This clash sees reigning champions Atletico looking to humble Barcelona and underline that the Catalan club has fallen from the elite level – which includes the sale of Antoine Griezmann back to the Rojiblancos at the end of the transfer window a few weeks ago.
The Frenchman will hope to feature in this match and prove a point to Barca, where he struggled to fit in and make an impact. Meanwhile, Griezmann’s former boss, Ronald Koeman, has acknowledged that the Catalan club is in a transition period but believes the future is bright.
“Thanks to me, this club has a future,” the Dutchman stated. “It’s not just Pedri. There are still four or five players aged 18 or 19 who will be fantastic players for this club in three or four years.”
Atletico manager Diego Simeone, meanwhile, wants to see his team lift their game despite the difficulties of competing across several competitions.
“We expect to improve on what we did last season,” the Argentine stated. “We didn’t have a good Copa del Rey. We competed well in the Champions League but would like to have done much better. This year we have the Spanish Super Cup in January. They’re four important competitions including the league, and we want to improve on last season’s numbers as we always look to do.”
Antoine Griezmann – A fish out of water at Barcelona, Griezmann has returned to an environment where he thrived in years gone by. The French attacker’s hard work off the ball and intelligence on it will once again endear him to Atleti fans.
Memphis Depay – Filling the boots of Lionel Messi is an impossible task, but Depay at least has the confidence and charisma to add a new dimension to Barca’s attack. His pace and movement will pose a problem for the home side’s defence.
In head-to-head terms, Atletico and Barcelona have met in 251 matches across all competitions. The Blaugrana have claimed 95 wins compared to 67 for the Rojiblancos, with 53 games drawn.
Atletico took four points off Barcelona in last season’s two La Liga meetings, winning 1-0 in Madrid in November 2020 (thanks to a goal from Yannick Carrasco) before a goalless stalemate in the return game at the Camp Nou in May 2021.
Battles to watch
Diego Simeone v Ronald Koeman – Two inherently conservative managers, Simeone and Koeman will enjoy putting their tactical wits against one another, with the Argentine banking on his team’s quality and fight to carry the day.
Luis Suarez v Gerrard Pique – Veteran players and former teammates, Suarez and Pique are both in the twilight of their careers but remain high-level performers. Suarez will look to use all the tricks, both legal and dirty, in his locker to make life tough for the Barcelona centre-back.
Marcos Llorente v Frenkie de Jong – An all-action midfield between Llorente and de Jong could be a decisive element in this match, with the Atletico man hoping his physicality can overwhelm the technical and tactical excellence of his Barca counterpart.
DStv and GOtv is the only true home of football in Africa, offering a range and depth of action that no other rival can match – it’s literally ‘Unbeatable Football’! If you’re going to spend your money on something, it may as well be on the best football in the world.
Match broadcast details
All times CAT
Saturday 2 October
21:00: Atletico Madrid v Barcelona – LIVE on SuperSport La Liga, SuperSport Maximo 2 and SuperSport GOtv La Liga