Just one point apart heading into Sunday, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid look to be battling it out to reach fourth spot in La Liga right now.
Astonishing, right? Two of the Spanish heavyweights have certainly had their struggles this season for a number of reasons but have kept chugging away for a place to stay among the elite.
There’s just five points from Atletico (36 points) in 4th place down to Athletic Bilbao in 9th – so the race for European qualification next season is brewing just nicely in La Liga.
Having played 21 games each, either Barca or Atletico have the chance this weekend to close the gap on third-place Real Betis, who have 40 points from 22 games played.
We’re set to be blessed with a potential front three of Adama Traore, Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Camp Nou, but the latter is way behind on match sharpness right now and is unlikely to feature just yet.
Throw in Memphis Depay to the attacking mix – also a current doubt for Sunday – and Luuk de Jong, and all of sudden, Xavi’s side look potent to make that top four. But if Depay passes a late fitness test, you can bag him at 9/2 to score first or 13/8 to score anytime.
De Jong has played his part in attack with his hold-up play this season, but hasn’t really found that goalscoring instinct so far. Or has he? The big Dutchman has scored in two of the last three matches and is 2/1 to score anytime.
Torres, who could star on the left of a front three, has settled in well since leaving Manchester City and is also 2/1 to score anytime, or 6/1 to score first. He looks to be likelier than de Jong to find the back of the net.
Traore, on loan from Wolves, has been boosted from 5/2 to 3/1 with BoyleSports right now to mark his debut with a goal at anytime, or 7/1 to score first.
Atletico, on the other hand, have been extremely hit and miss this season. Striker Luis Suarez isn’t getting any younger and looks set for a move away at the end of the season, but you couldn’t write him off to haunt his former side. Likely to be on penalty duty, he’s 11/2 to score first.
The same can be said for striker partner Antoine Griezmann, returning to his former club, and he is currently 15/2 to open the scoring or 11/4 to score in 90 minutes.
We’re expecting goals on Sunday. There’s been just one 0-0 draw between the two teams in the last 25 meetings in all competitions. That Correct Score is 17/2 if you fancy it, however.
Atletico are also unbeaten in their last three visits to the Camp Nou in all competitions, last losing nearly three years ago in April 2019.
In recent weeks, Barcelona are unbeaten in their last six league games going into the clash, winning three and drawing three, and in the last four matches scoring just one goal in each. Over 1.5 Goals for Xavi’s men at 5/4 still looks appealing.
Diego Simeone seems to have turned things around in the last three games after four straight La Liga defeats before Christmas, winning the last three and scoring seven times in the process. They’re currently 11/4 to score Over 1.5 Goals at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
Fancy making a BetBuilder on the match? You certainly can with BoyleSports. There’s plenty of options available right now.
Currently at 12/1, you can get Barcelona to win, Barcelona to score first, both teams to score and Suarez to score anytime against his former employers.
Atletico Madrid 2/1
FIRST TEAM TO SCORE
Atletico Madrid 6/5
No goal 17/2
LA LIGA OUTRIGHTS
Real Madrid 1/9
Atletico Madrid 20/1
Real Betis 100/1
*Prices correct at the time of publication
Sunday’s game isn’t the only huge clash around Europe this weekend. Don’t miss out on Saturday in Serie A, as Inter Milan and AC Milan face each other in a mouth-watering contest.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Ritson is a former football journalist, who spent up to ten years reporting in the Premier League, Championship and League One for national and local media.
With a number of exclusives and transfer deadline days under his belt, he also has experience as a homepage editor for the likes of Yahoo! and BT Sport, while also travelling around the United Kingdom covering various matches and interviewing a number of professional footballers, managers and boardroom executives.
Mark moved into sports betting and gaming in 2018 as a Community Manager and has been a Social Media & Content Executive at BoyleSports since 2020.