Saturday, December 7, 2019

Prediction: Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

The race for the top spot in LaLiga standings is quite tight, although FC Barcelona have their backs against the wall. Following Real Madrid’s win on Saturday against Alaves, Los Blaugranas must secure the three points here if they want to move back to the top of the standings. However, Atletico Madrid have a lot to play for, since a win here would move them to the second spot of the standings tied with Barca. Kick-off for this thrilling match will start at 20:00 GMT at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid

Los Colchoneros have lost just once this season and while they enter this matchup on a 10-game undefeated streak in league play, they have won just three of those contests (W3, D7). Scoring goals has been one of Atletico’s biggest problems thus far, as only one team in the Top 10 of the standings has scored fewer goals than Atletico’s 16. However, they compensate that lack of firepower with a strong defensive unit that has conceded just nine goals during the current term. Atletico are tied with Athletic Bilbao for the best defence in the league, so having a low-scoring affair in this match might not surprise anyone. For what is worth, four of Atletico Madrid’s last five league matches have ended with two goals or fewer scored. They are coming off a 1-1 away draw at Granada the last time out.

Team News

Diego Costa (neck) and Sime Vrsaljko (knee) have both been ruled out ahead of this match. Centre-back Stefan Savic has been listed as questionable due to a muscle injury, while Jose Maria Gimenez is dealing with a thigh problem. Both players are quite unlikely to feature here.

FC Barcelona

On the other hand, Los Blaugranas know they need the three points here because otherwise, they would allow Real Madrid to go clear to the top of the standings. Considering El Clasico is fast approaching, Barcelona do not want to give their fierce rivals an inch of space in the standings. Ernesto Valverde’s men are coming off a big 3-1 win over Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week, and they also secured three more points in league play this past weekend following a 2-1 away win at Leganes. Winners of two straight games and four in their last five, there is no question Barcelona are in top form at the moment. One of their biggest strengths has been their attacking line. Headlined by Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and former Atletico star Antoine Griezmann, Barca own the league’s deadliest attack with 35 goals scored in 13 matches.

Team News

Barcelona won’t have four players available for this thrilling Liga matchup. Nelson Semedo (calf), Jordi Alba (muscular) and Ousmane Dembele (thigh) are injured, while Sergio Busquets is suspended. Barring Dembele, the other three players are first-choice names for Valverde when everyone is fit.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Seven of the last 10 H2H meetings have seen both teams scoring. Each of the last four has produced under 2.5 total goals.
  • Los Blaugranas are on an eight-game undefeated streak against Atletico Madrid in all competitions (W4, D4).
  • One side has netted multiple goals just three times over the last eight meetings between these two sides.
  • Barcelona have conceded multiple goals just twice over their last 15 matches in all competitions.
  • Diego Simeone’s men have also allowed over 1.5 goals just twice in their last 15 matches in all competitions. Those two games were Champions League matches, though.

Conclusion

All signs point towards this game being extremely tight. The last four H2H meetings have featured two or fewer goals, while none of the last 10 in all competitions has had over 3.5 goals. Expect this contest to be tight once again, particularly due to Atletico Madrid’s defensive tendencies. So we should be in line to see two goals maximum in this one.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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