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.
Koeman will miss the game, however, after being sent off against Granada. “Yes, I feel like it’s personal,” the Dutchman said in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo of the resulting sanction. “All for saying ‘what a character’. I don’t think that’s insulting, it’s not a reason to sanction someone for two games, so there’s something else there. But the staff are good enough to take the game and we’ve been together for a long time. My ideas and their ideas are the same, so you don’t have to go crazy if I can’t be there.”