Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Preview


League leaders Barcelona will face a stern test when they travel to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday to take on Atletico Madrid. 
A win for the champions would boost their hopes of retaining their La Liga crown as it would give them a six-point advantage over their title rivals, while having a game in hand. However, victory for Diego Simeone's men would see them move level onto 28 points with Ernesto Valverde's side. 

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Spanish La Liga
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona 
Sunday 1 December 
Wanda Metropolitano Stadium 
22:00


To Win 
Atl. Madrid 18/10
Draw 23/10
Barcelona 15/10

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid were held to yet another draw last weekend – their seventh of the season – as they played to a 1-1 stalemate at Granada. Simeone's men will know they need to step up a gear when they face Barcelona on Sunday. 

Los Rojiblancos will be aiming to beat the Catalan giants for the first time since they won 2-0 at the Vicente Calderon in the UEFA Champions League in April 2016, when they sealed a 3-2 aggregate victory to progress into the semi-finals of the tournament. 

Antoine Griezmann was the star performer on that day, netting twice for Los Rojiblancos, but with the Frenchman now wearing the Blaugrana colours – and Diego Costa ruled out until 2020 – Simeone will have to pin his hopes on the likes of Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata to inspire Atletico to victory. 

Simeone has done a magnificent job since taking over in December 2011, winning La Liga in 2013-14 and taking the club to two Champions League finals. However, the fiery Argentine has failed to beat Barcelona in 18 La Liga meetings, losing 13 times. 

That certainly doesn’t bode well for Atletico Madrid. However, none of those defeats have come at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, with the sides sharing the spoils twice. Los Rojiblancos came so close to ending their hoodoo against Barca last season, with Ousmane Dembele scoring a last-gasp equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw for the Catalans.

Atletico are unbeaten at the Wanda Metropolitano in La Liga this season, winning four of their seven matches, scoring 10 goals, while conceding four. 

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Barcelona 

Barcelona may be top of La Liga – edging Real Madrid on goal difference – but their performances away from home continues to be a concern this season. While the Catalans have been excellent at the Camp Nou, winning all six of their matches and scoring for fun, they have been far from convincing on their travels.

The defending champions have already suffered three defeats on the road, losing to Athletic Bilbao, Granada and Levante – they also drew 2-2 at Osasuna. Last weekend, they needed a late goal to overcome last-placed Leganes, prevailing 2-1. Valverde will know as well as anyone that results and performances cannot continue like this.

Barcelona have conceded 16 goals in 13 league games so far – the worst defence of any team in the top six – and Valverde must find a way to shore up his team's leaky backline before Sunday's crucial fixture. 

But despite Barca’s struggles in defence, the Catalans boast the world's most deadly attack on paper. With superstars like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Griezmann, they could outscore any team. Valverde's side have scored 39 goals in all competitions this season.

All eyes will be on Griezmann on Sunday as the Frenchman comes up against his former club for the first time. The World Cup-winning forward is yet to establish himself at Barcelona with just four goals and three assists in 12 La Liga games so far.

Griezmann has proved himself to be one of the best footballers in the world and the Blaugrana fans will be hoping that he’ll find his form against his former club.

Probable line-ups:

Atletico Madrid: 4-4-2
Oblak; Trippier, Felipe, Hermoso, Lodi; Koke, Llorente, Herrera, Vitolo; Felix, Morata 

Barcelona: 4-3-3
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Junior; Arthur, Busquets, De Jong; Griezmann, Suarez, Messi. 

Prediction: Draw (23/10)
This is very tough to call, but I’m going for the draw. These sides’ two meetings at the Wanda Metropolitano have ended in 1-1 draws. Another tight affair is expected with the teams tipped to cancel each other out. 

Written by Chad N

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