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Barcelona to go clear in La Liga with win at Atletico as title race hots up

| 11.01.2014

La Liga enjoys arguably its biggest game of the season this evening as Atletico Madrid host Barcelona and the visitors have history on their side.

The last three La Liga games between these sides in Madrid have finished 2-1 to Barca and the same scoreline is 8/1 to occur once more.

Both teams have 49 points this season and only goal difference (five better) has Barcelona on top of the table at present.

But Gerardo Martino has guided his team very adroitly in his first season in charge and, despite the loss of Lionel Messi, they have won their last seven games in all competitions.

Messi returned to action in midweek, and along with Sergio Busquets, helps strengthen Martino’s hand.

The Argentinian has scored two goals in his last three visits to Atletico and is 10/11 to find the net once again.

Bet on Barcelona to win 2-1 at 8/1

Former Barca man David Villa helps lead the line for Atletico and the Spanish international has eight goals to his name, however it is his strike partner Diego Costa who has attracted the headlines.

He has 19 already this season and has been the catalyst for Diego Simeone’s side; he’s 5/4 to add goal number 20.

Simeone is doing a marvellous job and Atletico are having a dream season, but their record against the visitors is not encouraging for their supporters.

They haven’t beaten Barcelona in their last eight meetings in all competitions.

Bet on Barcelona to win at 23/20

However this is more than just a game; it has the potential to turn the season on its head.

Obviously a win for either side would see them go three points clear at the summit of La Liga, but a share of the spoils would give third-placed Real Madrid the opportunity to get within three points when they travel to 11th-placed Espanyol on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will entertain Barca in March, but also have the Madrid Derby to worry about that month, whilst Atletico travel to the Nou Camp on the final day of the season.

One thing is for sure: this is the most enthralling La Liga season for many a year.



Nic Doggett