On Saturday, Diego Simeone faces one of the few teams that he has yet to beat. It’s 11 LaLiga games and counting for the Argentine who will be desperate to finally get one over Barcelona.
The stats look grim for Simeone: eight losses, three draws and no wins – although on the European stage things looks better, where he’s beaten them twice.While Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have all been beaten by El Cholo, Barcelona are the one giant that has caused continuous problems.
Aside from Valencia boss Marcelino, Simeone is the coach who has faced the Catalans the most times without recording a win in the league.
Since the Argentine has been at the helm of Atletico, matches with Barcelona have been heated and closely fought encounters.In the last 11 games at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, his team could only score at a rate of one goal every two matches.
And Barcelona, as ever, dominated possession.Atletico have always had a sound defensive structure but the quality of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar more often than not found a way to score.
Trying to combat this prolific strikeforce has taken its toll on Atletico. They have registered an average of only three shots per game on the Barcelona goal.With such a weak strikeforce, pressure has been on the forwards to feed off scraps.
But this weekend offers a glimmer of hope as a familiar face will be in the opponent’s technical area. Indeed, Ernesto Valverde is a coach who Simeone has never lost against. In nine league games, he has won six and drawn three.Therefore, Simeone’s Barcelona hoodoo could be coming to an end.