Match Preview: FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid

Barça celebrating during their last game at Camp Nou against Athletic / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Barça take on the team in second place in the table in what could turn out to be a decisive clash in the 2015/16 league season

It’s first against second in La Liga this weekend at Camp Nou with Luis Enrique’s team taking on Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid on Saturday at 4.00pm CET. Barça lead the table on goal difference from the Madrid club but with an all-important game in hand. The encounter this weekend gives them the perfect opportunity to put some distance between themselves and one of their main rivals for the league title.

Barça trained for the last time on Friday before the visit of the 2014 league champions. Luis Enrique could have former Atlético Madrid player Arda Turan back in the squad after he missed the 3-1 win on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey against Athletic Club. Neymar picked up a knock in scoring the third in the victory that takes Barça into the semi-finals of the competition where they will face Valencia but is expected to be in the squad for Saturday’s game. Another who could return is Jordi Alba after missing the last three games with a hamstring problem.

Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone also has problems as injury deprives him of Lucas, Tiago and Fernando Torres. Suspension also means he is without Ángel Correa as the Argentine named his squad on Friday after training – the full list is as follows: Oblak and Moyá; Godín, Filipe Luis, Savic, Jesús Gámez, Juanfran and Giménez; Koke, Óliver, Augusto, Gabi, Saúl, Carrasco and Thomas; Griezmann, Jackson and Vietto

Coaches’ viewpoint

Luis Enrique: “We are looking forward to a good match and hope the Camp Nou fills to support the team as it always does”

“But this is not a definitive game. Regardless of what happens, it’ll still be tight at the top. So, no, I wouldn’t say we’re playing for half the league title tomorrow at all.”

Diego Simeone: “Arda Turan [former Atlético player] gave us everything. He is a man who has always been loyal to our work and we have great memories of him. That he is at Barcelona as a coach makes me happy.”

Form guide

Luis Enrique’s team are unbeaten in 25 matches following on from their 3-1 win at Camp Nou on Wednesday in the second leg of their quarter-final cup tie against Athletic. That victory means they have won their last five matches at Camp Nou in a row, scoring 21 goals and conceding just two in the process.

Atlético’s eight game unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end in midweek when they were dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Celta Vigo, the Galicians winning 3-2 at the Calderón to book their place in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, Simeone’s team have only conceded three goals away from home in the league all season and they have the best record on the road in La Liga, having taken an impressive 25 points from a possible 33.

History

Atlético have not won at Camp Nou in the league since 2006 and have lost on seven of their last eight visits to FC Barcelona. Their best result in recent seasons was the 1-1 draw in 2014 that handed Diego Simeone’s team their first league title since 1996. Last season the two teams met twice at Camp Nou, Barça winning 2-1 in the league and 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Coverage

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