Preview: Which player will be the Supercopa de Espana hero?
With Lionel Messi back from injury, it is hard to predict which star will settle the game for his respective team, tonight; that is, if the battle sees a clear Man of the Match winner. In the first leg, David Villa’s opening goal almost gifted Atleti a valuable victory at the Vicente Calderon.
However, Neymar had other ideas. The Brazilian came on as a substitute to rescue new manager Gerardo Martino and the Blaugrana from defeat.
This two-legged Spanish Super Cup tie is wide open. Barcelona are known dominate games – especially at the Camp Nou. Still, Diego Simeone’s men must not be doubted. If Atletico Madrid are playing tonight, it is because they managed to stun bitter city rivals Real Madrid last season in the Copa del Rey final.
Barcelona are experiencing a new cycle under Martino. They will be hoping to win their first trophy of the campaign in front of their home supporters. How likely is an upset of the Catalans, though?
Lionel Messi, only returning from injury after missing last weekend’s 1-0 win away to Malaga, may or may not display the best of his abilities. This does not mean that tonight’s visitors will have a quiet time defending.
Expect Atletico – if they ever find their tempo at the Camp Nou – to defend a lot and try to hit Barca on the counter, just like Bayern Munich did in the UEFA Champions League semis last season.
In fact, Simeone’s men are under pressure since they are obliged to score to stand a chance of lifting the 2013 Spanish Super Cup. The 1-1 draw from the first leg means a goalless draw on Wednesday night will see Barcelona succeed current Supercopa de Espana titleholders Real Madrid.
Where to watch the match - live stream, start time, TV channels, live scores
Watch Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid live on Wednesday, August 28, 2013:
Will David Villa's return to the Nou Camp be a pleasant one?
As time went on at the Vicente Calderon, Atletico Madrid fans were growing anxious for the final whistle. David Villa's first match against his former club saw him slot a well struck volley into the Barcelona goal, giving Atletico fans hope.
With Messi on the bench due to an apparent injury, Neymar had to come to the rescue for the Catalans. Will the Brazilian have to be the deciding figure in Wednesday's match again?
Messi's absence in the match with Malaga has Barcelona fans uncertain of his participation in the match on Wednesday, while Atletico Madrid will prepare for the match not knowing what to expect.
Preview: Gerardo Martino to make justice to 'favourites' tag
Martino's career at Barcelona could not have started any better than it did. A 7-0 victory over Levante had Barcelona fans happy, and despite the astonshing result, Barcelona's style of play looked similar to the style they played under Pep Guardiola.
Their match on Wednesday night will be a tougher task for the Catalans, but the Martino is aware that his side has pressure on them for being the favorites going into the match.
Reigning La Liga champions, Barcelona have agreed to sell star forward, David Villa to Atletico Madrid for just 5.1 million euros, a deal that is indeed a bargain for the capital club as they have just acquired a player who has won everything club and international football has on offer.
Villa’s joining is subject to a medical and if he leaves Vicente Calderon before his contract expires, Barca will get just 4.1 million euros in total for the player.
Although everyone accepted that the Asturian was going to leave Camp Nou this summer, few would have predicted that president, Sandro Rosell and his advisors would sanction a transfer for such a low price.
The social media data compiled by our friends over at Starcount for the top ten footballers in June 2013 revealed that the Premier League still has some walls to scale when it comes to player popularity.
La Liga vastly garnered the most attention, with its superstars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kaka underlining the weight of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s online fan base, along with icons Andres Iniesta, Mesut Ozil and David Villa.
But Brazil’s leading star Neymar, who had one of the most followed transfer sagas until he officially signed for the Spanish champions late last month, happened to be the one to rack up the most fans on Facebook in June – scooping 2.5 million ‘likes’.
Deadline day has to be one of the most interesting days in the world of football. Whether it is the August transfer deadline or January, football fans look forward to seeing if their favorite club will bring in any new faces.
For some, it is a day to celebrate some new signings, while for others, it is a day to ask questions of their clubs management.
Thursday will bring us some very interesting final hours in the transfer window, with many clubs waiting for the last minute to make some improved bids.
“David will not leave, we are very happy with him,” Tito Vilanova was quoted as saying by reporters on Sunday night.
Referring to the Spanish striker’s feat against Cordoba last Thursday, the Barcelona coach recalled:
“The other night, he scored two good goals.”
David Villa has indeed proven to be a great asset for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. He leads the goal scorers chart with five goals ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo who has four. At the Camp Nou, the former Valencia forward has struggled to find playing time.
Team News & Analysis
There were doubles for Alexis Sanchez and David Villa on Thursday in Barca’s 5-0 win over Cordoba. Yet, the two forwards could miss the challenge against Los Boquerones for fitness reasons. Following the full availability of newly-crowned Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Pedro – who were all absent in the Copa del Rey this week – the manager is expected to rearrange his front again.
The return of these superstars in Vilanova’s team should alleviate concerns caused by the absence of Sergi Roberto. The central midfielder is expected to miss four weeks of action after picking up a hamstring injury against Cordoba.
This fixture, however, could be different considering the away goals and home advantage that Barca enjoys over second division side Cordoba.
Lionel was stretchered off the pitch in a match before he faced Cordoba, and many feared that the Argentinean would be…
Now the circumstances have changed and Atletico are competiting with Barcelona for the title. With six points behind the league leaders, this is a must win game for the Los Colchoneros.
Cesc Fabregas was substituted early in the first half for Alexsis Sanchez, after the Spainiard complained of a thigh injury and he may not play until next year.
Atleti player Cristian Rodriguez also will not take part in this fixture.
They travel away from home to play Cordoba in the round of 16 of Copa del Rey this Wednesday.
Barcelona have lifted the trophy 26 times and are the defending champions this year. An away win against the second division side Cordoba is widely expected.
Madrid are eight points behind Barca in third place, but the Catalan side has a game in hand. Real Betis defeated Madrid 1-0 earlier this season and it remains to be seen if they can repeat their feat against Barca.
Lionel Messi may or may not start this game following a knee injury he picked up against Benifica, but he will travel with squad. Alexis Sanchez and Dani Alves are match fit again and might come on late in the game. Cuenca is still recovering from his injury.
Real Betis central defenders Paulao, Mario and Damien are match ready after sititing out due to injury. Midfielder Sergio Rodriguez and defender Alex Martinez are unavailable for this match. Attacking midfielder Juan Carlos is doubful a starter.
They lost influential defender/midfielder Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich last summer and have not replaced him yet. Last season’s club top scorer Fernando Llorente fell out of favour with coach Marco Biesla and Bilbao find themselves struggling in 14th place in the La Liga.
Barca fullback Dani Alves is out for two weeks and La Masia graduate Montoya will provide cover for the Brazilian.
Alexis Sanchez is still recovering from injury and Adriano and Cuenca are doubtful for this fixture.
Atheltic Bilbao have three players on the treatment table and Adoni Iraola is uncertain to feature in this game.
The Catalans remain busy on the transfer market following the signing of ex-Valencia defender Jordi Alba. For Barcelona team mate Lionel Messi, the return of another former Valencia player, namely David Villa, will be like a transfer signing. That said, Messi believes that the club should not think about welcoming new strikers.
“With the forwards that we have, there is no need to sign more attackers. It is crucial that [David] Villa returns,” La Pulga told the press.
“He is doing very well and I hope he will be the same Villa as before. He is a very important player, he scores a lot of goals and we missed him last season.”