Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid Prediction, Odds & Picks

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

  • Atletico Madrid are still top of the table despite a significant slump in form
  • Barcelona missed their chance to move to the summit against Granada
  • Barcelona have an excellent record against Atletico, so back them to win

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Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid Odds

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To Win Odds
Barcelona -125
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Tie +260
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Atletico Madrid +320
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Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid Predictions and Pick

Barcelona are in better form than Atletico and have an excellent record against Diego Simeone’s side.

Barcelona to Win (-125)

How to Watch Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid Information
Teams Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Location Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Time Saturday, 8 May 2021, 10.15 AM EDT
How to watch beIN SPORTS

Atletico Could Come to View This Season as a Lost Opportunity

The La Liga fixture computer has served up a real treat this weekend. On Saturday, Barcelona host Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou. On Sunday, Real Madrid take on Sevilla at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. All four teams are involved in the title race in Spain’s top flight, and each of them will be looking to simultaneously boost their chances of glory while damaging those of a direct rival.

Going into the weekend, it is Atletico Madrid who occupies top spot, as they have done uninterrupted since thrashing Cadiz 4-0 in early November. That thumping win was part of a brilliant first half of the season for Diego Simeone’s side. Atletico won 16 and drew two of their first 19 matches. Their only loss was a 2-0 reverse to Real Madrid, but their remarkable consistency in the other games suggested the title was on its way back to the red-and-white half of the capital for the first time since 2014.

At the midway point of the campaign, another triumph over Cadiz moved Atletico 10 points clear at the top of the table. Since then, however, the Colchoneros have thrown away their considerable position of strength. Their lead now stands at just two points, and they could end the weekend in third place if results go against them in Barcelona and Madrid.

Since that second victory over Cadiz, Atletico have won only seven of their 15 La Liga encounters. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla have all taken more points in that period. Atletico did not expect to win the title at the start of the season, but a failure to do so would be a major disappointment given how far clear they were at one point.

Barcelona Are Favorites but Must Keep Their Nerve

In some ways, Barcelona have been the reverse of Atletico this term. With the club mired in crisis off the pitch – Lionel Messi wanted to leave, Ronald Koeman was not a universally popular appointment as manager, and the fans wanted Josep Maria Bartomeu to step down as president – Barcelona unsurprisingly made a poor start to the season.

After 10 games, when Atletico were sitting pretty at the summit of the standings, Barcelona were languishing in 10th place. They had lost not only to Simeone’s table-toppers but also to Cadiz, Getafe, and Real Madrid. The thought of the title was presumably far from the mind of Koeman, who must have begun to fear for his job despite the fact he had only recently taken charge.

In 2021, however, Barcelona have been the best team in La Liga. True, they lost their biggest match of the calendar year to date, going down 2-1 to Real Madrid in a tight Clasico that could have gone either way, but the Catalan outfit have been remarkably consistent for the most part, winning 16 of 19 contests to get themselves back in the race.

Worryingly for Barcelona fans, though, the team’s two losses this year have come when the pressure was at its highest: against arch-rivals Madrid away from home, and then at home to Granada when a victory would have sent Koeman’s side top. Barcelona deserves great credit for getting themselves back in the championship conversation, but they must hold their nerve from this point onwards. Titles can be won and lost by mentality as well as tactics and technique.

Barcelona Usually Beat Atletico and Should Do so Here

Playing against Atletico is never easy. Simeone’s side are dogged, aggressive and resilient, and they are very rarely thrashed. Some have likened a game against Atleti to a trip to the dentist.

It might come as a surprise to some, then, that the Colchoneros routinely struggle against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. They did secure a 1-1 draw there to win the title at Barcelona’s expense on the final day of the 2013/14 campaign, but Simeone has never led Atletico to victory at the 99,354-capacity arena. Each of his 13 attempts to do so has ended in failure.

That might not necessarily need to change for Atletico to win the title. A draw here could be enough if the current league leaders go on to win all three of their subsequent games. But a victory would make Atletico favorites again and would give their players a much-needed confidence boost for the run-in.

The problem is, Barcelona smells blood. Atletico have teetered at the top for weeks, and conceding the first goal here could lead to heads dropping throughout the visiting team. Barcelona have rediscovered their attacking mojo and have won six of their last eight league games on their own patch.

Atletico, for their part, have been guilty of excessive cautiousness in recent weeks, even in the 1-0 victory over Elche last time out. Against an attack of Barcelona’s quality, a similar game plan will surely come unstuck.

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]