Barca slipped up in the Clasico
And the Red mist could come down over them in Europe again
Things we learned at the weekend
- Aston Villa are DEFINITELY going down
- When your Toyota Corolla fuel tank is empty, you can keep going for 47 miles
- Barcelona aren’t invincible
Clearly, that last one is the most important and it’s after re-opening the title race in La Liga. Barca would’ve gone thirteen clear of Real and maintained their nine point lead. But Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t worry. He’d scored 13 in his last 16 Clasico’s and got the winner to bring Real just back into the race. They visit Wolfsburg on Wednesday night, but Barca have a far trickier task as the top two in Spain go head to head in the Champions League quarter final.
Barca couldn’t complain about the result on Saturday either. 11 shots off target and just one goal despite having almost 70% of the possession. True, they were unbeaten in the previous 39 matches and were probably distracted by the tributes to Johan Cruyff which lasted the entire match.
But they can’t defend against the argument that Madrid deserved to win, having set up deliberatley to counter each and every Barca attack. The Catalonians cannot afford to let that defeat deter them ahead of their 14th quarter final in the last 16 years.
Atletico Madrid have the best defence in all of the European top eight leagues. Just 15 goals conceded in 31 games, 19 clean sheets and they warmed up for the Camp Nou by demolishing Real Betis in the Calderon with Antoine Griezmann grabbing a brace. They beat Barcelona at this stage two years ago, but were denied in the final by Real. Their odds from our traders of to win the Champions League outright seem a little bit harsh on a team that’s bang in form.
Given Atletico’s astonishing defence this season and how Barca were a bit flat going forward on Saturday night, under 2.5 goals and both teams to score – NO are bankers at odds of and respectively.
But our top tip is for Griezmann to score and Atletico to win the game at odds of. His link up play with Fernando Torres on Saturday was fantastic and if he can repeat that in the Camp Nou then Atleti will win. They took the lead there in January only to concede twice before half time and lose. Diego Simeone will no doubt have learned his lesson from that defeat. It’s potentially the tie of the round.