Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona by JerryDrake
Vicente Calderón invencible
When Atletico lost their only game this season at their stadium, Diego Costa, David Villa and goalkeeper Courtois were not in the line-up. It was against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, 0-2 with two penalty kicks scored by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here are the complete home results obtained by Atletico Madrid: 1 draw in the Spanish Supercup, 14 wins, 3 draws and no defeats in Primera División (goals: 46-9), 4 wins, no draws, no defeats in Champions League (goals: 13-2), 2 wins and 1 defeat in Copa del Rey. With their main team Atletico are undefeated at Vicente Calderón stadium.
Barcelona and Atletico met already four times this season. two draws in the Spanish Supercup (1-1 in Madrid and 0-0 in Barcelona) when the Azulgrana won the title. It was Neymar to score the decisive goal. 0-0 again in Madrid in the Spanish league and 1-1 in the first leg of the Champions League in Barcelona. Once again, it was Neymar to score the equalizer. It happens rarely to see Barcelona not winning against the same team for four times in a row. And never taking the lead in one of those four games. Messi scored 20 goals in 15 meetings with the colchoneros. Messi played 5 times against Atletico with Simeone as trainer and he still has not scored.
End of exclusive dualism
In the last 9 ligas españolas the Spanish title has always been won either by Barcelona or Real Madrid. In these 9 championships, the one of these two teams which did not win, have arrived second except in 2007 when Barcelona arrived 3rd behind Villarreal. This can still happen this year but at the moment it is Atletico Madrid to lead the table. Something unbelievable has happened in Spain: there are three teams fighting for the title. Two of them playing the Copa del Rey final (Barcelona and Real) and two more playing the Champions League semifinals (Real and x).
40 years later
Atletico Madrid played only one Champions final in their history: it was in 1974 when they lost to Bayern Munich in Brussels. As Bayern refused to play the Intercontinental finals with Independiente it was Atletico to play and win the cup. 40 years later Atletico have the chance to try to play another final.
The grass is always longer
Barcelona complained for the lenght of the grass at Vicente Calderón stadium. „UEFA rules place responsibility for the state of the pitch in the hands of the referee who can instruct the home side to cut the grass before the game but it seems unlikely English referee Howard Webb will do so“ (Source: Dailymail.co.uk). The reason for complaining is the fact that Barcelona say that the long grass inhibits their passing game. As it happened in Valladolid at the end of the first half, this thought and fear can be a psychological obstacle for Barcelona more than the technical obstacle in itsself.
Diego Costa and Turan are doubt for Atletico, Martino will miss Piqué and Victor Valdés. Second goalkeeper Pinto can be the weak point of Barcelona together with Bartra while Belgian goalkeeper Courtois can be decisive in this match as he already was in the first leg. Barcelona skills are not in doubt but in so many years some teams and some trainers have learned how to face the Azulgrana, El Cholo is one of them. Atletico have nothing to lose and the heath of their stadium and fans will help them to reach the qualification. My correct score: 1-0 Villa
Atletico Madrid: 13 Courtois, 20 Juanfran, 23 Miranda, 2 Godin, 3 Luis Filipe, 8 Raul Garcia, 14 Gabi, 15 Tiago, 6 Koke, 9 Villa, 7 Adrián. Trainer: Simeone
Barcelona: 13 Pinto, 22 Dani Alves, 15 Bartra, 14 Mascherano, 18 Jordi Alba, 6 Xavi, 16 Busquets, 8 Iniesta, 10 Messi, 4 Fabregas, 11 Neymar. Trainer: Martino
Out: Manquillo (AM), Valdes, Piqué, dos Santos, Cuenca (Barcelona)
Doubt: Diego Costa, A
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|Atletico qualify||Pinnacle||2.32||8||1-0 WON (+10.56 units)|
* Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.