Barcelona v Atletico Madrid Preview

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid | Saturday 17 May 2014 | Camp Nou | 18:00




Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will face off for the La Liga title on Saturday at the Camp Nou, as neither club could not take advantage of the other's misfortune this past weekend.

Atletico lead Barca by three points in the league standings but victory for Barca would give them their 23rd Liga crown on head-to-head goals record, having drawn with Atleti earlier in the season.

To Win (90mins)
Barcelona 15/20 
Draw 27/10 
Atl. Madrid 34/10

BARCELONA

Barcelona played their part in setting up a winner-takes-all clash after they drew 0-0 against strugglers Elche.

A draw was a disappointing result for Barcelona, but they will still have a chance to win the title.

Barcelona are three points adrift of Los Rojiblancos, but know that victory on home soil this weekend will see them retain their domestic crown due to a superior head-to-head goal record in this seasons meetings against Atletico.

Barcelona have been dominant in recent years, winning four of the last five La Liga titles in a period of vast success.

However, with some of the stalwarts of Pep Guardiola’s memorable side starting to feel their age and leave the club, a rebuilding process looks to be on the agenda in Catalonia.

Barcelona have been exceptional at home having played 18 matches, winning 16 times and dropping just four points there all season.

The Catalans have scored the most goals at home this campaign, netting 63 times while conceding just 14 at the Camp Nou.

For much of the past half-decade, Lionel Messi has reigned as the best player in the world.

Maybe there were times when an argument could be made for Cristiano Ronaldo, but most had just come to accept that it was Messi—winner of four consecutive Ballon d'Or awards before this year—and then everyone else.

Things have taken a strange turn this season, though. Despite netting 28 goals this term, the Argentine superstar has been far from his best.

Barca hope to claim the title for the fifth time in six years but if that's going to happen, Messi will have to get back to playing like the best player in the world.

Andres Iniesta has been in good form of late. He could cause Atleti all sorts of problems with his free roaming, dropping deeper to involve himself in play and getting further forward when Barca have possession to both create and score goals.

Barcelona are well capable of outclassing any opponent on their home turf but will need to be at their best to dismantle a rock solid Atletico defence. 

ATLETICO MADRID

Atletico Madrid missed out on the chance to seal the La Liga title as they drew 1-1 with Malaga at the
Vicente Calderon last Sunday.

An outstanding save by Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero denied Atletico the opportunity to wrap up the title at their stadium.

The Argentinian produced a fingertip save to keep out a curling shot from Adrian in the final minute of stoppage time, ensuring the game ended 1-1.

Atletico will feel distraught at letting the chance to seal the title once and for all slip through their fingers.

Diego Simeone’s side are top of the division on 89 points and merely need a draw against Barcelona to clinch their first top-flight title since 1996.

Atletico have the chance to be the first team other than the Clasico rivals to win the division since Valencia’s achievements back in 2004.

Simeone’s charges represent the rising force in Spanish football, with a unique brand of football played by a side full of unsung heroes.

Atleti should go into the game with confidence given their elimination of Barcelona in this season’s Champions League and the fact that they have not been beaten by the Catalans in their last five meetings in all competitions.

Simeone’s side has been a breath of fresh air in both Spanish and European football this term, 180 minutes against the Clasico pair will dictate either ecstasy or despair.

Despite Atleti having a Champions League final to play next weekend, Simeone and his team will not rest up or be any less intense.

They will want the Liga title just as bad as Barca. A major concern for Simeone is whether Diego Costa will be fit to start the match.

The lethal striker is a doubt for the clash after suffering a hamstring strain.

Costa has led the line superbly for Atletico this season and taken his goalscoring to a new level since the summer departure of Radamel Falcao to Monaco.

The Brazil-born striker has struck 27 times for Simeone's side, and many of them have proven crucial for the double-chasing Rojiblancos.

It would be a huge loss if the striker isn’t fit for this fixture but he is believed to have recovered well.

Betting Prediction: DRAW 27/10
The final game of the La Liga season promises to be a tight affair. Atletico will seal the league if they avoid defeat at Barcelona. Diego Simeone’s side will look to get behind the ball and look to catch the Catalans on the counter which has already seen them trump Barcelona this season. Atleti are tipped to hold Barcelona for a valuable point which will see them end their 18-year wait to be crowned La Liga champions.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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