Barcelona can't afford to drop any more points in La Liga and history tells us that Atletico de Madrid could be just the opponents they’d want, to keep pressure on Real Madrid. There will be no favors given to the league leaders here.

Atlético de Madrid will have no desire to do their table topping, cross-city rivals any favours and will be looking for payback against Barcelona, a side who had got the better of them in four of their last meetings and clocked up a goal tally of 17 to 5 in that spell.

Lionel MessiTable stakes

Real Madrid are currently 10 points ahead of Barcelona in the La Liga table and kick off before second placed Barcelona face Atlético de Madrid. 

This means that the Catalans will most likely be 13 points behind Los Blancos when they take on Atlético, as Real’s opponents are eighth place Rayo Vallecano, who are a full 30 points behind the league leaders and went down 6–2 the last time they met and will be unlikely to slow Real Madrid down.

There are only 15 games left to be played in the La Liga and Real Madrid are so likely to take the title that the sportsbooks have cut the soccer odds on Los Merengues to 9/100. Barcelona are the bookies second favourite, but with the odds on them winning the league in the region of 97/100, it seems that the sportsbooks have already decided that it's going to be a Madrid season. 

The fat lady hasn't quite sung yet and Barcelona attacker Isaac Cuenca seems to be up for the challenge, "We will fight until the end, and we will do it in the best possible way so that everyone can continue to enjoy our football," he said. 

Barcelona can only hope that Real Madrid drop points and concentrate on taking three points from their next game themselves.

This game should be all about Barcelona as they have an exceptionally good record against Atlético de Madrid. Winning four and losing one of their last five meetings. That's why Barcelona are 4/9 to win their match on Sunday and Madrid win is at 6/1.

If we assume that Real Madrid will take maximum points in their Sunday match, a draw would leave Barcelona 12 points adrift of Madrid and I feel that that could actually be an insurmountable deficit that would effectively guarantee Madrid’s title hopes. You can back a draw at 3/1, but I’m not.

Hope floats

Atlético de Madrid may be a wild outside bet at 500/1, to win the league, but they're not just making up the numbers in La Liga. They are sixth in the table on 32 points and are one of seven teams who have over 30 points and are competing for that all important fourth spot in the table. FYI Valencia sit third on 40 points while there's only two points between fourth place Athletic de Bilbao and 10th place Osasuna. I'd be tempted to say that Atlético Madrid have more to play for in this game and I'm expecting a spirited performance from them…but to no avail.

Barcelona will win this match and at a canter!

The half-time/full-time soccer betting odds clearly favour Barcelona as the bookies have the away side winning, both halves at 21/20, followed by a half-time draw and a Barcelona victory at 3/1 while both halves ending drawn is at 7/1. 

Atlético de Madrid winning both halves goes as high as 13/1 and them taking the game after being drawn at half-time is offered up at 16/1. These odds all point towards a Barcelona victory.

How many goals?

Barcelona may have won four of their last five, they’ve scored in each of those games and never less than two goals. In their last game they beat Valencia 5-1 so they certainly seem to be in a goalscoring mood. What’s more the last time they played Atlético de Madrid they beat them 5-0. If you fancy Barcelona will get another five on Sunday the bookies are offering you 5-0 at 40/1, 5-1 at 33/1 and 5-2 at ”just”  50/1.

Atlético de Madrid have been less prolific of late and although they’re undefeated in their last five games they have only won two of them. In fact looking at the spell of their last five games, they only scored in three of those and only once scored more than a single goal, in a 3-1 victory over Lazio in the Europa League (a last 32 first leg tie).

Prediction: Barcelona win and win both halves, with a flattering scoreline. Let’s say 4-1 available at 150/1.