Barcelona’s upset in the Clasico meant an end to their six month 39 game unbeaten streak and also breathed a bit of life back into the Spanish title race, where Atletico have been valiantly trying to keep things competitive. However, both teams will regard this as their priority, with Barca desperate to become the first team to win back to back Champions Leagues and Atletico knowing that the league title remains a very slim hope.
Barca have had the besting of Atletico since the start of last season as they’ve won all six meetings. However, there’s rarely been much between them and the last five were all by just one goal margins while in the 2013/14 season Atletico were unbeaten against the Catalans with five draws and crucially one win that proved enough to knock their rivals out of the Champions League at this exact stage.
The contrast in the two teams style is clear simply by looking at their goals tallies this season, with Barca averaging better than a goal per game more than Atletico in La Liga but the capital club conceding 11 fewer than Barcelona or any other team. However, while Barca’s MSN attacking trident are likely to be as sharp as ever – and they’ve scored 11 of their side’s 12 goals against Atletico since the start of last season – Atletico have a couple of significant defensive headaches. Jose Gimenez is definitely out while Diego Godin is a doubt and so they could be missing both first choice centre-backs. Godin has only failed to start seven league games since the start of last season and they’ve kept just one clean sheet in his absence – they’ve kept clean sheets in 61% of games with him – so it could pay to see if he makes the starting XI.
Barcelona have won 16 of their last 19 Champions League matches with their sole defeat coming in last year’s semi when they’d effectively secured their progress to the final. They’ve won five of their six first legs since 2013/14 with four victories by more than one goal and Atletico are the only side to stop them winning in their last 15 home UCL games. Furthermore, 10 of those 14 wins were by more than one goal and 11 had at least three goals but eight were despite conceding.
Atletico progressed against PSV via penalties after a pair of nil-nils but they won’t be able to stop Barca scoring over 180 minutes so they will surely know an away goal could be priceless. Five of their last six matches in all competitions have had at least three goals as their attack, and Antoine Griezmann in particular, has been in superb form. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them nick a goal at some point but with their weakened defence we expect Barca to record a seventh successive win against them. Four of those six wins were despite conceding, while they’ve kept just three clean sheets in their last 12 games in all competitions, and Barcelona are 4.0 to win with both teams scoring.
That of course brings Over 2.5 Goals into consideration and would allow us to cover a Barca blowout – the last time they lost they followed up by scoring a handful – or potentially a number of upset scores.
Click here to find out more about Football Form Labs