Barcelona set to see off Madrid’s challenge

Barcelona and Real Madrid remain locked together at the top of La Liga following a disappointing goalless draw at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

The result left Barca top of the standings ahead of their big rivals on goal difference, although it is fair to say that neither side will remember the latest El Clasico with much fondness.

Read on as we look at the latest state-of-play between these two sides and their respective hopes of success this season.

Tensions overshadow the latest El Clasico

The game was originally scheduled for October 26, but was postponed due to fears of civil unrest in the Catalonia region.

There were clashes outside the stadium on Wednesday between protestors and police, but the game passed without any major problems inside the Nou Camp.

Barca were favourites on the PowerPlay Website to win the match, but both sides struggled to create any meaningful chances during the 90 minutes.

Madrid star Gareth Bale denied afterwards that the protests had any impact on the players’ performance, but it’s fair to say that El Clasico lacked a certain sparkle.

Barca keep hold of top spot

Barca have turned in a few disappointing performances during the first half of the season, but remain in top spot ahead of Madrid.

They have now gone seven games without defeat against Madrid in La Liga and that statistic will undoubtedly please their fans.

The reverse fixture between these two sides on March 1 could prove to be pivotal, but Barca will travel to the Bernabeu Stadium confident they can get a result.

They are still favourites to retain their title and with the prospect of improved performances in the New Year it would be a brave move to back against them.

Madrid flatter to deceive

Valverde claimed after the game that Barca had been dominated by Madrid, although the possession statistics didn’t back up his comments.

Barca had more of the ball and had the better of the few chances that were created, leaving the suspicion that Valverde was playing mind games with Zinedine Zidane.

The Madrid boss was under pressure during the early part of the campaign and his team still don’t look like potential title winners.

With former Chelsea star Eden Hazard struggling to fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s boots, it would be a surprise if Madrid were able to beat Barca to the league title this season.

Barca on a mission in the Champions League

Barca’s collapse against Liverpool in last season’s Champions League semi-finals was undoubtedly a major shock to the system.

However, they have breezed through the group stage this term and have been handed a favourable draw against Napoli in the round of 16.

Madrid will certainly have their work cut out to reach the quarter-finals as they have been paired with Manchester City.

Barca were left wounded by last season’s experience against Liverpool and may well put things right this time around.