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Atletico Madrid host Barcelona in La Liga blockbuster

Atletico Madrid host Barcelona in La Liga blockbuster

Bengaluru, November 29: Atletico Madrid host Barcelona on Sunday (December 1) with both teams ready for what has become one of La Liga's most significant and dramatic fixtures.

The match at Wanda Metropolitana Stadium kicks off at 9pm local time (Monday, December 2, 1.30am IST).

Reigning champions Barça go into the game joint-top of the LaLiga Santander standings with Real Madrid, with Atletico just three points behind in fourth position.

Both Ernesto Valverde's men and Diego Simeone's side have come through challenges over the first months of the season and now look primed for a fixture which has often been key in deciding the destination of the La Liga title through recent seasons.

Fixtures | Points Table

Atletico undertook a big squad overhaul this summer, but have kept their trademark defensive solidity with just nine goals conceded in 14 games. Jan Oblak is on course for a record fifth successive Zamora prize as La Liga's best goalkeeper, while new defenders Kieran Trippier, Felipe and Renan Lodi have all settled in well. Brazil international Lodi even grabbed his first LaLiga goal in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Granada.

Morata the key

Morata the key

Alvaro has been Los Colchoneros' goalscoring star through recent weeks, with the Spain international scoring in four consecutive LaLiga games before being unlucky not to continue the run at Granada last weekend.

Also impressive has been strike partner Angel Correa, while young Portuguese starlet Joao Felix returned from injury last weekend.

Unbeaten at home

Unbeaten at home

Atletico remain unbeaten in front of their own fans at the Wanda Metropolitano, while away form has been an issue for Barcelona this season.

The Catalans have already lost at Athletic Club, Granada and Levante, but did get three points on the road last weekend when winning 2-1 at Leganes thanks to set-piece goals from Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal.

Messi's return

Messi's return

Blaugrana talisman Lionel Messi's return from injury in September has, unsurprisingly, helped steady Barcelona's form.

The Argentinian has eight goals and five assists across his first eight outings, helping his team to become La Liga's top scorers so far with 35 goals in their first 13 games.

History favours Barca

History favours Barca

History has been on Barcelona's side in this fixture through recent seasons, with Simeone yet to record a La Liga victory over Valverde's team, although May 2014's 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou secured the title for his team.

Twelve months later Messi scored the only goal as the Catalans wrested the trophy back and the Argentinian has since taken his phenomenal record to 24 goals in 23 La Liga meetings with Atletico (along with 10 yellow cards, more than against any other opponent).

Can Simeone pull it back?

Can Simeone pull it back?

The last two games between the teams at the Wanda Metropolitano have been close-fought 1-1 draws.

It all points to another tight and exciting encounter. Will Messi stretch his amazing personal record against Atletico, or can Simeone finally pull off a La Liga win over the blaugrana at the 16th attempt? Tune in on Monday, December 2, 1.30 am IST and will be shown live on Facebook.

(Source: MSL Media)

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Story first published: Friday, November 29, 2019, 13:02 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 29, 2019
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