Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid The top matchup in world soccer this weekend comes from Spain as Barcelona visits Atletico Madrid on Sunday in La Liga play. Barca entered the weekend in first but is now in third after wins by Real Madrid and Sevilla and needs a victory to get back to the summit. Atleti comes in with the league’s best defense but an attack that hasn’t looked sharp at all this season. It’s expected to be physical and heated as Antoine Griezmann returns to his former home.
Here’s how you can watch the match and what to know:
Something’s just not right for Barcelona this season. After several months of transfer sagas and failed negotiations involving Neymar over the summer, the atmosphere and performances surrounding the Catalonia giants have been weird. Despite all the negativity regarding its pedestrian showing this season, Barcelona still finds itself atop just narrowly. This just goes to show how high the bar has been set for this prestigious club.
Antoine Griezmann was their huge offseason signing, while the club’s top players all wanted to see Neymar return. The Frenchman’s introduction into the lineup hasn’t gone smoothly, but he did score a goal in Wednesday’s 3-1 Champions League win over Dortmund, along with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
Disappointing signings are something Atletico Madrid can relate to. After selling both Griezmann and Rodri for huge fees this summer, the team spent quite a bit on Portuguese youngster Joao Felix. Everything went so well for Atleti in the preseason with Felix and the entire squad immediately clicking. Unfortunately, that early success didn’t translate to competitive matches. Felix has struggled with ineffectiveness and injuries, while the overall results leave them on the outside of the title race looking in. A huge win over Barca at home is just what the team needs to get back on track.
Barcelona: Barca has won four of five and can go back to first place with a victory. Anything short of a win will leave Messi’s squad in third place, so the pressure is on. Atleti has conceded just nine goals in 14 games, so Barcelona will have to take the few chances it gets to win this one. Expect a confident Barca to start fast.
Atletico: Atleti has had real trouble finding the back of the net with only 16 goals in 14 games. Out of all of the teams in the top half of the table, Atleti’s attack is the least productive. Having Joao Felix back from injury certainly helps, but against a Barca defense that has stepped up lately, Atleti’s attackers will be tested, especially when playing with patience.
Barca vs. Atleti prediction
Griezmann scores against his former club as they split the points in Madrid.
Pick: Barca 1, Atletico 1