Sunday, May 17 2015; 19:00 CET
Vicente Calderon, Madrid
In a quirk of fate, Atletico Madrid won the historic La Liga title at the Camp Nou after securing a 1-1 draw on the last match day in 2014, and now, FC Barcelona can do likewise at Vicente Calderon tonight by winning all three points.
Atletico Madrid have failed to replicate their last seasona s heroics this time around as they obviously are out of the title race. Interestingly, Valencia are giving Diego Simeonea s men a run for their money for the third spot and tonighta s fixture will play a crucial role in deciding the fate of Rojiblancos.
This is the season to remember for FC Barcelona as they look closer than ever to win the treble, in the debut season of Luis Enrique. But Vicente Calderon is a difficult venue to secure all three points and the Catalans must work hard if they want to win the Primera Division title tonight itself.
Atletico Madrid sold many of their important members last summer, and bought many world class players like Antoine Griezmann, Mario Mandzukic and Jan Oblak.
However, Diego Simeonea s men have failed to match the hunger of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona players this season as they are now fighting for a third spot with Valencia in La Liga.
This is going to be an emotional game as FC Barcelona can win the La Liga title at Vicente Calderon tonight. And if Atletico Madrid wants to avoid this embarrassment, they will have to improve their game remarkably well as the Catalans are in devastating form at the moment.
Defence remains the biggest strength of Atletico Madrid as the pair of Miranda and Diego Godin has looked as reliable as ever. On the contrary, the midfield of Rojiblancos has looked short of ideas on many occasions and, as Tiago remains suspended, the likes of Koke, Gabi and Mario Suarez will have to play an intelligent game if they want to enjoy at least 40 percent possession against mighty FC Barcelona.
French striker Antoine Griezmann and former Bayern Munich man Mario Mandzukic have formed a good partnership up front of late, but they still lack the consistency and they will have to work extra hard if they want to beat the defence of FC Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak knows it will not be easy to get anything off FC Barcelona.
“There’s no fear, but we know that it’s not easy to stop them,a Jan Oblak told AS.
“I’m sure that we can beat any team in the world. We have to play with a lot of intensity, be very focused and do a lot of running, and in the end we’ll see what happens.”
Predicted Starting XI (4-4-2): Oblak; Juanfran, Diego Godin, Miranda, Siqueira; Arda, Gabi, Suarez, Koke; Griezmann, Torres
Coming weeks are going to prove very crucial for FC Barcelona as they have very genuine chance of winning the La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League.
Pep Guardiola took the football world by storm when he won all the aforementioned trophies in his debut season in 2008-09. Pep Guardiolaa s FC Barcelona played excellent brand of tiki-taka football which won him many fans and his legacy is still remembered fondly at Camp Nou.
Luis Enrique received much criticism in the early parts of the season for his rotation policy, inconsistency, and, of course, for changing the playing philosophy of FC Barcelona.
But with the passage of time, Luis Enrique has proved his critics wrong and has also proved his genius to all as FC Barcelona look well on track to make it a season to remember. Barca, under Luis Enrique, are showcasing breathtaking display of attacking football and they are clear favorites to win the La Liga title against Atletico Madrid tonight.
FC Barcelona suffered a defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich on Tuesday and, for the first time in many months, made some errors. Luis Enrique would be expecting a flawless performance from the duo of Mascherano and Gerard Pique tonight.
The midfield and attack of FC Barcelona is in great form at the moment. The trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar has the ability to give nightmares to any defence in the world. On the other hand, the defence of Atletico Madrid is arguably the strongest in La Liga and it will be an interesting contest tonight.
FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has asked his team-mates to stay grounded as they still havena t won anything yet.
“Looking at the teams that have won the treble gives you an appreciation of how difficult it is,” Gerard Pique said.
“There are other teams vying too and the way people are talking it’s as if we’d already won the treble, and that’s not the case. The finals are against two historic clubs and we still haven’t won anything yet.a
Predicted Starting XI (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Neymar
Atletico Madrid 1-2 FC Barcelona
Atletico Madrid are not looking in very good touch at the moment, while FC Barcelona is no doubt the most in form team in the world. The attack of Catalans is the best in Spain and they look certain to cause big headache to Miranda and Diego Godin tonight.
Players To Watch Out For
Brazilian striker Neymar has scored in all past seven games of FC Barcelona. Neymar has formed a great understanding with Messi and Luis Suarez and he has enough quality to cause trouble to the strong defence of Atletico Madrid.
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
No other defender in the world football is as consistent as Atletico Madrida s Diego Godin. The Uruguayan international is known for his concentration and marking ability. On the other hand, the attack of FC Barcelona is the best in the world and it would an interesting tactical battle between the MSN and Diego Godin.
Blast From The Past