Monday, June 17, 2024

Barcelona 1-0 Atletico Madrid: What Were The Key Talking Points As Xavis’ Side Make A Heavyweight Return To Winning Ways?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, La Liga 23 Apr 2023

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In what was a heavyweight La Liga showdown on Sunday afternoon, Barcelona made a welcomed return to winning ways as they claimed a 1-0 victory against Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp.

Claiming a 1-0 victory when the two sides met in the Spanish capital for their reverse meeting on January 8th, it was a similar story for Xavi’s young squad as they widened their buffer at the top of the La Liga standings to 11 points.

With ex-Manchester City forward Ferran Torres eventually bagging the winner just a couple of minutes before the half-time break, Barca also drew a line under their three-match domestic winless run.

Picking up a heavyweight scalp in Catalonia and now losing just one of their last five meetings against Los Colchoneros, the champions-elect also handed Atletico their first top-flight defeat since the start of January.

Now within touching distance of getting their hands on a first La Liga trophy in three years, Barca were certainly back to their rugged best here.

In a contest that often proved to be a fiery affair, we have taken a look at the main talking points from the Nou Camp.

Xavi’s side are within touching distance of La Liga history

Although Barcelona might have come under a huge amount of scrutiny for yet another European nightmare this season, it is no secret that Xavi’s side are breezing their way towards the La Liga history books.

With their sole attention in 2023 based on getting their hands on a first domestic crown since 2019, Sunday’s hosts have only continued to impress many on their Spanish romp this season.

While the Nou Camp hierarchy might be dealing with a string of public issues behind the scenes in Catalonia, the champions-elect have simply been head and shoulders ahead of Spain’s elite this season.

With Sunday’s 1-0 victory now extending their buffer over defending champions Real Madrid to 11 points, it is fair to say that Barca are now within touching distance of completing the job.

Helped by Los Blancos’ extended domestic struggles this season, Xavi was rightfully thrilled to see his side demonstrate their mental resolve here.

Next seen making the trip to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday night, Barcelona will be looking to sign off their La Liga romp with an end-of-season flurry.

Barca back to their rugged best

While Barca might know that it would take an almighty collapse to stop them from claiming a first La Liga crown since 2019, Xavi’s side had endured somewhat of a brief wobble since returning from March’s international break.

Shockingly crashing out of the Copa del Rey on April 5th as they slumped to a remarkable 4-0 second-leg hammering at home against Real Madrid, fans around Catalonia were calling on their side to claim a much-needed boost here.

Opening Sunday’s showdown at the Nou Camp after having to settle for back-to-back 0-0 stalemates against Getafe and Girona, Barca found themselves in the midst of a three-match winless run across all competitions.

However, getting themselves back on track here and showing why they’re the champions-elect, it has been Barcelona’s defensive resolve which has been the backbone of their success this season.

In fact, now keeping a clean sheet in each of their last four La Liga appearances, the Spanish icons have also shipped just a staggering nine strikes from their 30 top-flight contests this year.

Atletico’s domestic romp comes to an abrupt end

While Atletico might have long since expected that any kind of shock title charge is off the table for another season, Sunday’s guests had been enjoying what was an extended romp since returning from the World Cup’s winter break.

Despite being hit with a 1-0 loss when they welcomed the runaway leaders to Madrid for their reverse La Liga meeting on January 8th, many in Simeone’s camp had been smelling the chance to spring a heavyweight upset in Catalonia.

However, now mustering just a single victory from any of their last five meetings against Barca, Los Colchoneros would have been hugely disappointed to have seen their six-match winning run come to an abrupt end.

However, with their 1-0 defeat at the Nou Camp just Atletico’s first La Liga loss since the start of January, Simeone’s side will be looking to prove that Sunday’s toothless display was nothing more than a minor blip.

Cruising their way to yet another top-four finish, there is no doubt that Atletico’s sole ambition over the final few weeks is to snatch a silver medal finish from their bitter local rivals.

Match Report

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Araujo, Alonso, Balde, De Jong, Busquets, Gavi, Raphinha, Lewandowski, Torres

Subs: Fati, Garcia, Kessie, Pedri

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Molina, Savic, Gimenez, Hermoso, Carrasco, Lemar, De Paul, Witsel, Griezmann, Correa

Subs: Region, Saul, Morata, Barrios

Goals: Torres (44’)

Yellow Cards: Barcelona: Alonso, Busquets, Raphinha, Gavi – Atletico Madrid: Griezmann, Savic, Morata, Reguilon, Barrios, Gimenez, Saul

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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