This weekend, the Spanish La Liga returns to championship routine with the 23rd matchday. The classic Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid on Sunday at 16.15 represents the top match. The fifth-placed team will meet the fourth-placed one at the Camp Nou, with the Blaugrana and the Rojiblancos taking 35 and 36 points respectively. Jesús Gil is in charge of this match.
Barcelona are unbeaten in six league games with three wins and as many draws. Moreover, Xavi’s side managed their third full success in five La Liga appearances in their last appearance so far with a 1-0 win at second-last Deportivo Alavés. This gave the Catalans self-confidence after disappointing weeks for them. In the Supercopa in Saudi Arabia, they lost to leaders Real Madrid in the semi-finals after extra time. Then the same happened to them in Copa del Rey at ninth-placed Athletic Bilbao.
Atlético Madrid did not fare much better in either cup competition. They lost to Athletic Bilbao in the other Supercopa semi-final and to sixth-placed Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey. In contrast, the Rojiblancos picked up two home wins in their first three championship games this year, with a 2-2 at seventh-placed Villarreal in between. Afterwards, Diego Simeone’s team most recently managed a 3-2 win against tenth-placed Valencia.
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What speaks for Barcelona?
- Won three of its last five championship games so far
- Did not concede a goal in two of their last three La Liga appearances
- Opponents experienced three defeats and then a draw in their last four championship away games so far
- On top of that, the Rojiblancos never played to nil away from home.
What speaks for Atlético Madrid?
- They won two of their last three league games.
- Their opponents are without four defenders, including three centre-backs
Our betting tip:
- Bet: Both teams score goals – Yes
- Bookmaker: 1xBet
- Odds: 1.86
Expert analysis Barcelona
Barcelona went into the break with a 1-0 win at second-bottom Deportivo Alavés on 23 January. Frenkie de Jong scored the goal in the 87th minute. Xavi’s team did not cover itself with glory, but at least it gained some self-confidence after frustrating weeks. And that just in time for the first home game in more than a month and a half.
In their last match in front of their home crowd, the Blaugrana defeated 15th-placed Elche in mid-December, winning 3-2. Subsequently, they had a 1-1 at second-placed Sevilla and, at the beginning of January, a 1-0 at fourth-last RCD Mallorca and a 1-1 at 14th-placed Granada.
Barcelona then travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Supercopa. There, Xavi’s side were beaten 2-3 in the semi-finals by leaders and arch-rivals Real Madrid after extra time. Eight days later, on 20 January, the Copa del Rey ended for them with the same result. Ninth-placed Athletic Bilbao prevailed at home.
Now, of course, the Catalans must show a better performance at home against Atlético Madrid than they did against Deportivo Alavés. But as things stand today, Xavi will have to do without seven players.
Here, the biggest problems are in the defence. With Eric García, Clément Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti three centre-backs and with Álex Balde a left-back are injured. Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay are also out. On the other hand, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on loan from Arsenal, could make his debut.
Expert analysis Atlético Madrid
Atlético Madrid were just as little spoiled for success in mid-January. Because: The reigning champions were defeated by Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals of the Supercopa and then by sixth-placed Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey. And, unlike Barcelona, the Colchoneros lost 1-2 to the Leones and 0-2 to the latter’s regional rivals after regular time.
That made the 3-2 home win against tenth-placed Valencia on the 22nd matchday all the more important. On top of that, the team with Diego Simeone on the sidelines showed morale as the Ches led 2-1 until the 89th minute. Before that, they scored 2-0 in the 44th minute and often a goal conceded just before the interval breaks the neck. This time it was different, as substitute Matheus Cunha gave them the equaliser in the 64th minute. Then Ángel Correa (90th) and Mario Hermoso (93rd) scored twice in the last second.
This was Atlético Madrid’s second win in three league games. The first of these, a 2-0 home win against their eighth-placed city rivals on 2 January, ended a run of four defeats. In the process, the Rojiblancos did not concede a goal for the only time in their last eight La Liga appearances to date.
They then drew 2-2 at seventh-placed Villarreal. After a 0-2 loss to Real Madrid and two 1-2 defeats to Sevilla as well as Granada, this represented the first point win away from home since the end of November.
So Atlético Madrid’s biggest problem lies in their defence. And the fact that regular goalkeeper Jan Oblak has been infected with COVID-19 doesn’t make things any easier. Moreover, Simeone will be without Geoffrey Kondogbia, Marcos Llorente and Antoine Griezmann.
Head-to-head comparison Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid
The first clash between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in the 2021/2022 La Liga took place on 2 October and ended in a 2-0 home win. However, Xavi’s predecessor Ronald Koeman was still coaching the Blaugrana at the time. In the previous season, Barcelona experienced against Atlético Madrid a 1-0 away defeat and a 0-0 at Camp Nou. The Catalans’ last victory against the club in the capital so far arrived in December 2019 with a 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Our betting tip and the best odds
With both opponents in the Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid classic not really in top form, we would avoid three-way bets. Instead, our betting tip is that both teams will score goals.
The home side do play to nil at Deportivo Alavés. However, we would not use the match at the penultimate as a yardstick. Not least because the 1-1 in Granada was the fourth time in five championship games that both sides netted a goal in match of the Blaugrana. The same record applies to the Rojiblancos’ most recent five La Liga appearances.
Barcelona vs. Atlético Madrid – Betting tip: Both teams score goals – Yes, odds 1.86 at bookmaker 1xBet
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