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Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid preview, match details, team news and prediction

Atletico Madrid travel to Catalonia to face Barcelona in the biggest game of match week 15 in La Liga as both teams will aim to close the gap on League leaders

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Atletico Madrid travel to Catalonia to face Barcelona in the biggest game of match week 15 in La Liga at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, as both teams will aim to close the gap on League leaders, Real Madrid.

Barcelona failed to close the gap on League leaders when they dropped two points in their 1:1 draw with Rato Vallecano last weekend, extending Xavi’s winless run against Vallecano.

The Catalans struggled to create a clear-cut chance all through the first half and found themselves trailing at the break. The introduction of Raphinha revived the team and despite some improvement, Xavi’s team could only salvage a draw.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have been one of the most in-form teams in Europe this season. Los Rojiblancos are popularly known for their defensive prowess, where they absorb pressure for large quarters of the game, before capitalizing on an opening from an opponent to score. Despite much criticism of their playing style, Diego Simeone has led the team to two Champions League finals, two Europa League triumphs, and two La Liga titles.

This season, there seems to be a rejuvenation in Atletico’s attack, as they now play, front end fanciful, attacking football.

Los Rojiblancos are the joint highest scoring team in the Champions League with 15 goals alongside Manchester City, with Atletico’s Alvaro Morata topping the Champions League highest scorers chat with five goals alongside City’s, Erling Haaland and Manchester United’s Rasmus Hojlund

While Atletico have triumphed over Madrid this season, they face a challenging streak against Barcelona, having lost their last three encounters. Despite this, Atletico have displayed consistent scoring form, finding the net in their past 14 games across all competitions. On the other hand, Barcelona boast a 15-game home scoring streak.

As La Liga approaches its 15th round of fixtures, the competition at the top is intense, with only four points separating the leading four teams. Atletico and Barcelona find themselves at the lower end of this group, with Barcelona currently holding the fourth position with 31 points from 14 games, featuring nine wins. Although they suffered a defeat to Madrid in late October, Barcelona quickly recovered with victories over Real Sociedad and Alaves. In their latest match against Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona secured a draw with the help of a late own goal.

Currently occupying the third place, Atletico hold a slight edge over Barcelona on goal difference, with head-to-head points being the decisive tiebreaker.

Despite a rocky start, including losses to Valencia and a draw with Real Betis in the opening four games, Atletico gained momentum with a noteworthy 7-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano and a crucial 3-1 win against rivals Madrid. A subsequent six-game winning streak was interrupted by a 2-1 defeat to Las Palmas, but Atletico regained their stride with triumphs over Villarreal and Real Mallorca.

Los Rojiblancos boast an impressive record, securing eight victories in their last nine games, propelled by the outstanding performances of Antoine Griezmann, who ranks second in the scoring charts with nine goals, trailing only Real’s Jude Bellingham.

With a game in hand over Sunday’s opponent, Atletico head to Barcelona on a four-game winning streak across all competitions. Meanwhile, Barcelona faces pressure from their fans, dissatisfied with Xavi Hernandez’s team, which has failed to win four of their last eight La Liga matches.

Match details

  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • Stadium: Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys
  • Date: Sunday 3 December
  • Kick-off time: 20:00 GMT / 15:00 ET / 12:00 PT
  • Referee: Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez
  • VAR: Hernandez Hernandez
  • Tickets: Supporters can buy Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid tickets at official club partners. Alternatively, fans can use trusted reseller sites like seatsnet.com.

Head-to-head

  • Both Atletico Madrid’s league defeats this season have come away from home.
  • Atletico have scored in their past 14 games across all competitions.
  • Barcelona have scored in each of their last 15 home games.
  • Antoine Griezmann has scored nine goals in La Liga this season.
  • Barcelona have won their past three games against Atletico Madrid after going five games without a victory.
  • Following their 3-0 Champions League win against Feyenoord on Tuesday, Atletico reached 45 goals in 18 matches in all competitions this season, an average of 2.5 per game.
  • It is the best scoring numbers Atletico have recorded after 18 games in 11 years under Simeone, better than the 43 they netted in the 2013-14 season when Diego Costa and David Villa led them to the La Liga title.
  • Alvaro Morata is the fifth-highest goal scorer in the league with five goals and two assists.
  • After a temporary hiatus from the team in the past season, Saul Niguez is becoming a key player for Diego Someone’s side, sitting second in the assist chat with five assists
  • Barcelona boast a remarkable shot differential of +150 for the season, averaging +10.7 per match, ranking second in the league. Meanwhile, Atletico hold the fourth position in the league with a shot differential of +119, averaging +9.2 per game.
  • Antoine Griezmann is enjoying outstanding form this season, having scored nine goals in La Liga, including the solitary goal against Real Mallorca the previous weekend. Griezmann, who previously scored 35 times in 102 games for Barcelona, has yet to score against his former team since leaving. However, given his current impressive form, it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes a significant impact.

Team News

Barcelona have faced ongoing injury challenges this season, particularly in the midfield. Although Pedri and Frenkie de Jong have returned, their comeback coincided with Gavi’s season-ending injury.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s recent back problem might make his availability uncertain for the Atletico match, potentially leading to Inaki Pena taking his place.

On the other hand, Atletico continue to miss Thomas Lemar and Vitolo due to Achilles and knee injuries, respectively.

Memphis Depay made his return from injury against Read Mallorca and could be in contention to feature against his Barcelona.

Diego Simeone is expected to have his full squad available for the Barcelona clash, and after a strong performance against Feyenoord, minimal changes are anticipated.

Prediction

Barcelona and Atletico will be looking to close the gap with Real Madrid to just a single point, bearing in mind that If Los Blancos beat Granada and Girona defeat Valencia, both teams could extend their lead up to seven points at the summit.

Hence, both Atletico and Barcelona will bring out all their Arsenal in the locker room to ensure maximum points.

It would be a stern test for Barcelona’s defense to keep out the likes of Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann. Barcelona on the other hand would be excited to have De Jong and Pedri in their midfield to control the tempo of the game.

There is more expectation on Barcelona to grind out a win since they’re playing at home, but breaking down Atletico’s defense will be difficult. While Barca will aim to control the game, Atletico will aim for the counter.

A draw seems unlikely but what’s most likely to happen is a pulsating clash where there’ll be an array of goals.

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