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Barrios, Griezmann start in a 3-5-2: Predicted Atletico Madrid XI vs Barcelona

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid take on Barcelona at Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday night in a clash that could have massive implications. The Blaugranas are currently top of the table in the Spanish League, but if their recent performances are anything to go by, the hosts would fancy their chances.

Barcelona are coming off the back of a game where they conceded three goals to third-division side Intercity and are clearly far from their best. Thus, taking three points away from the leaders is more than a distant possibility for Los Rojiblancos come Sunday.

The manager will look to deploy his strongest lineup against Xavi’s men to put the visitors under pressure early on. On a night when the first goal is more vital than ever, Simeone must strike a balance between solid defence and dynamic attack.

Starters

Jan Oblak has fared well against Barcelona in recent years and will once again man the post for the hosts on Sunday. The Slovakian International has conceded less than a goal per game on average in La Liga and will look to record his fifth clean sheet.

The three centre-back system had worked well for Los Rojiblancos this season and warrants no change for the weekend. Jose Maria Gimenez is expected to be the centrally located of the three defenders with Stefan Savic and Reinildo best placed to start to his right and left respectively.

The manager’s 3-5-2 system will see three central midfielders and two wingbacks grace the middle of the field with starkly different roles.

Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco could start on the right and left extreme of midfield respectively. Their main objective will be to stretch the Catalan defence in the hope of creating gaping holes.

In the middle of the park, Simeone might look to deploy Geoffrey Kondogbia as a single pivot. Koke and Pablo Barrios are expected to complete the midfield.

Among Atletico’s best players this season. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

The youngster, in particular, has been a revelation this season and will look up to grab his first start in a high-profile name by the scruff.

Antoine Griezmann pulled the strings for the French National Team last month and was one of their standout players throughout the World Cup. He carried the same form for the club when he returned last week and will have a point to prove against his former club Barcelona. 

Starting alongside Griezmann and completing the lineup will be Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard already has six goals and an assist for the club in just 13 La Liga starts and will have to be at his best if Atleti are to score at all.

Substitutes 

World Cup winner Rodrigo De Paul deserves to be a starter on the night but might be benched by the club’s young phenom Barrios. Yet, it is difficult to fathom how Simeone can keep the Argentine out of the action for long. 

Joao Felix’s future is in a cloud of doubt but the manager has said that he will continue to count on the player as long as he is part of the squad. Against Barcelona, he will need all his beat resources to fire and Felix could see one of the important pieces in the second half.

Nahuel Molina could replace Marcos Llorente in the second period, especially if the hosts get a slender lead over Xavi’s side.

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Atletico Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”

He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.

“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”

The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”

And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.

“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”

Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.

“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”

“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.

And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.

“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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