FC Barcelona (3rd, 74pts) vs Atlético Madrid (1st, 76pts)
Competition/Round: 2020-21 La Liga, Matchday 35
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Matheus Fernandes (out)
Atlético Outs & Doubts: José Giménez, Renan Lodi (doubt)
Date/Time: Satuday, May 8, 2021, 4.15pm CET (Barcelona), 3.15pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 10.15am ET, 7.15am PT (USA), 7.45pm IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
VAR: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others
Following a thrilling win on the road against Valencia and a full week of preparation in sunny Catalonia, Barcelona return to action for their biggest game of the campaign: a season-defining La Liga clash with Atlético Madrid at GSOE.
The size and importance of this match can’t be overstated. For Atlético, it’s a chance to take a gigantic step towards their first La Liga title in 7 years and silence all the doubters that have questioned the ability of Diego Simeone’s team to finish the job after seemingly marching to the title for four months before Covid, injuries and unexpected results turned the season on its head.
Atlético must not lose on Saturday to continue to control their destiny, and a win would effectively knock Barça out of the race and make the Colchoneros clear favorites to claim the championship. Luis Suárez will return to Camp Nou for the first time since leaving Barça in the summer, and with the season he’s having it is hard to see the Pistolero doing anything but raising hell at his former home.
For Barça, this is an opportunity to effectively ruin Atlético’s season and give them a killer blow that would be hard to recover from. Three points would take Barça top of the table (for at least 24 hours) and put immense pressure on Real Madrid, who also face a season-definer of their own against fourth-place Sevilla. If they finish the weekend top of the league, Barça will once again control their destiny with three games to go, and if the reports coming out of Messi’s barbecue are true, the team is really confident about their chances on Saturday.
Barça have done nothing but suck in every big game this season, and every opponent who are at the same level as the Blaugrana have easily outplayed them. This is a huge game for Ronald Koeman, who won’t be at the touchline again but can still show the board he is the man for the job next season by outcoaching Simeone and putting his team in position to win the game — and the title.
This is big. Really big.
Barcelona (3-5-2): Ter Stegen; Araujo, Piqué, Lenglet; Dest, De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Alba; Messi, Griezmann
Atlético (3-5-2): Oblak; Savic, Giménez, Hermoso; Trippier, Llorente, Koke, Lemar, Carrasco; Correa, Suárez
I have no idea. Seriously. Like, NO IDEA. Eh, let’s go crazy: 5-3 Barça. Why not.