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No matter what team they come from, the manager can change, but when Barcelona have Messi in the squad, they are always the no.1 contenders for the La Liga title. Facing Simeone’s “darkest” team, Messi and his team-mates promised an extremely difficult encounter against Atletico Madrid. Especially in the squad of opponents with the presence of Luis Suarez, who knows Barca and messi so well.
Atletico Madrid challenge for first place
Going into this season, Atletico have a certain disturbance in their squad. Thomas Partey has been a very successful midfielder in recent seasons, moving to Arsenal. In the forward line, old general Suarez replaced Alvaro Morata. But that doesn’t seem to be too difficult for Diego Simeone. His team retains their identity and Atletico’s style of play is even more dangerous with the presence of a sophisticated striker like Suarez.
Luis Suarez, in a surprise development, seemed to have arrived in Turin to play for Juventus who had returned to Spain in Atletico’s red and white shirt. And immediately, it was seen that this bridge fits with the philosophy simeone is applying at Los Rojiblancos.
The proof is that Luis has scored five goals in his last six games in all competitions for the Capitals. It seems that Atletico have always been a good land for the world’s top assassins that we can mention such as Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao or later Diego Costa. A similar case for Suarez is David Villa, the Spanish striker who also moved to Madrid from Atletico and even won the league with the club in 2014.
Simeone proved he was justified in bringing in 33-year-old Suarez. However, fitness will be a problem for the Uruguayan player but his sophistication and killer ability will be very suitable for a team like Atletico.
Los Rojiblancos is in third place, they have won 17 points from seven games, there are points behind the top team and have two games left. If they win all six points in two games, Atletico Madrid will be on top. Therefore, a draw against direct title rivals like Barca is not too bad for Diego Simeone’s army.
How Barca will play against Atletico
The reign of new manager Ronald Koeman has entailed a major purification of the force when in addition to Suarez, Barca have also parted ways with ivan rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo. However, they are still showing the right direction when they have won all three “warm-up” games for the new season. 2 friendly wins over Gimnastic de Tarragona and Girona with a score of 3-1 and the latest being the gentle defeat of Elche 1-0 to win this year’s Joan Gamper Trophy.
Their performance in europe was also quite impressive as they were leading the group with Juventus. But that’s just the floating part of the iceberg. In their last five La Liga matches, they have won only one and lost two , drawing two. This is clearly not how a team is competing for the championship.
Barca under Koeman have been less dependent on Messi. It’s a good sign for this team. But their performance in the domestic arena does not reflect the effectiveness of Ronald Koeman’s play. Barca will undoubtedly play attacking, but the deployment of the ball will not come from No 10 and instead is Frenkie De Jong, who has worked with Koeman at the Netherlands.
But remember, Atletico is a very different opponent and the choice depends on Messi in specific situations that will be more effective than building a whole system. None of which, Messi remains the greatest legend of contemporary football.
Atletico: Oblak; Trippier, Felipe, Gimenez, Lodi; Llorente, Kondogbia, Koke, Saul; Felix, Correa
Barca: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Pjanic, De Jong; Dembele, Messi, Pedri; Griezmann