Barcelona vs Athletico Madrid Match Preview : Title Contenders Face Off

FC Barcelona welcomes Atletico Madrid this Sunday to Camp Nou in a battle of one and two in La Liga. A win for Barcelona would see them increase their lead to 9 points and though it is only the half way point of the season, one would assume that the title race is over. But on the other hand, a win for Athletico will see the deficit reduce to just 3 points between them and also keep the hopes of the defending champions Real Madrid alive.

 

Barcelona : 

With 14 wins and only one loss, FC Barcelona is off to their greatest start in history, surpassing the La Liga record previously held by rivals Real Madrid. Just when everyone seemed to think their reign at the top of European football was at an end after a poor season which also saw their manager Pep Guardiola depart, the Catalans turn on high gear and look more unbeatable than ever.New manager Tito Villanova took the job to much criticism, but has quieted all doubters through Barcelona’s on field performances.

They are so tough to play against because they usually control between 60-70% of the ball at least, and have gone as high as 84% in the Champions League.

With Messi in red hot form and breaking new records each week, it will be really hard to contain him as usual.

Considering Barcelona’s form, and Atletico’s rather meek display at the Bernabeu two weeks ago, Diego Simeone’s side might be written off in some quarters ahead of Sunday’s match. However they traditionally give Barcelona far more problems than they do their local rivals,so you’d expect them to be a real threat to Barca’s frequently porous back line.

 

Athletico Madrid

While no visit to Barcelona is easy, this Madrid side come here in the best form and position to do it. They have completely changed the way they approach the season, and with Radamel Falcao on 60 goals in 66 appearances, and 16 in 14 this season, this side can cause an ‘upset’ here. To me, it wouldn’t be, but at odds of 9/1, it would be and this team have not fared well here in past years, losing 4 straight.

However, they have 37 points from 15 games, lost 2-0 at Madrid earlier this year and will be looking to tweak how they approach the top two clubs. The key is to play Barca at its game, keep possession, and Madrid do that themselves. Depor rarely saw the ball in a 6-0 loss last weekend and if they can keep the ball for at least 45%, they’ll create the chances to get goals.

 

Prediction : 

Finally, we predict a loss to Barcelona. It should be an entertaining game but Barca will eventually slip up at the back.

Barcelona 1-2Athletico 

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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