Atletico Madrid travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday night, knowing a win would see them close the gap on the reigning champions to just five points with seven matches remaining.
Los Colchoneros come into the game off the back of a 2-0 win against Girona on Tuesday night, but Atleti were far from their best.
Both Alvaro Morata and Thomas Lemar were injured in the match and will be unavailable for the Barça clash, but despite a lack of attacking options, Atletico still boasts enough talent to give Barcelona a tough match away from home.
Here’s how Atletico may line up to take on La Blaugrana.
3. Goalkeeper and Defenders
Jan Oblak (GK) – Oblak has cemented his status as one of the world’s best goalkeepers in recent years and his form this season reflects this achievement. The reigning three-time La Liga keeper of the year has kept six clean sheets in his past seven matches and will have every confidence of shutting out Barça.
Jose Gimenez (RCB) – With manager Diego Simeone stating his side will go at Barcelona in this match, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Gimenez on the right side of a back-three. The Uruguayan centre-back is rock solid with his defensive positioning and this will be critical if Atletico are to keep Barça at bay.
Diego Godin (CB) – Godin scored the winner for his side against Girona in the previous match, which pushed Atletico within eight points of Barca in the table. Godin will need to be on top of his game to track the dynamic runs of the Blaugrana front three throughout the match.
Filipe Luis (LCB) – 33-year-old Filipe Luis started Atletico’s previous match on the left side of a back three, and should he do so again, he’ll be in at the deep end – with Lionel Messi likely to be lining up against him. Could be a difficult afternoon.
Rodrigo (CDM) – Rodri has been an important figure for Simeone this season since his summer move from Villarreal. The 22-year-old defensive-midfielder will have arguably the toughest task on the pitch as he will try and break up Barcelona’s passing game in the middle of the park.
Santiago Arias (RM) – Colombian right-back Arias will likely be used a bit higher up the pitch as a wing-back for this match. Arias has recently returned from a hamstring injury which kept him out for two La Liga matches and the friendly matches for his country, but put in a solid 90 minutes against Girona midweek.
Thomas Partay (CM) – Thomas will likely be in the midfield helping Rodri keep things tight defensively, before looking to spring forward on the counter. The 25-year-old will need to track Ivan Rakitic and Arthur, depending on which side he is deployed on, and make sure they do not have the space to ping passes around with ease.
Saul Niguez (CM) – Saul is another versatile midfielder at Simeone’s disposal. With Atletico lacking attacking options, the 24-year-old will probably get the nod in his favoured spot in the centre of the park.
Koke (LM) – Koke is one of the most versatile midfielders in Europe, with the ability to play through the centre, or on either wing. The 27-year-old will need to be sharp in his passing if he is to open up the Barcelona defence.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – Someone will need to step up and score for Los Rojiblancos in this match and that man might need to be Antoine Griezmann. Atletico’s star man broke a five match goalless drought against Girona and will hope to add to his current tally of 19 goals and nine assists in all competitions.
Angel Correa (ST) – Correa has featured in all but two La Liga matches for Atleti this season and has bagged himself four goals and four assists. The Argentine international will try and utilise his pace against the Barça back four and cause some trouble running in behind the defence.