Atletico Madrid welcome Barcelona to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday for their first La Liga meeting of the season.
Atletico Madrid remain the only unbeaten side in La Liga season, winning five and drawing two of their seven league games thus far, with their tally of 17 points, enough to put them in third place, just three games shy of surprise leaders Real Sociedad and more importantly, with two games in hand. They have not lost a La Liga game since February, a run of 23 matches (14 wins, 9 draws).
Their good start to the season is highlighted by the fact that they have scored the most goals (17) and conceded the least (2). With perennial contenders Real Madrid and their opponents Barcelona seemingly stumbling and dealing with a myriad of issues, many pundits believe this might be the season for Diego Simeone to cash in and win the coveted La Liga title.
The Catalan giants have endured a tough start to their La Liga season following a summer full of drama ranging from the protracted situation with Messi’s contract to the chaotic exit of Luis Suarez from the club. They find themselves in an unfamiliar 8th spot on the log after 7 games as new coach Ronald Koeman tries to juggle all the challenges in the team.
Strangely enough, they have looked completely different in the Champions League where they have convincingly won all their three games, including a 2-0 win at the Allianz Stadium in Turin against Juventus back in late October.
With no further international games until next year, Koeman will have an opportunity to build upon the momentum they’ve shown since losing at home to Real Madrid in the Classico.
Atletico have had an awful record against Barcelona. They have not beaten them in any of their last 20 meetings, losing 14 and drawing 6. This will be a huge match with major implications for both teams. We, therefore, expect a close contest. Atletico are in the form of their lives. They are riding on an unbeaten 23 games run. They’ve also not lost any of their last 2 meetings against Barcelona, the last of which was a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou towards the end of the restarted season. Barcelona are not at the peak of their powers this season and we fancy Atletico will turn the tide against them and we are backing them to win with a +1 handicap @ 1.63 with Meltbet as our first betting tip here.
These two teams have no love lost for each other. In each of their last 5 meetings, we have had 7+ bookings and a red card in one of those games. With the stakes even higher at this early stage of the season, we do not expect anything less. The game will be as tight, physical and as bad-tempered as ever. Meltbet have priced Barcelona to get Over 2.5 bookings @ 1.68 and we feel there is great value in backing it for our final call for this clash.
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