Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana look to latch onto La Liga top spot at struggling Atletico’s expense

The La Liga title race is getting even more interesting with each passing week, but FC Barcelona would love a much larger lead at the top than what they have right now. 

The defending champions are tied on points with arch-rivals Real Madrid, only being ahead in goal difference. With their El Clasico game being postponed from its initial date due to political protests, Barca are now readying themselves for a derby with the enemy’s enemy.

That being said, Atletico Madrid is anything but their friend and will look to regain their own momentum at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday, and the odds for this game from are split in both teams’ favour. Having won once in their last five games across all competitions, Los Rojiblancos are struggling to meet expectations.

Granted, injuries to key players have dimmed down their full power, but Joao Felix’s return against Barca will definitely come as a pleasing positive. Diego Simeone’s side is under pressure to compete for the title after investing heavily and are only three points behind the leaders.

However, they’ve played one game less than Barca, making the upcoming game even more important to win. 

While Atletico will look to sneak a narrow win, Lionel Messi and co are eager for a spectacle to uplift the mood. With two of La Liga’s best attacks clashing, this should turn out to be an exciting war of attrition.

Atletico Madrid Predicted XI

Oblak, Trippier, Felipe, Hermoso, Lodi, Partey, Saul, Koke, Felix, Correa, Morata

Barcelona Predicted XI

Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, De Jong, Arthur, Messi, Suarez, Griezmann

Key Clashes

Joao Felix vs Jordi Alba

After having recently won the 2019 Golden Boy award, Joao Felix must be a man high on confidence. A little injury lay-off must’ve disappointed him, but the teenager’s back with a point to prove. 

What bigger than than making an impact against Barcelona? 

Felix will aim to use his cat-like agility as well as incisive dribbling techniques to cause havoc to Barca’s wobbly defence. Jordi Alba loves operating as a winger more than a defender, but he’ll need to maintain concentration to keep Felix quiet. 

The Spaniard’s susceptible to errors, but needs to keep a close eye on the Portuguese to keep him from leaving his defence in sixes and sevens.

Antoine Griezmann vs Kieran Trippier

The return of the prodigal son! Antoine Griezmann left Atletico Madrid quite controversially in an aim for bigger success at Barcelona, but is learning things aren’t as easy in Messi’s shadow. 

He’s been left to play as a left-winger, which means he’ll come up against Los Rojiblancos’ new acquisition Kieran Trippier! The former Tottenham Hotspur man is quite error-prone, but can put in a solid defensive shift, having improved is game with Atletico. 

He’s also menacing with his crosses, but will need to keep close mark of Griezmann. The Frenchman’s still oozing with a swagger moving forward and has that cunning goal-scoring edge, which he’ll like to show off at his former side’s expense on Sunday. 

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana look to latch onto La Liga top spot at struggling Atletico’s expense

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