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When FC Barcelona host Atlético Madrid at Camp Nou in La Liga play next Saturday at 4.00pm CET, they’ll be doing so from higher ground — albeit on goal differential.
The Colchoneros were unable to make it back to the top spot on Sunday, only managing a single point in their 0–0 draw with visiting Sevilla, a little less than 24 hours after the Catalans provisionally took over first place with a 2–1 win at Málaga on Saturday afternoon.
FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid are now even with 48 points each. FCB has the advantage, though, with a +36 goal differential, while Atlético are at +22.
The point for Sevilla keeps them on the cusp of qualifying for next year’s UEFA Europa League.
Instead of rolling into Barcelona next weekend up two points — thus giving them some margin for error — Atlético will now do it with the added pressure of knowing that a loss at Camp Nou would put them down three.
Barça beat Atlético 2–1 in Madrid in their first meeting this season back on 12 September.
FC Barcelona still have an all-important game in hand stemming from a scheduling conflict with the FIFA Club World Cup. That game will take place on 17 February at Sporting.
The current La Liga table can be seen here.
In other La Liga action, third-place Real Madrid visited Betis on Sunday night in Seville and were only able to manage a 1–1 draw. In leaving two points in Andalusia, the All Whites are now four behind Barça and Atlético.
Athletic Club Bilbao, who visit Camp Nou on Wednesday night for the second leg of the Copa del Rey last 16, routed visiting Eibar on Sunday afternoon at the San Mamés.
Basque striker Aritz Aduriz scored a brace to help the Lions to an easy win heading into this Wednesday’s Cup game. Aduriz scored the lone goal for Athletic in the 89th minute of last Wednesday night’s first leg, which Barça won 2–1.
On 23 February, FC Barcelona travel to London for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16 versus Arsenal, who are currently in third place in the English Premier League. The Gunners missed an opportunity to return to the top spot on Sunday, falling at home to middle-of-the-table Chelsea, 1–0. The loss snapped Arsenal's six-game home winning streak.
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