First blood of La Liga classic matches, Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
La Liga new 2016/17 season is only four matchday old and two of the title contenders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will go head to head in midweek match at 1:30 am IST on Thursday, 22nd September. Although, it’s not early considering last season fixture which came early on second matchday. Last season Barcelona travelled to Vicente Calderon in drawing first blood, but this time Rojiblancos will travel to Catalan’s capital at Camp Nou in order to improve their ranks against giant Barcelona.
La Liga, Spanish Primera division has been dominated by two Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, but in recent years Atletico Madrid has built their reputations as title challengers. Spain is completely dominated by Madrid giant Los blancos and Blaugranas, and El Clasico (the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid) is the central fixture of Primera division. But, Rojiblancos have changed the dynamics of Spanish football.
In 2014, they won La Liga on 2nd last matchday, playing a draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou, and same season they also knocked out the Catalans from Champions League in quarter-final match tie. Since then things have completely changed and Spanish battle has become triple threat. You may have three or four El Clasicos in a given season in past, but now you have six classic matches to watch only in Primera division itself. Two between Barcelona & Atletico, two between Atletico & Real Madrid, and top of all that El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
And, if you get those classics in Copa Del Rey and Champions League, those will be cherry on top. It’s Atletico not Real who has troubled most Barcelona in recent years. A 2014 2nd last matchday 1-1 draw to snatch the La Liga champions title, and Champions League quarter-final aggregate win was more than humiliation for Barcelona, in which Barcelona didn’t win a single trophy. Barcelona is undefeated in La Liga against Atletico Madrid since 2010. But, the scoreline have changed in recent years, fixtures have become more competitive, and Atletico have outplayed them in Champions League in recent years. In last eight years Barcelona didn’t play semifinal on only two occasions and on both occasion it was Atletico Madrid who knocked them out from quarter-finals stage in 2014 as well as in 2016.
Barcelona is a team who starts their campaign every season dreaming about winning Champions League, and it hurts to be knocked out by a smaller club from your own country before even reaching at semifinal stage. Atletico vs Barcelona has become more fascinating than El Clasico, and Atletico vs Real – has become more dominating in Spain and Europe as well in recent years. So, this fixture is more important for Barcelona to grab their lost footing in Europe as well as in Spain.