Guardiola’s 13th Clasico to end like most of the first 12
A tough call for viewers: the second half of Wolves v Brum or this...
The Catalan press have hired a sports psychologist to label Cristiano Ronaldo allergic to Barcelona and are crowing about having spent far less than Real Madrid since Pep Guardiola Superman-ed his way into the Camp Nou dugout in 2008.
Yeah, that’s right, they’ve had literally years to brag about that, yet waited until they were five points behind their rivals to point it out.
The Madrid media meanwhile lack their usual swagger jagger, perhaps because instead of needling at Pep Guardiola or a ref, Jose Mourinho is glaring at them. Sounding like the desperate boyfriend of a serial cheat, he pleaded: “Tell me what I have to do to satisfy you.”
All of which can only mean one thing of course: IT’S CLASICO TIME!
Episode four of the latest six-part series (which may be extended to eight depending on viewing figures/Champions League progress) sees unconventional protagonists Real Madrid asked to hand their only trophy in three-and-a-half years to the guys with all the other silverware.
Real Madrid fly into this Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg at the Bernabeu on a run of 22 wins in 23 matches*. However, the one L in that run towers over the majority of ws, having arrived at home to Barcelona last month.
That result means that Pep Guardiola has faced them 12 times without losing in 90 minutes. With a record like that, and a few injury fears for the hosts, it’s no shock that Barcelona are slight favourites at 13/8 on Paddy Power.
This season’s first three Clasicos produced 13 goals, but the three tenser ties prior to those – a Copa del Rey Final and two legs of a Champions League semi – boasted just four. Unders therefore looks a tad chunky at 11/10. Want a correct score suggestion too? It’s 17/2 that Barcelona nick it 1-0.
*That’s as many victories in four months as West Ham celebrated over the entirety of the last two seasons!