FC Barcelona plan to honour their recently departed head coach Tito Vilanova tonight, emblazoning the Camp Nou with an inspirational message of support for the Catalan manager who continues the treatment that forced him out of the dugout this summer. For Gerardo Martino especially, Tito Vilanova is an motivational figure; despite his health issues, Vilanova guided the Blaugrana to a record-breaking La Liga win last season -- and it all started back in August, as Tito guided his side to a 3-2 win in his El Clasico debut as head coach.
With 25 points from a possible 27, there is a feeling that Gerardo Martino's side may well rival or even beat Vilanova's record point haul -- but in order to keep the momentum going, and in order to stay atop of La Liga, Barça must defeat Real Madrid tonight in front of a full house at the Camp Nou.
Club captain Carles Puyol is back from injury and tipped to start in the centre of defense. Summer signing Neymar is ready and raring to go, eager to make his presence felt on what will be his Clasico debut while four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is back to full fitness after a few weeks on the sideline. Real Madrid on the other hand will be without a few key players, while world record signing Gareth Bale is expected to start on the bench as he continues his return from injury.
And these facts are reflected in the pre-match odds; Barcelona are slight favourites for a game that many are predicting will be too close to call. But what do you think? Do you think this match is too close to call, or are you bold enough to make a prediction below? Remember, all correct predictions are logged and the community member with the most correct predictions at the season's end will be rewarded with a brand-new FC Barcelona jersey of their choice. Best of luck and enjoy the game!
More from Barca Blaugranes:
- A Look at Andrés Iniesta's Start to the Season
- El Clasico: FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Match Preview
- FC Barcelona News: 25 October 2013; Jonathan Dos Santos Out for 6 Months, Barca Agree to Gatorade Partnership
- La Liga Clasico: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Preview with Managing Madrid
- FC Barcelona News: 24 October 2013; Gerard Pique a Doubt for El Clasico, Jonathan Dos Santos Injures ACL