With Barcelona looking for their winning form after two draws, they are up against a team that will not be willing to give up their winning form. Atletico Madrid is on fire with four league victories in a row and is eager for more.
Barcelona had trouble maintaining the upper hand in a game; leading twice against Celta Vigo on Saturday, but being pegged back both times, settling for a point after Iago Aspas leveled the score in the 88th minute. Meanwhile the archenemy Real Madrid profited with a small win, making the title race exciting until the very end. The fixtures are following each other in rapid pace and a single loss can be devastating, making the challenge of facing Atletico no easy one for the Catalans.
Barcelona under fire
According to the Spanish media there were intense discussions in the dressing room after the draw with Celta, with players openly criticizing some of Setien’s methods. It is to no surprise that these frictions are not helping towards the upcoming match, but nevertheless Barca will look with confidence to this fixture. Losing to Atletico is a rarity for the Catalans. Nevertheless, with an away game to Villarreal July 5 and the fact that Real Madrid has a much easier program, there will be a lot of tension in the stadium.
Atletico having a breeze
Starting the post-quarantaine season with a sixth place, Atletico Madrid will probably finish with a Champions League Ticket. After Drawing against Athletic Bilbao, they have been recording four straight wins over Osasuna, Real Valladolid, Levante and Alaves to rise up the table. If they manage to win against Barcelona, it is safe to say they secured third place. Quite an impressive performance, it seems they have overcome their pre-lockdown inconsistency. If they wouldn’t have drawn thirteen times this season, they would have been real contenders for the title as they have the fewest losses (conceding just 23 goals in 32 matches!). Not to mention their impressive performance in the Champions League, taking out Liverpool. Something Barcelona did not manage last year..
Suspensions and injuries
On the side of Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong will be missing. Sergio Roberto is an uncertainty thus far, recovering from a rib injury. Arthur will probably take the bench as he is expected to leave to Juventus sooner than later.
As for Atletico, Mario Hermoso and Sime Vrsaljko will not be participating due to injuries. Other than that the sky looks clear blue for the visiting team that will likely enter the pitch in a 4-4-2 formation under Simeone, with Joao Felix and Diego Costa in the front line.
It is hard to predict this one (as always). But with the many draws of Atletico, the fact they have already beaten Barcelona in the Cup this year and the intern struggles in Catalona… We expect this to be a 1-1 game.