With a hard-fought 3-2 win over Levante last night at the Vicente Calderon, Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid threw down the gauntlet to FC Barcelona: win tonight against Getafe, or relinquish control of La Liga. It may not have been Atleti's best performance of the season and certainly doesn't compare to Barcelona's 7-0 thrashing of the very same club (a win for which Barcelona got very little credit...go figure) but it earned them three points all the same. So Diego Costa's late penalty could prove to be the goal that finally knocked Barca off top spot, unless the Blaugrana can respond with a victory of their own tonight.
And just like Atletico, Barcelona know that they do not have to win by a large margin; a simple win will do -- which is likely to be good news for Gerardo Martino given the absence of both Lionel Messi and Neymar. Sure, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas are all good goalscorers, but can they create something out of nothing, just like Messi and Neymar? You never quite know how the 90 minutes will pan out, maybe Barcelona will miss that creative spark after all.
Or more likely, their absence will be felt, but will not be crucial to the team's chances -- Getafe are in something of a rough patch of form and if they concede an early goal, maybe their heads will drop, just as they did a few weeks ago at the Vicente Calderon. Atletico ran riot on that night to emerge 7-0 winners at the Calderon. No-one expects a similar result tonight, but it's proof at least that Barca should succeed -- and succeed comfortably -- if they are on their game.
Predict the score of this afternoon's match by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!
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