Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona Preview

Barcelona will enter Wednesday's Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid holding a one-goal advantage from the first leg last week.

Lionel Messi struck late on at Camp Nou to secure a 1-0 win for the Catalan outfit, meaning that Atletico have work to do if they are to secure their spot in the final four of the competition.

Atletico, who lost in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey to Real Madrid last season, will enter the match off the back of a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano in the league at the weekend.

That result kept the Spanish champions in third, but they have won just two of their last five matches in all competitions and lost twice to Barca – once in the league and once in the cup.

Barca, meanwhile, thumped Elche 6-0 at the weekend to make it six straight wins in all competitions. Since losing to Real Sociedad after the winter break, Barca have scored an incredible 23 goals during their six-game winning run – conceding just once in the process.

The Catalan outfit lost in the final of the Copa del Rey to Real Madrid last season, but will see this as a brilliant chance to secure the first major Spanish trophy of the season.

Atletico remained unbeaten in six matches across three separate competitions against Barca last season, with that run of form seeing Diego Simeone's side win the La Liga title and reach the final of the Champions League.

However, Barca have won both matches between the pair this season, which adds even greater significance to this clash in the Spanish capital.

The big team news in the Atletico camp is that star centre-back Diego Godin will miss out through suspension after picking up a booking in the first leg. As a result, Jose Gimenez will start at the heart of the defence with Miranda.

Simeone also has decisions to make in attack, but leading scorer Mario Mandzukic is expected to keep Fernando Torres on the bench. There will also be a change of goalkeepers, with Jan Oblak keeping his spot between the sticks in this particular competition.

Barca, meanwhile, are expected to recall Luis Suarez after the striker saw out the win over Elche at the weekend. The Uruguay international will start in a front three with Messi and Neymar.

Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves should also return to the team, while like Atletico, Barca boss Luis Enrique will select his second-choice goalkeeper – Marc-Andre ter Stegen.


Form in Copa del Rey: LWDWDL
Form in all competitions: WLDWLW

Possible starting lineup: Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Miranda, Siqueira; Gabi, Koke, Suarez; Griezmann, Mandzukic, Turan


Form in Copa del Rey: LWWWWW
Form in all competitions: WWWWWW

Possible starting lineup: Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic; Neymar, Suarez, Messi

Kick Off Time - 21:00HRS

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