Barcelona host Atletico Madrid in potential La Liga title showdown

Barcelona are third in the points table with 74 points from 34 games, two points adrift the league leaders Atletico Madrid. A win will take the Catalan side to the top of the table for time being

Luiz Suarez return to Camp Nou as Barcelona host Atletico in a potential title showdown; Credit: Twitter/@LuisSuarez9

Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Saturday in a potential title showdown. Barca are third in the points table with 74 points from 34 games. They are two points adrift the league leaders Atletico Madrid. A win will take the Catalan side to top of the table for time being as Real Madrid host Sevilla on Sunday. Real has a better goal difference and head-to-head record against Barcelona. Therefore, Barca will be hoping for Real to falter to boost their title chances.

Both, Barca and Atletico are coming of a victory in their previous games. Barcelona beat Valencia in a 3-2 thriller while Atletico managed a 1-0 win over Elche on Saturday. Both teams have won three of their previous four league games. Barcelona suffered an unexpected home defeat against Granada and Atletico faltered against Athletic Bilbao

Atletico have their destiny in their own hands as they can win the title by winning all their remaining games. Barcelona will have to depend on Real’s results even if they win all their remaining matches. Real Madrid has a better head to head record against both Atletico and Barcelona.

Barcelona coach Ronal Koeman will be missing from the sidelines as the Dutchman is serving a two match ban for using derogatory language towards a match official.

“I don’t know if the result of this match will be decisive, but it will be important,” Koeman said. “We are fighting with two other teams for the league title. We could not imagine being where we are now a few months ago. To be champion, we need to win every game. I am convinced if we win every game then we will be champions.”

Atletico Madrid for first win vs Barcelona

Diego Simeone’s side have been on top of the table since December and the Argentine coach is still looking for his first victory at Camp Nou.

“We’re playing with a really clear idea this season as you can see,” Simeone said. “We don’t change a lot. We’ll try and play using the good points of how we’ve been playing up to now’

“They are a side who have won a lot of points on the spin, they play good football and have done a great job in recovering from a slow first half of the season.

“We’ll look to take the game in the direction we want it to go in and play our own game.”

Lionel Messi has scored 28 goals in the league so far and is leading the race for the Golden boot. The Argentine star will be up against his close friend and former Barcelona man Luis Suarez who will be returning to Camp Nou since moving to Atletico in September. The Uruguayan has scored 19 goals in the league so far and will be hoping to add to that tally and take his team closer to the title.

Messi is having yet another phenomenal season for Barcelona and the number 10 has played a pivotal role in turning the fortunes around for Barca, by winning 16 of their 19 games since the turn of the year.

Sportslumo Desk

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