A clash between two La Liga giants take place on Sunday evening (20:00) as Atletico Madrid welcome Barcelona to the Metropolitano Stadium. We’ve previewed the game and picked out our two best bets.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Tips
Barcelona have been unconvincing since the restart after the World Cup drawing 1-1 with Espanyol last weekend before being taken to extra time in the Copa Del Rey by third tier Intercity CF in midweek.
Atletico, meanwhile, have recorded three wins since returning to action although they remain 11 points off Barcelona who are currently top of the table.
Barca have lost just three of their last 24 away games in La Liga with all three of those defeats coming in Madrid.
Last season’s 2-0 loss at the Metropolitano was followed by a 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano, before a 19-match unbeaten run on the road was ended at the Bernabeu back in October.
Another tough night looks likely against an Atletico side who have been erratic this season, but who are capable of frustrating the Catalonians, particularly with Robert Lewandowski missing due to suspension.
Diego Simeone’s side have won each of their last two home league matches against Barca, and they can be backed to take the three points here at 21/10. Meanwhile, Xavi’s men are 13/10 to be victorious, and the draw can be backed at 23/10, while 1-1 is the bookies’ favourite for the correct score at 11/2.
Mario Hermoso will be suspended for the hosts for Sunday’s game, for his red card against Elche. Stefan Savic and Rodrigo de Paul are also expected to miss out due to injuries.
Robert Lewandowski and Jordi Albi are both suspended for this clash, with Memphis Depay and Marco Alonso expected to replace them in the starting line-up.
Under 2.5 Total Goals @ 5/6
Matches between these pair have seen few goals in recent years and that trend should continue this weekend, in my opinion.
Atleti have conceded just 14 times in 15 games and are always capable of putting in a stubborn defensive display, while Barcelona have conceded six times in 15 La Liga outings, making them the strongest team at the back in the division. The Catalans also may fire a few blanks in front of goal without the suspended Robert Lewandowski.
Simeone’s men are not exactly known for their free-flowing attack, so a low-scoring affair looks to be on the cards here.
Match Result – Draw @ 23/10
I’m backing the spoils to be shared in this clash.
Barcelona have been incredibly solid defensively this season, and Atletico certainly know how to stifle and frustrate their opponents in the bigger games. Xavi’s side have been slow out of the blocks, and the last thing they need is a tricky test away at the Metropolitano Stadium.
Barca have lost just once on the road this season – although that defeat came in Madrid. I’m expecting a close game, so I’m playing the draw.
*All prices correct at the time of writing.