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Prediction: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

La Liga champions Barcelona head into the highly-anticipated clash with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday as league’s best home attack meets the Spanish best away defence. Both sides are coming from resounding five-goal wins at the weekend and will be eager to make their presence known in what is expected to be another close contest between two Spanish heavyweights.

Barcelona

Luis Enrique’s team are heading into the match with Atletico Madrid in fine form, having bounced back from the 2-1 stunner against Alaves with back-to-back victories over Celtic and Leganes. Barcelona displayed incredible attack-oriented football as a response to a shocking defeat having scored 12 goals and allowed just one. The notorious MSN trio consisting of Messi, Suarez and Neymar have been putting in fascinating showings, with all three of them getting on the scoring sheet in their last outing against Leganes. Eager to prove that loss to Alaves was an individual incident, Luis Enrique continued to shuffle his deck opting to leave out Sergio Busquets as he wanted to rest his defensive midfielder, but still deciding to stick with the 3-4-3 tactics we are expected to see once again against Los Colchoneros. Despite the first experiment cost him dearly, Enrique picked an experimental side for the second game running. Atletico Madrid are too much of a threat and the Catalan coach will have no room for improvisation this time though.

Team News

Sergio Busquets is expected to return to the fold, together with Sergi Roberto, who is to be picked in front of Aleix Vidal at right back.

With all of his players fully fit to feature, Luis Enrique will be faced with a challenge of picking the strongest side for Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid

Following a slower star to their season, which resulted in back-to-back draws with minnows Alaves and Leganes, Atletico Madrid notched three straight wins, two of which were La Liga triumphs over Celta Vigo and Gijon. It is not usual to see defensively-oriented Los Colchoneros score 9 goals in two outings, but it came as an expected result to Diego Simeone’s switch in tactics. Atletico head coach pulled a surprise on Sunday by deploying an offensive line-up against Sporting Gijon. Instead of his usual 4-3-3 he opted to go with 4-4-2 and Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann, Yannick Fereira Carrasco and Nico Gaitan all lined up in attack. Simeone’s decision yielded great results as it allowed Atletico Madrid to grab a compelling 5-0 win which helped them move to the fourth place in La Liga. Sitting one point behind their Wednesday’s rivals, Los Colchoneros will be highly motivated to continue in the same fashion and prove that opening draws were just minor setbacks.

Team News

Tiago Mendes remains on the sidelines together with Atletico Madrid’s long-term absentees Alessio Cerci and Miguel Angel Moya.

Diego Simeone is likely to switch back to 4-3-3 with Gabi likely to take his place in the team instead of Nico Gaitan.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona scored 12 goals in last two games
  • Atletico Madrid bagged 10 goals in three matches
  • Last three clashes between two rivals were won by a home side
  • The Catalans won eight of the last nine meetings with Atletico
  • Los Colchoneros triumphed in their last two games on the road

Conclusion

Wednesday’s duel at Camp Nou will be a meeting between two highly efficient sides, which have displayed attack-oriented football in recent weeks much to delight of their respective fans. Clashes between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid rarely disappoint and there is no doubt that we shall be in for another highly exciting contest between title contenders.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Tue 20 Sep, 2016
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