FC Barcelona are set to welcome Atletico Madrid to the Spotify Camp Nou for a decisive clash in La Liga Santander. Currently, in 3rd place, the visitors from Madrid are in red-hot form and will be looking to put a significant dent in Barcelona’s stride towards the La Liga title itself.
A tall task lies ahead for Xavi Hernandez and his side, but their chances may have just significantly improved upon the return of a few important characters.
Date: Sunday, 23rd April 2023
Time: 04:15 pm CET
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou
Competition: La Liga Santander
The clash of these two Spanish giants will be heavily influential in terms of the effects it could possibly have on the objectives of both competing teams before the end of the season.
With Real Madrid having won their most recent game against Celta Vigo, the gap between first and second has been reduced to 8 points temporarily. FC Barcelona now have the task of overcoming Atletico Madrid and returning the difference in points back to 11 before the next game. Despite the big hurdle, Barcelona do possess the benefit of having recovered almost the entirety of their squad for this upcoming game.
On the other hand, Atletico Madrid themselves are just 5 points behind Real Madrid in 3rd. Barcelona’s opponents have a game in hand and should they win against the Catalan outfit they would be able to come within touching distance of Los Blancos with just a difference of 2 points.
In terms of league form, FC Barcelona have 3 wins and 2 draws from their last 5 games in La Liga. They have scored 53 goals across the season and conceded only 9 goals thus far, a tally that could end up being historic.
In the case of Atletico Madrid, they have a perfect 5 wins out of 5 games, a scary reality for those dressed in Blaugrana. Los Colchoneros are undeniably the team in the best form when talking about La Liga at the moment, and Xavi will need his side to be at their own very best to overcome this resilient Atletico led by Diego Simeone.
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre ter Stegen
The best goalkeeper in Europe as of right now, the German international will need to stay on his toes to ensure the Catalan side is able to keep the opposition from Madrid at bay throughout the 90 minutes. The keeper remains well on track to win the Zamora this season as well.
Right-back: Jules Kounde
The Frenchman will be well entrusted to keep that right flank covered from a defensive perspective and ensure he aids in the offense as well. His versatility could end up being a very valuable asset in a game that is sure to be tactically quite intensive.
Centre-back: Ronald Araujo
Ronald Araujo continues to be the dominating figure within Barcelona’s outstanding defense this season, and the Uruguayan’s presence will be duly required and recognized against the threat that Atletico’s attack poses.
Centre-back: Eric Garcia
Reported by some outlets to start, and by others to be benched in place of Marcos Alonso, this game could prove to be a real test for the young Spaniard. While his playmaking and on-the-ball skills are to be commended, his defensive attributes still leave much to be assessed.
Left-back: Alejandro Balde
The youngster possesses some unreal raw talent, with his electric pace and tendency to cut through opposition defenses giving him all the necessary tools to be hailed as a world-beater sometime in the future of his career. His influence in this game could be key.
CDM: Sergio Busquets
The captain should rest assured with his two primary interior midfielders now back in the squad, as it lessens his own burden to quite a degree in terms of having to focus on multiple tasks at once for the benefit of the entire team.
CM: Frenkie De Jong
The Dutch maestro of FC Barcelona makes his own return as well. The player, alongside Pedri, could mark a good turn of fortune for those in the Blaugrana colors with his elite footballing qualities.
Barcelona’s very own star prodigy returns. The youngster from the Canary Islands is among those upon whose shoulder fans of the Blaugrana put their faith on, and for good reason. The return of the player may just mark a turn in fortunes for those who don the Barcelona colors.
The Brazilian has been deputizing that right flank of the attacking trident rather well in the absence of Xavi’s preferred winger in Ousmane Dembele. Now, as the return of the Frenchman draws near, Raphinha will need to maintain and even up the tempo when it comes to his performances to make a case for himself.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
Now that Barcelona find their most creative midfielders back in the team, Robert Lewandowski must be amongst those most overjoyed with the prospect. The number 9 will be expecting much more effective deliveries into the area from where he can capitalize and get more goal-scoring opportunities.
With both Pedri and Frenkie De Jong back in the squad, it seems likely that Gavi will be slotted back into his false winger role on the left-hand side of the front line. The youngster’s transitioning abilities coupled with his tenacity should help Barcelona on multiple fronts.
Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
Defenders: Balde, Garcia, Araujo, Kounde
Midfielders: Pedri, Busquets, De Jong
Forwards: Gavi, Lewandowski, Raphinha