In pure soccer terms, this Clásico will be decisive, as the winner will gain the genuine belief that it can win La Liga.
Table-topping Barcelona hosts Real Madrid for the fourth matchup in five competitive meetings this season, and the equation is simple. Barcelona can virtually secure the league title with a victory that would extend the Catalans’ lead to 12 points with as many games remaining. As for Real, it can—at least—not let it slip away with three points on the road. That would leave a six-point deficit, surmountable for a team used to enthralling comebacks.
Yet, even without a league trophy in four years, the cold statistics point towards a Barcelona procession. While lacking in European competition, coach Xavi’s charges have been formidable defensively in La Liga—especially at home, where it has conceded just one goal. That came against local challenger Espanyol. Avoiding the same
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