Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Prediction: Atletico Madrid vs FC Barcelona

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 22/25

Bookmaker: 888sport

In what could potentially be a battle for the top spot in La Liga, Atletico Madrid will take on FC Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano this Saturday. Barca sit at the top of the standings with 24 points, but Atletico are only one point behind so whoever gets the three points will end up sitting above everyone else in the standings, at least for a few hours. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this match!

Atletico Madrid

The hosts enter this game on a good run of form, as Diego Simeone’s men are undefeated in their previous nine Liga matches (W5, D4) and have only lost once in their previous 14 competitive matches. As if that wasn’t enough, Atletico own an almost-perfect record at home during the current campaign with seven wins and one draw out of eight home outings. With only one defeat in the last 10 matches across all competitions (W6, D3, L1), this seems to be the perfect time for Los Colchoneros to take on another title contender such as Los Blaugranas. But they can find a way to stop the powerful attacking line led by Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez? For what is worth, Atletico have not defeated Barcelona at home in their last eight league meetings at home (D2, L6). That should be enough motivation to try to pull the upset.

Team News

Atletico Madrid’s lone confirmed absence is the one of star centre-back Diego Godin. However, the team has several doubtful players whose availability will be decided come closer to kick-off.

The aforementioned list includes names such as Diego Costa (foot), Thomas Lemar (thigh) and Koke (muscular). Other potential absences could be Jose Maria Gimenez (muscular), Lucas Hernandez (thigh), Juanfran (calf) and Stefan Savic (leg).

FC Barcelona

There has been a lot of criticism towards Ernesto Valverde and Barcelona as a whole this season. However, Los Blaugranas continue to show why they are considered as the class in La Liga and once again sit at the of the standings on both the league and their Champions League group. However, the Camp Nou outfit is not coming off a good result, since they lost 3-4 against Real Betis at home in their previous outing before the international break. Therefore, Los Blaugranas now need to show the ability to bounce back. The recent head-to-head record against Atletico away from home certainly favours them, and they also have the best attack in the league with 34 goals scored. But it’s not a secret that they must improve defensively, since they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their previous 10 league games, and have already conceded 18 times. That’s the worst mark of any side in the Top 6 in the standings.

Team News

Barcelona won’t have Ivan Rakitic, who is suspended but also suffered an injury on international duty with Croatia. Thomas Vermaelen (muscular) and Sergi Samper (calf) have also been ruled out.

Star playmaker Philippe Coutinho (thigh) has resumed training and could feature here. However, his inclusion will be decided closer to kick-off time.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Diego Simeone edges Ernesto Valverde in the managerial head-to-head record, with a W8, D4, L1 mark.
  • Only five teams have conceded more goals than Barcelona during the current Liga season.
  • However, Los Blaugranas are a force to be reckoned with on the attacking end. They are currently riding a 26-game scoring run in all competitions.
  • Atletico Madrid have only conceded eight goals in league play this season. Only one of those goals came during the first half.
  • In fact, Atletico have not conceded a single goal in five of their previous eight league matches.
  • The previous five matches between these two sides featured under 3.5 goals. Three produced under 2.5 goals in total.

Conclusion

This game has all the makings of one that is going to be tight and that will go down to the wire. With that in mind, I believe there will be under 2.5 goals scored in total.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 22/25

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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