FC Barcelona – Atlético Madrid: Suárez And Messi Seal League Title Against Handicapped But Confident Atlético (2-0)
In the key game to decide LaLiga’s title race, Barcelona ultimately defeated Atlético. In the first half hour, this was an even match, with a surprisingly proactive Atlético, until Diego Costa was sent off. After the 30th minute, Atlético retreated into a deep block and focused on counterattacks. Only the ever-decisive Suárez and Messi were able to crack Atlético’s defense.
Tactical analysis and match report by José Pérez.
Barcelona is on the verge of winning another league title. Many Barcelona fans dislike the pragmatism of manager Ernesto Valverde and to be fair, underlying numbers show that this season, Barcelona haven’t been as strong as in previous years. However, Barcelona’s results are hard to question. They have not lost a league game since November and are still in the race for a treble. Led by the inhuman consistency of Lionel Messi, Barcelona have perfected the ability to get league results even when they do not play at their very best. Barcelona are also rock solid when defending their box. Marc-André Ter Stegen has become one of top shot stoppers in Europe, while Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet have formed a world-class defensive duo.
Against Atlético, Valverde wielded his strongest possible eleven (minus the injured Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembélé), in the usual 4-3-3 shape. The goal of Ter Stegen was guarded by central defenders Lenglet and Piqué, aided by fullbacks Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba. Midfield featured the usual trio of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić and Arthur Melo. Up front, Philippe Coutinho accompanied Messi . . .