Preview: Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid 

Preview: Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid 

One of the biggest fixtures on the Spanish football calendar will take place at Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon, with Barcelona welcoming Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

The home side are comfortably top of the table, sitting 11 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid, while Atletico occupy third position, only two points behind their Madrid rivals on the same number of games (29).

Barcelona have seen their title charge slow down courtesy of back-to-back draws against Girona and Getafe on April 10 and April 16 respectively, but they are still in a commanding position at the top of the table.

Indeed, an excellent La Liga campaign has seen Xavi’s side win 23, draw four and lose two of their 29 matches to collect 73 points, which has left them 11 points clear of reigning champions Real Madrid in the division.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been another disappointing campaign in Europe, with Barcelona failing to make it out of the group stage of the Champions League, before losing to Manchester United in the Europa League knockout playoff round.

Xavi’s team were also eliminated by Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey courtesy of a shock 4-0 home loss to their Clasico rivals, so it is likely to be the Spanish Super Cup and La Liga title in terms of trophies this season, which will go down as a relatively successful campaign.

Barcelona have the best home record in La Liga this season, picking up 36 points from their 14 matches, but Atletico have been strong on their travels, collecting 30 points from 14 games.

Both teams have won twice in the last five meetings between the two sides in Spain’s top flight, with Barcelona recording a 1-0 victory in the reverse contest at Wanda Metropolitano towards the start of January.

Atletico also failed to make it out of their Champions League group and actually finished bottom of their section, which also saw them fail to qualify for the Europa League, while the capital giants suffered Copa del Rey disappointment to Real Madrid at the end of January.

As a result, Diego Simeone’s side have only had league football to focus on in recent months, which has helped them solidify a top-four position and move close to second-placed Real Madrid, who are now just two points ahead of their capital rivals heading into the next set of fixtures.

Atletico have won each of their last six in the league, while they are unbeaten in Spain’s top flight since the 1-0 reverse to Barcelona back on January 8, which is a brilliant run of form.

The Red and Whites will have no fears in terms of dropping out of the top four, sitting 12 points ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis, and they are not going to win the league, so their focus will be on chasing down Real Madrid for second, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side certain to have their focus elsewhere.

It is set to be an interesting summer transfer window for Atletico, with the futures of a number of players being called into question, while there is also ongoing uncertainty surrounding Simeone’s position for next season.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Atletico Madrid La Liga form:

We say: Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Unless something extraordinary happens, Barcelona are going to win the title this season, but Atletico will fancy their chances of avoiding defeat here. Simeone’s side have been the best team in the division over the last few weeks, and we are therefore finding it very difficult to back them to lose on Sunday afternoon.

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