Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid preview : Barcelona have to win to grab their lost footing
Barcelona will host Atletico Madrid on 22nd Septembeat at 1:30 am IST, in Camp Nou. This is the fifth matchday in La Liga which will be played in midweek. Atletico has troubled a lot to Barcelona in recent years, and in last three years Rojiblancos have tarnished the image of Blaugranas, defeating them in Champions League quarter-finals stage in 2014 and 2016 seasons, and not to forget snatching a point on 37th matchday at Camp Nou in La Liga 2013/14 season to become eventual champion.
No team has heart Barcelona more than Atletico Madrid in recent times despite having an unbeaten run in Spanish Primera division since 2010. They have hurt the Catalans at the biggest stage of European football, knocking them out at quarter-finalss stage on two successive occasion when they were tied together in 2014 and 2016. It’s also the only occasions when Barcelona didn’t qualify for Champions League semifinal stage in last eight years.
So, stake is high and Barcelona will be looking forward to make them pay for those defeats. Barcelona want revenge for their lost footing in European football and as well as tarnished image in Spain. Barcelona does not deserve to be the third best in Spain, they are no,1, and they are La Liga title defenders. They were facing challenges with other Madrid based club Real Madrid in past, and they still haven’t made the records even with Los Blancos and Rojiblancos started troubling them.
Barcelona focus on Real Madrid is earning good points for Atletico Madrid, Atletico has brought misery for Blaugranas in recent past and to make things even, Barcelona can’t afford to loose against them. Barcelona coach Luis Enrique also admit that in order to retain title hat-trick time consecutively they have to beat Rojiblancos.
Champions League defeat memory is fresh in Catalan’s mind and this is early season. MSN is not tired, and they are firing in the same fashion as they ended last season, last two fixtures consists of 12 goals itself, winning 5-1 against Leganes and 7-0 against Celtic in champions League. If we consider SuperCopa de Espana, in last seven fixtures Barcelona has fired 25 goals, meanwhile Atletico did have a soft start playing two back to back draw against promoted sides Alaves and Leganes, but they bounced back in last two fixtures of La Liga firing 9 goals, and maintained their clean-sheets without conceding any goal since playing 1-1 draw with Alaves.
In the latest encounter between the two club Los Colchoneros were victorious with 2-0, which costed Barcelona their Champions League exit 3-1 on aggregate last season as it happened in 2013/14 season. Atletico has been hard nut to crack for Barcelona, despite being Messi boasting himself as 2nd best goal run of 25 from 30 matches against Rojiblancos.
Luis Enrique is aware about his challenges as he said,”They look like they’re practically the same team that was so successful in the last few years, especially the way they defend and in other aspects of play like transition game, counterattack. They’re very good at set-pieces. And with their new players and their other players, they’re one of the best teams in [La Liga]. They’re aspiring to all the titles on the table, like they have in recent years with Simeone as their coach.”
“And we have to do a lot of things well. Commit very few errors, play our game, try to control possession – we have to play a complete game. There hasn’t been any easy game against them in the last few years. They’re a very direct team. We have to beat them in order to win the title. We’re going to need to do everything well in order to beat them.
“They’re very solid, they play great defensively. They’re capable of creating pressure up high. And defensively they’re probably the best team and that’s how complex it is to beat them. That’s indicative of the work they do. They have very good players in attack as well. A lot of options to attack both up the middle and out on the wing. When you put all these things together, it turns out to be a very complicated team [to play against].” as reported on goal.com
Predicted line-ups :
Barcelona – Ter Stegen, Pique, Mascherano, Roberto, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic, Neymar, Suarez and Messi
Atletico Madrid – Oblak, Savic, Godin, Juanfran, Luis, Koke, Gabi, Saul, Carassco, Gameiro, and Griezmann
Predicted scoreline – Barcelona to win 2-1