Barca v Real Madrid: Copa del Rey
It’s Barca v Real Madrid tonight in the Copa del Rey and Barca will prove that they aren’t finished yet by overcoming Real Madrid…and we’ve a great offer……see above.
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Barca’s gripping 4-3 win at the Bernabeu last month has left everyone gagging for the third and final chapter of the 2013/14 trilogy, in which the Copa del Rey is at stake.
Winning Clasicos is one of the few things that Barcelona have got right in a season accompanied from the start by a soundtrack of disquiet which is rapidly transitioning into mutiny.
Tata Martino was criticised for not being “Barcelona enough” in his approach even when he guided them to a suitably Barcelona-esque 16 victories in his first 18 La Liga games.
It’s no surprise that the scrutiny has intensified during one of the grimmest weeks in their recent history, when they exited the Champions League with a 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
On on Saturday, they effectivelysurrendered the title to the capital with a 1-0 loss in Granada that leaves them four points behind Atletico and one off Real with five to play. They are 7.0 to turn it around.
Consequently, they head to Valencia for this final terrified of conceding a third trophy in eight days, and to their bitterest foes. It is therefore understandable that the “end of an era” is widely forecast.
It is also easy to forget amongst all the Barca gloom that Real Madrid are far from flying right now, and have lost as many of their last five matches away from the Bernabeu (two) as they have won.
The Catalan side weren’t in great form ahead of the last two Clasicos – drawing two in a row before the first and suffering successive road defeats before the second – only to raise the barand triumph, so profit from them doing it again.
Having paid out in 13 of the last 14 Clasicos, over 2.5 goals is judged a formality at 1.59, yet the likelihood is that the response to such an extreme scoreline last time – Barcelona winning 4-3 – will be more caution. After Barca’s 5-0 riot in 2010/11, the next four collisions had two goals or fewer.
They also tend to be cagier in all-or-nothing affairs: the final between the pair in this competition three years ago, the two legs of their Champions League semi-final and the first leg of last term’s Copa del Rey semi each delivered under 2.5 goals.
Four of Barcelona’s last five fixtures have followed the same pattern.
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