|Atlético Madrid on great form|
Atlético Madrid - the alternative to the two big teams
Every fan around the world recognises the strong rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona which can easily be seen in “El Clásico”, however many would dare to say Atlético are the team to beat in Madrid this year. Atlético will hold themselves in good stead against a recuperating Barcelona side who are still struggling to find consistently good form under Tata Martino. Diego Costa, second highest goal-scorer in La Liga (19) bears the difficult task of scoring against Barça, with Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano on the defence, and Victor Valdés on formidable form. But in all honesty the Barcelona defence is the least of the worries for the Colchoneros.
The return of La Pulga
|Cause for concern - Messi returns|
Lionel Messi has returned from a niggling hamstring strain which has been plaguing his football for the last few months. For most players a returning 30 minute substitute appearance would just about be enough to get the legs going again and to re-find their sense of game speed, but not for La Pulga, who showed the reason why he’s widely renowned as the best player in the world, by scoring two goals in a 4-0 rout of Getafe last Wednesday. It definitely looks like Barcelona are still a team in a transition period, with Iniesta and Xavi not on top form, but they can take heart from the strong performances from Cesc Fàbregas and the younger talent shining through such as Neymar and Alexis Sanchez.
Which way will it swing?