La Liga: FC Barcelona Vs. Atletico de Madrid – Match preview
This game has the makings of a title decider as Barcelona can leapfrog into first place – at least for one day – if they can end a three-game winless H2H run vs current La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid
This game has the makings of a title decider as Barcelona can leapfrog into first place – at least for one day – if they can end a three-game winless H2H run vs current La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid. In their favour is an attack that’s scored more league goals (80) than all but one side across Europe’s top-five divisions, averaging 2.35 per game. However, a 2-1 defeat in their last home match ended a 13-game unbeaten La Liga run here and showed there’s chinks in Barca’s armour. They’ve now conceded two goals in consecutive La Liga home matches, putting them on the brink of realising 2 for three in a row for the first time since 1982/83.
With Atletico Madrid scoring 2 goals in two of the last three H2Hs, there’s the real chance that could happen too, although with their first La Liga title since 2013/14 within sight, the visitors’ may foster a cagey affair. That’s worked for them in the past, and an average of just 0.65 goals conceded per top-flight match this season is identical to their last title-winning campaign at this stage, so their division-best defence could be the key to becoming Spanish champions for the 11th time. That title-winning season also saw Atletico register a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in May, a result the visitors may take again, considering they’ve won just one of their previous six competitive road trips after scoring the opener just twice.
Lionel Messi scored his 50th direct free-kick for Barcelona in the last round and may get another here as he’s scored more goals against Atletico (32) than all teams bar Sevilla. The visitors’ hero and sole scorer last time out was Marcos Llorente – Atletico have never lost when he’s scored. Barcelona’s average of 6.59 shots on target per La Liga game stands far above the division’s second-highest average, which is held by Atletico Madrid (4.82).