Hey fellow Barcelona supporters and welcome to Barca Blaugranes's first ever collective match preview. We're not just four random individuals who support Barcelona, we're a group, a team, and it will be as a team that we will preview the most important Barcelona matches. And boy is this an important match! At stake is none other than a legendary consecutive La Liga victories record, an achievement which would be yet another huge step in cementing this team's greatness.
As always, you can follow this match in our live game thread, which will start about 30 minutes before kick-off, and share your thoughts on the game live.
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Anyway, here's Barca Blaugranes's preview for the Atlético match tomorrow:
Saturday 5th February 2011, the day that will make or break the current Barcelona team.
Sure, a loss would not be overly damaging to the 7 point lead that Barca currently hold over their eternal rivals Real Madrid, but a loss will put an end to the 15 game winning streak that Pep and his men have worked so hard to get.
A win however would not only increase the pressure on Real before their game on Sunday and increase the gap to a mind-boggling 10 points, but also cement this team as one of the best to ever grace a football pitch.
Some of the arguments against this Barcelona team revolve around the great Real side of the 60s, though a win tomorrow night will surpass their seemingly unbeatable record.
One problem though, Barca's opponents on Saturday, Atletico Madrid.
This Atletico side may be in poor form as of late, with only 1 win in their last 8 games (in all competitions), 10 points away from the Vicente Calderon and with a striker in Forlan who appears to have left his shooting boots back in South Africa, but none of this will matter upon kick-off.
Tiago has said this week that Atletico have nothing to lose, so will go all out for the win. Although, they attempted that in the corresponding fixture last season and got humiliated 5-2.
So, considering the rampant form the Blaugrana are on only a fool would bet against Xavi and co. to produce a similar score-line in this vital match.
That is unless Ujfalusi decides to try and mark Messi again!
If you had asked anybody before the season started, they would have said that this would be a tough game for Barcelona because Atlético tends to make life difficult for their opposition, but even an irregular viewer of La Liga knows that Atlético haven´t been in their usual form.
The biggest story of the game is Barcelona's quest for yet another record, for consecutive victories in La Liga and, as some people (myself induced) see it, another step in, as David Villa would say, defining an era.
One more thing to look at is, can Pedro continue his scoring streak and become one of only four members of the club to score goals in more than six consecutive games.
This is not just another La Liga match. The Atlético match might be a defining moment for Pep Guardiola's Dream Team. Many pundits believe that Pep Guardiola's side is one of the best, if not the best, of all-time, but there are some skeptics (read: haters) who think differently. Breaking this absolutely legendary record, set by Real Madrid's most legendary squad ever, would virtually put an end to all debts.
Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano were the most famous names of a star-studded Real Madrid squad that truly marked an era in world football. Their record has stood for an impressive 50 years, but it might be about to be shattered.
David Villa has recently said that this Barcelona side has what it takes to "define an era". That has been going on for a long time, ever since Pep Guardiola won an unprecedented sextuple in his first season and the world fell in love with Barcelona's football. Having the top-3 in the 2010 Ballon d'Or also helped make this an era-defining team. Tomorrow is just another step towards "defining an era" and the players will certainly be 100% motivated to break this legendary record.
But we can't forget that there's an opponent who wants to win as well and they won't just roll over. Atlético Madrid have a very good team, with top class players like Kun Aguero and Diego Forlán. Even if they've not been performing according to the expectable standards this season, Atlético is a good team that will cause problems to Barcelona. In fact, they're traditionally a tough nut for Barcelona to crack. In their last eight La Liga titles, Barcelona lost at least once to Atlético during the season. Even under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona lost at the Caldéron 4-3 in 2008/2009 and 2-1 in 2009/2010, in what was Barcelona's only defeat last season in the league. This season, Pep finally managed to win at the Caldéron, but that is by no means a guarantee of success tomorrow.
If you consider that Barcelona beat Atlético 5-2 and 6-1 at Camp Nou in the past two season, it's hard to see an upset happen. But this match is different; in the wise words of David Villa, this is a potentially era-defining match and the pressure (but also the motivation) will be much higher.
Pep and his men will have to show that mentality of champions they've so often shown in the past three seasons in order to beat Atlético and add another legendary record to their legacy.
Another story surrounding this match is the fairytale of Sergio Busquets. The 22-year-old Spanish start might break the record for most consecutive La Liga victories in history. If he plays and Barcelona win tomorrow, it'll be his 22nd consecutive La Liga win (he didn't feature in the Hercules and Mallorca matches), thus breaking Carles Puyol's record (he's at 21 and counting, but currently sidelined due to injury). Ferenc Puskas is a somewhat distant third with 18.
This is yet another testament to the greatness of this current Barcelona side.
Tonight FC Barcelona will entertain Atletico Madrid, a team generally perceived to be one of Barca's boogeyman teams. In the last decade Atletico spoiled the party on more than one occasion while chronically underperforming against city rivals Real Madrid. A match against one of Madrid's teams is always a very intense event but tonight's game could be one for the history books. Not to say that the sports world will be treated to an extraordinary football match although a Barca/Atletico game is hardly if ever dull.
Tonight FC Barcelona have the golden opportunity to set a new La Liga record for consecutive wins (16) after having equalized Di Stefano's Real Madrid record on the last match day. Therefore it is not an exaggeration to label this match an era-defining one; perhaps this could become the era of FC Barcelona if it isn't already.
Altetico Madrid are undergoing a somewhat indifferent run of form, though packed with talent they haven't been able to maintain a top four position this season. After winning the Euro League last season and reaching the finals of the Copa del Rey, one would assume that Diego Forlan & Co. would at least secure a Champions League spot for next season. Although there are still 17 matches to be played they are already 11 points behind 4th placed Valencia.
This campaign has exposed Atletico's overreliance on Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan to provide goals. For much of the season the latter has been a shadow of his old predatory self that won him the best player tag at the last World Cup. Kun Aguero is, as it has been the case for the last couple of season, always surrounded by transfer speculation. Still, the man nicknamed Kun, due to his resemblance to Japanese manga characters, is performing to his standards.
A 4-1 victory for FC Barcelona with Lionel Messi scoring a brace while David Villa and Pedro grab a goal each.
And you, what do you have to say about this match?