Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid by Isaiah
In the last game before the tonight's one, Barcelona was dominant from the first moment, threatened a lot, had very good momentum and achieved two goals in the first halftime, in 11th minute by Messi and 33rd from the same player, to get into the double lead before the halftime whistle. They remained at the same level in the second half, as Messi scored once again in 57th and the victory was sealed with an own goal in 83rd minute away to La Coruna.
It was an easy victory over Deportivo, as the team of Luis Enrique now completed two consecutive victories, but more important than that, they have few very convincing performances in a row. They now remain only a point behind Real Madrid, having also played a game more, but also showing that the team obviously has left their internal problems aside. They have played against Atletico Madrid just two weeks ago, as that lineup is expected to have only one change for tonight's game, with goalkeeper Bravo being benched and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen continuing to have his chance at Cup games. Otherwise, there will be hardly any change, as team captain Xavi remains to be doubtful, despite returning to first team trainings. Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez will surely lead their attack tonight in a 4-3-3 formation.
Atletico Madrid pulled out 2:0 victory at home over Granada last weekend, even though they didn't start the game in a very strong and comfortable way. Still, the hosts have preceded with a goal from penalty kick taken by Mandzukic in 34th minute, dominating the second half and sealing the victory with the second one in 88th minute when Raul Garcia was the goalscorer.
With this result, team of Diego Simeone returned to winning ways after their defeat at Camp Nou, to which they return tonight in order to show much better performance and keep their chances of progressing to the next stage, semifinal stage of Copa del Rey. During the last training, coach Simeone was trying with some really attacking and aggressive formations, with Manduzkic and Torres as attacking duo and Griezmann and Arda behind them. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak is expected to play instead of Moya, while midfielder Tiago (13/3) and defender Ansaldi (7/0) remain injured for this game. Jose Gimenez should play at the central defending position instead of experienced Joao Miranda.
Barcelona somehow goes into this match with a much better atmosphere and more convincing performances. It's hard to see that something has changed from their previous game and even if it has changed - it was surely a change on Barcelona's side, for the better.