Atletico Madrid will have the opportunity to knock FC Barcelona out of La Liga title race when they take on Osasuna on Sunday. Over the past few weeks, Atletico Madrid have made a strong case for being the luckiest team in Europe, as far as the La Liga title race is concerned.
Destined to fall behind their rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona in the chase despite holding the top spot, Los Colchoneros have gotten away with dropped points in two of their last five league matches, as their rivals also happened to drop points in the corresponding matchday.
It has put Atleti in the driver’s seat to secure the league title, as they are currently leading the table by two points. A win in their upcoming game against Osasuna on Sunday, in that regard, could go a long way in helping Diego Simeone’s men find themselves in a superior position come the final matchday.
It will also knock Barcelona out of the title chase, though a defeat could similarly allow Real Madrid to overtake them at the top, although Los Blancos are indeed facing a tricky test against Athletic Bilbao on the same day.
Speaking of opponents, Osasuna do not have too much to play for, as they have secured their top-flight status while having no real chance of making a late push for the top eight. Jagoba Arrasate’s men, though, will still be hoping to break into the top half of the table, and perhaps even move ahead of Bilbao with an upset this weekend.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their important matchup at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see whether Diego Simeone would want to make any changes from the side that secured a win over Real Sociedad in midweek.
Starting from the defensive unit, Felipe is competing with Jose Gimenez in the starting eleven, but the latter might just get the nod, forming the heart of the Atleti backline alongside Stefan Savic. Mario Hermoso is also a part of the backline, but in a flexible role that sees him interchange between a left-back and left-sided centre-back role.
Hermoso’s position relies heavily on Kieran Trippier, who is mostly given an attacking role. The Englishman, in fact, is one of Atletico Madrid’s main sources of creativity out wide, as he is capable of whipping in dangerous crosses.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco could also be assigned a similar role, though in a more full-fledged attacking position. As such, the Belgian is unlikely to operate in the front three during the attacking phases but drop in a left wing-back in defence.
It will be extremely useful in the second line of press, where Simeone is likely to persist with the midfield three of Saul, Koke and Marcos Llorente. Koke is likely to feature in the deepest midfield role but is more than capable of producing penetrative forward passes for either Saul or Llorente in between the lines.
Finally, in the attack, Angel Correa could once again get the nod ahead of Joao Felix in light of his recent form. The Argentine is poised for his 200th La Liga appearance, as he spearheads the Atletico Madrid attack alongside Luis Suarez this weekend.