Real Madrid host Barcelona in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup tonight (9.30pm GMT), still without a win after three games in all competitions.
Jose Mourinho’s (pictured) side were flat, lacking in imagination and perhaps deserving of their weekend loss away to Getafe. Real Madrid really needed to bounce back from the previous weekend’s home draw against Valencia, but none of the major players were on form.
Cristiano Ronaldo is always going to come in for criticism when he doesn’t play well, and this past weekend should be no different. Yes, he has the skills and the impressive flicks and tricks, but when they don’t bring a goal at the end of that run of play, it becomes close to pointless.
Gonzalo Higuain started for Madrid against Getafe and scored the team’s only goal. However, I fully expect to see Karim Benzema start against Barcelona at the Bernabeu. The Frenchman is Mourinho’s go-to striker in games such as this, despite him contributing very little when he came on as a substitute on Sunday night.
Is it too early for new boy Luka Modric to make his debut for Real Madrid in this Clasico fixture? Interestingly, Cesc Fabregas made his debut for Barcelona in the Super Cup last season, so perhaps we’ll see the Croatian feature, but most likely starting from the bench.
Real Madrid need much more from their chief creative sparks in midfield in Mesut Ozil and Xabi Alonso in this game. Both were off key and lacking in any great contribution against Getafe. Do I expect bigger games from them on Wednesday night? Absolutely.
Xabi Alonso should be partnered by Sami Khedira in midfield, as he was last week, and Angel Di Maria should also retake his place in the starting line up over Jose Callejon.
Pepe will also return to the line-up and partner Sergio Ramos in defence. It will be a great plus to have him back in the side and we should see a much more solid back line for Madrid.
I fancy Cristiano Ronaldo to be among the goals in this game. For the most worthwhile bet, back him to be first goalscorer at 22/5 with BetVictor.
Bet365 odds on this Spanish Super Cup 2nd leg:
6/4 Barcelona, 13/8 Real Madrid, 13/5 Draw
The Portuguese forward needs a big game in front of the home crowd and he already made a good contribution last week with the opening goal at the Nou Camp.
It has been reported that the coaching staff at Real Madrid displayed the pages from Catalan newspapers in the dressing room, hoping to force a rise out of the Madrid players. The emphasis has really been on a club in a mini-crisis in the Spanish capital.
Barcelona, on the other hand, are well placed at the top of La Liga with six points from six. However, they can still be got at, as Osasuna proved on the weekend.
Perhaps Tito Vilanova’s side were lucky to escape with a win, as Barcelona really rode their luck in a game with many opportunities for Osasuna.
Pedro should be a key player for Vilanova in the second leg at the Bernabeu. He’s looked in good form so far this season, grabbing two goals and hopefully rediscovering his excellent form from a couple of season ago.
Lionel Messi is, as always, the man in form for Barcelona. The Argentine has four goals in two league games, as well as the one in the Spanish Super Cup last week. I do expect to see him on the score sheet in this game again.
Real Madrid should put together a much better performance against Barcelona than we saw against Getafe. The team know it is a case of pride even more than the Super Cup and they won’t want to disappoint their supporters.
But is a win likely for the home side? They’re certainly better placed following Angel Di Maria’s goal last week to bring the tie to 3-2 in favour of Barcelona.
What is certain is that Madrid will need to pull a storming performance out of the bag. Barcelona will see much of the possession, especially if Xavi plays, and Carles Puyol may yet feature despite his fractured cheekbone.
Real Madrid v Barcelona Betting Tips verdict
- I see a 2-2 draw as the most likely outcome from this game, with Barcelona going on to win the tie on aggregate. The correct score of 2-2 is best priced 12/1 with BetVictor while a draw can be backed at 11/4, also with BetVictor.
- Back Cristiano Ronaldo to be first goal scorer at best odds of 22/5 (that is over 4/1) with BetVictor.