Tonight at 9pm local time, the stage is set for our biggest game of the season so far. Barça vs Atletico Madrid, live from the Wanda Metropolitano. It’s 1st against 4th in yet another must win game for us in the race for the La Liga Title. What makes it even more important is the result of yesterdays matchup between Real Madrid and Villarreal. A game in which our former coach, Quique Setien, defeated Ancelotti’s men 2-1. Like we have all said, we have to ensure that we are there when our rivals drop points. We have to take advantage of these moments. And we’ll be hoping to do that later on tonight. It’s not going to be an easy game, especially away from home. But we have to ensure we can walk away tomorrow with a positive result.
A quick look at our opponent:
For Atleti’s standards, the have had quite a disappointing start to the season. Especially before the World Cup. They were completely eliminated from European football, meaning they are solely dependant on securing top 4 in the league this season. However, they have shown signs of a resurgence since their last game. And a large factor of that is down to the renaissance of Antoine Griezmann. He performed incredibly well during the World Cup. And was one of the most underrated players of the tournament. We know how good he is, especially when it comes down to his work rate. Even whilst he was at Barça, he demonstrated that in abundance.
Atleti have won 2 of their last 5 games, winning their most recent game against Elche, 2-0. They find themselves in 4th place, 11 points behind us. When it comes down to the head to head stats, we come out on top on pretty much all of them. Barça have scored a total of 34 goals this season, which is 11 more than our opponents tonight. Defensively, they have conceded more than double the amount we have. Although that is all the case. It’s one of those game where form and recent stats go completely out of the window. The only thing that matters is what happens on the night. It’s going to be a very tricky game for us, but we’ll be hoping to put in a good performance and build some momentum up for the rest of the season.
Coming into the game, thanks to an absolute clown show by Mateu Lahoz in our last game against Espanyol. We will be without Jordi Alba, after he was sent off. And we will also be without our talisman, Robert Lewandowski upfront. After his ridiculous 3 match ban was set in stone. Even after we went and appealed to all the courts in the country. So it is going to be interesting to see how we lineup in attack without him.
One other thing I’m looking forward to is our defence. Balde is expected to start in place of the suspended Alba. With Araujo slowly coming back into the team, partnered alongside Christensen and Kounde. Although he did play the full match against InterCity in midweek. So he may possibly get a rest from the start. Our midfield should also be pretty simple to choose. Pedri and Frenkie were both rested in midweek, whilst Gavi got around 40 minutes of action. Busquets didn’t have a good game at all and he lasted the full 120 minutes of the game. So that should mean that he will be replaced once again by Frenkie. Thats how it should be. And we need to see the midfield of Pedri, Gavi and Frenkie more often. Pablo Torre was incredible in the Copa Del Rey, so he should definitely getting more minutes in the league too.
Kounde- Araujo- Christensen- Balde
Pedri- Frenkie- Gavi
Raphinha- Ansu- Dembele