PREVIEW: Atlético Madrid v FC Barcelona

PREVIEW: Atlético Madrid v FC Barcelona

Ronald Koeman's squad resume league duties at the Wanda Metropolitano, a stadium where they remain unbeaten

Atlético Madrid is a starting point for a frantic end to the year for Barça. After the international break, Ronald Koeman's squad will resume league duties at the Wanda Metropolitano. This match, being played at 9.00pm CET, is bound to be a worthwhile watch, and we take a look at certain aspects surrounding the fixture below.

The rival

Coach: Diego Pablo Simeone. As a coach, he has never been able to beat FC Barcelona in a league game. His record of 17 La Liga games against Barça has seen 11 defeats for Atléti and six draws. The Atléti and Barça coaches also came up against each other during their playing careers. Koeman won two of their three encounters: Barça 5 - Sevilla 2 (1993/94) and Barça 4 - Atlético Madrid 3 (1994/95), with the other match ending in a draw (Sevilla 0 - Barça 0, 1993/94 season).

The top scorers: With five goals each, João Félix and Luis Suárez are the top scorers for Atléti in LaLiga.

League position: They currently occupy third position with 17 points, thanks to five wins and two draws.

How did they get there?: The team from Madrid are unbeaten in the league, with four consecutive victories in which they've only let in one goal.

Precedents for Barça

  • In the league, Atlético Madrid have gone 20 games without taking all three points against the Catalans: six draws and 14 defeats. The last Rojiblanco league win came way back on February 14, 2010 (2-1)
  • FC Barcelona have never lost at the Wanda Metropolitano. This newly created stadium, inaugurated in 2017, has seen two league draws and a Barcelona win, the latter coming last season with a goal from Leo Messi (0-1)

Goals, assured

The last time Barça didn't score against Atlético Madrid was in the 2013/14 season; a 0-0 at Vicente Calderón. Since that match, Barça have always found the back of Atléti's net.

If we talk about goals, then obviously Leo Messi enters the conversation. The Argentine star, who will play his 800th match for FC Barcelona, has scored 32 goals in 41 games against Atlético, one of his favourite victims.

From team-mates to rivals

This game will see the chance to renew old acquaintances. Griezmann returns to the club that was his home for five seasons, and if he did not have coronavirus Luis Suárez would also have faced his former team-mates.

Beyond the players who have defended the interests of both clubs, this match will also see international team-mates come up against each other. For example, Trincão v João Félix and Sergi Roberto v Koke and Marcos Llorente.

Coutinho in the squad 

Ronald Koeman called up the following players for the game against the Rojiblancos: Ter Stegen, Dest, Piqué, Aleñá, Griezmann, Pjanic, Braithwaite, Messi, O. Dembélé, Riqui Puig, Neto, Coutinho, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincão, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Junior, O. Mingueza and Arnau Tenas.

R. Araujo, Sergio, Ansu Fati and Umtiti are out through injury, whilst Matheus doesn't make the squad on this occasion. 

As Koeman reminded everyone at his pre-match press conference, "it will be a great match," and one where FC Barcelona will try to make it two wins out of two in order to climb up the La Liga table. 

Força Barça
Força Barça

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