Barcelona hold all the aces

The first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Nou Camp between Barcelona and Real Madrid will surely be a closer contest than the La Liga clash between the two teams in October.

On that occasion, Ernesto Valverde’s team romped to a 5-1 victory with Luis Suarez grabbing a hat-trick and the Uruguayan is 4.00 to be the first goalscorer on Wednesday.

That result marked the end of Julen Lopetegui’s ill-fated spell in charge of Real and, although there have been some embarrassing defeats since then – notably 3-0 at Eibar and 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad – the humbling at the Nou Camp was a low point in Real’s season.

Real back on track under Solari

Under Santiago Solari’s guidance they have won their last four league games and eased past Leganes and Girona to reach the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, a competition they have won 19 times, most recently in 2014.

However, Real are still eight points behind leaders Barcelona and the cup appears to be their best chance of silverware in what has been a disappointing campaign to date.

Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey in each of the last four seasons and have 30 triumphs in total, while Real have not even reached the final since their success five years ago. Reigning champions Barcelona are 2.05 to win this competition again this term, while Los Blancos can be backed at 2.75.

Barca have the edge

In previous Copa del Rey matches between the two teams, Barcelona have 14 victories compared with Real’s 12 triumphs and home advantage may be the crucial factor on Wednesday in what could be a niggly affair.

Barca lost the first leg of their quarter-final 2-0 to Sevilla but roared into the last four thanks to a 6-1 victory in the second leg.

The Blaugrana are unbeaten in their last 10 La Liga matches, although they were held to a 2-2 draw by Valencia on Saturday.

A draw at half time and Barcelona win after 90 minutes is available at 4.60 while a 2-1 victory for Valverde’s team can be backed at 7.00.