Atletico Madrid battle Barcelona in early season La Liga clash
Both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have made the perfect start to their La Liga campaigns, with back-to-back victories, but Diego Simeone’s hosts will look to topple the champions domestically on home soil for the first time in five years.
Atleti are 11/5 with Coral to secure their first league ruling over the treble champions since February 2010, having suffered a shocking run of form in this fixture recently, losing all four encounters last term in three different competitions.
Having enjoyed a sensational 2013/14 campaign, dethroning the country’s giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga and reaching the Champions League final, it was no surprise when they struggled to replicate that success last season.
Although Simeone has rebuilt his squad, with the likes of Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto arriving to bolster his attack, while France international Antoine Griezmann continues to play a starring role.
Barcelona come into this contest with no fear, though, having been defeated just once in the previous 16 meetings between these two titles rivals, and they are 6/5 to extend that rampant run with another three points.
If victory is again on the cards for Luis Enrique’s visitors, then Lionel Messi will no doubt have a part to play, with the Argentina international captain having struck 23 times past Atleti, the second-most against any club in his illustrious career.
Messi was the match-winner the last time Barcelona were in the capital, netting the decisive goal in a narrow 1-0 La Liga win last May, one of three strikes in this fixture all of last term. The world’s best player is 5/1 to bag a brace or more this time out at the Vicente Calderon.
Barcelona stopper Claudio Bravo is ruled out through a groin injury for the clash, meaning German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will actually make his long-awaited league debut between the sticks, having only previously featured in the cup and Champions League.
Gerard Pique remains suspended, which leaves former Arsenal centre back Thomas Vermaelen free to continue his place alongside Javier Mascherano in the heart of defence. Douglas and Dani Alves are other absentees, while former Chelsea midfielder Tiago is the only doubt for the home side.
New Atleti signing Martinez dispatched his maiden goal for the club last time out and is 6/1 to strike last for a second successive game, while star man Griezmann is 17/10 to net his second of the season anytime.
Betting tip: Lionel Messi to score two or more @ 5/1