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.
One player Koeman won’t have at his disposal for the game is Ansu Fati, who underwent surgery on his left knee in Portugal on Thursday, his fourth operation at just 18. “I haven’t yet spoken with Ansu,” Koeman said in comments carried by Diario Sport. “I did speak with him before his trip. Poor kid, it’s taking a long time. Yes, there are things that haven’t gone well [in his recovery] but I don’t want to go into any more detail.
“Five or six months is a long time. The most important thing is that he’s going to recover, he’s going to get well and that he’ll be with us. It’s too bad that it’ll only be for next season. It’s important that we’re missing a player like him, but the most important thing is that he recovers well and returns to playing.”