By Andrew Robinson | Barcelona v Real Madrid
Tonight sees the latest instalment of El Clasico take place, with the differing styles of Real Madrid and Barcelona set to go head to head again.
They have played each other four times already this season and familiarity definitely breeds contempt. But with a place in the Copa del Rey final up for grabs there is a lot on the line.
Jose Mourinho is under pressure to get through, as his side of attacking superstars have been lacklustre in the league and currently sit a huge 18 points behind Barca, and even trail cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Even though the tiki-taka style of Barca has given them a Man United-esque lead in La Liga they have won just one of the Clasico meetings this season against Cristiano Ronaldo and co. That was a first-leg win in the Supercopa de Espana, a trophy they lost in the second leg.
With the tie sitting at 1-1, Real go to the Nou Camp knowing a win or high-scoring draw will see them through and they are 7/4 to get the result they need and make the final.
Mourinho’s side are 20/1 to go through after extra time, while Barca are on offer at 14/1 with Paddy Power to get the job done in the extra period.
Barcelona shrugged off their 2-0 loss to AC Milan in the Champions League with a 2-1 win over Sevilla in the league, thanks to goals from David Villa and of course Lionel Messi, who seems to score every time he pulls on his boots.
And he’s ready and raring to go against the old rival tonight, as he looks to rub Alvaro Arbeloa’s nose in it after the pair’s bust up in the first leg.
‘Against Madrid we will have to produce our best football as we will be against a great rival,’ said the best footballer in the world (That’s Lionel Messi not Gareth Bale for all the Spurs fans reading this).
The Argentinean is chasing yet another record tonight – I don’t know how many more there can be.
He’s just two goals short of becoming the top scorer in El Clasico history, and a brace would push him ahead of the great Alfredo di Stefano. He’s 9/5 with Paddy Power to score two or more goals and add to his CV of records.
If he really turns it on he could do better than two and he’s on offer at 6/1 to bag a hat-trick and put Madrid to the sword yet again.
Red cards in the biggest game in Spain are commonplace and when Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Carlos Puyol and Sergio Busquets are around anything less than all-out assault wouldn’t be uncommon. That makes 8/11 a juicy price for a sending off in the match.