Stadium: Spotify Camp Nou
Time: Sunday 3.15 pm
La Liga has been full of surprises this season, with Barcelona leading the league by a significant margin despite being knocked out of both the Champions League and Europa League early on. Atlético Madrid has been in great form since the start of the year, but they are too far behind the league leaders to catch up.
Real Madrid has been mediocre throughout the season, but they find themselves in the Champions League semi-finals after beating Liverpool and Chelsea.
The upcoming game between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid may not affect the final standings, but it could help us understand the direction in which both teams are heading.
Diego Simeone has struggled in this fixture, managing more games at Camp Nou without a win than any other venue. On the other hand, Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández has won both of his La Liga games against Atlético de Madrid and could become only the second coach in Barcelona’s history to win his first three games against them.
Barcelona’s Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, and Ousmane Dembele have returned to training after muscle injuries, but their availability for Sunday’s game is uncertain. Meanwhile, Atlético will be missing Memphis Depay, Marcos Llorente, and Geoggrey Kondogbia due to suspension.
That’s the joint-best current winning run by a team in Europe’s top five leagues along with Manchester City in the Premier League. While their recent victory over Almería was far from comfortable, Atlético are winning games again.
Barcelona have drawn their last two games 0-0 against relegation-threatened Getafe and Girona. Barcelona’s defensive record in La Liga this season has been incredible but with goals drying up and Robert Lewandowski struggling, they have sometimes looked impotent in attack.
Barcelona have failed to score in any of their last three games in all competitions (44 shots in total). Only on three previous occasions have they failed to score in four successive games, most recently in April 2008 under Frank Rijkaard.
If you don’t score goals then you can’t win games, and Barcelona have drawn their last two La Liga matches 0-0 – they haven’t picked up three straight draws in the competition since December 2016 (D3) and haven’t had three goalless draws in a row in the top-flight since April 1989.
While they are comfortably ahead of the chasing pack in La Liga, Xavi’s side will need to show signs of life or it will be a very uncomfortable run-in and an even more worrisome summer for the manager.
Barcelona – Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski’s form has dipped in 2023, with the striker involved in only six goals in 10 games in La Liga and a 9.5% shot conversion rate, compared to his 17 goal involvements and 23.6% conversion rate in 2022.
Since February, he has only scored two goals and provided one assist during a match against Elche. However, Lewandowski’s underlying numbers remain strong, with his 6.24 xG and 46 shots placing him fourth and third in La Liga respectively.
Despite this, he has been experiencing a rare goal drought, leading to Raphinha being considered Barcelona’s most dangerous attacker.
Atletico Madrid – Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann, a midfielder for Atlético de Madrid, has scored five goals in his last eight La Liga matches, which is only one goal less than what he had scored in his previous 36 games in the competition. If one were to attribute Atlético’s recent form to a single player, then Griezmann would be the one to credit.
Griezmann’s history with Barcelona is well-known. He initially rejected them in a documentary similar to LeBron James’ “The Decision,” but ultimately ended up playing for them a year later. However, he never fully settled in and returned to Atlético at the beginning of last season.
It wasn’t until after the World Cup that Griezmann rediscovered his form in club football. He is now in the best form of his life.
Barcelona to win
According to the Opta Supercomputer, Barcelona has a 46.1% probability of winning against Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou. On the other hand, Atlético Madrid only has a 25.2% chance of winning in their away game against Barcelona.