Real need to improve for repeat El Clasico

Real Madrid will aim for swift revenge over rivals Barcelona when they host a second El Clasico in the space of four days on Saturday, but they will have to improve if they are to prevent another damaging home defeat against the Catalan giants.

Barca brush Real aside again

Barca again overwhelmed their traditional foes in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, winning 3-0 on the night to progress to a sixth-successive final with a 4-1 aggregate victory. After a first half in which Real missed several good chances, with young starlet Vinicius Junior particularly culpable, Barca turned on the style in the second period with Luis Suarez again the Clasico tormenter-in chief.

The Uruguayan scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture at the Nou Camp in October, when Barcelona won 5-1, and he grabbed two more on Wednesday, meaning he will approach Saturday’s eagerly-awaited showdown buzzing.

Suarez and Bale can do damage

It would be no surprise to see the 32-year-old on the scoresheet again and he should be backed at 2.10 in the anytime scoring market.

Junior, on the other hand, may well be sweating over his place in the starting line-up as Gareth Bale, who has only started two of Real’s last nine games amid rumours of a fall-out with boss Santiago Solari, is pushing for a recall and, if he does get the nod, would also be a good anytime scorer bet at 2.50.

Real will definitely be out of the title race if they lose this one as they’re already nine points adrift of Ernesto Valverde’s leaders going into the game. However, a win would obviously reduce the gap to six and offer Real a glimmer of a hope of somehow clawing back the deficit with 13 games to play as it stands.

Sadly for Los Blancos they simply do not look good enough to cope with Barca’s attacking threat and an away win, on offer at 2.50, looms, while punters backing over 3.5 goals at 2.15 may also be well rewarded.