Teams: Atlético Madrid Vs Barcelona
Competition: La Liga
Matchday: Round 10
Date and Time: Sunday, November 21st, 2020, 9 PM CET
Venue: Wanda Metropolitano
After a long international break which seems to have lasted forever, club football is finally returning to the Spanish League, and it is going to be a massive week for FC Barcelona.
Barcelona secured an impressive 5-2 win against Real Betis in their last match in the competition just before the International break. In a rather unusual decision taken by Ronald Koeman, Barcelona saw Leo Messi’s magic coming in from the bench in the second half replacing an injured Ansu Fati and scoring two goals as well as assisting Griezmann with a magical dummy to seal the victory for Barcelona.
Barcelona will be looking to keep the same momentum going in La Liga with a win over another Spanish giant, Atlètico Madrid, away at Wanda Metropolitan, on the 21st of November.
Barcelona currently stands 8th on the points table with 11 points in 7 matches. In contrast, the Los Rojiblancos has been unbeaten in the league so far and stands 3rd on the points table having played the same number of games as Barcelona. Barça will be looking forward to this game as an opportunity to narrow the points difference between them.
It is indeed going to be a very tough match for the Blaugranas as Atlético Madrid seems to be on top form and will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run in the league. But Messi’s magical second-half performance in the last game against Real Betis must have made things difficult for his admirer cum Atlético’s coach – Simeone.
The last meeting between these two sides was back in July 2020 where the Setien-led Barcelona side drew 2-2 at Camp Nou. Despite having a whopping 72% possession in that match, they failed to protect their lead twice.
HEAD TO HEAD: (In all competitions)
Matches Played: 31
Barcelona Wins: 18
Atlético Madrid Wins: 3
What seemed to be a much-awaited reunion for Barcelona and Luis Suárez, is now sidelined because Suárez has tested positive for Covid-19. He was tested positive while being on international duty. He missed the clash with Brazil, and now he will likely be absent on Saturday and in the Champions League against Lokomotiv Moscow next week as he tested positive for COVID-19 again for the second time.
LATEST NEWS | Ansu Fati has successfully undergone surgery for the internal mensicus injury in his left knee; the operation was performed by Dr. Ramon Cugat under the supervision of the Club's medical services.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 9, 2020
Barcelona’s young prodigy, Ansu Fati, after successful surgery, is set to miss four months of football which came as a big blow for the Spanish giants. The 18-year-old had already earned a regular starting position for FC Barcelona before tearing his meniscus muscle in the match against Real Betis.
This is not the first time Ansu has faced a severe injury in his career. He has been out for ten months with a broken leg when he was playing for the U13 side for Barcelona against the U13 Espanyol side. Even after such a big blow, he recovered well from the injury and of course, came back strong. Barcelona will be hoping for his speedy recovery.
Anyways, his absence will pave the way for other youngsters to play at his position and prove themselves under Ronald Koeman. Dembélé, Konrad, and Trincão are the favorites to be replacing Ansu Fati’s place on Saturday’s clash.
Yet another awful news crept in this Monday as Sergio Busquets picked up an injury playing for Spain Vs Switzerland. Further tests revealed that the legendary Barcelona midfielder had suffered a knee sprain because of which he might be out of action for around three weeks.
🗣[@tjuanmarti] | De Jong and Pjanic will form the double pivot at Wanda this weekend. Both have played 227 minutes together. During this period, Barça only conceded one goal (from a penalty) and scored 7 (one goal every 30 minutes). pic.twitter.com/pFHZzB7mW6
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) November 17, 2020
Busquets has featured in every game under Ronald Koeman, and he has started all 7 La Liga games so far. It’ll be fascinating to see who replaces the void left by him in upcoming matches.
It might just be the time for Miralem Pjanić to prove his worth in the squad. Quite surprisingly, Pjanić is yet to start a league game for Barcelona. It looks quite possible that Pjanić will be given his first league start against Atlético along with Frenkie de Jong, who is the only player to have started every game for Barcelona under Koeman.
Barcelona’s crisis in the Center Back position is still a significant problem, and Urugayian CB Ronald Araújo has not yet received a green light from the medical team after suffering a thigh injury in the Champions League game against Juventus. Lenglet and Piqué are set to start at CB positions against Atlético.
Another player that might be given a chance in a defensive midfield position would be Carles Aleñá and Riqui Puig. With the winter transfer window rapidly approaching, they’ll look to capitalize on the opportunity if given a chance.
Coutinho has received medical clearance and will most probably start against Atlético.
Coutinho is back for the team. Speaking about his chance of playing against Atletico, Koeman said, “He’s been training for almost a week, and you have to talk to the doctors about the best time to enter, you can do it from the start or the bench.”
Fans were massively disappointed by Koeman about how Riqui Puig wasn’t given his deserving mins. At the pre-game conference, Koeman hinted about a possible opportunity for the youngster in the game against Atletico Madrid. He said, “Riqui is one of the young people who have to work hard to have minutes. He is working hard to convince me that he has to have minutes.”
La Liga (Last 5 matches)
Atlético Madrid: D W W W W
FC Barcelona: D L L D W
Though it is just Matchday 10 and there’s a lot of football to be played in this year’s La Liga, the points table looks a bit worrying for FC Barcelona. Ronald Koeman will be looking to start with a balanced team this Saturday. Messi and company will have to be at their level best to beat an unbeaten Atlético side at their home this Saturday. I will go with Barcelona 3 Atlético Madrid 1.