It will be the clash of titans this Sunday in Spain as heavyweights and bitter rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid go head to head in La Liga at the Vicente Calderon.
The match couldn’t have come at a worse time for Barcelona, given that they have been struggling in the past week with some underwhelming performances and as a result, are under serious pressure to deliver. On the other hand, Atletico have been on a good run of results and will be high on confidence after their comprehensive Champions League triumph against Bayer Leverkusen during the midweek.
Ahead of such a vital clash that would have a great impact on the La Liga title race, we pick out the best playing XI featuring players from both sides, based on their form, impact, and availability. Let’s see who makes it to this line-up:
Jan Oblak (GK):
The Slovenian has returned to full training and could very well start in goal for Atletico. Given Barcelona stopper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s recent dip in form, it is Oblak who makes it into our combined XI, despite having been on the sidelines.
The Spaniard is one of the most consistent performers for Atletico and features in our line-up ahead of the struggling Sergi Roberto and the injured Aleix Vidal.
Gerard Pique (CB):
The Barcelona centre-half has been one of the few players whose form hasn’t dipped and as a result, he becomes a part of our combined XI ahead of the likes of his teammate Samuel Umtiti and Atletico’s Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez.
Diego Godin (CB):
The Atletico captains is, without a doubt, one of the best defenders in Europe and after having been ruled out for two weeks due to an injury, may return to action on Sunday and hence makes it to this lineup.
Filipe Luis (LB):
The Brazilian left-back has been an ever-present for Atletico this season and has been performing consistently throughout, unlike his Barcelona counterparts Jordi Alba and Lucas Digne. As a result, he is our preferred choice at left-back.
The veteran midfielder has been owning it in the middle of the park for Atletico this term and the solidity he brings has been a key feature of their game whereas Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets has had a poor season by his standards. Hence it is the 33-year old who features in this line-up.
The Spanish midfielder has been a constant figure for the Rojiblancos and has silently gone about his job in the middle of the park with tremendous consistency. With Andre Gomes struggling and Andres Iniesta not involved regularly, Koke just edges into our line-up ahead of Ivan Rakitic.
Lionel Messi (RW):
The Argentine has on many occasions saved his team and spared them the blushes, most recently against Leganes last weekend. Having already notched up 19 strikes this term, more than any other player from either squad. Messi’s selection in this XI is a no-brainer.
Antoine Griezmann (CF):
The talismanic Frenchman has tailed down a little after an explosive start to the season but still remains one of the best attackers in the game and as a result, he makes it to our XI.
Yannick-Ferreira Carrasco (LW):
The Belgian is enjoying his most productive season with Atletico this term with 8 goals and 3 assists so far in the Spanish top division and just edges out the equally impressive Neymar in our line-up.
Kevin Gameiro (ST):
The Frenchman has hit a sudden golden patch and has netted five goals for Atletico in his last two appearances. Owing to his current hot streak, Gameiro trumps Luis Suarez and features in our selection.