Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Pick – Match Analysis

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – Champions Semifinals, Santiago Bernabu, Madrid, Spain 2:45 PM EST Wednesday April 27, 2011
by Jason Green, Professional Soccer Betting Handicapper,

Match Odds: Real Madrid 2.55 / Barcelona 2.70 / Draw 3.20
Over/Under 2.5 goals: (Over 1.95 / Under 1.75)
Moneyline: Real Madrid +155 / Barcelona +170 / Draw +220

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Could this semifinals of the Champions League be a better match up in what is perhaps the biggest rivalry in all of soccer? I think not, as Real Madrid plays host to Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

It looks as if Barcelona will win La Liga again, but Real Madrid has confidence coming into this HUGE home match. First in La Liga play they played to a 1-1 draw against Barcelona a week and a half ago and last week in Valencia they beat Barca 1-0 in the Copa Del Rey final. Still, Barcelona has had Real’s number the last few seasons and they embarrassed them beating them 5-0 at home earlier in the season. This is the 3rd El Classico match up in the last 2 weeks.

This season in La Liga play Barcelona ranks 1st in goals scored and they have allowed the fewest goals and Real Madrid has scored the 2nd most and allowed the 2nd fewest.

Real not only comes into this game with confidence because of their last couple of matches against Barcelona, but also because in their last league match they scored 6 goals against a Valencia squad that is 3rd in the La Liga tables.

Real Madrid head coach Jose Mourinho used ultra-defensive tactics in the last 2 matches against Barca and he will likely do the same in this match. They frustrated Barcelona in those matches and if they can do the same on Wednesday night they have a great chance to win.

The key for Real on defense will be containing Lionel Messi, who recently became the first player ever to score 50 goals in a season in Spain. He has 9 goals so far in Champions League competition.

Barcelona uses a tactic that passes the ball until the opponent is worn down and Real will have to be on top of their game all match, as Barca makes opponents pay, big time, for mistakes and lack of effort.

Barcelona Recent Form

4/23/200 Barcelona 2 Osasuna 0 (La Liga)
4/20/2011 Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 0 (Copa Del Rey)
4/16/2011 Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 1 (La Liga)
4/12/2011 Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Barcelona 1 (Champions League)
4/9/2011 Barcelona 3 Almeria 1 (La Liga)

Real Madrid Recent Form

4/23/2011 Valencia 3 Real Madrid 6 (La Liga)
4/20/2011 Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 0 (Copa Del Rey)
4/16/2011 Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 1 (La Liga)
4/13/2011 Tottenham 0 Real Madrid 1 (Champions League)
4/9/2011 Athletic Bilbao 0 Real Madrid 3 (La Liga)

For Barcelona DF Diego Milito is questionable, but will likely play while star DF Carles Puyol will probably not play because of a calf injury. MF Andres Iniesta is back after serving a one match Champions League suspension. For Real Madrid Ricardo Carvalho will not play because of suspension while Emmanuel Adebayor and Sami Khedira are expected to miss the game with injuries.

The Barcelona defense has only given up 3 goals in their last 5 matches, but 2 of those goals came against Real Madrid. They will have to deal with strikers Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil and MF Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain, who returned from injury recently and scored 5 of the 6 goals against Valencia over the weekend. I do not expect Barcelona to keep a clean sheet in this match.

Messi and David Villa will be hard to stop in this match and even though the Real D will really key on them I see one if not both of these guys finding the back of the net. Real Madrid G Iker Casillas will be peppered in the match and he has to play well.

Real Madrid must not allow Barcelona to have space, especially in the midfield. I don’t count on that happening like it has in the last couple of matches between these 2 soccer giants.

Jason’s Pick to Win: Both teams will be cautious in the first half, but I think the 2nd half will see a lot of action. Barcelona wants to prove they still are a better squad and I think they will do just that in this match. While I think a 1-1 draw is the likely outcome I am going to wager on Barcelona to win, as they simply have too much talent up and down the field.