Barcelona can take a giant step towards sealing their third straight La Liga title when they face closest challengers Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Saturday evening.
The Blaugrana head into the mammoth clash eight points ahead of Los Colchoneros after fighting back to draw an eight-goal thriller against Villarreal in midweek while Diego Simeone side managed to whittle down the deficit courtesy of a 2-0 win over Girona as Antoine Griezmann ended a run of seven matches without scoring.
Atletico Madrid know
that they surely have to win again this weekend in order to stand any chance of lifting the title in May but Los Colchoneros have won only one of their last 16 encounters with the Catalan giants.Team News
Barcelona are set to be without Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha Alcantara for the match on Saturday night the Frenchman is still recovering from a hamstring issue but the club are confident he will be ready to take on Manchester United in the Champions League quarter finals next week.
The Blaugrana will also be missing Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal who is suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation.
Atletico Madrid will be short on attacking players with Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata both picking up knocks in recent weeks and set to miss this clash. Morata picked up an ankle injury towards the end
their last match with Girona while Costa and Thomas Lemar both picked up muscle injuries when taking on Alaves.
Lucas Hernandez underwent successful knee surgery last week ahead of the 23-year-old's summer move to Bayern Munich so he will also be out for the fixture at the Camp Nou. Head To Head
won 93 of the 208 meetings between the two teams in all competitions, with Atletico recording 65 victories and the remaining 50 games finishing the level.
The Blaugrana have dominated the recent La Liga matches, meanwhile, and are unbeaten in Spain's top flight against Atletico since February 2010. Indeed, the Catalan giants have won 12 of the last 17 league games between the two teams, remaining unbeaten in the process.
Atletico's last away victory over Barcelona in the league came back in February 2006, but the pair played out a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano in the reverse fixture earlier this season.Recent Form
The Blaugrana, and particularly Lionel Messi have been on fire in recent months, claiming two big wins against Real Madrid and advancing to the Champions League quarter-finals after overcoming Lyon. The only slip-up for Barca came in the Supercopa de Catalunya against Girona when they went down 1-0.
Atletico Madrid has been relatively inconsistent over their recent fixtures, winning three and losing two. One of the losses came at the hands of Juventus when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to send them out of Europe's biggest club competition. Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, Rakitic; Coutinho, L Suarez, MessiAtletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Luis, Godin, Gimenez; Saul, Rodri, Koke, Thomas, Arias; Correa, GriezmannPredictions:
Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid