Barcelona host Atletico Madrid tomorrow afternoon in a clash absolutely pivotal in their hopes of winning La Liga. The Blaugrana are third in the table on 74 points, level with Real Madrid in second. Atletico lead the way with 76, while Sevilla make up the top four with 70. Should Barcelona beat Atletico at Camp Nou, they’ll just have to rely on Madrid to drop points to take the race back in their own hands.
Just over 24 hours after Barcelona’s game with Atletico, Madrid play Sevilla at Valdebebas. Hurting from their Champions League humbling at the hands of Chelsea midweek, Madrid could stumble under Catalan pressure should the Blaugrana win the day before, but if Barcelona drop points a path to glory will open up for Madrid.
Atletico started the season like a train but have fallen off since the dawn of the new year, while Barcelona started like a snail only to hit serious heights domestically from the beginning of 2021 onwards. Ronald Koeman’s side, having already won the Copa del Rey, are keen to claim a domestic double deemed impossible before Christmas. Diego Simeone will be looking to lead Atletico to their second league title under his reign.
“We’re facing a team that’s cut many points, and a coach who’s done a great job to turn around what happened at the beginning of the season,” Simeone said pre-match in comments carried by Marca. “There’s always a first time for everything in life,” he replied when asked whether he could secure his first ever win at Camp Nou.
Of key importance if Atletico are to win in Catalonia will be the performances of main men Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez. “Their season speaks for itself,” he said. “Two very important players. One with a great history, claiming everything that wasn’t expected of him. And Marcos having the best campaign of his career.”