With majority of Europe’s top tier league competitions all but decided, all eyes on Tuesday night will be glued to a mouthwatering clash at the Camp Nou. Title chasing Barcelona host an in-form Atletico Madrid side in a tie that could impact the former’s title chances. Reported rumors of discord in Barcelona’s camp took centre stage on Saturday during their match away to Celta Vigo. On field players evident show of displeasure at some of the tactical changes made by the technical bench was just but a smokescreen to a dismal performance that saw the Catalan side held to a two-all draw by the side sitting just above the relegation zone.
Time, date and Venue
The encounter takes place at Barcelona’s home ground, Camp Nou on Tuesday, 30th June 2020 at 11pm EAT.
The Catalans have won three and drawn two games games since the resumption of the league after the COVID-19 pandemic. And while that may look good on paper, Real Madrid’s blistering run of form has left them two points off the top.
Atletico Madrid on the other hand have won four and drawn one of their last five matches conceding only a single goal in the process. Their stingy defence that has conceded a mere 23 goals is the second best in Europe’s top 5 leagues and could prove to be hornet’s nest in Barca’s bid to collect three precious points
The home side have an edge when it comes to recent meetings. They haven’t lost a league game to Atleti in three years, winning four times and drawing twice. The meeting between the two earlier this season was decided by a late goal from the mercurial Lionel Messi.
As far-fetchted a fact as it may seem, Diego simeone’s men last away win at Barca date back to February 2006 an clear indication of herculean task that lies ahead of them.
Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie De Jong are long term absentees. Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto have been included in the matchday squad after missing out on the weekend. French foward, Antoine Griezmann will be hoping for a starting berth against his former club and Talisman Lionel Messi will be looking to get his groove back after firing blanks in the last match.
While Atleti are almost at full strength, they will be missing the services of Stefan Savic and captain Koke Resurrección to suspension. No one embodies the spirit of Diego Simeone more than Saul Niguez, who will undoubtedly be a key man in the match. Although Diego Costa may well be past his prime, his bullish attitude is always a headache for any defender.
As the faint chiming sound of the clock continues to tick and the match edges closer, it remains to be seen whether Barcelona will get back their stride and remain on course to clinching their 7th title in 10 years or will Atletico Madrid be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and almost certainly hand the title to cross-town rival Real Madrid?