Sunday, July 12, 2020

Prediction: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 8 Jan 2020

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Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides who are looking to secure a spot in the final of this year’s revamped Spanish Super Cup, Barcelona will face off against Atletico Madrid in Saudi Arabia on Thursday night.

Barcelona

Starting with the reigning La Liga champions, while Barcelona may have returned from the festive break with their spot at the top of Spain’s top-tier, it has been far from a convincing campaign so far for Ernesto Valverde’s men. Despite coming from behind away at Espanyol over the weekend, the European giants could only muster a 2-2 draw at the RCDE Stadium and have now had to settle for a single point in three of their last four appearances. Although attacking talisman and six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi might once again be leading the race for the La Liga Golden Boot with 14 strikes, there is no doubt that fans around the Nou Camp will be concerned by their side’s continued struggles at the back. Along with shipping a pair of goals against an Espanyol side who open the New Year rock-bottom of the table, Barca have managed to record just a pair of clean sheets in any of their previous nine matches across all competitions.

Team News

Barcelona are without first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is struggling with tendinitis in his right knee.

Arthur Melo (groin) and Ousmane Dembele (hamstring) are the other headline absentees from Valverde’s 24-man traveling squad.

Atletico Madrid

As for Atletico, while a sluggish start to the new campaign may have had many questioning Diego Simeone position in the Spanish capital, Los Rojiblancos have bounced back in some style. Coming off the back of a 2-1 win at home against Levante over the weekend, they have now recorded four victories on the bounce and have once again found a way back into the top-four. With the mood around the Wanda Metropolitano arguably the highest it has been this season, Atletico sit just five points adrift of both Barcelona and Real Madrid and have their sights set on mounting a shock title charge in 2020. If Simeone’s men are to secure a spot in the final of this year’s Super Cup, there is no doubt that Thursday’s traveling support will be calling on leading marksman Alvaro Morata to lead their charge on foreign soil. Bagging more than double any other player in the Spanish capital, the former Chelsea outcast has bagged two strikes in his last three matches against La Liga opponents.

Team News

Atletico will be without the trio of Stefan Savic, Thomas Lemar, and Diego Costa on Thursday night.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off back at the start of December, Barcelona snatched a 1-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.
  • Atletico Madrid have not beaten Barcelona across any competition since April 2016, a nine-match winless run.
  • Each of the last five matches between the two sides have seen under 2.5 goals at full-time.
  • Barcelona have recorded just two clean sheets in their last nine matches across all formats.
  • Atletico Madrid have won each of their last four matches on the bounce.

Conclusion

While on paper Thursday’s matchup out in Saudi Arabia might have all the makings of a mouthwatering encounter, we’re backing a yet another cagey contest between the two Spanish heavyweights. With Barcelona leaving it late to snatch a dramatic 1-0 win in the capital last month, coupled with each of the last five matches between the two sides ending with under 2.5 goals at full-time, we’re backing another low-scoring battle in midweek.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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