Barca facing upset to Spanish rivals Atleti at Vicente Calderon
All four head-to-heads between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona this season in all competitions have ended in a draw, including the first leg 1-1 result of this Champions League quarter-final. It seems nothing can separate the two sides, so back a tie once more in 90 minutes at 5/2.
With Diego Simeone’s side at home this time, that outcome is even more likely than a home victory as they go into this match as underdogs (11/5 to win) with Barca (5/4).
Despite not being favourites, Atletico hold the upper hand with their away goal, and a 0-0 draw at 10/1 – the two clubs have produced that scoreline against each other twice already this season – would see them advance to the semi-finals.
The other two results between the duo this term ended 1-1 (11/2), and that outcome would mean the game would go into extra time.
Barca, due to their dominance over the last few years in all competitions, are still odds-on to qualify for the last four at 4/6, and it is easy to see why. The Catalan giants have managed to reach at least the semis of this competition for the past six seasons, and have twice been champions in that period.
Although they are not quite the same threat they once were, they still possess mainly a similar squad to what they’ve had recent years. But, Barca will have to do without injured duo Victor Valdes and Gerard Pique through injury, while captain Carlos Puyol is still a doubt.
They still possess four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, however, who happens to somewhat enjoy facing his side’s La Liga rivals. Argentine magician Messi has netted an incredible 20 times in 20 appearances against Atletico, and can be backed at odds-on to keep up his goal per game record against them, or 7/2 to get two or more.
Atletico have injury doubts in season top scorer Diego Costa and winger Arda Turan. The former, who has 33 goals in all competitions this season, went off with a hamstring injury in the first leg but, if fit, has odds of 7/4 to net anytime.
The one problem with Messi and Costa in this match-up, however, is that the former has not scored in his last five against Atleti, while the latter has never been on target in his 10 appearances against Barcelona.
Former Barca forward David Villa may be the man to step up. The 32-year-old has netted seven times in 16 attempts against the Catalans, including this season in the Supercopa, and can be backed at 15/8 in the anytime scorer market.