As speculation mounts that Gareth Bale may return to the Real Madrid starting eleven for their hotly-anticipated first meeting with Barcelona this season Angel Di Maria risks becoming the forgotten man, but of the pair he’s the better bet and the better price to score at Camp Nou at 9/2.
At 39/50 reigning champions Barca are favourites, with the draw available at 14/5 and Los Blancos 3/1 for victory in Carlo Ancelotti’s first Clasico at the helm.
The Argentinean has started nine of 11 games this season for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Although the Italian has stated that Bale should be ready to start against the Blaugrana, it has by no means been set in stone.
The 25-year-old’s greater match fitness must surely be a vote in his favour when it comes to a first-eleven place against Barca, as must the greater understanding he has with his Real teammates.
Di Maria has provided three goals and as many assists in his last four games for Los Merengues.
The right-winger has been playing exceptionally well in Bale’s absence, putting in a man of the match performance against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League and starting the scoring in his last domestic outing against Malaga.
By contrast, in the Champions League clash with Juventus (the former Spurs man’s most recent outing for Real) pundits such as Dwight Yorke remarked that his teammates did not seem overly keen to give him the ball.
The former Benfica man has started 12 of the last 15 Clasicos.
Of all the games to cast a young man with the expectations of a huge price-tag and a complete lack of pre-season training weighing him down into from the start Spanish football’s biggest derby is surely not it.
Di Maria scored in the first edition of the pantomime in 2012/13 and his greater experience should see him given the nod on the right flank once more this time around.