PREVIEW: FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid

PREVIEW: FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid

The Catalans can extend the gap at the top of the table if they take the three points against Diego Simeone’s side

It’s the game of the season as far as La Liga is concerned, as first plays second in a titanic tussle at the Camp Nou. Barça will go 11 points clear should they win, but Atléti will get to within five points of the Blaugrana if they’re able to depart Catalonia as the victors.

How to follow the game live

The game kicks off at 8.45pm CET. A list of broadcasters can be found here and these are the timetables for the rest of the world.

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The rival

Top scorer: Antoine Greizmann (13)
Coach: Diego Simeone
La Liga record (2018/19): P30 W18 D8 L4

THE LOWDOWN ON ATLÉTICO MADRID

 

Current form

#1 Barça  D W W W W
#2 Atlético Madrid W W L L W

 

 

Key stats

Diego Simeone has never beaten Barça in a La Liga fixture whilst in charge of Atlético Madrid.

Barça have scored at least two in 10 of their last 11 at home in the League, whilst the Rojiblancos have kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven in the domestic competition.

The Blaugrana are unbeaten in their last 18 League matches and also their last 18 at home against Atléti in all competitions

Lionel Messi has scored 28 goals against Atlético in all competitions, second only to the 36 that he's scored against Sevilla.

 

Ernesto Valverde's squad

The manager picked the following players for the game: Ter Stegen, N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Coutinho, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, Cillessen, Malcom, Lenglet, Murillo, Jordi Alba, Prince, S. Roberto, Aleñá and Umtiti (FULL SQUAD NEWS)

Asked today about some of his team selection decisions, he offered the following responses:

Dembelé won’t play against Atlético and I don’t know about the Champions League. We don’t want to take any risks.”

“With Arturo Vidal suspended, we are missing a player with energy and character.”

Gerard Piqué has been playing a lot of games and I thought the Villarreal game was a good day to rest him. I hope he hasn’t lost his form.”

Malcom has the same chance to start as any other player. He makes good decisions in attack, he can shoot, find space and lose his marker.”

“We’ll have to see about Cillessen. It isn’t a major injury and he’s been taking part in most of the training sessions. If he’s not fit for tomorrow he will be by Wednesday.”

On the game itself he insisted that this game will not decide the league title. “A lot of people like to say the title is decided in January” he said. ”And then you lose one game and the same people start saying we’ve thrown away the league!”

His opposite number, Diego Simeone, is under no illusions as to how important this game is. "The reality is that the only option that gives us a chance of winning LaLiga is beating Barcelona. To be eight points behind them isn't helpful. The fact that they see us as their closest rival speaks volumes about the work of our players."

Last time we met

 

Força Barça
Força Barça

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