Jose Mourinho gained an important victory as he led his side to a convincing 3-1 win in the Nou Camp on Tuesday to secure a Copa Del Rey final spot. With the league destined for Barcelona, it was crucial for Madrid to get the consolation prize of the cup and given their record against Atletico in recent years, that looks all but assured.
That match undoubtedly mattered more to Madrid but this weekend’s game holds more importance for Barca. The Catlans have twice been not only stopped but beaten by a two goal margin in recent games which is catastrophic for a side with exceptionally high standards. Madrid’s focus will now turn to the return leg of their Champions League tie at Old Trafford but Barca have another week before they face Milan. A win is therefore of more desire for the league leaders as they look to rebuild their confidence ahead of their game against the Italians.
However, the price of 11/8 (Ladbrokes) against an away win looks too short. There was little indication on Tuesday that Barca could defeat their bitter rivals so although they may be the more committed on Saturday, that does not necessarily entail they will win. Bar the Super Cup, Madrid are unbeaten in the last five Clasicos and 21/10 (BetVictor) is a huge price for Mourinho’s side to win on home turf. Xavi is likely to miss the game and the influential midfielder’s presence will be a big miss for Barca. Whilst Messi provides the flair and goals, Xavi is the heartbeat of the team with everything flowing through him and we have to fancy Madrd’s chances in his absence.
The Man United game is an obvious distraction but there would be no better way to prepare than to beat Barca twice on the trot and the price is simply too big to ignore given Madrid’s performance on Tuesday.