Atletico v Barcelona preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:07

Atletico v Barcelona preview

In a quirk of fate, Atletico won last season’s Primera Division title at the Nou Camp after holding Barca to a 1-1 draw on the final day of last season – and now the Catalan club can do likewise on Atletico’s home ground after strike action in La Liga was called off on Thursday.
In the next three weeks Barca will have two opportunities to win the league as well as facing Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final and Juventus in the final of the Champions League.
It is a chance for the Catalan giants to emulate their historic haul from 2009, when they won all six trophies available to them in the calendar year, but defender Gerard Pique knows they cannot afford to get ahead of themselves.
“Looking at the teams that have won the treble gives you an appreciation of how difficult it is,” he said.
“There are other teams vying too and the way people are talking it’s as if we’d already won the treble, and that’s not the case. The finals are against two historic clubs and we still haven’t won anything yet.
“We’re close but and we have to keep our feet on the ground.”
Barcelona could be without striker Luis Suarez as he is nursing a hamstring strain while midfielder Tiago is suspended for Atletico.
Although they can no longer retain their title, Atletico still have something to play for this season as they try to protect their third place from Valencia, who are four points back.
Rojiblancos goalkeeper Jan Oblak knows it will not be easy to get anything off Barca, but is not throwing in the towel.
He said in AS: “There’s no fear, but we know that it’s not easy to stop them.
“I’m sure that we can beat any team in the world. We have to play with a lot of intensity, be very focused and do a lot of running, and in the end we’ll see what happens.”
He added of a top-three finish: “The objective was to be third and we’re going to achieve that. If we do get it, the view of the season will be positive.”

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