Barcelona v Atletico Madrid – Camp Nou at 21:00 live on Sky Sports 2
The stand-out fixture across Europe this midweek comes from La Liga. Barcelona play host to Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou and the expectation for entertainment is high. There is undoubtedly an array of talent on display, but don’t expect a thriller packed with goals. Despite a blip a couple of week’s ago, Barca offer some value on the Asian Handicap market. However, there is more value in backing the Unders.
At this early stage of the season, it’s Real Madrid who sit top of La Liga with a 100% record. Barcelona suffered a shock defeat to Alaves a couple of weeks ago leaving them 3 points behind their fiercest rivals. Some of their big names were rested for that match, leaving Luis Enrique to apologise and take the blame for the loss.
In typical Barca style though, they bounced back with a 7-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League. That was followed up by a 5-1 victory at Leganes at the weekend. I don’t think Enrique will be taking any chances with selection again.
With Messi, Suarez and Neymar all bang in form, they will head into this match confident of breaking down the best defence in the league this term.
The Catalan’s were knocked out of the UCL by Ateltico last season 3-2 on aggregate in a very tight tie. They did however defeat the Mattress Makers twice in the league, 2-1 on each occasion.
Barcelona also remain unbeaten against Atletico at the Camp Nou since February 2006 and have won their last 3 meetings on home soil, all by a single goal.
Los Rojiblancos have, by their standards, had a poor start to the season. After four games they remain unbeaten, but have dropped points on two occasions. Draws against Alaves and Leganes were shocks, but despite dropping points, their defence remains their biggest strength.
Atleti are 5th in the league, 4 points behind early pace setters and City rivals, Real Madrid. Along with Real they hold the best goal difference, despite drawing two of their four games, having scored 10, conceding just one.
After the two draws to begin the season, Diego Simeone changed things up, fielding one of the most attacking Atletico sides I have seen under his tutelage. 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Celta and Gijon followed, but I expect him to revert to their strengths against Barca this evening.
Simeone’s side have had the best defence in 2 of the last 3 La Liga season’s. His best chance of getting something out of this game and bucking the trend, has to be to play defensively.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals
Barcelona are priced at 1.65 to win this one. They have looked excellent this season, with just that one blip, when players were rested. On current form and head to head results, especially at the Camp Nou, the 1.65 looks a touch of value. MSN are looking simply untouchable and I make the 1.85 -0.75 on the Asian Handicap with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage a good price. That should offer at least a half win.
Atletico will make it hard for Barca though and I’m not expecting too many goals. Both teams can’t afford to lose this match so early on in the season. Especially after they have already dropped points where they shouldn’t. Under 2.75 goals on the Asian line at 1.93 is my second recommendation in what should be a tight match for long periods.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Barcelona -0.75 at 1.85 & Under 2.75 goals at 1.93
Prices correct at time of writing.
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