Barcelona go into this game with rivals Atletico Madrid knowing that a defeat could spell doom for their manager. Coach Luis Enrique is under huge pressure after Barcelona lost 1-0 at Real Sociedad last weekend. The loss at La Real meant Barca are one point behind Real Madrid, who have played a game less. They are also level with Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
These two teams were involved in some tasty encounters last season. Atletico Madrid took a 2-1 aggregate win in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals over Barca. They also managed to knock the Catalans off their La Liga perch, winning the league title on the last day of the season with a 2-1 win at the Nou Camp.
Despite Atletico’s brilliant results over Barca in recent months, they are underdogs in this game. Bookies believe that Barcelona will have a comfortable game on their hands, with odds of 3/5 on them winning.
The draw has a price of 10/3, while Atletico’s price is 11/2. It would be unwise to bet on Barcelona in this game. Their squad has not looked happy under coach Luis Enrique, while Lionel Messi has not formed a proper partnership with Neymar or Luis Suarez.
Atletico are capable of getting results against the best sides. Their most recent game was a 2-0 win in the Copa del Rey over defending champions Real Madrid. This result was achieved despite the manager resting many key players. If they turn up with the type of energy they showed in these meetings last season, Barcelona will struggle.
Whoever wins this game will have the best chance of challenging Real Madrid for La Liga. A draw would be a disappointing result for both sides, because it would allow Real to move 3 points clear with a game in hand.