Wanda Metropolitano hosts one of the biggest clashes of La Liga as Atlético Madrid welcomes Barcelona in the fight for the top of the league table. The teams will meet on Sunday at 21:00 CET.
Atlético Madrid cannot find any sort of consistency this season. Diego Simeone’s side struggled with efficiency, as Los Colchones netted just 16 league goals in 14 matches. In typical Simeone fashion, they have La Liga’s best defense along with Athletic Bilbao, conceding just nine goals so far.
Injuries are a big issue for Atlético this season. Their latest star-signing from Benfica, Joao Felix, suffered an injury against Valencia in October, and just returned in a recent draw to Granada. Furthermore, Diego Costa is out for a couple of months. The defensive anchors, Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic are also out of action due to injuries.
Despite having the initial idea to change the approach this season, it seems as if Simeone is failing to achieve that. The idea was to play more attacking football, facilitated through Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi as attacking fullbacks sitting very deep into the opponent’s half. Despite some genuinely great performances from the duo, the lack of striking power saw their crossing efforts come to nothing more often than not.
Still, Atlético Madrid will have one big advantage on Sunday – playing at home.
Away struggles for Barca
Not only that Atlético haven’t lost at home yet this season, but Barcelona are abysmal once they leave the safety of Camp Nou where they’re perfect with six wins in the same amount of matches. However, away form has been nothing short of worrying for Valverde with three defeats and a draw already as they dropped points against the likes of Athletic Bilbao, Granada, and Levante.
Blaugrana mostly relies on Messi’s set-piece magic to get them out of trouble in away matches. Who can blame them? The Argentinian is impressing the world yet again with his free-kick magic this season, but his team-mates must do more in order for the Catalans to really rise above average away from home. Ousmane Dembele’s injury against Dortmund won’t help them either as the speedy winger suffered his sixth injury this season only.
The latest win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, however, lifted the spirits for Barcelona and Valverde. The Catalans will also be happy to hear that they are undefeated in Atlético clashes for eight matches in a row now. After six consecutive matches without a clean sheet, Atlético’s men confidence is laying low, and Barcelona could perhaps take advantage and break the away curse with a huge win over their title rivals.
Prediction: Barcelona to win at 2.60 odds.
Make sure to bet on Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid with 22Bet!