelona are on a five-match undefeated streak of form against Los Merengues now. Following their midweek win at the Bernabeu, that is back to back 3-0 success there in all competitions from Barcelona. Barcelona have only lost one of their last four visits there as well across all competitions. So they have reason to turn up with confidence.
Real Madrid lost their last home game, a 2-1 reverse against Girona. That was a big upset but it was their second defeat in their last four games on home soil actually in the league. Throw in their midweek defeat against Barcelona and it’s not been going too well for them. While their form has been better than it was over the first part of the season, there are cracks which are starting to appear there.
It looks as if half of their team could be leaving in the summer. Gareth Bale who scored a winning penalty last weekend at Levante didn’t want to celebrate with his teammates. He is available to play in this one after not being punished for a celebration gesture in a previous match. Sergio Ramos has a cloud hanging over him after being charged with deliberately receiving a booking in the Champions League. Then there is their recent form which hasn’t been great.
Barcelona can make a bold statement in this one. Real Madrid didn’t really have an answer against them in the Copa del Rey. They will be a bit more dialled in this one, but you get the impression it’s not going to take much for their heads to drop if Barcelona get themselves in front. The odds on Barcelona to beat Real Madrid away from home at 13/10 look a pretty good offering for this big El Clasico showdown* (betting odds taken from bet365 on February 28th, 20198 at 7:03 pm).
Barcelona got a bit of a taste of their own medicine in midweek. They have known to pull off the unthinkable in the Champions League, such as in their epic and record-breaking fight back against PSG in the 2016/17 competition. Barcelona were 4-0 down for the first leg and found themselves 3-1 up with two minutes to go back at the Nou Camp, Edison Cavani’s away goal for PSG leaving the Spaniards needing three goals.
Then Neymar netted a free kick, a penalty and then Sergi Roberto popped up with a crazy equaliser deep into stoppage time to win the tie. That is still arguably the greatest ever comeback in the history of the Champions League, but Roma’s effort against Barcelona in this seasons’ round of sixteen has to be pretty close.
Barcelona were 3-1 up from the first leg at the Nou Camp and their trip to Rome was just all about game management and seeing out the tie. They weren’t prepared for the energy that Roma were prepared to throw at them, the Italians were well and truly fired up diving into tackles, constantly closing their opponents down and getting forward at every opportunity. They did the unthinkable and managed to turn the tie on its head with a 3-0 home success.
Ahead of the second leg, Roma were 20/1 odds at Ladbrokes to qualify for the last four and only six punters toko the bait.
The biggest of those wagers at Ladbrokes was £30.
Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: “The odds are there to be defied, and that’s exactly what Roman did. Fair play to the 16 customers out there who fancied David to take on Goliath on Tuesday evening.”
Real Madrid 13/8, Bayern Munich 7/4, Liverpool 3/1, Roma 10/1* (betting odds taken on March 12th, 2018 at 3:44 p.m.)
Most Liverpool fans will have been pretty upset about Philippe Coutinho’s recent transfer to Barcelona. It was a deal that was pretty much just on hold from the end of the summer transfer window as the Catalans wasted no time in coming back when the January transfer window opened, to get their midfield maestro, seen as a successor to Andres Iniesta.
Boylesports announced that up and down the country, that they would offer Liverpool fans free bets in return for any redundant Philippe Coutinho shirts handed in. This was after the bookmaker was inundated with disgruntled Reds fans following the transfer. Anyone wanting to trade in their shirt had until the close of business on Wednesday, January 10th to do so.
All of the jerseys collected by Boylesports will be passed on as charity donations.
Lawrence Lyons, Spokesperson for Boylesports commented: ” Seeing so many disgruntled Reds around we thought what better way to cheer them up than with free bets, especially after some may have just received their Coutinho 10 jerseys as Christmas presents, mere weeks before he jumped ship. ”
He added: ” Punters have until close of business on Wednesday to call into their local Boylesports shop to trade in their Liverpool Coutinho shirts and we will reimburse them with a €20 free bet and put the unwanted jerseys to good use by donating them to charity.”
After the Brazilian completed his €160m move to Barcelona on Monday afternoon, it was announced that he will be wearing the famous number 14 shirt for the Catalans, a number once worn by Johan Cruyff.
Games don’t get any bigger than the El Clasico and we have another hot showdown between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Sunday when the two met up in league action. There was a 1-1 draw between them earlier in the season at the Nou Camp, but Barcelona needs better than that in this crucial game. Real Madrid are in the driving seat in the race for the title, holding a three-point lead over Barcelona with a game in hand too. If they stretch that out to six, then they aren’t likely going to be caught.
Barcelona though have lost two of their last three away games in La Liga and throw on top some poor defeats out on the road in the Champions League, then they aren’t at their best at the moment. Real Madrid have gone W3 D1 L2 in their six home games against Barcelona in all competitions and they have hit the back of the net in each of their last 42 league games now and they will be confident of taking full advantage of home soil on Sunday to put the title race to bet. Will they be able to get that important win?
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What a game of football we got to witness from the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. It was one of the greatest ever comebacks of all time and people will be talking about Barcelona’s triumph over PSG for many, many years to come. It was a UEFA Champions League classic in which the Catalans managed to overturn a 4-0 first leg deficit against French champions PSG. The French outright were a best-priced 1/12 to qualify for the quarter finals because of the dominance that they had shown in the first leg.
But Barcelona had something special and something very dramatic up their sleeves back at the Nou Camp. The Catalans were 2-0 up at half time and stretched that out to 3-0 before PSG netted an away goal through Edinson Cavani which looked to have totally killed the tie off in favour of the French side. Cavani’s strike with around 20 minutes to go, left Barcelona needing three goals to pull themselves through to the quarter finals which looked unlikely.
Both Coral and Paddy Power drifted Barca out to 100/1 to qualify with minutes remaining, but then Neymar netted a quick double before Roberto did the unthinkable and completed an epic comeback with a cool finish deep into stoppage time. Barcelona are probably the one side in the world who could have pulled this one off but it came at a price for bookmakers, as Bet365 reported a record-breaking liability on a single match after punters had flocked to back a Barca fightback.
A spokesman for the firm said “We do many expensive offers with free bets and the like but taking them away I can’t recall such a heavy defeat on a stand-alone contest,” said Freeth.
“Our liabilities were up to a few million before the game with punters backing them from 20-1 into 7-1 to qualify. Our worst scenario in-play was going to be Barcelona pulling off the impossible late on and that’s what we got.”
So with a lot of punters avoiding PSG and just going for Barcelona to qualify on the night at long odds, it proved a costly night for bookmakers up and down the country. Barcelona a new joint 11/4 favourites to win the UEFA Champions League having drifted out to 700 on Betfair’s exchange during the match.
“It was a terrible outcome,” said a Coral spokesperson. “It will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in football history but it will be a game bookmakers will want to forget in a hurry as it proved costly.
“Barcelona were very popular to qualify before the game and we saw plenty of support in-play to leave us licking our wounds.”
We are all looking forward to the return meeting of Man City v Barcelona on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League and punters can look forward to a great bonus that online betting site William Hill are running on the match as well. Bet £10 in-play on Man City v Barcelona, and get a £5 free bet to use on any Champions League match on Wednesday 2nd November.
Manchester City have to make amends for their collapse at the Nou Camp, where things tactically didn’t go well for them and defensive mistakes proved costly. So now they get home soil advantage for the second of the group stage matches in this season’s Champions League and the Cities are looking to snap their five match losing streak against the Catalans in the competition.
Can Pep Guardiola get one over on his old club? This would be the time to deliver it, because City need the confidence to progress down the path of the competition again. They weren’t up to it at the Nou Camp, so will they stick closer to the powerful visitors this time? Will Sergio Aguero be able to outshine Lionel Messi? Will City be able to take the game to Barcelona who are missing key players at the back?
Bet £10 in-play on Man City v Barcelona at William Hill, and get a £5 free bet to use on any Champions League match on Wednesday 2nd November.
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