La Liga [Preview]: Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona

Atletico Madrid entertain rivals Barcelona in a highly-anticipated La Liga clash on Saturday evening. Both teams have unbeaten starts to the new season, although Barcelona are clear at the top of the table thanks to their 100 percent league record. Atleti have not done much wrong since the start of the campaign, but they have been involved in three draws which have cost them valuable points. Diego Simeone’s side are placed fourth in the league standings with 15 points, six behind Barcelona, who possess the best scoring and defensive record in the division.

Previous outing:

The last meeting between the clubs was at the old Vicente Calderon stadium where Barcelona triumphed by a 2-1 scoreline. Rafinha opened the scoring for the Catalan giants in the 64th minute, only to be pegged back by Diego Godin’s equaliser six minutes later. The game looked to be heading for a 1-1 draw but Lionel Messi had the final say with a deft finish in the 86th minute.

Players to watch for:

Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid: The 26-year-old is the lynchpin in the Atleti attack. Griezmann did have a slow start to the season with his sending off against Girona, and he has since managed well with four goals for club and country. Atleti do not possess the sheer brilliance of a Lionel Messi, but Griezmann can certainly rise to the occasion with his brilliant movement behind the opposition backline.

Lionel Messi – Barcelona: Messi appears to be having the season of his life having single-handedly secured Argentina’s place in next summer’s World Cup. The 30-year-old has scored 16 goals for club and country this term which includes a brilliant hat-trick in Argentina’s 3-0 win over Ecuador. Messi has had a rollicking start to the campaign, and Atleti’s backline will have to their work cut out to stop the little maestro.

Prediction:

Atletico Madrid have in the past frustrated Barcelona on their home turf, but the game at the Wanda Metropolitano could favour the Catalan giants in some way. Messi to score in the second-half…

Atletico Madrid 0-1 Barcelona

Image – Getty

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