23rd of November 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
The Spanish top flight returns to action after the international break with a major clash at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid on Saturday as Atletico Madrid take on leaders Barcelona. Last season Barcelona snatched a 1-1 draw in this fixture thanks to a late goal from Luis Suarez after Saul had opened the scoring for the home side. Barca did win the reverse fixture at Camp Nou, it ended 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi. Overall, Barcelona won three of the last six direct matches in all competitions and drew the other three. Atletico have not won a league match against Barcelona since 2010.
Atletico Madrid are hoping to leapfrog Barcelona at the top of the table on Saturday evening, they are just one point behind the leaders. The situation is quite uncertain in LaLiga this season, all the big teams are failing quite often and are dropping several points. Atletico have won just six of their twelve league matches so far, lost just one and drew the other five, but still find themselves in third spot. They are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, including the 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao just before the international break. Diego Godin is injured and won't make the squad for Saturday's game, while fellow central defender Jose Maria Gimenez is a fitness doubt for head coach Diego Simeone.
Barcelona have also been dropping points unexpectedly this season, they have lost two of their twelve league matches so far and were held to draws on three occasions. The latest defeat was just before the international break, they lost 4-3 at home against Betis in a match that saw Ivan Rakitic getting sent off and Lionel Messi scoring twice. Rakitic will be suspended for Saturday's game, while Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper are injured. Lionel Messi is fit and ready to play, though, while defender Samuel Umtiti should also be available after a slight knee injury.
Atletico: Oblak - Juanfran, Savic, Hernandez, Luis - Koke, Rodrigo, Niguez, Lemar - Costa, Griezmann
Barcelona: Ter Stegen - Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba - Vidal, Busquets, Arthur - Messi, Suarez, Coutinho
My prediction: 1-1 draw, Barcelona don't seem capable of beating a solid side like Atletico these days.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Atletico win - 3.10
Draw - 3.30
Barcelona win - 2.37
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If Atletico were able to win that one the race for the title would of become really unpredictable I think, despite Barcelona still would of been considered as a huge favorites by the experts.
But the home side allowed a late equalizer after scoring quite late themselves so the Barcelona stuff and players should of been mighty relieved by this scoreline in the end.
For me even Real is in the race still...despite of some horrific performances they've done since the start of the season, the gap to the top is still manageable and the Catalans are not too convincing themselves.
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