Saturday, February 25, 2012

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26.02. (Sun) 21:30 Atletico Madrid - Barcelona

Liga BBVA: Barcelona-Valencia: Lionel Mess, Christian Tello



Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe
Tiago, Gabi
Arda, Adrian, Koke


Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Messi, Fabregas, Sanchez

Diego Simeone will be without the services of Brazilian playmaker Diego, who has been ruled out for a month. However, Arda Turan returned from injury to feature from the bench in the Europa League victory over Lazio on Thursday.

Radamel Falcao was rested from the starting XI in midweek but the prolific Colombian will return to starting line-up for the game against Barca.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola's only two injuries to deal with are long-term absentees Ibrahim Afellay and David Villa, who are both still unavailable but are beginning to work out in the gym as they attempt to recuperate.

The Catalan side were outstanding in their last match against Valencia, so it is unlikely that much tinkering will be made. However, Xavi is fully fit again and Dani Alves returns from his suspension, so expect the duo to return to the starting XI.


  • Atletico are unbeaten in their last seven matches in La Liga (3-4-0), keeping a clean sheet in six of those fixtures.
  • Radamel Falcao has scored 19 goals in 29 appearances for Atlético in all competitions this season, which includes two hat-tricks in La Liga.
  • Atletico have kept 11 clean sheets this season - only Barcelona have more with 12.
  • The last time that Barcelona lost back-to-back away matches in La Liga was in April-May 2008, 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna and 4-1 at Real Madrid.
  • Lionel Messi has scored 14 league goals against Atletico, including two hat-tricks in his last two encounters with Los Rojiblancos.
  • Barça have lost only one of the 94 league matches in which Messi has scored (85-8-1) - which was against Atletico Madrid (4-3) on March 1 2009.
This game has the potential to be a very tight affair. Atletico have been watertight at the back since Diego Simeone's appointment but they have not yet faced a side with the attacking quality of Barca. The Catalan side were impeccable against Valencia, scoring an impressive five goals against Unai Emery's outfit, but their away form has been poor this season. Barcelona may just sneak a narrow win at the Vicente Calderon.
Editor's Prediction
Atl. Madrid 1-2 Barcelona