Match Preview: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Match Preview: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Barcelona were 2-0 up in the 30th minute and flying high. By the 72nd they were still holding a solid 3-2 lead. However, as the clock struck the 80th minute the game took a turn for the worse. A penalty which Diego Forlan slotted home, made it 3-3, before Aguero rocketed Atleti into the lead.

This was the 1st of March 2009, Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona in a game that saw the Blaugrana’s 12 point clearing at the top of the table sliced to a mere 4 points. As brutal embarrassment was thrust upon all involved. However on the topic of embarrassment, who could forget the annihilation the Catalonians dished out early last season. As a game touted as one of the best match-ups of the season turned out as one of the greatest humiliations in Spanish football history, Barcelona leading 3 goals to nil before 10 minutes had passed, the game ending 6-1.

So as the baton of this game is passed along to the new season. The fact that 14 goals have been scored in the past two games league games from these two footballing giants means that a plethora of expectations will be hurled upon the frontlines of both teams. An expectation that should be willingly fulfilled.

This will be Barcelona’s first real test of the season after dismissing Sporting and Getafe in the previous fixtures as well as keeping a clean sheet in both encounters.

However at present Atleti aren’t resembling the championship-contending status that has been printed beside their names.

Yet to register a win in the league as well as a 0-0 draw against a notably weaker APOEL FC side, Abel Resino’s men need to get their act together quickly before fans and staff alike start pondering pushing the panic button. And what better way to bounce back from a slight dip than with a win over tri-champions Barcelona! Yes there is no doubt that Los Colchoneros will attack the league leaders from the kick-off and will use their pace to break away from their opponents on the counter, making the most of Barca’s attacking defenders.

However despite being held by a stubborn Internazionale midweek Barcelona have been firing of late, yet to concede a goal in the league as well as steadily sitting at the top of the league. Fierce rivals Real Madrid face Xerez this week which should be much of a match up for the filthy littl- I mean for Madrid, meaning Barca can’t afford to drop the points in this game.

Team News

Ukrainian international Dmytro Chygrynskiy was brought in to help rotation in defence and will most likely be used for just that in Saturday’s game, Iniesta has been brought on as a substitute two games in a row now and is ready to play a full match, other small rotations could be made to rest those who participated in Wednesday’s encounter.

Predicted Starting XI, Barcelona: Valdes – Alves – Chygrynskiy – Pique – Maxwell – Xavi – Busquets – Iniesta – Messi – Ibrahimovic – Henry

Predicted Starting XI, Atletico Madrid: Roberto – Ujfalusi – Ibanez – Juanito – Antonio Lopez – Jurado, Assuncao – Maxi Rodriguez – Simao – Aguero – Forlan

Key Players

Lionel Messi

It has now become a formality to list the majestic Argentine as a probable key player in the lineup. However there is no reason as to why he wont run riot over the notably ‘frail’ Atleti defence. Of late, the Ballon D’or favourite has slotted into himself into a playmaking role in Pep’s new
4-1-2-1-2 formation, and will be frustrating by his inability to get onto the scoresheet midweek, hence desperate to make his mark.

Sergio Aguero

Still frustrated by his national sides poor results, Aguero will be looking to continue his goalscoring form from his teams last encounter with Barcelona. Expect ‘El Kun’ to be the target man in Atleti’s counter attacking game.

Prediction
Despite not getting the result in the Giuseppe Meazza Barcelona are forever edging towards being back to their scintillating best. The Atletico defence won’t prove strong enough to deal with the Blaugrana’s record breaking frontline, which should run rampant. It’s going to be Vintage Barcelona. Back to their best.

Barcelona 3 – Atletico 1