MX23RW : Wednesday, November 20 18:12:51| >> :600:31293287:31293287:
Nov 24, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio Wanda Metropolitano (Madrid)
Attendance: 67,204
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
Costa (77')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Dembele (90')

Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full match preview of Saturday night's La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Third will host first in La Liga on Saturday night as the Spanish champions Barcelona travel to the Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atletico Madrid.

Incredibly, not since a 2-1 success at the Vicente Calderon more than eight years ago have Atletico overcome Barcelona in the league, with the Catalan giants winning 12 of their last 16 top-flight fixtures.

Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann in action for Atletico Madrid on September 29, 2018© Reuters

Atletico will be looking for their first La Liga win over Barcelona since February 2010 when they host the Spanish champions on Saturday night. Barcelona currently sit top of La Liga with 24 points from 12 matches, but they are just a single point ahead of third-placed Atletico, who have lost just once in the league this term.

Atletico have enjoyed recent Champions League success over Barcelona, but that has simply not been the case in Spain's top flight, with the Catalan giants dominating their recent meetings. That said, the pair played out a 1-1 draw in the Wanda Metropolitano last season, and Diego Simeone's side have been the draw specialists this season.

Indeed, the capital outfit have shared the points in five of their 12 La Liga matches this term. Their only league defeat came at Celta Vigo at the start of December though, and they have won five and drawn four of their nine matches since.

Simeone's side have been very strong at home, meanwhile, winning five and drawing one of their six top-flight fixtures at the Wanda Metropolitano, conceding just three times. That is in contrast to their form on the road, where they have picked up just one victory and scored just four times.

Atletico conceded twice at home in their last league match before the international break, but Diego Godin came up with a late goal to see the capital outfit record a 3-2 win. As a result, they are only one point off the top of the table, and a victory this weekend would send out a huge message.

It will also be a big weekend for Diego Costa, meanwhile, as the forward has recovered from a foot injury to make himself available for the hosts. The Spain international has struggled with a number of issues since February and is without a goal in his last 18 league appearances. Costa has also never scored against Barcelona, but he has not been one to shy away from a challenge.

Sixteen goals in 12 La Liga matches is not the best of returns for Atletico this season, but they once again have the best defensive record at this stage with just eight conceded. It has been a strange start to the 2018-19 campaign for Simeone's side, but they are very much in the title race at this stage of the campaign.

Recent form: DWDWDW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWDWW


Barcelona striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring against Real Madrid in El Clasico on October 28, 2018© Reuters

Barcelona might sit top of La Liga entering Week 13 in Spain's top flight, but the Catalan giants will go into this match off the back of a 4-3 defeat at home to Real Betis before the international break. It was the team's second league defeat of the campaign, and they have dropped points in five of their 12 league fixtures this term.

In truth, with Real Madrid and Atletico both having issues, Barcelona should have stormed ahead - that is what happened last season as they led from the front, but the champions have not been at their best this term.

Ernesto Valverde's side are the leading scorers in La Liga this season with 34 goals, but have incredibly shipped 18 down the other end of the field. To put that into context, only five teams in Spain's top flight have conceded more than Barcelona at this stage of the 2018-19 campaign. That said, Barcelona have let in just six goals on their travels.

The Spanish champions will travel to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League next week, but there is not too much pressure on them, having already booked their spot in the round of 16. Their next La Liga fixture is at home to Villarreal next weekend, before facing Cultural Leonesa in the second leg of their Copa del Rey clash on December 5.

Barcelona did not really need to break a sweat in La Liga last term. Indeed, the Catalan giants lost just one of their 38 matches, winning 28 times, to storm to the title. They finished 14 points clear of second-placed Atletico, and were rightly installed as the favourites to retain the title.

Valverde led Barcelona to a La Liga and Copa del Rey double in his first season at the club, but his long-term future is very much undecided. Indeed, the 54-year-old will be out of contract at the end of this season, and neither he nor the club have made a move to activate an extension.

It is promising to be a very open title race this season when considering that Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico all have their flaws, and Sevilla have been performing very well in the early months of the 2018-19 campaign.

Recent form: DDWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDL

Team News

Diego Godin in action for Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on May 16, 2018© Reuters

Godin scored a 91st-minute winner for Atletico in their 3-2 success over Bilbao before the international break, but the centre-back will miss out this weekend having suffered a thigh problem against the Basque outfit.

Head coach Simeone will be sweating over the fitness of Lucas Hernandez, Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez, meanwhile, ahead of the match in Madrid.

Lucas should shake off a hamstring problem to start, while Atletico are also hopeful that Savic will be back from a calf injury, although it is thought that the pair will face late fitness tests. Gimenez, meanwhile, has suffered a series of niggles this season, but should return.

Further forward, Koke and Thomas Lemar are both doubts with muscle and hamstring injuries respectively, which could see Angel Correa, Thomas Partey, Rodri and Saul Niguez continue as the midfield four.

Costa, who has never scored against Barcelona, will be joined by Antoine Griezmann in attack. The Frenchman has also had his issues this season, however, managing just three goals in Spain's top flight.

As for Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti has not played in La Liga since the end of September due to a knee problem, but the Frenchman was on the bench against Betis before the international break, and should return to the starting XI for this one.

Umtiti should come in for Clement Lenglet to start alongside Gerard Pique in central defence, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has kept just two clean sheets in La Liga this season, between the sticks.

Ivan Rakitic is unavailable for Barcelona through suspension, although he also picked up an injury during the international break. Arthur and Sergio Busquets will be two of the three in the middle of the park, and Arturo Vidal could be rewarded for his goal against Betis with a position in the first XI.

That said, it seems more likely that Valverde will bring Nelson Semedo into the right-back position, allowing Sergi Roberto to push into central midfield. Further forward, Philippe Coutinho is back in training following a hamstring problem, and the Brazilian will face a late fitness test.

The other two positions will be occupied by Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Messi capped his return from a fractured arm with a brace against Betis last time out, and now has 14 goals in 13 games this season. Suarez, meanwhile, has managed nine strikes in 12 La Liga fixtures during the 2018-19 campaign.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Arias, Gimenez, Savic, Lucas; Correa, Rodri, Thomas, Saul; Griezmann, Costa

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Arthur; Coutinho, L Suarez, Messi

Head To Head

Not since a 2-1 success at the Vicente Calderon more than eight years ago have Atletico overcome Barcelona in the league, with the Catalan giants winning 12 of their last 16 top-flight fixtures.

Barcelona recorded a 1-0 win when the pair met at Camp Nou in March, but the points were shared in a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano last season.

Two of the last four league meetings have actually finished level, and there was not been more than one goal between the two teams in a La Liga clash since January 2015.

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We say: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona

Once again, this is a very, very difficult one to call. Much will depend on how many defenders Atletico can recover ahead of kickoff. Simeone's side are so strong at home, however, and we fancy the pair to play out a 1-1 draw, which would be a welcome result for both teams.

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Who will win Saturday's La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona?

Atletico Madrid
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Barcelona captain Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on October 3, 2018
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