Pressure on Real in El Clasico

Real Madrid head into Sunday's Nou Camp clash with arch rivals Barcelona really needing to avoid defeat.

Last Updated: 05/10/12 at 16:17 Post Comment

Real Madrid: Need to avoid defeat against Barca

Real Madrid: Need to avoid defeat against Barca

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

It may only be six rounds into the season but Real Madrid head into Sunday's Nou Camp clash with arch rivals Barcelona needing to avoid defeat.

Madrid's sluggish start combined with Barca's red-hot form has already seen Tito Vilanova's men open up an eight-point gap on the reigning champions, and a home victory on Sunday in round seven would stretch that already sizeable advantage further still.

An 11-point gap may not be impossible for Madrid to overcome, especially with so much of the campaign left, but with Barca having only lost six league games in the last three seasons, the task that would face Jose Mourinho's side should they lose is clear to see.

Barca midfielder Xavi admits the benefits of a victory for his side would be huge, but insists the Catalan giants are not getting carried away with the situation.

He said today: "It would be a seventh successive victory in the league for us and a big blow to morale for Madrid.

"It would a very important advantage but we could still lose those points.

"Whatever happens there is still a lot of the season left. A win would give us a lot of confidence because it's our age-old rivals, and would make the league more difficult for them. They are three very important points but the league will not be decided in this match."

The Spain international added: "Regardless of the points difference anything can happen. This is Madrid. Last year we were also favourites and they won here."

Madrid's 2-1 win at the Nou Camp in April saw Mourinho's side move seven points clear of Barca at the summit, and there was no way back for the Catalan outfit after that as their three-year reign as Spanish champions came to an end.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal in that game and he heads into this week's clash in superb form having struck hat-tricks in Madrid's last two matches against Deportivo La Coruna and Ajax.

Ronaldo has now scored 12 goals in all competitions this season, two more than his big rival at Barca Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo's form is great news for Madrid after the Portugal international created a huge stir earlier this season after revealing he was "sad" for professional reasons but without elaborating.

That incident was one of a numbers of issues that plagued Madrid at the start of the campaign, with Mourinho questioning the commitment of his players after seeing them win just one of their opening four league games despite downing Barca to win the Spanish Supercopa in the same period.

That poor form is the reason why Madrid are now playing catch-up, but victories in their last four competitive matches, as well as an 8-0 thrashing of Millonarios in the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy last week, means the reigning champions look to be finally hitting their stride.

Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is now looking for another triumph this weekend, saying: "It would be good to win and bad to lose, that's obvious. We know the (points) disadvantage that we have and we want a victory.

"We know the importance of the game and the significance of El Clasico and we will go there to win."

Barca will definitely be without captain Carles Puyol after he suffered a dislocated elbow in midweek while his centre-back partner Gerard Pique has not played in a fortnight because of a foot injury.

Mourinho, meanwhile, should be able to select near enough his strongest team, with Kaka pushing for a starting berth after some impressive recent displays.


Click here for a completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet


Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

Y

es, these stats are right. Rio Ferdinand definitely had a better debut than Fernando.

that man
Top Ten Debutants From Opening Weekend...

I

know it's only one game, and Arsenal have got an amazing midfield as is; but seriously, is Arsene Wenger the only person on Earth who doesn't want Cesc at their club?

Ezy_Rider
Top Ten Debutants From Opening Weekend...

P

S - 'Squeezes [English] out of his mouth like it's an elastic band he's found in his lamb bhuna' - bravo. Marvellous stuff

Ezy_Rider
Football Managers On TV: Paul Lambert

Footer 365

Rio Ferdinand would love to manage England after his playing career ends

Rio Ferdinand would love to manage England one day after revealing his long-term plans for a future in football as a coach.

Premier League: Former Cardiff boss Malky Mackay promises to co-operate with FA

Malky Mackay says he will co-operate fully with an FA investigation into Cardiff's text message dossier.

Transfer News: Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc wants to move before deadline

Ronald Koeman has confirmed Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc has asked to move on from St Mary's.

Mail Box

Man United Fans Clutching At Straws

While the focus is on Liverpool's move for Mario Balotelli, one Man United fan tries to convince the mailbox with nine reasons why Angel Di Maria would prefer them to PSG...

Rojo Is A Better Signing Than Hummels

There's some big talk in the morning mailbox, which claims that Man United were right to sign Marcos Rojo instead of Mats Hummels. Plus, one Gooner's happy Arteta's out...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property