Barcelona - Atlético: LaLiga rests on Simeone breaking new ground

Simeone no sabe lo que es ganarle al Barcelona en LaLiga.

Kiko Huesca


Since taking over at Atlético the Argentinean has faced Barça 14 times in the league with a record of five draws and nine defeats.

Atlético Madrid knocked off one Liga nemesis on Tuesday when they beat Girona for the first time in the top flight but for the domestic season to retain any interest at the top of the table after Saturday Diego Simeone will have to do something he has never done before in seven years in charge of the Rojiblancos: beat Barcelona in a league fixture.

Simeone has taken on the reigning Liga champions 14 times since he arrived at Atlético in December 2011 and has a record of five draws and nine defeats. Either of those results would essentially be the end of the title tussle this season with seven games remaining. Barcelona have a fairly light run-in and victory would take them to 11 points clear of Atlético while a draw, maintaining the current eight-point gap, would still require Ernesto Valverde’s side to drop nine points across those seven fixtures for Simeone’s side - who would have to win every remaining match - to overtake them.

Simeone and Atlético facing an uphill struggle to win LaLiga

The return fixture ended in a 1-1 draw at the Metropolitano with Ousmane Dembélé scoring a 90th-minute equalizer, a result that now has carries greater significance.

To have any chance of preventing Barcelona from retaining their title, Atlético have to win at Camp Nou on Saturday, precisely the ground where a 1-1 draw in 2013-14 ensured Simeone’s side won LaLiga at the expense of their hosts.

With a five-point difference, Barça would still hold a significant advantage but Atlético would have the cushion of head-to-head supremacy if they were able to cut the gap. However, Simeone’s side still have to play Valencia and Sevilla at the Metropolitano, making their chances of winning every remaining game less likely.