On Sunday night, Atletico Madrid will welcome Barcelona to the Spanish capital in one of the most important matches on the La Liga schedule.
With only eight victories this season in 15 La Liga games, three draws, and four losses, Atletico is currently in fourth place in the standings, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Diego Simeone’s club will not compete for the championship this year; instead, they will try to finish in the top four, as they are only two points above Athletic Bilbao in fifth place and Real Betis in sixth place.
Last time out, Atletico defeated Elche 2-0 at Wanda Metropolitano. Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata scored the goals, which marked the team’s first league victory since October 23.
The Red and Whites will also come into this game from a Copa del Rey victory, defeating Real Oviedo 2-0 on Wednesday night to advance to the competition’s last-16 round.
Atletico Madrid La Liga Form: D W L D L W
Barcelona, however, participated in Copa del Rey play earlier this week and advanced to the competition’s round of 16 thanks to a 4-3 victory over Intercity.
The third-tier opposition gave the Catalan team a scare by tying the score three times to force extra time, but Ansu Fati secured victory for Xavi’s team in the 103rd minute.
Espanyol held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw last Saturday in a league encounter that featured two red cards.
Currently, Xavi’s team leads the standings with 12 victories, two draws, and one loss from 15 league games this season. They are tied on points (38), with Real Madrid in second place.
Barcelona La Liga Form: W W W W W D
That Messi goal will never get old! ?
Back in 2015, @FCBarcelona won LaLiga following this partidazo against Atlético de Madrid! ?
Get ready for #AtletiBarça this weekend with #LaLigaTV! ? pic.twitter.com/sllaPPLdHL
— LaLigaTV (@LaLigaTV) January 6, 2023
Stefan Savic, who trained ahead of the game, might give Atletico a boost. Due to injuries, Mario Hermoso and Sergio Reguilon are questionable for the home team.
Simeone fielded a formidable squad in the Copa del Rey encounter against Real Oviedo. A similar lineup is anticipated for this game, albeit with minor changes, with Pablo Barrios and Geoffrey Kondogbia slated to start.
As for Barcelona, Xavi has no injury concerns ahead of this match, but the visitors will be without Robert Lewandowski and Jordi Alba in Madrid due to suspension.
Atletico Madrid’s possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Savic, Witsel, Gimenez; Llorente, Kondogbia, Barrios, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann, Morata
Barcelona’s possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Pedri, Busquets, F de Jong; Dembele, F Torres, Fati
? What a treat we have in store this Sunday…#AtletiBarça | #LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/PvmDVNcMef
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) January 3, 2023
Head to Head
Since their first encounter in the Copa del Rey in 1925, the two competitors have interacted 238 times in various events. Barcelona leads with 106-76, with 56 games ending in draws.
The visitors defeated the capital club for the first time since 2019 in their most recent La Liga encounter at Camp Nou in February, winning 4-2.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: January 8, 2023
Time: 8:00 pm BST
Venue: Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Atletico Madrid has struggled at home this year, earning 11 points from seven league games at Wanda Metropolitano. In contrast, Barcelona has won six of its seven away games in Spain’s top division. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Catalan team win in this close match.