El Clásico Match Preview, Betting tips and Predictions

Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Paulinho (2R) celebrates with Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, Barcelona's Spanish defender Jordi Alba - La Liga Free Bets
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Most people are getting excited for Christmas right about now. The shopping is done, the mince pies are out and the turkey is prepped ready for the oven. That’s, unless you’re a football fan; the festivities start early thanks to the fixture list, with Barcelona travelling to Real Madrid for El Clasico on Saturday.

Of course, there can’t be too high an expectation of good will to all men in what is the biggest match on the planet. These two clubs really hate each other and that feeling runs deeper than just football into politics. It can usually be seen as a deciding factor in the LaLiga title race, but that may be already over for the home side, who sit 11 points adrift of the Catalans and in fourth place. Participation in the Club World Cup means Real do have a game in hand, and victory in this one could reignite their hopes, but that feels a long way off right now.

Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi have had things all their own way this season, but both know how it feels to be the difference in El Clasico. There could be sparks in this one.

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Form

Real Madrid won their fifth trophy of the calendar year last week by retaining their title as World Champions. Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record for the most goals in the competition’s history, netting seven, but Los Blancos were far from convincing, particularly in the semi final against Al Jazira. That has been the story of their season so far, as they lag behind domestically and face a tough test against PSG in Europe, having finished second in their Champions League group. Zinedine Zidane really needs a win both for the points and to ease the growing pressure on his shoulders.Lionel Messi #10 of Barcelona controls the ball against Daniel Carvajal #2 of Real Madrid - Football Free Bets
Statistically, Barcelona have been very strong this season, remaining unbeaten so far and topping LaLiga by six points from Real’s city rivals Atletico Madrid. Ernesto Valverde’s side have not convinced with their performances, and Luis Suarez has particularly struggled. Although he netted two last week against Deportivo, in what was a very good team performance, and he is among our betting tips as first goalscorer, he only has nine to his name. But Andres Iniesta’s display last week will breed hope of another big performance in the capital.

Team News

Paco Alcacer limped off last weekend and was replaced by Aleix Vidal; with Ousmane Dembele still out with a hamstring injury, the winger will probably start in the same formation. Samuel Umtiti is also out while Nelson Semedo missed last week and Sergi Roberto could continue at right back.Samuel Umtiti #23 of Barcelona defends against Gareth Bale #11 of Real Madrid - Football Free Bets
Real don’t have any fresh injury concerns but will be without Gareth Bale who has continually struggled with an ankle problem this season. Isco will join Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in attack. Zidane will have the majority of his best players available for selection.

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