Spanish Supercopa Preview: Atletico take on Barca
This week is a big week for Gerardo Martino and Barcelona as they prepare to host the second leg of the Spanish Supercopa at the Camp Nou later tonight against Athletic Madrid. Barcelona will be in search of their 11th Supercopa title while Athletic will be in search of just their 2nd ever in club history. Athletico Madrid has also been runner-ups three times.
The first leg that took place about a week ago illustrated David Villa showing his class against his former club by scoring a world class goal off a side volley but only to have the young Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona equalize in the second half. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with Barcelona taking the away goal advantage back home for today’s match.
Expect Athletico to take a strategic approach at the Camp Nou as they sat back, defended, and then countered early and often in the first leg at home. Additionally, confidence should be high as they dominated Rayo Vallecano in their last La Liga fixture and won by a score of 5-0. In addition to David Villa playing well, Diago Costa scored two goals in their most recent fixture so keep an eye on him in tonight’s match as he should be aggressive.
Looking at Gerardo’s Martino’s side, they have some injury issues they may cause some line-up changes. FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi may be out of the starting squad as he was held out of Sunday’s nervy 1-0 victory against Malaga due to a thigh issue, although he has returned to training this past week. Additionally, Adriano (hamstring) is a doubt, while Ibrahim Afellay (thigh), Isaac Cuenca (knee) and Carles Puyol (knee) all still out.
Athletico Madrid would need to come up with a massive result tonight to take the trophy as they have not won in Barcelona since the 2005-2006 season.
I find it hard to see Barcelona coming away from this match without a 12th Supercopa title but I don’t think it will come easy. If Messi does not play, look to see Neymar earlier than normal. I also expect Cesc Fabregas to step up big in this game as he continues to find consistent playing time through the early weeks of this campaign.
What are your thoughts entering this match? Do you think we will see Messi? If so, how much? Tweet me or The Boot Room and we will retweet your thoughts/comments.
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