Vicente Calderon, Madrid
28th January, 2015; 21:00 CET
FC Barcelona will be the clear favorites to enter the semi finals of Copa Del Rey when they visit Vicente Calderon tonight as the Catalans have already beaten Atletico Madrid in a first leg tie at Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid have struggled to perform according to the expectations against FC Barcelona this season. The story was no different in a first leg tie when they failed to score against the Catalans and lost the game by one goal to nil.
Luis Enrique managed FC Barcelona are brimming with confidence as they are on a six game winning streak, while they are also in a driving seat of this quarter final tie against Atletico Madrid.
Atletico Madrid enjoyed a successful campaign last year as they managed to get positive results against FC Barcelona in Champions League and La Liga. But FC Barcelona have managed to keep an upper hand over Atletico Madrid in 2015 as they have already beaten the Rojiblancos twice this month.
Atletico Madrid lost to FC Barcelona by one goal to nil in a first leg tie at Camp Nou and they will have to perform exceedingly well if they want to have any realistic chance of progression to the semi finals.
Atletico Madrid played their regular high pressing game against FC Barcelona last week but the tactic of Luis Enrique to play Leo Messi in the attacking midfield role worked well for the Catalans as the Argentinean international scored a winning goal in the dying moments of the match.
Diego Simeone will have to find a solution to break the new found fluidity of FC Barcelonaa s midfield if he wants to win this game. And he will be banking on the form of Antoine Griezmann.
Antoine Griezmann is in excellent form at the moment. Griezmann was again on target on this weekend when he scored a brace to help Atletico Madrid beat Rayo by 3-1.
Atletico Madrid will be without defender Diego Godin for this encounter as he remains suspended.
Meanwhile, in spite of trailing FC Barcelona on the basis of first leg deficit, Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has said that the tie is still wide open.
a They have an advantage but we are going to go for the win. If one thing is true, it’s thjat in football anything is possible,a said Koke in his pre-match press conference.
a The CalderA?n will be spectacular. It will be an amazing night, the stadium will be a furnace and the atmosphere will be incredible as always. It’s a11 against 11, but it will be great night.a
Predicted Starting XI (4-3-3): Oblak; Juanfran, Miranda, Jimenez, Siqueira; Koke, Gabi, Mario Suarez; Arda, Torres, Griezmann.
Going into this second leg fixture at Vicente Calderon, FC Barcelona find themselves in a very strong position as they have a one goal advantage over Atletico Madrid.
The midfield of FC Barcelona performed extremely well in a game at Camp Nou and coach Luis Enrique would be hoping for a similar performance from the likes of Rakitic, Iniesta and Busquetes.
Messi played a role of attacking midfielder in previous encounter and Luis Enrique could deploy him at the same position in this game as well as he performed extremely well in that game.
FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has said ahead of this game that they are not the favorites and they cana t remain over-confident against a quality team like Atletico Madrid.
a This is whata s being portrayed away from us, if we see things that way then wea re in trouble. Of the three big teams, only one will go through, but we cana t be over-confident. One has to play the corresponding games and then the hypothetical final. We respect all teams,a said Luis Enrique.
a I hope that the game is played within the confines of the law. I hope ita s a great spectacle for the fans. Ia m only thinking in winning. Ia m not sure if ita s the most important game. It is though a chance to get to the semi-final of the Copa del Rey.a
Meanwhile, going into this fixture, FC Barcelona does not have any new injury concerns. Jeremy Mathieu is fully recovered now but he is unlikely to get any chance to play tonight. Luis Suarez, who was benched for a game against Elche because of his poor him, is not expected to start this game either.
Predicted Starting XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Rakitic, Busquetes, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have performed extremely well against Atletico Matdrid in 2015. But it is not at all easy to beat them at Vicente Calderon. However, looking at the current form of FC Barcelona, it looks almost impossible for Atletico Madrid to overcome the first leg deficit either.
Players To Watch Out For
Antoine Griezmann has been the standout performer of Atletico Madrid since December. Griezmann has the ability to cause all sort of trouble to the FC Barcelona defence with his pace.
Messi scored an all important winning goal in a first leg tie at Camp Nou and Luis Enrique would be hoping for a similar performance from his star striker again tonight.