Barcelona suffered one of its toughest losses in recent times in Lisbon against Benfica. With the new head coach, Xavi, Blaugrana wants to erase all the mistakes and bad memories from the recent few months, and one of the top priorities on the list is avenging that terrible defeat in Portugal. The Eagles are coming to Camp Nou with an intention to take at least one point and then seek the place in the knockout stage against Dynamo Kyiv. This is by far the most important match of the season for both sides.
Barcelona (-160) began a new era by appointing Xavi. All the fans hope it will be better than under Ronald Koeman, whose stint at the five-time European champions turned out to be a nightmare. Xavi began his tenure with a 1-0 win over Espanyol in the big city derby. Many expected to see a much higher triumph, but three points are three points.
This was the fourth match in a row Barca didn’t lose, posting two wins and two draws. However, in all these events, we’ve seen a team that struggles a lot, without energy and creativity. Even though Los Culos have two world-class talents, Gabi and Pedri, they are just kids who still need to develop.
Four of Barcelona’s previous six games were under 2.5 goals, and that is kind of odd for this club. We’ve got used to seeing them trash and bash the rivals in the past.
Benfica (+400) has a lot of injured players, and that’s why the Eagles struggle to provide consistency. They had a turbulent October, having just a handful of winning matches. Yet, the majority of those games were in domestic cup competitions, and the fans didn’t hold that against the players.
The Eagles’ previous five contests were all with both teams scoring, and just one of those wasn’t with over 2.5 goals. Benfica is without a win away from home in the last three outings, having two draws and a loss in Munich, against Bayern, 5-2.
Jorge Jesus is an experienced coach, but all the troubles with injuries are overwhelming his unit. We are sure that Benfica’s results would be much better than now if he had all the players at his disposal.
Sergio Aguero is out, and he will probably stay like that until the end of the season. Ansu Fati, Braithwaite, Sergino Dest, and Pedri are all out due to various injuries.
Benfica also has a long list of absent players – Alemida, Dias, Joao Mario, Da Silva, Pinho and Valentin Lazaro. Haris Seferovic might be ready to start this event.
Head to Head
The first leg at La Luz saw the hosts obliterating Barca with 3-0, posting one of the biggest wins in their history. And they do have quite an impressive background. Darwin Nunez twice and Rafa Silva were the scorers.
Barca isn’t good as before, but they are will win this game. With Xavi onboard, the atmosphere in the locker room is much healthier than before, which is what Blaugrana needs at the moment. We believe they have what it takes to bring down Benfica, who isn’t anything special on the road. Furthermore, away from La Luz, they struggle to deliver against much easier rivals than Barcelona.
Pick: Barcelona -160
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- Man City vs. PSG
- Sporting vs. Borussia Dortmund
- Besiktas vs. Ajax
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.