Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Preview and Pick

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Camp Nou, Barcelona Spain 1 PM EST Sunday November 29, 2009
by Jason Green at Predictem.com

Match odds - Barcelona is the favorite in this big match posted at 1.80 with Real Madrid posted at 4.00 with a draw at 3.75.

This match is huge to say the least, as the rivalry of these two Spanish clubs goes back decades when the derby had political implications. Real has played well leading up to this clash, but they may be facing a Barcelona squad that will get their star players of Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic back for this match. Barcelona are the defending La Liga, as well as Champions League, champions and Real spent over 250 million Euros in players this off-season to get back the title.

Currently Real Madrid is in 1st place in La Liga with 28 points and Barcelona is only a single point behind them with 27 points. Barcelona has yet to lose at home in their 5 Spanish league matches and they have scored the most goals in La Liga this season (29).

The big news in this match is that Real star striker Cristiano Ronaldo may be back for this match after missing several weeks due to an ankle injury. Without him Real has kept winning, but their string of 1-0 wins does not inspire awe in opposing teams, especially Barcelona, who recently beat Inter Milan in a major Champions League clash and that was without Messi and Ibrahiimovic.

This game is called “El Clasico” with good reason, as it is always an exciting match with a lot on the line and this season is no different.

Barcelona Recent Form:
11/24/2009 Barcelona 2 Inter Milan 0 (Champions League)
11/21/2009 Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Barcelona (La Liga)
11/10/2009 Barcelona 5-0 Cultural Leonesa (Copa del Rey)
11/7/2009 Barcelona 4-2 Mallorca (La Liga)
11/4/2009 Rubin Kazan 0-0 Barcelona (UEFA Champions League)

Real Madrid Recent Form:
11/25/2009 Real Madrid 1-0 FC Zurich (Champions League)
11/21/2009 Real Madrid 1-0 Racing Santander (La Liga)
11/10/2009 Real Madrid 1-0 Alcorcon (Copa del Rey)
11/7/2009 Atletico de Madrid 2-3 Real Madrid (La Liga)
11/3/2009 AC Milan 1-1 Real Madrid (Champions League)

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be match fit after each had minor injuries and missed the Inter Milan match. Dani Alves has an injured ankle, but he will play in this match and Yaya Toure is back from a recent illness. However, since Xavi, Busquets and Keita played so well in the midfield in the win over Inter Milan Toure may begin this match on the bench.

Cristiano Ronaldo is still not 100% match fit and he still feels a little discomfort from his ankle, but he will be available and should start in this match. Sergio Ramos is back after serving a 1-game suspension, but Raul Albiol will not play in this match due to a minor knee injury.

Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa has the tough task of marking Messi in this match. The other Real Madrid defenders of Ezequiel Garay and Pepe will have to try to thwart the stellar Barcelona offense and keep them from scoring.

Even though Cristiano Ronaldo is still feeling the effects of his injury he is still a dangerous striker and Barcelona’s defense has to be wary of where he is on the field at all times. He has already boasted that he will find the back of the net in this match.

Barcelona played a great game against Inter Milan last week and controlled the midfield. If they can do that in this match they will be in good shape.

Conversely, Real will try to control the midfield with Kaka and he can’t get past the Barca defense, as he is always a threat to score and set up the strikers.

Since both squads have such a solid offense each team has to be wary of the counter attack. This may be even more important for Real, as Barcelona likes to make long runs when they gain control of the ball on defense.

Jason’s Pick: Man, there are a lot of subplots for this huge match, but that will all go away when the first whistle sounds. Barcelona is tough to beat at Camp Nou and since they played so well against Inter Milan I see them playing great again against another world-class opponent. Barcelona will win this match, but it will be a close one and one of the more exciting match ups of the season. Take Barca in this game, as I think they final score will be 2-1 or 3-2.