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In the first Liga clash between these two Spanish giants this season will Jose Mourinho's men march to victory, Tito Vilanova's team triumph or might the honours be shared?



POLL

Barcelona and Real Madrid will battle for the third time this season on Sunday night, but it is the first Liga Clasico of the current campaign.

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Jose Mourinho's men conquered the Blaugrana over two legs in the Supercopa, with each side winning a game apiece but Los Blancos coming out on top overall to win the trophy.

Barcelona's defence is weakened with Gerard Pique a major doubt and Carles Puyol ruled out after dislocating his elbow in their midweek Champions League win over Benfica.

As a result, expectations are higher than usual that attacking talent such as Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil can craft something on Catalunya turf.

The pressure on Cristiano Ronaldo's shoulders will be as heavy as ever, especially having scored 12 goals already this season. The hosts' very own superstar, Lionel Messi, has scored two less in the same time period but expectation will be just as great on the Ballon d'Or winner to perform.

Tito Vilanova will know his squad have the upper hand in La Liga heading into this Camp Nou clash - they sit eight points and five places ahead of the reigning champions with six games gone.

A defeat for the visitors on Sunday will extend the gap to double figures and, surely, leave Ronaldo and Co. needing a minor miracle to catch the 2010-11 Champions League winners.

A draw will not be what Madrid want either, with three points needed to reduce the deficit to five and keep the Santiago Bernabeu-based club with a realistic chance of retaining the Liga title.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Will Jose Mourinho's men march to victory? Can Tito Vilanova's team replicate their triumph in August at Camp Nou? Or will the millions watching from around the world witness the honours shared in the most anticipated match this weekend?

Let us know your opinion by voting in our poll, leaving a comment below, or getting in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

Jimmy Burns is a prize-winning author and journalist. His works include La Roja - a journey through Spanish football, and Barca - a people's passion.

www.jimmy-burns.com

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