Barcelona vs Atlético de Madrid this Saturday marks a potentially pivotal weekend in the thrilling LaLiga title race of 2020-21.
There are numerous subplots brewing when these sides meet, most notably a reunion of best friends Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The result could have an immediate bearing on the destination of this season's Spanish title.
🔭 LaLiga title race: What's in store?
Barcelona's run-in, after their meeting with Atléti, is the most favourable on paper. Mid-table Levante and Celta Vigo are both safe from relegation and don't have any realistic chances of making the European places while rock-bottom Eibar might well already be relegated by the final day when they host Messi & Barça.
The defending champions have work to do with an extremely difficult run-in that includes the visit of fourth-placed Sevilla this Sunday, a trip to San Mamés to face Athletic Bilbao and a final day clash with Europa League finalists Villarreal. Crucially, they hold the upper hand in terms of their respective head-to-head records with both Barça and Atléti, should the sides finish the campaign level on points.
If this weekend's titanic tussle between Barça and Atléti ends in a draw and Real Madrid wins all four of their remaining fixtures, they'll be champions. Remember that in LaLiga, head-to-head takes precedence over goal difference when sides cannot be separated by virtue of points tallies.
Atléti still knows that their fate is in their own hands. If Diego Simeone's side wins all of their matches, they'll be champions of Spain for the first time since 2014, and a win for Atléti at the Camp Nou this weekend will really make them start to believe.
Diego Simeone will approach this with caution, though, with Atléti's Argentinian boss struggling in recent visits to Catalonia. Los Rojiblancos haven’t won on any of their past seven visits to the region, drawing twice at Girona in that time, losing once and drawing once at Barcelona, losing once and drawing once at Espanyol and losing earlier this season to third-tier side UE Cornellà in the Copa del Rey.
Home matches against Real Sociedad and Osasuna look relatively winnable on paper, although a visit to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on matchday 38 is anything but easy.
One of the most thrilling climaxes to any top European league season for many years is about to get very serious. It's a shame that supporters won't be able to enjoy it in person, but we'll all be glued to our screens as the drama unfolds.
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