Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona
La Liga, 2015/16
Date: Saturday, 12th September 2015
Time: 19:30 BST
Venue: Vicente Calderon
Vicente Calderon gearing up for an early La Liga six-pointer when Atletico Madrid play host to Champions Barcelona on Sunday in the Spanish capital.
The two teams are the winners of La Liga over the past two seasons. And interestingly both claimed their league triumph on the turf of the other. Both the teams have won their opening two games, and they are extremely likely to challenge each other (along with Real Madrid) for the La Liga title this season.
The 2013-14 campaign will probably go down as one of the greatest seasons in Atletico’s history. Under Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos broke the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid and further reached the finals of the Champions League.
Last season was a disappointment in a way, with Atletico finishing 16 points adrift of champions Barca. This season, however, there is a renewed optimism, especially with the signings made in the summer. They look strong in quality and depth, and have already made a bold statement with their impressive 3-0 victory over Sevilla in the last league match.
Treble winner Barcelona have had a quiet summer, largely due to the transfer ban imposed on them. They haven’t quite started the new campaign in an all conquering fashion, with injuries and suspension been a factor in uneven early performances.
Lionel Messi and Neymar haven’t opened their goal scoring account yet in La Liga so far. The trio, including Luis Suarez, notched up a record breaking 122 goals last season combined, but so far they’ve managed only one between them.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: Team News
Fernando Torres started against Sevilla, but Simeone could start with Jackson Martinez on Saturday. The Colombian striker scored a brilliant goal in the last match and should be high on confidence.
Tiago Mendes is an injury doubt for Atletico. Saul Niguez may be included into the starting line up if required.
Barcelona are waiting on an appeal for Gerard Pique’s ban, but the Spain defender is likely to miss out. Thomas Vermaelen, who scored the winner in the last match, is likely to continue alongside Javier Mascherano.
The major problem for Enrique is the lack of options from the bench. He cannot bring in players who can change the course of the game, when things are not going according to plans. He is one dimensional in his approach and therefore he has to get his team selection right from the start. In comparison, Simeone hold all the options of the bench and can call on the likes of Carrasco, Correa and Vietto.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: Possible Lineups
Predicted Atletico Line Up: Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Luis; Oliver Torres, Gabi, Tiago, Koke; Griezmann, Martinez
Predicted Barcelona Line Up: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Vermaelen, Alba; Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Key Stats: Atletico vs Barca
0 – Simeone is without a league victory over Barcelona, drawing two & losing in five occasions.
2 – Atletico have lost twice in 16 home matches this calendar year
6 – Atletico have kept six clean sheet in their last 8 La Liga matches
8 – Barcelona have kept eight clean sheets in their last 9 La Liga games.
10 – Barcelona have won 10 of their last 11 matches in the league
Prediction: Atletico 1-1 Barcelona
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: Watch Live Stream
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