Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: Preview and Predictions
One of the most keenly anticipated fixtures on the La Liga calendar will take place at the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend as Atletico Madrid take on Barcelona.
Atletico have been so inconsistent this season. In fact, they have become the draw specialists in Spain’s top flight.
Goals have been a real problem for Atletico. But they have the joint-best defensive record with just nine conceded, though, and as mentioned, are currently fourth with 25 points so far.
A 1-0 defeat at Juventus in mid-week has left Atletico vulnerable ahead of their final group game. Indeed, with Bayer Leverkusen just one point behind in third, there is real pressure on the Spanish outfit leading into their home clash with Lokomotiv Moscow.
Atletico have five more matches in all competitions before the winter break in Spain kicks in; four of those are in La Liga – Barca, Villarreal, Osasuna and Real Betis – in addition to their final Champions League clash.
Nine wins, one draw and three defeats – that is how Valverde’s side have performed in the league this season. They might top the table at this stage but just five points separates the top six teams in the league, and there is every chance that they would slide down the division with a poor result this weekend.
Barca booked their spot in the Champions league round of 16 with Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann all on the score sheet in a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.
Barca have already lost three times on their travels this season, though, and there is not question that the home side will be fired up to overcome the reigning champions at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico are still without Stefan Savic, Sime Vrsaljko and Jose Gimenez all out.
The latter has recently returned to training but is unlikely to be considered for this weekend’s match, meaning that Mario Hermoso and Felipe should start as the two central defenders once again.
Key midfielders Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey are available after missing out against Granada last weekend through suspension, but Diego Costa is out until at least February following a neck operation
Barcelona are still without Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba As a result. Gerard Pique will return to the back four having missed the Champions League clash through suspension. Sergio Busquets will miss out through suspension.
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Trippier, Hermoso, Felipe, Lodi; Correa, Thomas, Saul, Koke; Felix, Morata
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; Arthur, De Jong, Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 5 away matches against Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their last 5 home matches
Cs: Atletico Madrid 1 vs Barcelona 1
Tips: X or GG