ATLETICO MADRID

vs

FC BARCELONA

Vicente Calderón

19th September, 22:30 IST

Atletico Madrid might not be at par with the other half of Madrid, but of late they have been more successful in tormenting Barcelona more than their richer and more illustrious cousins. FC Barcelona has had a relatively bad start to their season whereas the Los Colchoneros’ start isn’t anything short of perfect. Starting their first game at home against Sporting de Gijon, El Atleti scored four goals and maintained the rhythm by snatching three crucial points from Athletic Bilbao. Finally they failed to capture all three points from their recently concluded Europa League match away at Greece. Messi and co., on the other hand, have had quite a contrasting start. After winning away at El Sardinero, the Champions were handed their first home defeat in a long long time by newly promoted Hércules. The Catalans made up for their shock loss by thrashing Greek champions Panathanaikos in midweek.

It’s been quite some time since Barça has won (Spanish League) at the Vicente Calderón. This in itself is an indication as to how good the Europa League champions are. Few things will be in favour of the mighty Catalans. First being that Atletico played their Europa League match as late as Thursday and had little time to rest whereas Barça won theirs on Tuesday. Secondly, the home team’s morale might just have taken a blow after a shock defeat against Aris Thessaloniki and Barcelona just played one of the best matches of the 2010-11 campaign.

Former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid manager, Radomir Antić is reported to have said that the Catalan side has the edge because they have had a few extra hours to prepare. Quite rightly so. Nonetheless, Atletico manager Quique Sánchez Flores has good news. Star striker, Sergio Aguero still has a chance to make it to the Barcelona match, after he injured his ankle last week against Athletic Bilbao. With Diego Forlan already leading the race for the Pichichi, the host’s attack will be quite taxing given the fact that Govou and Cisse showed that Barcelona’s defence isn’t as good as the club’s attack.

May 12, 2010 - Hamburg, Germany - epa02154569 Atletico Madrid's forward Diego Forlan (L) celebrates with his team mate Sergio Aguero after scoring his second goal during the UEFA Europa League final match between FC Fulham and Atletico Madrid at Hamburg Arena, Hamburg, Germany, 12 May 2010. Atletico Madrid won 2-1.

Troublesome Duo I: Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero

Atletico’s main weakness was their defense but the inclusion of Godin has improved it a lot and the young David de Gea is doing justice to the comparisons drawn to St.Iker. Barcelona’s defense hasn’t been up to the mark. Carles Puyol nursed a minor niggle and Pique has a head injury that might just make him think twice before challenging for an aerial ball. Eric Abidal has been highly inconsistent. Against an attack comprising of a World Cup Golden Ball winner, the defense needs to bring out their ‘A’ game. Despite the fact that Abidal isn’t traveling with the squad to Madrid, it won’t be surprising if Maxwell is given a nod ahead of the Frenchman in the future too.

Barcelona's David Villa (R) celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi after scoring against Panathinaikos during their Champions League Group D soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Troublesome Duo II: FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi and David Villa

The bright (or maybe even the brightest) point from a Blaugrana point of view is Sergio Busquets. His performance hasn’t been anything short of magnificent. He finally seems to have come of age. Busi has finally evolved from a young and promising La Masia product to an integral part, in one of the most crucial positions, in one of the best teams in the world.

FC Barcelona possible starting line-up:

Valdes, Puyol, Pique, Alves, Maxwell, Xavi, Iniesta, Mascherano, Villa, Messi, Pedro

Football Fans Know Better

FC Barcelona: Possible Starting Line-Up

Atletico Madrid possible starting line-up:

De Gea, Dominguez Soto, Diego Godin, Antonio Lopez, Perea, Assuncao, Raul Garcia, Simao, Reyes/Tiago, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero/Camacho/Fran Merida

TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Barcelona's Lionel Messi gestures as he celebrates after scoring his second goal against Panathinaikos during their Champions League Group D soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Lionel '10' Messi

Despite have an array of stars, the limelight eventually is on the diminutive Argentine. He had a rusty outing against Trezeguet & Co. last weekend but in the midweek match against Greek Champion – Panathanaikos, Messi showed as to why he is the best player in the world.

Past five matches:

2009-10: FC Barcelona 5-2 Atletico Madrid; Atletico Madrid 2-1 FC Barcelona

2008-09: FC Barcelona 6-1 Atletico Madrid; Atletico Madrid 4-3 FC Barcelona

2007-08: Atletico Madrid 4-2 FC Barcelona

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION:

Atletico 1-2 FC Barcelona

8 Responses to “Atletico Madrid vs FC Barcelona: The ‘Other’ Match In The Capital”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. A Blaugrana says:

    Finally we won @ Calderon…
    As predicted a 1-2 scoreline, but more importantly 68.2% possession… WONDERFUL :)

  2. Jayant says:

    Nothing to be happy about. Messi out for a possible 4 weeks with dislocated ligaments. :(

  3. vikas says:

    As much as i love to see Barca struggle without Messi, i am very sad for the little man…:(…one good news for him is, there’s no fracture to his ankle as confirmed by Guardiola…

  4. Not A Devil says:

    Barcelona is doomed without Messi…
    Real to press forward and win the title

  5. A Blaugrana says:

    Barcelona isn’t all about Messi… Yes, we might lose a bit of oour sharpness, but I am sure we’ll manage
    LM10, get well soon 😀

  6. Jayant says:

    The schedule isn’t that brutal so that’s good news for us but if Villa and Pedro play the way they did yesterday and Bojan doesn’t step up then we are in trouble. Let’s see if our ‘9’ is ready for the responsibility.

  7. Edith Guella says:

    Not exactly a poor result for Barcelona at the weekend.

  8. Jayant says:

    I for one am quite satisfied with the result. Rubin are a very difficult team to break down. They were extremely disciplined in defense.
    We played much better against them this year than we did last year. We created far more than we did last year and had we taken our chances, we would’ve won all 3 pts.