The second half of the inter-city rivalry is the more appealing of Sunday’s La Liga games as the top two meet at the Nou Camp.
Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion last weekend with a 6-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna in which Falcao netted five times. That win gave Diego Simeone’s side their twelfth win from fifteen in the league, an incredible record but unfortunately not quite as good as their opponents on Sunday who boast of fourteen wins and one draw – with Real – in their fifteen league outings.
Atletico have won all of their home games but when faced with trips to quality opposition, they have struggled. 2-0 losses at Valencia and Real Madrid were comprehensive with the side never really looking like winning those matches. Barcelona have won the last six home games against Atletico including an impressive 5-0 victory last season. The hosts are then understandably priced at 1/3 (BetVictor) to get another win this weekend.
As good as Falcao and co. have been this season, they are yet to prove they can threaten Barcelona and Real Madrid as their dire record against the top two demonstrates. We would like to see a viable third horse entering the title race but this Sunday could all but kill off any hope Atletico hold of challenging Barca for the title.
A win for Vilanova would see his team nine points clear at the top and it would be hard to see the Catalans surrendering such an advantage. Barca have led at half-time in ten of their fifteen matches this season and given their dominance over Atletico in recent years, we expect Tito Vilanova’s side to again go in ahead at the break. Barcelona to lead at the end of both halves looks more inevitable than the odds of 5/6 (Paddy Power) and should be taken.
Atletico should be able to get at least one goal though. Barcelona have kept just two clean sheets at home this season and few visitors can boast of a striker as prolific as Falcao. Sixteen goals from thirteen games would be enough to top almost any other division’s top scoring standings but unfortunately for the Colombian, he has Lionel Messi to contend with. The Argentine is 2/5 (Stan James) to get his 24th league goal of the season this Sunday but the 19/10 (BetVictor) against Falcao netting holds more appeal.