The Spanish Super Cup takes the show on the road to Saudi Arabia, as La Liga champions Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium. Currently first and third in the league, Barca have an excellent record against Atletico as the teams compete for the right to play Real Madrid or Valencia in Sunday’s final.
Where and when: King Abdullah Sport City – 9 January, kick-off 19:00
Where you can see Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid: N/A
Last time: Lionel Messi scored broke the deadlock with a sumptuous strike in the 86th minute as Barcelona beat Atletico 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano at the start of December.
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid Predictions and Preview
Atletico Madrid come into this semi-final fixture looking for their first victory over Barcelona since a 2-0 success in the quarter-finals of the Champions League back in 2016. Barca have won five of the nine meetings between the sides since, while you have to go all the way back to February 2010 to find Atleti’s last victory over the Catalans in La Liga.
Despite that, Atletico have fared better against Barcelona in knockout competitions, or specifically the Champions League, arguably the biggest stage of all. Los Rojiblancos knocked Barca out of Europe’s premier club competition at the quarter-final stage twice in three seasons between 2014 and 2016, showing the quality of Diego Simeone’s side in knockout football.
With that said, Barca are unbeaten in four Copa del Rey fixtures against Atletico since 2015, winning three of those. As Messi showed last month – both against Atletico and in winning the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time – the Blaugrana have the world’s finest player in their ranks. With perhaps more eyes on the Supercopa de Espana than ever before, that could count for even more here.
None of those eyes will be trained on Frenkie de Jong though, who was sent off for two bookable offences in Barca’s draw away to Espanyol on Saturday. Wu Lei’s late equaliser allowed Real Madrid to pull level at the top of the table, but Arturo Vidal put in a great second-half display after coming on for Ivan Rakitic at the break.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Barcelona to win to nil
Barcelona to win 1-0
Messi to score first
Despite reports of contractual differences with his employers, Vidal could start here with Arthur out injured, while Ousmane Dembele is also sidelined. Antoine Griezmann might’ve been on the end of another frosty reception at the hands of his former supporters, but it’s been reported that only around 50 Atletico fans have made the trip to Saudi Arabia for this tournament.
Diego Costa isn’t among those who’ve made it to Jeddah, as the striker’s struggling with a hernia. Koke and Thomas Lemar are both doubts with hamstring problems, although Sime Vrsaljko and Stefan Savic are back in full training following injuries. Even if all four of those players are fit and available, Atleti will still start as the underdogs in the betting, priced at 14/5. Barcelona are the 51/50 favourites, while you can back the draw at 14/5.
One to watch for Barcelona: Lionel Messi usually shows up on the biggest stages for Barcelona, and with 13 goals from 14 appearances so far this term, including the only goal of the game against Atletico last month, the Argentine is 7/2 to break the deadlock on Thursday evening.
One to watch for Atletico Madrid: Joao Felix was signed to replace Griezmann, and has made a decent start to life in the Spanish capital. The young Portuguese forward needs to add more goals to his game though, after only managing two in La Liga so far, and is 19/2 to address that by netting the opener here.
Long shot: Atletico’s last victory over Barca was a 2-0 Champions League success back in 2016, starting a run of 10 matches where exactly two goals have been scored on six occasions. Exactly two goals once again here is 13/5, while Atleti are 20/1 to win 2-0.