Welcome to our live coverage of the match between Atlético and Barcelona from the Vicente Calderón in week 24 of LaLiga Santander action, kick off at 16:15 CET.
Preview: Atlético Madrid vs Barcelona: LaLiga Santander
Sunday’s match at the Calderón could prove to have a say in the eventual destination of the 2016-17 Liga title. Atlético are in fourth and Barcelona in second, one point adrift of Real Madrid going into the weekend’s action. The league leaders will be keeping a close eye on developments as the home side seek to cut the gap at the top of the table while the visitors will be provisional leaders if they are victorious with Madrid playing Villarreal in Sunday’s late game.
Diego Simeone’s side have won their last three games in La Liga and scored a convincing 4-2 win against Leverkusen in Germany to take control of their Champions League last 16 tie. The most recent meeting between the sides was in the Copa del Rey semi-finals when Atlético suffered from a first-half collapse in Camp Nou that ultimately decided the tie despite Simeone’s side pulling one back in Barcelona and playing well in a 1-1 draw in Madrid. Leo Messi and Luis Suárez provided the goals in Camp Nou but Atlético are in better shape than they were at that time and will be confident of taking the game to the visitors from the outset. In 11 league games at the Calderón this season Atlético have lost only once, against Real Madrid, with eight victories on home soil.
Simeone will be without injury absentees Juanfran and Augusto but Tiago and Diego Godín are both back in full training and in line for a place in the side. Jan Oblak is also back in contention after a lengthy lay-off with a dislocated shoulder and after being named in the squad in Germany, Simeone will have to decide whether to stick with Miguel Ángel Moyá or restore the Slovenia international between the sticks.
AS player to watch: Antoine Griezmann
The France striker has scored nine goals in the league this season, the same number as his international teammate Kevin Gameiro, and both are indispensable for Simeone.
Luis Enrique’s side go into the game with some doubts hanging over them. After the crushing 4-0 loss to PSG in the Champions League Barça required a last-minute penalty to see off Leganés in Camp Nou last weekend in a game where the home support voiced their displeasure over recent performances.
However, Barcelona boast the best away record in the league with eight victories on the road and just a single defeat in Balaídos. Aleix Vidal is a long-term injury absentee and Javier Mascherano and Rafinha are both doubtful. Arda Turan has recovered from his muscle problem and should be in the squad as Barcelona seek to capitalize on Real Madrid’s defeat in Mestalla to place even greater pressure on the leaders.
AS player to watch: Leo Messi
The Argentinean leads the Liga scoring charts with 19 goals this season and Atlético are a particular favourite for the Barcelona striker.
Atlético - Barcelona: selected betting odds
Atlético are chalked up at 9/5 for the win with a Barcelona victory paying out at 6/4. The draw is priced at 12/5. Leo Messi is the favourite to open the scoring at 15/4 with Antoine Griezmann at 9/2.