Atletico MadridLa LigaVS
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For several years previous, this has been a fixture that usually has title race implications with it, but that certainly isn’t the case this season.
The pair are some way off current La Liga leaders Real Madrid, and instead, this is significant for the top four battle.
Barcelona are obviously going through quite the transitional period in this post-Lionel Messi era. They managed to bolster the squad in the January transfer window, and the new recruits might be just the ticket to finish in the Champions League qualification places.
Atletico have been pretty inconsistent so far this campaign. We’ve come to expect a bit more from Diego Simeone’s side, but they’ve been off the pace this term.
Barcelona are favourites for this one, but it’s tough to trust either side for win purposes. Both teams arrive in patchy form, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it was quite a cagey affair.
The home side will be buoyed by their new signings - and it’ll be interesting to see what team Xavi plays - but expect Atletico to dig in and make it a battle.
There’s a certain vulnerability about Barca this season, but Atletico aren’t really in the form to fully capatalise like they did earlier in the campaign at the Wanda Metropoliano Stadium.
The last two meetings at the Camp Nou between the pair have ended in draws. That’s the result we like for this one - an outcome available at odds of 11/5 with bet365.
It was a fairly busy January transfer window for Barcelona, with several new additions coming to the Camp Nou.
After acquiring Ferran Torres and Dani Alves at the end of last year, key moves have been made to add some spice to their frontline.
Adama Traore rejoined the Catalan giants after being part of their youth setup earlier in his career. The powerful winger has initially moved on loan from Wolves until the end of the season, with an option for Barcelona to buy him in the summer.
There was uncertainty at one point on whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would join, but in the end a deal was made, and the Gabon striker moved from Arsenal on a free transfer.
Both Traore and Aubameyang will add a much-needed new dimension to Barcelona going forward, and when adding Torres into the mix, things start to look a tad rosier.
They still have a long way to go to compete with Real Madrid again, but they at least seem to be moving back in the right direction with the players they’ve brought in.
Barca clawed their way to a 1-0 victory over struggling Alaves when last in action. Torres provided the assist as Frenkie de Jong slotted home in the 87th minute.
The solid base that Simeone’s Atletico Madrid team are always associated with has been lacking this term. They’ve conceded eight goals in their last four games across all competitions, and they’ve won just three times in their last nine outings.
They have a game in hand on La Liga leaders Real Madrid, but with them currently being fourteen points adrift of their city rivals, their hopes of successfully defending their title have pretty much disappeared.
Instead, Los Colchoneros’ main focus will be on finishing in the top four. They should have too much quality for the teams around them in the long haul, but Simeone will want to see his men back to near their best sooner rather than later.
They do have a bit of momentum in the league, considering they’ve won two of their last three, and they managed to get all three points against Valencia in their last match before the winter break. It was a thrilling contest that saw Atletico score in the 91st and 93rd minutes of the game, to complete a remarkable late turnaround.
In terms of recent history, Atletico come out better in the formbook, with three wins from their last five clashes with Barcelona. The other two games in that time were draws, so you have to go back to 2019 for the last Barca win.
They’ve faced each other 66 times in total. The Blaugrana come out on top here with 31 wins to their name, compared to Atletico’s 18.
The Camp Nou opened in 1957, and with its capacity of 99,354, it’s the largest stadium in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world.
It’s iconic bowl style reaches towering heights - with three different tiers of seating - and it’s usually filled with plenty of colour on matchdays.
Current Covid restrictions in Spain mean the Camp Nou can only run at 75% capacity.
Atletico are just a point ahead of Barcelona in the table, and these two are likely to be right in the thick of it when it comes to the hustle for a Champions League qualification spot.
Neither are in sparkling form, but Barcelona added some much-needed quality in the January transfer window, and it’ll be interesting to see how well they all fit in.