One minute you’re the boss at White Hart Lane with just 2 points from 21. The next you’re in hot seat at arguably the biggest club in the world. What a couple of months it’s been for the much maligned Juande Ramos. And to cap it all his first La Liga match in charge of Real Madrid is a visit to the Nou Camp for El Clásico and it should be a cracker.
Barca have flown out of the traps in La Liga this season and find themselves 6 points clear at the top. They’ve been scoring for fun too having bagged 44 in 14 games. Their last 5 league games at home have seen them score 4-1-6-5-6 so Real will have a job just keeping them at bay. Pep Guardiola seems to have been able to harness the flair of Messi, Eto’o and Henry in way that his predecessor, Frank Rijkaard couldn’t and they’re undoubtedly the team to watch in Europe at the moment.
So do Real have what it takes to spring a surprise? Well Juande Ramos certainly seems to think so. He’s done his best to talk up Los Blancos chances since his sudden arrival at the Bernabeau on Tuesday claiming that his side have won there on many occasions so there’s no reason why they can’t do it again. But Barca will have revenge on their minds after suffering the ignominy of having to perform a guard of honour and welcome the then Champions, Real Madrid, onto the Bernabeau pitch just over 7 months ago. Real went onto hammer Barca 4-1 that night and signal the end of Rijkaard’s reign. Whilst in hindsight it may have been a blessing in disguise it still rankles with the Catalans.
Pain in the Barca for Juande?
The bookies can only see a home win in this one with Barcelona’s odds at best being 8/13 (Blue Sq, Paddy Power, SkyBet, Totesport), whilst Madrid are an almost unprecedented 21/4 (Bet Direct, StanJames) and will have a few takers at that price. Although everything points to a Barcelona victory, 8/13 just feels a wee bit too short for me on a game such as this. ‘New Manager Syndrome’ could well kick in for Real and I’d be nervous lumping onto the Catalans at those skinny odds so I’m going to leave the match result alone.
A measure of how the passions may be running high tonight is that the chances of seeing a red card are rated at just 7/4 (Centrebet, William Hill) and you wouldn’t bet against it. Bet365 are also offering a number of cards split but have it incredibly high at 7.5. That means if you went overs at 41/40 we’d need to see at least 8 cards being brandished. If there’s that many bookings I think you’d be as well betting on someone seeing red.
7 of the last ten meetings between the two have finished over 2.5 goals and Barcelona are scoring over 3 golas per game on average. Real may not be able to match the Catlans’ goal scoring feats with 33 in 14 games but they’ve also lost 24 in that time meaning that games they feature in this season are averaging over 4 a game. It all points to it being a bit of goalfest tonight. Over 2.5 can be backed at a measly 8/15 (Coral, SkyBet) but the goal tally might even go above that and over 3.5 goals could be tempting at 11/8 with VCBet – I might have a wee interest in that.
If you do fancy a load of goals then take a look at the total goals minutes market over at Blue Sq. They’ve gone with the split at 145 minutes and both over and under are available at 5/6. I’m tempted to go with over 145 minutes in the hope that there’s a few goals in the second half.
How do you think the game will go tonight?