Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Prediction: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 29 Jun 2020

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Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

In a mouthwatering contest in Catalonia on Tuesday night, Barcelona will welcome Atletico Madrid to the Nou Camp for what should be a must-win contest for the defending champions.

Barcelona

Starting with the hosts, throwing away the lead in the most dramatic of fashion away at relegation outsiders Celta Vigo and having to settle for a point on the road, Barcelona have sacrificed their spot at the top of the La Liga table. Dropping points against both Celta and Sevilla since returning from the enforced break, the defending champions sit two points adrift of Los Blancos with six matchups remaining. Seeing their run of five consecutive clean sheets come to an abrupt end away at the Abanca-Balaídos on Saturday afternoon, Quique Setién’s side will undoubtedly be glad to make a return to home soil in midweek. While the former Real Betis boss may have seen his side continue to struggle with their performances away from the Nou Camp, Barcelona’s record in Catalonia is a remarkable one. Collecting all 24 points over their last eight La Liga contests on home soil, Tuesday’s hosts have are unbeaten in each of their last 28 top-flight matchups at the Nou Camp, a run that stems all the way back to November 2018.

Team News

Barcelona will once again be without the duo of Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong who are still dealing with injury issues.

After having to settle for a place on the bench against Celta Vigo over the weekend, former Atletico star Antoine Griezmann could return to Barca’s starting XI.

Atletico Madrid

As for the visitors, picking up a deserved 2-1 win against Alaves in the capital on Saturday night, Atletico Madrid have really laid down a marker since returning from the enforced break. With the chance to do their arch-rivals a huge favour in midweek, Los Colchoneros have won their last four La Liga matchups on the bounce and have managed to find a route back into the top-four. Still firing in the Champions League after knocking out defending champions Liverpool in the most dramatic of fashion back in March, Head Coach Diego Simeone has seen his side gain a string of plaudits for their rugged displays at the back. Conceding just a single strike from open play since making their return to action earlier in the month, Atletico have conceded just 23 La Liga strikes this season, the second-best defensive record in Spain’s top-tier. Although Tuesday’s guests might be enjoying arguably their brightest spell of the campaign, they do hold what is a worrying record against the defending champions, especially on La Liga duties. Including back-to-back defeats against Barca, Atletico have not picked up a top-flight win against the Catalonia outfit since September 2010.

Team News

Aside from Mario Hermoso and Sime Vrsaljko who are still dealing with injury issues, Atletico have a full squad to chose from in midweek.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Each of the last five top-flight meetings between the two sides have seen under 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
  • Atletico Madrid have won their last four La Liga matchups on the bounce.
  • Tuesday’s guests have also conceded just a single goal from open play since making their La Liga return earlier in the month.
  • Barcelona have won each of their last eight La Liga matches on the Nou Camp and are unbeaten on home soil since November 2018.
  • Atletico Madrid have failed to win any of their previous 19 La Liga matchups against the defending champions, a run that stems back to September 2008.

Conclusion

On paper, Tuesday’s meeting at the Nou Camp could prove to be yet another cagey encounter between the two Spanish giants. With Barcelona enjoying what has been a remarkable La Liga record in Catalonia and Atletico in the midst of what is arguably their brightest spell of the season so far, it should be a battle of the defences in midweek. With each of the last five La Liga meetings between the two sides producing under 2.5 goals by full-time, we’re backing a similar outcome on Tuesday night.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/5

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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