BARCELONA and Real Madrid return to action tonight and, with their egos bruised, they're both looking to get back to winning ways.
A midweek draw with Valencia turned out to be a decent result for Barca, who twice had to come from behind. Real dropped another two points as they followed up defeat to Levante with a draw against.
The Blaugrana host Atletico Madrid tonight and, traditionally, this is far from a straightforward tie for Pep Guardiola's men. Atletic have won their previous two La Liga games this season 4-0 and Radamel Falcao (7-2, Skybet to score anytime) has started to pay back his £35million fee.
Ibrahim Afellay suffered a cruel blow on Thursday when he was ruled out for two months with a torn knee ligaments just a few weeks after returning from a long-term injury. He joins Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez on the bench.
Barcelona and Atletico have drawn just one of their last 13 La Liga meetings while Madrid have lost only two of their last nine Primera clashes on the road. Gregorio Manzano's team have also only conceded once this season in the league, so this will be a good test for Lionel Messi (4-7, William Hill to score anytime)
Cesc Fabregas continued his goalscoring exploits and every time he finds the net, his odds of doing it again are slashed to something almost unrecognisable from the opening day. He's set to continue in place of Iniesta and is a best 11-8 to net at any point with Victor Chandler and a tasty 7-1 with Betfred to score twice.
I fancy a few goals in this one so over 2.5 would be my pick at 1-3 at bet365. I also thought Barca “to score in both halves” market worked out well the other night and I'll pick that up again with 8-11 at totesport.
Barca are a best 2-9 (Bluesquare) to win while the draw is 13-2 at Stan James.
Minnows Rayo Vallecano travel to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid as Jose Mourinho chases his first win in three games.
Reports say there is a divide between the Spanish and Portuguese players in Los Merengues' squad but whatever the cause, there needs to be improvement and it needs to happen immeditely. Any more slip-ups and the likes of Real Betis and Valencia, not to mention Barca, will take full advantage and boost unlikely title hopes.
The concern would be that in the last two games the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Kaka and Mesut Ozil together cannot score a single goal. I do, however, expect that to change tonight and Madrid should pick up a comfortable victory.
Ronaldo is my tip to net (4-9, Paddy Power), if not twice (2-1, Victor Chandler). He's a tempting 8-1 (Coral, VC) to score a hat-trick tonight and that could turn out to be very profitable for those willing to keep the faith with CR7.
Madrid really should be back amongst the goals and over 4-5 goals in this one pays at best 7-4, bet365. Try their handicap market too, which pays at 15-8 for Real to win by a margin of three or more goals.