Depleted Atletico Madrid look to close the gap on Barcelona


Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone will be hopeful that his side can close the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona, with a win at bottom of the table Huesca this weekend.

With the Catalan side not playing until Sunday night, at home to Leganes, Atletico have a chance to narrow the gap between first and second place from five points to two, in Game Week 20.

The former Argentine international could not have asked for an easier game in theory, with their hosts ten points adrift of safety in the Spanish top flight, and with just one win in their last 18 league games.

However it will not be plain sailing for Simeone or his players away in Aragon, with an injury crisis reducing his options ahead of the game.

He is particularly short of options in attack, with Diego Costa, Gelson Martins, Nikola Kalinic and Vitolo all sidelined through injury.

The absence of Kalinic is frustrating for Simeone, with the Croatian international beginning to show the type of goal scoring form he was signed in the summer from AC Milan, for – as well as dovetailing impressively with Antoine Griezmann in recent weeks.

Griezmann will play as a lone front man against Huesca, flanked by Angel Correa and international team mate Thomas Lemar, as Simeone looks to shuffle his pack.

If the situation continues to worsen, he will have two options open. Dig deeper into the squad, or making a late foray into the transfer market, potentially signing a player on loan until the end of the season.

Highly rated teenage striker Borja Garces is an option, after he netted on his first team debut, but he has not played since September, and Simeone will be looking for experience at this crucial stage of the campaign.

Therefore the most likely solution is to push ahead for a deal for Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata, who they have been extensively linked this month, along with Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona.

However, despite Spanish international Morata enduring a miserable run of form in West London, any move for the former Real Madrid striker is complicated.

Chelsea are in talks with Juventus to bring in Gonzalo Higuain, either on loan or on a permanent deal, and Morata’s exit will not be sanctioned until a deal for Higuain has been.

How well do you know Spanish football? Want to challenge the best La Liga Fantasy Managers? Play now!


To leave a comment, you must be logged into