La Liga is back in action this weekend with a new set of games, starting on Sunday at Camp Nou when Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid takes on Xavi’s Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid is currently in third place in La Liga and has had a strong start to the year. In their previous match, Los Colchoneros narrowly defeated Almeria 2-1, and they’ll try for a similar outcome this weekend.
Barcelona, on the other hand, has risen to the occasion this season and is currently leading the league table. The Catalan team had a scoreless draw last week against Getafe and will need to win this match.
After three seasons without a title in the league, Barcelona are really close to winning it this season. They have 11 points advantage over 2nd-placed Real Madrid nine rounds before the end of the season. On the other hand, they haven’t been even remotely as good in Europe.
The first part of Atletico Madrid’s season wasn’t good, especially in November, before the winter break, when they had five games without a win in all competitions. During that period, they finished the Champions League group phase as the last team in a group with Porto, Club Brugge, and Bayer Leverkusen. The second part of the season is a totally different story for Los Colchoneros.
In 19 games since the winter break, they lost just once in the league (vs Barcelona) and once in the Cup (against Real Madrid), but after extra time. Right now, Atletico Madrid is 3rd in La Liga, 13 points behind the league’s leader, Barcelona.
Form Guide: Barcelona
This season in La Liga, ridiculousness has been in plentiful supply. Barcelona now leads the league by 11 points. Xavi Hernández, the manager of Barcelona, has defeated Atlético de Madrid in both of his La Liga encounters—4-2 in February 2022 and 1-0 in January 2023—and he stands to become just the second coach in Barcelona history—after Luis Enrique (the first four between 2015 and 2016—to win his first three matches against them in the competition).
Following muscular injuries, Barcelona has welcomed Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, and Ousmane Dembele back to training, although it is uncertain if they will be ready for the match on Sunday.
Barcelona has the best home record in La Liga this season, picking up 36 points from their 14 matches, but Atletico has 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.
Form Guide: Atletico Madrid
Atletico also failed to advance out of their Champions League group and actually ended last in their division, failing to qualify for the Europa League.
Diego Simeone’s team has been able to focus solely on league play in recent months, which has allowed them to consolidate a top-four spot and go closer to Real Madrid, who are currently just two points ahead of their rivals in the capital going into the upcoming slate of games.
In addition to being unbeaten in Spain’s top division since losing 1-0 to Barcelona back on January 8, Atletico has won each of their last six league games.
The Red and Whites, who are 12 points ahead of Real Betis in fifth place, will not be concerned about falling out of the top four because they know they are not going to win the league. Instead, they will concentrate on catching Real Madrid for second place, with Carlo Ancelotti’s team having other priorities.
How the game could go
Since losing to Barcelona at the Civitas Metropolitano in January, Atlético has gone undefeated, winning 10 games and drawing three, including six straight victories. Along with Manchester City in the Premier League, that is the current best winning streak by a team in one of the top five leagues in Europe. Atlético is winning games again, despite the fact that their recent victory over Almera was everything but comfortable.
Barcelona has faced relegation-threatened Getafe and Girona in their past two matches, drawing 0-0 in both. Despite having a stellar defensive record in La Liga this season, Barcelona has occasionally appeared helpless in attack due to a lack of goals and Robert Lewandowski’s struggles.
While they are comfortably ahead of the chasing pack in La Liga, Xavi’s side will need to show signs of life or it will be a very uncomfortable run-in and an even more worrisome summer for the manager.
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.
While Barcelona is seemingly on its way to the title, there are still nine games left in the season and with Atletico Madrid in third with thirteen points behind, they could make things a bit more interesting if they can pull off a win here. However, that is a tall task, even for a team that won six games in a row, especially with Barca hosting the game. Still, we do expect a close match and our first Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid prediction is for the teams to draw in this match. Bet9ja have 3.35 1xbet have 3.50 and Paripesa have 3.50 odds.
Under 2.5 Goals
Four of the last five head-to-head duels between these have all gone under 2.5 total goals, so our second Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid prediction is for the match to end with fewer than three goals being scored. After all, this is a derby of the round and both teams will be cautious in their approach. Also, Atletico is known for playing hard defense in big games, so under 2.5 total goals sounds like a reasonable bet, especially with both teams averaging less than 2.50 goals per game this season. Bet9ja have 1.68 odds, Paripesa have 1.74, and 1xbet have 1.74 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Barcelona)
After being involved in 17 goals (13 goals and four assists) in 15 games for Barcelona in La Liga in 2022. Robert Lewandowski has only been involved in six goals in 10 games in 2023. The Pole has struggled since returning from the World Cup. His two goals and an assist during a 4-0 victory against bottom side Elche are his only goal involvements since February in La Liga. The Pole is still shooting a lot but he is just not converting at the rate we have grown accustomed to. He can prove to be the difference here. Bet9ja have 2.15 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.00.
Anytime Goalscorer (Atletico Madrid)
Atlético de Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann has scored five goals in his last eight La Liga games, just one fewer than in his previous 36 games in the competition. It is only since club football returned after the World Cup that Griezmann has found himself again. And he might be in the form of his life. He too can find the back of the net today Bet9ja have 4.25 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.30 odds.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.