Barcelona were again sluggish in Tuesday's Champions League win over Porto and Atletico Madrid are likely to prove just as awkward an opponent on Sunday evening.
Joao Cancelo's brilliance rescued the Blaugrana against Sergio Conceicao's side, who took the lead, had another goal ruled out and tallied 12 attempts at goal in total before eventually going down 2-1.
Atletico again looked good in their 3-1 Champions League win away at Feyenoord and like Barca, their win on Tuesday helped them qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare.
That was Los Colchoneros' fourth win in a row and Diego Simeone will now be eyeing his first away La Liga win against Barcelona as Atleti boss and the club's first since 2006.
There is a caveat to that record, with those previous games coming at Camp Nou and not Sunday's venue, the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.
Barcelona have won six and lost only one of their league games at their temporary accommodation, but lack the aura that has so often helped them overwhelm opponents at their spiritual home, which is currently under renovation.
Atleti sit one place above Barca in the standings, with the pair tied on 31 points, but the hosts have played a game more and could come unstuck on Sunday.
Draw or Atletico Madrid @ 4/5
Barcelona may have lost just once in La Liga this season, going down 2-1 to Real Madrid, but those who have watched them have often done so through their fingers.
Xavi admitted that his team "have to change" following last weekend's 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano, another game in which they rode their luck, while they were again sluggish against Porto.
They have struggled against a low block and Simeone's side will be happy to sit in and use his team's attacking quality to create opportunities on the break.
Atletico are playing with real belief and could claim a big win in the battle to keep pace with surprise leaders Girona and city rivals Real.
Antoine Griezmann to score or assist @ 6/5
Antoine Griezmann never produced his best form at Barcelona, but has been brilliant since returning to the Metropolitano, firstly on loan in 2021 and then permanently the following summer.
At 32, the Frenchman keeps getting better and is fresh from winning La Liga's Player of the Month for November after scoring in the home wins over Villarreal and Mallorca.
Griezmann also netted a hat-trick in October's 3-0 win at Celta Vigo and will be desperate to have a say on Sunday.
Red Card in Match - Yes @ 11/4
There have been three red cards in the last three meetings between these two sides and, while not as niggly as past vintages, Atletico's current crop are still likely to unsettle Barcelona.
Another dismissal may not be out of the question, with both sides having seen five red cards in their games this season.
Xavi confirmed in his pre-match media conference that goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will again miss out due to a back problem, with Inaki Pena poised to deputise.
Forward Joao Felix is allowed to play against his parent club and, after scoring the winner against Porto, is expected to start in attack alongside Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.
Pablo Barrios faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury earlier this week, joining Thomas Lemar (Achilles) and Vitolo (knee) on the sidelines.
The in-form Griezmann is almost certain to start in attack against his former club and is likely to be partnered by Alvaro Morata.
Barcelona have won six and lost one of their seven home games in La Liga this season.
Atletico have won three of their six away league games in 2023/24, while they also won 3-1 away at Feyenoord in Europe on Tuesday, having previously drawn on the road at both Lazio and Celtic.
|Atletico Madrid wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.