The Barca-disaster train rolls on
Barcelona are looking desperately for a positive result in their game on Saturday, coming off of a mid-week battering at the hands of Benfica in the Champions League. A 3-0 loss to the Portuguese side is just another chapter in the calamitous tales of Ronald Koeman’s reign in Catalunya, and Atleti will be looking to pile on the misery, with their recent league form not exactly being that of champions. The reality is, both of these sides are letting Real Madrid have a fairly untested time at the top of La Liga. But Saturday brings a chance to begin changing that.
Atleti back on track?
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid come off of an impressive 2-1 win at AC Milan in the Champions League, unsurprisingly leaving it late once again. A Luis Suarez penalty in the dying embers of the game completed Atleti’s comeback and sees them return to domestic action looking to build on this win. Their loss at Alaves last week was a shock to some, but it seemed like only a matter of time with Simeone’s men riding their luck on several occasions prior to this game, leaving a lot of goals until very late on to salvage a result. The other positive for Atleti will be Antoine Griezmann grabbing his first goal on his return to the capital, a goal in the Milan triumph that sparked the comeback to get them the win that night. Far from the finished article, this Atleti side still have a lot to work on, particularly in the attacking department, where they’ve struggled for goals in the league recently.
Koeman on the edge
The visitors come into this game seemingly at the lowest of the lows for any Barcelona side. Koeman’s job seems to rest on a knife edge, and the likes of Xavi, Roberto Martinez and even Andrea Pirlo will be watching with vested interest on Saturday to see if a loss in the capital is the final nail in Koeman’s proverbial coffin. While mid-week’s result sparked another disaster for Barca, their league form hasn’t actually been terrible. Still unbeaten in six matches, they could have had a worse start for sure. But half of these results have been draws, and Barca don’t have that elite mentality or personnel to kill teams off and convincingly put away a side like Atletico.
Barcelona are in ruins, and it won’t get better for them in the capital. Having said this, Atletico don’t fill me with much confidence either, which is why I’m going with under 2.5 goals in this game with bet365.