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LA LIGA CHAMPIONS KEEN ON RETAINING THE LEAGUE TITLE

LA LIGA champions Atlético de Madrid will be looking forward to retaining their league title this season.

And on Saturday, Atleti face one of the biggest opponents there is, as Barcelona visit the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

The timing could probably not be worse for the home side, or better for the visitors. Diego Simeone’s side slumped to their first defeat of the season last weekend, losing 1-0 at Deportivo Alaves – a defeat that leaves them in fourth place, three points behind city rivals Real Madrid.

                     La Liga Champions

Barcelona on the other hand, secured an emphatic 3-0 victory against Levante, which in itself, would not have been remarkable, had it not been for the excellent form of striker Memphis Depay and the return of Ansu Fati.

It took the Guinea-Bissau-born Fati just 10 minutes to place his mark on the game. Wearing the number 10 jersey which previously belonged to non-other than Lionel Messi the 18-year-old was brought on in the 81st minute, some 323 days after last playing for the club.

And it took Fati, whose recovery from a serious meniscus injury in his left knee took much longer than expected, just ten minutes to show why he is the player on whose shoulders much of the Barcelona fans’ hopes hang as he scored his side’s third.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman missed Fati’s return as he has been handed a two-game ban following his red card in a goalless draw against Cadiz and he will also not be on the bench for Saturday’s match in Madrid.

In his absence, assistant coach Alfred Schreuder took charge and he stressed the importance of Fati to the side. “We know he’s a great player. He’s got individual talent that we need and we know what he’s capable of. We’re delighted to have him available to play again.”

Not delighted are Atleti fans with the performance of Barcelona returnee Antoine Griezmann, who was loaned back to his old club on the last day of the transfer window but has not yet found the form that he showed in his earlier time with the club.

Simeone said that he is confident that the side can find itself again. “We have a good squad, a balanced squad, and we will analyse what is going wrong and try to find solutions.”

Simeone, of course, is hoping that Griezmann finds his form on Saturday and can send Barcelona home to Catalonia with a defeat.

What do you think?

Written by Editor

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