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December 16, 2012 8:00 PM GMT
Camp Nou — Barcelona
Referee:‬ Miguel Pérez‎
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36′ Adriano
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88′ Messi

Barcelona - Atletico Madrid Preview: Top of the table clash awaits as Diego Simeone's men travel to Camp Nou

The Blaugrana will look to extend their unbeaten run in La Liga with another victory, but face tough opposition as Radamel Falcao and Co. visit Catalunya on Sunday

By Martin Macdonald

Messi, Xavi - Atletico vs Barcelona


Montoya, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Pedro, Messi, Villa


Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe
 Suarez, Gabi
Koke, Arda, Costa

Barcelona will be without influential midfielder Cesc Fabregas for the visit of Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Sunday evening. The Spain international is currently sidelined with a thigh injury he picked up in the win over Betis last weekend. This will likely result in Andres Iniesta moving from his position on the left to a deeper role in midfield.

With Iniesta retreating back, David Villa may be given a start in the attacking trio alongside Lionel Messi and Pedro.

Tito Vilanova's men have been boosted by the return of Dani Alves to training after his injury. However, it is unlikely the Brazilian will be risked as he is not match-fit. Martin Montoya will likely feature at right-back.

Atletico Madrid will welcome back defender Miranda into the starting XI for this weekend's match as the Brazilian served his one-match suspension. Cristian Rodriguez is still recovering from a thigh injury and is unlikely to feature.

  • This week, Lionel Messi shattered another record. The Argentine is currently sitting at 88 goals for the calendar year, breaking the record of 85 previously held by Gerd Muller.

  • Messi and Radamel Falcao are currently the top two goalscorers in the Spanish Premier Division.
  • Barcelona are currently enjoying their best ever start to a La Liga season. The Catalans have won 14 out of their opening 15 games, and drawn the other.
  • Atletico Madrid will move within three points of the Catalan side in the league with a victory at Camp Nou.

  • Falcao became the first player in over a decade to score five goals in a single La Liga game with his tally against Deportivo last week.

  • Los Colchoneros have only lost twice in the league so far. They were defeated in November by Valencia and also lost the Madrid derby against their arch-rivals.

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Apr 9, 2014 Atletico Madrid 1 - FC Barcelona 0
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UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Apr 1, 2014 FC Barcelona 1 - Atletico Madrid 1
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Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ Jan 11, 2014 Atletico Madrid 0 - FC Barcelona 0
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Spain - Super Cup ‎(ESPS)‎ Aug 28, 2013 FC Barcelona 0 - Atletico Madrid 0
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Spain - Super Cup ‎(ESPS)‎ Aug 21, 2013 Atletico Madrid 1 - FC Barcelona 1
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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
5Carles PuyolDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
9Alexis SánchezStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
9David VillaStriker
13Thibaut CourtoisGoalkeeper
2Diego GodínDefender
3Filipe LuisDefender
4Mario SuárezMidfielder
10Arda TuranMidfielder
9Radamel FalcaoStriker
19Diego CostaStriker
25Sergio AsenjoGoalkeeper
6Cata DíazDefender
17Javi ManquilloDefender
8Raúl GarcíaMidfielder
25Emre BelözoğluMidfielder
Players to Watch
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
27 26 1 0
The Argentine continues to break records, with his latest being the amount of goals scored in a calendar year. He has a nifty habit of scoring braces in matches recently, and it would take a brave man to bet against him doing this against los Colchoneros. Atletico simply must keep him at bay if they are to have a chance of winning.
Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Falcao's stock continues to rise in Europe, especially since his magnificent five-goal tally against Deportivo last weekend. The Colombian's name is now being heard in the same breathe as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but he will need to put in a performance against the Catalans to give his side a chance of a victory.
The two sides at the summit of the Spanish Primera Division clash on Sunday and the one thing that is guaranteed is goals. Atletico Madrid put in a damp squib of a performance against Real Madrid so they will be very eager to prove they can compete against members of the Clasico. It may indeed be the Messi and Falcao's show, but the Catalan side have been imperious at home, so expect them to narrowly win.
Editor's Prediction
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Atl. Madrid
27 5
Messi Messi
26 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
17 0