Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid Preview

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

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid | Sunday 11 January | Camp Nou | 22:00

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will meet in a repeat of last season’s title deciding fixture that saw Atletico claim a draw to end Barcelona and Real Madrid’s 18 year dominance of the La Liga title. The Catalans have failed to beat Atletico in the last six meetings between the sides, with Atletico holding them to five draws and winning once at the Vicente Calderon.



To Win (90mins)
Barcelona 11/20
Draw 3/1
Atletico Madrid 47/10

Barcelona
Barcelona missed a golden opportunity to go top of La Liga on Sunday night, when they lost 1-0 at Real Socidead. Coach Luis Enrique will have some strong questions to answer about his team's selection and performance. Enrique left out stars Lionel Messi, Neymar, Dani Alves and Gerard Pique which was always going to be a risk against a side that had already beaten Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid this season. Barca had also lost three times in the past four seasons at that stadium. Enrique sent the South American trio of Messi, Neymar and Alves on to try change the situation in a desperate second half, but they failed to break down a Sociedad side who parked the bus after Jordi Alba’s own goal in the 90th second. Barcelona remain a point off league leaders Real Madrid after their 22 match winning streak ended with a loss at Valencia. With Real Madrid hosting Espanyol at the Bernabeu they will most likely pull away from Barca if the Catalans fail to win this match. Barca have been excellent at Camp Nou, winning seven times and losing only once to Celta Vigo, 1-0. In those seven wins they managed to score a mammoth 29 goals and have conceded just twice.

Enrique’s decisions have cost Barcelona some crucial points this season and all eyes will be on him when the starting eleven is announced. The attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez is enough for any team to shake in their boots and leaving one of them out will be a mistake against an Atletico defence that has been excellent this season.

Atletico Madrid
The big winners last weekend were Atletico Madrid. After beating Levante 3-1 at home on Saturday, they saw both Real Madrid and Barca lose on Sunday, meaning they are now in joint second place with their opponents and one point off Real Madrid as they attempt to retain their title. Through all Atletico’s inconsistency this season they still find themselves in a great position and have also managed five wins from their eight away games, conceding only seven goals. They are coming into this match in good form having beaten Athletic Bilbao 4-1 on the road prior to their victory against Levante. Diego Simeone looks to have gotten his attacking talents gelling well with Antoinne Griezmann a stand out performer. The French forward scored a hat-trick at Bilbao and followed that excellent performance up with a brace against Levante. He is partnered by Mario Mandzukic who gave a good shift at the weekend, linking up well with the talented midfield quartet of Koke, Tiago, Gabi and Arda Turan.

Atletico Madrid's prodigal son Fernando Torres will likely feature off the bench in what could be his first appearance since returning to the club if he does not feature against Real Madrid during their midweek cup fixture. The former Atletico captain, who played 244 games for his home-town club where he debuted aged 17, has signed an 18-month loan deal from AC Milan. Believe it or not, the shadow of his former self wearing the Chelsea No9 shirt has the best record of any striker in recent history against Barcelona. He's scored seven in 10 games against them and also another one in the Champions League semi-finals playing for Chelsea. The mere sight of a Barca jersey could remind him what it is he used to do best: score goals.

VERDICT: Draw 3/1
Atletico Madrid look the form team and have managed to stay unbeaten against Barca in the last six meetings. However, Barcelona have been excellent at home and it’s difficult seeing them losing two matches in a row. A tight game is expected and the draw is tipped to be the outcome for the sixth time in seven matches.

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