Programming note: For viewers in the United States, the match is being shown exclusively on beIN SPORT, beIN SPORT Espanol and DishWorld. The pre-match programming begins at 1:55pm ET Saturday. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORT, you can access those channels via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website.
Los Coloncheros and La Blaugrana are deadlocked atop of the table in Spain and with the premier sides scarcely dropping points in this division, this game could be wholly significant in determining the destination of the title come May.
And it’s such a tough one to call. Atletico’s exploits this season have been absolutely marvellous and it is only at the mid point of the campaign that they have been considered genuine title contenders. A win here on their own patch – where they have won every domestic game so far this season – and they may well be favourites to win a ninth Spanish title.
Their manager Diego Simeone has fashioned a dynamic, pragmatic and industrious team that have took La Liga by storm. And when you sprinkle on the stardust provided by the likes of Koke, Arda Turan and Diego Costa, they really are an outstanding outfit.
But are they as outstanding as a Barcelona team boosted by the return of Lionel Messi? The Argentinian played his first game back from injury in the midweek Copa Del Rey game against Getafe and bagged a brace after being introduced as a second half substitute. Anyway it’s not as if Tata Martino’s side have been struggling without him, having won their last seven games in a row.
A truly magnificent game lies in wait at the Vicente Calderon.
Editor’s note: For more Atleti analysis, opinion and news, visit the Atletico Madrid team page.