Barca and Atleti set for a cagey contest

Neither Barcelona or the reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid have had much to shout about this season. The former sit in 5th, one point behind the latter in the final Champions League spot. A loss for either side would open the door for the other, as well as the hunting pack.

Xavi rebuilding this Catalan crisis

This campaign has been tough, that's for sure. But with the arrival of Xavi, Barca have put themselves in contention for a coveted top four spot.

Last three results:

Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid (12.01.22)

Athletic Club 3-2 Barcelona (20.01.22)

Alaves 0-1 Barcelona (23.01.22)

A late Frenkie De Jong winner was required away at struggling Alaves last time out, with Barcelona looking somewhat shellshocked from back-to-back 3-2 defeats.

The new arrivals of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore from the Premier League could be exactly what this Barca side needs to breed more confidence into the side.

It's unlikely that either of these two will start, with them both expected to be on the bench for Sunday's game against the holders.

Atletico well behind the leading pack

14 points separates Atletico and their capital rivals who sit top of the tree after 22 games played. Their recent form has been patchy at best, but there' still hope for a positive season going into the final straight.

Last three results:

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Athletic Club (13.01.22)

Real Sociedad 2-0 Atletico Madrid (19.01.22)

Atletico Madrid 3-2 Valencia (22.01.22)

It seemed as if Atleti were headed towards yet another defeat, a defeat that would have been their third on the bounce, as their game with Valencia approached added time.

But in typical late Simeone fashion, his side clawed a victory from the jaws of defeat, with two injury time goals from Angel Correa and Mario Hermoso sealing a famous win.

This should give Simeone's side some much needed confidence going into a very crucial game for Atleti.

Some interesting trivia:

- Barcelona have lost two of their last three games against Atletico Madrid in La Liga, failing to score in any of those three matches.

- At home, Barca have gone 15 straight La Liga games without losing to Sundays visitors, winning 10 and drawing five.

- Atleti haven't won any of their last four away games in La Liga. The last time they went five without a win was June 2020.

The Verdict:

This game is very tough to call. But with the added tension of Champions League spots at stake, along with both sides being in some patchy form at best, this game is set to be a cagey affair.

That's why I'm going with a draw between these two sides with bet365.

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