Atletico Madrid News
Barrios, Griezmann start in a 3-5-2: Predicted Atletico Madrid XI vs Barcelona
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.
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.
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.
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.
Atletico Madrid News
Atletico Madrid competing with Barcelona, Liverpool for 26-year-old midfielder
Sofyan Amrabat is a player in demand, with the midfielder reportedly a top target for various clubs during the January transfer window, as confirmed by his brother.
However, Atletico Madrid are also keeping tabs on the Moroccan international, with the club said to be interested in bringing him to Wanda Metropolitano.
According to Foot Mercato, Amrabat is keen on moving to La Liga, and Atletico Madrid are one of the clubs that he admires. The midfielder had previously praised Atleti boss Diego Simeone, further fueling speculation of a potential move to the Spanish capital.
Atletico Madrid’s interest in Amrabat comes in the midst of uncertainty over the future of Axel Witsel.
The Fiorentina star could be a possible replacement for the Belgian midfielder, whose contract at the club expires at the end of the season, with his father hinting at a possible exit.
However, Atleti would face competition from Barcelona in the pursuit of Amrabat, who appears to be prioritising a move to Camp Nou. The Moroccan international could potentially become an excellent alternative for Barça’s top target, Martin Zubimendi.
However, Fiorentina is unlikely to let the midfielder go cheaply, and Barcelona would have to sort out their economic situation to afford him.
That is where Atletico Madrid might look to get ahead of the Catalans. Although the Spanish giants are also struggling with finances, they may still be able to swoop in and secure the services of the Fiorentina star come the end of the season.
It is too early to deduce anything just yet. A lot will be uncovered as we enter the final phase of the season. Amrabat himself will be keen on making a definitive decision on his future, as he looks to take the next step in his career.