Atletico Madrid v Barcelona preview, predicted XI, team news and more
Defending La Liga champions Barcelona will travel to the Spanish capital on Sunday to face Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. It will be the second of seven matches that the Blaugrana have to play in just over three weeks, with matches against Inter Milan and Real Madrid coming up next month.
Barcelona have been far from convincing this season, even with their star-studded forward line-up. Barcelona were made to sweat by bottom-placed side Leganes in their last league match, despite Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousmane Dembele starting together for the first time. Ernesto Valverde will be hoping to make a statement with a victory over Los Rojiblancos and consolidate their place at the top of the table.
Atletico Madrid have also been very inconsistent in the present campaign. Diego Simeone's side, who were expected to be a major contender for the league title this season, have drawn seven of their last 10 league matches and presently find temselves three points adrift of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Atletico will be hoping to get themselves level on points with the Catalan giants with a win at home when they face each other on Sunday.
Also Read: Breaking: Joao Felix wins Golden Boy 2019
Atletico Madrid v Barcelona Head-to-Head
Atletico Madrid are looking for their first victory against Barcelona in La Liga since 2010. The Catalan giants, on the other hand, have won 14 of their 19 league meetings against Los Rojiblancos since the start of the decade.
Atletico Madrid form Guide: L-D-W-L-D
Barcelona form Guide: W-W-W-W-D
Atletico Madrid v Barcelona Team News
The hosts are expected to be without Stefan Savic, Sime Vrsaljko, Diego Costa, and Jose Gimenez for the crucial encounter. Savic has been out of action since October after picking up an injury during international duty with Montenegro.
Vrsaljko is still far from first-team action after having successfully undergone a knee injury at the start of the year. Gimenez also has been out of action since October and is yet to be given a return date. Costa is expected to be out for three months after successfully undergoing a neck surgery.
2019 Golden Boy award winner Joao Felix is expected to start against Barcelona after coming off the bench against Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Injuries: Sime Vrsaljko, Stefan Savic, Diego Costa and Jose Gimenez.
Valverde will once again be light in the full-back department with Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo yet to recover from their injuries. The Spaniard is a major doubt after picking up a muscle injury at the start of the month against Slavia Prague.
Semedo is expected to be out until New Year after picking up a calf problem against Celta Vigo. He will be joined by Dembele, who injured his thigh against Dortmund on Wednesday.
Sergio Busquets will be unavailable after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Leganes last weekend.
Injuries: Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele
Doubtful: Jordi Alba
Suspensions: Sergio Busquets
Atletico Madrid v Barcelona Predicted XI
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Jan Oblak; Renan Lodi, Mario Hermoso, Felipe, Kieran Trippier; Koke, Thomas Partey, Hector Herrera, Saul Niguez; Joao Felix, Alvaro Morata
Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Junior Firpo; Arturo Vidal, Frenkie de Jong, Arthur Melo; Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez
Atletico Madrid v Barcelona Match Prediction
It will be contrasting styles of football when these two teams meet on Sunday. Atletico have been struggling in front of goal, while Barcelona have a leaky defence.
Messi will once again be the key man for Barcelona, who would be desperate to keep their position at the top of the table.
Verdict: Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:11 IST