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Barcelona and Atletico Madrid combined XI ahead of LaLiga showdown

FC Barcelona v Juventus - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona v Juventus - UEFA Champions League
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Defending champions Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid on Sunday in what promises to be the showpiece attraction in La Liga this weekend. League leaders Barcelona seem to have rediscovered their form after an uncertain start to the campaign and have won four of their last five league games.

They comfortably dispatched German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund in their last match in the UEFA Champions League at Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez getting in among the goals.

On the other hand, Atletico Madrid have had a lukewarm campaign so far as they lie in fourth place, three points behind Barcelona. They have won only two of their last five games in the league, and their last game ended in defeat to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

A win for Barcelona could put a further dent on Atletico Madrid's faint title hopes. However, Los Rojiblancos would be keen to bounce back from their tumultuous start to the season and could very well put the title race wide open with a win on their own turf.

So, without further ado, here is the combined XI.


Goalkeeper - Marc-André ter Stegen

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have the distinction of having two of the world's best keepers in ter Stegen and Oblak. Picking one to start between the posts is an extremely tough choice. However, it is quite evident that Oblak has underperformed this season, especially if we consider the high standards the Slovenian set for himself last season.

On the other hand, Ter Stegen has been relatively more composed as the last line of defence and has been instrumental in the Champions League, conceding only three goals in five games for the Blaugrana and his performance against Dortmund on Matchday 1 of was nothing short of exceptional. Also, considering Barcelona's faltering defence this season, three clean sheets in the league for ter Stegen is praiseworthy, to say the least.

Also check out: La Liga La Liga fixtures La liga table 2019-20

Left Back - Nelson Semedo

FC Barcelona v Inter: Group F - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona v Inter: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Nelson Semedo has been one of the most consistent players for Barcelona this season. Making 12 league appearances, the Portuguese international has been instrumental in his side's early title challenge.

At the back, Semedo has arguably been Barcelona's best defender this season. He has averaged two tackles per game, a feat which overshadows that of Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Kyle Walker in the Premier League. Semedo has also been effective going forward, completing 1.3 dribbles per game and having a pass accuracy of 90%. To add to that, he has also chipped in with three assists in the league this season

Though Semedo is currently recovering from a muscle injury, his previous performances suggest that he would be an asset for this team if he slots in at the left back position, as he has done numerous times for Barcelona this season.


Centre Back - Clément Lenglet

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

With Gerard Pique nearing the end of his career, Lenglet has slotted in as a readymade replacement for the Spaniard with some assured performances at the heart of the defence. The France international has featured ten times for Barcelona in the league this season.

With the Barcelona backline facing injury and form issues, Lenglet has been one of the most consistent performers in the squad, winning 75% of his tackles and making 30 clearances. In addition to that, he has also been instrumental in building play from the back, with a pass success rate of 91%.

His importance to Barcelona is further highlighted by the fact that he has contributed one goal and an assist in the league this season.


Centre Back: José Giménez

Club Atletico de Madrid v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg
Club Atletico de Madrid v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Giménez has evolved into one of the finest center-backs in the world under the mentorship of former club captain and international teammate Diego Godin. Since the veteran left, Gimenez has had a mixed start to the season as he had to get himself accustomed to taking up the leadership role at the heart of the famed Atletico defence.

Gimenez has not been phenomenal this season, however he still has won 43 duels and won 77% of his 13 tackles in eight appearances for Atletico. To add to that, he has made nine key interceptions and has a commendable pass accuracy of 87% in the league.Though it has not been the brightest of starts from the Uruguayan, he remains one of the most promising center backs in world football and that merits his inclusion in this list.

Right Back - Kieran Trippier

Granada CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga
Granada CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

Eyebrows were raised when former Spurs defender Kieran Trippier moved to Atletico Madrid as a ready-made replacement for Juanfran. However, the England international has clearly put those doubts to rests and has exceeded expectations with some great performances in his first season in Madrid.

With 2.5 tackles per game, which is the highest amongst his teammates, Trippier is on his way to becoming a fan favorite in Madrid. To add to that, he has also chipped in with an assist, cementing his place in one of the best right backs in world football.


Central Midfielder - Arthur

FC Barcelona v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga
FC Barcelona v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga

23 year old Arthur has become a mainstay in the Barcelona midfield. Since his move from Brazil, Arthur has produced consitent and composed performances in the heart of the Barcelona midfield, cementing his place in the squad.

Averaging a passing accuracy of 90% in seven appearances for the Blaugrana, Arthur has made record-breaking midfielder Andres Iniesta's Number 8 jersey his own. To add to that, he has also scored two goals and provided three assists in the league this season, a remarkable feat for any central midfielder.


Central Midfielder - Saul

Club Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal CF - La Liga
Club Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal CF - La Liga

Saul is one of those players who consistently churns out results for his side, while being perenially under the radar. This season also, the Spanish central midfielder has been pulling the strings with some majestic performances in the middle of the park.

Still just 25 years of age, Saul has been a mainstay in the Atletico midfield this season with 13 league appearances. Averaging 65 touches per match and a passing accuracy of 81%, Saul has once again been the prime provider for Atletico's forwards. To add to that, Saul has also scored a goal and made 1.4 interceptions per game for Atletico, proving his versatility on the field.

Central Midfielder - Frenkie De Jong

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Touted to be one of the brightest young talents in world football, Frenkie De Jong has exceeded expectations in his maiden season for the Blaugrana. The Netherlands youngster has bossed the midfield in all of Barcelona's thirteen league games this season, scoring one goal and assisting another in the process.

While his former teammate Matthijs de Ligt has struggled to come to terms with his new club in Turin, Frenkie De Jong has quietly gone about his business as Barcelona seek an upheaval in fortunes after a quiet start to the campaign.

The 22-year-old has averaged 82 touches per match with an astounding 93% pass accuracy. To add to that, De Jong has also chipped in defensively, with 21 tackles and 10 crutial interceptions in his first season at Barcelona.


Left Winger - João Félix

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Recently named as the best under-21 player in Europe, Golden Boy João Félix has burst into the scene ever since his move to Atletico Madrid for a huge fee of £113m. Signed as a replacement for the world-class Antoine Griezmann, the fact that Felix finds a place on this list over the Frenchman itself suggests that he is, indeed, a special player.

Felix shouldered great expectation when he came to Madrid, however, he has been spectacular for Rojiblancos in his debut season. The 20-year-old has scored two and assisted one goal in 10 appearances for the club.

In addition to that, the Potuguese has also burst into limelight at the international scene with his wonderful performances in the International Champions Cup. The consistency and prolific nature of Felix suggests that even at £113m, Atletico might just have snapped up a bargain.

Right Winger - Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

No team is complete without a poster boy, and who better suited for the role than Lionel Messi. Even by his high standards, Messi has once again performed exceedingly well and silenced his critics. The Argentinian has scored eight goals and assisted five more in just eight appearnces in the league.

While some of his team-mates have underperformed, Messi has once again been at the centre of everything Barcelona create and has gone back to his usual routine of saving Barcelona with last-minute goals. With a pass accuracy of 83% and a shot accuracy of 78%, Messi is certain to be pivotal to Barcelona's hopes of securing silverware this season.


Striker - Luis Suarez

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Suarez narrowly edges out Diego Costa in the battle for the striker postion. The Uruguayan has his fair share of critics, however he continues to prove why he is one of the world's best when it comes to kicking the ball into the net.

After starting the season quietly, Suarez has found his footing back and has now scored seven goals in 11 league appearances. El Pistolero has also scored three goals in the Champions League, with a shot accuracy of 73%. Though he might well be approaching the twilight years of his career, Suarez remains prolific as always and is an asset for any team.

Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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