Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Prediction, Preview & Betting Tips
A game we’ve seen quite a few times in last couple of years and already twice earlier in February, as Atletico Madrid takes on Barcelona in a match from round 24 of the Spanish La Liga. “Los Colchoneros” will host to Barcelona for the second time in 2017 and their current LaLiga encounter comes almost three weeks after Atleti have been knocked out from Spanish Copa del Rey semi-finals by the “Blaugrana”.
H2H Stats – Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: All football fans and not only those in Spain are well-aware about a continuous head-to-head history both clubs hold. It mostly strikes on our attention in past few seasons where we observe even more intensive rivalry which includes an impressive number of 11 matches between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in period 2015-2017.
In the aforementioned number of meetings facing Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in space of just two years, we find matches in three different competitions. Besides all domestic games in the La Liga and the Copa del Rey, Atleti and Barca have met in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals. Second leg of which took place at the “Estadio Vicente Calderón” in Spanish capital Madrid and was the only win of Atletico in that period. However, Antoine Griezmann’s performance inspired a 2-0 win that qualified Atleti to the next round and thus dethroned Luis Enrique’s Barcelona.
Meanwhile Barcelona boasts with 8 wins out of 11 games vs Atleti, as 7 of them were part of a winning streak prior their Champions League duel. Number eight of them was less than a month ago – on 1 February 2017, when Barca won 1-2 at the “Vicente Calderón” and gained a comfortable lead before second leg in Catalonia. One week later Barca couldn’t won at the “Camp Nou” but Luis Enrique should be content from a fact his men have not lost, since game ended with a draw (1-1) and will be remembered with a high number of red cards shown. Surprisingly two of them were for Barcelona – Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez have been sent-off, while Yannick Carrasco from Atleti saw the red colour as well.
LaLiga: Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona 26.02.2017
Latest La Liga fixture between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona took place on 21 September 2016 when both sides shared a point and Barca could regret about a missed opportunity. Not only because they have controlled the initiative (as usual) and created the most scoring chances, but because Ivan Rakitic opened the score and Barcelona were leading on half-time. Nevertheless, Diego Simeone’s approach worked and his Argentine compatriot Angel Correa leveled the score seconds after he replaced Kevin Gameiro in the 60th minute.
That game was only couple of days after beginning of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League group phase and after a successful start for two of all Spanish La Liga representatives. Months later Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are with clear aspirations on all fronts and if Barcelona are keen to dominate the local competition, Atleti once again aims to the UEFA Champions League.
Atleti returns at home after a midweek journey to Germany where on Tuesday night Los Colchoneros made a crucial step to the Champions League quarter-finals. That happened at the “BayArena” in Leverkusen where Atletico Madrid won with 2-4 over hosts Bayer Leverkusen. Moreover, Diego Simeone can be pleased by a diversity of goal scorers in that game as there was a quartet under the spotlight – Saúl Ñíguez, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres were all on the score sheet.
And if Atletico Madrid may draw out inspiration out of their Champions League performance, Barcelona will have to rewrite history of European football in order to get a place in one of the eight balls which are used in the quarter-finals draw. After a not so romantic trip to Paris on Valentine’s Day, Barcelona suffered an unforgettable loss at the “Parc des Princes”. The 4-0 win of PSG was a massive blow over Barca’s European dream and probably upon Luis Enrique’s future.
Speculations about a new coach at the “Camp Nou” are growing and Luis Enrique is surely filled with uncertainty regarding his future. Possible winning of the Spanish Cup can be a success but a club of Barcelona’s calibre demands better accomplishments.
If we presume that PSG eliminates Barcelona, “The Blaugrana” are still behind rivals Real Madrid in the La Liga standings. Good news came in the midweek when Barca had a rest while Real Madrid had to play a postponed match against Valencia, which fortunately to Barcelona’s title ambitions ended with a home win at the “Mestalla”. This keeps a point distance between Real Madrid and Barcelona, although “The Merengues” have one game less. That’s a situation which makes an upcoming visit to Madrid even more significant and Barcelona should pull their ultimate effort.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Few days before travelling to North Rhine-Westphalia, Atletico Madrid scored another foursome, this time in Sporting Gijon’s net. That happened last Saturday when Kevin Gameiro netted a hat-trick and his recent form definitely deserves credit. Diego Simeone can be particularly pleased by a variety of attacking options he has and their productivity not only in the midweek. Fernando Torres, Yannick Carrasco, Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann are all scoring for Atleti in the past few weeks and this carries only positives for Diego Simeone’s game plan.
Apart from a decent squad depth on the front line, Atleti’s boss should be more concerned about situation in defense. And if goalkeeper Jan Oblak should be fit to return between the sticks (he sat on the bench against Leverkusen), right defender Juanfran remains sidelined. Experienced right-back will be replaced by Sime Vrsaljko and Croatian youngster seems to be a good option. Of course, playing against Barcelona will be a huge challenge and test for his ability, but he already has some experience in big games and Euro 2016 matches in that number.
Others who are ruled out of Diego Simeone’s plans are midfielders Tiago and Augusto Fernández, but biggest woe “El Cholo” has is surely related with name of vice-captain Diego Godín. The Uruguayan picked up an injury in second leg of the Copa del Rey match against Barcelona and he still recovers. This required a proper action by Simeone who rotates Lucas Hernández and José Giménez as a centre-back partners of Stefan Savic.
Main ace of The Catalans here is that Barcelona had a week full of rest, which was their first opportunity for longer recovery in 2017. So far Barcelona was involved in an endless cycle of midweek-weekend games in different competitions, but finally Luis Enrique can rely to a fully rested squad.
Midfielder Sergio Busquets is back after suspension and should feature from the outset in the holding midfield role, with Ivan Rakitic also looks forward to retain his starting position. We won’t be surprised if Andre Gomes is the one who can be dropped out as the Portuguese midfielder became subject of criticism about his ability to wear Barcelona’s jersey.
Both French defenders Samuel Umtiti and Jeremy Mathieu compete for a position next to Gerard Pique, who has been rested in last weekend’s dramatic 2-1 success vs Leganes.
Aleix Vidal is only sure absentee in Luis Enrique’s formation where we find two other doubts – Javier Mascherano and Arda Turan. Otherwise we don’t expect any surprises in Barcelona and Luis Enrique believes his star trio MSN will do the work here.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Atletico Madrid have lost just one of their last 28 La Liga fixtures at the “Estadio Vicente Calderon” that was 0-3 by Real Madrid last November. “Los Colchoneros” are really solid at home and the hosts will be determined to close out their last clash vs Barcelona with a memorable victory before they change stadium during the summer.
Atleti’s last home La Liga win over Barca dates from February 2010 when Quique Sánchez Flores still led the team. Diego Simeone can even pull out extra motivation to win in a La Liga game vs Barcelona and eventual good score here can be a sign that Atletico Madrid should not have any issues to hold its top 4 status, although Real Sociedad breathes at their back.
Barcelona plays well against Atletico Madrid and fact they have lost only once in last 11 games speaks enough. However, Luis Enrique should not look at the history in such a moment and he must use the pause he had to return confidence inside its team. If a trio Messi-Suarez-Neymar is even near of being in-form, this promises one really tough Sunday afternoon for the home team.
Last three encounters and 9 of their last 12 have finished with both teams scoring a goal and importance of this clash once more calls for a proper attacking action by Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Our betting prediction goes on “Both teams to score – Yes“.
Venue: “Estadio Vicente Calderon”, Madrid.
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
Possible Lineups of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona
Atlético Madrid: Jan Oblak – Sime Vrsaljko, Stefan Savic, Diego Godin, Filipe Luis – Saúl Ñíguez, Koke, Gabi, Yannick Carrasco – Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro. (4-4-2)
FC Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto – Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets – Neymar, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi. (4-3-3)