Atletico Still Breathing Down Barca’s Necks After Five-Star Display in Seville4 min read
Atletico Stun Sevilla
Something had to give at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday, but the manner of Atletico Madrid’s victory surprised everyone.
Sevilla had only lost once at home in 16 months and had seen off Diego Simeone’s Rojiblancos in that time. In short, they were probably slight favourites for the win.
Atleti, for their part, had been grinding out results and ensuring that they were still breathing down Barcelona’s necks.
At this point, they remain the only team that can feasibly stop the Blaugrana from winning another La Liga title. Though it’s mathematically still possible for Valencia and Real Madrid to catch them, at 14 and 16 points behind respectively, no one is contemplating the same.
Los Colchoneros Can Bridge the Gap
Simeone’s side are seven points adrift at present. Still a sizeable gap, but one that can be bridged. Particularly if Atleti see off Leganes at home on Wednesday, and Barca lose their first league game of the season, which is at Las Palmas – their longest away trip of the campaign.
That would make the gap four points with a potential La Liga defining match up at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
Given the ease with which Atleti battered Sevilla, Barcelona should be worried. Rightly so. Gerard Pique could well be out because of his recurring injury problems and Luis Suarez, if booked in the Canary Islands, will also be missing.
Antoine Griezmann was the star of the show in Seville with a hat-trick and assist in their 5-2 win. Pointedly, Simeone said afterwards that the Frenchman could’ve been even better by this stage – and the team better off as a result – if his head hadn’t been turned by the Catalans.
Costa in Sixty Seconds
We saw a microcosm of Diego Costa in one minute too. A dive, a fight, a booking and a goal, all within sixty seconds! The striker is back to his angry best and just at the right point in the season. He thrives on living on the edge and if Barca’s back line aren’t up to scratch, he will meter out the same punishment as Sevilla received.
Two late goals from the hosts couldn’t mask what was, by a distance, Atleti’s best performance of the season. Simeone has been waiting for a demolition like this and he’ll know that his hard-working players deserve every plaudit that comes their way.
By the time of the Barcelona fixture, Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitan will have moved to China, and Fernando Torres may yet join them.
Three mid-season issues that would no longer concern the Argentinian, who can then devote all of his energies to reeling the Blaugrana in some more.
This one isn’t over yet…