The first meeting of the season between La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid takes place at Camp Nou on October 27. El Clasico is always the most eagerly anticipated game of the year in world football, and whoever prevails in this match could go on to win the title. Barca have made a poor start to the new season, losing two of their opening five games, and they have really struggled while Lionel Messi has been injured. Real Madrid moved four points clear of their great rivals with a 1-0 victory over Sevilla and they will approach October full of confidence.
The odds on Real Madrid winning La Liga have dropped significantly since the beginning of the season. Barcelona are still the favourites with the best online sportsbooks to win the title for the third season in a row, but the odds on them pulling it off have lengthened. Meanwhile, Real Madrid have looked reasonably impressive in their league matches. They will be disappointed to draw with Valladolid and Villarreal, but they beat Celta Vigo, Levante and Sevilla, and they have been a lot more consistent than their rivals.
Barcelona suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away at Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the season. They could only draw 2-2 at Osasuna and they then lost 2-0 in Granada, and that abysmal away form could prove to be their undoing. Messi is yet to start a game this season, and they look distinctly average without him, so Barca fans will pray that the diminutive genius stays healthy for the remainder of the campaign.
If Messi manages to remain fit for the majority of the campaign, they really should be able to win the league. They cruised to the title last season and they have a far more settled side than Real Madrid. Their midfield is aging, but the summer arrival of Frenkie De Jong should freshen them up in that department, while Antoine Griezmann can relieve the burden on Luis Suarez upfront.
Real Madrid are much more of a team in transition. They endured a trophyless season in 2018/19 after selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, and they have struggled to replace him. Zinedine Zidane returned to the club in a bid to turn things around for Los Blancos, and he presided over a record-breaking summer spending spree. Real spent around €300 million on Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo, and it was always going to be difficult to bed in so many new players.
Yet Zidane has been rewarded for insisting upon keeping Karim Benzema, as the Frenchman has banged in five goals in his opening five games of the season. He has Hazard and Gareth Bale either side of him, and they could form a superb attacking triumvirate. Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric provide a great deal of experience in midfield, and James Rodriguez has returned to provide another option. Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos showed they can lead their team to a clean sheet against Sevilla, and Real fans might feel as though their team can win the title after watching Barca and Atletico Madrid struggle in the early stages of the campaign.
Yet Barcelona could snuff out those dreams with another emphatic victory in El Clasico. They beat Real Madrid 5-1 at Camp Nou last season and then 1-0 on the road, and they have not lost to Los Blancos in La Liga since April 2016. They could have a psychological advantage over Real in this match, but Hazard will be desperate to shine on the big stage and it should be a phenomenal game. Whoever prevails will be the favourite to win the title.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.