Barcelona maintained their position at the top of La Liga with their 3-0 win at Espanyol, meaning they remain level with Los Blancos on points, though they have played a game more. Villarreal, meanwhile, followed up their impressive 1-0 win at Atletico with a comfy 3-1 home win over Gijon that means they stay in 5th, five points behind Sevilla who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.
Since their 1-1 draw with Real in the first Clasico, Barca have won their last 10 at the Nou Camp, leading at the break in nine of these victories and scoring 42 goals across these games. They’ve hosted four sides between 4th and 9th during their current winning run, beating Espanyol 4-1, Bilbao 3-0, Sevilla 3-0 and Sociedad 3-2 in their penultimate road game, whilst they led at the break in each of these wins.
However, Villarreal have been excellent against the top teams this term as they’re W2-D4-L1 against the sides above them in the table, with that sole loss a narrow 3-2 defeat at home to Real. They managed a point at the Bernabeu earlier on in the season and so we’re not so sure Barca should be as short as 1.17, despite their excellent form. We wouldn’t put anyone off siding with Villarreal +3 on the handicap at 1.8, but since Villarreal have trailed at the break in only one of their six trips to top-four sides since the start of last season, going in goalless at the break at the Nou Camp last term, we’re backing the half-time draw.
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