Thomas Partey delighted with new Atletico Madrid deal

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The Ghana midfielder admits their trip to Camp Nou will be tough but optimistic of getting a good result.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone has not lost in 12 meetings with Valverde and is hoping his team can keep the title race alive as long as possible.

The Atletico boss, who welcomes back defender Lucas Hernandez into his squad following injury, added: "Valverde resolved the departure of Neymar, changed a system that had worked successfully for many years, taught everyone that Barcelona can also play 4-4-2 and he's unbeaten in the league". Philippe Coutinho forced an early near-post save from Jan Oblak and Messi hit a free kick into the wall.

"In the past 14 years, La Liga was for Real Madrid or Barcelona and only Villarreal made it one season to be second". The striker has scored three goals and assisted two in the seven matches he has played, forming a unsafe partnership with Antoine Griezmann.

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Finally, in the 75 minute, Atletico managed to muster a scoring chance when Antoine Griezmann found himself in space on the edge of the box, but his fizzing shot went inches wide of the target. The [first] goal against Leganes was a ball from Koke, great vision. Suarez and Messi combined for five goals in Barcelona 6-1 win against Girona last weekend.

Simeone reiterated that direct football with quick transitions where they can involve their physically powerful striker Diego Costa could be the key to the match against Barca. Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique will have to work hard to win their duels with the Atletico duo if they wish to continue unopposed on their way to the La Liga title.

Sevilla are the side that have suffered most against Messi, with the forward scoring 29 goals in 31 games against the Andalusians, while Sunday's goal against Atletico took his tally to 28 goals in 36 outings against the Rojiblancos. With Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets taking their places in the centre, Paulinho provides the team with size and physicality, especially in the bigger matches, offering them another dimension.