La Liga will welcome 2023 with a top-of-the-table clash that promises 90 minutes of action and drama. Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona promises an exciting match with world-class players and contrasting tactical approaches from some of the game’s most respected coaches.
FC Barcelona will be eager to win this La Liga clash to tighten their hold on the La Liga table. With Real Madrid hot on their tail, the Blaugrana will want to get the three points against the other Madrid team.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid will take the opportunity the World Cup break presents to return to their winning ways. While Diego Simeone might be looking at the January transfer window to improve the squad, he’ll have to do with what he’s got against the league leaders.
This piece will look into the form of the two teams coming into the match. We’ll also try to predict the events in this highly anticipated La Liga duel and what the bookies at OKBET think will happen.
Atletico Madrid’s Bounce Back Starts
The Colchoneros are in for a tough battle to La Liga’s summit. The 2020/21 winners are fifth after a terrible stretch of games from late October to early November. They didn’t win a single game during that span, which included a painful 3-2 loss to relegation stragglers Cadiz.
Besides that, there are plenty of stories about Joao Felix’s eventual departure from the Metropolitano Stadium. Chelsea is considered a heavy favorite to land the winger, and his sale could give Atletico some much-needed funds to bolster their team.
But until they make purchases in the January window, Simeone would have to rely on his current squad. Antoine Griezmann revitalized his career after what many would call a loan move to their opponents. His creativity up front will be important in piercing through the Blaugrana defense.
Another veteran will step up for Simeone’s Madrid in Alvaro Morata. He had a great showing in the World Cup despite Spain leaving early due to a magical run by Morocco. He scored five goals in 14 appearances for Atletico, and his scoring threat will be crucial for the team’s success.
Simeone will need his other players to step up against the league leaders. Rodrigo De Paul will play with complete confidence after winning the World Cup in Qatar. Reinildo and Marcos Llorente will be expected to shore up the defense against Barcelona.
It will be a tight contest for Simeone’s men. They might need to play a near-perfect game to rob their opponents of the three points.
Barcelona’s Battle to Stay Top
FC Barcelona is aching to remain top of La Liga. When you have a team like Real Madrid constantly chomping at your heels, it’s understandable why the Blaugrana will treat every game from this point on as must-win affairs.
Xavi clearly understands this match’s implications on their campaign to win the La Liga trophy, so expect him to field his best-possible XI against the Rojoblancos. Fortunately, their Copa Del Rey opponents, Intercity, will allow them to field a slightly weaker side in preparation for this match.
One of the names you’ll likely see in Xavi’s team sheet is Robert Lewandowski. The 34-year-old striker is still one of the most lethal strikers in Europe, and his non-penalty goals per 90 minutes are at an impressive 0.91.
Barcelona’s midfield is starting to look like the team that tormented their opponents in the early-mid 2010s. Pedri continues to establish himself as a premier attacking midfielder in Barca’s ranks. At the same time, Gavi will ride the wave of his debut World Cup campaign to make his mark in the match.
The last time Barcelona dropped points in the Spanish top flight was against Real Madrid. They will want to continue their unbeaten run against Atleti.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Predictions
The first Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona clash of the season will be determined by the slightest of margins. However, the Blaugrana will have the quality to get over an Atletico Madrid squad that could do better in comparison.
Robert Lewandowski is too good of a striker to be contained by Atletico’s backline. Considering his scoring form, the Polish forward should be able to snag at least one goal in the first half to set the tone for the Blaugrana.
Morata should be able to equalize for the Rojoblancos. However, Ansu Fati will convert the winner off the bench to finish the game 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Odds
Barcelona’s undefeated run at the top of the La Liga table understandably makes them the favorites in the eyes of OKBET’s football bookies. The handicap market gives the possibility of a draw, however.
|1×2||Handicap||O/U Goals @ 2.5||1X2 Half||Handicap Half||O/U Goals Half @ 1|
Atletico Madrid looks attractive in the handicap market with 1.89 odds. The Over/Under market also looks tasty, with 1.95 odds of going either way. However, the handicap half market suggests Barca is likelier to walk away with the lead in the first half.
If you’re looking for a great bet, choose Barcelona in the 1X2 market. The Blaugrana have been playing great as of late. It will take a significant collapse (or fantastic play from Simeone’s Madrid) for them to drop points now.
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