Preview: Atlético Madrid vs. FC Barcelona



This is going to be the shortest preview ever, given that there’s less than 2 hours until the match starts and, hey – did you hear that, yesterday, Espanyol early gifted Barça the Liga, and Iniesta a birthday present?

The latter, as reader Vj commented on Twitter, was made more poignant by the fact that the Espanyol goal was scored in the 21st minute which is always celebrated by the Pericos fans in memory of their beloved late captain, Dani Jarque, who was also Iniesta’s good friend.

That last sentence was long and I’m not going to fix it. I’m going to blame it on the sublime bottle of white Priorat and the other bottle of Juvé & Camps cava that were imbibed over lunch with our gorgeous Catalan neighbours, who took us out for a belated Anniversary lunch, as well as to celebrate the Liga win. The food? Equally sublime. Seafood paella, bacalao, chipirones and delicious postres. I’m fit to burst. At least I’m still awake. Someone else went to bed to sleep it off.

Anyway – there’s a match.  In Madrid.  Supposedly Falcao isn’t playing because Simeone is resting him for the CdR match on Friday.  Quite rightly too, as this game is a bit of a non-event in terms of affecting any results. Atléti sits in 3rd place on the Liga table, 9 points adrift of Real Madrid. With only 2 games left to play (both Madrid teams played mid-week games last week so they have played one more game than most of the teams), Atléti can’t catch up to Madrid, and they are in a very comfortable 3rd place with Valencia and Depor currently battling for 4th some 10 points behind.

So who gets to play?

Maybe a whole lotta players who haven’t had a lot of game time over the season.  Or maybe Tito is still serious about getting that 100 points for the season. To do that, they need to win the remaining 4 games.

Tito’s taken the whole team to Madrid because they have something to celebrate and it wouldn’t be fair if anyone missed out on the festivities.

VV and Abidal miss the game through injury and join JDS in the stands. Or perhaps he’ll actually get a run out.

Part of me wants the win tonight just to prove that we didn’t need any help to achieve it this weekend. Another part of me just couldn’t care less.

Anyway, sit back, relax and just enjoy the Liga victory.

This team has been through so much again this season and some silverware is the bonus.


Thank you for everything, team.  Well, maybe not for the grey hairs.


Thank you to Tito and Roura and all the team management.

Jordi Roura, Tito Vilanova, Aureli Altimira i Jose Ramon de la Fuente
Jordi Roura, Tito Vilanova, Aureli Altimira and Jose Ramon de la Fuente


Thank you to Abidal and Tito for still being with us.


Thanks for another year of memories.

That's 22 Liga wins, y'all
That’s 22 Liga wins, y’all


¡Visca Barça! ¡Visca Catalunya!


The game kicks off at 19:00 CET – that’s soon.

Click here to convert the match time to your timezone: Atlético Madrid vs. FC Barcelona

Streams for the match are usually found on First Row, Roja Directa and Bar TV.

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  1. Jim
    May 12, 2013

    Starting XI: Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Adriano, Alba, Song, Iniesta, Cesc, Alexis, Messi and Tello.

  2. barca96
    May 12, 2013

    Thanks for the quickie.

    Where were you for the past 2-3 weeks?

  3. barca96
    May 12, 2013

    Is Montoya that poor until Tito can’t rest Alves one bit after playing 10 matches straight?!

    Is Bartra that poor until we have to keep playing Adriano there? The weirdest part is that in the 2nd leg vs Bayern, Bartra got the nod over Adriano so way not in La Liga?

  4. replayed
    May 12, 2013

    Is Montoya that poor until Tito can’t rest Alves one bit after playing 10 matches straight?!

    For what it’s worth, Dani Alves has played 26 (that’s twenty-six) consecutive matches, counting Liga, CL, Copa and NT friendlies.

    The last time he didn’t play in a match he could have played in was against Malaga back on January 16.

    Note also that he played every single minute of 24 of those 26 matches. The exceptions were when he came in for the injured Adriano on two separate occasions.

    He played 45 minutes on one of those occasions, and 70 minutes on the other. If I consider the latter appearance as a start, then Dani has in fact started the last 20 matches he could have played in, 18 of them for Barca.

    Maybe not a big deal if your name is Messi — who’s been a slacker by comparison — but otherwise? Wow.

    • Ryan
      May 12, 2013

      No surprise then that he was just subbed off injured, right?

      • barca96
        May 12, 2013

        I’m not sure if his injury had anything to do with him playing so many minutes but in any case Tito should have rested him and unleashed Montoya.

  5. Momo
    May 12, 2013

    Cesc has been oh so mediocre. I reckon Thiago or JDS would do better in that position

  6. Momo
    May 12, 2013

    Comon Messi, move!

    He’s lost a little passion for the game it seems, regardless of coaching instruction this is not the messi we know.

    Maybe that injury is still taking a toll.

    • nzm
      May 12, 2013

      While Messi was warming up, he tweaked his left hamstring. On Barca TV we watched him rubbing it vigorously. He continued to warm up but wasn’t moving freely.

      • barca96
        May 12, 2013

        And yet he is playing while we have Villa on the bench who could impress the Athletico bosses and increase his value.

        That said, Messi looks perfectly fine though.

        • Momo
          May 12, 2013

          Thats what I dont understand, sub him off if hes not fit to press and atleast get involved.

          Hopefully a break in the summer can get reignite his passion for the game, which I’m sure is buried under mental and physical fatigue..

  7. Momo
    May 12, 2013

    I must say though Adrianos bee great at CB

  8. nia
    May 12, 2013

    Seems it’s the motto to play someone till their injured at Barca 🙁
    Why Montoya is not playing? Surely he’s training well.

  9. nzm
    May 12, 2013

    My theory is that Tito wanted the key players to receive the pasillo and the accolades, so he sent as many out as he could.

  10. Momo
    May 12, 2013

    Also, time to consider a move away from the false 9 especially in bigger games? The top teams have all found ways to comfortably deal with it. Its no longer this mysterious thing that makes CBs uncomfortable because they have no one to mark.

  11. barca96
    May 12, 2013

    Serious WTF! The way forward is to groom and play youngsters like Bartra and Montoya instead of running Alves to the ground and playing Adriano who is a liability (injury wise).

  12. PrinceYuvi
    May 12, 2013

    Falcao happened. What in the blue hell….

  13. barca96
    May 12, 2013

    Cesc and Alexis again. Finally something to smile about.

  14. barca96
    May 12, 2013

    Don’t you guys notice that Messi left the pitch? And we’re playing with 10 men… How come there’s no reaction at all here?

    • Momo
      May 12, 2013

      I didnt even notice, someone has to step in and stop messi from playing when hes not fit. The man needs a mental and physical break from footy. He’ll comeback with that fire next season, no doubt.

  15. PrinceYuvi
    May 12, 2013

    And that’s why we decided to keep Alexis. Gooaalll. And messi injured.

  16. replayed
    May 12, 2013

    Can’t say I’ll miss the tequila sunrise strips.

  17. barca96
    May 12, 2013

    What an amazing come back!! With 2 CB’s and with only 10 men.

  18. BA
    May 12, 2013

    once again, our defense was very poor.

    once again, Cesc Fabregas was anonymous.

    once again, Tito’s selection left something to be desired.

    once again, we were bailed out; only this time by luck rather than by a once-again-injured Messi.

    this season has gotten pretty predictable.

  19. TITO
    May 12, 2013

    So, no Messi till the end of the season.
    Hope he rests properly until August.

  20. bhed
    May 12, 2013

    Adriano injured again??!! He played well, but you can’t be a backup if you’re not available to play. Who thinks we can count on him to stay healthy next year?

  21. May 12, 2013

    two things:
    -player management has been horrible this season. why does alves need to break the world record for most consecutive games as a starter? is montoya that horrible? it seems the only chance we have to see thiago is when xavi, iniesta and fabregas are in the ER room
    -tello deserves a first team place next season

  22. May 12, 2013

    People. This team has won the Liga championship that it lost to its most bitter rival last season. Along the way, it dealt with cancer, injuries on a biblical scale and lord knows what else. It set records, and brought beauty. Can’t we, just for a day, stop crapping on players and coaches and just celebrate what these players have done?

    • May 12, 2013

      Not to mention Barça managed to be #1 every single week this season. Every single week! Who DOES that?!

      (Hi, everyone, longtime reader Catherine here, haven’t really commented until today but I was so excited over the championship I felt like popping in to throw in an amen here. So, uh, yeah, hi, and amen.)

      • May 12, 2013

        A hearty welcome, Catherine. I’ll have a scoop of celebratory gelato for you.

    • Barka
      May 12, 2013

      I’m happy yeah! Another la liga to us, what’s not to like. Now that Mourinho will leave Real Madrid I can enjoy the rivalry next season again.

      • Momo
        May 12, 2013

        I know! I cant wait to get back to a normal sporting rivalry instead of the pure animosity that mou created

  23. Cule
    May 12, 2013

    Mourinho said last year that it would be sweet if RM win the league without beating Barca. He was right, feels good man.

  24. barca96
    May 13, 2013

    That kid who came on for Athletico looked very good. Very assured.

    • May 13, 2013

      Oliver Torres? This kid is a real gem, I saw him live in U19 this summer when they won the European Cup. I think he is just 18, but already has all the qualities for a midfield maestro.

      • barca96
        May 13, 2013

        Yup. I remembered that his name is a famous one but just can’t remember the other. Thanks.

        He literally controlled Athletico’s midfield. It’s very rare to see a young player so confident. I would love to see more of him. Hopefully he will get some minutes vs Madrid.

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