Back Barcelona to beat Atletico Madrid with Under 3.5 GoalsPublished April 5, 2016
An all Spanish tie between the current top two in La Liga and what is potentially a serious threat to Barcelona’s bid to become the first side to retain the Champions League.
Although Barcelona have an excellent recent record under Luis Enrique against Atletico Madrid, it’s unlikely that there was much in the way of celebration at Camp Nou when the quarter-final draw was made. If there’s one team on the planet capable of nullifying the Barcelona attack, then Atletico Madrid is probably that team.
Barca have won the last six matches between the two teams, although only the first of those was by more than a one-goal margin (and that a 3-1 win courtesy of a late Lionel Messi goal). Of the six games before that, Atletico won one and the other five ended all square. There doesn’t tend to be much in it when these two meet.
Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 at Camp Nou in La Liga at the end of January, a game in which the visitors played over half the game with 10-men and the final 25-minutes with just nine, yet could still have snatched a point.
With their club record 39-match unbeaten run being brought to an end by arch-rivals Real Madrid on Saturday evening, Barcelona will quickly need to regain their focus for the visit of the other big Madrid club.
There’s no question that Diego Simeone will have his team well-organised and ultra-competitive again. It’s whether they can avoid stepping over the line in terms of conceding fouls in dangerous areas and accumulating cards that is key at Camp Nou. If they can restrict Barca, the excellent Antoine Griezmann and set-pieces always give Atleti a chance when it comes to grabbing an important away goal.
With Barcelona having had the small matter of El Clasico on Saturday, it’s a second intense occasion in just a few days at Camp Nou. They probably have enough to secure a first leg advantage, but Atletico Madrid are capable of keeping things tight and frustrating the Catalans. That being the case, a Barcelona victory with under 3.5 goals looks a reasonable bet.