Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Prediction: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 37/13

Bookmaker: 888sport

La Liga title race has been given an unexpected twist over the past couple of weeks with champions-elect Barcelona going through a mini-crisis which high-flying Atletico Madrid will try to exploit and cut the gap behind the league leaders to only three points.

Barcelona

Some kind of apathy and lack of enthusiasm appears to have settled at La Liga leaders Barcelona over the past couple of weeks.

Ernesto Valverde’s men have been alternating between wins and draws in their last seven matches in all competitions and an apparent slump in form has seen their tangible lead at the top of the standings melt to just five points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid. A resounding 6-1 win over Girona appeared to have restored the team’s confidence but the Catalans failed to keep the momentum going. Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Las Palmas of Thursday which is not the result they were hoping for ahead of the high-profile clash against Atletico Madrid. Leo Messi was the one carrying his team forward but his 21st-minute free-kick goal was insufficient to record a win with Las Palmas setting the final score at the very beginning of the second half through a Calleri penalty.

Team News

Ernesto Valverde will have no major problems ahead of the big match against Atletico Madrid.

Nelson Semedo is out of action for the next five weeks with a hamstring injury, whereas Sergi Samperi will continue his lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Atletico Madrid

Contrary to their Sunday rivals’ form, Atletico Madrid are running rampant in La Liga with six wins on the trot.

Diego Simeone’s men are coming off from a compelling 4-0 win against Leganes which will have been a perfect introduction to the big game at Camp Nou. Having defeated Leganes on Wednesday, Atletico Madrid equalled their all-time points record after 26 league matches, which sits at 61. The Madrid-based club will most certainly look to add pressure on Barcelona’s faltering La Liga title run and will urge their in-form star Antoine Griezmann to lead them forward. The French international has been in sensational form for Atletico lately. With seven goals in last two matches, Griezmann’s high-flying form took his goalscoring tally to 15 this season and impressive 103 goals in his Atletico Madrid career.

Team News

Lucas Hernandez is suffering from a thigh injury and is likely to be left out of contention for the huge crunch clash against the Catalans.

Defender Stefan Savic is also a major selection doubt due to his own thigh problem.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona won only 2 of their last 5 La Liga matches
  • Atletico Madrid are on an eight-match winning run in all competitions
  • Antoine Griezmann scored 7 goals in last 2 games for Atletico
  • Atleti kept a clean sheet in three of their last 4 fixtures
  • Leo Messi is La Liga’s top goalscorer with 23 goals to his name

Conclusion

Highly anticipated clash at Camp Nou is a potential title decider and both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will be under huge pressure not to lose it. Los Colchineros are in excellent form at the moment and will travel to Barcelona high on confidence which can’t be said to the home side.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 37/13

Bookmaker: 888sport

 

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