Atletico’s Griezmann aiming to extend Barcelona dip


Barca were forced last month to deny claims they had agreed a deal to sign the Frenchman, whose relentless run of form since the turn of the year now stands as the principal threat to them toasting a 25th La Liga triumph.

In January, Barcelona and Atletico were separated by 11 points at the top of the table but win this weekend, and Diego Simeone’s side will have cut that gap to two.

Barca’s slip at Las Palmas on Thursday, a day after Atletico claimed their eighth consecutive victory over Leganes, means the balance has tipped back towards the capital.

But, just as Griezmann has been the driving force behind their resurgence, with an outstanding 12 goals in nine games, the 26-year-old will be key again if Atletico are to inflict Barca’s first defeat this season.

He has never scored at the Camp Nou, a drought that extends to nine outings, but back-to-back hat-tricks, the second a quadruple, against Sevilla and Leganes this week will certainly have pricked the Catalans’ attention.

“He has played at this level in other seasons,” Simeone said after Wednesday´s win. “He is an extraordinary player — he already showed this in the past.”

It is no coincidence Griezmann’s surge has quickened since the arrival of Diego Costa, whose willingness to engage defenders in the grittier side of the game has allowed his partner the freedom to flourish.

But while Costa appears the perfect foil, Griezmann might glance across at his opponents on Sunday and wonder where and how he would fit in.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez admittedly have 61 years of age between them but also 59 goals this term. Neither look ready to make way for a younger model.

The 160 million-euro Philippe Coutinho, meanwhile, scored his first in the league against Girona last weekend while even the disorientated Ousmane Dembele is showing signs he is beginning to settle.

Given a draw would surely be enough to satisfy Barcelona, it would be a brave move from their coach Ernesto Valverde to field the full “Fabulous Four” this weekend.

They also have one less day than their opponents to recover.

“The match against Atletico comes fast and will be important for both teams,” Valverde said after the 1-1 draw against Las Palmas.

“But we are the leaders and we are looking forward to continuing being first.”

Real Madrid´s own title aspirations are long gone, with their focus firmly shifted to the Champions League and next week´s second-leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Domestic fixtures have become something similar to European trials, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Marcos Asensio and Isco all missing the chance to push their case in Tuesday´s surprise defeat at Espanyol.

Zinedine Zidane’s treatment of Bale in particular, left out earlier this month against Leganes and then deployed as a centre forward in midweek, hardly seems to have smoothed the way for a return to form.

Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to be restored to the starting line-up at home to Getafe on Saturday. Marcelo is back in training but Luka Modric (thigh) and Toni Kroos (knee) are further away.

Real sit one point ahead of fourth-placed Valencia, who host Real Betis on Sunday.

Saturday (GMT)-Villarreal v Girona (1200), Sevilla v Athletic Bilbao (1515), Deportivo La Coruna v Eibar (1730), Leganes v Malaga (1730), Real Madrid v Getafe (1945)

Sunday-Levante v Espanyol (1100), Barcelona v Atletico Madrid (1515), Real Sociedad v Alaves (1730), Valencia v Real Betis (1945)

Monday-Celta Vigo v Las Palmas (2000)


  1. This is the suitable blog for anybody who wants to search out out about this topic. You realize so much its virtually hard to argue with you (not that I truly would need…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply great!

  2. There are some attention-grabbing cut-off dates in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There may be some validity however I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

  3. I’d need to test with you here. Which is not one thing I normally do! I get pleasure from studying a put up that may make people think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to remark!

  4. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So good to seek out any individual with some authentic ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is one thing that’s wanted on the web, somebody with a little originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the web!

  5. A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little analysis on this. And he in reality bought me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If possible, as you develop into expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more particulars? It’s extremely helpful for me. Large thumb up for this blog publish!

  6. Can I just say what a reduction to find someone who actually knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know learn how to carry a difficulty to light and make it important. Extra people must learn this and perceive this side of the story. I cant imagine youre not more common since you undoubtedly have the gift.

Comments are closed.