As we approach the first El Clasico of the season, it is only goal difference which splits Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top.
Neck And Neck
Although La Liga has been perceived as a three-horse race in recent times, it is the two thoroughbreds that have set the early pace and with both Barcelona and Real Madrid finding themselves clear at the top, the previous status quo has been restored in Spain.
A status that sees these two global juggernauts go head-to-head on Sunday and with the latest chapter of El Clasico’s incredible story now waiting to be written, the lead characters will be looking to take centre stage.
Much was made of Barcelona’s summer transfer policy and although it left many observers aghast, the pulling of multiple economic levers has certainly worked in the short-term. However, it is long-term success that the club’s board desperately need.
Something that could be affected by a second successive failure to get out of the Champions League group stage and with their chances of further progress now hanging by a thread, they will look to end their week on a high.
While if they are to do so, they are going to have to enter the lion’s den which is otherwise known as the Santiago Bernabeu and come away with maximum points – something that they managed towards the back end of last season.
Admittedly there was an element of mitigating circumstance and with Real Madrid already having one hand on last season’s league championship, the usual El Clasico intensity was lacking in the Spanish capital.
However, the intensity should be dialed up to 11 on Sunday and with the head-to-head goals being used as the first tiebreaker in La Liga, a win and a plethora of goals can go a long way at the end of the season.
While this is a game that usually lends itself to plenty of them and with their being at least three in each of the last four league encounters, it is no surprise that backing over 2.5 is currently priced at less than evens.
Which means the hunt for value continues elsewhere and with this being Robert Lewandowski’s first El Clasico, there is no better way to announce yourself to this fixture by scoring the opening goal. An act which is currently priced at odds of 4/1.
For those who do not want to put all their eggs in a Lewandowski-sized basket, I have something else up my sleeve. With the away side winning three of the last four El Claisco encounters, I am also going to plump for a Barcelona win on Sunday.
Backing Barcelona to win as a standalone bet is a bit on the skinny side and therefore, I am going to add some meat to the bones. With both teams almost a certainty to score at the weekend, a 2-1 away win offers odds of 10/1 and that is a price that is getting me rather excited before kick-off.