Preview: Atlético Madrid v FC Barcelona

The weekend is upon us and it’s time for another La Liga match. This one can only be hectic and tough, as FC Barcelona travels to Madrid to play Atlético Madrid for the 3rd time in February. With Real Madrid’s loss in midweek against Valencia, it’s time for Barça to finally close the gap and smell 1st position, although Real Madrid has one match in advantage still.

Kickoff is on Sunday at 4.15pm CET at the Estadio Vicente Calderón. In the Copa del Rey semis Barça ended with the upper hand after two very intense matches, and with, let’s be honest, some luck. Atlético will sure look to avenge this.

After a quite weak ending to January, Atlético are now without a loss in their last 8 La Liga matches and are fighting to keep up with Sevilla in 3rd place for the direct Champions League spot. This midweek the team took a solid 4-2 win against Leverkusen in the Champions League, and the team is performing very well right now.

Barça is currently struggling at this point of the season. The play isn’t working and many players are not performing. Last weekend was a lucky 2-1 win at home against Leganes and also the recent 4-0 loss to PSG is still hurting culés. So we’re in for quite a match!

Recent form

Barcelona last match:

Starting XI: ter Stegen – Digne (Alba 81′), Umtiti, Mathieu, Roberto – Rakitic, Gomes (Iniesta 80′), Rafinha (D. Suarez 80′) – Neymar, Suarez, Messi.

Result: 2-1 win against Leganes, goal by Messi (4′, 90’)

Barcelona last 5 matches: W-L-W-D-W

Atlético Madrid last match:

Starting XI: Moya – Vrsaljko, Gimenez, Savic, Luis – Koke, Gabi, Saul, Carrasco (Torres 78′) – Gameiro (Thomas 71′), Griezmann (Correa 78′).

Result: 4-2 win against Leverkusen

Atletico Madrid last 5 matches: W-W-W-D-W

Team news

Barcelona will miss Mascherano and Vidal to injuries. At this point, Arda Turan is doubtful for the match with a groin injury.

Atlético’s defense is hurt much, as they will miss Juanfran and probably also Godin. Other than these two, Barragan and Fernandez are still out.

Full match squads are yet to be announced.

Match Prediction

We always believe in the team. Barça will take another 2-1 win at the Estadio Vicente Calderón. And for all you lucky folks that get to be in Spain for what’s sure to be a great game, the site TIcket Liquidator is worth checking out. Here’s where you can buy tickets for this game.

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  • Peter Tinkler

    I think Atletico will be smelling blood for this one… A draw would be a good result considering the form of both teams.

    • Kneowell Anyanwu

      They ran 5km more than we did, but we got this

  • Kneowell Anyanwu

    Spot on prediction by the writer and it’s quite encouraging to see that some people still have some faith in this team, I know a number who gave up already one third of way down the season. Nice one

    • kaso

      I have faith in this team because of Messi and co, not because of Lucho. Once again, Messi saved the day for Barca.

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        yeah, go ahead and tell me how many made those great saves or those last ditch tackles and clearances at the defence and all that. Everyone did there job, that includes Messi. Messi scored over 60goals a season under pep, Messi came off the bench and scored a hat trick against Seville in the second leg of Spanish super cup to clinch the tittle, Messi scored crucial goals in both champions league final led by pep, I can go on and on and on, it wasn’t saving the day then, it suddenly is now right? Because the name of whoever sitting in the dugout isn’t pep

        • kaso

          Throughout Pep’s reign at Barca, there wasn’t a time Barca was outplayed. But now we get outplayed week in week out. Comparing Lucho to Pep is utterly ridiculous. Lucho is like Roberto Di Matteo of Chelsea who won UCL. Does it mean he is comparable to Mou or Conte. No! Let’s see if he could be able to get a big job after he leaves Barca. He will definitely end up like Di Matteo.

          • Travis Morphy

            You are an Idiot to compare lucho to Di Matteo btw i think enrique did quite impressive at celta how many of those top coaches you so called think will do well with a celta team if lucho don’t get a big don’t make a bad coach or player so stop all these fucking noise and go watch your rugby games

          • Pius Kamau

            That was 1 good season at Celta right??….what happened at Roma??

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            oh well atleast you acknowledge he had a good season with a mid table club, he didn’t sent Roma to relegation either

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            sorry bro, live with the reality that those old guards that helped pep are no more, come out of that dream bro. I liked peps barca, it’s the best in history maybe, but there’s an end to everything and to continue to live in self denial of that fact is stupid.
            but let’s be clear on one thing, Messi saved the day on countless occasions in peps era, so many times our dominance and possession counted for nothing until Messi performs that magic, we were continuously and succesfuly locked out by teams that could park the bus and execute it to perfection then just like we currently are always held hostage by teams that can press us high. Every system has an antidote, you may win for a long while but get found out eventually. With all of peps dominance his barca team was termed too predictable and lacks a plan B. Lucho’s barca could do without the midfield, these are problems created by systems. Too think that you can dominate the way we did without a xavi is a gross and criminal underestimation of what xavi brought to the table, while our new acquisitions haven’t proven to be long term replacements (there will never be one) we can only hope they pull through to form a decent enough bond holding the midfield. This isn’t about comparing pep to lucho, no it isn’t, it’s about letting you know that barca was even more dependent on Messi during pep (hence the term messidep ndencia which was first coined during that era) than it is now and I won’t let the fact that Messi has been huge in recent games blind my eyes to that fact. Thank you

  • futbolistaviva

    Great win. Very tough match. We left it late but so what.
    Everyone played much better today. Wasteful chances by Suarez who should have at least one goal.
    Pique was immense. Messi, magic. We still have problems in midfield though. Iniesta is getting back in form. I though Busquets was playing too high of a line all day and was a bit off with his passing.
    Where are all the haters? Probably playing games on their computers.

    • Kneowell Anyanwu

      Waiting for the next loss or draw of course as usual

      • Pius Kamau

        Haha you guys gotta be freaking kidding me..right??….”haters”…well yes then I’m a “hater” because I criticize NOT BARCA but Luis Enrique and the questionable board members who hired him.
        Barca AGAIN was bailed out by individual brilliance, we still have an almost impossible task of overturning a 4-0 defeat at the hands of PSG, PSG is an opponent that used almost a ‘Simeone-like’ approach – (pressing high, pressing our mid and flanks & pragmatism), but, they have better quality players than Atletico and so we saw the result simply because they took their chances.
        Barca is playing poorly, we are playing to almost less than 60% of our full potential thanks to the coach. That Atletico win was good for our title chances but it doesn’t negate the problems we have.

        • Kneowell Anyanwu

          one simple question, are you a barca hater? Cos I believe that question and answer above was directed to barca haters

          • Pius Kamau

            Whatever you mean by “hater” in this regard isn’t really my business all I know is that I am a Barca fan who wants this team to live up to it’s full potential and to keep the tradition of Johan Cryuff’s footballing ideologies intact and make full use of it’s youth system, YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT RESULTS….I did ask you once what happens when we stop getting results and we’re playing mediocre football and you didn’t answer, we might get a trophy or 2 but I can bet my liver that if Lucho was to continue the trophies would dry up fast along with the quality of football.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            lol, see who cares. I already answered you that we’ll have to wait until the trophies stop coming. Maybe Johan cruyff ideas was the thing at one time,but football is a fast evolving game and some managers or football ideologists live just to counter cruyffs ideas, they put it on pen and paper, put it out there on the pitch and gets results. Speaking of which, results is what matters most in the game of football, we all a fan of cryuff’s ideas not just because of the beautiful play but because of the accolades that comes with it, take away the trophies won by cruyff and guardiola and tell me if the idea still means shit to you. Pep said success of the idea largely lies on the skillet of players you have to execute them, put in one round peg in a square hole and it doesn’t work. Pep met a brick wall in barcelona staying true to that idea and now even he has also added modifications to the idea, he did that in Bayern, he’s doing so now in city. the earlier you embrace the fact that evolution is always gonna sweep Somethings under the carpet in this game the better for. Lucho simple doesn’t have the midfield to play that way and trying to force it is stupidity, his more direct approach has got him near excellent results thus far, it is possible that the trophies will stop coming if he continues, Atleast so suggests the law of marginal utility, but at the same time no system guarantees sextuples every season. Youth system? Common you can’t blame lucho for that, he didn’t send the youth system to the Segunda division 2, Pep in his days had a wealth of talent that won the primera back to back producing busquet and Pedro and many more in the process. You don’t need to bet your liver son, he’s saved you that stress already, he won’t renew his contract.

        • Kneowell Anyanwu

          Sorry your criticism of the board comes very late cos lucho has given barca something from 2014 season till date and the board will never regret hiring someone who has delivered since he was hired. Individual brilliance as you like to call it is not mutually exclusive from team play and you can’t prove that. Messi’s individual brilliance has been saving us since pep days and no wonder pep confessed that Messi made him the best coach in the world. That same individual brilliance that brought Messi himself to lime light and made him the best ever in history is suddenly a problem with some of you fans because the name of the coach is lucho. The same Messi that single handedly tore gatafe apart under rijkard and again under pep and tore Madrid apart under pep and rijkard, same Messi that single handedly scored a hatrick against Sevilla to hand us the Spanish cup, or the same Messi that scored 5 goals in a ucl game, same Messi that scored the winner against man u in a ucl final all under pep (just to mention a few very historic cases) It’s suddenly a problem that he’s doing the same things under lucho. We were so blinded by the beautiful play of tiki taka that we fail to remember how crucial Messi, Iniesta, xavi, busquet, and Dani alves individual brilliance played a very key part to the execution of peps game plan. You need to go watch plenty of those games then to see that the players brilliant skillets made that team what it is with some excellent game plan of course no doubt but take away the 4 players plus puyol and pique and tell me what’s left. Luchos game isn’t beautiful now (though it was when we still had xavi) because of his more direct approach and the players he has in his fold we all know this, has it been effective? Look at the results and answer that can flog the case of individual brilliance till the ends of the earth for all I care but until you can prove to me that it’s mutually exclusive from team play then your claim carries little water.
          C. Ronaldo, hazard, lewandowki, aubumeyang, Sanchez, Robben, Costa, griezman, bale, Aguero, ibrahimovic, modric, Marcelo,alvez, Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta, nuer… Looking at each of these names something quickly comes to mind for each of them individually, they resonate. Do you know why?its because of their individual brilliance, because of what they offer the club and not what the club offers them. that’s why these names stand out among the rest of the pack.
          John Terry was asked by a reporter what he thinks of the signing of Peter Cech by arsenal, he responded and said “Peter Cech is an excellent keeper who can save you 12 to 15 points a season and help you win the title” (individual brilliance) he didn’t say the defence will make sure Cech doesn’t concede goals. After cillesen’s monster performance, Lucho recently said we don’t sign goal keepers because they are good looking but because of their qualities. The reason why the biggest clubs in the world want the best stars in the game is because of what they offer, their ability to change and influence games, this I believe is what you call individual brilliance. These are realities of the modern game. Knock yourself out with thinking otherwise

        • Kneowell Anyanwu

          Can you prove to me now that Messi dribbles more now than he did under pep? Or can you prove he scores more goals now than he did under pep? On both counts he did more under pep, it wasn’t individual then right? But it suddenly is now. Hypocrites